Status Quo Side: United Kingdom
Non-Status Quo Side: Rival nationalist groups
Region: Middle East
Conflict Type: Colonial
Issues in Dispute: Independence
The UK merged industrially-advanced Aden colony with the 16 protectorates of the Federation of S. Arabia in preparation for independence. The violent opposition of Aden nationalists to both the UK and traditional Federation rulers was accompanied by border clashes with Yemen which claimed the area with Egyptian support [see YEM].
Britain declared a state of emergency. Independence was set for 1968 but UN pressure to abandon the Aden base was resisted. Terrorist acts led to a ban on the National Liberation Front (NFL) in June 1965. Other militant groups merged in the pro-Yemen Liberation Front (FLOSY). Britain responded to growing violence by suspending the constitution in September 1965. In February 1966 total withdrawal was promised for 1968, a decision which set nationalist groups against each other as well as the UK. The UK decided to transfer power to the nationalists but neither the NFL (no longer banned after June 1967) nor FLOSY would join a caretaker government. As UK troops pulled back, Federation authority collapsed and the NFL gained control of all but Aden. NFL-FLOSY negotiations failed, Egypt withdrew from Yemen, so the UK negotiated with the NFL for troop withdrawal and a power transfer.
UK-NFL agreements were signed and UK withdrawal completed. The People's Republic of South Yemen came into being on November 30. [In May 1990 the two Yemens declared political unification, despite major differences in their histories and traditions. Unlike the north, the south was secular, Marxist-Leninist, and it suffered when its large expatriate worker population was expelled from Iraq and other Gulf states during the 1991 Gulf War. Strains increased to the point where the north boycotted the political process in 1993. In May 1994 the north attacked to secure the rich oilfields in the south, and the Aden refinery and ports. It failed. South Yemen again declared its independence.
Copyright © 1999 Lincoln P. Bloomfield and Allen Moulton