Cooperating in Sin and Aggression: About Yemen and its bad neighbors

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Translated by Moe

It’s as if history is repeating itself.
The following is a translation of an Arabic article on Al-Akhbar about Yemen and Saudi in 1962, with a short flashback to the 1930’s for historic long enmity between the two countries. It’s very informative and documented with names, dates, and details. It reflects what’s happening today, and what was the role of the regional and international states at the time. While translating it, I added hyperlinks to the article that might refer to Wikipedia links or other related websites, that would serve to clarify what he is talking about.
By then, Iran was an ally to Saudi, Israel, and the U.S., while Egypt was like today’s Iran, so there was that “phobia” of Egypt and Nasser. Back then, there was no “Sunni-Shi’ite” tension, but they were demonizing Egypt and Nasser and his allies in the region. The same propaganda of “helping the legitimate ruler” against the “sinful rebels”, and the phobia of controlling Bab el-Mandab by Egyptian friends in Yemen, well, this is as if nothing had been changed since then. Just replace Iran with Egypt roles between the 60’s and today’s Yemeni crisis.

Ja’far al-Bakli
«I am Maj. Pilot “Rashad Chesha … of the Royal Saudi Air Force … I ask for permission to land … because of an important and risky issue. I repeat: it’s an important and dangerous issue ».
That was the call received to the control tower at Almaza Airport (in Cairo) from a mysterious plane violated the Egyptian airspace, from the Red Sea side, on Tuesday morning, 2nd October 1962.
Egyptians allowed the pilot Chesha – who was flying a Saudi military cargo aircraft (U.S. made «Fairchild 123-B») – to land, in Almaza Airport, accompanied by his two associates: Flight Lt. Ahmed Hussein, and technician Mohammed Ezmirli. After searching there plane, it turned out to be loaded with 20 huge boxes, and inside each box were dozen machine guns, in addition to hundreds of boxes containing ammunition. All of these boxes had a clear logo symbol: Two shaking hands … That was the very logo for the American charitable aid to poor countries: USAID!
In the next 6 days (up till 8th of Oct), another 3 Saudi airplanes (cargo and jet fighters), did the same in Cairo and Aswan’s airport (southern Egypt)… (he mentioned the names of the 4 Saudi pilots and their ranks who were upon these fleeing planes).
All of these pilots were Saudi citizens. They refused to bear the brunt of participating in the aggression of a tyrant family (Saudis) to support an unjust family (Yemeni Imam) against the oppressed people of Yemen. They were seeking political asylum in Egypt, because they disobeyed military orders from their superiors, to fly from Jeddah (the main Saudi port on Red Sea) to Najran (on Southern borders of Saudi, on the Yemeni borders) where they have to give all these “U.S. Charity” boxes, and to do it 3 times a day. The pilots were wondering about what these boxes have in them, and to whom they are sent, till they finally realized that the camouflaged boxes with the USAID logo were nothing but equipped weapons for Yemeni royalists militias, who were against the new born Yemeni republic that took the authority in San’a, and that these weapons are enough to ignite a Yemeni civil war. The good Saudi pilots refused to be the reason of all of that, and they preferred to flee to Egypt, and to expose the Saudi government plan against a poor state like Yemen.
Kingdom of the sword and the Kingdom of daggers
In early Spring 1934, the Saudi king ‘Abdul-‘Aziz sent his two sons with their troops to occupy Yemen, and to annex it to his kingdom, but only one son succeeded in occupying both Najran city and Jizan port (today in the southern part of Saudi) while the other son had been defeated so badly from the people of Sa’da (the very Yemenite city under attack today, and the main center of today’s Ansarullah). Both sides negotiated the terms of disengagement, and made a peace agreement in May 1934 in Taif (Saudi), between the Saudi king and the Yemeni Imam Yahya representatives, but the Saudis kept both Yemeni cities, and promised not to attack again in the future. Although the Yemeni ruler was not the looser in that battle, but he was afraid that the Saudis are way more in numbers and well armed with British new military force, while his weapons are old guns from WWI or prior, they will attack again and again, so it was better to waive the two cities and get rid of all that headache. The Yemeni Imam though, sent 3 of his assassins to attack King ‘Abdul-‘Aziz, and that took place a year after their agreement, in Mecca, 15 May 1935, who tried to assassin him with their daggers, but they managed only in injuring the king’s son in his shoulder, who protected his father with his body, and they had been shot dead.
Wahabis are on alert to rescue a Shee’ite rule!
The no-relation situation between two kingdoms continued that way for three decades, till the Yemeni Revolution and coup took place, in 26 Sep 1962, which turned the country from an Imami Kingdom into a Republic. The Saudis never been satisfied with that news, as no republics are allowed in monarchies’ land in Arabia, because that means the beginning of their end, and that is a Saudi red line. And suddenly, the Saudis remembered that Muhammad Al-Bader (the grandson of Imam Yahya) was the only «legitimate» ruler and Imam of Yemen, and his ruling should be undisputed and unchallenged on his property. Urgent Wahhabi Fatwas had been issued, claiming that to oppose the rule of an Imam (even though he is a Zaidi Imam, a branch from Shi’ism) is considered as a great sin against the legitimate and religious rules, and that all Yemenis had to defend their religion and their livelihoods, and that it was necessary for the politicians of the Yemeni nation to unite against that sinful rebellion, and to fight it with the proper firmness.
‘Abdul Naser of Egypt, encouraged that new born republic of Yemen, and acknowledged it as a new legitimate ruling system for Yemen. The USSR followed Egypt in the recognition of the new born state, which made Saudi describe that as “Nassirist-Communist Plot” against the kingdom. The fleeing Imam “Muh’d. Bader” reached Saudi, and asked for their help, and they were more than happy to help him against the new republic. He went to Najran city to arrange his militias and train fighters, while the Saudis were sending him those fully equipped weapons in USAID boxes 3 times a day, and enough money and gold to buy the mercenaries and bribe the tribes. The Saudis then started looking for allies. The U.S. was busy with the Cuban Missile Crisis, and therefore they ignored the issue at the beginning. Britain though supported the Saudis, because they were aware of their colony in Aden (South Yemen) and didn’t want neither the nationalism of Nasser in Egypt (who was calling for the unification of Arab states into one great state) nor the Socialism of the USSR that was spreading everywhere by then. The Brits where aware of the international sailing path at Bab el-Mandab as well, and didn’t want it to fall in the hands of friends of Naser in Egypt, who did the Nationalization of the Suez Canal 6 years ago that caused the Suez Crisis by then. The British army in Aden started its military provocations against the new Yemeni republic. Therefore, the Yemenis asked the help of Egypt, who sent their troops to Yemen in Oct 1962.
J.F. Kennedy, sent an initiative letters for a solution in Yemen in 17 Nov 1962, asking the Egyptian troops to gradually withdraw from Yemen; to make disengagement decision in the UN; to stop the Saudi arming of the Yemeni pro-royalists; The Republic of Yemen (RoY) vowed to respect international commitments to assure its neighbors; with a U.S. pledge to recognize the RoY if all the other parties adhere to these proposals.
Egypt agreed to Kennedy’s Initiative, while Saudi and Britain rejected it. The U.S. responded against the Saudi-British “sulk” by announcing its recognition of RoY, on 19 Dec 1962. Saudis get mad, and said that the American solution for peace in Yemen, and the American recognition of the new republican regime, is fully bias to the «Nasserist – Communist Axis» at the expense of the U.S. traditional allies in the ME. Saudis then entered their hallucinations, and thy suspected that the U.S. probably «seeking their treachery», to change its alliances with them, by a new one with ‘Abdel Nasser. Other “geniuses” wrote in Saudi funded newspapers, that President Kennedy’s Administration is too weak and ignorant, and they are not aware of the realities in the region, and the US president is inexperienced and hesitant, and wants to avoid any confrontation with the Nasserist Axis. The solution for the Saudis is to take off the thorns by themselves, and to take the reins with their firm hand … All of that was a mass of nonsense! 
Saudis started looking for help from anyone. They asked the Pakistanis, but they refused to be involved. They asked the Shah of Iran, he promised them logistical and intelligence support to their advantage, nothing more. France offered them their logistic support from their military base in Djibouti. And then, they asked the help of Israelis! Indeed, the Saudi intelligence chief Kamal Adham (which also was the brother-in-law of King Faisal) asked the help of his friend, the Saudi arms dealer, broker Adnan Khashoggi, to check with Israel, and to see how they can help Saudi in its war in Yemen. Khashoggi met Shimon Peres in Paris, in early 1963, who was then occupying the position of the Israeli Assistant Secretary of Defense. Saudi and Israel agreed to cooperate in Yemen.
Israel has participated in the Saudi coalition campaign on Yemen, and their planes which launched from the French colony of Djibouti, was dropping the military equipment to the pro-royalists rebels and foreign mercenaries in the Yemeni mountains. The code name for Israel’s operations in the coalition against Yemen, was «MANGO». Tel Aviv went further in giving aid to Saudi Arabia, by sending a commandos squads of Jewish Yemenite soldiers who emigrated to Israel. And so to make it easier for them, after they carry out their special missions, to dissolve in their original Yemeni community who have already lived in, and whom they are familiar with, and they speak the same Yemeni accent.
Jordanian king Hussein offered his military help to the Saudis, and he ordered the Royal Air Force Commander Lt. Col. Sahel Hamza to order the Jordanian pilots to do the exact work of the Saudi pilots (mentioned in the beginning of the this article) in transporting weapons. On 12 Nov 1962, Hamza defected to the United Arab Republic (Egypt) in a De Havilland Heron military transport plane, and landed in Cairo airport. He asked for political asylum, and refused to be involved in the war against Yemen. The next day, two Jordanian Hawker Hunter jets landed in Cairo as well, for the same reasons of refusing attacking an Arab nation as mercenaries. (he mentioned their names and ranks).
The ruling family of Saud did not give up because of the betrayal of both their Saudi nor Jordanian pilots. They oriented their efforts towards a new party who is ready to for their money, to achieve their goals without the pangs of conscience, or the commitment of the Arab Nation’s issues. They were the big number of mercenaries hired by the Saudi government, to do whatever they need in secret and confidential way. 
Thus private organizations began to compose for payed combat (they were much closer to the security companies). In this area, such names emerged as of the French mercenary Bob Denard, and the British Special Air Service (SAS) Johnny Cooper, who infiltrated with a special force of his associates to Al-Jawf region. He had left the service in his British army, and made a private company that started to attract European veterans for fighting in Yemen, when «The Observer» newspaper estimated the amounts of money in its issue on May 9, 1964, that it ranged between £400 and £500 per month, paid by Saudi Arabia. Saudis went to Paris as well, where many of the OAS «Organisation de l’armée secrète» fighters were ready for helping the Saudis, not only because of the money, but also because of vindictiveness of ‘Abdel Nasser, and to take revenge of him for his support of the Algerian Liberation Front.

Saudi Arabia war against Yemenis has continued bleeding their backs for years, but it wasn’t over with any benefit for the Saudis. There fleeing Yemeni King never returned to San’aa again, nor his alleged legitimacy helped him, nor mercenaries helped in changing situations in Yemen. At the end, Saudi Arabia itself forced to recognize the Republic of Yemen, and the kingdom’s nose was broken.

See also :


Hassan Nasrallah: The war in Yemen announces the end of the House of Saud (ENG SUB)

Hasan Nasrallah: war against Yemen and Saudi-Israeli alliance (ENG SUB – 1/4)

Hasan Nasrallah: war against Yemen and Saudi-Iranian ‘conflict’ (ENG SUB – 2/4)

Hasan Nasrallah: war against Yemen and Saudi-Iranian ‘conflict’ (ENG SUB – 3/4) 

Hasan Nasrallah: war against Yemen will lead to Saudi defeat and humiliation (ENG SUB – 4/4)