Civil Conflict in South Vemen




Katz, Mark N.

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In January 1986, fighting erupted in South Yemen (also known as the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen- PDRY) between two factions of the ruling Marxist leadership. Both of the factions were strongly pro-Soviet, and the group that won said it would pursue the same policies as the group it ousted. What the issues were in the struggle appeared quite confusing, and during the ten or so days when the fighting was at its heaviest, it was unclear what was happening. Reports that the leaders of each side had been killed alternated in quick succession with reports that the leaders of each were alive and were victorious. By the time the fighting ended, the top leaders of one faction had all been killed, but that faction prevailed nevertheless. At first glance, what happened in Aden, South Yemen's capital, might not seem especially interesting: no matter which pro-Soviet faction defeated the other, the USSR would retain its influence in South Yemen. But skepticism greets the protestations of the new leaders that they will follow the same policies as their predecessors, since the new leaders are associated with a policy that the ousted leader, 'Ali Nasir Muhammad al-Hassani, had ended namely, the exportation of revolution to South Yemen's neighbors. Hence, predictions as to the probable behavior of the new leadership and their Soviet allies toward the rest of the region are fraught with considerable uncertainty. This article will examine the background of the crisis; the crisis



Civil Conflict, Yemen, International relations, Soviet Union