NASSER'S PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS IN YEMEN

Created: 2/18/1965

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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1- Tbe situation la Yemen over tbe past two yeoro bos been characterized by two factorstalecate on the military front and increasing animosity toward the Egyptians on tbe partidening spectrum of Yemenis. Sincehen tho Egyptians first intervened in Yemen with raciest forces, their strength has grown toOCO mencomprisingnfantry brigades, plus armor, aircraft, and supporting units. The UAH military forces have remained largely oo garrison- duty In the principal towns of northern. Yemen. While they have not shown much aggressiveness, they have probably lostead end the attrition of equipment has been high. The financial burden is also heavy; it has probably exceeded normal peacetime costs by moreillion per year.

2. Nasser's original aim vas toemeniwhich was republican in form and led by men willing to follow his policies of Arab nationalism ond socialism. His efforts vera frustrated by tho unexpected durability of tbe royalists, backed by Saudi Arabian eupport. Failure to subdue -the partisans of tho Imam and bickering and factionalism among republican forces have lad Nasser to increase his investment in men and material and to take

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an ever greater voice not only in the running of the war but in the control of the Yemeni Rapubllcan government.

3. Nasser has thus fallen Into something very like the trap he has been seeking to avoid. He has plainly not desired outright annexation of the Yemen, oress complete union with Egypt such- as the United Arab State which he formed8 and which became moribund On the other hand, he is unwilling to let the Yemeni republicans run their own affairs. This is in part because they have pretty clearly demonDtrated their incompetence

to retain sufficient control in Yemen to prosecute his campaign against the British position in Aden.

t. Yet Nasser's efforts toay out of the Yemen mess which Prime Minister All Sabrl has characterized as "Egypt's Vietnam"have thus far been futile. Two effortsegotiated, solution have failedhe agreement negotiated by Ambassador Bunker3 and direct talks between Nasser and Saudi Arabia's Faisal ,in the fallU. The latter effort started well enough, as Faisal and Nasser each probably believed that the course of events would favor his own cause, and theconference at Erkwit in the Sudan seemed to show that

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royalists and repuclicans vere able to compromise tboir respective difficulties with little trouble. But the Saudis subsequently refused to accept tbe designation "rtepublic" for the future state of Yemen, claiming that it vould prejudico the outcome of the proposed tolke; the republicanssome of vhec had been excluded from the Erlcvit talksquarreled, among themselves over the makeup of their delegation; and the Egyptians attempted to control its composition. The upshot vas that tbe plenary conference did not convene and the cease-firewhich hod boon fairly widely observedhas broken down.

5. The shelving of the conference hasevere blow to tbe Yemeni republicans. Tbelr resentment at Egyptian domination of Yemeni affairs baa been growingong time. ajority of republican leaders havo vithdrown their cooperation from the present government, now virtually an Egyptian puppet. ood of "Yemen for tho Yemenis" Is sweeping the country and is tending to increase contacts and perhaps even cooperation between republicans and royalists.

6. The Egyptians ceem unable to visualizeemeni regime which is not entirely dependent on them.* The recently appointed government of al-Amri is so obviously out of tune with the general- sentiment in the country that several of its designated cembera have refused to serve. There is virtually no chance that it can be effective in governing or in prosecuting the struggle against the royalists. However, the continuation of this sort of regime probably appears preferable to Nasaer than loss of face by admitting defeat or the risks of permitting the establishmentovernment which insistsubstantial measure of freedom of action.

7- Nasser's use of Yemenosition from which to mount paramilitary operations against the British position in Aden is, from his point of view, ao additionel reason not to give ground.

This is not only Intransigence on Nasser's part; it isolitical characteristic of the Arab world, namely, that power is indivisible. eader either has supreme power or he doesn't, and, if he shows in some specific instance tbat he doesn't, then doubts arise as to bis power in general. Considerations of this sort' lie behind the unwillingness of successive Iraqi governments to conclude arrangement with the Kurds for defining the degree of Kurdish ocporateness in Iraq. They also underlie the almost universal tendency toward authoritarian governmentwhether by King, president, or prime minister in the Arab states.

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etreat lu the campaign against the vestiges of the colonial position vould be counter to his entire foreign policy outlook. Over the past year, the Egyptians have armed and paid dissident elements in Aden and the Federation to carry out terrorist actions. The republican leadersifferent view. Though thoy eventually vent to see the British out of Aden, they vould like to vin their own var first. In response to Egyptian thrusts, the British have given clandestine support to the royalists, precisely to deprive the CAR of its point of vantage in Yemen.

8. Anti-Egyptian sentiment is widespread. Some republican worthies have retired to their tribal bases, and many have withdrawn their cooperation from tha Sellal-al-Amrl government. Nevertheless, they are inhibited front positive action to unseat iteeling of helplessness in the face of Egyptian military power. Some of them, moreover, remain opposed to the royal family and refuse any cooperation vith it aa an institution, although not with certain of its younger members. haringarmen enmity towards the Egypt1ana will tend to bring royalist and republican closer together, end make the UAR's tack in Yemen more difficult.

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Outlook

Nasser's several Interests in Yemen and the extent of hla ecxmsitment there make en outright withdrawal highly unlikely in the foreseeable future. Although his coats will continue to mount, and will contribute to grumbling and discontent within Egypt, there Is little likelihoodtudden and dramatic deterioration in the Egyptian position.

There are indications that the UAR may be preparing for another major offensive, perhaps aimedasoint 'JAR-Yemeni effort in Augustat eliminating centers of royalist resistance and cutting royalist supply route to Gaudl Arabia. Additional forces ere arriving In Yemen, and tho UAR ccomand le employing such weaponsound bombs and chemical mines, apparently to terrorize the tribespeople. We wouldajor effort to have success in occupying territory and inflicting local defeats, but we do not think the Egyptians are able to penetrate the rugged mountain fastnesses to which the royalist tribes would retreat. Also, with many republican leaders disaffected, the Egyptiana will have less tribal support to draw on than in tbeeavy Egyptian offensive might lead to some bombing raids within

Saudi Arabia. However, ve do not believe that the UAH is likely to invade Saudi territory.

the next several months, the Egyptians andprobably continue their contacts in an effort to reach Faisal will want to keep the talks going so as notNasser an excuse for further attacks on Mm again. Hesees certain advantages for him in having thoresources in Yemen, and he appears to feel that time isside in the Yemeni Question. Accordingly, Faisal willbe willing to compromise his basic objective: withdrawal ofof Nasser's forces. Ho appears to view the establiohment of

a government chosen by and acceptableroad concensus of Yemenis as favoring this objective. For their part, the Egyptians want to keep the contact open, in the hope of finding some process or mechanism which can be manipulated to their advantage. Faisal and Nasser will probably attempt to get royalists ana republicans together again, but the prospects for progressolution in the coming six months or so are dim.

do feel that the Egyptians will ba forced tocmpromiso settlement. The longer that time is, the leas

influence and the fever supporters are they likely to have in vhatever government emerges. Tho "third force" of anti-Egyptian republicans will almost certainlyrominent role in any such settlement. Thereood chance that at least seme of the Hamld-al-Din princes would also be involved. The ultimate result could wellegime which is neither republic nor iconarchy, but which contains elements of both, as veiltrong tribal flavor.

13. Even so, hatred of the Egyptians may not prove sufficient cement toompromise Yemeni regime together. There la on the horizon no single leader who boa the ability to run tbe country. Hor has any one factionroyalist, republican, or independent

tho capability of imposing its vlll on the others. Unless tha

Yemeni leaders succeed in subduing thoir personal, tribal, and political rivalries in the commoneasure of anarchy is

a not unlikely prospect fox Yemen, if and vhen the Egyptian hand

is withdrawn.

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