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Abdullah Sallal
Arabic: ¢abd allah 'as-sallāl

Abdullah Sallal

Abdullah Sallal.

(1917-1994) President of North Yemen 1962-1967, Prime minister 1962-1963 and 1966-1967.
Sallal never got to prove whether he was a capable leader or not. All of his presidency was dominated by the civil war, where his position was backed by Egypt, and his opponents by Saudi Arabia.


1917: Born into a Zaydi family in the north of the country.
1938: Graduates from Baghdad Military Academy.
1948: Participates in the coup against King Yahya, which only manages to topple the royal family for a month. Sallal is condemned to death, but the sentence is commuted to 7 years prison.
1955: Is released from prison, and becomes governor of Hudayda province.
1956: Becomes commander of the guard of crown prince Muhammad al-Badr.
1959: Becomes commander of the Military Academy.
1962 September 18: Following al-Badr accession to the throne, Sallal becomes commander of the royal guard.
September 26: Stages a successful coup against al-Badr. Sallal becomes president of the new republic, but is faced with a civil war as al-Badr has escaped and start fighting back against Sallal. The war, which would last until 1970, became in reality a regional conflict, with Egypt supporting the republican Sunnis, and Saudi Arabia the monarchist Zaydis.
1965 April: Sallal is called to Cairo by President Gamal Abdel Nasser, and put in virtual house arrest.
1966 September: Following the failure of Egyptian peacemaking efforts, Sallal is freed from the house arrest in Cairo. Sallal's position is weakened, and he takes over the premiership to take better control, especially over the ongoing civil war, but doesn't succeed.
1967 December: During a visit to Moscow (then Soviet Union), he is overthrown. Sallal goes into exile in Baghdad, Iraq.
1980's: Is allowed to return to Yemen by President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
1994 March 5: Dies.

By Tore Kjeilen