RAF Hawker Hunter T7, RAF Khormaksar, ca. 1966
Photo: Ivor "Taff" Davies
RAF Hawker Hunter T7 fighter-bomber, RAF Khormaksar, Aden, ca. 1966

Brits in Yemen

By James Hider
The Times, January 9, 2010

Edited by Andy Ross

The Yemeni port of Aden was a major coaling station for steamships in the 19th century. The British took the area from Sultan Muhsin bin Fadl and established the Aden Settlement in 1839.

Aden's Crater district was the centre of the last war fought by the dying British Empire. On June 20, 1967, a British military convoy was ambushed in the Crater by British-trained Yemeni police and eight soldiers were killed. The mutiny triggered a full-scale British invasion of the rebel stronghold.

On July 3, 1967, a force of Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders led by Lieutenant-Colonel "Mad Mitch" Mitchell fought its way into the overcrowded ancient streets of the Crater with armoured cars accompanied by regimental bagpipers playing Scotland the Brave. The force held the town until the British withdrew completely from Aden in November 1967.

"Mad Mitch" (driving)
Photo: AP
Lieutenant-Colonel Colin Campbell "Mad Mitch" Mitchell driving in Aden, 1967.
Note what I guess is a British-trained Yemeni policeman sitting beside him

Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders: Aden 1967
The Arab Police Mutiny, 20 June 1967

AR  I recall reading the Aden story when it was still breaking news. About when the Brits withdrew,
I turned 18 and held a party featuring the Beatles' Sergeant Pepper album. By the way, "Mad Mitch" should not be confused with Mel Gibson in Mad Max or Braveheart.

Yemeni Tribes Support Al-Qaeda

By James Hider
The Times, January 9, 2010

Edited by Andy Ross

The Yemeni tribesmen are again on the move. Al-Qaeda is powerful in the central areas of Yemen, as well as on the outskirts of the capital, Sanaa. The new ideology in the dirt-poor villages of central and eastern Yemen is no longer Marxism but Islamism. Yemen is the poorest country in the Arab world and provided many of the Mujahidin for the war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

"War is a way of life in these places," said Abdul-Ghani al-Iryani, a Yemeni development expert. "Yemen has been at war since the 1960s. What we have in times of peace is low-level civil war across the tribal lands. It is a level of violence the Government finds acceptable."

To fight al-Qaeda, the Yemeni government has so far used tactics reminiscent of the British colonial powers: airstrikes that may kill their target but also slaughter civilians.

President Saleh: Dialog is the best way to resolve Yemen issues

AR  This is the responsibility of the rich Gulf Arab states. Let them fund development in Yemen instead of building skyscrapers and artificial islands with the revenues from our paychecks.