United Nations Yemen Observation Mission (UNYOM)

Duration:
27 November 1963 - 12 September 1964
Military personnel:
10
Fatalities:
none
Decorations:
none

On 26 September 1962, a week after the death of the Yemeni King Ahmed, a captain of the royal guard, Sallal, carried out a coup. The pro-reformist heir to the throne, Al-Badr, fled with his followers from the capital Sana’a to the mountainous north of Yemen, home of the hard core of royalist Zaidi (Shiite) supporters.

Conflict spreads

The south was traditionally Sunni and more cosmopolitan in its outlook than the mountain tribes in the north. The conflict became international when, in October 1962, Egypt sent troops, arms and supplies to Yemen to suppress the rioting royalists. Saudi Arabia provided arms and supplies for the royalists. As a result of international pressure, there was some rapprochement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia in April 1963. Egypt promised to withdraw its expeditionary army, while both countries agreed to cease military supplies.

UN observers

On 11 June 1963, the Security Council approved the dispatch of UN observers to monitor the implementation of the agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia. It was more difficult to monitor the Saudi part of the agreement. The border area between Yemen and Saudi Arabia in the north was extremely mountainous and was highly conducive to arms smuggling. Here, the UN set up a 20-kilometre-wide demilitarised zone.