The 26 September Revolution is a revolt against the Yemeni Mutawakil kingdom in northern Yemen in 1962.
Ruling on religion
Imam Yahya was an imam like his predecessors among the imams in their early and long reigns. The nature of the justifying judgment of religion and descent was based on absolute individualism leading to tyranny. There was no government or institutions of government. The imams considered the people to be in the service of them, the imams and rulers of the Muslims, who were chosen by Allah.
North Yemen was ruled by two powerful imams. Yahya bin Muhammad Hamid ad-Din and his son Ahmad bin Yahya created a kingdom there much as the kings of England and France had done centuries earlier. The two imams strengthened the state and secured its borders. They used the imamate to insulate Yemen and claimed that was for the protection of Yemen, whereas they only cared for the rule. Yemen under the two imams seemed almost frozen in time.
Opposition to the Rule of Imams
a small but increasing number of Yemenis became aware of the contrast between an autocratic society they saw as stagnant and the political and economic modernization occurring in other parts of the world. This produced an important chain of events: the birth of the nationalist Free Yemeni Movement in the mid-1940s, an aborted 1948 revolution in which Imam Yahya was killed, a failed 1955 coup against Imam Ahmad, and finally, the 1962 revolution in which the recently enthroned imam Muhammad al-Badr was deposed by a group of nationalist officers and the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR) was proclaimed under the leadership of Abdullah al-Sallal. It is important to mention that Gamal Abd El Nasser, president of Egypt, was a prominent supporter of the Yemeni revolution at that time.
Disclosure of the system’s flaws
The first secret political organisation in 1940 was formed in Cairo and was named “Yemeni Youth Battalion”. It was founded by Rasheed Ali Hareeri, Muhammad Ali Al-Gaafary, Muhammad Al-Zobeiry and others. Their goal was to push the opposition inside Yemen. After about two years, the foundation could put clear claims as The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice was issued and proposed to the imam Yahia and then to his heir, imam Siaf Al-Islam Ahmad, and were refused by both of them. The imams started chasing the opposition symbols and threatened them. However the opposition continued to disclose the flaws of the system and clarifying its tardiness in comparison with other countries.
Also refered to as the Constitution Revolution or The Alwaziri coup. During the coup attempt, Imam Yahya Muhammad Hamid ed-Din, the ruler of the kingdom, was killed and the rival Sayyid family, the Alwazirs, seized power for several weeks. Backed by the al-Saud family of Saudi Arabia, the Hamidaddins restored their rule. After deposition of the Alwaziris, the restored monarchy of Imam Yahya was succeeded by his son Ahmad bin Yahya.
Imam Yahya was shot by an assassin on 17 February 1948. The assassin, known as Al-Qardaei, was from the Bani Murad tribe. The Alwaziris then installed their own Imam Abdullah bin Ahmad al-Wazir to run the kingdom – which lasted for several weeks.
Imam Ahmad bin Yahya inherited the Yemeni throne in 1948. In 1955, Iraq-trained Colonel Ahmad Thalaya led a revolt against him. A group of soldiers under his command surrounded the royal palace of Al Urdhi at Taiz, a fortified stronghold where the Imam lived and demanded Ahmad’s abdication. Ahmad agreed, but demanded that his son, Muhammad al-Badr succeed him. Thalaya refused, preferring the king’s half brother, the Emir Saif el Islam Abdullah, the 48-year-old Foreign Minister. While Abdullah began forming a new government, Ahmad opened the treasury coffers and secretly began buying off the besieging soldiers. After five days, the number of besiegers was reduced from 600 to 40. Ahmad then came out of the palace, wearing a devil’s mask and wielding a long scimitar, terrifying the besiegers. He slashed two sentries dead before exchanging the sword for a sub-machine gun and leading his 150 guards onto the roof of the palace to begin a direct attack on the rebels. After 28 hours, 23 rebels and one palace guard were dead and Thalaya gave up. Abdullah was later reported executed, and Thalaya was publicly decapitated.
outbreak of the revolution
Secret political parties continued to spread among Yemenis. In 1961, some officers shared in preparing for the war, as they claimed the end of the Imami system. The Yemeni revelation started on 26th of September 1962.