Lieutenant-Colonel Ibrahim al-Hamdi
(30 September 1943 – 11 October 1977) (Arabic
: إبراهيم الحمدي
) was the leader of a military coup d'etat
in the Yemen Arab Republic
that overthrew the regime of President Abdul Rahman al-Iryani
on 13 June 1974. After the revolt, he was President of the Military Command Council that governed the country. During his rule, he cemented the central government's control over the country, planned on ending tribal loyalty, and Yemen's medieval social classes by proclaiming all Yemenis as equal. He also improved relations with Saudi Arabia
Early life and career
Ibrahim was born in Qattab
. His oldest brother said that Ibrahim was one day in his early childhood playing near the pond filled with water with his father Mohammed Al-Hamdi. When he approached closer to the edge and began to touch the water, he saw his image on the surface of the water net pool. Then he mistakenly tried to save his reflection, believing it to be a drowning man because of his childhood innocence, causing him to slide in the pool; luckily some of his family members were there to save him after his stomach filled with water.
In his adulthood - specifically in its infancy- he was an associate for his father, who worked as a judge. His father taught him everything about Islamic law
while he was studying in the Aviation College to become a pilot, but did not complete his studies and continued working with his father as a judge in the court of Dhamar
in the reign of Imam Ahmed Yahya Hamid al-Din
where he raised much controversy and attention.
Then, he became in the era of President Abdullah as-Sallal
the commander of the commandos, then the responsibility for the western, eastern, and central provinces in 1972 then he was promoted to become the Deputy Prime Minister for Internal Affairs, then he was appointed to the position of the higher representative Commander of the Armed Forces, then on 13 June 1974 he was an effective member of the officers who ran the white military coup overthrowing the Judge Abdul Rahman al-Iryani
in the revolutionary correction movement of 13 June 1974 and handed over all the president's and the members' of the republican council authorities to the military forces which represented in the leadership of the general and senior officers mentioned: Ahmad Ghashmi, Yahya Mutawakil, Mujahid Abu Shawareb, Ali Al-Shibh, Hammoud Pedder, Ali Alilla'a, AED Abu Meat, Ali Abu Lohoum, and added later Abdaziz Abdul Ghani and Abdullah Abdulalim.
The Revolutionary Correction Movement
Al-Hamdi and some revolutionary officers during his presidency (1974-1977)
Colonel Ibrahim al-Hamdi led the thirteenth corrective movement. Hamdi aimed to correct the Yemeni revolutionary path, to get rid of a "legacy of decadence." He primarily sought to calm tribal feuds and regional conflicts, which had been prevalent under previous rulers. Thus, security was his top concern. He also promoted financial reforms to put an end to favoritism and bribery. He created committees to implement these reforms, saving estimated tens of millions of Riyals
Furthermore, he initiated a large infrastructure plan, paving thousands of kilometres of dirt roads, building thousands of schools, and hundreds of clinics and health centres. He encouraged people and many non-local investors to invest in the sections of agriculture and local manufacturing. This period saw rising standards of living and much prosperity.
Also, the government has implemented the triple UNDP, produced a strong ground for the northern part of the country to start in the developments and implementations of the quinary plans, that routed Yemen to keep up with the twentieth-century development. Due to the efforts of the leadership of the thirteenth of June movement, which have carried out the first phase of the first quinary plan
with great success .and Yemen achieved through it tremendous strides on the path to build the new Yemen, where the average of growth exceeded (6.5%) of it was planned. In addition, the Yemeni's life shifted from suffering life to prosperity life. The physical appearance showed signs of grace and comfort. Yemeni expatriate has raised his head high in that era in the citizen migratory, after having been stooping his head for a long period of time. In national affairs, al-Hamdi brought good relations between the two parts of the country, a few steps from unity, until the intervention of foreign powers interrelated with a strong dark interior to assassinate the uncompleted Yemeni dream.
Accomplishments during his tenure
On the first day of his presidency and after a quick review in important topics and crowded agenda, he issued emergency order to stop media campaigns against the South and its leadership with assertion that the unity will remain the only option for the Yemeni people no matter how varied opinions and attitudes, because it is a great goal needs a mighty sacrifice. Immediately President Salim Rubai Ali
famous as "Salmeen" reciprocated the same desire and the same sense, setting a strong relationship between two of them which has taken a personal nature more than the official.
It seemed this man has started his presidency path with arduous efforts and assisted by a group of young faces qualified academically to build a modern government based on law, order, and institutions. It was a difficult task but not impossible for a commander collected in his persona the power and the model, plus his culture and excellence through his civilian and military experiences, and what was more important is the honor that observed from his family when he worked as a judge (during his short experience in the judiciary while the absence of his father Judge Mohammed Saleh al-Hamdi
all provisions was ending to between the rivals) so he learned two rules that justice is the base of governance, and the base of governance is the fear of the God. thus he has proved his worth as a national leader through several Workers in addition to justice, including:
- Lay a long-term economic plan to grow the country.
- Pay all the government debt and started to loan the World Bank.
- Help in reducing the power of tribes and Saudi backed sheiks and strengthening the rule of law.
- Put down all military ranks, which amounted to inflation and their holders to satiety providers including his rank to attributed the soldier's and officers lost prestige.
- Prevented the use of government vehicles and military or public institutions cars for personal purposes.
- Increased the salary along with four additional salaries in some occasions like Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, the anniversary of the revolution and the anniversary of the thirteen of June Movement.
Under al-Hamdi's administration, Yemen enjoyed the most prosperous economic boom since 1962, as he was responsible for a civil engineering endeavour that would usher in an era of unprecedented economic growth in Yemen's post-Imamate
history. More specifically, Hamdi fostered the creation of 'Local Development Associations,' which functioned as autonomous community-based institutions focused on developing local infrastructure. Scholar Isa Blumi notes that while "Able to exclusively access the potential tax revenue under their jurisdictions, the committees created from members of the community could also solicit external funds and loans (almost exclusively drawn from local, non-banking sources) independently of the central state and bank now formally connected to the outside world."
In other words, during the 1970s the LDAs did the heavy lifting as far as the development of Yemen's infrastructure was concerned. What is more, the locally driven LDAs protected the Yemeni countryside from an influx of foreign finance capital (disguised as development 'aid' and often tethered to massive usury rates). The LDA system thus preserved Yemen's economic sovereignty until 1978.
Al-Hamdi's murder was not officially investigated. However, it is famously known that he was assassinated at the house of Ahmad al-Ghashmi
with the support of Saudi Arabia.
His assassination came two days before his scheduled visit to the South of Yemen to negotiate the unification of the North and South of Yemen at that time. His death cleared the ground for Ali Abdullah Saleh
, who sought the immediate reversal of Hamdi's local development agenda.
These schemes, which depended heavily on loans from the IMF
and World Bank
and required the mass liberalization of publicly owned assets, "aimed to install an ethos that equated 'rural development' with the importation of certain technologies and expertise only US corporations could provide."
When the Yemeni Revolution
broke out, protesters gathered with the image of the late president demanding for justice and investigation for the death of al-Hamdi.
- ^ Blumi, Isa. Yemen: What Chaos in Arabia Tells Us About the World, p. 127.
- ^ Blumi, Isa. Yemen: What Chaos in Arabia Tells Us About the World, p.128
- ^ Terrill, Andrew (2011). "The Conflicts in Yemen and U.S. National Security".
- ^ Blumi, Isa. Yemen: What Chaos in Arabia Tells Us About the World, p. 134.
- ^ Tutwiler, 1990.
- ^ https://insidearabia.com/president-al-hamdi-yemen-collective-memory/
Last edited on 6 April 2021, at 17:59
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