Al-Wadiah War


August 19, 2022

The war of al-Wadiah was a brief conflict between 27 November and 6 December 1969 between Saudi Arabia on the one hand and the People's Republic of Southern Yemen (or South Yemen) on the other. The conflict involved the possession of the town of al-Wadiah, located along the disputed and disputed border between Yemen and Saudi Arabia and claimed by both nations. After the Saudis had set up a military garrison in al-Wadiah in November 1969, South Yemeni units launched an offensive and occupied the city; the Saudis began amassing large forces in the region, thereby launching a counter-offensive that drove the South Yemenis out of the city by December 5.


Located in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula, the small town of al-Wadiah is located near the border between Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The border itself was for a long time the subject of dispute between the two nations, and was never precisely drawn: the town of al-Wadiah was initially part of the Sultanate of al-Qu'ayti, a small local kingdom in the region of Hadramawt later merged into the British Protectorate of Aden in the second half of the 19th century; after the dissolution of the British colonial rule in Yemen, following the events of the "emergency of Aden" of 1963-1967, the town then came nominally under the control of the new People's Republic of Southern Yemen. Al-Wadiah, however, was also claimed by Saudi Arabia, which arose in the 1930s after a series of conflicts and annexations of local kingdoms: the area around the town had been the subject of a border dispute between the Saudi and British authorities between 1954 and 1955, which remained without solution. After the British withdrawal from Yemen, the newly formed Republic of South Yemen took over the dispute with the Saudis over the possession of al-Wadiah, which both states claimed as part of their territory; news about the presence of potable water and oil reserves around the city aggravated the ongoing dispute over the possession of al-Wadiah. Simultaneously with the territorial disputes, diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and South Yemen reached a very high level of tension due to the political conflicts between the two nations: King Faisal of Saudi Arabia looked with enormous aversion to the far-left government established in Aden after the departure of the British, receiving mutual hostility from the authorities of the People's Democratic Republic who politically supported the overthrow of the conservative monarchies of the Arabian Peninsula. The Saudi government soon began funding and arming South Yemeni political dissident groups, and encouraging them to raid South Yemen across the Saudi border; in November 1969 the Aden government openly accused the Riyadh authorities of planning the launch of some armed attacks against him.

The war

In November 1969, the Saudis built a road through the southern desert regions to the town of al-Wadiah, where a military garrison was stationed; the city was then de facto incorporated into the Saudi kingdom. The South Yemeni government immediately accused the Saudis of occupying al-Wadiah in order to seize the oil resources believed to be underground in the region, whereupon the Saudis accused the South Yemenis of illegally occupying al-Wadiah in previous years. On November 27, regular South Yemeni military units began advancing on al-Wadiah: the Saudi troops stationed in the region consisted only of a few tribal militiamen supported by some artillery and fighter planes, and consequently the South Yemenis took over the town without a hit. to hurt. A section of South Yemeni troops also began to advance in dir