25th October 2016
This meeting was the AGM and the chairmanship was handed over to Ainslie Kelly who then introduced the speaker, club member Malcolm Young.
During Malcolm’s career in the armed forces he had been involved in several campaigns including Aden and Dhofar (Oman) and, with this background, he talked knowledgeably about the recent history of Yemen, a desperately poor country that has been plagued with insurgencies and civil war for the past half-century. Malcolm told us that these conflicts are rooted in numerous causes which include tribal, sectarian and political differences between the various peoples of Yemen, together with interference from the Western powers (such as the USA, Britain and France), and from Middle Eastern countries, in particular Saudi Arabia but also Jordan, Egypt and even Israel.
In 1962 Yemen, Aden and associated territories were under the control of Britain but in that year Nasser (the leader of Egypt) started to provide support for Marxist sympathisers against the ruling royal elite. Britain initially backed the Royalists but, failing to contain the insurgency, withdrew in 1967. Years of civil war followed which, now with Saudi direct involvement, shows no signs of ending. Malcolm argued that the consequences of interfering in Yemen in the 1960s should have taught lessons to the Western powers, but alas these were not learned, with the tragic results later repeated in Iraq.
Malcolm Young and Ainslie Kelly