Abdul Rahman al-Iryani

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The president of Yemen Arab Republic (born 1908, died 14 March 1998)

Abdul Rahman Yahya Al-Eryani (Arabic: عبد الرحمن الإرياني‎) (born 1908, died 14 March 1998) was the The President of Yemen Arab Republic from 1967 to 1974. He was born in Yemen in 1908. He was the President of the Yemen Arab Republic from November 5, 1967 to June 13, 1974. Al-Eryani was a leader of the Al-Ahrar opposition group, during the time of the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen.[1] He served as minister of religious endowments under North Yemen's first republican government and is the only civilian politician to have led northern Yemen.[1]

Early life[edit]

Abdulrahman Al-Eryani was born in the village of Iryan in 1908. His father, Yahia Al-Eryani, was the chief Judge of the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen and a very pronounced scholar of Sharia. His mother, Salwa Al-Eryani was a known lady for her charitable efforts in her village. Abdulrahman Al-Eryani started his education in his village "Iryan" until the age of 16 when he left to the capital Sana'a to study in its famous Sharia School. After few years, he graduated and worked at the Imam Court until 1937 when he was appointed as a judge for the first time.[2]

According to Yossi Melman of Haaretz, Dorit Mizrahi of the Mishpacha Magazine, and an article in the weekly HaOlam HaZeh, there are allegations that Al-Eryani was born Zekharia Hadad to a Yemenite Jewish family in Ibb.[3][4] According to this version, in 1918, there was a drought in Yemen, which had a severe effect on the Jews, who were generally worse off then the Arabs.[3] Both his parents died, and he was then adopted by the Al-Eryani, a powerful Muslim family, was renamed "Abdul Rahman Al-Eryani" and converted to Islam.[3] At that time, Yemen was ruled by Yahya Muhammad Hamid ed-Din, who decreed that all orphaned Jewish children must be disconnected from their religion and be given over for adoption to a Muslim family.[3][4]

According to YemenOnline, the claim of Jewish descent is a "fantasy". According to this version, Abdul Rahman was not the adopted Zekharia, but his stepbrother.[4] Further, Abdul Raheem, who was close to his stepbrother Abdul Rahman, was the real Zekharia Hadad. Abdul Raheem is said to have retired in Iryan before dying in 1980, and has dozens of surviving children and grandchildren.[4]

Participation in the Constitution Revolution[edit]

Al-Eryani actively opposed the kings of the Mutawakkalite Kingdom of Yemen, helping to lead al-Ahrar ("the free") in pushing for a republic. In February 1948, he participated in the "Constitution Revolution" of the Free Yemeni Movement against the King (Imam) aiming at the establishment of constitutional monarchy. He was imprisoned for about 7 years after the fall of the revolution, which stood for only a few weeks. Al-Eryani was sentenced to death by beheading in 1955 for his activities with Al-Ahrar, minutes before his execution by sword, he was granted a reprieve by King Imam Ahmed. He spent more than 15 years until his release in 1962.[1]

Term as President of Yemen[edit]

Abdul Rahman Al-Eryani opposed the Egyptian and Saudi interference in Yemen affairs and led with two of his colleagues, Ahmed Noaman and Mohamad Al-Zubairi, a strong movement against the foreign involvement of Nasser's Egypt in the Yemeni civil war between republicans and royalists. He was held in Egypt with Noaman in 1966 while their partner Al-Zubairi was assassinated earlier.

In 1970, he arrived at a national conciliation agreement with the supporters of the royal regime and established a formal relation with Saudi Arabia. In 1972, he reached an agreement with South Yemen for the unification of the two parts of the country, which constituted the basic foundations for the unification of 1990. It was also during his regime that Yemen had parliamentary elections and permanent constitution for the first time.

Al-Eryani went into exile in Syria in 1974, where he eventually died in 1998, aged 89.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Abdul-Rahman Al-Eryani, Ex-Yemen President, 89". New York Times. 1998-03-17. Retrieved 2009-02-13. 
  2. ^ Makil Al-Ilm fi Al-Yaman, Ismail Al-Akwa
  3. ^ a b c d Melman, Yossi. "Our man in Sanaa: Ex-Yemen president was once trainee rabbi". Haaretz. Retrieved 2009-02-13. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Haaretz Dreams". YemenOnline. 2008-11-21. Retrieved 2009-02-13. 
Preceded by
Abdullah as-Sallal
President of North Yemen
1967–1974
Succeeded by
Ibrahim Al-Hamdi