1978: 12 coup plotters in Yemen

With president Ali Abdullah Saleh perhaps on the verge of being forced from power in the Arabian peninsula’s unmanned drone bombing range, Yemen, we thought a quick glance back at the infancy of his reign was in order.

It was this date in 1978 that Saleh, here just months on the job after a predecessor was assassinated, finished taking his demonstrative vengeance against a bushel of soldiers alleged to have been planning to overhrow him. New York Times, Nov. 6, 1978:

Vengeance is swift in the lands at the southern tip of the Red Sea. On Oct. 26, 17 persons convicted of attempting a coup against Somali President Mohammed Siad Barre last April were publicly executed by firing squad in Mogadishu. The 17 were said to have sought to overthrow President Barre because of his handling of the so-called Ogaden war with Ethiopia which led to a rupture in Somalia’s alliance with the Soviet Union and ended with Somalia forces retreating ignominiously from the Ethiopian province they had tried to annex. In a similar vein, after an abortive coup in North Yemen against President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s pro-Egyptian and pro-Western regime last month, the firing squads were busy. Soon after the attempted coup was crushed, nine army officers were executed. Yesterday, 12 more men were shot. Four of the accused were reported to have confessed at their trials that they had received money and arms from radical Libya.