Ali Salem al Beidh (‘Alī Sālim al-Bīḍ, Arabic : علي سالم البيض ‎‎) (born 10 February 1939) is a Yemeni politician who served as the General Secretary of the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP) in South Yemen and as Vice President of Yemen following the unification in 1990. [2] He left the unification government in 1993, sparking the 1994 civil war in Yemen and then went into exile in Oman. He is a leader of the Southern independence movement known as Al Harak .

Leadership in South Yemen

A former Politburo member, al-Beidh took the top position in the YSP following a 12-day 1986 civil war between forces loyal to former chairman Abdul Fattah Ismail and then-chairman Ali Nasir Muhammad . An Ismail ally, he took control after Muhammad's defeat and defection and Ismail's disappearance. In a coup that took the lives of anywhere from 4,000 to 10,000 people, al-Beidh was one of the few high-ranking officials who survived.

Suffering a loss of more than half its aid from the Soviet Union from 1986 to 1989 [3] and an interest in possible oil reserves on the border between the countries, al-Beidh's government worked toward unification with North Yemen officials. [4]

Unification and Civil War

Following the unification with the North in 1990, he took up the position of vice-president in the transition government of unified Yemen. But in 1993, al-Beidh quit the government and returned to the former Southern capital of Aden , claiming that the new government was ignoring the needs of the south. On 21 May 1994, as the South's military position weakened, al-Beidh declared the Democratic Republic of Yemen . He served as the only President of the DRY, from 21 May to 7 July 1994. Al-Beidh fled to the neighboring Sultanate of Oman after the secession failed.

South Yemen movement

After fifteen years of living in exile Salim al-Beidh resumed his political career on the eve of the 19th anniversary of the Yemeni unification . This came amid highly escalating tensions in the south, with clashes and violence between protesters and Yemeni security forces. In a televised speech from Germany, the former President called for a return of South Yemen. [5] [6] Since then he has called for several demonstrations to demonstrate the strength of the movement. [2] These have continued into 2011. [2] As a result of his increased involvement, he lost his right to stay in Oman after violating the conditions of his citizenship. [2] Following the 2011 Yemeni uprising , he renewed calls for reinstating South Yemen as a separate country. [2]