Sheikh Al-Ahmar dies [Archives:2007/1116/Front Page]

December 31 2007

SANA'A, Dec. 29 ) It was announced Saturday that the sheikh of Yemen's most dominant Hashid tribe, Abdullah Bin Hussein Al-Ahmar, who also was Speaker of the Yemeni Parliament and chairman of the Islah Party's supreme committee, has died at age 74 after suffering with an incurable disease for many years.

Al-Ahmar's eldest son Sadiq, his successor to the Hashid tribal sheikdom, released an obituary stating that his father had died at Saudi Arabia's King Faisal Hospital. The body will be buried Monday in Sanhan district, which belongs to the tribe and is located south of Sana'a.

The sheikh's health woes began after his involvement in a traffic accident in the Senegalese capital of Dakar in early 2004 during the third Islamic Parliamentary Conference held from March 5-12.

At that time, it was announced that the vehicle's tire exploded, resulting in it overturning several times and thus breaking the sheikh's left hand, among other wounds. His two escorts, one of whom was the driver, were uninjured. Al-Ahmar immediately was transported to Paris, where he underwent surgery. Since that time, he had fought disease until his passing.

In mid-November, Al-Ahmar was transferred to London to receive medication at the expense of Saudi Defense Minister, Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz. The Yemeni sheikh was an old friend of the Saudi kingdom and a regular visitor there for several decades.

Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hussein Bin Nasser Bin Mabkhout Al-Ahmar was born in 1933 in Haboor Front in Dhulaimah area belonging to the historically deep-rooted Hashid tribe.

Prior to the September 26 Revolution, Al-Ahmar's father Hussein Bin Nasser was subjected to restrictions, imprisonment and a death sentence by Imam Ahmed, as the former allegedly was suspected of taking a supporting stance toward liberals who revolted against Yahya Hamid Al-Din's imamate rule during the 1948 Constitution Revolution.

Instead of his father, Abdullah was held hostage for three years in Hajjah and Al-Mahabishah until the September 26 Revolution erupted in 1962.

Following this, Al-Ahmar contributed greatly to establishing 1967's November 5 Movement, which saved the September 26 Revolution from breaking down. He also had an outstanding role in fighting both domestic and foreign challenges to which the revolution and the republic were exposed, particularly the 70-Day Siege of Sana'a, the capital city of the revolution and the republic.

In 1969, Al-Ahmar was elected president of the Arab Republic of Yemen's National Council, which was charged with formulating the nation's permanent constitution, as well as establishing the foundations of the Shoura Council, upon which the republican system of today's Yemen rests.

The following year, in 1970, Al-Ahmar was elected chairman of the Shoura Council for the Arab Republic of Yemen, thereby representing shoura (consultation) and democracy at the very point where the Yemeni nation was experiencing and suffering due to backwardness and poverty. The council continued its duties until the constitution was suspended and the council disbanded in 1975.

Sheikh Al-Ahmar agreed to the peaceful transfer of power made by Gen. Ibrahim Al-Hamdi on June 13, 1974 following Yemen's exacerbated political crisis.