What happens if you put a Yemeni tribal fighter, an Egyptian soldier, a European mercenary, a Saudi prince, a Jordanian king, and an Israeli politician together? A war teeming with geopolitics, controversy, war crimes, covert ops, and sheer adventure.

The North Yemen Civil War (1962-1970), fought between an Egyptian-backed puppet government and a royalist tribal coalition, occurred because Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egypt’s then-president, fancied an empire.

Nasser saw that barren, medieval country as the first beam to his grand Arab armada: North Yemen, then Aden, then Saudi Arabia, and finally Israel — or, at least, so went the dream.

Opposing him? An indolent Imam leading a few scattered royalist tribes and a handful of ex-SAS and European mercenaries funded and supplied by the most unlikely partners: Arabs and Jews.

How these forces coalesced would surprise even the most creative storyteller.

Encouraged by his Suez success over the Anglo-French, in 1956, and bolstered by an unnatural fusion of U.S. and Soviet support, Nasser instigated a coup in North Yemen in September 1962.

The Imam soon fled to the mountains.

Almost immediately, after a puppet government was in place, plane-loads of Egyptian soldiers poured into the country to “secure” the revolution. They would continue to do so until the war’s end, at times reaching over 80,000 men, one-third of the Egyptian army’s strength.