YEMEN: Junior on the Spot

There are no rules of hereditary succession to the feudal throne of the Imam of Yemen, and the reigning Sword of Islam wields it only so long as he can keep his enemies at bay. The enemies are many, the proliferation of pretenders spawned by his multi-wived Moslem relatives. But on his side the Imam has absolute powers : Macbeth's castle and the Borgia palaces were holiday resorts compared with present-day Yemen, where ten of the current Imam's brothers and most of his dozen sons have died violently in family infighting and palace intrigues.

Much of the latest bloodletting results...

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