ARABIA: Fall of Yemen (Cont'd)

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Three armies of Wahabi Arabs, sent forth by Ibn Saud, King of Saudi Arabia, advanced last week through the mountain passes of Yemen Arabia, converging on Sana, the walled white mountain capital of Yemen One moved eastward, from the Red Sea port of Hodeida that Ibn Saud's men captured last fortnight. One moved westward from the great central desert toward Sana. The third drove down from the border bandit land of Nejram on Sada key city to Sana. They came in armored cars, in camel corps and on horseback. And behind them able Ibn Saud solidified their gains by cutting the customs duties at Hodeida 50% last week. . Hard-pressed indeed was their prey, Yahya ibn Hamid-ed-Din, Imam Yemen scion of Mohammed's daughter Fatima' and her husband Ali the fourth Caliph. He wanted to treat with Ibn Saud but his eldest son, the Emir el Hadi Mohammed Seif al Islam, suspicious and arrogant as his father but not so wise, is jealous of Ibn Saud's great prestige. Emir called for war, for more war, for the Imam's abdication in his favor. While the son launched guerrilla raids on Ibn Saud's supply trains in the hills, the compact crinkle-bearded old man scrambled up into Sana, city of 40,000, and squatted in his throne room where the only ornament on the dark blue walls is his own scimitar. Refusing to abdicate, he set about rallying his black, wiry, citizens for the defense of Sana.

Suddenly at week's end frugal Yahya put his troublesome son behind him and sued for peace. Ibn Saud nailed home his conditions and declared an armistice. Hungrily his three armies halted in their tracks outside Sana. Britain, France and Italy waited anxiously to find out whether Yahya had lost his throne as well as his power and prestige.