27 FEBRUARY 1948, Page 3

- Yemenite Mystery

There is no country in the world, not even Tibet, which is so remotefrom the rest of the world as Yemen, and it is still impossible to say for certain what has really been going on there during the past two weeks. It seems clear, however, that the aged Imam, who has been both spiritual and Temporal ruler of the country since the Turks were driven out, is dead. He may have been assassinated, but it is at least as likely that he died from natural causes—he was about eighty years old. There have certainly been other deaths in the course of the coup d'etat, and rumour has killed off almost everybody of any note in the country, except for the former Imam's eldest son and destined heir, who is said to have fled to the hills. The new Foreign Minister is said to be Hussein al Kitsi, who was the Yemen's first delegate to the Arab League and is therefore one of the few Yemenites with any direct experience of the world outside their own mountains. For although the Yemen has been a member of the Arab League since its inception, and a member of the United Nations since last year, it has still to all intents and purposes no contact—diplomatic, commercial or individual—with ,even its nearest neighbours. This exclusiveness was the deliberate policy of the Imam Yehya. With his death the doors of the Yemen may open oti to the world, which may or may not prove to be a blessing to its inhabitants.