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Ahmad bin Yahya
Arabic: 'ahmad bni yah

Imam Ahmad bin Yahya

Imam Ahmad bin Yahya.

(1895-1962) Ruler (Imam) of North Yemen 1948-1962.
Ahmad's rule was despotic, and far removed from any form of real democracy. His main focus was on modernising the military.
In international politics, Ahmad forged many bonds with communist regimes, like the Soviet Union and China. He also joined the union between Egypt and Syria, but this would only last 3 years. Closer to home, he worked for the creation of Greater Yemen, which would have involved the annexation of the British protectorate of Aden.


1895: Born as oldest son of Imam Yahya, of the Hamad ad-Din branch of the Rassi dynasty.
1920's and 1930's: As the effective "crown prince", known as Saif al-Islam (Sword of Islam), Ahmad assisted his father by leading campaigns to suppress tribal revolts.
1948: Following the death of his father, Ahmad succeeded him. He was formally elected Imam by the Zaydi tribal leaders. The structures of the state gave him , in effect, supreme power in the country.
1955 August: A coup by a group of officers and two of Ahmad's brothers is crushed.
1956 April: Signs a mutual defence pact with Egypt, involving unified military command.
1958: Joins the United Arab Republic (UAR) between Egypt and Syria. The union of the 3 countries is known as the Union of Arab States, and was a loose federation.
1961 September: The UAR breakes up, resulting in bad relations between Egypt and North Yemen.
1962 September: Dies a natural death, and is briefly succeeded by his son Muhammad al-Badr.

By Tore Kjeilen