Yahya (Mahmud al-Mutawakkil) [ b. 1867, Yemen; d. Jan. 17, 1948, San'a', Yemen] Zaydi imam of Yemen from 1904 to 1948.
When Yahya was a child, Yemen was a province of the Ottoman Empire. His youth was spent in the service of his father's administration, and, when his father died in 1904, Yahya succeeded him as imam. The Yemenis had always resented Turkish rule, and Yahya was soon able to assemble a potent military force. Sporadic warfare lasted until 1911, when he was able to force the Turks to recognize the autonomy of his personal rule over the Yemen. He remained loyal to the Turks when World War I broke out but did not take an active part in the hostilities. At the close of the war he was recognized as the independent ruler of the Yemen, but there was no agreement on just which territories composed the country.