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Yemen Behaving Badly

In 2009, Yemen was a hotbed of lawlessness, poverty, veiled women, be-daggered men, and a narcotic called qat. In 2010, Yemen is hotbed of lawlessness, poverty, veiled women, be-daggered men, and a narcotic called qat-but now it's on our minds! To better acquaint ourselves with the small, Arab-peninsular nation, we've sifted through our blog rolls and found these helpful links. Read, learn, and enjoy.Writing for the Daily Beast, Bruce Riedel explains how defeating Al Qaeda in Yemen (suddenly one of President Obama's top priorities) is made all the more difficult on account of the country's medieval frontier culture (meaning that everyone is armed, most people are poor, and government corruption is rampant). The task is also complicated by Yemen's strained relationship with America (as well as with neighboring Saudi Arabia) and the country's floundering police state of a government. Riedel does maintain that Pakistan should be the top Al Qaeda priority for the United States.Tyler Cowen, who visited the country in 1996 or so, likens it to a vision of Baghdad circa 1200 AD in an awesome 13-point reflection of his trip. He celebrates the architecture and fall weather, but can't shake the fact that, "with the possible exception of the Bolivian altiplano, Yemen is the weirdest country or region I have visited.As Yglesias points out, some people are already calling for pre-emptive military action in Yemen. (Hint: the hawk's name rhymes with Bro Brieberman.) Yglesias also penned a Yemen column for Daily Beast.Andrew Sullivan thinks Christmas day's near attack by the Nigerian would-be bomber who studied in Yemen necessitates that Obama fire Janet Napolitano.If you haven't already, you ought to read Five Lesser-known Countries that Changed the World in 2009, which discusses Yemen, in our Canapés and Kalashnikovs column by the Truman Fellows.Or you could just visit Yemen's Wikipedia entry-the country pages are great ways to disappear an hour of your workday. Fun facts: in 2005, nearly half the population was 15 years old or younger. Also, Yemen might have been the home of the Queen of Sheba.If anyone has a link that paints a less reductive portrait of the nation, please share it in the comments.Photo: Wikipedia Commons.

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