Letter From Yemen: An Unruly Backwater Tries Going Straight

Disturbed by links to terror, Yemen flirts with order

The valley known as Wadi Dhahr, with its orange cliffs and lush orchards a few miles from the mountaintop capital of Sana'a, is one of Yemen's most stunning landscapes. As usual, last Friday it was alive with the sounds of a Yemeni wedding celebration. A circle of turbaned men danced to a frenzied drumbeat, brandishing their silver swords and daggers. Suddenly a jubilant member of the wedding party pulled out a Kalashnikov and fired into the air, a practice common during Yemeni celebrations. What happened next was anything but customary. To the astonishment of those gathered, within minutes policemen pounced on...

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