Yemen: The Most Fragile Ally

Yemen is becoming an increasingly important base for terrorist attacks. Can it be helped? Not easily — the place is in crisis

Ed Ou / Reportage / Getty

Yemen's capital is home to architectural marvels. But outside, there's rot.

Ali Abdullah Saleh has a phrase for it. Ruling Yemen, he says, is like "dancing on the heads of snakes." Saleh, Yemen's President, has had plenty of practice. As an army officer back in 1978, he took power in North Yemen after the assassination of the previous President. (North Yemen had become an independent state after the breakup of the Ottoman Empire in 1918.) In 1990 he led the North to victory in a war against South Yemen, the territory that was once the British colony of Aden, and has ruled the unified nation ever since. He's done so using the...

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