Yemen: Worn Out

For 13 years the old (seventyish) Imam of Yemen has been as absolute a ruler as history records. In his feudal desert country, it took the Imam's personal signature to get a gasoline permit, authorize a $15 printing job, or order light bulbs for the palace. He clung to every trifle of power.

But last week he was signing nothing, not even orders for the beheading of his foes. The tough, ruffianly old Imam had moved out of his capital city of Taiz and established himself and his 40 women four miles away in the pleasure palace of Sala. The...

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