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A reported blog about all things Middle East and North Africa.

Don't go bar-hopping in Yemen

Islamist militants storm south Yemen hotel for selling alcohol, killing two.
Yemen whiskey qatEnlarge
Yemenis widely chew qat, a plant with narcotic properties. But today, Islamists stormed a south Yemen hotel for selling alcohol. (MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s probably not a good idea to drink alcohol in Yemen these days: it could get you killed.

As Islamist groups gain strength amid multiple civil conflicts that have loosened the grip of the central government there, militants are showing increased boldness in southern Yemen, AP reports

Islamic militants stormed a hotel where alcohol is served in a southern Yemeni city on Wednesday, setting the building on fire, killing two people and wounding 20.

The raid reportedly prompted guests on the higher floors to escape by tying bed-sheets together and scaling down the side of the building.

It should be noted, however, that qat, an ever-green plant with narcotic properties, is chewed widely in Yemen.

In 2010, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh came under fire for an offhand remark published by Wikileaks in its mass release of confidential US State Department cables. 

“I don't care if he smuggles whiskey into Yemen,” President Saleh said of Djiboutian President Ismail Guelleh in a meeting with US General David Petraeus. “Provided its good whiskey.”


 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-casbah/dont-go-bar-hopping-yemen