Arms and the men

That Bloomberg article Greg mentions below is, indeed, something else. They had me at "Shi'ite Muslim rebellion". They also mentioned 4 armed men being arrested outside the US Embassy. The government has a different explanation for their presence.

SANAA, Yemen, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Four Yemenis carrying hand grenades and guns who were arrested near the U.S. embassy in the capital Sanaa were passers-by and were not planning to target the building, an official said Wednesday.

If you don't know much about Yemen, you are probably chortling in a little bit of disbelief (of course, if you don't know much about Yemen, you probably aren't coming to this blog. It is hard to stumble upon by mistake). It barely made an impact on me. This doesn't seem an unusual Yemeni story at all. I actually find it kind of charming.

But if this story gets traction- and I doubt it will, except on fringe sites- expect there to be hand-wringing about Salih's complicity with terrorists or hysterical stories about (altogether now) a "country awash in guns". The latter is, after "homeland of Bin Laden", the softest landing pad for journalists parachuting into Yemen.

And to an extent it is true- there are a lot of guns and arms in Yemen. But for those interested in looking at the full picture, which can calm some hysterics and present a more full view of the role of guns in Yemen, I can't recommend highly enough Derek Miller's 2003 report for the Small Arms Survey. It is balanced, learned and meticulously researched. Check it out, so you can have some stats for when people start arguing about Yemen at parties.

Or does that only happen at my parties?

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