Chewin’

Interesting to see practically everyone with a gun in the photos in this article chewing qat.

Look for the telltale bulge in the cheek.

On my last visit to Sanaa, guns had been banned from the city centre, but we encountered a grizzled looking man, probably only forty at the most, selling plastic mats for car seat wells at some traffic lights. He had the usual traditional clothes with ‘English’ suit jacket and a dagger tucked into his belt along with an AK47, cheek full of qat, bag full of qat, cigarette, cup of tea and his plastic mats all hanging or held somehow from arms and hands.

Imagine 50s or 60s UK or USA, but swap drinking at lunchtime plus twenty Woodbines a day and a bit of drink driving with being fully armed at all times and under the influence of amphetamines from the early afternoon onwards.

How anyone controls and directs any of these guys into a manageable fighting force is beyond me.

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