Beerless in Aden

June 13, 1991

When a Marxist country merges with a non-Marxist one, you get a more permissive society. Right? Wrong, when it is the two Yemens.

North Yemen was a poor, reclusive state on the Arabian peninsula. South Yemen was the cosmopolitan port and British colony of Aden, but when independence came it went Marxist. Liquor flowed in from Djibouti and beer was locally brewed.

Then came merger a year ago and Moscow's withdrawal of influence. South Yemen began to change. Pious Northerners came south and demanded compliance with Islamic law. The brewery will convert to non-alcoholic beverages. The supermarket chain will sell no booze. Aden is drying up.

Yemen may not go to Saudi extremes, but almost. The Westerner whose religion allows a recreational beer can still find it in more liberal regimes in the region. In Iraq, for instance, or Kuwait.

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