Yemeni Officials Ban Popular Narcotic

After expelling Al Qaeda from the region, the southern Yemenite government issues a ban on qat in the region, again

A qat vendor sells his product — Demotix/Luke Somers
Jun 05, 2016 at 8:00 AM ET

Al Qaeda was finally driven from a major stronghold in the southern Yemen province of Hadramout—but the Yemeni authorities are re-implementing one of the terror group’s less popular policies: the ban on qat.

Qat (or khat) is a mild narcotic leaf is considered by many to be a national pastime, but since it can lead to addiction, it is forbidden in many countries. In May 2015 Al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch issued a ban on qat after taking over the southern Hadramout region, one month earlier. In May of this year, the radical group was finally expelled from most parts of the region by Saudi coalition forces and southern Yemenite allies.

On June 4, two days ahead of the Ramadan, the southern Yemenite governor of the region issued a ban on qat to the region since the first day of the holiday other than on Thursdays and Fridays. In mid May, the city of Aden issued a similar decree.

The ban raised a mixed response by locals, as some expressed deep support, while others criticized the crack down on one of Yemen’s most symbolic rituals, qat chewing. “Why are there exceptions on Thursday and Friday? this is bad to the community” Abu Ahmad Almashjari from the region wrote in response to the news. Many of of the ban’s supporters highlighted the fact that the ban of qat will help stabilizing and improving the security forces and security personal in the region.

Translation: “The qat from Dhale funds the southern resistance, and the people of the south are benefiting from is. You should just ban the qat from the north as it supports the Houthis”

Translation: “after the great success of the decision to ban qat and the massive support it recived from the locals, we are asking to issue a decree against the use of the internet as it has a negative financial and social impact on the people.”

Translation: “The governor of Hadermout issued an important ban on entering qat to the region other than on Thursdays and Fridays. Congrats to the region an its people.”


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