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The Terror Next Door

LONDON – In a prominent hadith, the Prophet Mohammed said: “If disorder threatens, take refuge in Yemen.” The Prophet was referring to the prosperous and civilized Yemen.  But today disorder and radicalization in Yemen are beginning to infect Saudi Arabia, and thus the safety of the world’s largest oil producer.

The Prophet’s hadith about Yemen has enjoyed new resonance ever since the 1980’s, when Saudi Arabia – in line with American policy – sought to export domestic dissenters, most prominently Osama bin Laden, a Yemeni of Saudi birth, to fight Soviet infidels in Afghanistan. Although dissent was mostly diverted to Afghanistan, bin Laden’s most trusted companions (his wife, too) have remained mainly in Yemen.