When I respond, or seek responses, I think of the Internet Republic and the people [[whump]] and the places who have made our water world Eden brave and free and fair. Permitted, required, and impossible. Stand alone or stand with, whose choice to what degree [[Thn/]] O[[thn/]]ne water world Eden under "We the people" – created by whom?

Yemen Justice

A Voice of Authority in Yemen After Helping Lead the Opposition
Published: July 21, 2012

TAIZ, Yemen — On a recent day, Sheik Hamoud Saeed al-Mikhlafi sat cross-legged on low cushions in the front of his sitting room, bronze-rimmed glasses sliding down his nose, receiving visitors.
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Samuel Aranda for The New York Times
Sheik Hamoud Saeed al-Mikhlafi, seen at his home last year, is the ultimate arbiter in Taiz, a major battleground in the uprising.

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A former top rebel leader in Taiz, Mr. Mikhlafi has taken on a new role as the city’s ultimate arbiter. Part judge, part chieftain, part local political don, he is filling the gap left by the absence of effective judicial institutions in the aftermath of Yemen’s civil conflict last year. Men from all over the surrounding region come to him to resolve disputes and crises, or simply to seek advice.

Dozens of men crowded the room, many sitting on the hard stone floor because there were not enough cushions to go around. One tribesman came seeking money for medical treatment for a gunshot wound suffered during the conflict. A wrinkled, elderly man, hardly able to walk, shuffled up to the sheik to ask for guidance.

Wearing a simple white thobe, the typical male dress in the Persian Gulf region, a gray scarf draped over his neck and a pistol in his belt, Mr. Mikhlafi listened attentively and spoke little, but with calm authority.

When a fight broke out between two petitioners over a land dispute, he solemnly raised his hands and said, “Young men, justice is present.”

The state in Yemen was always weak, and even before the conflict last year, local chieftains had a lot of autonomy and power. But Mr. Mikhlafi’s new role is emblematic of how opposition voices that were marginalized under the 33-year authoritarian rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh have gained increasing influence as the government in Yemen has grown even weaker since his ouster.

Taiz, Yemen’s cultural capital and commercial center, was a major battleground in the uprising. The fighting raged for months here and was more lethal than that in the capital, Sana. Hundreds of civilians were killed, a toll for which Mr. Mikhlafi’s rebels share responsibility. A Human Rights Watch report in February accused his forces of placing civilians at risk by deploying fighters in densely populated areas, and of using children as armed patrols.

But by spearheading a revolt against a government that many felt oppressed them, he won local hearts and minds.

His status, though, many here say, owes as much to his humility as to his military background and record of political dissent. At 46, with hair flecked with gray and a warm personality, he is a sharp contrast with the ostentatious tribal leaders in Yemen’s north who Yemenis say care more about stuffing their pockets than helping their tribes.

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