On Monday, a crackdown by the government and security services was building, and riot police officers with water cannons were out in full force in Tehran, the capital. The death toll from the clashes was up to at least 12, and in the central province of Esfahan, one police officer was reported killed and three wounded in a gunfight. "An agitator exploited the current situation, and using a hunting rifle, opened fire on police forces," state television reported. In all, about 200 people have so far been arrested in Tehran alone since the protests began Thursday, one security official told the ISNA news agency. There were arrests in provincial towns as well.
During a recent four-day trip to Marib with a group of Western journalists and researchers, I saw a town struggling for a sense of normalcy -- and even progress -- despite the collapsed country around it. The trip was organized by the Sana Center for Strategic Studies, a research institute focused on Yemen, and led by Farea al-Muslimi, an energetic young Yemeni scholar, who said he worried that the international community was forgetting about Yemen, to the peril of both. "We can't stop the war in Yemen right now, but at least we can cause more conversation about it," he said. "We want to bring the world to Yemen and bring Yemen to the world." Marib's unlikely success is partly a symptom of the near complete shattering of the Yemeni state, which has left regions to fend for themselves in providing life's basics for their people.