All Waq al-Waq Articles

Yemen, the Middle East, and the World Beyond

  • The Last Refuge Excerpt (US Edition)

    Today Foreign Policy published the first excerpt from The Last Refuge. The piece is largely drawn from Chapter 13 of the book, entitled Policy Shift: Here is the opening as published in Foreign Policy: In...

  • Southern Yemen

    Today Abigail Fielding-Smith published what I think is a fantastic piece of journalism on southern Yemen and Aden.  I encourage all of you to read her fine piece. Indeed, as Yemen becomes more fractured and...

  • Book Launch

    For those of you who live in New York, I would like to invite you all to come out to the Overseas Press Club in Manhattan on Monday, November 12 for the book launch of The Last Refuge: Yemen, al-Qaeda and...

  • Two Things for those with Electricity

    Hurricane Sandy hit Waq al-waq hard - although, mercifully, not nearly as hard as many who are still suffering - knocking out power and forcing us to become one of those people of the dark, scurrying about town...

  • The Yemen Model: Drones and Permanent War

    This week the Washington Post published a three-part series it entitled "Permanent War."  The first piece, by Greg Miller, talks about the disposition matrix and sets the stage for the next two: a profile of John...

  • Fall Announcements

    Fall is a busy time, school starts and big books you've been waiting to read for months finally get published.  For myself, and by extension Waq al-waq this fall has been even busier than usual.  As many of you...

  • Security in Sanaa

    Feelings are difficult to quantify and contextualize.  By nature they are fleeting and nearly impossible to judge according to any accurate barometer and yet they are still there dancing around the margins of our...

  • To Yemen and Back

    As some of you may know, I recently took a short trip to Yemen to see for myself how things on the ground had changed since Salih was forced to step down as president.  I had several productive interviews and...

  • A Hill in Sanaa

    Despite appearances I have not forgotten about Waq al-waq, and while I'll spare you the usual and tired excuses for my lack of posts I will direct you to the National, which today ran an op-ed I wrote on the US...

  • Guest Post: Reflections on a Riot

    Ed: Brian O'Neill, the co-founder of Waq al-waq, returns home with this piece on today's attack on the US Embassy in Sanaa.   (Before we start, I’d like to thank Greg for inviting me to guest post.  Writing...

  • Fuzzy Math

    Today Counterterrorism adviser John Brennan gave a detailed overview of US policy toward Yemen at the Council on Foreign Relations.  Marc Lynch over at Foreign Policy has provided the good and the bad of the...

  • Gone Fishin'

    Postings at Waq al-waq will be suspended until some point in mid-July (depending on the fish and novels) at which point I will resume, what is for me, regular posting. 

  • The Debate that Wasn't

    In Yemen, al-Qaeda often makes mistakes that open the group up to criticism. Most of the time this chance goes begging as the Yemeni government, popular clerics and tribal shaykhs neglect to speak out in any...

  • Yemen Readings

    I wanted to highlight three different pieces on Yemen that have been published in the last couple of days, mostly because they are written by a trio of bright individuals who take a different view of Yemen than I...

  • Drones and Dangerous Shorthand

    This morning Ibrahim Mothana, an incredibly smart and funny young Yemeni, has an op-ed in the New York Times on Drones, Yemen and blowback.  I would encourage you all to read it.  The op-ed raises a number of...

  • Show me the money

    This morning Noah Shachtman and Spencer Ackerman have a thought-provoking piece on US military involvement - yes, lets call it a war - in Yemen.  At the end of their piece the pair ask some thought-provoking...

  • Three Things to Read

    Three interesting pieces on Yemen have hit the internet in the past couple of days, which people who follow Waq al-waq should definitely read. The first, and most important, is this interview that Qasim...

  • The Ghalib al-Zayadi Problem

    Over the past few years as I've thought about al-Qaeda, Yemen and US policy I have returned time and time again to what I have termed "the Ghalib al-Zayadi problem." Basically, this is the idea that just...

  • Kill lists, Scorecards and the lack of Human Intelligence

    Earlier today an anonymous US official confirmed the death of Abu Yahya al-Libi.  Now, I don't have a lot to say about al-Libi - other than to say wait for an al-Qaeda confirmation before getting too excited -...

  • Drones, Drift and the (New) American Way of War

    On December 17, 2009 the US carried out a missile strike against what it believed to be an al-Qaeda training camp in the south Yemeni governorate of Abyan.  Unfortunately, what the US believed to be an al-Qaeda...