All Waq al-Waq Articles

Yemen, the Middle East, and the World Beyond

  • Frontline: al-Qaeda in Yemen

    Last night Frontline aired the film al-Qaeda in Yemen, which was reported by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad who writes for the Guardian and who, along with Declan Walsh when he was at the Guardian, used to be two of my...

  • New Book: The Last Refuge

    In perhaps this blog's worst kept secret, I have been writing a book. In fact, I started working on the book before Brian and I even started Waq al-waq.  Originally, the idea was the blog would serve as a sounding...

  • Spy v. Spy

    Late on Friday afternoon, AQAP posted this video "appeal" from a Saudi diplomat.  The man, Abdullah al-Khalidi, is the deputy Saudi consul in Aden.  He was kidnapped several weeks ago - the circumstances of which...

  • Guest Post: Yemen and Foreign Aid

    Today the Friends of Yemen met in Riyadh.  One of the key issues, as it often is at these meetings, is that of foreign aid. Several days ago a group of Yemeni students gathered to debate exactly the topic of...

  • The Other Side of Yemen: A Must Read (Updated)

    Few academics decided to study Yemen because of terrorism or al-Qaeda.  It was Yemen's other, richer side that attracted us.

  • Measuring Success

    As the details of the undercover operation to infiltrate AQAP continue to be made public the picture of what happened is starting clear.  As I wrote yesterday, it appears that the individual did indeed have a...

  • Unanswered Questions

    Despite all the leaks that have come out over the latest underwear bomb plot there is still a great deal we don't know. For instance, did information from the undercover asset lead to the strike on Qusa? ...

  • This round to Saudi Intelligence

    For more than three years AQAP and Muhammad bin Nayif have been involved in a high-stakes intelligence duel, which has largely been fought in the shadows of Yemen's tribal territories.  Shortly after AQAP...

  • Ibrahim Asiri: A Unique bombmaker?

    Yesterday afternoon the Associated Press broke a story about a bomb plot from Yemen, revealing relatively few but still tantalizing details about a plot we still know little about. (ABC news is now report that a...

  • How Does this End?

    Last week I posted on the CIA's request to carry out "signature strikes" in Yemen.  I made quite clear my opposition to the policy, not because I'm opposed to drones as some seem to believe.  I actually think...

  • Knowing what you're doing

    For the past several years I have been arguing that the US has to do a better job of framing the war against al-Qaeda in Yemen.  The war should never be portrayed as the US against al-Qaeda in Yemen - that is a...

  • AUMF and Yemen

    On Saturday Bruce Ackerman of Yale Law School published this op-ed in the Washington Post on the CIA's reported request to employ signature strikes in Yemen.  The legal issues that Ackerman discusses are...

  • A Simple Question

    At the end of 2009, Yemen's Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi estimated that there were around 200 - 300 members of AQAP in Yemen. Today, John Brennan suggested that group has more than 1,000 members. This,...

  • The Constant Critic

    Earlier today Will McCants, Jeremy Scahill, Clint Watts and I had a twitter discussion - or whatever the word is when one is limited to 140 characters - on Yemen and US policy.  Will, Jeremy and Clint all write...

  • Signature Strikes in Yemen

    Yesterday I teased an upcoming post about the US approach to disrupting and defeating AQAP.  Shortly after that Greg Miller - a smart and well connected journalist at the Washington Post - released this piece on...

  • AQAP's Big Dilemma

    Things have been going pretty good for AQAP of late.  The group appears to be gaining recruits both from inside Yemen and abroad and it is taking and holding more territory than ever before, and while there have...

  • Into the Snake Pit: The US and Restructuring the Military in Yemen

    The closest thing the US has to a "Yemen Czar" is John Brennan, President Obama's Deputy National Security Adviser, and so when he speaks on Yemen - as he did recently - it is a good idea to pay attention. On...

  • 5 Questions on the Elections in Yemen

    Earlier today I answered five questions for PBS' NewsHour on the elections in Yemen and what it means going forward.  Since I covered a lot of ground in the Q-and-A with P.J. Tobia, and since I would inevitably...

  • Abd Rabu Mansur Hadi: Yemen's soon-to-be President

    Several months ago, I wrote a brief post about Yemen's then acting president Abd Rabu Mansur Hadi.  Tomorrow, as you all know, he is set to remove the "acting" from his title, and take over as president thanks to...

  • Yemen's Election: Where the Voters Turnout, not Voter Turnout

    Tomorrow, February 21, will mark the last day of President Ali Abdullah Salih's nearly 34 years in power, at least officially. In his place, Yemenis will head to the polls tomorrow to elect his long-serving...