Yesterday at a graduation ceremony for Qur'anic students, Shaykh 'Abd al-Majid al-Zindani commented on the growing calls for secession, claiming that while reform was necessary one should not confuse that with a desire for secession.

He also criticized those calling for secession, and echoed President Salih's earlier statements that if Yemen breaks up it will not do so along pre-1990 lines, but rather it will disintegrate into small pieces and ineffectual state-lets.

Al-Sharq al-Awsat has coverage here, while News Yemen also discussed al-Zindani's remarks here. I highlight this because I feel as though al-Zindani is often made out to be a caricature of a radical Islamist in most of the English-language material. His thought, while not necessarily the most nuanced or open of many Yemenis, is certainly much more attractive and compelling than most foreign observers tend to give him credit for.

One side note for Arabic students, it may give you a bit of perverse pleasure in the long and grinding task you set before yourselves to see that even professional Arabic newspapers can make embarrassing mistakes - I know it does for me.

The News Yemen piece has this line:

وقال إن واقع الأمة اليمنية ينقسم إلى واقعين ، واقع مشرق وأخر منحرف.

which contrasts with the same line in al-Sharq al-Awsat's piece, which for some reason I can't cut-and-paste.