Now. These are not related to the hostages that we have been tracking here, the ones that are either still missing or dead. I am only blogging about this because I think it shows how much these latest kidnappings deviate from the norm, and how they rend a hole in the normal fabric of Yemeni life. This was a fairly normal hostage situation (a phrase unique to Yemen, I think). The murdered Germans is something shocking and altogether new. Indeed, there were several protests in Sa'dah decrying the kidnappings and murder (the Huthis, accused of this by the government, also held a protest rally).
I think the one positive that could come out of this- and again, this isn't "analysis", because we don't know enough- is that if this is al-Qaeda, they might have overplayed their hand. Greg and I have had disagreements about this, and I generally defer to him, but I think taking a Yemeni tradition and gruesomely disorting it (almost Iraq-ifying it, if I can make up an annoying portmanteau), might have more of an impact on the population than even suicide bombings. I'm going to qualify this by saying I am just thinking out loud, to give myself cover, but if it turns out later I was right I am going to point to this all the time.