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Guest Thinkers

Conflating important distinctions

I was listening to this discussion on WorldFocus between Christopher Boucek and Sudarsan Raghavan and one thing that the latter said stood out to me, and that is that he essentially conflated President Salih with the Yemeni government.

This is I think a common mistake – and I don’t want to single out Raghavan for criticism particularly since I have already written about a mistake he made earlier today – but again I think this is a common mistake.

There is, in Yemen, a marked difference between the Yemeni government and President Salih. One should not necessarily hear the former and think the latter. And indeed Salih often attempts to position himself as a mediator between an overburdened population and an unfeeling government. This is something that academics and analysts that have been studying Yemen for quite a while have often remarked on.

I wrote about this with regards to some riots in 2005 here.

But prefiguring me by more than a decade is an article by Renauld Detalle in an article in Yemen Today: Crisis and Solutions.

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