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Monday Papers: More on al-Fadhli

After a nice weekend away from work – thanks Manayunk Brewery – I’m back and ready to re-start the morning papers portion of the program.

First, however, a few comments on al-Fadhli’s recent interview with Arafat Madabish in al-Sharq al-Awsat, which I tagged earlier. It is unclear to me exactly where this took place, whether it was done over the phone or whether Madabish traveled down south, but speculation on that can wait. After reading the interview through a couple of times, one thing strikes me as particularly intriguing. Namely, that al-Fadhli seems to be reacting to growing feelings of unrest in the south, that is like any good leader he recognized which way his people were headed and scrambled to get out in front of them. (Apologies to the old joke about French radicals.) I think his joining of the Southern Movement is less about his shifting allegiances than it is about anger and resentment that reached such a point in the south that he felt he could not do anything but announce his own anger and frustration with the government. This, to my mind, is more worrying then if he had just had a sudden change of hear after some bad qat.

Also, note al-Fadhli’s answer about the war in Sa’dah.

There is also this article from al-Hayat’s English section on al-Qaeda and the south. I continue to be frustrated with most of the reporting on this issue, which make the rather simple argument that al-Qaeda in Yemen is supporting the socialists and other opposition groups in their bid to secede. There is a tendency, of course, to filter everything through a particular structure, which might make sense to us, but I believe that is a mistake in this case. I think al-Qaeda’s statement is less about the socialists or seceding than it is about making a play for the loyalties of citizens in the south. This is about people not about group goals. Al-Qaeda is attempting to win recruits in the south, and identifying with their grievances and using them as a wedge against the government is, in my view, a sophisticated response – not a simple sell-out that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

In today’s news, Salih warns about disasters in the south, and announces that local leaders will now be responsible in some areas for preventing clashes and conflicts, removing the army and security services from the equation takes away an immediate irritant, but I’m not sure how the benefits of such a step can last.

This is just funny. Female students at al-Iman are complaining about al-Zindani’s daughter, Aisha, and her directive that they should stay away from politics and political parties.


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