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Guest Thinkers

Saturday Papers: or More Bad News

Unfortunately, I think a lot of people saw the fighting between Jahm and the government coming, particularly after the latest round of mediation failed. (I have written a bit about the background to the conflict, which is over some land in San’a, here.)

The fighting began Friday afternoon when security officials attempted to remove the roadblock set up by Shaykh Muhammad ‘Ali Ti’ayman and other members of the Al Ti’ayman clan of the Jahm tribe.

According to Mareb Press 6 soldiers were wounded before Shaykh Nasir bin ‘Awshan, from ‘Abidah, was able to step in and mediate a temporary end to the fighting. The last round of mediation, headed by the governor of Marib Naji al-Zaaydi, did not go well and it is doubtful that this will go much better, as Ti’ayman continues to maintain that all that is needed is for the Ministry of the Interior to return his land.

Also of concern this morning are the reports that say al-Qaeda has kidnapped the Japanese engineer from his kidnappers. This News Yemen piece suggests that al-Qaeda may have taken him to al-Jawf after snatching him from the Arhab tribe near San’a. This AFP piece also has some good background.

First, I would caution that not much is known and whether or not this is just a couple of individuals or a decision taken by the leadership of AQAP, if that is even what it is, is difficult to tell at this point.

Regardless this incident is yet another example of the murky exchange between tribes, al-Qaeda and security forces in the state – none of which can be spoken about as if they were a single, unified actor.

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