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Gregory Johnsen

Near East Studies Scholar, Princeton University

Gregory Johnsen, a former Fulbright Fellow in Yemen, is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. Johnsen has written for a variety of publications on Yemen including, among others, Foreign Policy, The American Interest, The Independent, The Boston Globe, and The National. He is the co-founder of Waq al-Waq: Islam and Insurgency in Yemen Blog. In 2009, he was a member of the USAID's conflict assessment team for Yemen.

Fuzzy Math

Today Counterterrorism adviser John Brennan gave a detailed overview of US policy toward Yemen at the Council on Foreign Relations.  Marc Lynch over at Foreign Policy has provided the good […]

Gone Fishin’

Postings at Waq al-waq will be suspended until some point in mid-July (depending on the fish and novels) at which point I will resume, what is for me, regular posting. 

The Debate that Wasn’t

In Yemen, al-Qaeda often makes mistakes that open the group up to criticism. Most of the time this chance goes begging as the Yemeni government, popular clerics and tribal shaykhs […]

Yemen Readings

I wanted to highlight three different pieces on Yemen that have been published in the last couple of days, mostly because they are written by a trio of bright individuals […]

Drones and Dangerous Shorthand

This morning Ibrahim Mothana, an incredibly smart and funny young Yemeni, has an op-ed in the New York Times on Drones, Yemen and blowback.  I would encourage you all to […]

Show me the money

This morning Noah Shachtman and Spencer Ackerman have a thought-provoking piece on US military involvement – yes, lets call it a war – in Yemen.  At the end of their […]

Three Things to Read

Three interesting pieces on Yemen have hit the internet in the past couple of days, which people who follow Waq al-waq should definitely read. The first, and most important, is […]

The Ghalib al-Zayadi Problem

Over the past few years as I’ve thought about al-Qaeda, Yemen and US policy I have returned time and time again to what I have termed “the Ghalib al-Zayadi problem.” […]

Frontline: al-Qaeda in Yemen

Last night Frontline aired the film al-Qaeda in Yemen, which was reported by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad who writes for the Guardian and who, along with Declan Walsh when he was at […]

New Book: The Last Refuge

In perhaps this blog’s worst kept secret, I have been writing a book. In fact, I started working on the book before Brian and I even started Waq al-waq.  Originally, […]

Spy v. Spy

Late on Friday afternoon, AQAP posted this video “appeal” from a Saudi diplomat.  The man, Abdullah al-Khalidi, is the deputy Saudi consul in Aden.  He was kidnapped several weeks ago […]

Guest Post: Yemen and Foreign Aid

Today the Friends of Yemen met in Riyadh.  One of the key issues, as it often is at these meetings, is that of foreign aid. Several days ago a group […]

Measuring Success

As the details of the undercover operation to infiltrate AQAP continue to be made public the picture of what happened is starting clear.  As I wrote yesterday, it appears that […]

Unanswered Questions

Despite all the leaks that have come out over the latest underwear bomb plot there is still a great deal we don’t know. For instance, did information from the undercover […]

This round to Saudi Intelligence

For more than three years AQAP and Muhammad bin Nayif have been involved in a high-stakes intelligence duel, which has largely been fought in the shadows of Yemen’s tribal territories.  […]

Ibrahim Asiri: A Unique bombmaker?

Yesterday afternoon the Associated Press broke a story about a bomb plot from Yemen, revealing relatively few but still tantalizing details about a plot we still know little about. (ABC […]

How Does this End?

Last week I posted on the CIA’s request to carry out “signature strikes” in Yemen.  I made quite clear my opposition to the policy, not because I’m opposed to drones […]

Knowing what you’re doing

For the past several years I have been arguing that the US has to do a better job of framing the war against al-Qaeda in Yemen.  The war should never […]

AUMF and Yemen

On Saturday Bruce Ackerman of Yale Law School published this op-ed in the Washington Post on the CIA’s reported request to employ signature strikes in Yemen.  The legal issues that […]

A Simple Question

At the end of 2009, Yemen’s Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi estimated that there were around 200 – 300 members of AQAP in Yemen. Today, John Brennan suggested that group […]

The Constant Critic

Earlier today Will McCants, Jeremy Scahill, Clint Watts and I had a twitter discussion – or whatever the word is when one is limited to 140 characters – on Yemen […]

Signature Strikes in Yemen

Yesterday I teased an upcoming post about the US approach to disrupting and defeating AQAP.  Shortly after that Greg Miller – a smart and well connected journalist at the Washington […]

AQAP’s Big Dilemma

Things have been going pretty good for AQAP of late.  The group appears to be gaining recruits both from inside Yemen and abroad and it is taking and holding more […]

5 Questions on the Elections in Yemen

Earlier today I answered five questions for PBS’ NewsHour on the elections in Yemen and what it means going forward.  Since I covered a lot of ground in the Q-and-A […]