Across the Gulf
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.
Just days after al-Zawahiri's audiotape "From Kabul to Somalia" was released the fighting in the latter has picked up. The NY Times has coverage here, and Reuters has more coverage here.
I was also struck by this report yesterday in the NY Times, which opens: The F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, said Monday that a Somali-American man who was one of several suicide bombers in a terrorist attack last October in Somalia had apparently been indoctrinated into his extremist beliefs while living in the United States.
The man, Shirwa Ahmed, was the first known suicide bomber with American citizenship. He immigrated with his family to the Minneapolis area in the mid-1990s, Mr. Mueller said, but he returned to Somalia after he was recruited by a militant group.
"It appears that this individual was radicalized in his hometown in Minnesota," Mr. Mueller said, speaking at a meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations. Minneapolis claims the country’s largest Somali population.
A good friend of mine has been doing extensive research in and among the Somali population of Minnesota area over the past year, and there are a number of issues that should concern law enforcement. I also had a chance to speak to one of the local leaders when he came through New Jersey a few months ago, and what he told me appears to be true according to this latest report.
Of concern for Yemen watchers is whether some of the al-Qaeda militants are going to make their way to Somalia to participate in the fighting. This has been an issue of importance in Sada al-Malahim, and previous fighters such as Mansur al-Bayhani (one of the 23 escapees) fought in Somalia, although he was killed by the US back in June 2007.
Ibrahim al-Muqri, another of the 23 escapees, also attempted to fight in Somalia. He was just released from a Yemeni prison days ago, after being transferred back from Kenyan custody.
It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.
- Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
- These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
- The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.
- Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
- Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
- Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.
- Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
- Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
- Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
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