al-Jarrah or al-Ujayri
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.
Yesterday the NEFA announced that it had "obtained" an AQAP statement - I'm not sure obtained is the right word here, as they didn't find it in some Yemeni safehouse but rather downloaded it from the internet. Nevertheless, the statement claimed that the suicide bombing in Shibam was carried out by Abu 'Ubaydah al-Jarrah, so the question I hinted at a few days ago, how does one square the information in the AQAP statement with the information put out by the government that the attack was carried out by Abd al-Rahman al-'Ujayri?
Assuming that both the information in the AQAP Statement and the information in the 26th of September is correct, then it seems that al-'Ujayri originally came from the al-Jarrah clan, which is from the village of al-Barh in Taizz (see mu'ajam al-buldan wa al-qaba'il al-yamaniyya Vol. 1 pg. 306). The kunya he selected, Abu 'Ubaydah, and his name al-Jarrah, then, is ironic as this is also the name of an early companion of the prophet, Abu 'Ubaydah al-Jarrah, who is a widely respected figure in early Islamic history.
The irony comes in when one digs a bit further. In the current issue of Sada al-Malahim, one of the fatawa published deals with whether or not Yemen is a part of the Arabian Peninsula. This is important as AQAP relies on the hadith that states: "expel the infidels from the Arabian Peninsula," so if Yemen is part of the Arabian Peninsula, then the AQAP's attacks against infidels have religious justification, at least in the organization's own eyes. The fatwa in Sada al-Malahim is lifted from the writings of someone the magazine identifies as Shaykh 'Abdullah Nasir al-Rashid (thanks to Thomas Hegghammer I have been able to identify him as the pen name of 'Abd al-Aziz al-Anzi, who wrote for Sawt al-Jihad and was arrested in 2006 and is currently in a Saudi prison). In some of al-Rashid's writings, which are available here, he actually attacks a version of the hadith about expelling the infidels that was transmitted by Abu 'Ubaydah al-Jarrah as weak.
So in the end, one has a suicide bomber named Abu 'Ubaydah al-Jarrah carrying out an attack on the basis of a hadith that is significantly different from the one his early Islamic namesake transmitted. Of course if one accepted the hadith transmitted by the original Abu 'Ubaydah al-Jarrah then AQAP would have no religious justification for its attacks, or at the very least would have to articulate a new reason, but their current justification would not hold.
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- Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
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If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.
- A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
- It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
- Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.
Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.
Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons
13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.
It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.
But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.
John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."
What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.
Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.
The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.
- The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet.
- The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta.
- It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.
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