AQAP members killed in Saudi
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.
There is still no word on the identity of the third who was taken into custody. This is the second time in recent months that al-Qaeda has had rather poor luck (I had hoped to write up a quick but detailed post on this but sadly other commitments have made that an impossibility). They weren't stopped at a border post, but rather a rotating police checkpoint that had a female policewoman on duty. What are the odds?
Still, I think the presence of Yusif al-Shihri, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, suggests that something rather big was in the works. This is where I part company with Mustafa al-'Ani of the Gulf Research Center, who tells al-Sharq al-Awsat that the presence of suicide belts (more accurately vests) indicates that they were planning to assassinate officials. I tend to think they were after something else, having already tried and failed with Muhammad bin Nayif, but I suppose we'll never know. And al-'Ani and myself will both be left with our own views.
Al-'Ani is also quoted in the CSM piece by Caryle Murphy and Laura Kasinof.
I get worried when I see things like this in print:
"Another reason the Yemeni government tolerates the group's presence may be because the jihadi fighters sometimes assist Yemeni forces in military operations against the rebels, a Western diplomat said ..."
As it makes me worry that whoever these anonymous sources are have no clue about what they are commenting on. Certainly this is an accusation that could have been directed at the Yemeni government in years prior to 2006. But there is no evidence that anyone currently in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as led by al-Wahayshi has been co-opted or used by the government. This group is a different generation with different goals from previous versions of al-Qaeda in Yemen.
Unless you want to be embarrassingly wrong, it is dangerous to apply yesterday's analysis to today's events. But then again I guess it helps if you don't attach your name to your quote.
I could spend some time disagreeing with other parts about what the Saudis see when they look at Yemen and the concept of under-governed spaces - which I have recently changed my own mind about - but my allotted time for blogging is up for the afternoon and additionally it seems in bad taste.
I am traveling for the next few days and so postings will likely be reduced, although I will try to post at least once a day. No promises.
The controversy around the Torah codes gets a new life.
- Mathematicians claim to see a predictive pattern in the ancient Torah texts.
- The code is revealed by a method found with special computer software.
- Some events described by reading the code took place after the code was written.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
Orangutans join humans and bees in a very exclusive club
- Orangutan mothers wait to sound a danger alarm to avoid tipping off predators to their location
- It took a couple of researchers crawling around the Sumatran jungle to discover the phenomenon
- This ability may come from a common ancestor
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