AQAP, PSO and other factoids
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 a new AQAP audiotape, The Crusader Attack on Yemen, out today from one of the group's religious figures, 'Adil al-'Abab. Al-'Abab, who also goes by the kunya Abu Zubayr, has released previous audio tapes for AQAP.
I haven't had the time to parse the tape yet, although I doubt it deals with Margret Warner's revelations for the PBS Newshour last week that the US was behind the December 17 strikes in Abyan, which killed a number of civilians. Still, that news will fit nicely into AQAP's narrative.
Instead, al-'Abab's appearance reminded me of this brief from News Yemen that I read over the weekend. The brief mentions that Yemen has released 'Imad and 'Abdullah bin Hamil after holding them for more than a month in a vain attempt to force the hand of a third brother that the government believes is a member of AQAP.
Yemen, of course, also attempted this tactic with al-'Abab's three brothers - in a case Muhammad al-Ahmadi has detailed wonderfully in a report I can't locate at the moment - but with little luck there as well. And, also with the eldest brother of the al-Rabi'i family. No luck there either.
Finally, and also on the AQAP front I read this curious piece from Jeff Stein's blog at the Washington Post, SpyTalk, of which I am a fan.
In his post about possible links between the PSO and al-Qaeda - this has long been alleged, although the NSB seems to be handling most of the AQAP portfolio at the moment - he quotes the "reliable Paris-based Intelligence Online newsletter:"
"In 2006," the IO newsletter continues, "Political Security let Nasser al-Wahayshi, the former secretary of Osama bin Laden, and a dozen of his associates escape from prison in Sanaa. The escapees are believed to have established jihadists camps in the province of Chabwa, to the east of Sanaa. Political Security is run by Ghaled al-Qimch, President Ali Abdallah Saleh’s trusted right hand man."
Now I know nothing about the Intelligence Online newsletter, but I would be wary of calling something reliable when it can't even get the name of the top official in the PSO correct (I will leave off the French transliteration of a shin as ch). The correct name is Ghalib Mutahir al-Qamish.
Names matter, as the countless lists of terrorism suspects demonstrate. Just because they are foreign and hard to pronounce doesn't mean they aren't important.
Long hidden under trees, it's utterly massive
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- Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
Christmas has many pagan and secular traditions that early Christians incorporated into this new holiday.
- Christmas was heavily influenced by the Roman festival of Saturnalia.
- The historical Jesus was not born on December 25th as many contemporary Christians believe.
- Many staple Christmas traditions predated the festival and were tied into ancient pagan worship of the sun and related directly to the winter solstice.
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