Battle of Marib Video
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.
The new video AQAP posted on the Battle of Marib today - September 8 - is by far the most technologically impressive piece of propaganda I have seen it produce to date. (Sure the line of tanks in full advance was a bit much, but Qasim al-Raymi made some powerful points.) Also showing the "spoils" of victory was an interesting trick, essentially turning the government's tactic on its head, as the government usually lays out the weapons and material it captures from al-Qaeda for the media.
But interviews with the seven captured soldiers not only back-up AQ's claims that it did what it said it did - I think al-Raymi's point here about people turning to Internet forums to get the real story, while interspersed with al-Lawzi's press conference was particularly powerful - but also show how it is attempting to take the moral high road at least domestically in Yemen.
The narrative of the video fits quite nicely into the framework that AQ has been attempting to establish for itself locally and it is quite convincingly done.
It is hard to judge the power of either videos like this or issues of Sada al-Malahim on recruiting, but certainly people in Yemen are aware of them and al-Qaeda is growing in strength and is doing an increasingly good job in fitting every new event into its framework of the conflict in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the Peninsula, which is beginning to have a powerful cumulative effect.
Giving our solar system a "slap in the face"
- A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
- Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
The climate change we're witnessing is more dramatic than we might think.
A lazy buzz phrase – 'Is this the new normal?' – has been doing the rounds as extreme climate events have been piling up over the past year. To which the riposte should be: it's worse than that – we're on the road to even more frequent, more extreme events than we saw this year.
Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.
- Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
- While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
- Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
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