If at first you don't succeed (secede) ...

I go out of town for a while only to return having learned two things. First, never, ever go to the driving range in sandals and second, our excessively shy readership is starting to come out of its shell.

But before we get to the questions, a quick review is in order. For those who missed it - like Waq al-waq - Ali Salim al-Bid, the former president of PDRY and then vice president of the YAR, broke his 15 year silence and gave a press conference in Munich calling for secession and the reclaiming of a southern country with Aden as its capital. Presumably his silence had been part of his arrangement with Oman, which promptly stripped him of his citizenship. (I'm not sure how long al-Bid is going to be staying in Germany, but maybe he and Yahya al-Huthi can get together for a meet-and-greet.)

The Yemeni government has ignored al-Bid's statement, as reported in this intriguing piece by Arafat Madabish (the editor of al-Tagheer). Madabish reports that in lieu of a government response, Friday preachers stepped up and attacked al-Bid. It would be really interesting to know which mosques Madabish is quoting in his piece - I have a couple of theories - but it seems clear they are mostly from San'a. It is unclear whether the government A) doesn't know how to respond to al-Bid or B) doesn't want to dignify his call with an official response. Neither scenario speaks well of the decision making apparatus at the moment.

This News Yemen piece claims that 74 people were arrested, while the JMP is calling for their release. This in itself is not particularly interesting, but I think the broader implications are. The JMP in Aden is calling for the release of prisoners, while prominent JMP officials (read Islah) are working with president and calling for the support of Yemen's unity, so what happens if and when political functionaries in different parts of the country realize that their constituency is not national, but rather local? Does this mean that we will start to see splits within parties? I've never been a particularly big fan of explaining Yemen through political parties (I think there are a number of other competing allegiances that have a great pull on many and that do a better job of explaining the country), but this is yet another (add it to the list) of worrying trends.

But now for Alle's prescient question: how much support does TAJ have domestically?

I'm tempted to say that asking this is a lot like asking how many books Cass Sunstein is going to publish this year? (Seriously, this guy has to rival Hitchens and Posner.) But that just isn't up to Waq al-waq's standards, even on a weekend that is given over to spy novels.

The short answer is that no one knows. And any one who thinks they do is either lying or a fool, and probably both. Many of the exiled leaders, al-Bid, Attas and Ali Nasir Muhammad all still have support within the south, but they like TAJ seem to lack any sort of control over exactly what is happening. This is not an uprising of their own planning, but that doesn't mean they won't attempt to capitalize on it. Currently, there are so many different groups and opposition movements aligned against the government - without necessarily making common cause with each other - that it is nearly impossible to determine who has control, because no one does. Certain groups or individuals are more powerful in particular areas, but no one has a firm grip on where the Southern Movement is going, which is really only held together by a common frustration and anger with the north. This anger is also present in other places within Yemen, but in the south these grievances can be seamlessly entered into the historical narrative that has been built up since 1994.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Dead – yes, dead – tardigrade found beneath Antarctica

A completely unexpected discovery beneath the ice.

(Goldstein Lab/Wkikpedia/Tigerspaws/Big Think)
Surprising Science
  • Scientists find remains of a tardigrade and crustaceans in a deep, frozen Antarctic lake.
  • The creatures' origin is unknown, and further study is ongoing.
  • Biology speaks up about Antarctica's history.
Keep reading Show less

This 1997 Jeff Bezos interview proves he saw the future coming

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, explains his plan for success.

Technology & Innovation
  • Jeff Bezos had a clear vision for Amazon.com from the start.
  • He was inspired by a statistic he learned while working at a hedge fund: In the '90s, web usage was growing at 2,300% a year.
  • Bezos explains why books, in particular, make for a perfect item to sell on the internet.
Keep reading Show less

Why are women more religious than men? Because men are more willing to take risks.

It's one factor that can help explain the religiosity gap.

Photo credit: Alina Strong on Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • Sociologists have long observed a gap between the religiosity of men and women.
  • A recent study used data from several national surveys to compare religiosity, risk-taking preferences and demographic information among more than 20,000 American adolescents.
  • The results suggest that risk-taking preferences might partly explain the gender differences in religiosity.
Keep reading Show less