Kidnapping Update (Updated)
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 papers, at least in my cursory read this morning, are fairly quiet, although there is this interesting brief from UPI Arabic that ran in al-Quds al-Arabi. The piece revolves around friend of Waq al-waq, Abdulilah al-Sha'ya and his statement that al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has denied any involvement in last month's kidnapping in Sa'dah.
I am not taking this to be an official statement although Abdulilah has good sources within the organization. Also it should be noted that from the beginning he has argued that AQAP was not involved, something I questioned at the time despite my respect for his opinion and analysis. Also, I found it interesting that the article did not mention the fact the victims were missionaries as well as the fact that it claimed that killing women and hostages was not something AQ did, which of course is demonstrably untrue.
For most of us, I imagine we'll have to wait until Sada al-Malahim comes out later this month to see if AQAP publishes a statement of denial. This is something the organization has done before. For instance, in issue 2 it claimed the guy who kept speaking to al-Wasat on its behalf was not an AQ spokesman.
Also, I will be traveling this weekend - wedding bells and all that (not mine) - and postings will be sporadic to non-existent. Brian is in charge while I'm away. Play nice.
Update: Apparently I can't spell - even rushing to catch a flight is no excuse for the typo in line one, which has now been corrected. Apologies all around.
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