Lies, Lies and More Lies says AQAP

Just because I am busy this week doesn't mean I don't have time for the really important things in life like catching a few minutes of the Liverpool v. Chelsea match, listening to a very engaging and provocative talk on law in Saudi Arabia (I was glad to see Frank Vogel referenced) and, of course, reading and thinking about today's new statement from AQAP.

The statement, entitled (loosely) "Lies from the Ministry of the Interior" takes issue with what it claims (not surprisingly) is the attitude and practice of lies and imaginary victories put forth by the MOI in order to stay in the good graces of the West and the Saudis.

Particularly, it points to what it calls a recent attack on Shabwa, in which the Yemeni government claimed to have arrested 10 people linked to Qasim al-Raymi's cell. That, according to the statement, is untrue - there were 6 "tribesmen" arrested. Here is where it really starts to get murky.

I'm not sure exactly what "attack" the statement is referring to (some are speculating that it was the operation that captured al-'Awfi, but I'm not sure) - and I haven't heard anyone from the Yemeni government link anyone arrested in Shabwa to Qasim al-Raymi. Well, the Minister of the Interior did two days ago in questions in front of parliament, but this is much too late to have been what the statement was referring to.

Still, those who want to read through the Arabic and propose different readings are welcome, if nothing else it is a good exercise to see how many Arabic synonyms one knows for "lies."

The most worrisome part, in my view, is at the end when it threatens more suicide attacks. The last time al-Qaeda put out a statement denying government claims and threatening more attacks was on August 19, 2008 after the Tarim attack - the wording of that statement, at least at the end, is fairly similar to the wording that concludes this statement. The August 2008 statement, of course, preceded the attack on the US Embassy. Not saying such an attack is imminent or even being planned, just that this can't - in anyone's world - be considered a positive development.

Ideology drives us apart. Neuroscience can bring us back together.

A guide to making difficult conversations possible—and peaceful—in an increasingly polarized nation.

  • How can we reach out to people on the other side of the divide? Get to know the other person as a human being before you get to know them as a set of tribal political beliefs, says Sarah Ruger. Don't launch straight into the difficult topics—connect on a more basic level first.
  • To bond, use icebreakers backed by neuroscience and psychology: Share a meal, watch some comedy, see awe-inspiring art, go on a tough hike together—sharing tribulation helps break down some of the mental barriers we have between us. Then, get down to talking, putting your humanity before your ideology.
  • The Charles Koch Foundation is committed to understanding what drives intolerance and the best ways to cure it. The foundation supports interdisciplinary research to overcome intolerance, new models for peaceful interactions, and experiments that can heal fractured communities. For more information, visit

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
Keep reading Show less