Lies, Lies and More Lies says AQAP
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.
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.
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