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.
Some in Yemen are worried about the potential influence of Saudi Arabia and the kingdom's religious thought on Yemen, following a meeting Sunday in San'a between Islamists from both countries. This has been a continuing trend in Yemen, particularly following the fatwa that 'Abd al-Majid al-Raymi gave last year on establishing a committee for the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice. The committee had the support of both Sadiq al-Ahmar and Shaykh 'Abd al-Majid al-Zindani. It had its conference last year, but little has happened since.
Al-Sharq al-Awsat tells us what we already know about the al-Huthi conflict, mentioning only that the government would neither confirm nor deny the story about the recent clashes in Ghamr.
The League of the Sons of Yemen announces the party's new leadership today in San'a.
Al-Ghad reports on smuggling problems in Hudaydah - although why this is news, I have no idea. Maybe just the official document that is scanned with the article, anyone with loads of time can read it with a magnifying glass. But really, drive up and down Yemen's western coast and you can meet all sorts of smugglers who are willing to sell nearly anything. It is quite a lucrative trade.
And as always, more glider news from Soqotra.
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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.
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