Monday Papers: or all three insurgencies
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.
In today's version of the daily papers - late, as usual- I attempt to comment on all three of Yemen's security crises.
First, up is the al-Qaeda threat and the finances of AQAP. I commented yesterday on the cell phone video featuring AQAP's deputy commander and former Guantanamo detainee Said Ali al-Shihri, and I believe that this helps to shed a bit of light on what is known about the group's financial recruiting attempts.
I should point out that I don't think that this shows that the group is hurting for cash, anyone who watches the videos should understand this. It seems as though these cell videos are recorded and kept on a phone and then that phone is sent with an individual or group into Saudi Arabia where they are shown to potential donors. This helps AQAP avoid detection that would come through using cell phones to place calls or e-mail. Instead, the group uses the cell phone as a hand held camera that is then hand delivered to multiple recipients. This style matches what I was told in Yemen about AQAP members using cell phone videos to help with recruitment among the tribes, which I mentioned in my latest article for the CTC Sentinel.
Another aspect of the cell phone videos, although I think this applies more to propaganda than it does to soliciting aid is taking a video to a mall in Saudi where everyone has their Blue Tooth on and sending it out that way. But, again, I don't think this is the case with video's like al-Shihri's.
Al-Sharq al-Awsat is reporting on the deaths of three commanders from Yemen's list of 55.
Strangely, the last name, Husayn Da'an, does not show up on the list of 55 that I possess. (It is not beyond the realm of possibility that there are multiple lists.)
One of my new favorite blogs - The Boursa Exchange - weighs in with part two of their translation of the interview with 'Abd al-Malik al-Huthi. Their new found interest in Yemen - even if only temporarily has earned them a coveted spot on Waq al-waq's blogroll. Congratulations.
Well, we hadn't heard about any problems in the south for a while and so it seems someone figured now was as good a time as any to join the party. Who exactly, depends on the source. Some - the government - claims that al-Fadhli's followers stole a car and some - al-Fadhli - claim that the government attempted to arrest a member of al-Fadhli's family.
Marib Press and News Yemen weigh in.
Never the Twain Shall Meet
Finally, it seems that what Waq al-waq brought to the English-speaking world's notice yesterday has captured the attention and, dare I say, imagination of a few journalists. Nothing like the death of a former Guantanamo Bay detainee to send folks scrambling. Let me just add a few words of caution - first, no one seems to know what is going on besides the fact that these bodies were found near the old city of Sa'dah (found does not mean killed there and two Saudis is not a comprehensive list). So I would be wary of following the reporting that they were killed fighting with the Huthis against the government. As we used to say back home - that dog don't hunt.
But rest assured in my massive amount of free time I am checking out the rumors and separating fact from fiction.
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