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 much the same way Hosni Mubarak (former president of Egypt) constantly and consistently made the argument that he was the only thing standing between Egypt and a radical Islamic takeover of the country, President Ali Abdullah Salih of Yemen is arguing that he is the only thing preventing Yemen from sliding into chaos.
Outsiders without much experience in Yemen, who look at the country, may wonder how anyone could believe him, after all Yemen has an on-again, off-again civil war in the north, a vibrant al-Qaeda franchise, and increasingly active secessionist movement in the south. Not to mention a horrible economy, a lack of jobs, and, well the list goes on and on and on. And on. (nothing like beating a dead horse.)
But of course (and I've been accused of taking a Malthusian tone towards Yemen) things could always be worse. And in Yemen, they could be a lot worse.
It is important to remember that is not just an argument - Salih or chaos - that the president is making to western powers, this is also something he is saying in Arabic and trying to convince tribal leaders and other dignitaries of the truth of his claim. We'll see if they're buying what he is selling.
New research links urban planning and political polarization.
- Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
- Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
- People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- 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
Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.
- Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
- What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
- Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
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