Throught a Glass Darkly

I've said this before, but sometimes things bear repeating. Plus, I don't always have new ideas. But I think an incident from today in Shabwa illustrates the difficulties of assigning blame for violent acts in Yemen and determining what exactly is going on in the country.

Through the luck of the click - during a work break today - I read three separate Arabic news briefs on the same incident, all of which had a slightly different take.

The first one was an article from al-Tagheer, which has now been up-dated, stating that a military officer, Ali al-Thawaba, was killed by gunmen today in Ataq, the capital of Shabwa.

Of course given the current environment in Shabwa, one's first thought on unknown assailants gunning down a military officer is that it was al-Qaeda.

Not so fast. The next article, from Mareb Press, says that not only was Ali al-Thawaba killed but his son was wounded. But Mareb Press attributes it to a case of tribal revenge.

After that News Yemen fills in some of the details, reporting that al-Thawaba is from al-Jawf, and is a member of the Daham tribe from Dhu Muhammad, but they come to a different conclusion, suggesting al-Qaeda. A conclusion the AFP feels comfortable running with.

Now, I have no idea what the truth of the various claims are. It easily could have been a case of tribal revenge, an al-Qaeda attack, or even something else entirely.

My point is this: the details of events are important. There is a lot of violence in Yemen and not all of it is related to al-Qaeda. In Yemen it is important to remember that just because something (to us on the outside) looks like al-Qaeda, sounds like al-Qaeda and, at times, acts like al-Qaeda doesn't necessarily mean it is al-Qaeda. Violent acts in murky places are difficult to analyze, which is why most people I respect on Yemen still say they are struggling to figure out exactly what is going on in Abyan and Shabwa. The picture is far too muddy for the type of cut-and-dried analysis most want.

Finally, I know there are a number of comments/questions in the comments section of Waqal-waq that I have yet to address. My apologies. I have no real excuse other than the fact that I control my own schedule and my time management skills are not what one would call immaculate. I will get to them, it just may take some time. Thanks for your patience.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less

Golden blood: the rarest blood in the world

We explore the history of blood types and how they are classified to find out what makes the Rh-null type important to science and dangerous for those who live with it.

Abid Katib/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • Fewer than 50 people worldwide have 'golden blood' — or Rh-null.
  • Blood is considered Rh-null if it lacks all of the 61 possible antigens in the Rh system.
  • It's also very dangerous to live with this blood type, as so few people have it.
Keep reading Show less

Want to age gracefully? A new study says live meaningfully

Thinking your life is worthwhile is correlated with a variety of positive outcomes.

YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • A new study finds that adults who feel their lives are meaningful have better health and life outcomes.
  • Adults who felt their lives were worthwhile tended to be more social and had healthier habits.
  • The findings could be used to help improve the health of older adults.
Keep reading Show less