Thursday Papers

Presumably there is more news than me finally being able to transfer al-Wahayshi's latest speech on to my i-pod so that I can listen to his creaking voice as I manuever around campus.

The news services are following what we have been reporting for a couple of days now, and saying that parliamentary elections will be delayed two years, which had no problem getting through parliament. Reuters' report is here and AFP is here.

In al-Sharq al-Awsat it is good to see Husayn al-Jarabani and Arafat Madabish working together.

Mareb Press and al-Hayat have stories about Salih's trip to Moscow and the negotiating over slashing a 1.2 billion dollar debt that Yemen owes Russia possibly in exchange for Russia getting a piece of an estimated $ 4 billion military modernization program. Here is an AFP story on the subject.

Included in the potential deal for Yemen would be a number of Mig 29s. Over the past few years Yemen has had a serious problem with these planes crashing. Khlalid al-Hammadi of al-Quds al-Arabi wrote an incredibly good investigative report on this for which he was later roughed up.

Last summer a Yemeni delegation to Russia failed to gain some much needed military hardware, which some have speculated led to the surprise cease-fire between President Salih and 'Abd al-Malik al-Huthi on July 17. (I wrote a report on this as well as Salih's maneuvering against Al- Muhsin al-Ahmar, portions of which I later presented at a conference. I can't find the report on-line so I can't really link to it.) Since then the government has been careful to distance itself from the conflict and maintain it on low-heat. But now that the elections have been postponed and it looks like Yemen is going to be getting some new military toys this could mean bad things for the conflict, particularly with the recent surge of fighting in al-Jawf.

It is foolish, of course, to predict the exact timing of renewed fighting, but certainly outside events are aligning to make renewed fighting more of a possibility than it has been since July.

In other news, News Yemen is also reporting that three individuals were arrested in San'a on Monday in a surprise raid on a house in the district. We'll see if we can get some names.

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