Thursday Papers: If You Want Peace, here are the Conditions
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.
Today's papers are full of news of the continuing conflict in the North. In English Heather Murdock has this curious offering from the Global Post in which she kills off 'Abd al-Malik al-Huthi. Hmmm.
On the other end of the spectrum Khaled Fattah gives us this in-depth piece on the roots of the Huthi conflict. As usual I don't necessarily agree with everything Khaled says - and al-Wadi'i died in 2001 - but his explanation of the far-reaching consequences of the US-led "War on terror" is a good antidote to my tendency to focus so exclusively on the local roots of the conflict. I would highly recommend this piece for anyone looking to make sense of the fighting.
In Arabic, Mareb Press has this article discussing a call from Shaykh Husayn Ahmad al-'Arwali of Abyan for a new mediation team headed by Ahmad Ali, the president's son, and Ali Nasir Muhammad, the former President of South Yemen. Anybody for odds on the likelihood of this happening? (Also I am having difficulty locating this tribe on my personal tribal map - yes, I have one - anyone with any more information?)
Al-Jazeera also has this report from Murad Hashim - its brave correspondent in Yemen who continues to file reports despite death threats and as he watches his colleagues get picked off by security goons - on the visit to parliament of Yemeni officials to explain the war in Sa'dah.
My favorite part is in the video when Rashad al-'Alimi says in reference to the Huthis: "You want peace? Ok, here are the conditions. But they refused." As if it was as simple as that, or as if the conditions were really a good faith effort at starting negotiations as opposed to providing the thinnest of diplomatic covers for the government's continuing operations in the north.
Meanwhile, the government claims that it has arrested three arms dealers in the north - no names provided - while the Huthis claim they have taken over Minabbih, which is about 90 kilometers northwest of the capital, Sa'dah. The district has traditionally been under the leadership of the Banu Minabbih clan of the Khawlan bin 'Amir tribe.
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