Walking back the Truce
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.
I have had some more conversations today about the truce that al-Ghad reported, and at least some government sources are pouring cold water on the report. This is the first indication that all might not be quite like what al-Ghad reported on Sunday.
As one well-connected Yemeni told me, Tariq al-Fadhli does not have great contacts in the new generation of al-Qaeda. While I agree that this is true, it also isn't that difficult to get in contact with them. I know I have personally spoken to members of the older generation of al-Qaeda in Yemen, who are being vilified by the younger generation, and they were still able to get messages back and forth.
Also, it seems more likely that the mediation with al-Fadhli had more to do with Abyan and the Islamists there than it did with al-Qaeda. Still, al-Ghad has consistently published some of the best stuff on al-Qaeda in Yemen over the past two years so it is difficult to discount their reporting immediately.
It will take a while for this to all shake out, but for the moment, I continue to be skeptical of the report.
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