First, of course, is the blogshocking news that Waq al-Waq is leaving the safe confines of blogspot in order to go to The Big Think. You can access it here. Hopefully, this will get more people reading Greg, which is always a good thing. It goes without saying that his always-amazing analysis has survived the mood.
Carnegie has video up of last week's talk about Yemen by John Brennan, assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. He talks about a comprehensive strategy that isn't just CT, but we'll believe that when we see more tangible evidence. Again, I think CT is the most immediately important step, but it has to be done in tandem with other things, to alter impressions. And also to do good, but I'm speaking from a strict policy standpoint.
Alex in Jordan was kind enough to send out this AFP story about the Holder interview (and I like to have wire stories in unusual places). This is my favorite line.
"He's on the same list with Ben Laden," said US Attorney General Eric Holder, speaking on US television.
"He's up there - one, two, three, four. I don't know. He's on the list of people that worry me the most," Holder told ABC television news.
I like Holder, and the charitable interpretation is that he is just saying what people want to hear, but in reality al-Awlaki is number 100. But I doubt that is the case.
Although, to be perfectly fair, the AG is far more concerned with things that are going on inside his country. Holder is not in charge of the CIA. Al-Awlaki has American citizenship and seems tasked with getting dummies in the US to blow shit up. These actions fall far more under Holder's writ than CT inside Yemen. That said, this seems to pretty much reflect the mentality of the political and media class about al-Awlaki's importance.
Finally, here's a press release out of Darien, CT. Darien is having a lecture series in Jan/Feb about the Arabian Peninsula, featuring heavyweights like Chris Boucek, Barbara Bodine, Isobel Coleman and David Ottaway. Your blogger will be there on the 20th, talking about how AQAP multiplies the rest of the threats inside Yemen. Darien is very close to NYC, so make your plans now. Now!