"Let nothing human be alien to me"- Terence

Friday, March 5, 2010

Some Yemen Articles

Several analytical ones, actually.  We'll start with Jamestown, which has "An Assessment of the Anatomy of al-Qaeda in Yemen: Ideological and Social Factors," an unfortunate name for a good look at how AQAP is constituted.  Murad Batal al-Shishani's article also does a valuable service in talking about how al-Qaeda and other militants can recruit in the south of Yemen.  While the article doesn't make this explicit, it helps to illustrate how, again, the south is not monolithic in its political desires.   To be clear, despite a letter by AQAP emir Nasir al-Wuhayshi claiming solidarity with the Southern Movement, there is no real link other than an emotive one.  But that doesn't mean everyone in the south is clamoring for a secular democracy.  Indeed, there is Islamist militancy down there, both part of and separate from Qaeda.  And what is interesting is that many of the same complaints- the government's lack of concern, its oppression, terrible economic conditions- that fuel the southern movement also inflame less-temporal militancy.   This is a very valuable article to read, but also look at the slight dispute Gregg at The Majlis has with the piece.

Mohammed al-Qadhi in The National has an article on how governmental compensation for dead civilians is not enough in the south.   On Dec. 17th, in an attack on Qaeda militants, the government killed around 50 civilians (as well as a disputed amount of Qaeda- the government number dropped from 34 to 14).  This horrific waste has done as much as anything to keep the Southern Movement aflame, and shows the interlocking gears of the three rebellions.  Al-Qaeda isn't locked into a defined territory, as we all know.  When the government goes after them, with their not-exactly-surgical-precision, civilians stand a good chance of being killed.  The official government response- apologies, money, but no one taking a fall- only seems to heighten the idea that it is a cold and distant body, unconcerned except on the basest level with the south.  Combined with its other actions, an attack on AQAP can also be easily conspiratorialized as a blow to the Southern Movement. 

Speaking of the south, Nasser Arrabyee has a good article on how professional opportunist Tariq al-Fahdli is trying to lower the political temperature down there.  As always, a great article.  My feeling is that al-Fahdli thinks this might be moving too fast and is maybe getting away from him.  He didn't switch sides not to be in charge and be able to cash in.

Here's one on how- stunningly- Yemen might still not be the best investment climate.  Snark aside, it goes to a point we've been saying for a while: natural gas probably isn't going to save Yemen.  It is too long-term, too volatile, and will not be able to solve any immediate needs.  It also extensively quotes AJG friend Chris Boucek, so you know it is good.

The last one is a really long post, so I think we're going to break it up a bit. 

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