Haley Sweetland Edwards has an article about the politics of killing Anwar al-Awlaki, who has become famous beyond his narrow, grandiose dreams (and no, that is not a contradiction, I promise). While I think his status is overrated, she does bring up the good point that "While al-Shihri and Rubaish might have more influence over when and where the next suicide attacks will occur, Awlaki arguably has more influence over whether or not the attackers themselves will be Americans or Europeans, who can slip by security checkpoints and access sensitive sites on American soil." I tend to dismiss that, because I am arrogant and enjoy dismissing things with a cruel wave of my hand (the effect is admittedly ruined when I am typing in my pajamas). But I do think it is important to understand the role English can play, as the jihadi world is expanding. I just am not sure that al-Awlaki actually plays that role. However, we are feeding into his fame, and that is something which can snowball exponentially.
There is a report here about the "upstream fiscal impacts enacted in Yemen's oil and gas industry". Well, the abstract at least. Buying the full report is some 1400 pounds. Any reader with 1400 pounds to spare? I think it would be an interesting read, as it seems to detail where the money goes and the nature of business in Yemen. It is often in dry reports that you get the measure of a country. Sorry for the tease, but if anyone knows how I could access that without selling my car or quitting smoking that would be appreciated.
Finally, The Economist weighs in with a longish article about Salih and his problems. It is largely standard stuff, and most of it wouldn't come as a surprise to people who follow this (which isn't to say it is not a good article). What I found most intriguing was a couple of paragraphs about the South. There is one quote which shows, I think, how bad things have gotten. Of course, it is one quote, and take it with all the salt you want.
Aden’s governor claims that 100% of people in his city favour unity. But on the street, three people in one day begged this correspondent not to quote them for fear of being killed by police, then whispered a bitter litany of complaints. “If I were to argue for federalism, I would be stoned to death,” says an intellectual. “People want full independence or nothing.”
The article also mentions that there are rumors of a deal wherein Salih grants the South more autonomy in exchange for their leaders supporting another, extra-Constitutional term for Salih. The democrat in me revolts, but any deal has to give the South more autonomy. It does seem like a grand bargain, but only for the south. All the other problems Salih has accumulated would only be heightened by a grab for more power. Still, it is intriguing, and something I need to think more about. What kind of deal can be made? Readers are invited to hash it out below.