"Let nothing human be alien to me"- Terence

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A few links, Yemen-related

Chris Boucek has a new book out on Yemen: Yemen on the Brink, published by Carnegie.  I think it is a collection of essays (the titles look familiar).  Put this on the "to-read" list, for sure.  Chris' insights and research are always extremely valuable.

Oliver Holmes has a gripping story in Time about the children of Sada'a- they have known war and displacement for 6 years; there is no way that doesn't warp you.  Along with the basic demographic and environmental issues Yemen is facing in the medium-to-long term (and yes, the short) this will only add pressure. It could be noted that if things continue to go poorly in the south you can have a pincer movement of trauma.

This makes twice today I've linked to Time, which I think puts the total times this blog has done so at two. 

Finally, here's a story about what else was potentially foiled in the Hawta battle: a "plot to kill senior military officials and foreign targets".   This is fairly predictable, even if it doesn't fit our usual conception of terrorism.  AQAP will strike at the US or Europe or elsewhere if the opportunity presents itself, but right now it is focused on destabilizing the government through attacks and assassinations.   This is why I think it is useful to look at them as primarily a rebel group with ultimate jihadi goals.  They aren't entirely a rebel group, like say the Houthis, but many of their motives and methods are the same.  It will be interesting to see how it plays out as they more prominent in the jihad community and continue to attract foreign fighters, many of whom won't really care about the immediate Yemeni goals.  I think whether or not the organization can survive will depend on how much influence al-Wuhayshi will be able to impose on his new troops.  If they can keep his vision and patience as a guiding light, they will continue to grow as a threat, perhaps exponentially.  If not, the leadership of AQAP has shown no revulsion at taking out their own- which could provide a fatal distraction.  I am not currently willing to hazard a guess as to which way it will go, but an influx of fighters could provide a way to destabilize the group itself.

This seems like it should be its own post once I get my head around what I am trying to say.  

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