"Let nothing human be alien to me"- Terence

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A few links

Don't have much time for analysis today, so here are a few links of interest. 

Here's a story about massive protests over power cuts.  Violence is sexy and draws the headlines, but in a faltering state with deep mistrust- often outright hatred- of the government, annoyances throughout daily life can explode.  It reminds me of a part in the great biography of the old Mayor Daley and his Chicago, Boss, by the inimitable Mike Royko (and he is inimitable, so stop freaking trying, John Kass), about the 1967 riots.  The proximate cause was the fire department closing hydrants on the west side, to save water, while white kids in the north were allowed to frolic at their leisure.  This was the last straw, and huge swaths of the city burned.  Daley, who thought everything could be fixed with projects and buildings, quickly trucked in pools and let the hydrants flow and built swimming structures.  As Royko said, if Chicago didn't have the happiest blacks, it "at least had the wettest ones."  This of course ignored the underpinnings of discontent.   It is a difficult dance- daily grievances exacerbate discontent, but the roots don't go away with band-aid gestures.

Here are a couple of stories about AQAP, its evolving leadership, and stepped-up tactics by the Yemeni government.   AQAP is getting a deeper bench and growing stronger roots- indeed, it inspires any number of hackneyed and mixed metaphors. This just underscores the ultimate futility of relying solely or even largely on military methods.   Military and intelligence action is indispensable to avoid attacks in the short-term, but we'll be risk being stuck in that mode forever.   

1 comment:

  1. Brian, this links in with your previous comments about “you can’t build a well while people are shooting, but you can’t stop shooting until you have a well” I note in this link http://www.sabanews.net/en/news223157.htm that President Saleh recently attended a Quranic recitation evening and gave an interesting speech aimed at soft security and alternative ways of combating Jihadi Militancy. This forms part of what is a clear campaign by the government to promote moderate Islam, targeted at the youth. Western media may not pick this up but in conjunction with a military strategy it forms an essential part of the overall campaign plan as proven in other Middle Eastern countries.