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Guest Thinkers

Catching Up

I will be traveling for the rest of the week, consequently postings will be sporadic. I will, however, do my best to post from the road and the hotel. But no promises. For the moment, I will say that my thoughts on AQAP and the attempted assassination of Muhammad bin Nayif will be published at the end of the week so stay tuned.

In other news, Yemen Post is finally reporting the news from Sa’dah I mentioned last week – the death of al-Huthi spokesman Salih Habra. I am often wary of linking to Yemen Post given some of the mistaken reporting it has produced in the past, but I am making an exception as this is confirming what I was told earlier.

Also, I am wary of the increasing talk in the western press about a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia in Yemen. This is unhelpful at best and misleading at worst.

Alistair Lyon also has this overview of Salih’s hold on power in Yemen – I particularly enjoyed the part of the piece in which Yemen’s Foreign Minister al-Qirbi suggested that Yemen has seen and survived far worse. Al-Qirbi told me much the same thing in my meeting with him earlier this year and another prominent presidential adviser suggested I read hauliyat al-yamaniyya – a chronicle of the 19th century – for an idea of how much Yemen had overcome. For instance, this individual told me: “Greg, the Imam used to get robbed by tribesmen when he would leave San’a. Look how much better off we are today.”

I continue to appreciate how difficult it must be to remain optimistic in the face of so many negative indicators, but I’m not sure setting the bar so low is really the way to go.


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