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Guest Thinkers

Friday Papers

Faysal Mukrim of al-Hayat has a decent overview of a number of recent events in Yemen. He mentions the transfer of al-‘Awfi, al-Wahayshi’s recent audio tape and he says that Yemeni authorities claim to have arrested roughly 30 al-Qaeda suspects, including seven Saudis, over the past few weeks.

He also reports that the US has lost its third UAV in two weeks. This time it crashed on the island of Soqotra. Mukrim reports that sources on the island are saying that the UAV crashed three days ago. And, of course, President Salih renewed his request that the US release the Yemenis in Guantanamo and return Shaykh al-Mu’ayyad.

Al-Hayat also has a piece on some Yemeni Jews leaving the country for Israel. You can read more the story in English at the BBC, which speculates that the Jews were fleeing from militants associated with al-Qaeda. I’m not sure if it is this clear, but then again I’m comfortable with a certain degree of ambiguity and nuance. Not all militants in Yemen are al-Qaeda.

One other report that should be highlighted here is al-Ghad’s recent report on the potential for another round of the al-Huthi conflict. This time in al-Jawf between what the paper is calling al-Huthi supporters and the al-Shawlan tribe, which is supported by the government (although there are many who would claim that the tribe is acting independently – I’m less convinced).

This is important not only for the al-Huthi conflict, but also because the Yemeni government continues to be strapped for cash and it has proven in the past that it is incapable of handling more than one crisis at a time. If the al-Huthi conflict flares back up, it is likely that the government will be unable to devote more resources to tracking down al-Qaeda. As always, the less stable Yemen is the more opportunities there are for non-state actors to evolve and grow in the space that is opened up for them.


Up Next
Ginny Hill has written a couple of articles over the past few days on Yemen and Guantanamo and al-Qaeda and failed states. The first is at Open Democracy and provides […]