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Guest Thinkers

Lost in Translation, Again

Well it turns out DC didn’t have that much snow after all, but on the plus side I was able to renew my love affair with Amtrak, which even a one-hour delay couldn’t damage, and I got home just in time to receive my new Mac Book. It is so pretty I might not even use it.

I did have the chance over the past couple of days to speak with a number of people (some different and some the same individuals a number of times) about the election delays in Yemen. For my money, this is yet another in a long line of lost in translation debacles between the US and Yemen. For those who have been following Yemeni affairs for at least a couple of years think back to US Ambassador Thomas Krajeski’s remarks on democracy in Yemen.

I don’t have any inside information on the discussions between the US and Yemen, but I imagine it went something like this:

What the US said: We would really, really like the JMP to participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

What Yemen heard: Don’t bother having elections if the JMP doesn’t participate.

Then of course Yemen delayed the elections – I still think this is a win for the JMP – and was surprised and angered when the US responded with what I read as a largely pro-forma statement, but which is being seen in San’a as a slap.

In other news, the Ministry of Information is promising to release pictures and names of 155 terrorist suspects, I’m waiting to see if they shuffle the deck again, and mix al-Huthi supporters in with al-Qaeda suspects. Still it should be good to see who they think is at large, especially following the release of a number of prisoners in recent weeks.


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