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Guest Thinkers

The Deal that was

Having finally caught up, at least for the day, with various projects I decided to tackle the multiplying piles of reading I had beside my desk. But an early article on a tribal dispute in Marib and Shabwa waylaid me and led me into the labyrinth of tribal genealogies, particularly the Murad and al-‘Awaliq tribes and their many, many subdivisions. Some very interesting history there.

But I will tease a couple of things I meant to get to but was unable to – first on the growing wave of Guantanamo rumors there is this interview that President Salih gave to al-Jazeera recently (the al-Tagheer date says September 11, but I’m unsure if that is the original one). Among other things, he talks about Iran’s offer to serve as a secret mediator (clearly evidence that they are supporting the Huthis). I also doubt that his estimate of 12 al-Qaeda members is quite spot-on.

On Guantanamo he says, tantalizingly, that Yemen had a deal in principle with the Bush administration to build a rehabilitation center but that the Obama administration came in and wanted to send the Yemenis to Saudi, which Yemen has refused. As Salih says in his answer to the next question, “we are ready to receive them.”

The next brief is on ‘Abd al-Malik al-Huthi (Not ‘Abd al-Huthi as one journalist had it recently, which translates a bit funny.) and his statement that he is ready for an immediate end to the war without conditions. He says as much in his letter to the Secretary General of the UN. The text of which is published on his website and by al-Tagheer.


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