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Guest Thinkers

Week in Review: Respect Yourself

Yemen took a number of hits this week – what’s new? – including this report by Human Rights Watch, calling for investigations into past war crimes in Sa ‘dah. I’m not sold that it would be a good idea to ask the Huthis to carry out investigations and, presumably, carry out extra-judicial punishments.

Still the report does a good job of bring a lot of attention to bear on an often misunderstood conflict, as I mention in this report by Charles Fromm. (There is still much of the history of this war that is left to be written, I know as I have just spent weeks of my free time piecing together a history of the first three rounds.)

But in a positive step that nearly everyone missed, a report on land seizures was delivered to parliament. And, as should be expected with such an incendiary topic, fireworks ensued, particularly between the Speaker of Parliament, Yahya Ali al-Ra’i, a member of GPC from Dhammar and ‘Abd al-Karim Shayban, an Islah MP from Taizz.

The two went at it with the type of gusto that would make British Parliamentarians proud – I haven’t read a transcript – but my favorite quotes come from this News Yemen article (although it seems a touch heavy to focus on the education credentials of two other MPS). At one point al-Ra’i cutoff the microphone while Shayban was speaking – or insulting him, depending on one’s view – and called for the parliamentarian guards to expel Shayban from the chambers, only to have the guards rebuffed by other MPs. Sounds like a rocking good time, almost like the time a bull got loose in the chambers.

News Yemen also does everyone a favor and publishes the list of names from the report – I was quite surprised with some of the big names listed. (Although it does take some searching at times, since some of the names are incomplete in the style of first name, father’s name, grandfather’s name, and no surname. Oh well, such is life. That is why we need researchers.)

Still, just as Yemen is rightly criticized for its mistakes so too should it be praised for taking such difficult and positive steps. It is important not to go too far, this is only a first step and the list is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. But I think it is incredibly important, despite all the obvious imperfections with the report and how it has been handled to date.

In other news, Muhammad al-Ahmadi has another great article analyzing the recent AQAP tape.

The Saudi paper, Ukaz, claims that the top AQAP leaders are picking up shop and heading to Somalia. I have my doubts about the sourcing of this article – remember last summer when everyone said AQ was moving from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Yemen?

The al-‘Awlaq tribe warned against targeting Anwar al-‘Awlaqi
, but more on that later – hopefully.


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