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Gregory Johnsen

Near East Studies Scholar, Princeton University

Gregory Johnsen, a former Fulbright Fellow in Yemen, is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. Johnsen has written for a variety of publications on Yemen including, among others, Foreign Policy, The American Interest, The Independent, The Boston Globe, and The National. He is the co-founder of Waq al-Waq: Islam and Insurgency in Yemen Blog. In 2009, he was a member of the USAID's conflict assessment team for Yemen.

Brian O’Neill on Submergence

Editor’s Note: I recently read and subsequently tweeted about Submergence, the new novel by J.M. Ledgard.  Then I asked one of the smartest people I know – Brian O’Neill – […]

The Last Refuge Book Trailer

This week The Last Refuge: Yemen, al-Qaeda and the Battle for Arabia was released in the UK. For those wanting to get a sense of the book, I urge you […]

Does the US really try to Capture?

On Thursday, John Brennan, President Obama’s nominee to be the new director of the CIA, went before the Senate Intelligence Committee to answer questions. I watched all three and-a-half hours […]

‘Abd al-Rauf al-Dhahab and Bad Intel

On Christmas Eve, Sudarsan Raghavan of the Washington Post wrote a detailed article about a September air strike in which the US attempted to kill ‘Abd al-Rauf al-Dhahab, whom it […]

Of Threats and Bounties

On December 23 – the same day the US carried out an apparent drone strike in the al-Baydha governorate of Yemen, apparently targeting ‘Abd al-Rauf al-Dhahab – AQAP released a […]

Why Did the US kill ‘Adnan al-Qadhi?

US officials continue to maintain as they have publicly for some time that in Yemen the US is only targeting the top 10-15 leaders of AQAP, whom it believes are […]

A Breakdown in Security

A few weeks ago I wrote a piece about security in Sanaa and my own sense of unease during my last trip to Yemen.  That piece drew several comments both […]

Guest Post: “After the Drone”

Editor’s Note: Today I’m thrilled to have a guest post by Adam Baron, an excellent journalist, who is working and writing from Yemen.  Today, he wrote a must-read story on […]

The Yemen Model

Today I published an op-ed in the NY Times, arguing that the “Yemen model” approach to counterterrorism is deeply flawed.  I also suggest a way forward for the Obama administration […]

The Jihadis of Yemen

In the latest issue of New York Review of Books, Robert Worth reviews The Last Refuge along with Edmund Hull’s book, High Value Target. Worth opens like this: Yemen is […]

The Last Refuge Reviewed

Earlier today Bruce Riedel, writing for the Daily Beast, posted the first review of The Last Refuge.  His review opens like this: Obama will have to face the growing menace […]

Sanaa Notebook: al-Qaeda and Electricity

On Tuesday, October 2 the lights in Sanaa went out.*  The power cut in the Yemeni capital wasn’t particularly surprising.  Yemen has been suffering rolling blackouts for years; a problem […]

‘Adnan al-Qadhi and the Day After

Earlier today an apparent US drone strike targeted and killed ‘Adnan al-Qadhi in the area of Sanhan, just south of Sanaa. I say apparent drone strike, because while there is […]

The Yemen Nightmare Scenario

There are a lot of nightmare scenarios when it comes to the Middle East.  Some of these are already visible on the horizon as the New York Times outlines in […]

Event List

I will do my level best not to turn this site into a constant stream of book promos and the like in my transparent attempt to sell copies – I’ll […]

The Last Refuge Excerpt (US Edition)

Today Foreign Policy published the first excerpt from The Last Refuge. The piece is largely drawn from Chapter 13 of the book, entitled Policy Shift: Here is the opening as […]

Southern Yemen

Today Abigail Fielding-Smith published what I think is a fantastic piece of journalism on southern Yemen and Aden.  I encourage all of you to read her fine piece. Indeed, as […]

Book Launch

For those of you who live in New York, I would like to invite you all to come out to the Overseas Press Club in Manhattan on Monday, November 12 […]

Two Things for those with Electricity

Hurricane Sandy hit Waq al-waq hard – although, mercifully, not nearly as hard as many who are still suffering – knocking out power and forcing us to become one of […]

The Yemen Model: Drones and Permanent War

This week the Washington Post published a three-part series it entitled “Permanent War.”  The first piece, by Greg Miller, talks about the disposition matrix and sets the stage for the […]

Fall Announcements

Fall is a busy time, school starts and big books you’ve been waiting to read for months finally get published.  For myself, and by extension Waq al-waq this fall has […]

Security in Sanaa

Feelings are difficult to quantify and contextualize.  By nature they are fleeting and nearly impossible to judge according to any accurate barometer and yet they are still there dancing around […]

To Yemen and Back

As some of you may know, I recently took a short trip to Yemen to see for myself how things on the ground had changed since Salih was forced to […]

A Hill in Sanaa

Despite appearances I have not forgotten about Waq al-waq, and while I’ll spare you the usual and tired excuses for my lack of posts I will direct you to the […]

Guest Post: Reflections on a Riot

Ed: Brian O’Neill, the co-founder of Waq al-waq, returns home with this piece on today’s attack on the US Embassy in Sanaa. (Before we start, I’d like to thank Greg […]