New York- I have the lead story in today’s edition of Asia Times Online about the hearing of KSM and Khallad at Guantánamo on Saturday, the killing of Fahd-al Quso in southern Yemen (or South Yemen if you prefer) by a drone strike on Sunday, and the apparent leak on Monday of the disruption of a suicide bomb plot believed to have the hand of AQAP’s Ibrahim al-Asiri. A very interesting succession of events to say the very least. The article contains some of my on-the-ground research on the background of the USS Cole attack and how that plan intersected with the 9/11 ‘planes operation.’
Thira- Sitting here in the very tranquil village of Karterados on the island of Thira in the Santorini archipelago is an uneasy contrast the strikes and protests rocking mainland Greece. The country is on the verge of bankruptcy which is roiling global financial markets and yet here, if you didn’t bring up the subject with locals nor tuned into Al Jazeera online, you might be able to stick your head in the black sand and wish it all away. Of course I am the quintessential news junkie and could never do such a thing. I am putting a paltry few Euros into the economy, though the dollar has actually been gaining against the Euro for the first time in a while-good news for me and perhaps me only.
After mulling over the reported killing of Anwar al-Awlaki on Friday and the consequences of what it means well beyond US-Yemeni relations, I could not help but write something after thinking of my visit to his old mosque in San Diego last spring while doing some research. I became more and more disturbed by this policy decision-cum-travesty of justice-and not for the obvious reason many readers might think. I just had to say something. Something that could be easily misinterpreted or disagreed with. I wasn’t planning on writing any articles from here as I am working on some long form writing. This incident (which of course is already being disputed by members of the Awaliq tribe who have visited the scene of the crime in al-Jawf) necessitated a more nuanced commentary apart from the overhype about AQAP and the debate of al-Awlaki’s actual role in the group.
Los Angeles- On Friday evening (GMT), I appeared on BBC Arabic’s Newshour presented by Malak Jaafar to discuss reaction to that days Washington Post story entitled “U.S. ‘secret war’ expands globally as Special Operations forces take larger role” by Karen de Young and Greg Jaffe with Egyptian Brigadier General (retd.) Safwat al-Zayat. Thanks to my colleague Murad Batal al-Shishani for arranging this.
New York- We have a new book out on Yemen and its three primary security struggles of the Saada war/Houthi rebellion in the north along the Saudi border, the rejuvenation of secessionist sentiments in the south, and as if those weren’t enough, threats from AQAP leaders.
“The Battle for Yemen is a rare and comprehensive volume that tackles the facets of instability that currently plague Yemen. It offers a wealth of analysis and keen observations from the experts of The Jamestown Foundation, who have monitored the developments within Yemen since 2004. Combining indigenous sources with original analytical insights, this book represents a vital research tool for those seeking a detailed account of Yemen’s struggle for stability, the various movements that shape the security environment, and the radical personalities that strive to undermine the Saleh government and its partnership with the United States.”
Order your copy from Jamestown here for $24.95.
Washington D.C.- We had a very interesting conference on Yemen last week at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on think-tank row. I headed down from New York to meet some of my new colleagues from Militant Leadership Monitor and to help out with the event. After our Jamestown event concluded, I rushed over to Tenleytown to the campus of American University to attend the tail end of Jen Marlowe’s Rebuilding Hope screening and a night out at a vaguely themed Afro-Middle Eastern bar called Soussi in Adams Morgan. Just another 18 hour day in D.C.. Good thing I don’t live down there!
New York- The new issue of Militant Leadership Monitor is online. In this issue we have two pieces from two of Yemen’s three fronts. A profile of Adel al-Abbab of AQAP by Murad Batal al-Shishani and a bio of Abdulmalik al-Houthi leading the Zaidi rebellion in the country’s north by Michael Horton. Moving across the Arabian Sea up to Pakistan, Syed Adnan Shah Ali Bukhari tells us of the brutality of Ibn-e-Amin in the strife-torn Swat Valley. Heading west, we have a profile of Ibrahim Ag Bahanga, a hard bitten Tuareg rebel leader hailing from the Mali-Algeria border. Additionally, I have briefs on the arrest in Karachi of Mullah Omar’s son-in-law and the death of JI’s Bali bomber, Dulmatin, in a suburb of Jakarta last month.