Yemen in the News
I finally got around to watching Frontline’s amazing piece on AQAP in Yemen. If you haven’t watched it yet, you definitely should. There’s a reason everyone was talking about it Tuesday night.
While there wasn’t a lot of new information in the piece for me, there was something dramatic about seeing it in video rather than reading about it, or even seeing pictures. At the same time, al-Qaeda seems both more sinister and more approachable. In fact, while watching the scenes in Jaar, all I could think of was how easy it seemed to approach al-Qaeda members. (Of course, easy from my couch is very different than easy from south Yemen.)
Of all the things that stand out from the documentary, little is more important than the absolutely necessary involvement of Yemeni tribes in kicking out AQAP. ”If the millions of tribesmen decide collectively one day that they would like to kick out al Qaeda,” gutsy reporter Ghaith Abdul-Ahad stated in the conclusion, “it will just disappear.” (A full transcript is here.)
What I’m seeing lately is that Yemen is in the news more - and I have to think that’s a good thing. AQAP has been repeatedly described as the most dangerous al-Qaeda franchise attacking America. Beyond that, Yemen’s strategic position means its stability - or lack thereof - can have far-reaching effects. Plus, discussion about Yemen necessitates discussion about drones, because right now the US doesn’t have a Yemen policy so much as a drone policy in Yemen. (Case in point on the drone discussion: the much discussed NYT piece on Obama’s kill list.)
There is a downside to Yemen being in the news so much (besides the fact that most of the news is negative); the more Yemen is featured, the more people who know little to nothing about Yemen get to regale us with their punditry. Fortunately, there’s some really good reporting coming out on Yemen as well. I’m including some of that in the following links dump of stories from the last couple of weeks.