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‘Urf, again

It has been just under a month since I made the decision to drastically reduce my posts – one a month, or so – and while I’m still trying to figure out what do with Waq al-waq and while I had a spare ten minutes I thought it would A.) be nice to see if the blogging muscles still worked and B.) highlight a couple of things that I have not seen discussed much in the English-language press.

Much has happened in the last month – a new issue of Sada al-Malahim (I was impressed with a couple of things in the journal – one with tribes and one with the organization’s sensitivity to currents in Yemeni society) a new AQ video, Towards an Honorable Life, an end to the Sixth war in Sa’dah and increasing tensions in the south.

But what I want to highlight today is this interview with Abdalilah Haydar Shay’a, a very bright Yemeni analyst and journalist. (For those who haven’t noticed al-Sharq al-Awsat is running quite the series on Yemen.)

I have only skimmed the article, but he said three things that I thought were important. First, in response to a question about the names of AQAP’s leaders he spoke about his meeting with the organization in January 2009 and mentioned that it was possible that some of the men at the meeting – individuals who didn’t speak – where not Arabs. This is not good.

He also had this to say about the areas where US/Yemeni attacks took place in December and January (my rough translation): “The areas that were struck have nothing in them in the way of services .. no water, no electricity, no roads, no schools and no hospitals.” Telling, I think.

Finally, it did my heart good to see him mention ‘urf.


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