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Face it, until recently many of you didn’t know for sure if Yemen was a country or an erectile dsyfunction medication. Now that Yemen has emerged as a major focus of the war on terror (or whatever it’s called nowadays), you better study up. So here are a few suggestions.
[S]uccess in Yemen requires a localized, nuanced and multi-faceted response to the challenge of al-Qaeda in Yemen. This requires a great deal of expertise and in-depth, localized knowledge, which I am not always sure neighboring countries like Saudi Arabia possess let alone the US and its European allies. Military strikes alone are not the answer, as I have said repeatedly over the past few weeks: “There is no magic missile solution to the problem of al-Qaeda in Yemen.
Then try the always interesting Marc Lynch at Foreign Policy:
Direct American military intervention in Yemen is so obviously ludicrous that it shouldn’t even need to be said. Even the hyper-interventionist conservatives at the Washington Post op-ed page allow that “U.S. ground troops are not needed, for now.” They never should be. The U.S. is already struggling to fully resource and equip a mission in Afghanistan which has been defined — rightly or wrongly — as vital to American security and interests. The U.S. simply does not have the resources to embark on a military mission in Yemen. If you think Afghanistan is a sinkhole, you will love Yemen.
Finally read this Michelle Shephard story in the New Republic:
The Saudi and Yemeni branches of Al Qaeda made their “merger” official in January, adopting the name Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula…AQAP represents what many consider Yemen’s second generation of Al Qaeda–and while the group may have ties to “Al Qaeda central,” the organization appears to act independently. Counterterrorism officials believe AQAP has learned from its recent past and built an organization that can withstand the loss of its leadership. Savvy in delivering its message, the group even has its own magazine, Salah al Malahim (The Echo of Battle), which covers everything from biographies of suicide bombers to advice columns on how to become an Al Qaeda foot soldier.
This stuff won’t make you an expert, but at least you’ll know enough to get through the next cocktail party, and help follow the story as it unfolds in the media.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word “hallway” must have a nautical name. Why didn’t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet he’d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands they’d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you don’t belong to, that doesn’t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isn’t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members — because ocean life pays better than money! — who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Rank of Detroit among major U.S. cities whose residents give the largest portion of their income to charity:
A South Dakota researcher concluded that only scant blood spatter results when chain saws are used to dismember pigs.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature