Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Weekend in Yemen and Somalia

I am dripping with apologies for a weekend of no posts, but as all I have are the usual excuses of tax deadlines, thesis deadlines and laziness I won't bore you with them here.

A great deal to report on Yemen (despite the fact that I have yet to get to the article on Nu'man).

First, from al-Jazeera a report that the US Navy is denying a report of a pirate attack. Also, from al-Jazeera a report on the death of three in a clash between al-Huthi supporters and security forces.

There is more, in English, from the Yemen Observer, here.

The only good thing, if one can find good in a fresh outbreak, is that it took place in Amran and not in Sa'dah. This could mean that the rather fragile truce in Sa'dah is holding. This truce came about when President Salih appointed a new governor, General Yahya al-Shami, back in February along with a cabinet re-shuffle. This was followed shortly thereafter by the release of more than 600 prisoners as a good-will gesture. Hopefully, the truce will hold, making this a one-off incident.

Also, in news that was first reported in English here on al-Nawadir, UPI also picked up the story from al-Wasat about staged protests in Hudaydah. Here is the report.

There seems to be a great deal of interest in a recent Jerusalem Post about a Hamas leader meeting with Shaykh Abd al-Majid al-Zindani. To begin with, unlike a number of bloggers would have it, the Post did not discover this meeting: it was featured on the front page of al-Quds al-Arabi's website earlier this month. Also, few seem to have looked into al-Zindani's background, and unquestionably identify him as an al-Qaeda leader. I would argue that he is an al-Qaeda supporter not a leader, and that the difference is important. For more, I would again direct you to a recent profile by Gregory D. Johnsen at Jamestown. Again, I have my issues with the piece, but it is not bad, and one of the few comprehensive looks at the guy in English.

Finally, tonight two links to stories on Somalia. The first from al-Sharq al-Awsat is on the ever-continuing cycle of violence and war there. The second is from the Washington Post is on the Qat trade (although for some reason they insist on spelling it khat). I remember the problems I had with editors at the Christian Science Monitor a few years ago, over how to transliterate qat into English - I lost and the piece had it as "khat" to my ever-enduring shame.

For the record, in Arabic it is:

So now you can see my frustration. Ahh, journalists. I once had a conversation with an editor at
a news agency that shall remain nameless about transliterating Arabic into English, and he said it was "kind of hit or miss," and indeed it is.


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