Foreign Policy Blogs

A few scattershot things of interest

Today's Asharq Al-aswat has an interesting and disturbing article about al-Qaeda shifting its base to the Gulf, or, more precisely, Yemen.  It quotes an anonymous official saying he “believes that Yemen may replace Afghanistan as the incubator to breed, rally and train [terrorists]. In practice, Yemen could become the new Al Qaeda base- a label once reserved for Afghanistan.”  Most observers have tended to think the new base for The Base would be Pakistan, but it is good to remember the (possibly fake) hadith: “When disorder threatens, seek refuge in Yemen“.  

On a brighter note, the American University in Cairo has come out with its list of newly published books.   These range from ancient Egyptian history to a look at 19th-Century Egyptian Theatre to modern politics, with the latest in Arabic literature scattered in.  There also seems to be several books about the late Naguib Mafouz, including a series of conversations with him during his last hospital stay.  Worth checking out. 

Finally, the Boston Review has a long article by Abbas Milani about Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.   Milani explains how Ahmadinejad was shaped by the history of Iran in his lifetime- both its political and economic upheavals.  (with what is almost an aside about how the Shah's modernization led to a massive influx into the cities- one of those little pieces of history that are massively important but often go unnoticed).   In doing so, he places Ahmadinejad squarely in the Iranian experience, and helps explains what he means for the country's present and future.    On the subject, be sure to check out Ahmadinejad's blog.   It isn't as interesting as one would hope, though he does seem to be writing more, explaining “Since my last post on the blog, a few months have passed. But this doesn't mean that I have not been keeping my promise of spending fifteen minutes per week on it”.    More instructive are the side-comments, with people either praising him or wishing that he would “die slowly”. 



Brian O'Neill

Brian O'Neill is a freelance writer currently based out of Chicago. He has lived in Egypt and in Yemen, and worked as a writer and editor for the Yemen Observer publishing company. He currently is an analyst with the Jamestown Foundation.