The Post UBL news distracted me from my bi-weekly shout-outs to those I rely on for insightful analysis on critical terrorism/counterterrorism topics. This week, I give shout-outs to three ‘knowledge ninjas‘ that continually provide me interesting perspectives on a poorly understood topic: Yemen.
When it comes to Yemen, I look to those with in-country experience, language skills and thorough monitoring of internal Yemeni dynamics.
I met Gregory Johnsen a few years back at a conference in DC where he proved to be the only person in the room that spoke about Yemen and had actually been to Yemen. Gregory’s perspectives then were helpful to me and his posts on Waq-al-Waq continue to keep me abreast of the happenings in Yemen and what the West should be considering in their policies.
Brian O’Neill and I met last fall after an FPRI panel on foreign fighters and I’ve used his coverage of Yemen to track the day-to-day dynamics in the country. I hope he finds the time someday soon to return to his blog and give his perspective.
Finally, Chris Heffelfinger has long been my go to guy on Yemen and many other AQ terrorism issues. Chris and I worked together for many years and his on the ground understanding of how AQ operates in Yemen opened my eyes to this hotspot long before others in the CT field really paid it much attention.
So a big shout-out and thank you to Gregory, Brian and Chris for their perspectives on Yemen; helping me analyze what may be the number one counterterrorism priority over the next five years. (A hint on what question I’m coding next from the AQ Strategy and Post UBL Polls)
One quick parting note to a previously recognized ‘Knowledge Ninja’- Vahid Brown crafted an unmatched analysis of Sayf al-Adel at Jihadica. Vahid started his research on Adel many years ago and introduced me to this key AQ figure when we were working together. Thanks to Vahid for bringing everyone up to speed on one of AQ’s key men behind the scenes.