In coverage of the Yemeni civil war the word "Houthi" is hardly ever mentioned without being preceded by the words "Iran-backed" and "Shiite." And this is true. "The Shiite Houthi rebels are backed by Iran" is a true statement. But the prevalence of this cheap bit of short-hand about a conflict decades in the making does far more to obscure and confuse than it does to enlighten. The Houthi movement are not remotely Iranian cat's paws – no more-so than President Abdu Mansour Hadi, currently residing in Riyadh, is a Saudi one.The Christian Science Monitor sets the record straight on Iran's influence in Yemen with some background information from Col. (ret) Pat Lang and other scholars.
UPDATE: The headline, subhead, and lead to this story are not meant be taken seriously. Together they are, in the parlance of journalism, "the thing that gets people to read the article." The Christian Science Monitor website published a brief article summarizing a study that examined the effects of newborn baby smell on women's brains. Its lead sentence: "If you're like most normal people, you've briefly considered eating a baby or two." Via Romenesko
WIRED has been running a fascinating series: Olympic Physics: Can Runners Benefit From Drafting?, Scoring the Decathlon, New [Swimming] Platform Is No Chip Off The Old Block [more inside]
With the election of Pena Nieto to the presidency, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) ends a twelve-year absence from the seat. [more inside]
Top Ten Favorite Books from authors: Stephen King's 10 favorite books. David Foster Wallace's 10 favorite books. Sue Monk Kidd's 10 favorite books via the CS Monitor.
The Christian Science Monitor is a well-reputed newspaper. In October 2008 it announced that it would convert its daily printed report to a weekly edition, and decided to focus primarily on its web site. Traffic rise, money don't. [more inside]
CSMonitor's Jill Carroll update As there isn't really much news about Jill Carroll, this blog has become mainly about the issues surrounding the Carroll abduction. What is Islam's perspective on foreigners? How does rampant kidnapping effect journalists? The last 'update' is about a poster of Carroll hung from Rome's city hall. Which makes me think two things: there isn't much news about Carroll's situation; why in the hell hasn't a US city hung a poster of Carroll?
Remember that whole drone "cover-up"? Here's the plane. The prototype of Iraq's smoking gun WMD threat. Constructed of balsa wood and duct tape, it says Allahu Akbar (God is great) on the side. And, well, they were probably half right. While it's not really a gun, it probably does smoke -- it uses lawn-mower-style two-stroke engines. Washington Post story here.
Is it all about oil? Iraq war protesters insist a war wil be about oil. Others say no. Here the writer argues that it is both--it is not all about oil but we will control the oil should we take control.
They just wont let it lie. What posses these people to keep fighting against overwhelming odds.I can see what they are against but for the life of me I cannot see what they are for.Couple of points near the bottom of the piece are interesting.IHave I been asleep or has the killing of innocents on 23 January been underreported.Does the fact that small raids have led to arrest interrogation and subsequent release answer my own question? I am perplexed,are there any good guys?
Want to escape CNN's round-the-clock war coverage? Don't head for the theater. Faster than Lee Marvin could say "Dirty Dozen," Hollywood is rounding up its good-looking troops, rallying the editing rooms, and launching a war-time celluloid offensive. Groovy. And just when I'd started getting bored with the real deal...
Saudis in the worst squeeze play yet. SA is in a triangulation of criticism from Afghanistan, from within the country, and from Washington. The fall of this Muslim regime, a US ally, with a horrible human rights record and repressive culture, the largest supplier of oil in the world, and huge supplier of contract business for the US, is not something to take lightly. Catch-22.