Category Archives: Environment

New Book: Arabia Incognita

In 2011, millions of Yemenis calling themselves the Peaceful Youth joyfully joined the “Arab Spring.” Four years later, popular aspirations for social justice and a serious attempt at national dialogue were thwarted by deadly domestic power struggles. When the pro-Saudi, US-supported government fled to Riyadh in April 2015, the Kingdom led a multinational military intervention inside Yemen. By December, daily bombardment had killed thousands of fighters and civilians, injured and displaced hundreds of thousands, and decimated homes and infrastructure. A naval blockade cut off access to fuel, medicine, and food for millions. In addition to this humanitarian catastrophe, the ensuing chaos emboldened al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and led the group ISIS to expand there.

Perfect for understanding the political economy, geopolitics and social relations of the region.Prof. Laleh Khalili, University of London, SOAS

Arabia Incognita helps readers understand this tragic misadventure by tracing the Arabian Peninsula’s modern history from Yemen’s strong anti-imperial movement of the 1960s through the present series of conflicts. The majority of the essays focus on Yemen’s colorful and complex internal socio-political dynamics; others draw attention to parallel, often inter-connected disharmonies inside the Gulf’s petro-kingdoms; wider regional upheavals and movements; and America’s deep, vast and very problematic security involvement in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula.

Contents:

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Water still matters

cisternSaraha
Cistern at Saraha, al-Ahjur in 1985
Photograph by D. M. Varisco

There is a new report out on water management in Yemen.  At a time when the spilling of blood takes obvious priority over the lingering water supply crisis, it is still useful to consider the environmental danger on top of the political quagmire…

The Political Economy of Water Management in Yemen: Conflict Analysis and Recommendations

An acute water crisis looms over Yemen which suffers intense water scarcity. To address this problem, The Hague Institute published a report detailing the political economy of water conflicts in Yemen. The report, Commissioned by the Dutch Embassy in Yemen offers insights and recommendations to address the threat of conflict from water related issues.

Monkey Business in Yemen

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I know that there has been a lot of monkey business lately in Yemen, but here are some monkeys that have a longer history in Yemen than anyone else, even the Himyarites.  The baboon (Papio hamadryas) came over from East Africa.  For those who are interested, there is an open access article on the introduction of baboons (rubah) to Arabia. Here is the abstract of the article:

Many species of Arabian mammals are considered to be of Afrotropical origin and for most of them the Red Sea has constituted an obstacle for dispersal since the Miocene–Pliocene transition. There are two possible routes, the ‘northern’ and the ‘southern’, for terrestrial mammals (including humans) to move between Africa and Arabia. The ‘northern route’, crossing the Sinai Peninsula, is confirmed for several taxa by an extensive fossil record, especially from northern Egypt and the Levant, whereas the ‘southern route’, across the Bab-el-Mandab Strait, which links the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden, is more controversial, although post-Pliocene terrestrial crossings of the Red Sea might have been possible during glacial maxima when sea levels were low.

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Trailing Yemen’s last leopards

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Tailing Arabia’s Last Leopards: An Environmental Reporting Road Trip through Yemen (Part V – Final Installment)

by Gaar Adams, Beaconreader.com, January 9

Overview

In early 2014, I joined a weeklong expedition through Yemen’s Haraz Mountains and Western Highlands to track the Arabian leopard – one of the rarest animals in the world. This is the conclusion to my five-part series detailing the 1,000-kilometer journey that took me from rusted-out pickup trucks with rifle-wielding mango farmers to cave-homes hewn out of sheer cliffs in search of the elusive big cat. With stories of extremism and conflict dominating media coverage of Yemen, take a rare inside look at the ecological surprises nestled amidst the country’s isolated valleys as I investigate the barrage of threats assailing some of the most remote and least studied natural environments on the planet.

Click here for the article