Yemen has been home to secessionist sentiment ever since its reunification following the Cold War in 1990. See Chris Roth for more background here and here. Now it is deteriorating. The Shia Houthi rebels of the north have made large gains in the last few weeks, claiming most of Taiz, the country’s third largest city. Saudi Arabia has entered the fray, leading a sizable coalition of states and raining airstrikes down all over the place in an effort to slow the Houthis and their Iranian influence. The U.S, a Saudi ally and supporter of the besieged Yemeni government is contributing logistics and surveillance for the strikes, so perhaps it’s not surprising that the civilian death toll is spiking. Houthi rebels have nonetheless seized the presidential palace in Aden despite this. The Saudis are now airdropping in weapons to anti-Houthi forces, which may or may not turn them back from Yemen’s second-largest hub. Speculation on Saudi ground troops is running rampant. Plus, the NYT is debating if “Yemen is America’s Fight“, so you know things have gotten bad enough that we can start to contemplate another unwinnable drawn out world-police war.
It’s worth noting that the Islamic State, previously thought to be inactive here, also came into the picture when suicide bombings that killed over 140 people in Houthi-dominated areas were claimed by an I.S. loyal group. So to the extent the U.S. gets involved in Yemen, it will be cooperating with Saudi Arabia (explicitly) and Islamic State (implicitly) against Houthi rebels (explicitly) and Iran (implicitly) while simultaneously cooperating with Iran against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Do I have that right? A confusing region is getting more confusing. Cue all the updated “The Middle East Explained in XYZ # of Chart” infographics. Better yet, don’t.
Iraq is claiming victory in Tikrit over Islamic State
Did the promise of more power to Scotland affect their referendum?
Moldova’s autonomous region elected a pro-Russian governor.
Brief look at Novorossiya’s role in Ukraine
The Chechen proxy war in Ukraine
Trouble between Armenia and Azerbaijan over a disputed separatist region
Singapore‘s independence “accident.”
Data visualization: % of global population living under various polities over time
Barlow’s 846-word text, published online in February 1996, begins with a bold rebuke of traditional sovereign powers: “Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.”
Micronations in pictures
Arctic private cities & implications for other-planet colonization
During their chat, Tyler Cowen and Peter Thiel were asked about private cities.
Thiel: If you could give me a convincing way it could work for $50 million instead of $50 billion, I’d be interested. & Cowen: I tend to favor larger political units and to think that human freedom will be found by the wealth and diversity within larger political units, giving people pockets. I’m not sure we will ever have a bottom-down creation of a lot of micro-units which compete very intensely and, through exit, give people true liberty. I’m more optimistic about the larger political unit vision.
Georgism and proprietary cities
Decentralization as free-market federalism
NYT Magazine article for open borders
Should Alberta ditch Canada for the U.S.?
Alberta as an independent country doesn’t solve a huge number of problems. If it left Canada, its currency goes through the roof because all it has is oil exports, and that would drive agriculture out of business. It would be a one-horse economy in a very short time.
Seceding to the U.S. becomes the only political and economic option. If you do that, the inflation issue goes away, the tax problem goes away, the security problem goes away. Alberta gets everything it says it wants out of Canada within the first year of joining the U.S.
On Hawaiian sovereignty.
L.A. Times overview of the Southern Tier N.Y. secession threat over fracking: “It’s hard for them to accept that the line on the map makes such a huge difference“
Short and sweet: The time has come for 51