MESF hosted a lunchtime seminar on April 4 with Sydney University’s Dr Sarah Phillips on al-Qa’ida in Yemen. Dr Sarah Phillips argued that mainstream conceptions of al-Qa’ida in Yemen, which are dominated by counter-insurgency frameworks, fail to understand what al-Qa’ida means to Yemenis. She argued that al-Qa’ida is not an autonomous terrorist network that can be countered through a combined military/hearts and minds campaign, but is conceived by many Yemenis as an unknowable, sometimes all-purpose entity that employs violence on behalf of certain factions of the state. Dr Phillips argues that understanding this is essential to shaping effective responses to al-Qa’ida .

The event was attended by more than 30 members of the public, including representatives from the UAE’s Consulate in Melbourne.