Weekly News Update 27 December 2012

Petro Masila/ via Yemen Times/http://www.yementimes.com/en/1637/report/1789/Petro-Masila-proves-sucess-of-%27Yemenizing%27-oil-exploration.htm

Petro Masila/ via Yemen Times/http://www.yementimes.com/en/1637/report/1789/Petro-Masila-proves-sucess-of-%27Yemenizing%27-oil-exploration.htm

Highlights:
Anatomy of an Air Attack Gone Wrong
Foreign Policy — 26 December 2012
Governments have an obligation under international law to investigate and provide redress for unlawful attacks. In Afghanistan, NATO members — including the United States — have recognized the value of compensating civilians for loss of life or other damage, even when the attacks are lawful. There is no such formal system in Yemen, leaving the people of Sabool with little more than anger. And with neither Yemeni nor U.S. authorities taking responsibility for the attack, the villagers blame both countries. The deaths from the September attack have devastated Sabool, a cluster of 120 brick-and-mud homes that residents say has no electricity, no paved roads, no schools, no hospitals, and no jobs apart from khat farming. “Seven of the victims were breadwinners. Now we have 50 people in our village with no one to care for them,” said Awadh, the local sheikh. “Who will raise them? Who will educate them? Who will take care of their needs?”

When U.S. drones kill civilians, Yemen’s government tries to conceal it
Washington Post — 24 December 2012
U.S. airstrikes have killed numerous civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other parts of the world, and those governments have spoken against the attacks. But in Yemen, the weak government has often tried to hide civilian casualties from the public, fearing repercussions in a nation where hostility toward U.S. policies is widespread. It continues to insist in local media reports that its own aging jets attacked the truck. Public outrage is also growing as calls for accountability, transparency and compensation go unanswered amid allegations by human rights activists and lawmakers that the government is trying to cover up the attack to protect its relationship with Washington. Even senior Yemeni officials said they fear that the backlash could undermine their authority.

Yemeni Leader Tries to Centralize a Divided Military
New York Times — 19 December 2012
The decrees issued by the president centralized the command of the military under five branches, officials said. Most significant, they said, the president’s edict would result in the dismantling of the powerful Republican Guard, a unit led by a rival of Mr. Hadi’s who had defied the president’s orders.

Security/Military:
America’s Failing Drone War in Yemen
Council on Foreign Relations — 26 December 2012
There are three excellent pieces of journalism from Yemen this week, which demonstrate that the administration has failed to use force in a manner that has not radicalized Yemenis, or increased the size of AQAP.  While actual Yemenis and journalists reporting from the country (see here, here, and here) have found repeatedly that the vast majority of Yemenis hate drones strikes, these latest pieces provide additional updated, confirming evidence. It hardly seems necessary to continue stating the obvious point that people—who also do not welcome Islamic militants from operating among them—hate foreign military or intelligence agencies bombing them.

Several military men assassinated days after Hadi’s military restructure
Yemen Times — 27 December 2012
One officer in Sana’a was assassinated, an attempt was made on the life of an officer in Dar Salm and soldier in Hadramout was killed on Tuesday, making them the latest casualties in a worrying trend. The assassinations come days after President Hadi’s decrees to restructure the military, which includes the purging of the First Armored Division and the Republican Guards. Field Brigadier Fadhl Al-Radfani, a leader in Thamood military area in Hadramout, was assassinated mid-afternoon in front of the Defense Ministry building in Bab Al-Yemen area of Sana’a.

Saleh’s son cedes missiles to new Yemen president
Reuters — 20 December 2012
A powerful general who is the son of Yemen’s former president has agreed to give up his missiles after his elite Republican Guard was disbanded by the Arab nation’s new leader, sources at the presidency said on Thursday. Brigadier-General Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh’s apparent compliance with an armed forces shake-up ordered by President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi on Wednesday eases fears of more turmoil in a country in the throes of a tense political transition.

Yemen general may head new unit after army overhaul
Reuters via Yahoo News — 23 December 2012
A powerful army general who lost a command in a military reshuffle seen as vital to stabilizing Yemen may be given another senior post in the impoverished country’s armed forces, sources at the presidency said on Sunday. Brigadier General Ahmed Saleh, whose Republican Guard was abolished in the shake-up ordered on Wednesday by his political rival, President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, is expected to be named as the commander of a military region, the sources said. Ahmed Saleh has voiced no public objection to the reshuffle, easing fears of more turmoil in a country in the throes of a tense political transition. Hadi’s decrees on Wednesday also abolished the First Armoured Division, led by General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, a dissident military officer who broke away from Saleh’s forces after the protests began last year. Ahmar welcomed the overhaul. A source at the presidential palace told Reuters on condition of anonymity that both Ahmed Saleh and General Ahmar would be given some senior positions in the new set-up.

Yemen transition gets more serious, more critical
Nasser Arrabyee’s blog — 20 December 2012
The Yemeni former President Ali Abdullah Saleh said that the decrees of President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi to restructure and unify the army are in the interest of the nation. “I wish the decrees will return us all to the spirit of the political settlement which was based on the GCC Initiative,” said Saleh commenting on Hadi’s decrees.

Two drone strikes kill five in Yemen – officials
Reuters — 25 December 2012
Monday’s strikes were the first in almost two months by pilotless aircraft against suspected al Qaeda men in Yemen, an impoverished country of mountains and desert on the southwestern corner of the Arabian Peninsula. The officials said the first drone strike hit a vehicle in a town in al-Bayda province, killing at least two suspected al Qaeda militants. One of those killed in the attack was a Jordanian citizen, a local official and a resident said.

Yemen Court Sentences 3 Militants to up to 6 Years
AP via ABC News — 21 December 2012
Yemen’s state security court has sentenced three al-Qaida militants to up to six years in prison for planning attacks on security forces, foreign diplomatic missions and state institutions. The court on Saturday gave the three militants between two and six years each. They have the right to appeal. The judge also accused the three of running a training camp for al-Qaida in the southern Abyan province in 2011. He didn’t provide further details on the alleged targets. The court released four others who had already spent about 18 months in detention. The militants earlier denied the charges. In the southern city of Ibb, security officials and medics said eight prisoners died and dozens injured in a fire that broke out in the city’s central prison Saturday. The medics said the death toll could rise because more than 10 prisoners were in serious condition. The officials and medics spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the press.

Eight prison inmates suffocate to death in fire in Ibb Central Prison
Yemen Times — 24 December 2012
Eight people died and three others were injured in a fire inside the Central Prison of Ibb on Saturday afternoon. Fuad Al-Atab, Ibb Security Director, said that prisoner Abdulkareem Rashid Al-Ba’dani, a prisoner accused of murdering a person and sentenced to death, caused the blaze by setting his mattress and clothes on fire.

Yemen extremists kill woman in alcohol raid
AFP via Daily Star — 21 December 2012
Armed extremists killed a woman in Yemen’s main southern city of Aden when they raided several homes whose owners allegedly have alcoholic drinks, residents and a security official said on Friday. “More than 10″ armed men on motorbikes stormed three houses in Aden’s Memdara neighbourhood on Thursday, residents said. The owners fled except for one woman who remained in one of the apartments, the sources said, adding that the gunmen shot her dead before driving off.

Kidnappings of foreigners on rise in Yemen
The Guardian — 22 December 2012
The latest kidnappings will raise questions about a general decline in security in Sana’a, which is facing a steep rise in crime and general lawlessness. Security analysts say this year has seen an increase in kidnappings, murders, car-jackings and the pursuit of tribal vendettas in a city that is normally immune from the tribal instability that blights large swaths of the country. The more open display of automatic weapons by tribesmen in Sana’a coincides with a period of transition in Yemen that will be marked by the start of a “national dialogue” in the new year. The dialogue, which was brokered by the Gulf Co-operation Council countries, aims to steer Yemen towards a peaceful transition after the Arab spring revolution and ousting of the former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, a longtime US ally.

Yemen says search on for abducted Finns, Austrian
AFP via Ahram — 25 December 2012
Yemen said on Sunday its security forces were still searching for two Finns and an Austrian whose whereabouts remain unknown since they were kidnapped in Sanaa. Security services are “carrying out vast search and investigation operations to locate the kidnapped” foreigners, abducted on Friday in Sanaa, official news agency Saba quoted Interior Minister Abdelqader Qahtan as saying as he received an envoy from Finland. The minister assured the envoy that Yemeni forces will take all steps to ensure the safety of the hostages and secure their quick release. A security official told AFP that the hostages, kidnapped by gunmen suspected of links to Al-Qaeda, were probably still in Sanaa.

First Armored Division to leave ‘home’ at Sana’a University
Yemen Times — 24 December 2012
Doctor Abdulhakeem Al-Shearjabi, chancellor of Sana’a University, said that an agreement has been reached with Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar, the former commander of the First Armored Division (FAD), to remove all soldiers from the Sana’a University’s campus in a week. Several students were injured on Saturday in a protest against the military presence. This agreement puts an end to the deployment of soldiers and military affiliated with the FAD at the university. They have been there since Al-Ahmar joined the 2011 revolution.

Yemeni NGO to sue Turkish government for increasing assassinations with Turkish guns
Nasser Arrabyee’s blog — 25 December 2012
A Yemeni NGO for combating violence and terrorism accused the Turkish government of killing Yemenis with Turkish guns provided with silencers. The National Organization for Combating Violence and Terrorism, Kefah, said that Turkish government should be held fully responsible for all political assassinations of security and military officials.

180 tons of smuggled explosives and ammunitions discovered in Yemen harbor
Nasser Arrabyee’s blog — 19 December 2012
More than 180 tons of explosives and ammunitions were confiscated in the harbor of Mukalla east of Yemen, said sources in the Yemeni coastguards Wednesday. The shipment of explosives and ammunition was on ship carrying Bolivian flag,  with five-member crew, three Indians and two Ukrainians.

Filipina nurse freed hours after abduction in Yemen
AFP via The National — 25 December 2012
“Security services arrested two outlaws after they kidnapped a Filipina national late on Sunday in the capital Sanaa,” the state news agency Saba quoted an interior ministry spokesman as saying. The men were arrested within two hours of the abduction, the source said, identifying the hostage as Annie Jones, 20, a nurse at a government hospital in Sanaa. She was released unharmed, according to the spokesman. The kidnap was the second abduction of foreigners in Sanaa within a 48-hour period.

U.S. drone strategy in Yemen is fraught with peril
Los Angeles Times — 25 December 2012
Some here call him a martyr, others a fanatic. But the life and death of Qadhi, a senior officer in the 1st Armored Division who preached holy war in mosques and donned government-issued fatigues, epitomizes the political instability, tribal intrigue, crisscrossing allegiances and radical Islamist passions the United States must sort out when targeting militants in Yemen. At times, Washington risks being drawn into internal conflicts and becoming increasingly despised in the Arab world’s poorest nation.

Gunmen attempt to storm Central Bank of Yemen
Al-Sahwah.net — 26 December 2012
Gunmen attempted on Wednesday to storm the Central Bank of Yemen, wounding one soldier.  Security sources spelt out the gunmen were in two vehicles, pointing out that one soldier was seriously wounded.

Yemen gives 93 soldiers jail terms for attack on base
Reuters — 15 December 2012
A Yemeni military court sentenced 93 members of the Republican Guard to prison terms of up to seven years for an attack on a military complex in August, the Defense Ministry said on Saturday. The sentences, which were more lenient than expected, followed increased tensions between factions loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, whose son commands the Republican Guard, and the interim government led by President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Ship crew held for 1,000 days rescued off coast of Yemen
CNN — 27 December 2012
They were trapped at sea for 1,000 days, held on their own ship by Somali pirates off the coast of Yemen. A petition pushing for their release described hostages huddled in tight spaces aboard the MV Iceberg 1, given only rice and water to survive. Conditions were so harsh on the ship that one member of the 24-person crew reportedly committed suicide by jumping overboard. Another was killed by pirates. Over the weekend, troops from the Puntland Maritime Police Force rescued the 22 hostages remaining on the Panama-flagged vessel, ending the longest time anyone has been held hostage by pirates, according to Michael Howlett, deputy director of the International Maritime Bureau.

Clashes over Energy:
Leaders seek agreement after 16 die in ongoing Marib clashes
Yemen Times — 27 December 2012
Tribal negotiations are currently taking place in Marib, located east of Sana’a, to stop several days of clashes that have been ongoing between Yemen’s military forces and tribesmen of the Habab area in Serwah District. Local sources say 16 people have died in the confrontations.  Dara’an Al-Saqqaf, a resident in Habab, said four civilians were killed in the conflict and Nasser Mohtam, head of Ajial Association in Marib, said 12 military men died.

Yemen investigates pipeline attacks
UPI — 19 December 2012
Yemeni investigators concluded that saboteurs used artillery rockets to attack a natural gas pipeline in a southern province last weekend. Energy company Yemen LNG said this week that a 38-inch natural gas pipeline tied to the Balhaf terminal on the Gulf of Aden was attacked. Investigators said militants used two artillery rockets to detonate the pipeline, the Yemen Post reports. The attack took place early Sunday about 100 miles north of Balhaf in southeastern Shabwa province. The Yemeni news report notes two oil pipelines in the country are still out of service following attacks early this year. It said government authorities were negotiating with area tribes to give engineers access to the sites for pipeline repairs.

Yemen army starts offensive against armed tribesmen with links to oil pipeline blasts
AP via Fox News — 23 December 2012
Yemeni security officials say the military has launched a new round of strikes against armed tribesmen with links to attacks on oil pipelines and electricity stations. The officials say the army used tanks and rockets to strike at the tribesmen Sunday in Marib province, east of Sanaa, the capital. There was no immediate report on casualties.

Petition signed to protect oil pipelines and electricity towers in Marib
Yemen Times — 20 December 2012
Tribal sheikhs in Marib signed a petition on Tuesday against attacks on gas and oil pipelines. The petition stipulates that sheikhs in Marib will pursue saboteurs of oil pipelines and electricity towers, handing them over to the state for prosecution. Marib’s Governor, Sultan Al-Arada, commended the move by tribal leaders, indicating it will deter those who aim to hurt the state institutions in Marib.

Economy/Governance:
Yemen sets 2013 budget with $3.2 bln deficit
Reuters — 23 December 2012
Yemen’s cabinet on Sunday approved a draft budget for 2013 that projects a deficit of 682 billion rials ($3.17 billion) and expenditure of 2.77 trillion rials, state news agency SABA reported.

Government ‘working on’ recovery of Yemen’s construction industry
Yemen Times — 27 December 2012
One of the most important economic sectors in Yemen was devastated by the 2011 recession and further damaged by state corruption. The construction industry, which comprises around two thirds of the national economy, has already lost 60 percent of its contractors to other businesses due to an almost complete halt in projects in 2011 brought on by an inability of the state to pay contractors and aid in security related issues. However, there may be hope for saving this flailing industry as the state begins to take account of the extent of damage the sector faced.

Yemen reports increased investment in industrial, service sectors
Al-Shorfa — 18 December 2012
According to Yemen’s General Investment Authority (GIA), investors registered 32 projects worth almost 10 billion riyals ($47 million) during the third quarter of 2012, the majority of which were in the service and industrial sectors. “Despite their modest number, service sector projects had the highest capital investment total at 4.8 billion riyals ($22 million) for seven projects, or 49.9% of the total capital invested,” said Areeb Mohammed Abdul Ghani, of the GIA’s Department of Information and Statistics. Speaking to Al-Shorfa as to why financiers were interested in industrial and service sector investment opportunities and not agricultural ventures, Abdullah al-Manakhi, director general of the GIA’s public relations department, said, “Investors’ appetite for investment in the industrial and service sectors can be attributed to the rapid returns of these projects and the absence of incentives and credit facilities that used to be available to investors in the agricultural and fishery sectors under the old investment law.”

Yemen Explores Alternative Energy
Voice of America — 27 December 2012
In the face of the uprisings, the Yemeni government and international actors froze millions of dollars earmarked for alternative energy projects and in many cases redirected the funds to what they considered more urgent priorities. One such project, a 60 megawatt wind farm in Al Mokha city, had been stalled since Yemen’s political upheavals began, but is “now moving,” according to Wael Zakout, country manager of Yemen’s World Bank office. Located along Yemen’s southern Red Sea coast, the proposed site overlooks the Bab Al Mandeb Strait, a waterway through which more than three million barrels of crude oil shipments sail daily. Currently, Yemen produces about 1,000 megawatts of electricity nationwide – about a third of consumer demand.

Petro Masila proves success of ‘Yemenizing’ oil exploration
Yemen Times — 27 December 2012
Until recently, there was a problem identifying skilled Yemenis, especially for technical exploration jobs.  However, an agreement in 2007 between the Oil Ministry and exploration companies required them to include three Yemeni engineers from the national Oil Exploration Authority in the exploration training courses the companies conduct for their staff. Due to this policy, there are now 214 skilled Yemeni technicians specialized in the exploration phase of oil production. Today Petro Masila prides itself on the fact that 97 percent of its manpower is Yemeni.

Officials: Yemen’s foreign debt ‘within safe limits’
Al-Shorfa — 26 December 2012
According to Central Bank figures, the country’s external debt rose from $6.094 billion at the end of August to $7.28 billion at the end of September. The bank attributed the recent debt increase to payment instalments Yemen owes and new commitments it now has after three donor conferences held during 2012.

No tourists means no pay day for Old City vendors
Yemen Times — 24 December 2012
In the heart of the capital, lays Old Sana’a City with its towered buildings and ancient architecture that experts believe dates back 2,500 years.  With its unique beauty, this famed area has long been known to capture the awe of visitors. “To enter Old Sana’a is like entering the pages of a history book,” said Basim Al-Dawsary, a Saudi citizen who often roams the streets and traditional markets of the neighborhood. For years Old Sana’a had been a popular tourist destination, drawing visitors from around the globe and creating income for local merchants. However, with the onset of the revolution in 2011, tourists became a distant memory.  With their exit, also went local entrepreneurs profits. “I have three shops in Old Sana’a, and my income has been reduced by 90 percent,” Esam Al-Harazi, a merchant in Old Sana’a told the Yemen Times.

Increasing technology use to fight poverty
Yemen Times — 24 December 2012
Hashim Al-Mansur, head of technology programs in iDev, said they have conducted a study on the role of technology in reducing the operational costs of the private sector and are providing work opportunities for unemployed male and female youth.  The study also explained how to expand the regional and international labor market through the buying and selling of products and services online. They cite examples of developing countries like Afghanistan, Palestine and Kenya, where an online presence has increased over the past few years.

Yemen Net denies prices cuts, but acknowledges future plans
Yemen Times — 17 December 2012
Sources at Yemen Net refuted rumors that some media and news websites leaked that said they would be reducing home internet service fees, starting January 1, 2013. Media outlets initially reported Saturday morning that Yemen Net had created new prices for home service packages for the upcoming year.   The rumored prices would have cut costs by a little  less than a third.  Moreover, it was also reported that Ahmed Obaid Bin Dagher, the Telecommunications Minister, had announced a project that would help spread Internet services to low-income families.

Garbage in vacant land in the capital pose health dangers
Yemen Times — 27 December 2012
In the Al-Sonaina district in Sana’a, Waleed Mahdi, a father of four, says there is a problem with waste and it’s growing. In this residential area, vacant land is being turned into a trash dumps. With no official designated area to dispose of the waste, the garbage piles are creating heath concerns for locals.

Street cleaners grant government one month grace period, demand approval of official salaries
Yemen Times — 20 December 2012
The Street Cleaners Syndicate said on Tuesday that it will give the government one month to officially hire all the Cleaning Fund affiliates and endorse their salaries like other public sector employees nationwide. The Tuesday statement said street cleaners will hold a comprehensive strike nationwide if the government doesn’t respond to their demands.

Bags of waste remain after city-wide cleaning campaign
Yemen Times — 17 December 2012
After removing over 6,000 tons of garbage, dust and construction waste, in a city-wide cleaning campaign last Wednesday, many garbage sacks are still waiting by the sidewalks to be collected.“To date, we are still trying to remove the piles of dust and waste collected by the energetic citizens  who participated in the Sharik Campaign. The problem is that we don’t have enough vehicles,” said Abdulwahab Sabra, the deputy director of the cleaning sector in the Capital Secretariat.

Organisers at bus stations unregulated in the capital city
Yemen Times — 17 December 2012
Abas Mohammed spends his day from dawn until dusk driving a minibus, known by locals as a “debab.”  He calls his routine a daily struggle.  He is just one of the many drivers in the city who is constantly at the mercy of unregulated station ‘organizers’ who demand payment before they allow drivers to continue.     “There is no benefit provided by the bus station regulators, but their thuggish behavior and extortion,” said Abas Mohammed, a bus driver on the Al-Sateen Street-Shumaila Road in Sana’a.

The Labor Series (2) Yemen’s construction industry at stake
Yemen Times — 17 December 2012
Muhsin is one of the approximately 1 million Yemeni laborers who lost their only source of income over the past four years because of deterioration in the construction industry. The sector, which represents 65 percent of the national economy and provides jobs for more than 3 million Yemenis, is suffering because of exchange rate fluctuation and inflation of raw materials prices. Yet, according to the General Union for Yemeni Contractors, the over arching reason behind this slump is that the government did not pay its dues for construction projects.

Gas leak in Shabwa poses threat to locals
Yemen Times — 17 December 2012
The main liquid gas pipeline in Shabawa governorate was threatened by high levels of pressure on Monday, resulting in  a dangerous leakage, according to Colonel Mubark Lazlm, the assistant security manager in the governorate.  He said that natural gas transmission has recently increased in the pipeline in Al-Jarda district which has led to abnormally high pressure levels at the station.

Media:
Al-Thawra journalists suspend strike in wake of agreement with administration
Yemen Times — 20 December 2012
Journalists at Al-Thawra daily state newspaper suspended their strike on Tuesday, after four days. Ahmed Al-Asd, a member of the newspaper’s Journalists’ Syndicate estimated that 20 journalist participated in the industrial action. An agreement between the newspaper’s Journalists Syndicate and the management resulted in an end to the strike after the management promised to solve the journalists’ problems.

A call for an independent institution to control broadcast media
Yemen Times — 24 December 2012
An independent, nine member body created by Parliament could be responsible for controlling and managing broadcast media in the future, instead of the current jurisdiction of either the Ministry of Information or the Ministry of Telecommunication. This change was outlined in a new draft bill that overhauls an old law governing broadcast media.  The bill was presented by the group, Yemen Parliamentarians Against Corruption (PAC).  The proposed regulatory body would be called the National Authority for Audio Visual Media and would be chosen by Parliament for a single term of four years.

Honoring Yemeni journalists, moving media forward
Yemen Times — 17 December 2012
Several years ago, Yemeni journalists were in limbo. Instead of being rewarded for their services to the public, they were often subjected to brutal attacks, harassment and arrests. However for the first time in its history, on Thursday, the Yemeni Journalists’ Syndicate rewarded 40 journalists from across Yemen at the Police Officers’ Club.

Apostasy Trial:
Blogger’s Apostasy trial delayed
Yemen Times — 27 December 2012
A Printing and Press Court judge surprised a courtroom full of people when he postponed the trial of a Yemeni blogger being tried as journalist for apostasy. Ali Qasim Al-Saeedi, who was arrested in November under charges of denouncing Islam was supposed to receive a verdict on Tuesday.  But, in front of an outpouring of journalists, human rights activists, relatives and neighbors, the judge overseeing his case mysteriously postponed a declaration of the verdict until January 7, 2013.

“Repent or die” in Yemen
Radio Netherlands Worldwide — 21 December 2012
Ali Ali Qasim Alsaidi felt Yemen and its people were drifting away from Islam as it was meant to be. He wrote his findings – substantiated by Qu’ranic readings – on Facebook. And he’s now accused of apostasy, facing death penalty.

National Dialogue:
Yemeni NGOs and their role in the National Dialogue Conference
Yemen Times — 27 December 2012
There are more than 600 NGOs in Yemen, and they work in many different areas, like human rights, women’s issues, youth, children, and other charities within many facets of Yemeni society. In addition, NGOs in Yemen have been playing an important role in society’s life. They undertake projects for people whenever they receive attention through support from the government and international organizations. However, these NGOs in Yemen work in isolation, even with the most fundamental issues. Rarely can one find NGOs coordinating their activities on specific issues. We have seen coordination at the individual level but not at the institutional level. In addition, NGOs’ activities are often duplicative and overlap.

JMP to boycott dialogue if Saleh represents the GPC
Yemen Times — 27 December 2012
The coalition parties are not happy. After the General People’s Congress (GPC) announced Monday that former President Ali Abdullah Saleh will represent their party at the upcoming National Dialogue Conference (NDC), the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) said they will boycott the conference.

Reports surface claiming Hadi and the GPC are at odds regarding former President Saleh
Yemen Times — 17 December 2012
Conflicted news sources have been speculating on conflicts between the current administration and those tied to the former regime. The relationship between President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi and the General People’s Congress (GPC) has reached a new low, according to Ahmed Al-Soufi, the secretary of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.  He said the GPC wants President Hadi to present solid evidence that proves the former president and his sons were involved in engineering attacks on electricity towers and the gas-oil pipes in Marib, aaccusation put forth by several leading figures.

New mass protest demands implementation of military restructuring prior to dialogue
Yemen Times — 20 December 2012
The Organizing Committee for the Peaceful Revolution called for a protest to take place on Thursday. Organizers do not want the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) to be held as long as the military maintains a status quo with leaders affiliated with the old regime. Radwan Mas’ood, a member of the committee, said that the protest guarantees the continuation of the revolution in which millions of Yemenis participated, adding that “Our revolution won’t be in vain and we won’t permit any one to spoil it.”

Ministry denies using force against protestors from Taiz in Al-Hayat March
Yemen Times — 27 December 2012
Yemen’s Interior Ministry refuted claims that a slew of protesters were injured during the Al-Hayat March on Tuesday night in front of the Presidential Compound in Sana’a, near Al-Sabeen Square. However, photos and video clips broadcasted on media and social networks show security forces attacking the protesters.

Southern Yemeni Leaders Struggle for Unity
Al-Khaleej via Al-Monitor — 18 December 2012
The National Congress for the people of the south started on Sunday [Dec. 16] in Aden, southern Yemen, amidst official and nonofficial security measures. The effectiveness of the congress revealed high political efforts aimed at highlighting an inclusive southern component capable of representing south Yemen in order for the local, regional and international political parties to deal with it. This important event is “a qualitative leap for the peaceful protest movement of the southern people and a transition to institutional work, which lays the foundations for national reconciliation and unity of the southern people and leads them toward freedom, self-determination and restoration of their state,” said the preparatory committee, which has been led by the southerner Mohammed Ali Ahmed for nine months.

Yemeni Scholars’ Forum in support of the NDC
Yemen Times — 24 December 2012
The Yemeni Scholars’ Forum began a five day conference on Saturday in Sana’a to demonstrate their support for the upcoming National Dialogue Conference (NDC). The event includes several workshops and panels to talk about goals of the 200 sheikhs from various governorates for the upcoming conference.

Benomar: If needed the Security Council will carry out sanctions
Yemen Times — 20 December 2012
The U.N. Secretary General’s special advisor on Yemen Jamal Benomar arrived in Sana’a on Tuesday to follow up on preparations for the National Dialogue Conference (NDC). This is Benomar’s 16th visit to Yemen. After each visit, he briefs the Security Council. In a meeting with Hadi on Tuesday, Benomar asserted that the Security Council is ready to punish those who obstructsthe transition process in Yemen.

Jewish Yemenis to be represented in National Dialogue Conference
Yemen Times — 17 December 2012
Sawa’a estimates that there are approximately 400 people of the Jewish faith currently living in Yemen, with 300 living in the Riada area of Amran governorate and 100 living in the Sawan section of the capital city.

Is Yemen’s power struggle over?
CNN — 21 December 2012
Hadi’s move has met with overwhelming support inside Yemen, whether from Sanaa’s youth protesters or from Ali Muhsen al-Ahmar, who has agreed to respect the decree and step down from his command. Hadi’s internal support raises the question, then, of whether he can expect similar backing from Yemen’s international partners. It now falls on the international community to show a commitment to a peaceful transition in Yemen, as well as provide crucial assistance on the country’s security and development needs.

Dr Al Qirbi: Yemen National Dialogue in January 2013
Bahrain News Agency — 23 December 2012
Yemen Foreign Minister Dr Abu Baker Abdullah Al Qirbi expected that a comprehensive national dialogue would be held in January 2013 indicated that what have been achieved in the first phase of the GCC initiative related to his country exhibited signs of optimism toward its success despite difficulties.

Participants list for NDC due in 10 days with or without Hirak support
Yemen Times — 20 December 2012
President Hadi urged the Preparation Committee (PC) for the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) to name the participants for the conference by the end of 2012. The committee’s final report on conference preparations was handed in last week.   To make up for two months of delay in the transitional process, Hadi has stressed the need for decisions to be made quickly.

Yemen conference: right to health care must be respected
ICRC — 18 December 2012
Daniel MacSweeney, the ICRC’s protection coordinator in Yemen, explains why the Health Care in Danger conference held in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a on 16 December is a vital step in ensuring greater respect for the protection of people’s right to health care in a country where armed conflict and other situations of violence are widespread.

Conference discusses improved protection for health workers and facilities
ICRC — 16 December 2012
An ICRC-organized conference on the dangers facing health personnel and facilities has brought together Yemeni government representatives from the health, security and justice sectors, plus representatives of civil society and international organizations. The meeting in the Yemeni capital Sana’a on 16 December also addressed the factors that prevent the sick and wounded from obtaining health care during conflicts and other emergencies.

US Returns Guantanamo Prisoner’s Remains to Yemen
AP via ABC News — 16 December 2012
U.S. authorities say the remains of a Guantanamo Bay prisoner who died in September have been returned to his native Yemen. A spokesman for the military’s Miami-based Southern Command said Saturday that the medical examiner ruled Adnan Latif’s Sept. 8 death a suicide.

Hassn Zaid speaks to the Yemen Times
Yemen Times — 24 December 2012
The general secretary of the Al-Haq Party, Hassn Zaid, said that even if the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) is successful, it would be on foundations that disqualify Yemenis from participating in their own decisions. He said this mentality is reflected in the distribution of representation percentages.

Dr. Mohammed Mossa Al-Ameri, a religious sheikh, speaks to the Yemen Times
Yemen Times — 17 December 2012
Dr. Mohammed Mossa Al-Ameri is the head of the Salfi Al-Rashad party and a member of the Technical Committee for the National Dialogue Conference (NDC), which recently submitted its final report to President Hadi.  In an interview with the Yemen Times, he addresses those that left the committee due to disputes, and he expresses his displeasure with the number of seats allotted to the Salfi Al-Rashad Party. He said seven seats for his party is not fair because the size and influence of the Salfi Al-Rashad Party is large. Regarding the South, he said the Southern Movement does not represent all Southerners. There are several political factions that have the right to also express their opinions.

Yemenis with Disabilities:
Woman who dedicated life to disabled dies
Yemen Times — 17 December 2012
Mourners attended the funeral of Jamala Al-Baidani, who was the head of Al-Tahadi Association for Physically Disabled Women, on Sunday in Majel Al-Dema Cemetery to recognize her dedication to the plight of disabled people in Yemen. Al-Baidani died in a hospital in Sana’a after struggling with a respiratory disease, according to Hana Al-Kabzari, deputy of the Al-Tahadi Association for Physically Disabled Women.

Youth:
Children affected by the 2011 crisis in Yemen slowly return to normalcy through the classroom
Unicef — 21 December 2012
Today, teachers seek to heal the emotional wounds of children like Hussein, Ahmed, Ibrahim and Ismail. Positive change is already showing. “When we started with drawing classes, many of the children were drawing conflict motifs, planes and guns,” explains assistant teacher Ahmed Al Asri. “But now we see them drawing houses, schools, trees and flowers.” After the conflict had calmed, the students were no longer the same, explains school principal Ali Saleh.  “Many, especially in Grades 1 to 3, were afraid to leave home. The students were no longer interested in studying and learning. They were more aggressive; we could see this in the way the boys were playing in the schoolyard. Even their language had changed – they were calling each other ‘opposition’, ‘gangs’ and so on.”

Culture:
Buried Christian Empire Casts New Light on Early Islam
Spiegel Online — 21 December 2012
Now a narcissistic work of human self-portrayal has turned up in Yemen. It is a figure, chiseled in stone, which apparently stems from the era of the Prophet. Paul Yule, an archeologist from the southwestern German city of Heidelberg, has studied the relief, which is 1.70 meters (5’7″) tall, in Zafar, some 930 kilometers (581 miles) south of Mecca. It depicts a man with chains of jewelry, curls and spherical eyes. Yule dates the image to the time around 530 AD. The German archeologist excavated sites in the rocky highlands of Yemen, an occupation that turned quite dangerous recently because of political circumstances in the country. On his last mission, Yule lost 8 kilograms (18 lbs.) and his equipment was confiscated. Nevertheless, he is pleased, because he was able to bring notes, bits of debris and bones back to Heidelberg. Yule has concluded that Zafar was the center of an Arab tribal confederation, a realm that was two million square kilometers (about 772,000 square miles) large and exerted its influence all the way to Mecca.

Caricature in Yemen, a small but powerful art
Yemen Times — 20 December 2012
Increasing numbers of Yemeni youth are resorting to cartoons as a way to reflect on the political and social situation in the country. At a time of transition, cartoonists have been some of the only agents to successfully convey the status of Yemen to a wide audience both here and abroad.

Health:
Big demand for reproductive health options met with inadequate offerings and services
Yemen Times — 20 December 2012
There are approximately 2,500 reproductive health centers in various governorates nationwide that are supported by the government. Comparative to private sector healthcare, these services are provided for free or heavily subsidized by the state making them easier to access for the majority of the population. According to a 2003 demographics survey, the number of those requesting contraception and birth control in Yemen has increased to over 30 percent of the population. Other studies estimate higher numbers closer to 50 percent. The drastic increase in people interested in family planning and birth control is indicative of larger changes in the economics of family size, an increase in urbanism and higher levels of education.

Videos:
Yemen’s Zinjibar free of Qaeda but insecurity rules
AFP via Youtube — 19 December 2012

I Know Where I’m Going
ICRC — 18 December 2012
I Know Where I’m Going tells the story of Hussein Saleh, an ICRC staff member based in Aden, south Yemen, where thousands of civilians have been displaced in the last year and casualties are reported almost daily.

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