Weekly News Update 5 July 2012

University employees protesting/Aden University Employees Union via Yemen Times

Highlights:
Enduring Conflicts, Threatened Transition
International Crisis Group — 3 July 2012
The political settlement has numerous flaws. It was an elite compromise that excluded many original protesters as well as marginalised constituencies. It failed to adequately address issues of justice, and it kept in power leaders and parties at least partially responsible for the country’s woes. But, at a minimum, it offers the chance for a different future. If politicians in Sanaa fail to resolve, or at least contain, the ongoing elite confrontation and move forward with an inclusive dialogue, the country risks experiencing further violence and fragmentation. Yemen has long run away from critical decisions. It should run no more.

A Hollow Victory
Foreign Policy — 2 July 2012
As cautious optimism fades and if lingering resentments continue to harden, it’s not hard to see violence erupting in Abyan yet again — regardless of al Qaeda’s intentions. Pushing the militants out was one thing. Repairing the damage of the past year is quite another.  “Even if we’ve achieved victory in this battle with weapons,” an opposition politician told me upon my return to Sanaa, “we can only win the war through economic progress and real efforts towards development.”

The Drone Blowback Fallacy
Foreign Affairs — 1 July 2012
From al Hudaydah in the west to Hadhramaut in the east, AQAP is building complex webs of dependency within Yemen’s rural population. It gives idle teenagers cars, khat, and rifles — the symbols of Yemeni manhood. It pays salaries (up to $400 per month) that lift families out of poverty. It supports weak and marginalized sheikhs by digging wells, distributing patronage to tribesmen, and punishing local criminals. As the leader of one Yemeni tribal confederation told me, “Al Qaeda attracts those who can’t afford to turn away.” Religious figures echoed these words. Though critical of the U.S. drone campaign, none of the Islamists and Salafists I interviewed believed that drone strikes explain al Qaeda’s burgeoning numbers. “The driving issue is development,” an Islamist parliamentarian from Hadramout province said. “Some districts are so poor that joining al Qaeda represents the best of several bad options.” (Other options include criminality, migration, and even starvation.) A Salafi scholar engaged in hostage negotiations with AQAP agreed. “Those who fight do so because of the injustice in this country,” he explained. “A few in the north are driven by ideology, but in the south it is mostly about poverty and corruption.”

Security:
Yemen says arrests Qaeda-linked cell
Reuters — 4 July 2012
Yemen said on Wednesday it had arrested about 13 members of an al-Qaeda linked cell tasked with killing government officials and intelligence officers.

Blast kills senior Yemeni intelligence officer
AP via Fox News — 2 July 2012
A bomb hidden under the driver’s seat of a car killed a senior Yemeni intelligence officer in the nation’s capital Monday, a security official said.

Yemen air strikes kill four al Qaeda suspects-witnesses
Reuters — 3 July 2012
At least four suspected al Qaeda militants were killed in two air strikes, thought to have been carried out by U.S. drones on vehicles travelling in central Yemen on Tuesday, a Yemeni security source and witnesses said.

Yemeni: authorities foil attacks on foreigners
AP — 1 July 2012
Yemeni authorities have uncovered at least 13 al-Qaida plots to target foreign diplomats, embassies and senior military and government officials in the capital of Sanaa and other cities, a high ranking security official said Sunday. The official says authorities were tipped off by captured al-Qaida members. He says they gave information about sleeper cells plotting a string of assassinations, bombings and abductions of foreign diplomats in the capital, as well as cities in troubled southern Yemen. He said Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi met top security officials to discuss the new information.

Yemeni soldiers kidnap top officer in pay dispute
Reuters via Chicago Tribune — 28 June 2012
The abduction of Brigadier General Murad al-Awbali, commander of the 62nd brigade of the Republican Guards, is likely to worry Washington. He was snatched while travelling east of the capital Sanaa, the official said.

Houthis accused of abducting five residents from Majz, Sa’ada
Yemen Times — 5 June 2012
Sulaiman Otaif, a journalist in Sa’ada governorate, said armed men linked to the Houthis abducted five residents in the Majz district, putting them in prison on the pretext that they refused to buy Zakat (alms), though they have vouchers proving they paid it several days before being arrested.

Drone policy in Yemen unsustainable: experts
AFP via Daily Star — 29 June 2012
Top foreign policy experts have warned U.S. President Barack Obama that his Yemen policy, steeled by lethal drone strikes on terror suspects, is not sustainable and could harm long-term U.S. security. In a letter fanning debate on U.S. policy toward a hot front in the campaign against Al-Qaeda, the experts said Wednesday that Yemenis perceived America as almost purely concerned with ruthless anti-terrorism operations.

Two killed in Yemen as army pursues militants
Reuters — 1 July 2012
At least two al Qaeda-linked militants were killed as U.S.-backed Yemeni forces pursued fighters driven from their southern strongholds last month, a local official said on Sunday.

Yemen tightens control on motorcycles
Saba Net — 1 July 2012
Media sources said that Al-Qaeda militants who escaped Zinjibar and Jaar set up a new stronghold in Al-Mahfad area of Abyan, an extremely rugged mountain ranges in the borders with Shabwa governorate. They further said that Al-Qaeda leaders and militants were seen heading to Al-Mahafad during the past days, affirming that they set up training camps there. The Yemeni army backed by the Public Resistance Committees comprised of tribesmen could dislodge Al-Qaeda from main towns in Abyan such as Jaar, Zinjibar and Shaqra. Meanwhile, an Omani newspaper said on Tuesday that al-Qaeda operatives left Yemen to the neighboring state of Oman after they were attacked in the South Yemen.

Mines kill 81 in 2 weeks in embattled town
AP — 30 June 2012
Yemeni military officials say landmines laid by al-Qaida fighters have killed eight people in the past three days near the former militant stronghold of Zinjibar in the country’s south. This brings the total number of mine deaths since the town fell to a military offensive two weeks ago to 81.

Saudi envoy seized in Yemen urges king not to forget him
Reuters — 2 July 2012
A Saudi diplomat kidnapped by al Qaeda-linked militants in Yemen appealed to the Saudi king not to forget about him and meet his abductors’ demand for the release of women prisoners, in a new video posted on the Internet.

Shell kills child, injures 7 others
AP — 2 July 2012
Yemeni military officials say a group of children have accidentally set off a shell with which they were playing, killing one and wounding seven others in a southern town that was the scene of fighting between al-Qaida militants and the army.

Republican Guard commander abducted, sparks tension between Khawlan and Sanhan
Yemen Times — 2 July 2012
After Thursday’s abduction of Brigadier General Murad Al-Awbali, commander of the Republican Guard 62nd Brigade, an atmosphere of tension has prevailed between the Khawlan and Sanhan tribes, which are east of Sana’a.

Economy/Governance:
Govt launches final version of development program for 2012-2014
Saba Net — 2 July 2012
Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation announced on Monday the completion of the final version of the phased program plan for the stability and development for 2012-2014.

Oil pipeline sabotage cost Yemen $4 bln
AFP via Google News — 3 July 2012
Repeated attacks on pipelines since the start of the uprising that ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh have cost Yemen more than $4 billion in lost revenues since February last year, the oil minister said in remarks published late Monday. Yemen is incurring “economic losses estimated at more than $4 billion due to a halt in pumping from the Ras Issa pipeline,” Petroleum and Minerals Minister Hisham Abdullah told the state Saba news agency.

Yemen loses $10-15 mln/day as oil exports halted
AP — 29 June 2012
Yemen is losing up to $15 million a day in export revenue because violence has halted shipments from the oil-producing Maarib province, the oil minister said, adding the government would ensure the repair of a crude pipeline ‘by force’. Yemen’s oil and gas pipelines have long been a target of attacks by militants in the unstable and impoverished country, but attacks on energy infrastructure have become more frequent since anti-government protests last year created a power vacuum.

Complaints about power outages despite works on Marib Power Station
Yemen Times — 2 July 2012
Following one month of service failure while crews repaired sabotaged facilities, the Marib Power Station is back online.  However, even with increased electricity production, power outages continue to occur daily in Sana’a and other governorates. Ahmed Makki, manager of Al-Makha restaurant in Sana’a, said, “The continuous power outages affected our restaurant negatively, especially as we couldn’t use our refrigerators to keep our vegetables fresh.”

University students complain about healthcare
Yemen Times — 5 July 2012
If you ask a Sana’a University student about the available health services, the most likely response will be, “There are health services?” A lot of students affirm that the provision of health services at the university is close to nothing. The rooms and medicines that apparently are available are just for show, they say.

Food:
Yemen needs more than a food basket
Gulf News — 4 July 2012
Emergency aid responds to emergencies. It does not solve it and it will most definitely not prevent it. It is only a short-term solution. Chronic challenges like hunger, poverty and unemployment are much more complicated to address.

Aden University employees continue protests for second week
Yemen Times — 2 July 2012
Administrative staff at Aden University have continued their comprehensive strike for the second week.  Workers closed the University Presidency Gate in protest against their salaries, which are lower than their counteparts at Sana’a University.

National Dialogue:
President Hadi meets liaison committee
Saba Net — 1 July 2012
President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi met here on Sunday the members of the liaison committee authorized to contact with the different political sides to pave the way for forming the national dialogue’s preparatory committee.

Yemeni clerics disapprove of their exclusion from the National Dialogue
Yemen Times — 5 July 2012
It is expected that a presidential decree will be issued to set up a preparatory committee in preparation for the National Dialogue.  On Wednesday, President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi received the liaison committee report. The committee was established at the beginning of May in order to contact all political stakeholders and invite them to participate in the dialogue.

Abdulwahab Al-Homaiqani, secretary-general of the Yemeni Rashad Union to the Yemen Times
Yemen Times — 2 July 2012
The Yemeni Rashad Union is the first Yemeni Salafi party. It was officially declared June 17 after a large Salafi conference in mid-March expressing their willingness to take part in Yemen’s politics.  Ahmed Dawood of the Yemen Times met Abdulwahab Al-Homaiqani, secretary-general of the Yemeni Rashad Union and conducted the following interview.

Yemenis consider how Morsi’s election will affect local scene
Yemen Times — 2 July 2012
Hours after Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi was elected as Egypt’s head of state June 24, Yemenis across the country celebrated.  In Sana’a and in other Yemeni governorates, people celebrated the election results. Yemeni President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi and former President Ali Abdulah Saleh congratulated Morsi.

International Community:
USAID launches solar energy project in Aden
Yemen Times — 2 July 2012
A solar energy generation project was launched last week in Al-Twahi district in Aden with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

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