Time to Get Serious about Yemen
National Interest — 28 August 2012
President Hadi cannot be expected to stabilize Yemen politically, carry out the GCC pact, tackle Al Qaeda, resist a growing humanitarian disaster and reform the military all at once if some of his commanders are attempting to subvert his work. As a power that has both lent its name to the November agreement and consistently poured money into Yemen for a variety of noble purposes, the United States can—and should—assist the head of Yemen’s interim government by following through on its own orders.
Whose Side Is Yemen On?
Foreign Policy — 29 August 2012
Faqih is just one of the many Yemenis who have come to suspect that their government is not fighting, but helping cultivate, jihadi activity in their country. According to sources in Yemen’s Interior Ministry and Defense Ministry, as well as independent Yemeni analysts and journalists with intimate knowledge of al Qaeda in Yemen, the Yemeni government is fully aware of a number of al Qaeda cells — and their existence is tolerated and their crimes covered up.
Pommel horses and protesters
Salon — 25 August 2012
Lack of funding means more than a disintegrating gym; it also means no money to host or travel to competitions. With even regional Middle Eastern competitions out of the question, that leaves just the nine other gymnastics clubs in all of Yemen to compete against. None of those teams have enough money to so much as hire a bus to drive to one another’s gyms. The gymnasts in al-Harazi’s home club in Sana’a can at least work out regularly now – for much of 2011, though, the gym was shuttered. Surrounded by gunfire and thousands of protesters clashing in the streets with pro-government forces, even being inside the gym was deemed too unsafe. During lulls in the conflict when the gym finally could open, the lack of electricity prevented any sort of reliability in practice hours. But with over 2,000 of their countrymen killed in the protests, there were other things to worry about. Continue reading
Hani Mohammed/AP via NBC Blog/http://photoblog.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/20/13377142-funeral-for-soldiers-killed-in-suspected-al-qaeda-attacks-in-yemen?lite
Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen
Council on Foreign Relations — 21 August 2012
A recent paper from researchers at the New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI) also draws the connection between rising food prices and conflict in Yemen. The paper argues that violence in Yemen before 2008 could be “…attributed to inter-group conflict between ethnically and religiously distinct groups,” but that “starting in 2008, increasing global food prices triggered a new wave of violence that spread to the endemically poor southern region with demands for government change and economic conditions.” To reduce the opportunity for terrorism, NECSI researchers argue, Yemen must address its high food prices.
Official: Yemeni militants infiltrated Egypt before Rafah attack
CNN — 17 August 2012
Ten Yemeni militants infiltrated Egyptian soil two months ago and trained local Jihadi cells in the Sinai peninsula, a security official said Friday. “Several foreign men were spotted shopping in the market by residents and we received intelligence that they were in communication with Jihadist cells in Al Mukataa, a remote area south of Sheikh Zuweid in Northern Sinai,” said a senior security official associated with Egypt’s North Sinai’s border guards, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “We hope to capture them in our ongoing raids. They could be hiding in Jabal-Al Halal — a rugged mountain terrain in central Sinai.” The Yemeni militants were smuggled into Sinai from Sudan among groups of African migrants who have been sold to Bedouin who traffic refugees into Israel for cash, said Ibrahim Al Menei, a Bedouin leader from the Swarkeh tribe who has spearheaded a committee of hundreds of men to curb the illegal trafficking of Africans through the Sinai.
Reversing the Anti-American sway in Yemen
Foreign Policy — 16 August 2012
Looking ahead to the coming month, the United States should use the opportunity of the upcoming donors meeting in Riyadh on September 4 and 5 and the Friends of Yemen meeting at the U.N. General Assembly in New York on September 27 to rally international financial and diplomatic support for Yemen’s precarious transition. The United States, its European allies, and other interested parties should provide assistance for an inclusive national dialogue process, constitutional development, the creation of a new voter registry, and elections support. Perhaps most importantly, the administration should pressure Gulf states and other allies to follow its lead and contribute significant economic and food resources to address Yemen’s critical humanitarian conditions. President Hadi has taken important steps to move the GCC process forward; now the United States, the European Union, and the GCC countries need to carry their end of the bargain to ensure that Yemen has the tools and resources to capitalize on this narrow opening. Continue reading
Stephanie Sinclair/National Geographic/http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/09/yemen/sinclair-photography#/03-female-counterterrorism-pink-barracks-670.jpg
Days of Reckoning
National Geographic — September 2012
Um Mohammed was too frightened to divulge her real name but not too frightened to speak her mind. She showed me a cell phone video she had made three weeks earlier, this past January, during a trip home to Zinjibar to retrieve some belongings. It showed a bearded man hanging from a lamppost, his hands nailed to a wooden crossbeam. Speaking in a shrill voice muffled by the black cloth in front of her face, she said that the man, an al Qaeda operative, had been accused of spying for the Yemeni government. “He hung there for three days. It was a warning to the people: Every traitor should be killed like this.”
Yemen: Taking Charge of the Generals
PRI’s The World — 13 August 2012
The president of Yemen has begun restructuring the Yemeni army. Princeton scholar Gregory Johnsen tells Marco Werman that this power play has to be handled with care. Last Monday president Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi transferred the command of several Republican Guards’ units to his newly created Presidential Protection Force. That force will also include a brigade from the army’s First Armored Division led by General Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar, who last year supported opposition protests against the Salih regime. Other units from the Republican Guards, commanded by former President Ali Abdullah Salih’s son Ahmad, will move to other regional commands. “I think this is a significant story and one that has been developing for some time,” says Johnsen. “This is Hadi’s latest step in his attempt to simultaneously erode the ground from beneath the feet of Ahmad Ali Salih and Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar, while the whole time not bringing Yemen’s military crashing down around his ears.” But Johnsen is wary of the new Presidential Protection Force. “One of the things that was quite disturbing about president Salih’s rule is that he did exactly this sort of thing,” Johnsen tells The World.
Two years on, journalist still behind bars after alleging US cluster bomb use
Amnesty International — 15 August 2012
The Yemeni authorities must set aside the conviction of a journalist imprisoned after he alleged US involvement in fatal air strikes in the country – including the use of cluster bombs – and release him, Amnesty International said today. Thursday marks two years since Abdul Ilah Haydar Shayi’, an investigative journalist specializing in counter-terrorism affairs, was arrested at his home in the Yemeni capital Sana’a, on charges of links to al-Qa’ida. He has been behind bars ever since. On 18 January 2011, he was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. On 1 February 2011, former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh issued an order to free him, but it was not carried out after US President Barack Obama expressed concern over the journalist’s release. Continue reading
Ramzy Alawi/Yemen Times/http://www.yementimes.com/en/1596/report/1239/Heavy-rains-infiltrate-capital-city-at-height-of-Ramadan-season.ht.
Yemen restructures army, cuts powers of ex-leader’s son
Reuters — 7 August 2012
Yemen’s president ordered the restructuring of some military units on Monday, aiming to curb the powers of a son of former leader Ali Abdullah Saleh and stabilize a country where Saleh’s legacy still looms large.
Patronage stalls Yemen’s transition
IRIN — 8 August 2012
There is a common saying on the streets of the Yemeni capital Sana’a these days: “Those who ruled us in the past still rule us at present.” After a year of nation-wide protests and often violent clashes in the capital, Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi was declared Yemen’s new president in February, replacing Ali Abdullah Saleh, who stepped down after ruling for 33 years. But nearly six months after his departure, Saleh continues to hold significant influence and control over military forces, leading to several clashes between factions vying for power, including one last week in Sana’a, which killed at least 15 people.
Yemen’s Spaces of Disorder
World Politics Review — 8 August 2012
Spaces of disorder do not emerge from natural topography. They are man-made, shaped and reshaped by relations among local populations, authorities and economic structures and external players, including national, regional and international actors. While Yemen’s difficult mountainous terrain and its fiercely autonomous tribal culture have definitely posed serious challenges to all central authorities in the country’s modern history, many other important factors contribute to the development and expansion of Yemen’s spaces of disorder. These include the Saleh regime’s politics of manipulation and “management through conflict,” which contributed significantly to the undermining of the Yemeni state’s legitimacy and the flourishing of armed nonstate actors. Continue reading
Yemen unveils plan to vaccinate all children against rotavirus
The Guardian — 1 August 2012
Yemen has announced plans to vaccinate the 1 million children born in the country each year against the most severe form of diarrrhoea, rotavirus. Rotavirus is often fatal for under-fives. The vaccination campaign is supported by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations (Gavi). Yemen has one of the highest rates of under-five mortality in the world, at 77 deaths for every 1,000 live births. This compares with an average of 41 deaths for every 1,000 live births for the whole of the Middle East and north Africa. Yemen is also the poorest country in the Arabian peninsula. More than 46% of the population live below the poverty line, on less than $2 a day.
Yemen snubs Iranian envoy after uncovering spy ring
Reuters — 31 July 2012
Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has snubbed a visiting Iranian envoy to signal his “displeasure” with Tehran, a Foreign Ministry official said on Tuesday, only weeks after Yemen said it had uncovered an Iranian-led spy ring in the capital Sanaa. The Iranian envoy was visiting Yemen to invite Hadi to the Non-Aligned Movement’s summit in Tehran in August. “Hadi’s refusal to receive the Iranian envoy was an expression of Sanaa’s displeasure with Tehran’s policy towards Yemen,” a Yemeni Foreign Ministry official told Reuters. The state news agency Saba said on July 18 that Yemen had uncovered a spy ring led by a former commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. The spy ring, which kept an operations centre in Sanaa, had also been operating in the Horn of Africa, the agency said.
Crude arrives at Yemen refinery after 9-month halt
Reuters — 30 July 2012
Yemen delivered its first oil shipment from the Maarib pipeline to its Aden refinery after a nine-month halt that left the poorest Arab country dependent on donations of fuel, an official from the refinery told Reuters. “The first shipment of 85,000 tonnes has been delivered on Saturday night from the Maarib pipeline to the Aden refinery,” the official said, declining to be named under briefing rules. Continue reading