Weekly News Update 20 September 2012

Lindsay Mackenzie/The National/http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-east/in-pictures-the-plight-of-yemens-children#8

Highlights:
The Innocence Protests Expose Deeper Tensions in Yemen
TIME — 16 September 2012
On the eve of the U.S. embassy attack, the President dismissed stalwart Saleh loyalist Major General Ali al-Anesi from his powerful posts as director of the Presidential Office and chairman of the National Security Bureau, as well as sacked four pro-Saleh governors across the country. The following morning, CSF forces under the command of Saleh’s nephew Yahya were pictured at a checkpoint outside the embassy signaling the mob of angry protesters to enter the premises. Video footage of the waning moments of the embassy attack showed exhilarated rioters embracing a CSF soldier before sprinting out of the compound.

Shabab of Sanaa’s Musayk ignored for far too long
The National — 19 September 2012
Many of the attackers appear to have come from Musayk, a crowded cluster of poverty nestled below where the US embassy now stands. When their fathers were born the whole area was little more than an empty slope where travellers rested their camels before entering Sanaa. Now, one generation on, it is a bifurcated world of private generators and privilege set off against their dismal world of absence. Nights in Musayk tend to be stifling and dark as the neighbourhood suffers through one of Sanaa’s routine electric outages.

DP World faces loss of Yemen port deal
Financial Times — 17 September 2012
Reports of the moves to cancel the DP World contract triggered jubilant crowds on the streets of Aden, celebrating the news as a victory for ridding the Arab world’s poorest country of part of the economic legacy of the former regime. Aden, a historic and once-thriving port thanks to its strategic location near the entrance to the Red Sea, had fallen on harder times by the time DP World arrived. Once a storied staging post for global trade, Aden lagged behind regional rivals, such as DP World’s home hub of Jebel Ali, as well as newer ports such as Djibouti. Yemeni officials including Mr Bathib, the transport minister, were unhappy because – they claimed – promises under the contract to raise container traffic from 500,000 20ft-equivalent units a year in 2008 to 900,000 had faltered, with throughput dropping as low as 140,000 a year in 2011. Officials say virtually all of Aden’s historic transshipment business has slipped away, with container traffic moving across the Bab al-Mandab strait, which joins the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean, to nearby Djibouti – another DP World-operated port. Aden also finds itself operating in an increasingly competitive regional market, highlighted by the opening this month of a giant new port and industrial zone in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates. Kuwait has also been developing a new facility just a few kilometres from Iraq’s Grand al-Faw terminal, causing tensions between Baghdad and Kuwait City, in another sign of how ports and politics in the region mix. Back in Yemen, although officials insist the decision to end the DP World contract is final, Abu Bakr al-Qurbi, foreign minister, has launched a last round of diplomacy to see if the argument can be resolved without expelling one of the UAE’s highest profile companies.

Storming of US Embassy:
In Yemen, protests mask diverse views on anti-Islam video
CNN — 19 September 2012
The Arab Spring showed that when Yemenis protest, they want justice and dignity, which are the core of democratic principles. The Arab Spring improved this situation because the U.S. demonstrated its support for the revolutionary movement in Yemen and other Arab countries. But Yemenis reject “democracy” such as this video, which allows the maligning of other faiths and beliefs.

The Silent Hand of Saleh
Foreign Policy — 14 September 2012
So far, Yahya has largely managed to avoid much of the impact of the recent changes: He has yet to have his power undermined by being either being sacked from his position or moved to a lesser role, unlike his cousin, Tareq Saleh, who was previously head of the Presidential Guard and decided to retire rather than accept a new post under Hadi’s reforms. But the future prospects of Yahya maintaining his command look bleak. And Yemen’s ruling clans don’t go down without a fight; many here expected, and still anticipate, a backlash from the Salehs. And with the former president still living in central Sanaa, the presence and influence of his 33-year-long reign remains. Collusion between security forces and the Saleh family over Thursday’s events at the U.S. embassy in Sanaa would not be the first of its type. The supposedly spontaneous protests bore a striking resemblance to an embassy siege in Sanaa last year that many believe was orchestrated to prove a point.

Yemen embassy breach lays bare anti-US sentiment, military weakness
Christian Science Monitor — 13 September 2012
In his statement, President Hadi alluded to lingering divisions within the Yemeni military, the result of last year’s uprising against his predecessor, Ali Abdullah Saleh, saying that they “contributed to the amplification” of today’s incident. Despite Mr. Saleh’s removal from power, many analysts continue to express concerns over what they characterize as “divided loyalties” within some branches of the Yemeni armed forces. “The protests were expected,” said Abdulghani al-Iryani, a Yemeni political analyst. “But from the breaching of the embassy, it seems like someone has delved into muddy waters.” The bulk of the troops guarding the embassy appeared to belong to the Central Security Forces (CSF) a branch of the military led by former President Saleh’s nephew.

Q&A: Ambasssador Bodine talks protests at old post in Yemen
The Daily Princetonian — 18 September 2012
As her former embassy in Yemen was stormed by protestors angered by an anti-Islam film, Barbara Bodine watched the chaos from the comfort of the Wilson School. Bodine, who served as the American ambassador to Yemen from 1997 to 2001 as part of her 30 years in the Foreign Service, currently lectures at the Wilson School while leading the school’s Scholars in the Nation’s Service Initiative. On Tuesday, Bodine sat down with The Daily Princetonian to give her perspective on the protests rocking her old post in Yemen.

Mourners angry at funeral of Yemeni anti-film protester
Reuters — 15 September 2012
Hundreds of mourners in the Yemeni capital Sanaa attended the funeral on Saturday of a young protester who was shot dead when riot police battled a crowd attacking the U.S. embassy over a U.S.-made film mocking the Prophet Mohammad. The burial of 19-year-old Mohammed al-Tuwaiti, who was shot in the chest on Thursday, took place just a few minutes’ walk from the U.S. embassy, in the area where the teenager lived with his family. Four people died at Thursday’s protest, according to the Yemeni interior ministry, but no names have been released, and there were no reports of other funerals taking place in the capital.

U.S. says Marines mission in Yemen only temporary
Reuters — 18 September 2012
The U.S. Embassy in Sanaa said on Tuesday that the deployment of a platoon of Marines to Yemen last week was only temporary and that their mission would be limited to guarding the embassy and its staff after its compound was attacked by demonstrators. The Pentagon said on Friday it had sent a platoon of Marines to Yemen after youths attacked the U.S. Embassy compound in protest against an anti-Muslim film made in the United States. A Yemeni official confirmed about 50 Marines had arrived.

U.S. sends Marines to Yemen; new clashes outside embassy
Reuters — 14 September 2012
The United States has sent a platoon of Marines to Yemen after demonstrators stormed the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa in protest over a film deemed to insult the Prophet Mohammad. Yemeni security forces battled hundreds of youths on Friday, using batons, water cannon and teargas to beat back protesters, a day after demonstrators stormed the compound.

Yemen Inflamed
The Nation — 15 September 2012
Even today, many powerful opponents of Saleh claim that the United States still has not done enough to force the former president’s allies from power. One opposition politician, while condemning the siege, commented that the CSF’s failure to protect the embassy was ironic payback for Washington’s hesitation to make a full break with the Saleh family; after all, CSF Chief of Staff Yahya Saleh was once a favored US commander. At the same time, factions outside of Yemen’s political establishment have said that American reliance on traditional elites has contributed to their marginalization.

Reflections on a Riot
Waq al Waq — 19 September 2012
The movie was the proximate cause, not the ultimate one.  It was the match dropped in the tank of kerosene; it was the whisper that led to the rumor that led to the war.  What we had in Yemen was the main problem around the world: bored young men, full of testosterone and frustration, with the sickening sense of going nowhere fast. This seems obvious, even banal, but it is true, and not talked about enough.  In Yemen, as in Egypt and Tunisia, the fervor of revolution had worn off.  A very short time ago, there was that headlong sense of forging your own destiny, of manning the barricades, or risking life and limb to march down the street, overthrow a tyrant, and claim your rights as a citizen and a human being.  That is a pretty heady feeling, and when it wears off, and life grinds back down to usual, and politics is once again the province of dusty old men, the sense of betrayal is even higher.  And while Hadi has done some interesting things, he hasn’t changed much.  He hasn’t had a chance to, of course- even if he is the man to lead Yemen to a bright and democratic and peaceful future (anyone want to place bets?), it won’t happen soon.   And while I am sure most people understand that, the frustration is also understandable.

Yemen Protests: Confusion and Anger Over Anti-Islam Video
Al-Monitor — 14 September 2012
Along the Siteen highway, across town from the US Embassy, crowds gathered to offer their prayers right in the road, which has been a weekly tradition since Yemen’s revolution erupted last year. But once the services ended, some worshippers marched along the road, unfurling banners in Arabic, reading, “We are here, Muhammad,” and “O community of Muhammed, your prophet is insulted.” Khaki-clad soldiers in red berets looked on. Women in niqab, the black face-veil, bore signs on the crown of their heads expressing solidarity with their Prophet.

Al Qaeda in Yemen urges Muslims to kill U.S. diplomats over film
Reuters — 15 September 2012
The Yemen-based branch of al Qaeda urged Muslims on Saturday to step up protests and kill U.S. diplomats in Muslim countries over a film denigrating the Prophet Mohammad which it said was another chapter in the “crusader wars” against Islam.

Security/Military:
Gov’t launches counterterrorism strategy, approves mutual accountability document
Saba Net — 18 September 2012
The committee, headed by the Foreign Minister, charged with following up the implementation of the strategy by the related ministries and governmental bodies as well as coordinating with political parties and civil society organizations to do its duties in encountering al-Qaeda terrorist acts. The strategy aims to combat the terrorism phenomenon, eradicate its funding sources in all governorates, and to assist the military affaires committee in carrying out its tasks, especially in the field of restoring security and stability. Moreover, the committee is tasked with educating people about the dangers of terrorism and extremism and creating a responsible public opinion in support of the state’s counterterrorism efforts.

Saudi says cannot confirm al Qaeda’s Shehri is dead-paper
Reuters — 16 September 2012
Saudi Arabia cannot confirm the death of the regional al Qaeda wing’s deputy leader, Said al-Shehri, which was announced by Yemen on Monday, Interior Minister Prince Ahmed was quoted on Sunday as saying. The report of the death of Shehri, a Saudi national, was greeted by security experts as important in the battle against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) – based in Yemen and seen by Washington and Riyadh as AQAP’s most dangerous branch.

Three security personnel killed in Yemen attack
Reuters via Chicago Tribune — 16 September 2012
Three Yemeni security personnel were killed on Sunday in a roadside bomb attack apparently targeting a senior official in the southeastern city of al-Mukalla, officials said. Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda have stepped up a campaign of attacks against security forces and government facilities since a U.S.-backed offensive drove them out of their strongholds in southern Yemen earlier this year.

Minister receives threatening letter of killing and blowing his home
Saba Net — 15 September 2012
Unidentified persons hurled a written message at the gate of house of Justice Minister Judge Murshad al-Arashani late Friday evening, containing a threat of killing the minister and bombing of his home.

Yemen: Troops Used Schools, Endangering Children
Human Rights Watch — 11 September 2012
Government forces and other armed groups deployed in schools in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, during the 2011-2012 uprising, putting students at risk and undermining education. The uprising ended the 33-year rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Committees seek drug trafficking solutions
Yemen Times — 16 September 2012
Dr. Abdulmunim Al-Hakami, head of the Supreme Board for Drugs and Medical Appliances (SBDMA), said the board set up committees for solutions to drug trafficking, concentrating particularly on the crossings traffickers use to smuggle drugs through, in addition to inspecting pharmacies promoting these drugs. Al-Hakami said medicine monitoring is the responsibility of the local councils in the governorates; the SBDMA’s responsibility is limited to supervising medicine plants in Yemen.

Economy/Governance:
Yemen invites foreign oil firms to bid for five blocks
Reuters — 16 September 2012
Yemen has invited international companies to bid for exploration and development rights in five oil blocks around the country as it gives top priority to building up its oil output and reserves, the oil minister said on Sunday. State news agency Saba quoted the newly appointed oil and minerals minister, Ahmed Dares, as saying the auction aimed to attract foreign investment and increase exploration operations.

IMF Starts Talks With Yemen, Ready to Send Team for Egypt Talks
Bloomberg — 18 September 2012
The International Monetary Fund is starting talks with Yemen on additional assistance that may be needed to supplement a $93.7 million credit earlier this year, the lender’s regional chief said. Discussions with Yemen “are now starting up, so I would say between now and the end of the year we would have a clearer sense of how they would like to proceed,” Masood Ahmed, director for the Middle East and Central Asia, said in an interview today in Doha, Qatar. “If they need financial support or a framework within which financial support can be structured for others, then the fund would be ready to work with them.”

In Yemen, a Different Kind of Battle: Getting People Trained and Finding Good Bureaucrats
Wharton — 18 September 2012
In an interview with Arabic Knowledge@Wharton at his HSA Group office in Yemen, Shawki Ahmed Hayel Saeed speaks about what he’s doing to encourage budding business-owners; the hurdles of doing business in Yemen; how he’s running the public sector like a business; how he’s contacting other countries to fund government projects; and why he thinks women are taking the lead in entrepreneurship.

Taiz recognized as ‘cultural city’
Yemen Times — 20 September 2012
The reconciliation government agreed Tuesday to recognize Taiz as Yemen’s cultural city. Governor of Taiz Shawqi Hael said the government assigned him and other concerned bodies to take the needed procedures to implement this decree. “Currently, we are counting the things the city needs to be a real cultural city,” he said.

House of Representatives: A house of ineffectiveness
Yemen Times — 17 September 2012
Since the political uprising of last year, the monitoring performance of the parliament has been characterized as weak, with sessions often halted for lengthy time periods, according to a report prepared by the Yemeni Polls Center (YPC) in Sana’a. The House of the Representatives is almost legislatively paralyzed. Because of the structure of the parliament, members cannot perform their legislative duties while at the same time playing into ineffective political sidings. This has led to a fragile supervising and legislative role, according to Hafit Al-Bukari, the manager of YPC.

In Al-Zohra district, impoverishment pervades whole of society’s lifestyle
Yemen Times — 20 September 2012
Approximately 160,000 Al-Zohra locals from Hodeida governorate are living in harsh humanitarian conditions, with most of them residing in small, dirty shacks. The humanitarian situation in Al-Zohra is deteriorating with each passing day, and there have yet to be clear procedures to alleviate the suffering people in Al-Zohra face by providing them with basic necessities.

UN/International Community:
UN Council worries about Yemen
AFP via Google News — 18 September 2012
The UN Security Council expressed concern Tuesday over a campaign to “undermine” Yemen’s interim government and a widening humanitarian crisis in the country. The 15-nation council discussed Yemen as tens of thousands of people staged protests in Sanaa to demand an end to immunity for ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh. The country has also been rocked by attacks from Al-Qaeda and other militant groups against government officials.

Yemen’s political transition on track but facing serious challenges – UN envoy
UN News Centre — 18 September 2012
“The transition is on track, but there have been challenges – serious challenges in various areas, including in the political and the security fields,” Jamal Benomar, the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Yemen, told reporters at UN Headquarters. Mr. Benomar, who recently returned from his 14th mission to Yemen, told the Security Council in a closed-door briefing that, for the State to be able to function, it will need to reassert its authority in various parts of the country, especially where armed groups are in control.

Benomar: Sanctions will be talked over in closed rooms of U.N. council
Yemen Times — 15 September 2012
The international community is strongly committed to supporting Yemen through a comprehensive national dialogue as the sole route for peace, development, security and stability for all Yemenis, U.N. Special Envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar said during a press conference Saturday. He commended President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi’s latest decrees that included the replacement of the head of the National Security Department as well as warning those wishing to disrupt the power transfer deal that punitive action would be taken in accordance with Chapter Seven of the U.N. Charter.

Yemen Foreign Minister Calls Iranian Spy Ring ‘Worrisome’
Al-Hayat via Al-Monitor — 16 September 2012
Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi called what is happening in Yemen following the arrest of an Iranian spy network “worrisome.” He added: “We have informed the Iranians of our concerns regarding these developments. While there has been no evidence indicating the Iranian authorities were directly involved, unfortunately it does seem that there are Shiite groups in Tehran that played a role in this network.” He noted that Iranian media outlets were spreading false reports about what was happening in Yemen, in an attempt to sow discord between Yemen and Iran.

National Dialogue:
Yemen to investigate abuses during anti-Saleh uprising
Reuters — 19 September 2012
Yemen will investigate alleged human rights violations that occurred during an uprising last year, officials said on Wednesday, possibly opening the way to prosecution of ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his relatives. Saleh and his immediate family obtained immunity from prosecution under Yemeni law under a U.S.-backed deal sponsored by Yemen’s Gulf neighbors last year in return for the veteran president’s departure from office. He stepped down in February.

Houthi slogans sweep Sana’a
Yemen Times — 20 September 2012
Houthi slogans noticeably spread during the past three days in streets and neighborhoods in the capital city, beginning from Hizyaz district in the south of the capital Sana’a and stretching to the heart of the city in the Al-Sila district and Bab Al-Yemen. Houthis hoisted placards on which a slogan reads, “Death to America, death to Israel, curses to the Jews and victory to Islam.” Houthis say the slogan will help revive Islam. The spread of this slogan coincides with an occasion held in Sa’ada under the name, “The Outcry Week.” Houthis bellow their slogan following each congregation prayer and during their mass gatherings, in addition to posting the slogan on every street.

An alliance yet to form
Yemen Times — 17 September 2012
Based on cultural, social and historical analogies, the report anticipated the emergence of a political alliance between Taiz and the south. However, thus far, despite half of Aden’s population coming from Taiz—especially from Al-Hujaria—this alliance has yet to form.

Controversy about Al-Beidh’s announced return to Yemen
Yemen Times — 16 September 2012
Political supervisors in Aden doubted the return of Ali Salem Al-Beidh, former vice-president of Yemen and current leader of Al Harak, to Yemen because the unstable political situation doesn’t permit him to do so,  and the security vacuum could make it easier for enemies to reach him. In an interview with Agence France-Presse Friday, Al-Beidh announced he intends to return to Aden during the upcoming period.

Conferences for the unification of the Southern group [Arabic]
Al-Jazeera — 18 September 2012
In an effort to unite the South, a number of leaders and factions of al-Hirak (the Southern movement) are preparing for the holding of conferences preceding the forthcoming National Dialogue Conference to be held at the end of this year. This comes at a time in which differences are appearing among leaders of the South with regard to the National Dialogue Conference. The Supreme Council of the Southern Movement acknowledged that it is holding its first general conference on September 30th of this year. Meanwhile, the distinguished leader of al-Hirak Mohamed Ali Ahmed is preparing another conference. He said it seeks to choose a unified leadership to represent the South at the National Dialogue Conference.

Newspaper: President Hadi is determined to appoint new Yemeni ambassadors to 29 countries and he refuses the principle of quotas [Arabic]
Al-Masdar — 19 September 2012
The Emirati newspaper the Gulf Times quoted Yemeni sources described as informed on the intention of President Hadi to issue decisions appointing a number of ambassadors to Arab and foreign countries, including the US. There is heated disagreement between the two sides of the coalition government about the representation of each in diplomatic openings.

Yemen’s Numan: Power Must Return to the Popular Will
Al-Akhbar — 15 September 2012
Late August an assassination attempt was made on the Secretary General of the Yemeni Socialist Party Yasin Said Numan in a series of attacks signifying growing tension ahead of the upcoming national dialogue. Al-Akhbar interviewed Numan to glean information on the country’s tense situation.

Public Post Authority strike comes to swift end after 1 day
Yemen Times — 20 September 2012
Public Post Authority personnel and its offices in Sana’a and other governorates quickly ended a strike that began Tuesday demanding the removal of corrupt leaders. Minister of Telecommunication and Technology Doctor Ahmed Obaid Bin Daghr ordered the resignation of Abdulatif Abu Ghanim, director of the Public Post Authority, following the employees’ protests, after a presidential decree appoints a new director.

Protest commemorates victims of 2011 Kentucky Round massacre
Yemen Times — 20 September 2012
Revolutionary blocs and activists organized a protest Tuesday afternoon in Sana’a, commemorating the anniversary of the last year’s massacre at Kentucky Round on Al-Zubairi Street. The demonstration, which began in Sana’a’s Change Square, focused on demands that ousted former President Ali Abdullah Saleh face prosecution and that the immunity law granted to him be revoked.

Parliament orders an end to Sana’a University elections
Yemen Times — 20 September 2012
On Tuesday, the House of Representatives ordered the government to stop the election of Sana’a University leadership, deeming such elections a breach of the law. The teaching staff at the university had previously decided to set up a committee, which would include eligible professional members of the university staff, in preparation for the elections of academic and administrative leadership, starting with the university rector and ending with the heads of the educational departments.

Prominent Yemeni novelist defends minority rights in Arab world
Al Arabiya — 18 September 2012
A prominent Yemeni novelist and writer known for his controversial views on Jews and Muslims has urged Arabs in the Middle East to give the region’s minorities more rights and to look more “objectively” to history. Ali al-Muqri, who once stated that “wine is not forbidden in Islam” told Al Arabiya that “unfortunately, the Arab revolutions did not offer a new vision for minorities.”

Dr. Saleh Basurra speaks to the Yemen Times
Yemen Times — 20 September 2012
Dr. Saleh Basurra, a leader in the General People’s Congress (GPC) and former Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, said there is media hype regarding the Southern Movement, and he confirmed there is a problem in the south.

Health:
Stigma around mentally ill patients slowly fades
Yemen Times — 17 September 2012
Psychiatry in Yemen suffers from a long series of difficulties despite efforts made by in-country psychologists to follow developments in the psychiatry world. There are approximately 500,000 psychiatric patients and 1.5 million neurology patients in Yemen, according to 2010 statistics cited by the Al-Amal Psychiatric Hospital.

Media/Arts:
Covering Yemen Imperils Journalists
Al-Monitor — 13 September 2012
Journalists in Yemen generally have a hard time, especially when their reporting reflects negatively on the government. Human rights and press freedom organizations have reported on various violations against journalists in the past, especially Yemeni journalists who face greater dangers than foreign correspondents. They have risked their lives but few have gotten mainstream media attention. What happened to me is unfortunately a regular incident for many Yemeni journalists.

Mass media still not supporting national dialogue requirements
Saba Net — 16 September 2012
The preparatory committee for the national dialogue conference said in its meeting held Sunday that the various local mass media are still not supporting the requirements of transition process and preparatory atmosphere for the national dialogue. During its meeting which chaired by the committee’s head Abdul Karim al-Eriani, the committee, with a full national responsibility ambiance, discussed what the local media reveals in its different discourses serving the different political parties’ aims and not the soul of unified team working in one right direction to build a new Yemen.

Plays address human rights
Yemen Times — 17 September 2012
A human rights play competition within the Our Rights Initiative, organized by Future-Partners for Development in cooperation with Equal Access Organization, concluded Saturday at the Cultural House in Sana’a. Sami Al-Qobati, the coordinator of the competition, said the competition aims to introduce the ability of young people to spread a culture of respecting human rights, which is important to society both in times of political stability and in times of turmoil.

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