Weekly News Update 27 September 2012

Reuters via Al-Arabiya/http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/09/27/240445.html

Saleh Resists Retirement in Yemen, Threatening Transition
Bloomberg — 25 September 2012
Saleh, who moves around Sana’a in convoys larger and better-equipped than Hadi’s, retains elements of the Presidential Guard and special forces as his personal guard. He uses al-Yemen al-Youm satellite television as a platform for his battle against the transitional government. It’s a contrast with the fate of the other Arab leaders ousted in last year’s revolts. Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali lives in exile in a Saudi palace in Jeddah on the Red Sea, and was sentenced by a Tunisian court to life in prison for complicity in the deaths of protesters. Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak is in jail appealing a life sentence on similar charges, and Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi was pulled out of a drainage pipe and executed by rebels.

Yemenis paint disappeared activists on Sanaa streets
Reuters — 25 September 2012
Yemenis are using street art to lobby the government to tell what happened to hundreds of people who disappeared in years of political turmoil, but even their images on the walls have troubled powerful figures who sought to remove the graffiti. Many disappearances are from the unrest last year, but some date back to the turbulent 33 years of Saleh’s rule that saw a civil war in 1994 and the uprising of 2011.

Firebrand cleric walks a fine line in Yemen
Al-Jazeera — 22 September 2012
The Sheikh has rarely appeared in the city for the past year. Now, with the transfer of power moving forward, and the Islamist party Islah gaining in power, his is more confident. But he still has powerful enemies – the result of his independent stance over the years. His house is surrounded by concrete walls and guards with automatic weapons. The Americans are not his only enemy. Even the Islah party refers to Zindani as someone who simply represents himself, wary of how his views can compromise their own political maneuvering. His firm belief that he developed a cure for AIDS was openly discussed despite the Sheikh having been scorned for years by the international community for the claim. He said the US put him on the terror list because of this, insinuating his “cure” could endanger pharmaceutical corporations’ profits. He also proudly announced his development of a new drug to cure heart disease. “This is an announcement for you, as an exclusive,” he smiled deeply, hands in the air with enthusiasm.

President Hadi’s Trip/International Community:
Hadi outside Yemen on official business
Yemen Times — 24 September 2012
President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi left Yemen Sunday for the United Kingdom on the first stop of an official visit, which will include a number of European countries and the U.S. This visit came in response to an invitation by international patrons of the political reconciliation in Yemen.  Hadi spoke to the state-run Saba news agency, saying, “The first stop on this visit will be the United Kingdom due to the long, steady bonds between the two countries and its constructive, serious role with the member states toward Yemen.”  Hadi’s second stop is the U.S.

Is aid good for Yemen?
The Guardian — 24 September 2012
Many Yemenis complain they have not benefited much from international aid, a view reflected by the human rights minister, Hooria Mashoor. “Many [Yemenis] are not satisfied about international aid because they don’t feel it,” Mashoor says. “It does not touch their life at all. Their life conditions are not improving.”

London commits aid to Yemen
UPI — 25 September 2012
The British government announced it was committing $45.3 million to address the humanitarian crisis in war-torn Yemen. Yemeni President Abdu Rabbo Mansour Hadi met with British authorities ahead of the U.N. General Assembly in New York. Hadi’s visit to London was his first to a non-Arab country since he took office in February.

Yemen needs a US reset, not a retreat
Christian Science Monitor — 25 September 2012
In a Mercy Corps survey of several hundred youth in Taiz, most said they believed the government had failed them but still overwhelmingly wanted to participate in community-level dialogue. Reflecting these potentially divergent viewpoints, one youth leader said, “Before, we felt like we could not do anything, now I feel like I can do something for myself and my country.”

More Diplomacy, Fewer Drones
New York Times — 25 September 2012
The drone program is by nature a Sisyphean struggle, no matter how many terrorists are eliminated. In Yemen, every time a drone kills civilians, young Yemenis like me who have always admired America start to see it as part of the problem, not the solution.

At U.N., Egypt and Yemen Urge Curbs on Free Speech
New York Times — 26 September 2012
President Abed Rabbu Mansour Hadi of Yemen opened his speech on Wednesday by demanding curbs on freedom of speech that insults religion. “These behaviors find people who defend them under the justification of the freedom of expression,” he said. “These people overlook the fact that there should be limits for the freedom of expression, especially if such freedom blasphemes the beliefs of nations and defames their figures.”

International aid sought in fight against terrorism, Yemen’s President tells UN debate
UN News Centre — 26 September 2012
Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, Yemen’s President Abdrabu Mansour Hadi today appealed to Heads of State and Government for more help in combating terrorism in his country where he said that Al-Qaida, although weaker, is still capable of desperate acts. “We invite our international partners in combating terrorism to provide more logistical and technical support to the security forces and counterterrorism units and expand the intelligence cooperation and coordination in this field,” President Mansour told the 67th General Assembly on the second day of its annual General Debate.

Yemen president offers conditional dialogue with al Qaeda
Reuters — 26 September 2012
Yemen’s president offered dialogue to Islamist militants including al Qaeda on Wednesday, but said they must agree first to put down weapons and reject support from abroad. Restoring stability to Yemen has become an international priority given fears that jihadi fighters could entrench themselves in a country and threaten world No. 1 oil exporter Saudi Arabia next door and important world shipping lanes.

Official: Transferring power to Defense Minister is baseless
Saba Net — 24 September 2012
An official at Defense Ministry refuted rumours released in some newspapers and websites saying that President Abdo Rabu Mansour Hadi has transferred power to Defense Minister Mohammed Naser Ahmed during his tour visit to the U.S and number of European countries. The source affirmed this saying is baseless, noting the Republic of Yemen has constitutional institutions which are the Presidency, Parliament, Cabinet and Shura Council and each one has its own duties and responsibilities.

Yemen partakes in meetings of Council of GCC Labour Ministers
Saba Net — 23 September 2012
Yemen is to partake in meetings of the 29th session of the Council of Ministers of Labour and Social Affairs in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, which will begin its work Sunday in the Saudi capital Riyadh. Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Amat al-Razaq Ali Humad, said to Saba, as she left Sana’a, that the meeting will discuss issues of common interest for GCC countries.

National Dialogue:
Looking ahead, Yemenis aspire for a new constitution that fulfills ambitions
Yemen Times — 27 September 2012
Wadhah Al-Jaleel, a researcher at the Yemeni Observatory for Human Rights, said Yemenis are crying out for a reconciliatory constitution that defends the rights of everyone—be they minorities, majorities, individuals or groups—without consideration to race, partisanship, ideology or gender. The constitution’s text should guarantee tangible, equal citizenship for all social components, he said.

Yemen marks 50th anniversary of republic
Reuters via Al-Arabiya — 27 September 2012
Members of Yemen’s armed forces cadets took part in a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the republic on Wednesday (September 26) in the capital, Sanaa. The ceremony celebrated the revolution that toppled the regime of the Hameed al-Deen family in northern Yemen on September 26, 1962.  “Our celebration of this occasion comes amid the successes our country has achieved in overcoming the would-be disaster of overwhelming chaos and civil war,” said Yemen’s Prime Minister Muhammad Salim Basindwa.

Newspapers: Al-Iryani on a mission to find a home for Saleh; presidency entrusted to minister of defense [Arabic]
Al-Masdar — 24 September 2012
The newspaper Akhbar al-Youm mentioned that the objective of Abdel-Karim al-Iryani’s visit to Ethiopia was a discussion a residence for former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. It said that the sudden and unannounced visit of al-Iryani to Ethiopia comes within the context of a settlement that includes the exit of Saleh from Yemen.

Revolutionary torch relocated from Tahrir Square to Parade Venue
Yemen Times — 27 September 2012
The Interior Ministry, in coordination with the Carnivals Committee and Capital City Security, created a security plan specific to the preparations for the 50th anniversary of the 26 September revolution. As part of that plan, for the first time, the Parade Venue of the Ministry of Defense held the celebrations instead Tahrir Square—also known as Change Square. Loyalists of the General People’s Congress (GPC) have been camping out in the square for more than a year, and they refuse to evacuate the square.

From their eyes: The 1962 revolution
Yemen Times — 27 September 2012
Names of prominent people who participated in the 26 September revolution are kept alive through history. Those revolutionaries struggled very much to eliminate the imams’ regime and to move Yemen into a new period—away from the time of tyranny, illiteracy and outdated social norms. Still today, revolutionaries are able to relive the details of the revolution—50 years old—that turned Yemen into a republic.

26 September revolution objectives: What has and hasn’t been achieved?
Yemen Times — 27 September 2012
A half-century has passed since the breakout of the 26 September revolution in 1962, since the pioneers of that revolution strived to build a new Yemen. Henceforth, the monarchy began to collapse—it grasped its final breaths. Sana’a was ready to announce the birth of a new country: the Yemen Arab Republic.  At that time, the revolutionaries set six objectives for the revolution. Even today, these six objectives are still outlined in government newspapers. The objectives were as a project to help restore Yemen and drive it out of backwardness, poverty and ignorance experienced under the reign of monarchy.

Different revolts, different decades
Yemen Times — 27 September 2012
Supervisors said there are several similarities between the 1962 and the 2011 movements, pointing out that, had the aims of the 1962 revolution been achieved, Yemen would be in a better situation today.

Yemen minister says Saleh trying to spoil transition
Reuters — 22 September 2012
Ousted Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh is interfering in the Arabian Peninsula state’s transition process but Western countries are still reluctant to cut him off completely, a Yemeni government minister said on Saturday. Yemen’s Gulf neighbours led by Saudi Arabia sponsored a U.S.-backed deal that allowed Saleh to leave office in February after a year of fighting to suppress an uprising that left over 2,000 people dead.

Armed tribesmen in Al-Jawf prevent new governor’s entrance to goverment space
Yemen Times — 27 September 2012
Armed men in Al-Jawf governorate prevented newly appointed Governor Mohammed Salem Bin Abood from entering a government compound Monday. Sheikh Hassan Abu Hadra, head of Bakil’s Youth Forum, said clashes broke out Monday between the governor’s security guards and armed men. The men have been occupying the compound for more than one year.

Technical Committee adds new members
Yemen Times — 22 September 2012
The Technical Committee responsible for preparing for the National Dialogue Conference requested an urgent meeting with the president to follow up on the presidential decree, adding six members to the committee on Sept. 17. “We had requested from the president on several occasions to include representatives of the Southern Movement (Hirak), and the idea was to add three members of Hirak and replace the current two members, Tamam Bashraheel and Abdullah Al-Asnaj, in case they refused to join,” committee member Nadia Al-Sakkaf said. Qasim Askar, the former ambassador and the general secretary of the Southern Movement, said new members don’t represent the Southern Movement, Hirak. He said members of the Technical Committee itself support this opinion by suspending their work in the committee.

A Yemeni response to cultural Islamophobia
Al-Jazeera — 21 September 2012
If the West wants to understand Muslims better, it needs to divest itself of some of old prejudice, ignorance and misconception. Perhaps, as Karen Armstrong puts it, one place to start with is the beloved figure of prophet Mohammed, a passionate man whose especial genius and wisdom can illuminate these dark and frightening times. That is Mohammed who with a divine support founded a faith whose name signifies peace and reconciliation, and once the greatest civilisation in the world, not on the sword or hatred of women – despite the western myths.

Decree establishes committee to investigate human rights violations
Yemen Times — 23 September 2012
Activists in Sana’a’s Change Square consider President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi’s latest decree—establishing a committee to investigate human rights’ violations from last year—as a decree meant only to calm revolutionary people. Shihab Al-Masri, a revolutionary youth, said Hadi’s decree aimed to wrap up the issue of human rights violations entirely and to simply calm the youth.

Rise of Radical Islam in Yemen Altering Its Tribalism, Book Finds
Al-Hayat via Al-Monitor — 22 September 2012
How can a country with a tribal society also see the spread of Islamic political movements? In anthropology, radicalism and tolerance are contradictory. In his book “Islamist Movements in Yemen” — published by the Center for Arab Unity Studies in Beirut — Dr. Abdul Malik Mohammed Abdullah Issa says that tribes constitute nearly 85% of the total Yemeni population and that there are 168 tribes in Yemen.

Aden radio employees call for boss’ removal
Yemen Times — 27 September 2012
A pool of Aden radio station employees continue their sit-in in front the radio station compound in Al-Tawahi district, calling for an end to the corruption the radio station has been facing.

Yemeni journalists work to establish code of ethics
Al-Shorfa — 19 September 2012
More than 150 journalists met to work on the first phase of the initiative, held in June in collaboration with the United Stated Agency for International Development (USAID). The second phase, which was launched this month, will enrol 80 journalists in workshops to produce recommendations on the conduct of the press in Yemen.

2011 saw 333 violations against journalists
Yemen Times — 23 September 2012
The Yemeni Journalists Syndicate has published the Press Freedoms report for the years 2009 to 2011, which documents the most critical phase Yemeni journalism has undergone in the last twenty years. The report found there were 614 violations reported during those three years.

Hunger/Humanitarian Crisis:
Yemen’s food crisis bites, forcing families to beg on streets
The National — 23 September 2012
Ahmed Shamsan heads the children’s department at Sabeen Hospital in Sanaa. He said that 300,000 children were facing life-threatening levels of malnutrition and that 10 million people do not have enough to eat. “Both parents and children are starving. It’s a dangerous situation that will only get worse,” said Dr Shamsan.

Surviving Yemen’s Hunger Crisis
Huffington Post — 27 September 2012
Recent surveys have uncovered high malnutrition rates in Lahj in the south and Hajjah in the north, and agencies are now responding to needs in Abyan, which until recently was a no-go area wracked by fighting between the Yemeni government and insurgents. The aid agencies said that although longer-term funding was essential, it would not help Yemen achieve development and stability unless matched with immediate funding to tackle the worsening humanitarian crisis.

Yemen sliding into humanitarian crisis, warns UN food relief agency
UN News Centre — 25 September 2012
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is scaling up operations in Yemen, where more than 10 million people – almost half the country’s population – are estimated to need food assistance and the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate. “Yemen is sliding into a humanitarian crisis,” the agency said in an update, attributing the situation to high food and fuel prices, rising poverty, a breakdown of social services, diminishing resources, internal conflict and political instability.

12 killed in Shiite-Sunni clashes in Yemen
AP — 22 September 2012
Security officials in Yemen say 12 people have been killed in ongoing clashes in the northern province of Amran between Shiite tribesmen and ultraconservative Sunnis. There has long been tension between Salafi Islamists, who are Sunni Muslims, and former Hawthi rebels, who are Shiite Muslims. Nearly 200 people died in fighting last year. The Hawthis fought a six-year war against former President Ali Abdullah Saleh until a cease-fire was reached in early 2010. Since Saleh stepped down as president, the Hawthis have aligned with the former president’s loyalists to fight the Salafists, who are members of the opposition Islah Party.

Al Qaeda foe survives Yemen suicide bombing
Reuters — 22 September 2012
A suicide bomber failed on Saturday in an assassination attempt on a former Islamist in Yemen who helped drive al Qaeda militants out of a southern region this year, a security source and resident said. Abdul-Latif al-Sayed had just got into a parked car with three others after dining in a restaurant in the southern port city of Aden when the bomber struck, the security source said. The bomber died in the explosion and the four victims were in hospital with serious injuries.

On a Collision Course in Yemen, Al-Qaeda, Houthis Vie for Power
Al-Hayat via Al-Monitor — 26 September 2012
After years of secretive work on the part of al-Qaeda’s members, when the Houthi presence was limited to Saada governorate, these two forces took advantage of the weakness of Yemeni government, civic, security and military authorities — in addition to the unprecedented lawlessness that the country witnessed in 2011 following the popular youth revolution against the regime — to expand and spread beyond the boundaries of the cities and governorates in which they existed. This expansion led to increased friction between the groups, to the point where it actually endangered Yemen’s present and future. It threatens to cause bloody sectarian confrontations that will not be confined to just the Houthis’ turf (in Saada, Hijjah and Al-Jouf governorates in the north, northwest and northeast of Yemen), nor to the areas where al-Qaeda has a presence (in Abin, Shabwa, Marib and al-Bayda provinces in the south and southeast of Yemen).

Yemen militias hold suspects over attack on commander
AFP via Al-Arabiya — 23 September 2012
Yemeni army-linked militiamen captured three Al-Qaeda suspects allegedly involved in a bid to assassinate their commander, a member of the Popular Resistance Committees told AFP Sunday. “We stormed a house in Jaar where al-Qaeda militants involved in the attack on our leader Abdel Latif Sayed were hiding,” said the source, adding that three suspects were captured. Sayed, the commander for reserve forces fighting al-Qaeda alongside the Yemeni army, was wounded Saturday when a suicide bomber blew himself up in front of his car in the main southern city of Aden.

U.S. envoy praises Yemen on militants despite embassy attack
Reuters — 25 September 2012
The U.S. ambassador to Yemen says the government is fighting an effective war against al Qaeda militants but he is concerned about security lapses during an attack on the U.S. Embassy. Ambassador Gerald Feierstein said in an interview with Reuters that Washington would not change its policies after the embassy attack. He did not believe most Yemenis held anti-American sentiments, he said.

Five Yemenis dead when qat-seller’s grenade explodes
Reuters — 26 September 2012
A Yemeni qat-seller killed himself and four customers on Wednesday when a grenade he kept in his coat pocket exploded in a crowded market, a security source said. The man in the town of Yafei grabbed what he apparently thought were his car keys, pulling the grenade’s pin and setting it off. Twenty were wounded in the market where the narcotic plant which Yemenis chew is sold. It was not clear why the man had a grenade in his pocket.

Yemeni intelligence official shot dead in Sanaa
Reuters — 24 September 2012
Masked gunmen shot dead a senior intelligence official in Sanaa on Monday, a security source said, the latest in a series of assassinations in Yemen as the U.S.-allied government battles al Qaeda militants. Abdulilah Al-Ashwal, a colonel in the Political Security Office, the domestic intelligence service, was leaving a mosque in the Safiya district of Sanaa when gunmen on motorcycles opened fire on him, the source said.

Yemen LNG gas pipeline blown up again
Reuters — 25 September 2012
A gas pipeline feeding Yemen’s only liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal was blown up again in the early hours of Tuesday morning, the operating company said.

Protecting Yemen’s Students From Attack
Human Rights Watch — 20 September 2012
Yemen already has the lowest literacy rates in the Middle East and some of the lowest school enrollment rates in the world. When soldiers and rebel fighters enter schools, drop-out rates rise – especially for girls, whose parents would rather remove them from school than have them study alongside armed men, or, in Yemen, share temporary classrooms with boys. Forces on both sides of the uprising, which ended the 33-year rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, used schools as barracks, bases, surveillance posts, and firing positions. Some even beat or tortured prisoners on school grounds, according to report, “Classrooms in the Crosshairs.”

Demands for military’s removal from Sana’a University continue
Yemen Times — 27 September 2012
Dozens of students at Sana’a University are still continuing their protests against what they call “militarization of the university.” By militarization, students are referring to the presence of soldiers of the First Armored Division (FAD), which is loyal to General Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar, on the university campus.

Still Waiting for Change in Yemen: Making the political transition work for women
Oxfam International — 24 September 2012
This report draws on research from a series of focus groups with Yemeni women on their priorities, views on the political transition and hopes for the future. Four out of five women consulted by Oxfam say that their lives have worsened over the last 12 months. Women said they need better access to food, jobs and physical safety.

How women supported a revolution
Yemen Times — 27 September 2012
As Yemenis prepare for the fiftieth anniversary of the 26 September revolution of 1962, September revolutionaries continue to assure that the revolution would not have occurred if Yemeni men and women at that time didn’t collaborate their efforts to rid imams of their leadership roles in the north. It was women—dominated by social duties more than anything else—who provided support to revolutionaries, Mohammed Abdul-Salam, one of the revolutionaries in September 1962, said.

Push to increase women teachers in rural Yemen
Yemen Times — 24 September 2012
The percentage of women teachers in rural areas in Hajja is less than 10 percent. The number is the result of a noticeable increase in illiteracy in these areas, according to Mohammed Al-Qaedi, a resident in Hajja countryside. A new study conducted by Ibhar Corporation and funded by the Response Project indicated there are several obstacles obstructing the employment of women teachers in rural areas such as lack of women students in these areas who finished college, a lack of enough jobs for women in general and a difficulty sending women teachers to remote areas.

More Yemenis at-risk of rabies
Yemen Times — 24 September 2012
Yemen is one of the countries that rank highest in regards to the spread of rabies. This is because of the absence of a strategy to eliminate this disease, Abdurahman said, indicating that the phenomenon—to be uprooted—requires collaborative social efforts. The number of at-risk Yemenis has increased largely in recent years, he indicated. “We used more than 23,000 vaccinations from 2008 to 2012. This is a very large amount.” This happened, he said, because of inadequate efforts by the Ministry of Public Works and Highways—in a charge of combating and killing stray dogs—and the Ministry Of Agriculture, which is in charge of vaccinating the dogs.

Sana’a University election strike continues
Yemen Times — 23 September 2012
An open strike continued for the second day Sunday at Sana’a University after elections to choose school administration were shut down, Abdullah Al-Azazi, head of the teaching staff’s syndicate, said. Some doctors in Sana’a University accuse Ahmed Baserda, the current acting rector, and Khaled Tameem, the former rector, of hindering the elections by bringing people on Thursday to close the election hall and to prevent doctors from entering.  Al-Azazi said people unaffiliated with the university attacked doctors. Troops from the First Armored division intervened by shooting in the air. He said the strike would continue a new rector is selected.

Cupping therapy clinics suction onto Sana’a
Yemen Times — 24 September 2012
Cupping is a traditional, alternative medicine where cups are used as suctions on the skin to draw blood and ultimately increase blood flow. Many practitioners of this ancient method open cupping clinics without a permit from the Ministry of Public Health and Population. The ministry, in essence, doesn’t permit the practice of this profession. However, some continue practicing the profession in order to eke out a living and make money.

President Hadi orders to fulfill Hajjah infrastructure needs
Saba Net — 22 September 2012
President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi ordered Saturday to fulfill the infrastructure needs of electricity and roads in Hajjah governorate.

President: economic problem is major challenge faced by Yemen
Saba Net — 24 September 2012
President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi pointed out that the economic problem is the most prominent challenge faced by Yemeni people at different levels.

5 governorates to celebrate World Tourism Day
Yemen Times — 27 September 2012
On Thursday, Yemen will celebrate World Tourism Day in five governorates: Sana’a, Taiz, Aden, Ibb and Sae’on-Hadramout. This year’s theme is “Tourism and Sustainable Energy: Powering Sustainable Development.” The occasion will focus on investing in sustainable energy and how this is useful for humankind.

DP World divests interest in Aden port to YGAPC
Saba Net — 20 September 2012
DP World divested on Thursday its entire interest in Dubai and Aden Ports Corporation (DAPDC) to Yemen Gulf of Aden Ports Corporation (YGAPC).


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