Weekly News Update 11 October 2012

BBC News/http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-19900082

Highlights:
Powerful Yemen tribal leader urges factions to start national dialogue, not fight
AP via Washington Post — 7 October 2012
Sheik Sadeq al-Ahmar, leader of Hashid tribal confederation, told the first meeting of the alliance of Yemen’s tribes Saturday that the Hawthi Shiite Muslims in the north, the armed secessionists in the south and al-Qaida must reject violence and join in the political process, without preconditions. He said all of Yemen’s political parties, tribes and civil society groups should take part in the national dialogue, starting Nov. 15. Sheik Mohammed al-Shayef, chief of the Bakeel tribe, Yemen’s other main southern tribal confederation, boycotted the Saturday meeting. He warned that the call for al-Qaida to join the dialogue would lead the country to more fighting and chaos.

Creating a Modern Yemeni State Challenges Historic Tribal Power
Al-Tagheer via Al-Monitor — 8 October 2012
Tribes will be able to assume a pivotal and important role if the state wishes to restrict the Houthi expansion and stop their armed activity. They have been called upon and are concerned with taking the necessary position in this regard, and they are ready to contribute and participate in this role. The tribes confirmed as much during the conference, which was a meeting of the vast majority of tribes — an important initiative to strengthen the state and work to eliminate threats to its existence. The Houthi, terrorism and the mobilization of armed groups are the most threatening elements to the state and its stature.

Sheikh Abu Lohom talks to the Yemen Times
Yemen Times — 7 October 2012
Sheikh Mohammed Abu Lohom, head of the Justice and Building Party and member of the Technical Committee for the National Dialogue, said he senses there is a need for seriousness and credibility to help establish dialogue between Yemeni political parties. In an interview with the Yemen Times, he said he most looks forward to seeing the Joint Meetings Parties (JMPs), the General People’s Congress (GPC), Houthis and  the youth working together as one team.

National Dialogue:
Efforts continue to restructure military
Yemen Times — 11 October 2012
President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, along with the Defense Ministry, continue their efforts to restructure the army, in accordance with the Gulf Initiative. On Tuesday, delegations from America, Europe and Jordan met with President Hadi in the Presidential Palace to offer their insight.

Houthi leader Ali Al-Emad to the Yemen Times
Yemen Times — 11 October 2012
Ali Al-Emad, a well-known Houthi leader and representative of Houthis in Sana’a’s Change Square, became known as a leader of the Houthi movement during the 2011 uprisings. He spoke with the Yemen Times about the National Dialogue Conference, disagreements between the Islah Party and Houthis, the Southern issue and the U.S. role in Yemen. Al-Emad also discussed how Houthis see the transitional government’s current performance.

Yemenis’ varying standpoints concerning National Dialogue
Yemen Times — 11 October 2012
Yemenis’ standpoints have varied with respect to the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) slated for November. Some anticipate the conference will fail. However, others see dialogue as the sole solution to Yemen’s troubles.

Sheikh’s anti-violence statement slammed
Yemen Times — 7 October 2012
Activists have widely panned anti-violence statements made by Sheikh Sadeq Al-Ahmer, head of Yemen’s Tribes Alliance, at a Saturday press conference. Al-Ahmer called on Houthis and Southern Movement members to set aside violence.

In Yemen, South Continues to Suffer From Saleh’s Reign
Al-Safir via Al-Monitor — 4 October 2012
Rather, it is the political situation [that needs to be addressed], especially following the conference that was held by a secessionist group from the Southern Mobility Movement (SMM) in Aden a few days ago. Hassan Baoum, head of the Supreme Council of the SMM, reportedly said that any solutions based on federalism or similar ideas would be incomplete, adding that achieving a complete disengagement [from northern Yemen] and restoring the state of South Yemen are the desired objectives.

State calls on citizens to upgrade identity cards
Yemen Times — 11 October 2012
Brigadier-General Ahmed Saif Al-Haiani, head of the Civil Registration Authority on Tuesday called on all Yemenis to replace their old identity cards with the new electronic ones. The new electronic cards are of a high quality and will decrease problems of forgery and duplication that were associated with the old ones, according to Al-Haiani.

Military and security fund made over
Yemen Times — 6 October 2012
The Studies and Economic Media Center and the Yemeni Parliament, in cooperation with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, organized an evaluative symposium for the Military and Security Pension Fund on Saturday.  The event focused on improving the social program.

Foreign Affairs employees strike on
Yemen Times — 7 October 2012
After a temporary suspension of their strike, Ministry of Foreign Affairs employees resumed Sunday, saying the prime minister, the finance minister, the civil service minister and the foreign affairs minister have not met their legal demands. Employees began striking Tuesday, closing the ministry using chains and padlocks. Health insurance and official hires were among their demands.

AL-HAMDI PROTEST
Yemen Times — 11 October 2012
The Nasserite Unionist People’s Organization and the peaceful revolutionary youth are organizing a protest on Thursday demanding prosecution of the perpetrators who assassinated former President Ibrahim Al-Hamdi.

Security:
Yemen foils al Qaeda plan to bomb air base used by US -official
Reuters — 6 October 2012
Yemeni security forces foiled a plan by militants linked to al Qaeda to bomb an air base jointly used with the United States to carry out attacks against the group, a security official said on Saturday. A car packed with explosives was discovered by authorities near the gate of Al Anad air base in Yemen’s southern province of Lahj, the official told Reuters. “This was a planned suicide attack. Once the car was discovered, security forces immediately arrested two men who were inside the vehicle … The car was filled with explosives and anti-tank missiles,” he added.

Gunmen kill U.S. embassy employee in Yemen
Reuters — 11 October 2012
Masked gunmen shot dead a Yemeni man on his way to work at the U.S. embassy in Sanaa on Thursday, a security source said, the latest in a wave of assassinations in the Arab state where Washington is battling al Qaeda militants. The attackers on a motorcycle opened fire on a car carrying Qassem Aqlan – who headed an embassy security team – in the center of Yemen’s capital, the source told Reuters.

Khawlan-Bani Hushaish clash claims lives
Yemen Times — 7 October 2012
One person died and two others were wounded Sunday in tribal confrontations that first broke out earlier this week between the Bani Hushaish and Khawlan tribes in Sana’a governorate. Ahmed Muthana, a social figure in Khawlan, said more than 200 tribesmen from Khawlan laid siege on Bait Al-Hanami, a village in Bani Hushaish district, three days ago. The act was to retaliate against tribesmen affiliated with the Bani Hushaish tribe who are accused of killing four people from Al-Sahman, a village in Khawlan, last Friday.

Ten wounded after leftover bomb explodes in Abyan
Yemen Times — 7 October 2012
Ten people were wounded in a bomb explosion Saturday in Modia district of Abyan governorate, in the south of Yemen. Aref Alwan, a media activist in Abyan, said a group of people found an explosive device, and Alwan said it is most likely leftover from bombs launched in a U.S. air raid in Al-Ma’jala on Dec.17, 2009.

Al-Qaeda in Yemen targets local leaders following drop in popular support
Al-Shorfa — 5 October 2012
Assassination attempts against popular committee leaders in Yemen have increased recently in areas where al-Qaeda-affiliated Ansar al-Sharia remains active. Yemeni officials said the attacks are acts of revenge against these leaders for the roles they played in forcing the bulk of al-Qaeda elements from these areas.

Yemeni tribesmen free kidnapped Turkish man in Abyan
Reuters — 7 October 2012
Yemeni tribesmen on Sunday freed a Turkish bus driver kidnapped in the southern province of Abyan after they reached a deal with authorities that could lead to the release of a jailed kinsman, a security official said. The Turk, who works for a tourism agency in the southern port city of Aden, was kidnapped by armed tribesmen on September 12 on his way from Aden to the south-eastern city of Mukalla.

Yemenis held captive may be released soon
Yemen Times — 7 October 2012
The HOOD Organization for Defending Human Rights (HOOD), a NGO with a branch in Yemen, announced yesterday that a Syrian army group promised via independent mediators to release five Yemeni soldiers held captive since last year. Jabhat Al-Nosr’a, an armed Syrian group that is not a part of the Syrian Free Army, claimed responsibility. They believed the captives, who were studying in Syria, to be supporters of the Syrian government.

Saudis, Syrians among 8 kidnapped in Yemen
NOW Lebanon — 8 October 2012
Tribesmen on Monday kidnapped eight people, among them two Syrians and two Saudis, in southwestern Yemen in a bid to secure the release of two fellow tribesmen, a tribal chief told AFP. “Tribesmen from the Subayha tribe intercepted several trucks on the coastal road between the provinces of Lahj and Aden, kidnapping two Syrians, two Saudis and four Yemenis, among them a colonel in the army,” said Wahib al-Mansub.

Yemen troops shoot dead gunman, hurt southern activist
AFP via Google News — 7 October 2012
Yemeni troops shot dead a gunman and wounded another after they attacked an army checkpoint in the southern Lahj province, residents and a military official said on Sunday. The army late on Saturday shot dead Abdulmajid Mabrouk and wounded Basil al-Baghdadi, identified as an activist in the separatist Southern Movement, at a checkpoint in Huta, the capital of Lahj, residents said.

Yemen says it has arrested US citizen suspected of ties to al-Qaida
AP via Washington Post — 10 October 2012
A Yemeni official said Wednesday that security forces have detained a U.S. citizen suspected of having links to al-Qaida. Authorities arrested the suspect Monday in a hotel in the southern city of Shabwa, an al-Qaida stronghold until a military offensive earlier this year pushed the militants into the surrounding mountains, the official said. The man was carrying two U.S. passports and a German one, and had been shuffling from one mosque to another in the nearby eastern city of Marib before moving on to Shabwa, according to the official. Yemeni authorities have detained a number of Westerners, Asians, and other foreigners over alleged links to al-Qaida, suspecting that any foreigner who visits cities such as Shabwa that recently have been under the control of al-Qaida-linked militants could have ties to the terrorist network.

Yemen arrests ‘Qaeda member’ over general’s killing
AFP via Google News — 8 October 2012
Yemeni authorities arrested Monday a member of Al-Qaeda allegedly linked to the June assassination of an army general who led an offensive against the network earlier this year, a security official said. “We have arrested one of the people involved in a suicide attack that targetted General Salem Ali Qoton in June,” the official told AFP, adding that the suspect arrested in the main southern city of Aden is “a member of Al-Qaeda.” “The man arrested is a bus driver who carried the suicide attacker to the site of the bombing,” he said.

The Danish biker and the trail that led to al Qaeda’s most wanted
CNN — 9 October 2012
A 36-year-old Dane called Morten Storm says he was the man who led the CIA to Anwar al Awlaki, the al Qaeda cleric killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen last year. And he says he did it with a computer thumb-drive that secretly contained a tracking device. Among the evidence he’s produced: recorded telephone conversations, passport stamps showing multiple trips to Yemen, correspondence with Awlaki, and a recording of a conversation with an unidentified American – who acknowledges his role in the pursuit of Awlaki.

Yemeni Qaeda beheads three men for spying on operations
Reuters — 9 October 2012
Al Qaeda militants have beheaded three Yemeni men in the provincial city of Maarib after accusing them of spying on their operations, a tribal source close to Islamist militants said on Tuesday. The headless bodies of three men who formerly cooperated with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) were found at dawn dumped in the streets of the provincial capital east of Sanaa, the source said. He described the executions as a message to tribes not to work against al Qaeda.

Drone Strikes In Yemen Should Be More Controlled, Professor Says
National Defense Magazine — 10 October 2012
The Yemeni public does not support the United States’ use of UAVs, Christopher Swift, adjunct professor of national security studies at Georgetown University, said during an Oct. 9 panel discussion at the Center for National Policy, a Washington, D.C., think tank. However, his research found that the Yemeni public is willing to accommodate drone use if the United States minimizes civilian causalities, does not overuse force and targets only al-Qaida leadership.

Youth/Education:
Yemeni students protest mix of politics and education
Al-Arabiya — 5 October 2012
Yemeni students at Sana’a University staged a protest on Thursday, demanding classes resume despite teachers’ strike that brought education to a halt. The teaching faculty decided to abandon their classes due to disagreements over who should take over the post of acting rector of the university.

Sana’a school sits powerless in its crumbling infrastructure
Yemen Times — 5 October 2012
The Abdulatif Al-Hamd Primary School lies just south of Sana’a, but unlike many other schools in the area, it has two stories that are yet to be completed, as well a laundry-list of services and operational equipment that the government has neglected to provide. Although the school was established sixteen years ago, it still lacks standard materials like books that necessary for a productive learning environment. According to Suad Qasim, the Deputy Head of the school, there are classrooms with no windows, chairs or doors.  She deems the school completely unfit for teaching.

Illiteracy elimination movement faces hurdles
Yemen Times — 8 October 2012
The illiteracy elimination movement began decades ago in Yemen. Although it is credited with many achievements, it remains relatively limited and inadequate to tackle such a large issue. According to the organization, those benefiting from the illiteracy elimination programs reached just under 160,000 in 2010 and 2011.

Citizens sound off about book censorship
Yemen Times — 10 October 2012
However, many people who read materials at book exhibitions in Sana’a said there are books that attack other religions and prophets from all over the world, and often the writers of these critiques are well-known Arabs.  Yet, in recent history the city has never experienced an outrage like the one that played out at the U.S. Embassy. Fatema Amer, a student at a local university, said she doesn’t think people have any idea what is written in books in Yemen.

Young people cleaning up
Yemen Times — 10 October 2012
Under the slogan, “Starting with my Hands”, the youth organization, Our Yemen Will Start From Here, in coordination with the youth group,  To Change and Make a Change, launched the Exemplary District competition in Sana’a. The program, which launched last week, aims to raise levels of cleanliness and environmental health. Ghasan Al-Shami, the competition’s manager, said the friendly event is a youth initiative  created to spread the concept of the cooperative social work amongst youngsters.

Student protests continue to march on at university
Yemen Times — 11 October 2012
Protests at Sana’a University are entering their fourth week, without an end in sight as the administration has failed to meet student demands and continue to maintain a military presence on campus. On Wednesday, the students, charged with a new round of fervor, organized a demonstration that called for the removal of the First Armored Division (FAD) from the university premises.  A grievance of theirs since the protests began.

Hunger:
UK pledges to tackle malnutrition in Yemen as hunger crisis fears grow
The Guardian — 10 October 2012
The UK has announced that £35m ($56m) in aid over the next three years will be aimed at improving nutrition for mothers and children in Yemen amid fears that a hunger crisis will derail fragile gains in the Middle East’s poorest country. The funding is the first new initiative from the UK’s £196m support programme to Yemen, unveiled recently at a donor conference in Saudi Arabia. More than 10 million people in Yemen, a country with a population of around 24.7 million, are thought to be at risk because of insufficient food. In the worst-affected parts of the country, as many as one in three children are suffering from life-threatening acute malnutrition.

Economy/Governance:
Yemen exporting LNG again after gas pipe blast in Sept
Reuters — 11 October 2012
Yemen’s only liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal began exporting LNG again this week, ship tracking data showed on Thursday, after being forced to shut when its feed pipeline was blown up in late September.

Yemen seeks to establish railway
Al-Sahwah — 10 October 2012
Yemen seeks to establish a railway that connect the west of Yemen to its east on the coastline ranging on 2000 kilometers.  The 26 September Newspaper quoted a Yemeni official as saying the $1,29,000,0000 were appropriated to establish the railway that will connect Yemen with Saudi Arabia and Oman.

Aden’s future uncertain now all tourists are gone
Yemen Times — 8 October 2012
Nowadays, the streets and beaches of Aden are empty. Shops are closed; houses are empty; and trash is everywhere. Even restaurants—previously known for their busy, crowded atmospheres—are closed now. Hotels and beaches in Aden reflect the overwhelming disappointment in the city after years of prosperity.

UNFPA supports conducting Yemen’s 2014 population census
Saba News — 6 October 2012
United Nations Fund for Population (UNFPA) deputy executive director said Saturday the Fund supports the process of conducting the general population census 2014. During her meeting with Interior Minister Abdul-Qader Qahtan, Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen said UNFPA would offer the related technical support and the necessary studies to learn the economic and development projects Yemen needs.

IFC to boost investments in Yemen, Iraq, N. Africa
Reuters via Daily Star — 10 October 2012
The poorest Arab country, Yemen was driven to the brink of bankruptcy by a year-long uprising that in February pushed long-time president Ali Abdullah Saleh from power and allowed al Qaeda to build its presence in lawless tribal regions. “It’s a small country but deals have a bigger impact. If we succeed, our deals will boost investment sentiment and provide comfort for investors,” Tsitsiragos said. The IFC would be interested in Yemen’s energy sector, SMEs, microfinance and the financial sector.

Human Rights:
Officials and activists welcome human rights office in Yemen
Al-Shorfa — 9 October 2012
Officials and human rights activists lauded a recent step to establish an Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Yemen.  The new office will help raise the bar for rights and freedoms and promote human rights awareness in Yemen, they said.

US Foreign Policy:
US Designates Ansar al-Sharia as Al Qaeda Alias
Wall Street Journal — 10 October 2012
The U.S. State Department said Thursday it changed its designation of al Qaeda as a foreign terror organization to include Yemen-based Ansar al-Sharia as an alias.

Iran:
Yemen Says Iranian Spy Cells Smuggled Weapons for Rebels
Al-Hayat via Al-Monitor — 10 October 2012
The Yemeni authorities announced almost two months ago the discovery of two Iranian spy cells that include members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. The Yemeni Ministry of Defense confirmed yesterday [Oct. 9] that “the Iranian detainees entered Yemen posing as investors and obtained a license from the authorities to build a factory. Later, they began to import equipment and machinery to Yemen through the port of Aden. Upon the inspection of a container, it was revealed that the equipment was not for civilian purposes related to the licensed factory, but for military purposes of a hostile nature that target Yemen’s security and stability.” Citing “informed sources,” the website said that the equipment “can be re-assembled to make a variety of missiles and weapons. Therefore, the Yemeni security services arrested the Iranians and initiated an investigation.”

Yemen’s Hadi Accuses Iran Of Supporting Secessionists
Al-Hayat via Al-Monitor — 5 October 2012
During his visit to Berlin yesterday [Oct. 4], Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi accused Iran of supporting southern Yemenis who seek secession. Meanwhile, five members of al-Qaeda were killed in a US drone strike on the southern governorate of Shabwa in Yemen.

Yemen seizes Iranian arms
UPI — 11 October 2012
Yemen authorities have seized Iranian military equipment slated for rebels aboard a cargo ship at the port of Hodeidah, sources told Asharq al-Awsat. Security sources in Yemen told the London Arabic daily, equipment to manufacture missiles and ammunition was found on the ship and confiscated Saturday. The sources said the equipment was headed to Shiite Huthi rebels in the Saada province mountains for an arms factory.

Culture:
Oldest Quran found in Yemen, man claims
Gulf News — 11 October 2012
A Yemeni young man has claimed to have found the oldest surviving manuscript of the Holy Quran. The book venerated by Muslims was found inside a leather cover in a cave in the mountains south of the city of Dhale in the southern part of the country, Yemeni Arabic news site Aden Gulf News reported on Wednesday.

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