Weekly News Update 18 October 2012

Reuters/http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/17/us-yemen-qaeda-displaced-idUSBRE89G10U20121017

Highlights:
Wary Yemen refugees returning to former Qaeda-run towns
Reuters — 17 October 2012
Of the around 70,000 who sought refuge in Aden, some 30,000 remain, most of them camped out in schools that want them to leave so they can reopen. The refugees are resisting, however. They say that many of their homes are still in ruins and al Qaeda militants are still operating in their communities, making the resumption of hostilities possible at any time.

Aden remembers revolution, contemplates the South’s future
Yemen Times — 14 October 2012
The city of Aden celebrated the 49th anniversary of the October 14 Revolution that broke out in 1963 against British colonialism in Yemen’s southern region. Town squares were the sites of mass rallies full of people of all ages and factions of society commemorating the historical event.

S.Yemen separatists see new chance after Saleh’s demise
Reuters — 11 October 2012
Southern separatist leaders say al Qaeda would lose traction and be neutralised more easily in an independent south where resentment would no longer fester over what they call a corrupt, repressive and tribally defined system run from the north. Some senior separatists have returned to south Yemen of late to drum up grassroots backing via street rallies, tours of southern provinces and the creation of umbrella groups. The cause appears to captured hearts and minds in Aden. Once the capital of South Yemen, the ancient seaport at the foot of desert mountain outcrops is covered in pro-independence graffiti and flags of the old southern state hang from many lampposts. One figure drawing attention is Ali Salem al-Beidh, the Beirut-based south Yemeni leader who failed in a 1994 civil war to reverse a 1990 deal merging the former South Yemen with the north. Beidh now runs a pro-independence satellite TV station. “We know that Iran is interested in promoting some of the more extreme elements of the secessionist movement, providing funding to Beidh,” a senior Western diplomat in Sanaa said.

National Dialogue:
Yemen’s perfect solution
Yemen Times — 18 October 2012
We know a federation system of local governance is what all the states want. So, in order to save time, let each state be its own federal province. In fact, we should also allow Yafe, an area divided between Dhale and Abyan in the south, become its own state because of the complexities there. People in Yafe feel marginalized within their own states, so giving them their own state would definitely end a lot of the tension.

Revolutionary detainee found, allegedly tortured
Yemen Times — 17 October 2012
A missing soldier, Waseem Mohammed Ali Al-Ammeri, 24, from Taiz, was found Monday night by residents of Al-Ryan neighborhood, in Noqom, Sana’a. A lawyer from Hood, a Yemeni human rights organization, Abdulrahman Barman said Wassem is a soldier of the First Armored Division, and his name was registered as one of one of those who disappeared during the 2011 uprising. He’s been missing for one-and-a-half years, Barman said.

President says dialogue open for all without exception – welcomes Houthis, women, youth
Yemen Times — 14 October 2012
President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi delivered a speech on Saturday, marking the 49th anniversary of the October 14 Revolution, where he called on all political stakeholders in the country to partake in the National Dialogue Conference, slated to be held in November. “We want the National Dialogue to lay the foundations for a new Yemen through the participation of everyone without exception – in Yemen or Yemenis abroad,” Hadi said, indicating that the proposed, mid-November conversations will be focused on the future of the political system.   Additionally it will highlight the Southern issue and work to create a fair solution for the South’s objections.

The President: The National Dialogue, restructuring the army and security forces; and forming the electoral commission and voter register must proceed simultaneously
Al-Ahale Net — 13 October 2012
In a meeting on Saturday with 10 ambassadors representing sponsors of the GCC initiative, including permanent members of the UN Security Council, the EU, and the GCC, the president considers the restructuring of military and security institutions is proceeding positively. Hadi said that Yemen’s GCC-brokered transition has achieved many successes. The technical committee for the national dialogue has asked for an extension of three weeks to fulfill its mission.

Britain leaves legacy of colonialism in Aden
Yemen Times — 14 October 2012
To this present situation, many are forced to reflect on the ways British colonialism shaped the South’s trajectory, for better or worse. The complex discussion produces varied and wide-reaching views on this period in history especially regarding Aden, a stronghold of the British foreign interests that received a great deal of investment from its occupiers.

National Dialogue’s success questioned in wake of Benomar’s return to Yemen
Yemen Times — 14 October 2012
Challenges continue to stand in the way for the U.N.’s envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar.  He is expected to play a role in the upcoming National Dialogue Conference (NDC), slated to take place this November. When he arrived in Sana’a on Saturday, Benomar said he will focus on the U.N.’s supportive role in helping Yemen during its transitional period, as well as supporting all parties involved in the Conference.

Southern women revolutionaries fight for recognition in colonial struggles
Yemen Times — 14 October 2012
The cannons and bullets involved in the October 14, 1963 Revolution weren’t the only factors that made the struggle successful. Female’s participation, right by the side of revolutionary men, was one of the biggest contributors to the cause. They worked on many different fronts and assisted the combat men, who were fighting British colonization.  Imperialist forces occupied Yemen for 128 years.

Aden home to vibrant history of Indian heritage
Yemen Times — 14 October 2012
Throughout history, Aden has been known as a city of tolerance because of its composition of many different races and religions.   Despite this diversity, the city has experienced very little, if any racial discrimination or even religious persecution.  Mosques were built next to churches, solidifying Aden as an attractive place where different cultures and dogmas could coexist. Mustafa Anwar Ibrahim, a member of the Lalji family, whose relatives were relocated to Aden at the hands of the British, said that it was easy for his grandparents to live in Aden at that time, saying, “People had to treat the Indians kindly because they became part of the people in Aden.  However, in the 90s, discrimination began to rear its ugly head as result of influences from the North.

Time for Hadi to move beyond managing power struggles
The Guardian — 13 October 2012
With the support of the international community, President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi came to power in Yemen as the consensus candidate – when the opposition coalition and the former ruling party signed an agreement on political transition put forward by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). After months of turmoil, the agreement ended the 33-year rule of Ali Abdullah Saleh but it marginalised a large segment of Yemeni society, including those who led the movement for change.

Yemeni debate over drones emerges after Saleh’s fall
Reuters — 17 October 2012
Yemen’s interim president has won U.S. praise for cooperating in a war on al Qaeda, but his recent public support for drone strikes that sometimes kill civilians could undermine his domestic popularity and stir sympathy for militants. Bashraheel Hesham Bashraheel, chairman of the al-Ayyam newspaper group, said Hadi had won short-term respect from some Yemenis for being more open about drones than Saleh. “He wants to make a clear distinction, he wants to say I approved every raid. It gives the impression he is in control and not the Americans,” Bashraheel said. “It impressed people and earned him some respect. He’s not lying like Saleh used to.”

National Security head orders committee to investigate forcibly detained revolutionaries
Yemen Times — 14 October 2012
Activists in Sana’a’s Change Square continue demanding the release of forcibly detained revolutionaries arrested by National Security. However, the department refuted claims of detainees in its prisons.

Journalists Syndicate calls for release of detained journalist
Yemen Times — 17 October 2012
The Journalists Syndicate held a protest Wednesday in front of the Justice Ministry compound denouncing the continuous detention of journalist Abdul Elah Haider Shae.  Shae has been detained since Aug. 16, 2010, on suspicion of associations with Al-Qaeda. He is currently being held in Sana’a after the Specialized Criminal Court sentenced him to a five-year imprisonment.

Families of killed Yemenis demand Saleh trial
Al-Jazeera — 13 October 2012
Lawyers for the families of protesters killed at an anti-regime rally last year have filed charges against several members of Yemen’s former regime, including ousted leader Ali Abdullah Saleh. The charges against Saleh and other ex-regime members, among them his nephew Yehya Abdullah Saleh who still holds a senior post in the central security services, include “inciting and participating in the killing of young protesters” on March 18, 2011.

Sheikhs and shekels – the real cost of patronage
IRIN — 13 October 2012
For three decades former president Ali Abduallah Saleh used development projects in tribal areas as a way of securing loyalty, but with a new government in place, alliances are shifting, and many hope corrupt practices may be replaced by sound development planning.  “Now there are not a lot of [public service] projects. The new government is taking responsibility,” tribal leader Hasan Ali Bin Abkr, a sheikh in the northern al-Jawf Governorate, told IRIN.

Security/Military:
Suspected U.S.drone strikes kill 7 militants
AP via USA Today — 18 October 2012
Yemeni security officials say suspected U.S. drone strikes have killed at least seven al-Qaida-linked militants in the country’s south. The officials say at least three strikes targeted a gathering of militants on a farm outside the town of Jaar, a one-time al-Qaida stronghold.

Report: Thousands of human rights violations by Houthis, Shia, military
Yemen Times — 15 October 2012
A report by the Wethaq Foundation for Civil Orientation found 13,905 human rights violations occurred in Hajja and Sa’ada governorates by Houthis, Shia groups and the Yemeni military between June 2004 and June 2012. The report cast light on violations such as kidnapping, forced displacement, torture, looting and destroying facilities.

University educated soldiers protest for rights
Yemen Times — 17 October 2012
Ministry of Interior soldiers with university degrees continue their sit-in outside the Police Officers Club. The soldiers are demanding that the ministry promote them and give them their full rights. Ahmed Al-Mansour, head of the organizing committee for the university educated soldiers, said they would continue their open strike until the Ministry of Interior meets their demands.

New study provides statistics on conflict in select districts
Yemen Times — 17 October 2012
Some highlights of the study include the finding that Al-Jawaf has the highest number of weapon possession, followed by Abyan and then Lahj. Al-Jawaf also leads the pack in terms of children with access to guns. A major focus of the survey was to identify factors contributing to contention in the regions.  It found a lack of access to education due to closed schools, a decrease in household income of the families that work in agriculture, a shortage of job opportunities, political insecurity and deteriorating social relations.

Shell ignites arms depot near Yemen military HQ: source
Reuters via Chicago Tribune — 18 October 2012
A shell fired near a Yemeni general’s military headquarters in the capital Sanaa hit a weapons depot and set off a series of explosions on Thursday, a Yemeni army source said. A Reuters witness said he heard two blasts and saw a large cloud of dust above the camp, where General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar is based. Ahmar defected during last year’s uprising against Ali Abdullah Saleh and leads part of the army under Saleh’s successor, President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Saudi diplomat kidnapped in Yemen asks king for help
Reuters — 18 October 2012
A Saudi diplomat held hostage in Yemen since March appealed to King Abdullah to meet al Qaeda’s demands to free detained women to ensure his release, according to a video recording posted online late on Wednesday. It was at least the third video statement by Abdullah al-Khalidi since militants seized the Saudi vice consul in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden.

Yemeni tribesmen free eight truck drivers
Reuters — 13 October 2012
Yemeni tribesmen freed four Syrian and four Yemeni truck drivers on Saturday five days after they were abducted in an attempt to pressure the government to release jailed kinsmen, a security official said.

Four dead in an armed robbery of government bank
Yemen Times — 17 October 2012
The Credit Agriculture Cooperative Bank in Al-Shohada’a neighborhood of Al-Hodeida was robbed at approximately 11 a.m. Wednesday. Four people died in the robbery, including Brigadier General Mohammed Yahia Al-Jaifi, who tried to stop the armed robbers, but they shot him and took his car. The car was later found on 50 Meters Road.

Yemen court jails six ‘Qaeda’ militants
AFP via Sahwah Net — 15 October 2012
A Sana’a court specializing in terrorism sentenced six Yemenis to between one and five years in prison on Monday for “belonging to Al-Qaeda” and plotting attacks in Yemen. The court acquitted six others accused in connection with the same case for the lack of evidence against them, according to the verdict read by judge Hilal Mhaffal. The 12 were accused of “participating in an armed organised group plotting to carry out criminal acts targetting armed and security forces … government buildings … and attacking foreign tourists and missions between 2009 and 2011,” according to the charge sheet.

Jet fighter crashes in Yemen after takeoff, killing pilot
AP via Washington Post — 15 October 2012
A Yemeni jet fighter crashed immediately after takeoff during a training mission on Monday, killing its pilot, Yemen’s Defense Ministry said. The ministry’s online newspaper said the Russian-made MiG-21 aircraft crashed inside al-Annad air base in the southern province of Lahj due to technical failure.

Arrival of 106 American armored vehicles to support the Defense Ministry and 12 armored cars for the embassy
Aden Online — 13 October 2012
Yemeni sources confirmed the arrival to Yemen of American armored vehicles but stressed that they came in support of the Yemeni government. A Yemeni source said that the 12 armored cares are taking the place of vehicles damaged destroyed during this past month’s storming of the embassy.

Four killed in Al Qaeda attack in southern Yemen
Reuters — 16 October 2012
Two al Qaeda militants and two tribesmen allied to the army were killed in an attack on a military checkpoint in southern Yemen, tribal sources said on Tuesday.

Masked gunmen kill Iraqi military adviser in Sanaa
Reuters — 16 October 2012
Two masked men on a motorcycle shot dead an Iraqi military adviser to Yemen’s army on Tuesday, security and medical sources said, extending a series of killings bearing the hallmarks of al Qaeda.

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 c.bank cuts deposit rate by 2 pctage points
Reuters — 17 October 2012
Yemen’s central bank cut its key deposit rate by two percentage points to 18 percent after the rial currency stabilised against the U.S. dollar, helped by a loan from Saudi Arabia, banking sources said on Wednesday. The rate is a benchmark for commercial banks taking deposits from their customers. A central bank official, declining to be named under briefing rules, confirmed the cut.

Traffic accidents kill more than 1700 in the last 9 months
Al-Masdar Online — 13 October 2012
Official statistics report that 1785 people died while 8518 others were injured in 6000 car accidents. Yemeni officials point to recurring causes of accident such as a focus on increasing speed, negligent drivers and pedestrians, wrong turns, suddenly burst tires, failure to comply with traffic laws, faulty vehicles and crumbling roads, qat consumption, talking on the phone while driving, and other reasons.

Government to curb street children phenomenon in Yemen
Al-Shorfa — 15 October 2012
To curb this growing phenomenon, the Yemeni government is conducting programs aimed at drawing street children to rehabilitation and education centres, as well as educating parents about the dangers of this practice.

Low-quality Chinese products prevalent in Sana’a markets, lure consumers with price
Yemen Times — 18 October 2012
Two years ago, a scandal broke out when it was exposed that jambiyas, the traditional steel weapon similar to a dagger, are often counterfeit. Ali Al-Najar, an owner of a jambiya shop, said the entrance of the Chinese products to the Yemeni markets poses a threat to the traditional crafts he sells. “The Yemeni jambiyas are known for their high quality,” Al-Najar said. “Some of which are priced at 1 million Yemeni riyal. However, years ago, a Yemeni merchant went to China and asked for jambiyas similar to the Yemeni ones. He got what he wanted. Then the Chinese jambiyas broke into the Yemeni markets, and people flocked to buy them because the prices are low. However, they figured out later that the product was not authentic. It was just a big shock.” Counterfeiting has not been confined to traditional products. Many international brands are shams as well. This is especially true in regard to goods like washing machines, cooking appliances and construction materials.

Women:
Sana’a girls’ school completes month-long renovations
Yemen Times — 18 October 2012
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in coordination with the Ministry of Education has finalized the rehabilitation process of Al-Jeel Al-Jadeed School For Girls in Bani Al-Harith district in Sana’a. Such a process is supposed to provide an improved school atmosphere for more than 2,200 female students.

Women students seek equal access to physical activity time in schools
Yemen Times — 18 October 2012
In schools across Yemen, females feel slighted. In their separate classrooms they are not privy to the encouragement to engage in physical activity that their male counterparts receive, and they say they are resentful. Some women students asserted they do not have even one period dedicated to sports in their weekly schedule.

Hunger:
A Cash Lifeline in Yemen
Huffington Post — 11 October 2012
Aisha tells me she’s 100 years old and things have never been so bad. Deep lines etch her weathered face and I can only imagine the harsh life she must have led.

Culture:
In Yemen, Graffiti Evolves Into High Art
Al-Monitor — 16 October 2012
A group of young artists and art aficionados, who call themselves Colors of Life, reflect the latest development in Yemen’s urban arts scene that stemmed from the spontaneous graffiti popularized during this past year’s revolution. As in other “Arab Spring” countries, like Egypt, the walls have provided outlets for creativity and elevated street art into an accepted artistic form in places where there are few gallery spaces and schools with arts curricula.In Taiz, they’re aiming to advance the concept of public art that’s open to all through their new mural and sculpture projects. However, there are obstacles — just last month someone painted over the faces in their first mural, as some believe such depictions to be un-Islamic.

Yemeni culture minister: ‘Country is witnessing diverse artistic activity’
Al-Shorfa — 16 October 2012
Manthuq spoke about the recent steps his ministry has taken to honour and recognise innovators — including dedicating a museum to renowned Yemeni poet Abdullah al-Bardouni — and about the selection of Taiz as Yemen’s permanent capital of culture.

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