Weekly News Update 8 November 2012

Amal Al-Yarisi via Yemen Times/http://www.yementimes.com/en/1623/variety/1596/Saleh-loyalists-pledge-to-stay-in-Tahrir-tents.htm

Highlights:
Yemen: Journey to a land in limbo
Financial Times — 2 November 2012
Not everyone wants secession or feels implacably hostile to the central government. Many simply want government. Anssaf Mayo, head of the powerful Islamist political party Islah, argued that people demanding independence for the south are actually a minority. One of the pragmatic, if somewhat fudged, proposals being talked about is a federal solution, which would give the south more autonomy, and the right to hold a referendum on independence at a later date.  But the voices calling for more radical solutions are getting louder. “Al Ayyam was the first to talk about federalism after the war in 1994,” said Tammam Bashraheel, the managing editor of the now banned newspaper. “Now, if I were to go outside this door and talk about federalism, I’d be beaten.” “If not shot,” his nephew, Bashraheel Hisham, interjected.

Losing Yemen
Foreign Policy — 5 November 2012
After more than a decade of on-again, off-again aid to Yemen, the al Qaeda branch in Yemen is stronger than it was on September 11, 2001. The money the United States has spent in Yemen has enriched dozens and the missiles it has fired into the country have killed hundreds — and yet AQAP continues to grow.

Yemenis Say Restructured Army Is Needed for a National Dialogue
Al-Tagheer via Al-Monitor — 7 November 2012
According to Nabil al-Bakiri, a researcher on Islamic groups, any dialogue that takes place without considering clear steps towards restructuring the army will be doomed to failure, adding that the Coalition Agreement of 1993 is further proof of that. Bakiri provides a number of reasons proving that restructuring the army is crucial to the success of dialogue.

National Dialogue:
National Dialogue in Yemen
Sada — 1 November 2012
An important factor that will affect the success or failure of the national dialogue is international and regional support. President Hadi and the unity government cannot do anything without external players, whose support is vital. At present, though, such backing seems enough to ensure that the dialogue will be held—and all groups represented, even despite the difficulties. But the problems of north-south tensions will likely remain unresolved after November, and Yemen’s civil war anxieties will likely remain until the rhetoric—and the suspicions behind them—change entirely.

Opposition groups abroad to participate in upcoming National Dialogue Conference
Yemen Times — 7 November 2012
Rajeh Badi, media advisor to Prime Minister Mohammed Basindawa, told the Yemen Times that the Gulf Initiative’s brokers received positive messages from multiple figures of the externally located opposition, indicating that they are going to take part in the NDC. “I think it is a matter of time before disclosing the details,” Badi said. Badi refuted rumors that the conference would be postponed, saying those who spread rumors don’t want the dialogue to succeed because they have an interest in seeing Yemen remain in conflict. He said the opposition abroad started to change its stances and now are aware of the NDC as the only way out of Yemen’s troubles.

Dialogue and divisions in Yemen
IRIN — 5 November 2012
Nearly a year after a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)-brokered deal set Yemen on a theoretical path towards political transition, the country remains deeply divided amid increasing poverty. A Technical Committee, formed in July and charged with organizing the transition, includes all major groups, except Hirak (the Southern Movement), and is seen by many as neutral and legitimate. It has released a 20-point action plan, but so far not a single recommendation has been implemented.

Back-and-forth accusations between Islah and Houthis continue mounting
Yemen Times — 4 November 2012
Accusations continue between the Houthis, a Shia group, and the Islah Party, Yemen’s main opposition party, which encompasses the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist factions. The two groups have waged a campaign against one another regarding violence and human rights violations. Certain officials in the Islah Party say the Houthis resort to frequent violence when dealing with locals in Sa’ada—a governorate in northern Yemen that borders Saudi Arabia—and that there are continuous detentions of those who don’t support Houthis in all Sa’ada districts. The Houthis deny any violations in Sa’ada, saying stability and security is prevalent in all areas of the governorate.

Houthi group distributes money to tribal leaders
Al-Sahwah — 3 November 2012 [NOTE: This is the news agency of Islah]
The Houthi group has distributed money to tribal leaders with in an attempt to successfully celebrate al-Ghadeer Eid, a festive day observed by Shia Muslims on the 18th of Dhu al-Hijjah in the Islamic calendar. Yemeni sources said that the group is preparing to shot fire at air on Saturday night, pointing out that it will launch its celebrations nearby the residency of President Abdu Rabo Manasour Hadi. Local sources of Saada governorate said that the group has set up three training camps in Saada and Amran, a tribal leaders affirmed.

Houthis refute human rights violations report
Yemen Times — 4 November 2012
A controversial report about human rights violations in Sa’ada and Hajja issued by the Wethaq Foundation for Civil Orientation has triggered a strong argument between Houthis and those who wrote the report. The report revealed that approximately 13,905 human rights violations were monitored in Hajja and Sa’ada governorates by Houthis and by the Yemeni military from June 2004 to June 2012. It found that 531 murders were committed in Sa’ada by Houthi members, and they destroyed 497 houses. The report also claimed that 124 murders were done by Houthis in Hajja.

Justice Minister calls on Hadi to release jailed journalist
Yemen Times — 4 November 2012
Yemen’s Justice Minister Murshid Ali Al-Arashani called on President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi to issue an amnesty decree to pardon journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye of the remaining 27 months of his five-year prison sentence. Shaye gained attention as a journalist in 2009 after his reports suggested that the Al-Majalah village bombing in December 2009, which led to the deaths of numerous women and children, was launched by the United States and not by Yemen. He frequently reported on Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. In August 2010, Shaye was arrested on terrorism charges. After much pressure, then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh was set to release Shaye in February 2011, but a personal call from U.S. President Barack Obama reportedly influenced Saleh, and Shaye remains in prison.

Transitional justice law facing hurdles in advance of government endorsement
Yemen Times — 4 November 2012
In a continued onslaught of hurdles facing proponents of the transitional justice law, revolutionary youth declared Friday on the Al-Jazeera television channel that they reject the project of the transitional justice law. The House of the Representatives and the Yemeni state are scheduled to endorse the law prior to this month’s National Dialogue Conference.

Abdulkawi Mohammed Rashad Al-Shaabi speaks to Yemen Times
Yemen Times — 4 November 2012
Abdulkawi Mohammed Rashad Al-Shaabi, a member of the Technical Committee of the National Dialogue, is now in his seventies. And his past is deep. During the rule of the Socialist Party, Al-Shabi was imprisoned for more than 13 years due to his association with Qahtan Mohammed Al-Shaabi, the first president of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen—also known as South Yemen—after decolonization in 1967. Although Abdulkawi Al-Shaabi spent the best years of his age in prison, he accepted his situation and moved forward after his release.

Yemen aims to improve NGO sector through regulation and guidance
Al-Shorfa — 5 November 2012
The Yemeni Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour recently de-listed 2,000 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and suspended their activities as part of a plan to strengthen and improve civil society organisations in the country. NGOs were de-listed because they did not effectively carry out voluntary work and they failed to realise the objectives they were tasked to uphold, Amat al-Razzaq Hamad, minister of social affairs and labour, said in late September. As many as 10,000 NGOs involved in social and charitable work in the country are currently registered with the ministry. This includes foundations, associations, syndicates and federations. “De-listing is an administrative decision, whereas permanently shutting down an NGO requires a judicial decision, according to the NGO law,” ministry undersecretary Ali Saleh Abdullah told Al-Shorfa. “De-listing NGOs comes within the framework of a reform plan [that seeks to] focus the services of the ministry to law-abiding, effective and orderly NGOs,” he said.

Ibb man fights judicial system from behind bars
Yemen Times — 5 November 2012
He has been taken to the execution field 8 times, but every time human rights organizations have succeeded in postponing the death penalty until they are able to provide evidence that he’s not guilty of a deliberate crime. The one-time ambitious and enthusiastic student, is calling on the government and all concerned bodies to review his case and release him. “I’ve lost my life here. It’s enough for me to lose 14 years far away from my beloved family…nobody follows my case except my father and the Seyaj organization. Now, my destiny is vague,” Samoom said.

Via social media, Yemenis celebrate US President Barack Obama’s re-election victory, continue saying ‘no’ to use to drones in the country
Yemen Times — 7 November 2012
U.S. President Barack Obama’s victory Tuesday in the American presidential election—securing him another four years in the White House—caused much discussion among Yemenis online, who addressed their remarks via social networking websites. Adnan Al-Rajehi, a Yemeni journalist in the U.S. who covered the American presidential election in different states, said Obama’s victory is important to those countries that aspire a good relationship with the U.S.

Ahmed Saif Hashed to the Yemen Times: “The future will reveal who stands by the side of people and who seeks authority.”
Yemen Times — 5 November 2012
Ahmed Saif Hashed is an independent parliamentarian and the head of the Save Revolution Front, a group that effectively and noticeably participated in the 2011 political uprising. Hashed is a controversial figure, who openly criticizes opposing political affiliates, especially the Islamic Islah Party. In an interview with the Yemen Times, Hashed discussed several political issues currently facing the country.

Security:
Yemen security officer shot dead in central Sanaa
Reuters — 7 November 2012
A gunman shot dead a Yemeni security officer near the interior ministry in the centre of the capital Sanaa on Wednesday, a police source said, blaming al Qaeda. Several security personnel have been killed in recent months in the unstable Arabian Peninsula country where militant groups stepped up activities during a revolt against the president.

Yemen jihadists unleash wave of killings
UPI — 1 November 2012
Al-Qaida’s been taking a beating in recent weeks as the U.S.-backed regime in Sanaa has driven militants out of captured cities in the south but they’re striking back with a crippling wave of assassinations against Yemeni intelligence services. At least 36 U.S. drone strikes have been carried out in Yemen this year, more than the combined total for the previous four years. AQAP announced its payback operation June 15, vowing that if the Sanaa regime “would not stop mounting campaigns in Abyan to annihilate its people, we will certainly transfer the battle to other regions and to major cities like Sanaa, Aden and others.”

Yemen chief suspected of links to al Qaeda ordered to surrender
Reuters — 6 November 2012
A tribal leader suspected of links to al Qaeda has been given an ultimatum to surrender to pro-government forces besieging his home in south Yemen on Tuesday or be seized by force, an official said. Tarek al-Fadli, who was raised in Saudi Arabia and fought in Afghanistan, heads a tribe in Abyan province. He took refuge in the mountains over the summer as a U.S.-backed military onslaught drove militants linked to al Qaeda from southern towns.

Clash between tribal leader and militiamen leave three injured in Abayan
Yemen Times — 7 November 2012
Three people were injured Wednesday in Southern Yemen’s Abyan governorate, in confrontations between tribal chief Tarek Al-Fadhli and pro-army militiamen known as Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), according to Shakir Al-Ghazeer, an officer in the 111 Infantry Brigade, stationed in Abyan.

Al Qaeda Resilient In Yemen Despite Drone Attacks
Daily Beast — 6 November 2012
Most Yemenis are quick to condemn local extremists. But, few question their continued ability to pull support from a radicalized minority—and many who stress Yemenis’ opposition to AQAP express fears that the United States’ counterterrorism policies here are breeding mistrust. With the central government’s influence weakened throughout much of the country, human intelligence and cooperation with those on the ground will be key to defeating AQAP. And even if many local elites share a desire to see the terrorist group defeated, they condemn the American government’s current policies as counterproductive.

Saudi Arabia: al-Qaida shoots 2 guards on Yemen border; 11 militants captured
AP via Washington Post — 5 November 2012
Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry says a group of 11 al-Qaida fighters has killed two border guards while trying to cross into Yemen before they themselves were captured. The ministry said in a statement that the gunmen ambushed the border guard patrol early Monday and exchanged fire with them. Four militants were wounded and the remaining seven were arrested.

Handguns confiscated inside biscuit cartons in Aden
Yemen Times — 4 November 2012
Customs authorities in Aden reportedly confiscated a container loaded with a large quantity of handguns inside biscuit cartons in the Free Zone of Aden on Saturday. The state-run Saba News Agency reported that an official in the customs authority said that the container coming from Turkey initially raised eyebrows during the censoring process.

Illegal handgun cargo sent from Turkey to Yemen still under investigation – Turkish official admits to defect in censoring
Yemen Times — 7 November 2012
Turkish ambassador to Yemen, Fazli Corman has asserted that the arms cargo confiscated from inside biscuit cartons originating from Turkey on Saturday in Aden Harbor won’t affect the relationship between Yemen and Turkey.

Yemen’s President Embraces US Drones
Voice of America — 2 November 2012
And Hadi has addressed two major security issues. The first was to restructure the military and to remove Saleh’s eldest son, Ahmed, as commander of the Republican Guard and its special forces. The effort ended in a stalemate when Ahmed’s officers threatened a public protest. “He (Hadi) had been fairly successful but he hasn’t taken the major step that everybody knows he has to take,” said Gregory Johnsen, a  Yemen expert at Princeton University and author of book, “The Last Refuge: Yemen, Al-Qaeda, and America’s War in Arabia,” to be published soon.

Economy/Governance:
Leveraging Fuel Subsidy Reform for Transition in Yemen
Sustainability — 30 October 2012
Yemen is currently undergoing a major political transition, yet many economic challenges—including fuel subsidy reform—remain highly relevant. To inform the transition process with respect to a potential subsidy reform, we use a dynamic computable general equilibrium and microsimulation model for Yemen; we show that overall growth effects of subsidy reduction are positive in general, but poverty can increase or decrease depending on reform design. A promising strategy for a successful reform combines fuel subsidy reduction with direct income transfers to the poorest one-third of households during reform, and productivity-enhancing investment in infrastructure, plus fiscal consolidation. Public investments should be used for integrating economic spaces and restructuring of agricultural, industrial and service value chains in order to create a framework that encourages private-sector-led and job-creating growth.

Yemen Oil Exports Increase 10% in August, Central Bank Says
Bloomberg — 3 November 2012
Yemen’s crude exports advanced 10 percent to 2.83 million barrels in August from a month earlier, the central bank said. The value of the shipments rose 18 percent to $323.76 million and the average price for each barrel was $114.40 in the month, the Sanaa-based Central Bank of Yemen said in a report.

Yemen LNG pipeline expected to be repaired in a week: oil minister
Reuters via Al-Arabiya — 3 November 2012
A gas pipeline feeding Yemen’s only liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal will take around a week to be repaired following an attack on it last week, the country’s oil minister was quoted as saying. The 320-km (200-mile) gas pipeline that links block 18 to the Belhaf terminal on the Gulf of Aden was attacked on Oct. 31. Technical teams were immediately sent to repair the damage, and believe the work can be finished in about a week, state news agency Saba quoted oil and minerals minister Ahmed Dares as saying late on Saturday.

Yemen investigates gas pipeline explosion
Yemen Times — 6 November 2012
A committee comprising officials from Yemen’s oil and minerals and defence ministries, as well as local authorities, have opened an investigation into a gas pipeline explosion in Marib province, Yemen’s official news agency Saba reported Monday (November 5th).

City residents return to the Yemeni countryside to cultivate their land
Al-Shorfa — 3 November 2012
High food prices across the globe are prompting city residents to look for alternatives to ensure food security and so they return to their farms, which in some cases were neglected for a long time, he said. This way, they can at least secure basic food items in the form of wheat, he added. According to al-Thor, his ministry also offers citizens incentives to encourage them to farm. Last year, the ministry distributed 340 ploughing machines throughout the country, gave agricultural guidance and provided better seeds. This year, “the ministry is also about to distribute 250 reaping machines at half their price”, al-Thor said. “These are some of the incentives to encourage farming in general.” London-based consultancy Maplecroft has listed Yemen among the countries most exposed to the dangers of food security.

Private Sector, Civil Society Seek Amendment to Yemen Investment Law
Yemen Post — 7 November 2012
The Studies & Economic Media Center and Economic Reforms Team in cooperation with the Public Authority for Investment organized a consultative meeting between the leaders of the private sector and the General Authority for Investment to discuss future partnership mechanisms to improve the investment environment.  Chairman of the center Mustafa Nasr stressed the need for substantial amendments in the country’s legislative system to improve the investment climate, and to overcome all problems within the trend to deepen the partnership between private sector and civil society.

Tourists flock to Yemeni coastal cities during Eid al-Adha
Al-Shorfa — 6 November 2012
The city of Aden, which overlooks the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, drew more than half a million tourists during the holidays, according to Col. Mahmoud Ahmed Ali, head of Aden province’s tourism police. Tourists from various provinces and neighbouring countries visited Aden through the seventh day of Eid holidays, he told Yemen’s official news agency Saba. Turnout was so high that some hotels could not accommodate all visitors, so some slept on the sand, he said.

Yemen Seeking to Push Up Its LNG Prices
Fox Business — 7 November 2012
Yemen plans to start negotiations with foreigner buyers of its liquefied natural gas to raise LNG prices in an effort to increase the impoverished country’s revenue, the Yemeni oil minister said in remarks published Wednesday. The oil ministry is working on improving the prices paid for LNG cargoes bound for the U.S. next year and is developing a strategy to increase prices for all LNG sales in 2014, Oil Minister Ahmed Dares said in a statement posted on the ministry website.

OMV profit boosted by Libya and Yemen
Reuters — 7 November 2012
Austrian energy group OMV said underlying quarterly profit rose a third after Libya and Yemen helped boost production and refining margins stayed strong.

Transport ministry intends to expand Aden port’s quay
Saba Net — 4 November 2012
Transport ministry intends to expand the quay and deepen the navigation channel of port of Aden, Transport Minister Waed Bathaib said Sunday. He said that the ministry will also expand and rehabilitate a number of Yemeni ports in Hodaida, Mukalla, Mocha and the Socotra archipelago.

Child labor a worrying phenomenon in Yemen
Yemen Times — 4 November 2012
There are thousands of Yemeni children who drop out of school to earn money as mechanics, blacksmiths, carpenters, agriculturalists and other fields with high human capital demands. Political analysts believe the skyrocketing cost of living in Yemen is a major cause driving children into workplaces, where the tasks are often dangerous and the pay abysmal.

Consumers get more than bargained for with chemicals used to grow fruits and vegetables
Yemen Times — 5 November 2012
Yemeni farmers are currently caught in the practice of using various chemicals to speed the harvest cycle and to increase their crop yields, which in turn leads to higher profits. However, this agricultural procedure comes as a surprise to many consumers and affects them in many negative ways.

Women gain ground as activists, but some question the extent of progress
Yemen Times — 5 November 2012
Recently, the number of female activists in Yemen has increased, largely as a result of the 2011 peaceful revolution. Many women have emerged as political and human rights leaders. Although the media focused on the role of Yemeni females during protests and sit-ins at change squares across Yemen, many believe their role is still lacking, despite growing numbers.

Workshops ushers Yemen toward focusing on good governance, social accountability implementation
Yemen Times — 4 November 2012
The Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in the Arab World (ANSA-AW) held its first workshop Sunday in Sana’a with the participation of dozens of representatives from the government, NGOs, the private sector and media. The network, launched in March 2012 with support from the World Bank and the participation of 7 countries, including Yemen, aims at raising awareness about the concepts and practices of social accountability and participatory government. It also works to improve and support other organizations interested in implementing and boosting the social accountability concept in the Arab World.

Eid season marked by more than celebrations for those unable to afford traditions
Yemen Times — 4 November 2012
The price of clothing is a contentious topic on the streets building up to Eid.  Although the markets are crowded, Yaseen Abdul Wahed claims shopkeepers do not take advantage of increased demand for products.

Young men tap their basic business skills to combat unemployment
Yemen Times — 5 November 2012
Many young Yemenis  are starting their own small businesses to make a living. Some went to college, some are still in high school and others never completed their studies. These often inexperienced start-ups struggle to survive in tough economic times, but their ingenuity and spirit is contagious.

Youth:
Engineering students struggle at Sana’a University – need money and resources
Yemen Times — 4 November 2012
Enrollment at the College of Engineering at Sana’a University is not easy.  Applicants work hard and resort to extreme studying sprees just to pass the admission examination.  However, according to many current students, that is the easy part.  They say the graduation project is where the real obstacles and difficulties come into play. Limted financial resources is still the number one problem facing graduates according to many students.  They find it difficult to purchase necessary materials and scientific references for projects.

Sana’a University students reject parallel system tuition fees, call system ‘unfair’
Yemen Times — 7 November 2012
Many parallel system students at Sana’a University are calling for an end to a practice that they say poses an unfair financial burden on them. The parallel system, originally adopted by public universities in 2004, allows students with grades that normally would prohibit admittance to schools to enroll in classes on the condition they study—often at high costs—with private instructors until they graduate.

Migrants:
New report: 51,000 Ethiopian refugees to Yemen since July
Yemen Times — 5 November 2012
A new report released by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) found that approximately 51,000 Ethiopian refugees entered Yemen since the end of July. Yemen has continued to see an influx of refugees from different embattled countries, including Ethiopia. The majority of the Ethiopians enter Yemen illegally by small boats coming from Djibouti, Puntland and Somalia, according to a 2012 report released by the DRC, a private humanitarian group.

Thousands of Ethiopian migrants kidnapped, tortured, raped in Yemen-report
Reuters AlertNet — 2 November 2012
Migrants travelling from the Horn of Africa to Yemen in search of a better life are regularly kidnapped, tortured and raped, according to a new report by the Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat (RMMS). At least 230,000 migrants have undertaken this hazardous, often lethal, journey over the last six years and the rate of migration is increasing dramatically. In the first eight months of 2012, over 70,000 African migrants entered Yemen, three quarters of whom were Ethiopian.

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