Weekly News Update 15 November 2012

Nadia Haddash via Yemen Times/http://www.yementimes.com/en/1624/report/1605/Street-vendors-suffer-in-the-cold.htm

Highlights:
Southern leaders meet with Benomar, each other in separate Cairo meetings
Yemen Times — 12 November 2012
Haithm Al-Gharib, head of the political unit of the Southern Movement Supreme Council, said Southern Movement leaders meeting in Cairo this past weekend decided not to participate in the National Dialogue Conference slated for later this month. Southern Movement leaders met with U.N. Special Envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar Friday night in Cairo to discuss Southern involvement in the conference. The next day, they met together to discuss conference participation.

Technical Committee member says NDC delay expected, cites lack of preparation
Yemen Times — 14 November 2012
Yasser Al-Roa’aini, member of the Technical Committee for the National Dialogue Conference (NDC), said the conference, scheduled for mid-November, will likely be postponed until early 2013 because of a lack of adequate preparation. Al-Roa’aini said the committee would present its final report to President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi at the end of this month. He said Hadi is expected to issue urgent decrees now that he has returned from his Gulf trip. The decrees, Al-Roa’aini said, are meant to pave the way for a “real” dialogue among Yemeni parties.

Yemeni Nobel winner criticises US drones
Yemen Times — 9 November 2012
Yemen’s Nobel peace prize winner Tawakul Karman has called on President Barack Obama to stop drone strikes in Yemen that could end up helping al-Qaeda, she says, by stoking popular anger against the west. Ms Karman – who received her Nobel last year, two years after Mr Obama won his – said the president should use his re-election to end targeted killings overseas that fall “outside the scope of law and due process”. Observers of Yemen believe Washington launched a drone strike in the country the day after Tuesday’s presidential election, part of a pattern of attacks that have killed high-profile suspected terrorists but are also alleged by activists to have caused many civilian deaths.

National Dialogue:
National Dialogue ‘Last Chance’ for Peace in Yemen?
Al-Monitor — 13 November 2012
Yemeni journalists and intellectuals also fear that National Dialogue Conference might become an umbrella for such decisions to which Yemenis do not contribute. The 10 countries that support the Gulf Initiative follow carefully all executive steps related to the political settlement’s items. They threaten all Yemeni parties of so-called international legitimacy and the Council of Security, which will impose international sanctions against any party that impedes the political settlement process and prevents the implementation of all items of such settlement.

Cairo Declaration emphasizes on maintaining Yemen’s unity
Saba Net — 14 November 2012
Arab and European foreign ministers have emphasized on the importance of maintaining the unity of Yemen and respect for its territorial sovereignty. The Arab and European foreign ministers also emphasized, in the “Cairo Declaration” issued at the end of their second meeting at the headquarters of the Arab League in Cairo, on the development of the national dialogue and enhancing the international support for Yemen to address the economic and humanitarian challenges.

Where Is Yemen Heading?
Al-Tagheer via Al-Monitor — 12 November 2012
The state is busy preparing for national dialogue. Some resolutions have been issued and others are on their way. The interlocutors will appear understanding and in harmony while sitting at the negotiations table and under the scrutiny of public opinion, but behind the scenes and under the table the fight will be both vicious and confused. This will persist because they are unaware that if the situation continues the way it is, the table will collapse upon everyone’s head and, once again, the people will pay the price in full.

Court verdict requires government fund injured revolutionaries’ care
Yemen Times — 14 November 2012
The Administrative Court of First Instance in Sana’a issued a verdict Wednesday morning obligating the government to send protestors injured during the 2011 uprising abroad for treatment—funded by the state—based on patient medical files. The court, headed by Judge Raghda Abdulrahman, said the government is required to implement President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi’s decree number 8 of 2011, which stipulates that the government must provide healthcare to injured people or treat them outside Yemen, based on the nature of the injury.

Foreign Affairs:
President Hadi begins tour of Gulf states
Yemen Times — 12 November 2012
President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi headed to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Sunday, marking the first stop of a Gulf tour that includes Kuwait and Oman. The tour is the second of such nature in as many months. One-and-a-half months ago, Hadi toured Western countries including the U.S. and a number of European nations.

Hadi back to Yemen after whirlwind Gulf trip
Yemen Times — 14 November 2012
President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi returned to Sana’a Wednesday following his visit to three Gulf States: the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Oman. His tour began Sunday, aimed at strengthening the relationships between Yemen and the Gulf States and attracting Gulf investment in the country.  Journalist Faiad Al-No’man said Hadi’s visit focused on Gulf political support for Yemen during the trip and on the Gulf putting pressure on whoever obstructs the political compromise in Yemen ahead of the National Dialogue Conference.

Parliament moves to quicken release of Yemeni fishermen detained in Eritrea
Yemen Times — 14 November 2012
Parliamentarian Abdusalam Zabia called on the Yemeni government Tuesday to set up a parliamentary committee to follow the issue of the Yemeni fishermen held in Eritrean government prisons. Zabia said the majority of members of parliament have agreed to establish the committee in order to pursue the issue, adding that the number of detained Yemeni fishermen is on the rise.

Security:
Audio: Yemen and the Fight Against a Resurgent al Qaeda
Brookings — 13 November 2012
On November 13, the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings hosted a discussion to explore these and other questions about the conflict in Yemen. Panelists included Gregory Johnsen, a Ph.D. candidate in the Near Eastern Studies Department at Princeton, and Fellow Ibrahim Sharqieh, deputy director of the Brookings Doha Center, who appeared via video conference from Doha.

Marib leader alleges former regime ties to al-Qaeda, pipeline attacks
Yemen Times — 14 November 2012
Sheikh Mufareh Buhaibeh, a prominent leader in the Marib governorate, said President Hadi and the government are working to stop acts of sabotage committed by the former regime.  He asserted, in his interview with the Yemen Times, that the former regime has a relationship with Al-Qaeda, the armed Southern Movement and some powers in the North  and uses them to destabilize the situation in the country.

Search for world’s most dangerous man leads authorities to Yemen
NBC’s Rock Center — 15 November 2012
Now, parts of Abyan look like Dresden or Grozny, the buildings flattened by aerial bombardment. In the town of Jaar, we stood in a massive crater that used to be an apartment building. People who’d been there on the morning of May 18 told us that a warplane had dropped a bomb on the building, killing some. Then, while neighbors dug through the rubble for survivors, the plane returned for a second strike, killing more. In all, we were told, 14 people had died. The witnesses said they had no idea whose planes had carried out the bombing.

Motorcycle assassinations prompt crack down by reconciliation government
Yemen Times — 14 November 2012
On Tuesday, the reconciliation government, headed by Prime Minister Mohammed Salem Basindawa, stated concerns and frustrations regarding the recent chain of assassinations of politicians and officers of the Political Security and Intelligence in several Yemeni governorates. The string of deadly shootings, often with the assailant on a motorcycle, led the government to discuss a plan to better control motorcycle use. Issuing license plates and creating rigid guidelines for motorcycle use were some of the options discussed in a meeting Tuesday.

US drone strike near Yemeni capital kills AQAP commander, 2 fighters
Long War Journal — 8 November 2012
In a strike near the Yemeni capital of Sana’a last night, US drones killed an al Qaeda commander involved in the attack on the US Embassy in Sana’a in 2008, along with two fighters. The strike near Sana’a and the previous one in Saada in northern Yemen indicate that the US is expanding drone operations from the traditional hunting grounds in the south. The unmanned Predators or Reapers fired missiles at a vehicle traveling near Sana’a late last night. The exact location of the strike is in dispute; Xinhua reported that the airstrike took place near the village of Sayyan, about 25 miles outside of Sana’a, while AFP claimed the attack occurred near the village of Beit al Ahmar, about nine miles from the capital. Adnan al Qadhi, an al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula commander who operates in Sana’a, and two of his bodyguards, Rabiee Lahib and Radwan al Hashidi, were confirmed to have been killed in the strike, Yemeni officials said. Al Qadhi’s family told Abdul Razzaq al Jamal, a Yemeni journalist who is closely linked to AQAP, that Qadhi and the two bodyguards were killed in the airstrike. Last night’s strike is the first recorded in Sana’a since the US stepped up air and missile attacks against terrorist operatives in 2009.

Taiz residents call for immediate action to address local secuirty
Yemen Times — 12 November 2012
Thousands in Taiz staged a protest Sunday, roaming several streets in the governorate to demand the resignation of security leaders who they claim are responsible for the current security vacuum. The protest comes following Saturday and Sunday meetings by area security leaders to design an updated security plan in the governorate.

Yemen tribal leader held under house arrest over al Qaeda ties
Reuters — 10 November 2012
A tribal leader suspected of links to al Qaeda was put under house arrest on Saturday in the southern city of Aden after security forces warned him a week ago to hand himself over to the authorities, an official said. Yemen has stepped up a campaign to defeat Islamist militants this year. It is an arena for U.S. drone strikes because al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has used its Yemen base to target Saudi Arabia and the United States.

New challenges for aid worker security
IRIN — 14 November 2012
Yemen has long been renowned as a place where foreigners, including aid workers, are at risk of kidnapping. On the brink of civil war last year, and with a still fluid social and political transition under way, new challenges for aid worker security are emerging, say experts. “It’s more risky than before, not just for foreigners, but they are the number one target,” said Nasser Arrabyee, a local analyst and journalist.

Who Is Shipping Weapons From Turkey to Yemen?
Radikal via Al-Monitor — 12 November 2012
The first report of gun shipments from Turkey to Yemen was in March, when UAE police said it seized 16,000 Turkish-made guns destined for Yemen. Immediately, there was talk that Turkey was supporting the rebels in Yemen, and our foreign ministry had to ban weapons exports to Yemen. But history repeated itself and eight months later, another shipment of weapons has arrived in Yemen from Turkey. The ship carrying the container with biscuit crates full of guns made a stopover in the Saudi port of Jeddah. Turkish officials suggested the guns might have been loaded there. But documents showed that the container wasn’t opened at Jeddah, which means they were loaded at the Turkish port of Mersin. With the load seized in March, it appears that there is a serious flow of weapons from Turkey to Yemen. There is another clue: Of the weapons seized this time, only 350 were ready for use. The other 3,000 guns were not complete. There were 3,000 barrels, but fewer grips . This indicates that the grips for these barrels were sent in another shipment.

US-Yemeni terror obsession will not solve Yemen’s woes
The National — 12 November 2012
Yemenis need to see hope, not drones. Failure to reorient the US-Yemeni relationship in this way will only add further pressure to the fraught political settlement, and bring its collapse one step closer, an outcome that would damage the ability of both the US and Yemen to advance security, stability and development in the country.

South Yemen On Edge After Unearthing al-Qaeda Cells
Al-Tagheer via Al-Monitor — 7 November 2012
Danger in the form of al-Qaeda has emerged in three provinces in southern Yemen after fundamentalist leaders warned they would “restore” the areas that the Yemeni army had previously liberated from the group’s militants in the provinces of Abyan and Shabwa.

Why Yemen is the Scariest Challenge Facing Obama Abroad
Daily Beast — 9 November 2012
The Last Refuge: Yemen, Al Qaeda and America’s War in Arabia is a detailed narrative account of the development of AQAP.  It is also a great read; Johnsen is a very good storyteller.  The story is fascinating, this is a group that was virtually destroyed in 2004 by drone attacks and effective counter terrorism operations, and then it recovered, helped immensely by the Arab world’s anger over the American invasion of Iraq. In 2009 it rebranded itself with new leadership composed of Saudis and Yemenis, several of whom had been prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. It’s number two, Saeed al Shihri, spent five years America’s Cuban prison before being released to Saudi Arabia in 2007 where he fled into Yemen. A drone had allegedly killed him last month, then he reappeared alive in a message threatening more attacks on America.

Economy/Governance:
Street vendors suffer in the cold
Yemen Times — 12 November 2012
Winter has already started in Sana’a, with people rushing to prepare their heaters, warm clothes and blankets in an attempt to ward off illness. However, street vendors, who spend long periods of time in cold weather, often starting in the early morning until late night selling goods to earn a living, remain amongst the most vulnerable to winter’s bitter edge.

Hospital employees protest working conditions
Yemen Times — 14 November 2012
Employees from the state-run Al-Thawra hospital and nursing graduates from the High Institute of Health Sciences took to the streets of Sana’a Tuesday.  Armed with banners and chants, the disenchanted workers protested in front of the cabinet building.  They had a long list of demands related to pay and working conditions and called for a separation of the hospital’s administration from the administration of the Health Ministry, a relationship which they claim has led to corruption.

Sana’a traffic policemen face daily hazards, ‘reckless’ driving
Yemen Times — 14 November 2012
Traffic in the city is notorious for its frantic pace and disregard for regulations. Another traffic controller, Saeed Al-Hamdi, says that although he and his colleagues do their best, they are ineffective at changing heavily ingrained, chaotic road rules. This, he says, is the government’s responsibility, but he believes traffic regulation will remain unsuccessful as long as corruption exists amongst officials.  Qais Al-Eryani, the general traffic manager in Sana’a, said government bodies are working on meeting traffic cops’ demands for better pay and benefits. He also encouraged them to take pride in their duties despite the hurdles they face. However, he concedes the government’s capacity is limited.  Yet, Al-Eryani says others can make a difference too. He says drivers need to take more personal responsibility while on the road and that in turn will ease the frustrations that traffic police have while directing traffic.

Lack of English language skills burden job seekers
Yemen Times — 12 November 2012
A command of the English language has turned into a basic requirement for a majority of professional job vacancies in Yemen.  Those who lack either spoken or writing skills are reporting extreme difficulties in finding suitable employment. This is a concern for Yemenis like Mohamed Ameen, a law school graduate from Sana’a University.  Due to his lack of this desired skill set, he has largely remained unemployable.

Yemen in deal with China to build gas-fired power stations, gas pipeline
Platts — 12 November 2012
Yemen’s electricity and energy ministry Sunday signed an agreement with the China National Corporation for Overseas Economic Cooperation, or CCOEC, to build three gas-fired power plants, the Yemeni Saba agency reported. The plants, each to have capacity of between 400 and 750 megawatts, will be built in Balhaf-Shabwa, Ma’abar- Dhamar, and Hodeida. Under the agreement, the Chinese company will also build transmission stations and a pipeline to transport natural gas from the Safer area in Marib to Ma’bar city, Dhamar, and Hodeida. The pipeline will be a spur line branching off the pipeline that feeds the Yemen LNG plant. Officials have previously put the cost of the project at around $500 million.

Yemen’s main oil pipeline shut after bombings
Al-Jazeera — 12 November 2012
Flows through Yemen’s main oil export pipeline were stopped after the line was blown up in two places, the state news agency and local government sources have said. The SABA news agency said on Monday the pipeline was attacked in two spots in the Wadi Abidah region of western Yemen.  “Unknown assailants blew up the pipeline that carries crude oil to the main export terminal in the Red Sea in the middle of Sunday night, in the Damashka area of Wadi Abidah,” a source in the area told Reuters.

Yemen, WB discuss enhancing anti-corruption measures
Saba Net — 12 November 2012
Minister of Justice Judge Morshed al-Arashani met here on Monday with head of the World Bank’s anti-corruption and finance team, Arun Arya. At the meeting, they discussed aspects of the support to be provided by the Bank through the Transitional Fund, which was established for the purpose of supporting the needs of the transitional phase in Yemen over the next three years to strengthen anti-corruption measures.

Stage four of Sana’a sewage network requires $60 million investment loan
Yemen Times — 12 November 2012
Secretary of the Capital Abdulqader Helal met Saturday with a delegation from the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD), a Kuwait-based, pan-Arab development finance institution, to discuss the fourth stage of an agreement to establish a sanitation network in Sana’a.

New World Bank Group Strategy for Yemen Aims for Jobs and Better Governance
World Bank — 13 November 2012
The World Bank Group support for Yemen over the next eighteen months will focus on delivering tangible results that address immediate needs, restore confidence in the state and contribute toward a stable environment for the political transition. The Interim Strategy Note (ISN) discussed by the World Bank Board of Directors today will guide Bank engagement throughout the critical period of the next 18 months during which Yemen will draft a new constitution and organize elections.

Confiscation of unlicensed motorcycles continues
Yemen Times — 12 November 2012
The Sana’a Security Department reportedly said it is holding 507 unlicensed motorcycles in Sana’a, just one week after the start of a citywide campaign to confiscate license-free bikes. The Ministry of Interior reported Thursday that it ordered security departments in Sana’a and, in other governorates and in the General Directorate of Traffic to ban all unlicensed motorcycles, based on the country’s traffic law.

Sandy cost Yemenis in USA over $17.5 mln
Saba Net — 11 November 2012
The Super storm “Sandy” has cost Yemeni expatriates in the United States initially over $17.5 million, Minister of Expatriate Affaires said Sunday. According to a report of the Yemeni community in the USA, 147 houses, enterprises and mosques belong to Yemenis in New York have been affected by the storm, Mujahed al-Quhali said in a press conference held in Sana’a. He hailed the role the Yemeni expatriates play that help to step up the country’s economy, stressing that the expatriates’ money transfers during the last year crisis was the reason that the Yemeni currency did not collapse.

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