Weekly News Update 21 November 2012

Obstacles affect Military Pension Fund for Defense, Interior Ministry military
Yemen Times — 19 November 2012
According to Yemeni law, Military Pension Funds controlled by the Defense and Interior Ministries provide salaries for military personnel of all ranks. A recently study entitled “Investments’ effectiveness for the Military Pension Funds, the practical alternatives and the future perspectives,” conducted by Dr. Ali Saif, Assistant Professor of Economy at Sana’a University, finds that in spite of the establishment of two funds in 1981, they remained frozen until 1992’s decree number 33, which made amendments to the salaries and bonus’ given to armed and security forces.

The Jihadis of Yemen
New York Review of Books — 9 November 2012
Saleh’s successor, Hadi—who assumed power in February—has been a pleasant surprise to American government officials, who tend to view the country through the narrow lens of counterterrorism policy. He appears to have given the Americans carte blanche for drone strikes, and foreign diplomats find him more direct than the famously mercurial and manipulative Saleh. Even some protesters seem happy with his willingness to fire almost all of Saleh’s family members from their sinecures in the security services. But when it comes to deeper changes, Hadi’s options seem limited. He is dependent for protection and support on some of the same military and tribal figures who have been bleeding the regime of its oil revenues for years. He presides over a bloated and corrupt bureaucracy, a largely ineffective military, and a country riven by powerful tribal and regional divisions, with a de facto rebel statelet in the north and an angry secessionist movement in the south. His country is the poorest in the Arab world, and it is running out of oil and water very fast. The threats of jihad in Yemen are likely to last a long time.

Southern leaders – a stumbling block for NDC
Yemen Times — 19 November 2012
So far, one of the major challenges facing the National Dialogue Conference (NDC), scheduled to begin later this month, is the boycott of Southern Movement factions. Although President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi and U.N. Special Envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar have both been exerting extensive efforts to persuade the Southern factions to participate in the NDC, the positive indicators of Southern involvement in the dialogue remain nonexistent.

National Dialogue:
Choosing neighborhood leaders a controversial practice
Yemen Times — 19 November 2012
Social leaders work throughout almost all neighborhoods in Yemen. They play a crucial role in representing residents regarding a range of issues, from renewing ID cards to solving minor neighborhood disputes or taking serious issues to the police. But the process of selecting a social leader—a neighborhood representative—remains hazy. Often, the son of a social leader is the automatic heir to the position, which raises questions about nepotism and leadership rights.

President reiterates commitment to hold presidential election on time
Saba Net — 19 November 2012
President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi reiterated Monday his commitment to hold the presidential and parliamentary election in the set date. The President’s statement made in a celebration held in the Presidential Palace in Sana’a to mark the first anniversary of the Gulf initiative signed in Riyadh on November 23, 2011 to end a crisis erupted early in the same year in the country.

Women to make up 30 percent of NDC
Yemen Times — 19 November 2012
The Preparatory Committee of the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) said the majority of tasks have been finalized, and there will be 565 participants representing different factions in the country, of which 30 percent will be women. In a press conference Saturday, the committee announced it would finish its work by the end of November. The committee refuted rumors about the deferral of the NDC, explaining a report would be submitted to President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, who will determine the conference dates.

Yemen Set to Launch Dialogue Amid Country’s Divisions
Al-Khaleej via Al-Monitor — 16 November 2012
According to the same sources, in the next few days President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi will issue decisions that would help ameliorate the sharp reactions showed by some southern parties who were invited to participate in the national dialogue conference. The sources said that the success of the national dialogue depends on the participating parties’ understanding of the hazardous and serious nature of the challenges facing Yemen, as well as their understanding of the importance of unifying visions and orientations, rejecting differences and disparities and pushing the country toward a new climate of detente following the political, security and economic crises plaguing the country.

U.N. chief pushes for political dialogue in divided Yemen
Reuters — 19 November 2012
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pledged on Monday to help rescue stumbling efforts to implement a power transfer deal in Yemen that pulled the Arabian Peninsula country back from the brink of civil war last year. Restoring stability in Yemen, a U.S. ally grappling with al Qaeda militants and southern separatists, is an international priority due to fears of disorder ripping apart a state that flanks top oil producer Saudi Arabia and major shipping lanes.

Yemen’s Minister of Human Rights Says Country Is ‘Collapsing’
Al-Monitor — 15 November 2012
As Yemen’s minister of human rights, Hooria Mashhour knows she has her work cut out for her. International organizations continue to raise concerns about human rights violations in the country, ranging from revolutionaries being detained to schools being occupied by armed groups. Moreover, Mashhour says the country is “collapsing” on security, economic, social and political fronts, and former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his supporters are stunting the country’s transition from his 33-year rule. And yet, Mashhour says, there’s no alternative but to be optimistic. In her mind, the way forward calls for innovation — finding new methods to tackle terrorism and other towering problems. In place of drone strikes, which she says leave innocent people dead, other strategies to target extremists should be explored.

Ban welcomes progress with democratic transition, says process must be ‘irreversible’
UN News Centre — 19 November 2012
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged Yemen to build on progress made over the last twelve months since the signing of a historic transition agreement which helped end violence in the country and set it on a path of democratic transition. “Your country… was on the brink of civil war, even just one year ago. But you have overcome this with political courage and determination which meant, in the end, foresight and political wisdom have prevailed,” Mr. Ban said at a media encounter in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a. “This is a process which must be irreversible. There is no turning back.”

UN chief pledges support for Yemeni government efforts to stabilize country, hold elections
AP via Washington Post — 19 November 2012
The U.N. chief has pledged support for the Yemeni government’s efforts to stabilize the country and transition to democracy. Ban Ki-moon held talks with President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi on Monday in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, during a visit to the impoverished Arabian Peninsula nation. The U.N. chief has pledged support for the Yemeni government’s efforts to stabilize the country and transition to democracy. Ban Ki-moon held talks with President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi on Monday in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, during a visit to the impoverished Arabian Peninsula nation.

Human rights groups call for the protection of marginalized communities
Yemen Times — 19 November 2012
Human rights and anti-discrimination organizations have condemned the repeated killing of people from marginalized communities, calling on security forces to bring perpetrators of such crimes to trial. Last Monday, a retired 50-year-old soldier in Hajja killed one person and wounded three others from the same family after the victim’s donkey entered the ex-soldier’s farm. The victims were from marginalized communities, Mojahed Al-Hazzora, the Security Manager in Shares District, said.

Yemen’s settlement will not fail
Al-Sahwah — 16 November 2012
Abdul-Raqeeb al-Hudaini, editor in chief of Khaleej Aden, said that the global world is determined to protect and monitor Yemen’s settlement. He said that the dialogue is the only way to solve Yemen’s problems, urging all Yemenis to take party and emphasizing that its decisions will be biding for all.

Yemeni riders protest government crackdown on motorbikes
Reuters via Al-Arabiya — 16 November 2012
Dozens of motorcyclists rallied outside Sanaa’s Municipal building on Thursday in protest against a recent government decision that requires they have a registered license plate on their motorbikes. The Yemeni Interior Ministry introduced the measures on Thursday in a bid to counter attack what they say is a spread of assassinations of military and security figures that involve al-Qaeda affiliated militants riding on motorbikes.

Many Internally Displaced Yemenis Returning Home
Voice of America — 16 November 2012
The United Nations refugee agency says it is seeing growing numbers of internally displaced people in southern Yemen return to their homes.  The UNHCR says this is the first time since violence and civil strife broke out in early 2011 that so many people are deciding it is safe for them to go back to the homes they fled. U.N. refugee spokesman, Adrian Edwards, says the UNHCR, together with the Yemeni authorities, has helped more than 80,000 internally displaced people go home over the past few months.  And, he says the returns are ongoing.

Qat use by government officials under siege
Yemen Times — 18 November 2012
The Iradat Watan Bila Qat (Will of a Nation without Qat) Association, in cooperation with several other qat-free campaigns, organized a protest in front of the Parliament on Sunday to show support for the passage of a law that would ban qat chewing during working hours in government facilities.

Violence in Gaza:
Yemenis march in solidarity with Gaza
Yemen Times — 19 November 2012
Hundreds of Yemenis in Sana’a held a demonstration Sunday to affirm their solidarity with those under siege in the Gaza strip. As the Israeli offensive in Gaza intensifies into its fifth day, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health said the death toll has risen to 52, with more than 560 people injured. After beginning in Change Square, the demonstration marched to the local Hamas’ office—an Islamic resistance movement—in Haseba district.

Yemeni organisations seek to empower battered women
Al-Shorfa — 19 November 2012
The Aidarous Association and the Yemeni Women Union, two such organisations, recently put together a course for 20 women from Aden to discuss domestic violence. The course is one in a series being held since the second quarter of this year to teach women about their legal rights. They then receive job training so they can be more productive in vocational areas such as sewing, embroidery or computer literacy. “These courses help bring battered women, victims of domestic violence, back to life as well as rehabilitate female inmates so they can rebuild their lives and work after they are released from prison,” Soumia al-Qarmi, president of the Aidarous Association in Aden, told Al-Shorfa.

Yemen suicide bomber kills three in Abyan militia offices
Reuters — 16 November 2012
A suicide bomber linked to al Qaeda killed himself and three others inside the headquarters of government-allied militias in the capital of southern Yemen’s Abyan province on Friday, a security source and medical sources told Reuters.

Yemen army battles tribesmen after new oil pipe attack: official
Reuters — 21 November 2012
Yemeni troops battled tribesmen who blew up the country’s main oil export pipeline again on Wednesday and are preventing it from being fixed, an oil ministry official said. The pipeline was already out of operation when it was attacked on Wednesday, because engineers have been unable to fix it since it was blown up in two places on November 12.

Yemen sentences two to death for killing officials
AFP via NOW Lebanon — 16 November 2012
A Yemeni court on Tuesday passed death sentences on two men convicted of killing security officials in the capital Sanaa, the official news agency Saba reported. It identified the two men sentenced by Sanaa’s Specialized Criminal Court of First Instance as Osama Abdulsalam Mafdal and Akram Mohammed Mafdal. The men are accused of “taking part in an armed group, using arms against the state, confronting members of the army and security forces” as well as “opening fire on two members of the security forces causing their death.”

Yemen military plane crash kills 10
BBC News — 21 November 2012
A Yemeni military plane has crashed in the capital, Sanaa, killing all 10 people on board, officials have said. The Antonov came down in an empty market in the al-Hassaba district as it tried to make an emergency landing after one of its engines failed. One resident said there were three explosions as the plane crashed. Several shops were destroyed. It is not clear if anyone on the ground was hurt.

Unidentified men kill soldier in Sana’a
Yemen Times — 19 November 2012
Khaldoon Yahiya Bin Malik, a Yemeni soldier, was shot Sunday by unidentified men who fled the scene. Bin Malik later died. According to the Defense Ministry’s website, unknown men fired at the soldier, a member of the Central Security Forces, as he departed his home in the Al-Qa’a neighborhood of Sana’a.

The Wrong Man for the C.I.A.
New York Times — 19 November 2012
Mr. Petraeus’s departure presents Mr. Obama with an opportunity to halt the C.I.A.’s drift toward becoming a paramilitary organization and put it back on course. For all of the technological advances America has made in a decade of fighting Al Qaeda, it still needs all the old tricks it learned in the days before spy satellites and drones. More and better human intelligence from sources on the ground would result in more accurate targeting and many fewer civilian casualties. That would be a Yemen model that actually worked and a lasting and more effective counterterrorism legacy for Mr. Obama’s second term.

Video: The Bomb Maker
NBC’s Rock Center — 15 November 2012
NBC’s recent piece on Ibrahim Asiri and al-Qaeda in Yemen

A khat-free wedding becomes big news in Yemen
Christian Science Monitor — 15 November 2012
The activist groom told his guests that khat, a leaf chewed in Yemen as a stimulant and social lubricant, wasn’t welcome at his wedding. As the presence of no less than six camera crews from local and international television channels suggested, a khat-free wedding literally marked a newsworthy event. In contrast to alcohol or harder drugs, khat is largely seen as a religiously acceptable indulgence in this conservative Muslim society. Many Yemenis will argue it lacks the negative social effects of whiskey or marijuana. But regardless of Yemeni society’s general toleration of the nation’s collective habit, a clamor is growing that the plant is a curse that needs to be addressed. The warnings are years – if not decades – old. Academics have raised issue with the plant’s environmental, societal, and economic effects; even former president Ali Abdullah Saleh – a committed chewer himself – launched a brief initiative aimed at stemming its use in 1999. In recent months, a grassroots campaign has placed nearly unprecedented attention on khat’s negative effects on Yemen.

Family businesses seen as way to improve economy
Yemen Times — 19 November 2012
The Yemeni Businessmen Club, with the backing of several major Yemeni and Gulf corporations concluded the Third Family Business Conference on Sunday.  The event was held to shed light on the role of family businesses in improving economies in Arab countries. The conference was held over a two day period, with around 250 participants. Conference contributors included: local, regional and international economists; businessmen; members of prominent business families and specialists from multinational corporations.

Launch of Yemeni search engine [Arabic]
Al-Sahwah — 17 November 2012 [translation via BBC World Monitoring]
Today, Eng Qa’id al-Jamma’i launched a new search engine “Msader-ye.net” which is considered the first of its kind in terms of its multiple features that will contribute towards creating a quantum leap in the way Yemen-related news are displayed. Eng Qa’id al-Jamma’i, the owner of the project, said that “Msader-ye.net” is a news search engine focusing on Yemen. He stated that “Msader-ye.net” website is an engine for searching, monitoring, collecting, and saving all data on Yemen-related news on the Internet. As a news search engine, its news activity on the Internet is restricted to the news related to Yemen and all Yemenis inside and outside the country. He said that Msader-ye.net is a giant project. He added that it was established by massive manpower and technical investments, and that its search engine is considered a favourite destination for all those interested in knowing the political, cultural, commercial, and tourist aspects of Yemen as well as many others. He also said that the site contributes towards building bridges between the Yemenis and all those interested in Yemen worldwide.

Students denied university exams
Yemen Times — 19 November 2012
The first day of exams have been canceled as protests against the parallel policy continued Saturday and Sunday, with hundreds of students at Sana’a University’s College of Mass Communication demonstrating in front of the dean’s office. These latest demonstrations follow more than two weeks of uproar about the practice, which allows for the admittance of students with lower than acceptable grades at the university on the condition that they will study—often at a high cost—with private instructors until graduation.

Malaysian universities fed up – Yemeni government fails to pay students’ fees
Yemen Times — 19 November 2012
It has been nearly two weeks since Yemeni students began a sit-in outside the Yemeni embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and there seems to be little head way between the protestors and their government representatives. The frustrated protestors are angry because the Higher Education Ministry has not paid their promised tuition fees for three years at Malaysian universities they attend, prompting the universities to not allow the students to attend classes.

Yemeni-Iraqi Relations:
Yemen and Iraq sign development cooperation agreement
Saba Net — 18 November 2012
Yemen and Iraq signed here on Sunday a cooperation agreement in various development and service areas. The agreement was signed in the conclusion meeting of the 15th round of the joint Yemeni-Iraqi ministerial committee by Agriculture and Irrigation Minister Fared Mujawar and Iraqi Agriculture Minister Izzidin al-Dawla, who co-chaired the round’s meetings.

Iraq frees 7 Yemeni captives, Yemeni diplomat says
Saba Net — 18 November 2012
Iraq has decided to release seven Yemeni captives out of 25 are in Iraqi prisons, Yemeni ambassador to Iraq Zaid al-Warith said Sunday. Al-Warith made the statement in a meeting gathered Prime Minister Mohammed Salem Basindwa with Agriculture and Irrigation Minister Fared Mujawar and Iraqi Agriculture Minister Izzidin al-Dawla chairmen of the 15th round of the joint Yemeni-Iraqi ministerial committee kicked off its meetings in Sana’a on Saturday.


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