Monthly Archives: December 2012

Weekly News Update 27 December 2012

Petro Masila/ via Yemen Times/http://www.yementimes.com/en/1637/report/1789/Petro-Masila-proves-sucess-of-%27Yemenizing%27-oil-exploration.htm

Petro Masila/ via Yemen Times/http://www.yementimes.com/en/1637/report/1789/Petro-Masila-proves-sucess-of-%27Yemenizing%27-oil-exploration.htm

Highlights:
Anatomy of an Air Attack Gone Wrong
Foreign Policy — 26 December 2012
Governments have an obligation under international law to investigate and provide redress for unlawful attacks. In Afghanistan, NATO members — including the United States — have recognized the value of compensating civilians for loss of life or other damage, even when the attacks are lawful. There is no such formal system in Yemen, leaving the people of Sabool with little more than anger. And with neither Yemeni nor U.S. authorities taking responsibility for the attack, the villagers blame both countries. The deaths from the September attack have devastated Sabool, a cluster of 120 brick-and-mud homes that residents say has no electricity, no paved roads, no schools, no hospitals, and no jobs apart from khat farming. “Seven of the victims were breadwinners. Now we have 50 people in our village with no one to care for them,” said Awadh, the local sheikh. “Who will raise them? Who will educate them? Who will take care of their needs?”

When U.S. drones kill civilians, Yemen’s government tries to conceal it
Washington Post — 24 December 2012
U.S. airstrikes have killed numerous civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other parts of the world, and those governments have spoken against the attacks. But in Yemen, the weak government has often tried to hide civilian casualties from the public, fearing repercussions in a nation where hostility toward U.S. policies is widespread. It continues to insist in local media reports that its own aging jets attacked the truck. Public outrage is also growing as calls for accountability, transparency and compensation go unanswered amid allegations by human rights activists and lawmakers that the government is trying to cover up the attack to protect its relationship with Washington. Even senior Yemeni officials said they fear that the backlash could undermine their authority.

Yemeni Leader Tries to Centralize a Divided Military
New York Times — 19 December 2012
The decrees issued by the president centralized the command of the military under five branches, officials said. Most significant, they said, the president’s edict would result in the dismantling of the powerful Republican Guard, a unit led by a rival of Mr. Hadi’s who had defied the president’s orders. Continue reading

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Weekly News Update 13 December 2012

Howida Al-Kibsi via Yemen Times/http://www.yementimes.com/en/1632/report/1712/Golden-Fingertips-exhibition-displays-Yemeni-women%E2%80%99s-artistic-stylings.htm

Howida Al-Kibsi via Yemen Times/http://www.yementimes.com/en/1632/report/1712/Golden-Fingertips-exhibition-displays-Yemeni-women%E2%80%99s-artistic-stylings.htm

Highlights:
Yemen’s Rocky Roadmap
Foreign Policy — 11 December 2012
The fears have been focused on the National Dialogue’s potential failure, which could very well plunge Yemen into conflict. But even if the dialogue succeeds, restoring unity to this notoriously fractious country will still prove a tall order. Across the country, powerful tribal leaders maintain their hold over their own fighting forces; even the Yemeni army, many here complain, are closer to a collection of private militias than it is to a truly national military. Rather than holding a monopoly on power, the post-Saleh government often appears to be at the mercy of various factions whose interests often seem to diverge from those of the nation as a whole. In some sense, it’s a thorny paradox: As the country aims to move forward, the cooperation of such divergent interest groups is key. But their continued sway, many argue, could render any progress in Sanaa moot.

Press freedom in the shifting Yemeni media landscape
Doha Centre for Media Freedom — 12 December 2012
Journalists are still threatened by numerous elements within and outside the authorities, and press rights groups have consistently highlighted the difficulties faced by local and international journalists in Yemen.  As recently as September 2012, RSF published a statement detailing a number of press freedom violations, expressing their serious concerns about media conditions in Yemen. Internet usage represents one of the most significant changes for the media in Yemen, and according to internetworldstats, the country had 3,691,000 internet users in June 2012, compared to 420,000 in 2010.

Yemeni president in standoff with Saleh son over Scud missiles
Reuters — 11 December 2012
The commander of Yemen’s Republican Guards has refused orders from the president to hand long-range missiles over to the Defence Ministry, political sources said, raising the risk of a showdown between the country’s two most powerful figures. The standoff between Brigadier General Ahmed Saleh, son of ousted former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, and President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi could delay an overhaul of armed forces that split last year during a mass uprising, worsening disorder. Continue reading

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Weekly News Update 6 December 2012

Mohamed Huwais/AFP/via Al-Shorfa/http://al-shorfa.com/en_GB/articles/meii/features/2012/12/03/feature-02

Mohamed Huwais/AFP/via Al-Shorfa/http://al-shorfa.com/en_GB/articles/meii/features/2012/12/03/feature-02

Highlights:
Conflict in Yemen: Abyan’s Darkest Hour
Amnesty International — 4 December 2012
This report, based mainly on a fact-finding visit to Yemen in June-July 2012, documents violations committed by Ansar Al-Shari’a when cities and towns in Abyan were under their control and during the subsequent armed conflict. These violations included recklessly exposing civilians to harm during attacks; killing captured soldiers; abducting civilians, some of whom have never been seen again; and obstructing medical treatment for wounded people. The report also shows how government forces used disproportionate force during the conflict. Amnesty international is calling on the Yemeni authorities to hold to account those responsible for all these abuses and to ensure that the victims receive full redress.

A long road ahead for Yemeni women
Open Democracy — 3 December 2012
Hence, appointing three female ministers was considered “appropriate” representation for some, and even hailed as a success by others. The important technical committee, set up by President Hadi to define the scope of the upcoming National Dialogue, included individuals with high caliber and street credibility, but women initially represented only 20 per cent. Then in September 2012, President Hadi issued another decree adding six new male members to the technical committee, which shifted the gender balance even further and decreased the percentage of women to 16 percent. Given these negative indicators, women are naturally frustrated about their marginalization and worry about the upcoming national dialogue. To alleviate some of these fears the technical committee recently published a detailed document on the Rules and procedures of the six-month National Dialogue conference which emphasizes that women will be present in all committees.

Yemen’s Democratic Revolution, One Year Later
The Atlantic — 29 November 2012
The infighting, combined with weak leadership on the part of the president and prime minister, has led paralysis. The top-tier posts in the ministries were selected based on what or who they represented, not based on any technocratic skill or knowledge, further compounding their inability to get anything done. Most are looking to advance their parties’ interests, thwart gains by their opponents, or cover up any wrongdoing during Saleh’s reign. Given the immense challenges that Yemen faces in social, humanitarian, and economic spheres, it can hardly afford this level of incompetency and inefficiency. More dynamic leadership from President Hadi and Prime Minister Mohammed Basindwa is desperately needed. Continue reading

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