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

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.

National Dialogue:
Long-exiled South Yemen leader Beidh defends his calls for secession
McClatchy Newspapers via Kansas City Star — 5 December 2012
“It’s not about secession,” Beidh said. “We’re demanding the restoration of our state and the end to northern occupation.” Beidh sees himself as the legitimate representative of the southern people, though he admitted it’s unlikely he’ll be able to end his 18-year exile soon. But even from afar, he’s been able to maintain influence: Southern Movement leaders regularly travel to Beirut to meet with him, and a Beidh-aligned satellite television channel boasts wide viewership across the south. Still, he remains a controversial figure, even among those who espouse secession. Many see the aging Beidh – he’s in his 70s – as a relic from a different era. Others can’t forget how he rose to leadership on the horrors of South Yemen’s bloody 1986 civil war. Still others say his insistence on a total split with Yemen is too doctrinaire; other leaders, including Ali Nasser Mohamed, who lead the south from 1980-1986, and Hayder Abu Bakr al Attas, a former Beidh ally who served as prime minister after unification, have proposed southern autonomy within a federal system. But Beidh refuses to be part of such a deal. He said the agreement that removed Saleh from the presidency earlier this year was biased against southern interests. “We do not want to be thought of as the leftovers of what’s obtained in Sanaa,” he said.

UN makes urgent call for Yemen dialogue
AFP via Khaleej Times — 6 December 2012
The United Nations made an urgent call Tuesday for Yemen’s political parties to initiate a national dialogue, warning that its transition was under threat. The UN-brokered power transition deal that eased president Ali Abdullah Saleh out of office a year ago after three decades in power and following protests calls for the national dialogue to produce a new constitution and electoral law.

Benomar briefs Security Council
Yemen Times — 6 December 2012
Jamal Benomar, the U.N. Special Envoy to Yemen, submitted a special report to the international body’s Security Council on Tuesday that outlines major threats that still hinder Yemen’s path forward.  In his report he asserted that former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh continues to be politically active as the head of the General People’s Congress (GPC). Benomar says Saleh’s criticism of the reconciliation government is creating unnecessary divides.

Yemeni Prime Minister Works To Resolve Dispute With South
Al-Khaleej via Al-Monitor — 4 December 2012
In a ceremony held yesterday [Dec. 3] afternoon in the city of Aden — the largest city in southern Yemen — Basendwah said that “he was informed that the GCC will hold an extraordinary meeting in Riyadh, in which a number of Yemeni issues will be discussed, including the southern issue.” He added that GCC leaders will meet with a number of SMM leaders at home and abroad to discuss the demands they have raised and address the southern issue. He called on the Gulf states to listen to the Yemeni demands in order to reinforce security and stability in Yemen. On the other hand, former President Saleh is making extensive efforts to save the party he has headed for 30 years — the General People’s Congress (GPC) — from fracturing, after a number of prominent leaders submitted their resignations due to disagreements regarding the performance of the political party. The latest dispute was over the percentage of the party’s representation in the national dialogue conference, which is to be held in the coming period.

Gulf Initiative patrons welcome Technical Committee decision, Yemeni parties raise objections
Yemen Times — 6 December 2012
Although the Gulf representatives praised the breakdown, some political parties raised objections to the number of seats given to them for the conference. The Ba’ath party conditioned the execution of the 20 points presented by the Preparatory Committee. The leadership of the party held a meeting and released a statement of objection to its allotment of five seats. The statement said the preparatory procedures for the NDC are not based on national interests and the sacrifices of the youth; these procedures are subject to serve certain powers at the expense of the national interest. Furthermore, the Popular Union Powers also raised objections, saying they would not participate in the NDC. In a press statement, the party said it is committed to the goals of the youth revolution.

Former leader of the Joint Meeting Parties Dr. Mohammed Abdul-Malik Al-Mutawakil talks to the Yemen Times
Yemen Times — 3 December 2012
A prominent politician, academic and former leader of the Joint Meeting Parties (JMPs), Dr. Mohammed Abdul-Malik Al-Mutawakil sat down with the Yemen Times to discuss the JMP, the General People’s Congress (GPC) and what has been achieved in the one year since the GCC power transition deal was signed. Al-Mutawakil said the JMP and the GPC are hindering the political process in the country because they do not care about building Yemen. He also said he thinks Yemenis are not impressed by what’s changed in the past year, adding that for Yemenis, the real achievement will be the creation of a civil, democratic and fair state.

Yemeni president forms Supreme Commission for Elections
Al-Shorfa — 5 December 2012
Hadi selected the judges based on a list of 30 recommendations from the Supreme Judicial Council, which was ratified by the House of Representatives in mid-November. For the first time in Yemen’s history, the commission includes two women, Judges Samia Mahdi and Hala al-Qurashi. It also includes six judges who served on the previous commission, notably Mohammed al-Hakimi and Khamis al-Daini, the former chairman and vice chairman.

Protestors increase demands for release of journalist Shaye
Yemen Times — 6 December 2012
Several activists and journalists staged a protest  on Tuesday near the Cabinet building, demanding the release journalist Abdulelah Shaye, who has been in prison for 32 months. Shaye gained attention in 2009 after suggesting the Al-Majalah village bombing in December 2009, which led to the deaths of women and children, was a U.S. action. He frequently reported on Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and in August 2010, Shaye was arrested on suspicion of terrorism. Then President, Ali Abdullah Saleh was prepared to release Shaye in February 2011, but a personal call from U.S. President Barack Obama reportedly influenced Saleh, and Shaye remains in prison today, serving a five year sentence.

Thousands rally in southern Yemen to demand self-rule, autonomy from northern government
AP via Washington Post — 29 November 2012
Thousands of Yemenis have rallied across the country’s south to mark the 45th anniversary of independence from British occupation and demand autonomy from the north. Yemeni security forces have cracked down on southerners’ protests since 2007 but no major violence was reported Friday. Some participants at the rallies demanded secession.

Will President Hadi extend his term?
Yemen Times — 6 December 2012
With the year 2012 almost at an end and with Yemeni’s  reflecting  on the changes that have occured, we enter the tenth month of a two-year transitional period that is set to end with elections in February 2014 and the launching of a new Yemen with a new president. Yet despite optimism, we have yet to organize the National Dialogue Conference (2 months), have the conference itself (6 months), create the new constitution (3 months), update the voters’ lists (6 months), have a national referendum on the constitution, finalize the constitution, create the electoral laws according to the new constitution (two months) and finally have the elections according to the new electoral system.

Family of Yemeni blogger prosecuted for apostasy calls accusations ‘unacceptable’
Yemen Times — 6 December 2012
A Yemeni blogger who used his personal Facebook account and the Al-Hiwar Al-Mutmadin website to post articles and research that question the teachings of the Quran could face the death penalty as prosecutors accuse him of apostasy.  Ali Ali Qasim Al-Saeedi, the one-time general manager of budget and planning in the Supreme Judiciary Council, was arrested Nov. 26, under the jurisdiction of the Publishing and Print Court, a government body established to try journalists.

Govt fully empowers service ministries’ offices in Aden
Saba Net — 4 December 2012
The cabinet approved on Tuesday giving full accountabilities to the service ministries’ offices in Aden governorate. This came in the cabinet’s weekly meeting chaired by Prime Minister Mohammed Salem Basindwa held exceptionally in Aden in the presence of the Aden governor, local and executive authorities’ officials.

Family, neighbors of Yemeni killed by U.S. drone wonder why he wasn’t taken alive
McClatchy Newspapers — 28 November 2012
The Nov. 7 drone strike that killed alleged al Qaida-linked operative Adnan al Qadhi outside Beit al Ahmar was just one of more than 50 American airstrikes believed to have taken place in Yemen so far this year. Unlike the usual post-strike conjecture, however, this one has unleashed a flurry of speculation about why Qadhi, a well-known figure in this town, was targeted in such a violent and anonymous way. American counterterrorism officials have painted drone strikes as a tool of last resort, utilized only when targets represent an imminent threat and are nearly impossible to take out by other means. But people in Beit al Ahmar say it’s hard to argue that Qadhi’s capture would have been out of the question. He’d already been arrested, and released, before, in 2008 after an attack on the American Embassy. And Beit al Ahmar, nine miles outside Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, is no isolated enclave – it’s the birthplace of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and home to much of the military’s leadership.

Weapons and revenge at local arms market
Yemen Times — 3 December 2012
For more than 20 years, Juhana Market in the heart of Khawlan Al-Tial District, just north of Sana’a, has been selling weapons to local tribes.  Although the large commerce center also provides its 200,000 residents –dispersed across the district in about 20 villages – with their daily commodity needs like food and medicine, for tribesmen in the area, the market is the place to stock up on pistols, rifles, machine guns and ammunition. The tribes of Khawlan are known to live in a constant whirlwind of conflict because of disputes between opposing forces that often result in injuries and deaths. Many residents in Khawlan call the Juhana Market a catalyst for these bloody clashes.

Weapons war campaign is waged by Ibb security forces
Yemen Times — 3 December 2012
Security forces in Ibb governorate continue their campaign dedicated to confiscating illegal arms.  Officials report that an estimated 200 arms were recently apprehended. They also say 20 wanted criminals are now in custody as a result of the security intensification. This campaign comes at the heels of reports indicating a disquieting weapons increase in the governorate.

Five killed in south Yemen clash
AFP via Gulf News — 5 November 2012
Five Yemenis, including two soldiers and a child, were killed in a gunfight between the army and local gunmen in a southern village on Tuesday, a military official and medics said. Villagers in Jalila, north of Daleh, obstructed an army vehicle in protest at the setting up of a new military base on a hill overlooking the village, the official said, adding that gunmen opened fire at the tyres of the vehicle. Army reinforcement clashed with the gunmen. Two soldiers were killed in the gunfight, while two local gunmen and a girl were also killed, medics said.

Yemen Interior Ministry says one of al-Qaida’s most wanted has been arrested
AP via Washington Post — 1 December 2012
Yemen’s Interior Ministry says police have arrested an al-Qaida leader who is one of the country’s most wanted fugitives. The ministry, in a statement late Friday, said Suleiman Hassan Mohammed Murshed Awad was arrested in Zinjibar, the capital of southern Abyan province, once an al-Qaida hotbed. It did not say when he was arrested.

The Thrust of Yemen Policy
New York Times — 29 November 2012
Mr. Johnsen says airstrikes are driving the growth of the group known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. In fact, it was expanding long before American counterterrorism activities escalated, to several hundred members by December 2009 from 23 in 2006 — a period when no airstrikes were conducted.  A.Q.A.P. grew in 2011 because of unrest and an influx of foreign extremists, but membership has declined after the signing of last year’s transition deal.

Yemen offers reward to catch killers of Saudi diplomat
Reuters — 29 November 2012
Yemen offered a $25,000 reward on Thursday for help in catching the killers of a Saudi Arabian diplomat, a day after he was gunned down in an attack that security authorities blamed on al Qaeda. The killing on Wednesday of Khaled al-Enizi, a military attaché at the Saudi embassy, and his Yemeni bodyguard underscored the challenges facing the U.S.-allied state since an uprising last year that ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Investigations ongoing into Saudi diplomat assassination
Asharq Al-Awsat — 4 December 2012
Speaking exclusively to Asharq Al-Awsat, Director-General of Public Relations at Yemen’s Interior Ministry, Brigadier General Mohammed al-Qaedi, revealed that the investigation into the assassination of Saudi diplomat Khalid Al-Enazi, an official at the Saudi military attaché office in Sanaa, is still ongoing. Corporal Khalid Al-Enazi was shot dead last week by gunmen dressed in Yemen Central Security uninforms, along with his Yemeni bodyguard Jalal Mubrak Hadi Shaban.

Death threats preceded Saudi diplomat’s murder
Asharq Al-Awsat — 29 November 2012
Saudi ambassador to Yemen, Ali al-Hamdan, informed Asharq Al-Awsat that Corporal Khalid Al-Enazi, an official at the Saudi military attaché office in Sanaa, was shot dead by gunmen dressed in Yemen Central Security uniforms, along with his Yemeni bodyguard Jalal Mubarak Hadi Shaban yesterday.  Speaking exclusively to Asharq Al-Awsat, the Saudi ambassador revealed that this attack was preceded by death threats against Saudi diplomats in Yemen, saying “there are always threats…these usually come from Al Qaeda in Yemen.” However Ambassador Ali al-Hamdan refused to speculate on who was responsible for the killing, stressing that everybody should wait for the results of the investigation being conducted by the Yemeni authorities in coordination with the Saudi embassy in Sanaa.

Yemen bans recruitment of children into security forces
Al-Shorfa — 30 November 2012
Mohammed Naji Allaw, an attorney and director of the National Organisation for Defending Rights and Freedoms (HOOD), welcomed the move as “a step in the right direction”. Child recruitment by armed groups that hold extremist ideologies, Allaw said, is “a crime against the children that leads them to their deaths”. “However, the problem with child recruitment is that [some] parents want their children to be recruited so they can provide the family with a source of income,” he said, noting that in some areas controlled by tribal sheikhs, it is the sheikhs themselves who encourage child recruitment.

Yemeni army attacks tribesmen suspected of blowing up pipeline
Reuters — 2 December 2012
The Yemeni army launched a major assault on Sunday on tribesmen suspected of repeatedly blowing up the main oil export pipeline and attacking power lines, officials said. The officials said some 30 tanks and other armoured vehicles were participating in the offensive against tribal fighters in the Wadi Obaida area of the central oil-producing province of Maarib.

Deaths and injuries in explosion of  weapons store in Sanaa
Nasser Arrabyee’s blog — 30 November 2012
The Yemeni security forces are searching  to arrest the businessman Jarman Abdu Jarman after a  huge explosion happened in his house killing and injuring 6 people and destroying at least houses around, said  security sources late Friday. Clashes happened immediately after the explosion which could be heard to kms away inside the capital Sanaa. Sources close to Jarman family said that the explosion happened after hand grenades were thrown to the basement where weapons were.

“Al Qaeda-linked” Yemeni among four Pakistan drone strike dead
Reuters — 1 December 2012
A missile fired from a drone killed four people, including a Yemeni fighter linked to al-Qaeda, when it hit their car in northern Pakistan on Saturday evening, intelligence and tribal sources said.

The future of business is youth
Yemen Times — 3 December 2012
The first Youth Businessmen Conference was held Sunday, sponsored by the General Union of Yemeni Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Yemeni Youth Businessmen Committee. Over 200 participants from across the nation attended the conference to discuss the future of business and promising investment sectors. “The conference aimed to develop the youth and increase their role in developing the economy of the country and to reach solutions for the challenges they face,” said Nabeel Al-Maznai, head of the Yemeni Youth Businessmen Committee.

New report finds slavery present in western Yemen
Yemen Times — 6 December 2012
In a press conference held Wednesday in Sana’a, the Wethaq Foundation revealed their newest report finding that slavery still exists in Yemen. Najeeb Al-Saedi, the head of the foundation, which focuses on human rights and is based in Sana’a, said the report reveals the size and scope of servitude in western Yemen, where field-monitoring teams collected data and did their research.  The report found two types of servitude in western Yemen. The first type defines slavery to include human trafficking; the second type includes those who are subjected to slavery and abuse but not trafficking.

Confrontations in Nihm cause electrical shortages
Yemen Times — 6 December 2012
Power outages resume in Sana’a following attacks on electrical lines on Tuesday in the Nihm District, located 20 km. from the capital city. The Defense Ministry’s website reported armed confrontations between locals and guards at a glass factory in the Al-Mahajir area in Nihm.  Fighters shot at electrical towers, cutting off energy supplies to Sana’a and other governorates.

Threats of worker’s strike as YLNG staff sport red badges
Yemen Times — 6 December 2012
Employee syndicate’s in Yemen Liquid National Gas (YLNG) threatened to go on strike after they issued red badges, the unofficial markers used by striking workers in Yemen, in protest against the company’s administration for not solving their problems. The syndicate’s called on President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi to intervene and end the company’s violation of employees rights. They asked the government to implement the agreement that was signed in April 2012 between the company’s administration and a committee representing the employees in which they agreed on compromises concerning bonuses, allowances, promotions and the reinstatement of fired workers.

Yemen starts repairing oil pipeline after deal with tribesmen
Reuters — 4 November 2012
Yemen began repairing its main Maarib oil pipeline and power lines on Tuesday after reaching a deal with tribesmen to stop attacking the country’s infrastructure, an official said. The Yemeni army launched an offensive on Sunday against tribesmen suspected of repeatedly blowing up the main oil export pipeline and attacking power lines. “According to an agreement between Maarib’s governor and tribal leaders, the military campaign was halted and the technical teams were allowed in to fix the oil pipeline and electricity lines,” the official told Reuters.

Yemen LNG Plant Said to Restart After October Pipeline Attack
Bloomberg — 29 November 2012
Yemen LNG began producing liquefied natural gas from its Gulf of Aden plant after an October pipeline attack there halted output, two people familiar with the operations said. A tanker docked at the plant yesterday to load fuel chilled to a liquid for transport by ship, said the people, including a Yemen LNG official, who declined to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak to the press.

Impacts of climate change pose major threat to Yemen, official
Saba Net — 6 December 2012
Head of the General Authority for Environmental Protection Eng. Mahmoud Shidiwah has said that the impacts of climate change pose a major threat to Yemen in three main sectors ,which are water ,agriculture and the coastal sector.

Wind and solar energy fall short of potential
IRIN — 6 December 2012
Yemen’s western coast, from Bab al-Mandab to Al-Mokha, rates among the windiest corridors in the world, while the country’s frequently clear skies make it a prime candidate for solar power. More modest geothermal potential also exists. The wider Arab region has a strong and under-exploited potential for solar energy for electricity production and desalination, according to a new report by the World Bank. “We [in Yemen] have a good source of wind on the Red Sea, we have the sun, we feel we’re on a learning curve and going through a transition,” said Abdulaziz Daer, general manager of Dome Trading, which provides a range of services to the energy sector – at this point, mainly oil and gas companies. By the Ministry of Electricity and Energy’s own estimates, renewable energy could potentially supply over 50,000 megawatts (MW) of power, or 50 times current production levels. Some 70 percent of Yemen’s 25 million citizens live in rural areas – many far from the national grid. Even those lucky enough to have a connection get an intermittent service. Although no official study has been done, experts believe that Yemen produces only about a third of the total electricity needed – 1,000 MW out of an estimated demand of 3,000 MW

Yemeni honey is quick means to overcome poverty
Al-Shorfa — 3 December 2012
Producing honey has become one of the fastest ways for Yemenis to make money, with a low cost and quick start-up process and with annual exports exceeding 1,000 tonnes to the Gulf market alone, officials said. “Beekeeping has become one of the quickest means to overcome poverty, since production can be achieved within only three month of the start-up of beekeeping [operations],” Abdul Malak al-Thor, undersecretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, told Al-Shorfa. To encourage this trend, the ministry is implementing several programmes supporting beekeepers through various funding sources, al-Thor said. This includes a $1 million grant from the Islamic Bank that went towards acquiring and distributing 12,000 beehives — five per family — among victims of the 2010 flood disaster in Shabwa, Hadramaut and al-Muhra provinces. Another 12,000 beehives will also be distributed in the near future, al-Thor said.

RIL to sell stake in block in Yemen
Live Mint — 3 December 2012
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has agreed to sell its stake in a block in Yemen, the company said in a statement on Wednesday. It did not disclose the value of the transaction. RIL will sell its 25% participating interest in ‘Block-9’ in Yemen to Medco Yemen Malik Ltd, a unit of PT Medco Energi Internasional Tbk of Indonesia.

Turkish diplomat lauds strategic location of Hodaida
Saba Net — 29 November 2012
Turkish ambassador to Yemen lauded on Thursday the strategic location of Hodaida governorate between the Gulf States and the Horn of Africa. During his meeting with Hodaida governor Akram Ateiah, Fazli Corman said the projects Turkey intends to carry out in Yemen underscore the strength of the Yemeni-Turkish relationship and enhance the existing partnership in various fields.

Aden security halts smuggling of counterfeit electrical cables
Yemen Times — 3 December 2012
A security source in Aden Harbor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said harbor security prevented a bus leaving the harbor that was loaded with 130 cartons of counterfeit electrical cables previously confiscated by customs in the Free Zone of Aden. The source said people in three buses broke into the containers and smuggled the cables from customs early Sunday morning.

Yemen deports two thousand Africans in 2012
Saba Net — 3 December 2012
The Departent of Immigration, Passports and Nationality in Hodeidah province has said that it deported nearly two thousand people of African, who entered Yemen illegally during the period from January to November,2012.

Malnourishment threatens children in Yemen
Yemen Times — 3 December 2012
Latifa Baltifa, a nutritionist working for the World Food Program, said the number of malnourished children in Yemen has grown considerably since 2009. “Malnourishment reached 22 percent in Hodeida,” Baltifa said. “This percentage is very high.” Baltifa said high poverty and low awareness of health issues in the rural areas of Hodeida are major factors for the extreme malnutrition facing children in the governorate. While Hodeida is an example of a governorate with some of the highest concentrations of underfed children, the numbers remains high throughout the country. “The percentage of malnourishment reached 15.5 percent in all the governorates nationwide,” she said. “This percent is high in accordance with international malnutrition standards.”

Workshop focuses on stigma surrounding Yemenis with HIV
Yemen Times — 6 December 2012
The Yemeni Women’s Union, in cooperation with the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, held a workshop Tuesday about gender and women living with HIV. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) funded the workshop. The workshop focused on providing information and knowledge about reproductive health, causes of HIV and methods of prevention, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and the importance of the voluntary STD testing.


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