Weekly News Update 3 January 2013



Yemen Economy Limps Into the New Year
Al-Hayat via Al-Monitor — 31 December 2012
At a conference organized by the Studies and Economic Media Center in Sanaa and a team focusing on economic reforms in conjunction with the Center for International Private Enterprise, a number of suggestions were unveiled for reducing the unemployment rate in Yemen, which now exceeds 60% among youth. One such plan entailed a focus on manual-labor job projects, accelerated job training and qualification programs tailored to the needs of the market and the reorganization and restructuring of the Yemen Skills Development Fund.

South not convinced military restructure will create balance
Yemen Times — 31 December 2012
President Hadi’s military restructure, which included a purging of the Republican Guard and the First Armored Division, has been met largely with lukewarm and uncertain feelings in the South, a region that has threatened secession on numerous occasions. Some southerners like Dr. Abdo Al-Ma’tari, a spokesman for the Southern Movement, have even called the decrees a “farce.” “These decrees are meant to tempt people to join the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) even though nothing has been changed in the military,” he said.

‘Abd al-Rauf al-Dhahab and Bad Intel
Waq al-Waq — 31 December 2012
On Saturday December 29 the US tried a third time (that we know of) to kill al-Dhahab.  And for a third time it missed.  This time killing three members of a local tribes who, again, may or may not be members of al-Qaeda.  At least one local report has identified one of the dead as an 11-year-old boy, although as is often the case there are other reports that give different names and ages for the victims. Even with all the sketchy details from the ground, this case raises several questions. First, how did ‘Abd al-Rauf al-Dhahab make it onto the US kill list? His family, as many readers of Waq al-waq will remember, was heavily involved in the Ansar al-Shariah takeover of Rada’a in early 2012 – on both sides actually, as one pro-government brother killed another pro-al-Qaeda brother before the pro-government brother was killed by yet another pro-al-Qaeda brother.

Gunmen in Yemen kill intelligence officer
AP — 29 December 2012
Two gunmen on a motorbike shot and killed an intelligence officer in southeastern Yemen on Saturday, security officials said. The officials said that the officer, Mutea Baqutian, was on his way to work in Mukalla, capital of Hadramawt province, when the gunmen stopped his car and gunned him down, then fled. The government has blamed al-Qaida militants for similar assassinations of several senior military and intelligence officials this year. The bullet-riddled body of Major al-Numeiry Abdo al-Oudi, deputy director of the security department of al-Qitten in Hadramawt, was found in the town’s suburbs last week. He had been kidnapped earlier in the month.

Two al Qaeda suspects killed in Yemen drone strike-official
Reuters — 28 December 2012
Two suspected al Qaeda-linked insurgents were killed in a drone strike in Yemen’s eastern region of Hadramout on Friday, a local security official said. The two men were riding a motorcycle west of the coastal town of al-Sheher when the pilotless aircraft fired at them, the official told Reuters, declining to be named. He gave no further details of the identity of those killed.

Al Qaeda in Yemen offers bounty for U.S. ambassador
Reuters — 31 December 2012
The Yemen-based branch of al Qaeda has offered a bounty for anyone who kills the U.S. ambassador to Yemen or an American soldier in the impoverished Arab state, a group that monitors Islamist websites said. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) said it was offering three kilograms of gold for the killing of the U.S. ambassador in Sanaa, Gerald Feierstein, the U.S.-based SITE Intelligence Group said, citing an audio released by militants. AQAP will also pay 5 million rials ($23,350) to whoever kills any American soldier in Yemen, it said.

At least three al Qaeda-linked militants killed in Yemen: sources
Reuters — 30 December 2012
At least three al Qaeda-linked militants were killed in the southern Yemeni province of al-Bayda late on Saturday in an apparent drone strike, government and tribal sources said. Dozens of suspected militants including al Qaeda members have been killed in recent months, many in strikes by pilotless aircraft, as the Yemeni government pursues a U.S.-backed effort to counter Islamist fighters mostly operating in the south.

Motorcyclists assassinated 40 soldiers and 4 civilians in 2012
Yemen Times — 3 January 2013
Yemen’s Interior Ministry announced in a report released on Tuesday that motorcyclists assassinated four civilians and 40 military personnel in 2012. The report indicated that motorbikes were used in the assassination of 40 officers and soldiers in attacks throughout Sana’a. Among those assassinated was an Iraqi general who worked as an advisor at the Defense Ministry.

Defense Ministry claims air raids killed Al-Qaeda affiliates, locals deny, say civilian deaths
Yemen Times — 31 December 2012
The Defense Ministry’s website reported that three Al-Qaeda members were killed on Saturday night in the Al-Manaseh village in Rada’a of Al-Baida’a. However, Sheikh Khaled Al-Dahab, a prominent social leader in Rada’a, refuted the Ministry’s report. He said the three people were killed by a drone meant for Al-Qaeda members.  He said the men killed are civilians and have no links to Al-Qaeda. The Ministry indicated that the raid targeted a car carrying Al-Qaeda passengers on their way from Khabza village in Al-Qoraishia district to the Al-Manaseh village.

Yemen officials, tribal sheikhs emphasise security co-operation
Al-Shorfa — 28 December 2012
Yemeni officials and sheikhs welcomed the signing of a document last week by tribal leaders in Marib province, which condemns terrorist attacks and sabotage operations and renounces anyone who joins any subversive organisation. They also reached an agreement in regard to tribesmen wanted by the law, as the document dictates that the tribes will either hand them over to the government or help security forces arrest them. Document signatories also stated that anyone who joins an organisation with the aim of undermining the country’s security and stability “has no rights, nor has supporters in the tribe”.

University educated soldiers say they are not paid what they’re worth
Yemen Times — 3 January 2013
“Yemeni Law is made to fit the sons of Sheikhs and officials,” shouted Rafeeq Ali, a soldier at the Interior Ministry. Along with his fellow university educated soldiers, Ali was protesting to demand an increase in the value of a university degrees within the armed forces. Ali’s wife and six children struggles to survive because of his monthly salary of YR30, 000 (less than $150). The solider says he has been working for 27 years at the Ministry of Interior without being promoted to a position reflective of his qualifications. In line with Yemeni law, this is illegal.

Staff Brigadier Ali Naji Obaid speaks to the Yemen Times
Yemen Times — 31 December 2012
Staff Brigadier Ali Naji Obaid, head of the Military Studies Center, said President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi’s latest decrees to restructure the army is a long process that could take many years to take effect.  In an exclusive interview with Yemen Times, Obaid said units such as the Republican Guard (RG) and the First Armored Division (FAD) are done with, but the men who once wore those uniforms are still standing.

Boy found dead in Akhdam community
Yemen Times — 31 December 2012
An 11-year-old boy from the marginalized community, known as Akhdam, was found hanging dead in the Bani Al-Harith area in Sana’a on Tuesday. Bashir Salem Saeed was strangled to death and hanged on the window of an uninhabited building, according to First Lieutenant Abdul-Qader Wajih Al-Din, the head of Criminal Investigation Unit in the 30 November Police Station.

Zinjibar locals want elimination of mines and other war remnants
Yemen Times — 31 December 2012
In a statement to the Yemen Times, many locals in Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan governorate, called on the local authority to remove explosive waste that remains from the unofficial war between insurgents and security forces that occurred over the last year. During the uprisings of 2011, Abyan was at the center of clashes between Al-Qaeda and local militias, wreaking havoc on the area.

Al Qaeda Rises in Yemen’s Chaos
National Interest — January 2013
It is worth noting that at least one key aspect of The Last Refuge, though, has already been overtaken by events. The book’s title refers to the advice famously given by the Prophet Muhammad to his followers: “When disaster threatens, seek refuge in Yemen.” In the past year, we have seen the proliferation of new Al Qaeda adherents seeking refuges in Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Libya and Syria, among other places—thus ensuring that Yemen won’t be the movement’s last bastion.

The UNDP executes project to reduce unemployment in Yemen
Yemen Times — 31 December 2012
An new initiative from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) may create new sustainable jobs for Yemeni Youth. Falling under the Youth Economic Empowerment Project of the UNDP and funded by the Japanese government, the initiative targets 70 young people and provides them support and training to start their business.  Unemployment among the youth in Yemen has reached 60 percent, according to Studies and Economic Media Center.

Parliamentarians, youth work to end qat cultivation in Yemen
Al-Shorfa — 27 December 2012
Yemeni parliamentarians and civil society organisations are continuing to work to curb qat consumption and cultivation, even after a draft bill that included measures to gradually rid the country of the popular stimulant was defeated in the parliament.

Yemeni girls keep up with fashion
Yemen Times — 31 December 2012
Fatima Abdulwahab Al-Ghorbani, a Yemeni dress designer, said that Yemeni women vacillate between traditional and modern styles. Al-Ghorbani grew up in Italy and studied fashion design. She remembers her father encouraging her to join the field.  Al-Ghorbani claims she is the first Yemeni female designer to organize fashion shows. She has put on six fashion shows in Italy and Europe and is now planning to establish shops in Dubai and Kuwait. Al-Ghorbani brands herself by the hand-woven designs she creates on fabrics. It is an ancient practice that she worries is dying out. She tries to convince those who can weave to teach their children. More and more, parents are declining to pass on the skill. They say that the pay is poor, and their children are better off learning other trades.

National Dialogue:
A Year of Transition And Crisis
Al-Khaleej via Al-Monitor — 30 December 2012
Yemenis are coping with three major challenges as they head into 2013, bearing the heavy weight of the legacy left by a year fraught with the effects of a popular youth revolution in 2011. The consequences of that revolution have instilled among many ambitions of building a civil, democratic state based upon popular participation and the rule of law. Yet it has also produced massive crises with which political elites, regional and international actors are struggling to encompass within the framework of consensus at the National Dialogue Congress that is expected to rank highly on the president’s and the transitional government’s list of priorities in the coming year.

Saleh’s participation in Yemen dialogue triggers debate
Gulf News — 29 December 2012
According to the official website of the General People’s Congress (GPC),his party, Saleh has delayed his oversea trip for treatment to lead the GPC’s representatives in the National Dialogue. Since June 2011, Saleh has been receiving treatment from injuries  he suffered from an attack on his presidential compound. The National dialogue Preparatory Committee that was tasked to prepare for the conference said it has not received an official confirmation from Saleh’s party about  his participation. A source close to the Committee said that the committee has sent massages to all political parties that are expected to take part in the dialogue to nominate their representatives in the conference.”We has not received any reply from any party including Saleh’s party. We cannot say now what we will do if Saleh’s party nominated him for the conference.” the source said on condition of anonymity.

Marib locals accuse government of ignoring them
Yemen Times — 3 January 2013
Activists from Marib staged a protest on Tuesday in front of the Cabinet compound calling for the government to increase its support for the development of their area. Hassn Al-Zaydi, the spokesperson of the protest, said they organized this protest to coincide with protests in Marib.

President Hadi still waiting on list of participants for upcoming NDC
Yemen Times — 3 January 2013
Sources in the Technical Committee (TC) currently in charge of preparing the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) have confirmed that they  remain unable to set a deadline for the beginning of the conference. Headed by Abdulkareem Al-Eeyani, the TC submitted a report to President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi on Monday regarding their final preparations for the NDC.

Yemenis still unsure about structure of new government
Yemen Times — 31 December 2012
There are many questions and unknowns facing Yemen these days. In the wake of last year’s political uprising, the question many are asking themselves is if Yemen will be a civil state or an Islamic one, deriving its laws from religious doctrine.

Aspirations for a New Year 2013
Yemen Times — 31 December 2012
A military restructure, a presidential election and frequent power cuts made 2012 a momentous year. What’s in store for Yemen in 2013? Yemen Times met with citizens and asked them about their aspirations for the upcoming year.  The number one priority for Yemenis in 2013 is peace and stability. This was a result of a small survey Yemen Times conducted in Sana’a. On a personal level, the female respondents hoped that 2013 will bring them more financial prosperity, like the opportunity to create a business, own a home and improve their income.

Yemen Times Person of the Year 2012
Yemen Times — 3 January 2013
Nominations through our radio and our print publication indicated an overwhelming majority of you selected Abdulqader Hilal, Sana’a’s Mayor, as the Yemen Times Person of the Year for 2012. Most voters say they based their nominations on his recent work as the city’s leader and on his past achievements in other parts of the country.

Talent, hope and innovation brand first ever TED conference
Yemen Times — 3 January 2013
The 250 audience members at TEDx Sana’a were promised inspiration, and inspiration is what they got.  “What I saw today showed me the wealth Yemen has and that is its people. Yemen is rich with its men and women who are waiting for their talents to be unleashed,” said one of the attendees, Dr. Abdulqadir Al-Rifaee. The first of its kind in Yemen, TED (Technology Entertainment Design) is a nonprofit organization committed to “Ideas Worth Spreading.”

Justice System:
Hundreds of Yemeni children ‘teeter on the edge of execution
Yemen Times — 31 December 2012
A researcher, Atiaf Al-Wazir, said there are many stories of childhood executions that never reach the media. She said many women in prison are afraid to tell their stories.  This is because of a variety of reasons, including the “shame” imprisonment often brings their families.  “Woman are the bearers of honor, and any woman in prison, no matter the reasons – even if she is innocent – believes that her situation “shames” her family,” Al-Wazir said.

Sexual Harassment:
Yemeni women subject to frequent sexual harassment
Yemen Times — 3 January 2013
In Yemen, girls face constant harassment, whether it is on the street, in the markets or in the work environment. Hind, a young woman who declined to give her last name, is representative of many Yemeni females.  A 24-year-old private sector employee, she says     she has been harassed in both personal and professional environments. Like many women she is often teased and harassed by male colleagues.  However, she never complains for fear of losing her job.  She said some of the employees even go as far as to offer her money for sexual pleasure.  Incidents of rape have become increasingly common in Sana’a. One of the most notorious incidents concerned a girl who died in May due to injuries induced by the rape.  The victim is referred to as “the girl of A’asir,” in reference to the place where the crime occurred.  The rapist were identified by eyewitnesses, but were never brought to court.

Freed Sailors:
Abducted Yemeni sailors return home
Yemen Times — 31 December 2012
Abducted by Somali pirates three years ago, eight Yemeni sailors demanded compensation from the owner of the Iceberg, a ship the sailors spent three years on. The sailors returned to Yemen on Friday.

Internally Displaced:
UNHCR airlifts supplies to IDPs in Yemen
UNHCR — 31 December 2012
The UN refugee agency has sent a planeload of supplies to Yemen as part of its ongoing assistance to internally displaced Yemenis who it is assisting to return home. The wide-body MD-11 airplane carried 10,000 blankets, 14,800 plastic sheets and 10,000 sleeping mats from UNHCR stores in Kenya to Yemen’s southern port city of Aden as part of a special airlift to help IDPs who have returned to Abyan Governorate over the last few month.

‘Eat your fish, eat your food and save water’
Yemen Times — 31 December 2012
Fish swimming in the 250 liter tanks in Emad Adel Al Sakkaf’s living room have no idea they are responsible for the growing tomato plants that rest above, bedded in plastic oil containers filled with rocks. A week ago, the plants fruited, validating Al Sakkaf’s claim that a closed-circuit agricultural system, known as aquaponics, could save Yemen’s dwindling water supply and feed the nation.

Five confirmed dead but Health Ministry says swine flu outbreak ‘isn’t worrying’
Yemen Times — 31 December 2012
One person died on  Thursday at the Saudi German Hospital in Sana’a, due to the H1N1 virus, according to Dr. Abdulhakeem Al-Kohlani, director of the Epidemiological Surveillance and Disease Control Department in the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MPHP). Al- Kohlani said four other people died at the Science and Technology Hospital.  The were not  diagnosed, but doctors believe they also fell victim the flu. It has not been classified as an epidemic in Yemen yet because experts only classify an outbreak as an epidemic if affected populations belong to at least four different governorates. “Therefore, people shouldn’t panic,” Al-Kohlani said. Instead, they should take measures to remain H1N1-free by using hospital masks and maintaining proper hygiene.


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