Yemen: Justice Deficit Marks Transition Anniversary
Human Rights Watch — 23 February 2013
Yemen’s transition government should take urgent steps to ensure justice for serious human rights violations during the 2011 uprising, and since the inauguration one year ago of President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi. As part of those efforts, the authorities should immediately carry out an investigation into the deaths of at least four protesters in clashes with state security forces in Aden on February 20 and 21, 2013. Impartial investigations, redress for victims, and vetting of state security forces implicated in serious crimes are crucial to ensure that the transition government breaks with the impunity that marked the 33-year rule of the former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, Human Rights Watch said.
A shake up in Yemen’s GPC?
Foreign Policy — 22 February 2013
Yemen’s political crisis brought longstanding divisions within the GPC to the surface, as members find themselves debating the party’s future for the first time in decades. Although some members deny the problem, the GPC is seemingly split into two camps. Saleh and his hardline supporters, like loyalist member of parliament (MP) Sultan Barakani, believe that the party is structurally sound and in a position to rebound quickly. The more progressive branch, led by former Prime Minister Abdul Kareem al-Eryani and backers of President Hadi, stress that the party must learn from the events of 2011 and hint at the need for reform. A primary point of contention between these liberal and conservative wings is who should lead the party.
Consolidating uncertainty in Yemen
Foreign Policy — 22 February 2013
The new minister of defense, Mohammed Nasr Ahmed, is from Hadi’s Abyan governorate and is a close ally and friend of the president. That the minister has been targeted in numerous assassination attempts speaks for the significance of his appointment. The minister of interior, Abdel Qader al-Qahtan, is from the Islah Party. In addition to several governors and regional military commanders, the former president’s half-brother Mohamed Saleh al-Ahmar was sacked as commander of the air force and left his post only after a 19-day stand-off with Hadi in April 2012. Through a presidential decree on December 19, Hadi dissolved the Republican Guard (Haras al-Jumhuriya), the most potent army unit in the country under the command of the former president’s son Ahmed Ali Saleh. The Central Security Forces (al-Amn al-Markasi), the political police including an anti-terrorist unit, had been under the command of the former president’s nephew Yahya Saleh, who was succeeded by the chief of security in Taizz, Abed Rabbo Ahmed al-Maqdashi. Continue reading
Samuel Aranda/New York Times/http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/19/world/middleeast/yemen-hailed-as-a-model-struggles-for-stability.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
Yemen, Hailed as Model, Struggles for Stability
New York Times — 18 February 2013
“I have never felt the anxiety I feel now,” said Sami Ghalib, a political analyst and former newspaper editor. “There was always geographical conflict, but now it is turning ideological. There are assassinations taking place everywhere. And at the helm, we have a leader who behaves like Saleh but doesn’t even have his political skills.” Unlike his predecessor, Mr. Hadi is a virtual recluse who rarely speaks in public and has failed to offer a clear vision for addressing any of the crises afflicting the country. His fierce praise for the American drone-strike program, which is unpopular here, has further eroded his small base of public support. He is widely said to fear for his life and has appointed many family members and old allies to security positions. In a paradox, Mr. Hadi is a southerner and was chosen in part on the premise that this would help him to placate the secessionists. Instead, he is widely hated in the south, in part because he is seen as a pillar of the northern political system after serving for 18 years as Mr. Saleh’s deputy.
Saleh ‘albatross’ hangs over Yemen dialogue
Democracy Digest — 14 February 2013
The fly in the ointment is former President Saleh who continues to hold court with supporters and issue pronouncements through the media outlets controlled by his son, Ali Ahmed. While not overtly disruptive, his presence is a provocation that, over time, could threaten to derail the fragile political truce currently holding sway.
Youths are changing Yemen’s political landscape
Daily Star — 13 February 2013
Murad, an artist, joined with other young artists to raise awareness around the issue of forced disappearances, which have been occurring in Yemen since the 1970s. Over a 20-week period, they drew the faces of almost 70 missing persons on the walls of Sanaa, Ibb and Taiz as part of a voluntary initiative using art as a peaceful tool in order to send a strong message regarding a topic that has remained hidden in Yemen for decades. In this way, Murad and his friends were able to help the families of the disappeared raise their voices, grieve openly and present their cases to the public. These youths are forward thinking, creative, passionate, self-motivated, result-oriented, fast learners and have the energy and time to participate in new ventures. Youth are the real asset of Yemen today, and the real builders of Yemen’s tomorrow. Continue reading
A Lasting Peace? Yemen’s Long Journey to National Reconciliation
Brookings — 11 February 2013
In a new paper from the Brookings Doha Center, A Lasting Peace: Yemen’s Long Journey to National Reconciliation, Ibrahim Sharqieh outlines a process of national reconciliation that is Yemen’s best hope for stability. Based on extensive field research and interviews with key Yemeni figures, Sharqieh describes the challenges facing post-revolutionary Yemen and the key actors in the country’s national reconciliation, from the Islamist Islah Party to the country’s tribes. He also lays out the mechanisms for a successful reconciliation process, discussing not only the country’s nascent national dialogue but also the sort of transitional justice bodies that must follow it. Finally, he concludes with how the international community can help Yemen achieve reconciliation – and warns against regional and international powers acting as spoilers.
Gun Control, Yemen-Style
Atlantic — 12 February 2013
More broadly, there are an estimated 4,000 violent deaths here annually, a pre-revolution count that has likely increased over the last two years. Either way, the per capita rate is even higher than in America. A 2010 Yemen Armed Violence Assessment report detailed the casualties, saying, “Political violence was responsible for roughly two-thirds (64 percent) of all media-documented deaths from armed violence and almost three-quarters (71 percent) of all violent injuries.” The escalating political conflict in Yemen has led to the arming of almost every faction in the country’s complex landscape, from the government and tribes to northern rebels and Al-Qaeda. The ongoing conflagrations — along with kidnappings, assassinations and other politically motivated crimes — combine to produce a security situation that is, as it has been for most of the last five decades, precarious at best.
Yemen plans body to speed aid spending
Financial Times — 13 February 2013
Yemen is pressing to speed up spending of $7.9bn in post-conflict economic aid pledged by foreign governments, amid concerns about Sana’a’s widening budget deficit and rising levels of poverty. Prime Minister Mohammed Salem Basindwa’s government has set up a department to secure more of the $7.9bn pledged to Yemen – the Arab world’s poorest country – at meetings in Riyadh and New York in September 2012. Of that amount, which was pledged by foreign governments and development agencies led by Saudi Arabia, less than $500m in aid has been disbursed so far along with a $1bn soft loan from Riyadh to the Central Bank of Yemen. Continue reading
Samuel Aranda/New York Times/http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/06/world/middleeast/with-brennan-pick-a-light-on-drone-strikes-hazards.html?pagewanted=all&_r=2&
Despite announcement of NDC start date, participation unclear
Yemen Times — 7 February 2013
Despite the fact that President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi announced on Wednesday the much anticipated start date of the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) as March 18, many of the political parties to participate have not yet handed in their representatives lists. Amal Al-Basha, a spokesperson the Committee, said that the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) and the Houthis, two large political groups, have not handed in the names of their representatives for the conference. However, a list of the Houthis was leaked by media outlets. The list included only one of the group’s existing participants in the Preparatory Committee.
Drone Strikes’ Risks to Get Rare Moment in the Public Eye
New York Times — 5 February 2013
Although most Yemenis are reluctant to admit it publicly, there does appear to be widespread support for the American drone strikes that hit substantial Qaeda figures like Mr. Shihri, a Saudi and the affiliate’s deputy leader, who died in January of wounds received in a drone strike late last year. Al Qaeda has done far more damage in Yemen than it has in the United States, and one episode reinforced public disgust last May, when a suicide bomber struck a military parade rehearsal in the Yemeni capital, killing more than 100 people. Moreover, many Yemenis reluctantly admit that there is a need for foreign help: Yemen’s own efforts to strike at the terrorist group have often been compromised by weak, divided military forces; widespread corruption; and even support for Al Qaeda within pockets of the intelligence and security agencies. Yet even as both Mr. Brennan and Mr. Hadi, the Yemeni president, praise the drone technology for its accuracy, other Yemenis often point out that it can be very difficult to isolate members of Al Qaeda, thanks to the group’s complex ties and long history in Yemen.
Improving the Quality of Basic Education for the Future Youth of Yemen Post Arab Spring
Brookings — 31 January 2013
The paper suggests three types of reforms that can be carried out in the short run. First, it is necessary to systematically monitor teachers’ actual deployment and attendance in order to link the information with salary management and incentives. Second, there is a need to refine and scale up the existing implementation and monitoring mechanism for school grants to reward schools and communities that improve access for disadvantaged students and girls, and enhance the quality of learning. Third, there is a need to enhance transparency and accountability of school resources and results by disseminating a simple database that would include trends of basic indicators to monitor and compare progress at the school, district and governorate level.