Weekly News Update 28 February 2013

Yemen Times/http://www.yementimes.com/en/1654/report/2058/Al-Kuwait-Hospital-officials-in-charge-of-expansion-continue-to-fault-others-for-construction-delays.htm

Yemen Times/http://www.yementimes.com/en/1654/report/2058/Al-Kuwait-Hospital-officials-in-charge-of-expansion-continue-to-fault-others-for-construction-delays.htm

Highlights:
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.

Economy/Governance:
University graduates say the job search is tough
Yemen Times — 28 February 2013
“Getting a job in Yemen is like looking for a needle in a haystack,” Wesam Al-Harazi, a graduate of the Education College said. Unemployment among the youth has increase to 60 percent due to crisis and instability in Yemen, according to a report issued by the World Bank at the beginning of 2012.    Although it typically pays less than the private sector, many university graduates seek government jobs because of the benefits and job security it provides.  In order to gain such employment young men and women must present their files to the Ministry of Civil Service in all Yemen’s governorates.  But, the list that the Ministry compiles of potential candidates for some departments, dates back ten years sometimes, job seekers report.  With skepticism that their application will materialize into a government job, several youths are embracing the private sector. While many graduates struggle to find work, there are a few non-profit organizations dedicated to helping the next generation find jobs like the Yemen Education for Employment Foundation.

Smartphone app causing household problems
Yemen Times — 28 February 2013
Although devices like smart phones are out of reach for the majority of Yemenis due to their relative high cost, sociologists say new technologies like cell phone texting, instant messaging and facebooking are changing social ties and creating worrisome developments. The use and spread of WhatsApp – a smart phone application – in particular is surprising experts with its unintended consequences.  WhatsApp allows users to communicate with others through images and texts for a very low cost, less than YR5, about a fraction of a penny. Many households complain about their children ‘wasting their time’ with the app, but conflicts are not just limited to a younger generation,  conflicts between couples have increased because of the app, says Afaf Al-Haimi, sociologist and social worker.  “There was a divorce case because one couple’s daughter was using the WhatsApp so often that she became isolated from her family. The father started to doubt the girl’s ‘purity,’ and accused his wife of neglecting her upbringing and failing to ‘preserve,’ her.” Majid Al-Humaidi, an instructor in the social work department of Sana’a University, also believes WhatsApp can lead to other issues like poor nutrition among teens who isolate themselves and spend long hours on the app, neglecting meals.

Al-Kuwait Hospital officials in charge of expansion continue to fault others for construction delays
Yemen Times — 25 February 2013
Next to Al-Kuwait Teaching Hospital sits the skeleton of a six-story building.  Construction began at the vacant site in 2006 to help the medical facility cope with a growing body of patients, but its completion was never realized due to a blame game of parties involved in its creation.  There was some construction headway made between 2006 and 2009, but the same year, construction completely halted as bureaucracy bogged down involved parties and tied them in a cycle of responsibility evasion. Although a committee was created at the beginning of this year to try and resolve the issue, and certain stakeholders remain hopeful, it is unclear if the facility, now only operational three days week, will ever be able to provide patients with the services an expansion was meant to provide.

Yemen, Libya strengthen labour ties
Al-Shorfa — 21 February 2013
Yemen and Libya have agreed to form a joint committee to develop procedures for the exchange of labour between the two countries, officials said. Abdul Qader Ayedh, assistant undersecretary at the Ministry of Expatriate Affairs, told Al-Shorfa the Libyan side was receptive to plans to boost bilateral relations, including the move to assist Yemenis who seek to work in Libya. Libya is seeing an increase in construction and Yemeni workers are seeking employment opportunities, he said, so the move would “strengthen the bonds of co-operation and partnership between the two countries, since economic relations create broader areas for partnership that extend to the social, cultural and other arenas”.

Yemen fighting to join WTO
Yemen Times — 28 February 2013
The Communication and Coordination office at the Ministry of Industry and Trade is currently discussing the technical procedures needing to be implemented before Yemen joins the World Trade Organization (WTO). Yemen first requested to join the WTO 13 years ago. Dr. Hamoud Al-Najar, head of the Communication and Coordination Office, told the Yemen Times that Yemen will join the WTO, but there still remains the task of convincing Ukraine – the only country currently opposing the agreement.  Al-Janad Press cited Ukraine Press when they reported that Ukraine rejected Yemen’s acceptance to the WTO because of fraud committed against the Ukrainian Trade Foundation by the Yemeni military, costing the foundation millions of dollars.  The reports note there was no explicit admission from the Ukrainian government that this was the reason for rejecting Yemen’s membership.

Plane crash victims await promised compensation
Yemen Times — 25 February 2013
Lutf Ahmed stands in the street shaking his head in disbelief at the sight of his two-story house that was destroyed when a Sukhoi 22 aircraft on a military training mission fell from the sky, crashing into the Al-Qadesia area last Tuesday, killing 12 people and injuring 11 others.  A committee assigned by the local authority were at the scene on Sunday to evaluate damages and continue with rebuilding efforts.

Youth:
Honoring youth initiatives and organizations in Sana’a
Yemen Times — 25 February 2013
The Capital Secretariat will hold the Shukran (Thanks) festival on March 3 at the Cultural Center in Sana’a to honor youth and voluntary initiatives, associations and assemblies in the capital in appreciation of efforts they exerted in 2012.  “All civil society organizations and the youth and voluntary initiatives who submit their papers will be awarded at the festival,” Mujeeb Al-Fatish, director of the Social Affairs’ Office in Sana’a, told the Yemen Times, adding that 95 initiatives have submitted their applications so far.

Security:
Yemen security chief escapes gunmen as three die in south
Reuters — 23 February 2013
A Yemeni security chief survived an assassination attempt on Saturday in the south of the country, where three people were killed in clashes between his forces and separatists. The Defence Ministry said Abdulwahab al-Wali, head of the central security forces, escaped the attack by unknown gunmen in the town of Mukalla, but two of his bodyguards were wounded.

Yemen kidnappers free Swiss woman after Qatari mediation: agency
Reuters — 28 February 2013
A Swiss woman held hostage for nearly a year in Yemen has been freed by her kidnappers and flown to Doha following mediation by Qatar, the Qatari state news agency QNA reported late on Wednesday. Armed tribesmen had kidnapped the teacher in the western Yemeni port city of Hudaida in March 2012 to press their government to free jailed relatives, a Yemeni Interior Ministry official told Reuters last year.

Austrian Yemen hostage appeals for ransom in video
Reuters — 23 February 2013
An Austrian man taken hostage in Yemen in December has appeared in a video posted on YouTube, saying he would be killed if ransom money was not paid to a Yemeni tribe within a week. Pictured with what appeared to be an AK47 automatic rifle pointed at his head, Dominik Neubauer said he was in good health and appealed to the Yemeni and Austrian governments and the European Union to give his hostage takers what they wanted.

US drones blow up any hope of close ties with Yemenis
The National — 24 February 2013
The drones have made it difficult, shameful and even dangerous to say “America can be befriended”, or “America is not an enemy”. In 2008, when Mr Obama was elected, my Yemeni friends and I celebrated more than my American friends. We were inspired by his story and by the change American values could bring to humanity, especially regarding minority rights. We were happier still when he won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Yemen raises Aden death toll to 4
AP via Daily Star — 24 February 2013
The death toll from clashes between security forces and separatists in southern Yemen rose to four on Friday after two protesters died of their wounds, according to medical and security officials. More than 50 people were wounded as Yemenis marked the first anniversary of the election of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi on Thursday. The election – in a one-candidate referendum vote – was part of a U.S.-backed transfer of power deal following a year-long uprising that ousted longtime autocratic ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Islah party and secessionists clash in Aden
Yemen Times — 25 February 2013
The Islah Islamic Party on Saturday accused Hirak (Southern Movement) supporters of attacking its headquarters in Khoor Maksr, in the southern city of Aden. Hirak supporters also blocked many streets in Aden on Saturday, such as Al-Muala and Al-Mansoura, according to Abdulrakeeb Al-Hadiani, the editor-in-chief of the Aden online website.

Aden and Hadramout restore tranquility
Yemen Times — 28 February 2013
Southern Movement affiliates on Wednesday lifted road blocks they had set up in Aden and Hadramout, two governorates located in southern Yemen.  After the head of the Supreme Committee of the Southern Movement called for stabilization in the South, following several days of violent clashes, Southern Movement affiliates stopped erecting checkpoints and other acts of civil disobedience, according to Fadi Baom, the head of the Southern Youth and Students Movement. On Tuesday, the Cabinet established two ministerial committees to investigate the violence that broke out in  Aden and Hadramout between Islah Party members and members of the Southern Movement.

Tribe in Taiz allegedly destroy homes over ‘forbidden’ marriage
Yemen Times — 28 February 2013
Two young people who say they fell in love and ran away together are facing repercussions from their families. A reported 40 homes of the Muhamasheen community, or “Akhdam,” as they’re known in Yemen, were destroyed by the girl’s tribe, the Al-Bakari of Jabl Habshi in Taiz,  after they found out she had married a member of the Muhamasheen, according to a Muhamsheen community leader, Mohammed Al-Qairaei. “The love story has had social ramifications because the girl’s relatives object to marriage with the Muhamasheen,” he said.

National Dialogue:
Divisions threaten Yemen integrity
BBC News — 25 February 2013
The killings and arrests of two leaders of the Southern Movement, known as Herak, has only inflamed tensions. Protests have broken out in several towns over the weekend and clashes with security forces have claimed at least three lives, including that of a policeman. Islah party offices have also been attacked as protesters hold the party responsible for the crackdown. They point to the fact that the governor of Aden is an Islah party member and say that during the recent demonstrations only Southern Movement supporters were fired on.

Locals in Hodeida temporarily lift road blocks, threaten repeat if stationed soldiers remain
Yemen Times — 25 February 2013
Locals of 16 kilo neighborhood in Hodeida governorate who began blocking the main roads connecting Hodeida to Sana’a and Taiz temporarily lifted their road obstacles on Wednesday, pending a promise from security forces to negotiate between the locals and soldiers. Residents accused soldiers of Brigade 10 of occupying their lands in order to set up military camps. In protest, residents set up obstacles to block roads that are throughways for two of Yemen’s largest cities, including Yemen’s capital.

Hadi goes South:
Yemen president urges dialogue as protests mar south trip
Daily Beast — 25 February 2013
President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi said Monday that dialogue was the only way to solve Yemen’s problems, as violence marred the third day of his visit to the south where security forces clashed with activists. Hadi arrived Saturday on a surprise visit to the south, his first since becoming president in February 2012. On Monday he met officials in Aden as four protesters were wounded when police opened fire to disperse a demonstration in the southeastern city of Mukalla, reports and witnesses said.

Bystander killed in south Yemen clashes between military and protesters demanding independence
AP via Washington Post — 25 February 2013
Security and health officials say a bystander has been shot dead in clashes in southern Yemen between protesters and the military. Officials say the military was firing in the air Tuesday to prevent protesters from blocking roads in the city of el-Mansoura in Aden. Witnesses say they also saw unidentified gunmen in the area shooting from an unmarked car.

Saleh/GPC:
Yemen’s Unsackable Leader
Daily Beast — 25 February 2013
“Change is being driven backwards by the reproduction of the same traditional powers from the past,” said Sarah Jamal, a Yemeni sociologist and co-founder of Support Yemen, a nonprofit organization that promotes the establishment of a democratic state. “Those traditional powers stopped Yemen from becoming a civil state, and now they are getting reorganized to make sure they find a place in the new state.” But Saleh, who ruled over Yemen for 33 years and presided over the unification of North Yemen and South Yemen in 1990, still has his share of supporters. The General People’s Congress is divided, with some members showing support to President Hadi, while others remain staunchly loyal to Saleh. His family accuses the Islamist Islah Party, the largest opposition group, of planning a coup against them, as well as of the June 2011 assassination attempt on Saleh’s compound that left him and a number of aides seriously injured.

Yemen ex-president blames Iran for separatism
AFP via Al-Arabiya — 27 February 2013
Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh affirmed his support on Wednesday for his country’s unity in the face of calls by southerners for secession, which he said are backed by Iran. “No to secession … Our people in the south are with unity,” Saleh said in a rare public appearance in the capital Sanaa’s Sabiin Square before thousands of supporters. “A small minority which supports secession is funded from abroad … Those who receive money from Iran know that their days are numbered,” he said, affirming his “support to President (Abdrabuh Mansur) Hadi in preserving Yemen’s security and stability.” Saleh was alluding to the exiled Ali Salem Baid, who heads a hard-line faction of the Southern Movement that insists on secession and has refused to join a national dialogue set to begin on March 18.

Yemen court freezes assets of 2 Saleh-era officials
AFP via Ahram — 26 February 2013
A Yemen court Tuesday ordered the freezing of the assets of two top security officials who served under ousted strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh for refusing to testify in the case of a deadly Sanaa suicide bombing, a judicial source said. The source named the officials as former commander of the central security services General Abdulmalik al-Taieb and his deputy General Yehya Mohammed Abdullah Saleh, a nephew of the former president.

Nabil Al-Bukairi speaks to the Yemen Times
Yemen Times — 25 February 2013
Political researcher Nabil Al-Bukairi, the head of the Arab Studies Center, says the General People’s Congress (GPC) should remain a national party, despite its disputed leadership. He says the party is important for the balance of the political transition in Yemen, but advises it to distance itself from powerful members loyal to the old regime. Regarding Al-Qaeda, Al-Bukairi credits President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi’s policies of counter-terrorism, but argues current U.S. military driven tactics are not effective in the fight. He says more economic and development solutions are needed to truly purge Yemen of the militant group’s influence.

Donor Support:
”Friends of Yemen” meeting to kick off in London March 7
Kuwait News Agency — 23 February 2013
Yemeni Foreign Minister Dr. Abu Bakr al-Qorbi discussed here on Saturday with ambassadors and representatives of countries and organizations members of the Group of Friends of Yemen accredited to Yemen the ongoing preparations for the Fifth Ministerial Meeting of the Group to be held in London on March 7.

World Bank grants Yemen $206 million
Al-Shorfa — 27 February 2013
Yemen and the World Bank on Wednesday (February 27th) signed three financing agreements worth a total of $206 million in Sanaa, Yemen’s official news agency Saba reported. The signing came as the World Bank sought to accelerate the allocation of donor pledges from previous donor conferences, the news agency said. The first agreement allocates $100 million for an emergency project to help Yemen recover from its economic crisis. This project will aid some 400,000 impoverished families.

$5.3 billion allocated in pledges to Yemen
Al-Shorfa — 25 February 2013
The Yemeni executive authority charged with speeding up the use of donor’s pledges said negotiations with donor institutions and countries have led to the allocation of $5.3 billion out of a total of $7.9 announced in Riyadh and New York conferences last year, alarabiya.net reported Monday (February 25th). A report released by the group in its first meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Mohammed Salem Basindwa, showed 67.8% of the total pledges had been allocated, including a $1 billion Saudi deposit at the Central Bank of Yemen. The unit noted the Yemeni government has signed funding agreements with donors valued at $1.6 billion, representing 20.3% of the total amount of pledges.

Iran:
U.N. Security Council investigates suspected Iranian weapons shipment in Yemeni waters
Yemen Times — 25 February 2013
United Nations Security Council experts have started investigating a weapons vessel that was confiscated in Yemeni regional waters in late January, according to the Security Information Center at the Interior Ministry. Yemeni authorities believe the ship was carrying anti-aircraft missiles, Katyusha rockets, rocket propelled grenades and C4 explosives and sailed from Iran en route to the Yemeni coast, but the international body has made no announcement of its findings.

Hunger:
10 million Yemenis in need food aid, WFP says
Yemen Times — 25 February 2013
More than 10 million residents in Yemen need food aid, half of them urgently, said Abeer Otaifa, spokeswomen of the World Food Program’s (WFP) regional office in the Middle East. Many among those in desperate need of food aid are children, she added. Otaifa asserted the “malnutrition percentage among children in Yemen is one of the highest percentages of malnutrition worldwide,” citing data from the United Nations Information Center.

Press:
Local organization releases report about abuses against journalists last year
Yemen Times — 25 February 2013
More than 260 violations  were committed against 432 journalists, ranging from murder and physical abuse to verbal threats, according to a report issued by the Freedom Foundation for media freedom, rights and development. This is the organization’s first annual report which has been distributed in both English and Arabic to be used by international organizations.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s