Sada — 20 June 2013
For the National Dialogue Conference to be taken more seriously, the president needs to head south and tackle the intricate issue of southern secessionism head-on, while the various committees should coordinate more with the southern committee. Should the international community seek an extension for the conference—which is almost half way through its six-month mandate—and the presidency, it will be vital to press for the current government to be replaced with a new government. This new government must be appointed by the president, who possesses legitimacy from the conference, not by the parliament, which has exceeded its mandated term and is seen as biased against the south.
Elusive justice for Yemen’s revolutionaries
Al-Jazeera — 24 June 2013
When delegates to Yemen’s National Dialogue convened on June 9 to debate “transitional justice” – or an attempt to expose past abuses, elicit apologies, guarantee reparations, and prevent future human rights violations – a few kilometres away security forces opened fire on a crowd of Houthi protesters, killing 13 people and wounding as many as 100. Houthis, who belong to the Shia offshoot Zaydi sect, have fought with government forces for nearly 10 years from their stronghold in Saada, northern Yemen. They had gathered outside the National Security Bureau (NSB) headquarters in old Sanaa to demand the release of Houthi prisoners detained without charge.
Corruption in post-revolution Yemen – a personal perspective
Transparency International — 24 June 2013
Corruption in Yemen ranges from financial and administrative, to the petty. We see money given to policemen to let traffic flow or to government employees to process paperwork that is their job to do anyway. We can even see it in in the personal contacts and favours that are given to certain people to move ahead in life. These acts, too, constitute corruption where official power is abused. Continue reading
Tik Root/BBC News/http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22933234
Fears Grow Over Yemenis’ Ties to Iran
Wall Street Journal — 18 June 2013
Iran is training militants who are aligned with a separatist movement in southern Yemen, while Iran’s Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, is providing some funding and media training to the group, people familiar with the situation say. Iran has also directed arms, including heat-seeking missiles, toward these militants, Yemeni and Western officials say, citing intelligence reports. “If the south of Yemen were to break away and become an ally of the Iranians, it would be a major strategic gain for Tehran,” said Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow and director of the Brookings’ Intelligence Project, part of the Brookings’ Institute. “It might more than compensate for the loss of Syria if Assad’s government falls.” “Some Hiraki youth have gone to Iran for training. They got tired of our promises and sought the funds and training to fight the northern occupation,” said Qassem Askar, Hirak’s secretary-general. “And senior leaders [from Hirak] went to the Houthis for weapons about a year ago, and we warned them to stop.” Hezbollah has also provided some funding to Hirak’s leadership and given media training for Hirak’s antigovernment TV station, Aden Live, which is broadcast into Yemen from Beirut, said Mr. Askar.
Alaa Jarban: One of Yemen’s first openly gay men
BBC News — 18 June 2013
Last week, inspired by the hope the revolution created, Alaa became one of the first people to come out publicly as gay while still living in Yemen. Those following him on social networking sites found out about his sexual orientation through a link to his blog where he announced: “I’m Queer.” Asked why he came out so openly when the repercussions could be so severe, Mr Jarban replied: “It’s very difficult to live a life that is not you every single day. Kamal al-Solaylee – author of Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes, a book about the trials he faced coming out as member of the Yemeni diaspora – described Mr Jarban’s decision as brave, especially for a man so young.
Yemen’s National Dialogue Behind Closed Doors
Atlantic Council — 17 June 2013
This shortage of information and lack of community is still at times blamed on budget constraints even though the NDC’s official website reports that a total of 138 computers, thirty-five laptops and 225 cell phones were purchased. The initial budget for the NDC was an estimated $35 million dollars and according to more recent reports, $29 million has already been utilized. It is public knowledge that members of the NDC residing in Sana’a are compensated $100 per day and those residing outside of Sana’a are compensated a $180 per day. Continue reading
Aden, Once The Lively Beach Resort of Yemen, Struggles Under Sway of Al Qaeda
Wall Street Journal — 6 June 2013
Today, kidnappings are a common occurrence in Aden and the threat of Al Qaeda looms large. The terrorist organization’s Yemen branch is considered its strongest and wreaked havoc in the city in 1994, during the country’s civil war. Long disgusted with the liberal oasis Aden provided on the Arabian Peninsula, the birthplace of Islam, al Qaeda promptly set its sights on the city’s beer factory at the time, using it as target practice for its rocket propelled grenades. Armed men then rampaged throughout the city, destroying beach bars, liquor stores and shops selling revealing clothing to women. After a lull in activity as Yemen’s government clamped down on the terrorist group due to U.S. pressure after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, al Qaeda was emboldened during Yemen’s 2011 revolution.
Yemen: Crackdown on Protest Leaves 9 Dead
Human Rights Watch — 13 June 2013
Yemeni authorities used lethal force against an apparently peaceful demonstration in Sanaa on June 9, 2013, that caused at least nine deaths and several dozen injuries. The government should ensure that its promised investigation into the incident is carried out promptly, impartially, and thoroughly, and results in appropriate prosecutions of those responsible for serious abuses About 500 supporters of the Huthis, a religious minority in northern Yemen that has fought against the government in recent years, had gathered outside the office of the National Security Bureau (NSB), one of the country’s intelligence agencies, to demand the release of 10 Huthis who have been detained for months without charge. Earlier in June, the authorities had released 17 political activists held without charge, and the Huthis had sought similar treatment.
Agricultural policy in Yemen’s highlands and lowlands
La Voix Du Yemen — 13 June 2013
73.5 percent of Yemen’s population is involved in the agricultural sector in the countryside. They either work directly in agricultural activities or in related services and activities that serve the rural and urban residents. We can say that there is one approach for the implementation of the “agricultural policy” in the highlands and a different one in the lowlands, in line with the theory of the two Islamic schools “-Zaydi” and “Shafi’ei”. While the “permanent partnership system” exists in the highlands, the lowlands apply the “renewable lease theory”. Continue reading
What’s Behind the Sectarian Tensions in Yemen?
Al-Monitor — 5 June 2013
After the so-called national reconciliation of 1970 between republicans and royalists in northern Yemen, an effort similar to today’s National Dialogue Conference, Saudi Arabia recognized the new regime as a fait accompli and then sought to spread Wahhabi fundamentalism in Yemen. A center was established in Dammaj, Saada, headed by Moqbel al-Widai. Saada was the center of Zaydism, a Shiite school of thought during the imamist era. Saada is also next to the Saudi border. After the 1979 Iranian Revolution, some moderate Zaydi figures adopted the Iranian Shiite Jaafari doctrine in response to the spread of Saudi Wahhabism in the Zaydi region. Most Salafists allied with the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen, and in September 1990 they became a political party called the Yemeni Congregation for Reform (YCR), which sought to spread Sunni doctrine in Zaydi areas in Yemen. For a time, there was a cold war between Sunni political Islamism (YCR) and Shiite political Islamism (Hizb al-Haq and religious figures before the Houthi movement). That was followed by the Houthi movement in 2004.
Institutional Reforms in Yemen
Yemen Times — 6 June 2013
Advocates of the separation of the South referred to the Sudanese experience as a model to solve the Southern question. After signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, or CPA, of Sudan in 2005, a political referendum was held in 2011 where Sudanese southerners decided to establish their own independent state. As a result of this, the Republic of South Sudan became the youngest nation to join the United Nations in the last two years. The irony of separation, however, is that it did not bring peace between the two signatories of the CPA because of their unsolved political issues and persistent political mistrust. Recent military tensions and hostilities between North and South Sudan demonstrated that separation in the presence of unsolved security, economic, and border issues may not help end political conflict within and between such states. North and South Yemen had their share of political conflict and military disputes before the unification of 1990. The unification period from 1990 to 2011 did not help in building a united, modern state in the country.
Yemen’s Real Blackout
Al-Monitor — 31 May 2013
Despite its current state of general disorganization, the transitional government has become quite creative in its suppression of national movements. Rather than outright confrontation, it engages a variety of ploys to isolate movements from international attention, fearing that more “traditional” tactics of using force might garner unwarranted attention and sympathy for such groups. The new policy involves media blackouts of events combined with the intimidation of reporters, preventing them from visiting the South. Checkpoints in Lahj and Abyan have also been fortified with central security officers in an attempt to stop protesters reaching Aden. Some of these officers exchanged gunfire with protesters the day before the May 21 demonstrations. Continue reading