Weekly News Update 14 June 2013

Khaled Abdullah/Reuters/http://www.reuters.com/news/pictures/slideshow?articleId=USRTX10EZ7#a=1

Khaled Abdullah/Reuters/http://www.reuters.com/news/pictures/slideshow?articleId=USRTX10EZ7#a=1

Highlights:
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”.

Health:
Fighting Discrimination Against HIV/AIDS in Yemen
Doctors Without Borders — 11 June 2013
The prevalence of HIV in Yemen is still relatively low, estimated at about 0.2 percent of the population. However, people living with HIV face stigma and discrimination almost everywhere, even in some health facilities. Abo-Mohaned has witnessed it first-hand. “When the time came to give birth, we went to two hospitals and both refused to assist my wife,” he says. “The only solution was to take her to a third hospital and hide her HIV status.”

National Dialogue:
Yemen begins new national talks as Hadi hails progress
AFP via Google News — 13 June 2013
Yemen began the second round of its national dialogue in Sanaa on Saturday, as President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi hailed progress made during talks in March. The UN-backed dialogue aims to draft a new constitution and prepare for elections in 2014, after a two-year transition led by Hadi. Saturday’s dialogue was part of a UN-brokered deal that eased former strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh from power after an 11-month uprising against his 33-year rule.

NDC Update
Yemen Times — 13 June 2013
The working groups could not live up to the agreed agenda and because of a number of different disturbances in the first two days of the second general assembly, there is a delay of presentations of three working groups which may lead to a three-day extension of the second general assembly. The second general assembly was previously scheduled to end by Wednesday June, 17.

Security Council: despite challenges, Yemen’s political transition on course, says UN official
UN News Centre — 11 June 2013
Just back from the capital, Sana’a, Mr. Benomar said “the ‘dialogue’ is extending well beyond the Conference” with men and women engaged in discussions and debates about the problems of their country and its possible future in seminars, roundtables and open tents in town squares.  “As President [Abdrabuh Mansour] Hadi has remarked, we are engaged in more than a political transition; we are witnessing a transformation of the political culture,” Mr. Benomar noted. The ongoing conference will feed into a constitution-making process and pave the way for general elections in 2014. Preparations for the electoral process are underway, including steps to create a new biometric voter registry, with registration due to begin in September.

Is a Semi-presidential system suitable for Yemen?
Yemen Times — 13 June 2013
There are a number of ways to help solve the issues that exist in Yemen, specifically, which types of political institutions are better for transitioning or transitioned but unconsolidated democracies such as Yemen. What kind of system would best serve Yemen? Single-presidential system or a semi presidential system. First, let’s define our terms.

Protests limited in NDC
Yemen Times — 13 June 2013
The presidium of the National Dialogue Conference issued a statement on Tuesday limiting protests staged by participants inside the conference hall, which have increased over the last weeks.  “Reading statements or holding protests during the general sessions is not allowed,” the statement read. “However, protests [may be held] after 1:00 p.m. and after coordinating with the conference presidium.”

Young political parties face challenges
Yemen Times — 13 June 2013
Following the 2011 uprising that toppled then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh, about 16 new political parties were established, mostly by young men and women. The newly-established political parties are still facing challenges which may threaten their existence. Last April, the ABJAD center—with the help of some youth activists—launched the Yemen Political Parties’ Observatory to monitor and observe these new parties. The website is publishing the documentation of the internal systems for the public to see, in an effort to increase social and political accountability.

Houthis:
Yemen Zaidi rebels want security body dismantled
AFP via Google News — 13 June 2013
Yemeni Zaidi rebels demanded dismantling the national security services at a Thursday funeral in Sanaa of 13 fellow Shiites killed in weekend clashes with police, as Human Rights Watch demanded the incident be probed. “The people want to dismantle the national security services,” chanted thousands who marched from University Square in the north towards the Grand Mosque in central Sanaa, before burying the dead whose bodies had been carried aboard vehicles in the procession. A statement from the rebels, who have re-named themselves Ansarullah (Supporters of God), said 13 people were killed and 100 were wounded in the Sunday clashes. A security official had told AFP 10 rebels died.

Two Yemenis killed during protest against secret service
Reuters — 9 June 2013
Yemeni security forces shot and killed at least two people from a restive Shi’ite group and wounded 30 others on Sunday when they opened fire on demonstrators protesting against a security branch accused of abuses, the group said. In a separate incident, a local official said a U.S. drone had killed three suspected al Qaeda members.

Saleh:
Yemen court orders Saleh quizzed on deadly demo attack
AFP via Google News — 8 June 2013
A Yemeni court on Saturday ordered a new probe into the alleged involvement of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh in the killing of 45 protesters during the 2011 uprising against his rule. The court ordered that 12 other Saleh-era officials be questioned on the same March 18 incident during which the ex-autocrat’s loyalists and troops opened fire on an anti-regime rally in the capital. They include former interior minister General Muther al-Masri and Saleh’s nephews Yehya and Tariq, both generals.

Security:
Yemen soldier dies fighting pipeline saboteurs: official
AFP via Google News — 13 June 2013
A Yemeni soldier was killed in clashes Thursday with tribesmen who attacked an oil pipeline and halted the flow of crude, sources said. The soldier was in a convoy escorting a technical team to the site of the attack in the Sarwah region, between Sanaa and Marib in the country’s east, a security official said. “Clashes broke out between the security forces escorting the technical team and armed tribesmen in the area, killing the soldier,” said the official.

Yemen says detains local al Qaeda leader, two soldiers die in raid
Reuters — 10 June 2013
Yemeni troops detained a local al Qaeda leader in a raid on his hideout in eastern Yemen on Monday, only days after a military operation to foil plans to set up an Islamist state in the area, state news agency Saba said. Saba quoted a military source as saying that two soldiers were killed by gunmen who fired on the raiding force as it approached the farm where Omar Ashour was hiding near the city of Ghail Bawazeer, in the eastern province of Hadramout.

Yemen’s president warns that al-Qaida militants seek to rule again in south
AP via Washington Post — 13 June 2013
Yemen’s president said Saturday that al-Qaida militants in his country are trying to retake areas they once controlled in the south, but that a military offensive this week helped thwart those plans. President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi was speaking at the second round of “national dialogue” talks aimed at mapping out the country’s future. United Nations envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar attended the session in the capital Sanaa on Saturday, as did the head of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which represents six countries in the region.

Lahj campaign comes to close
Yemen Times — 13 June 2013
A two-day military campaign, launched to pursue Al-Qaeda affiliates in Lahj governorate, came to an end on Monday. Abdulhakeem Shaef, Security Manager of this governorate to the south of Sana’a, said the campaign included 13 military vehicles which were situated in Al-Hawata city, the capital of the governorate.

Al-Qaeda, a threat in Ibb?
Yemen Times — 10 June 2013
Official sources in Ibb governorate announced that the presence of armed men belonging to Al-Qaeda has increased in this central governorate, Yemen’s third most-populated. Ali Al-Zanam, the deputy governor of Taiz, said he noticed that there is movement by Al-Qaeda members in the governorate.

160 cartons of smuggled weapons found in Taiz
Yemen Times — 13 June 2013
On Friday, the security apparatus in Dhobab district of Taiz confiscated a shipment of smuggled pistols, making this the second seizure of its kind in one week. Brigadier General Ali Mused, commander of Taiz military region, said the pistols were stored underground and buried in a yard owned by a smuggler in the Khediwa village in Dhobab district. A boat was seized on Thursday for smuggling arms Mocha Port. Taiz officials now estimate a total of 160 cartons that have been confiscated in the past two days.

Yemen’s oil export pipeline bombed
Xinhua — 13 June 2013
Armed tribesmen on Thursday exploded Yemen’s main oil export pipeline in northeastern province of Marib, a provincial security official and witnesses said. The attack targeted the pipeline in Serwah district in Marib on Thursday dawn, the official told Xinhua by phone on condition of anonymity.

Economy/Energy:
Yemen inflation hits 14-mth high of 14 pct in April
Reuters — 11 June 2013
Annual inflation in Yemen surged to 14 percent in April, the highest level since February 2012, fuelled by rises in the prices of food, tobacco and qat, central bank data showed on Tuesday. Inflation had fallen from a peak of 25 percent in October 2011 to as low as 5.5 percent last November as political unrest eased, helping the economy recover. But it has picked up again in recent months, hitting 13.1 percent in March.

Yemen c.bank exceeds legal cap on govt loans by $1.6 bln
Reuters — 10 June 2013
Yemen’s central bank exceeded the legal limit on how much it may lend to the government by 347.9 billion rials ($1.6 billion) last year, its annual financial statement showed. The disclosure underlines the severe financial pressures faced by Yemen as it struggles to rebuild its economy after years of war and political unrest.

Yemen’s government: Attacks on power lines behind 2-day outage in country’s capital, provinces
AP via Washington Post — 11 June 2013
Attacks on power lines in Yemen caused a widespread blackout that has left several provinces and the country’s capital without electricity for two days, according to a government statement Tuesday. Yemen is the Arab world’s most impoverished nation and experiences daily electricity outages throughout the summer. The most recent outage, which has plunged the capital, Sanaa, and its second largest city, Taiz, into darkness for 48 hours, surpasses the more frequent cuts in electricity that tend to last a few hours at a time.

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