Weekly News Update 27 June 2013

Yemen Times/http://www.yementimes.com/en/1689/culture/2544/Preserving-Yemen%E2%80%99s-musical-heritage.htm

Yemen Times/http://www.yementimes.com/en/1689/culture/2544/Preserving-Yemen%E2%80%99s-musical-heritage.htm

Highlights:
Deadlocked Yemen
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.

National Dialogue:
Fistfights derailing progress at NDC?
Yemen Times — 27 June 2013
Some National Dialogue Participants (NDC) are not happy about the progress of the NDC, accusing political parties and powers of focusing attention away from one of the major issue of the conference, the Southern Issue. The reporting member of the Southern Issue Working Group, Shafie Al-Abd, told the Yemen Times that the parties had been weakened when the conference began in March, but conference procedures are allowing and empowering political powers to weaken the progress of the conference.

NDC Update
Yemen Times — 27 June 2013
Each of the working groups except for the Southern Issue Working Group, the Sa’ada Issue Working Group and the State Building Working Group, will take three days—starting from yesterday—to accommodate the comments received by the general assembly during the mid-term assembly and amend their reports accordingly to be voted on by the general assembly next week. Recommendations from the working groups that were not questioned by the general assembly will be considered automatically as approved and will not be voted on.

Fistfight over Southern Issue at NDC session
Yemen Times — 24 June 2013
A fist fight broke out during a National Dialogue Conference (NDC) session on Saturday during discussions on the Southern Issue report. The scuffle was between General People Congress (GPC) leader Abdulrahman Al-Akwa’a and Southern Movement leader Mohammed Hussein Halboob.   The Southern Movement presented a final report to the NDC on Sunday, indicating that they would postpone their field visits until the implementation of the 20 points put forward by the technical committee. The points include the restoration of stolen properties to Southerners and the reinstating of Southern soldiers laid-off following the 1994 Civil War, said NDC member Ali Al-Bukhaiti. The quarrel started after discussions of the report presented by the State Building team  had finished, according to NDC member Hamza Al-Kamali.  Southern Movement leader Halboob announced that federalism was the only way out of the current situation when GPC member Al-Akwa’a told him that unity wasn’t negotiable, Al-Kamali said.

Referendum for new constitution to take place October 15
Yemen Times — 24 June 2013
A referendum for the new Yemeni constitution will be held on 15 October, the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum (SCER) has announced. Judge Abdulmon’m Al-Eryani, the head of the Media and Elector Awareness Sector of the SCER told Yemen Times that the scheduling of the referendum is conditional on the progress of the National Dialogue Conference (NDC). SCER has informed various political parties and groups participating in the drafting of the constitution to start finalizing their work, Al-Eryani said.

Ministry of Information may be abolished
Yemen Times — 27 June 2013
The government intends to do-away with the Ministry of Information, parliament members have revealed to the press. The move will make way for an independent, national authority which will be tasked with providing a better atmosphere for freedom of expression, officials at a press conference said.

Parliament withdraws confidence against Legal Affairs Minister
Yemen Times — 27 June 2013
Parliament voted to withdraw confidence against the Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohammed Al-Mikhlafi, during a Parliament session on Monday.  The session included 60 members of Parliament; Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) members were absent as they have pledged to boycott Parliament sessions until President Hadi implements comprehensive reforms.  The move follows last week’s vote by the General People’s Congress (GPC) and other members to refer the minister for investigation for allegedly violating the constitution, questioning the legitimacy of Parliament and misleading the public. The minister was summoned to Parliament last week. He did not attend, pointing to the absence of JMP representatives at the session. In an interview with the Yemen Times, the minister said that holding Parliament sessions with only GPC members in attendance renders the outcome of the sessions illegal.

Hundreds protest appointment of new deputy governor in Ibb
Yemen Times — 27 June 2013
On Wednesday, hundreds of protestors demonstrated against the appointment of Jubran Basha to the position of deputy governor for financial and administrative affairs in this southern, inland governorate. Hameed Al-Badani, a local from Ibb, said the decision was controversial because Basha, who is an influential sheikh in the area, has also been accused of being directly and indirectly involved in acts of violence.

Protests:
36 Hirak protesters killed since January
Yemen Times — 27 June 2013
Demonstrations in the once sovereign South have been growing larger and more forceful in the past year and have resulted in the deaths of over 30 protesters, a recent report from Sah Organization for Defending the Human Rights, an Aden-based group, found. Protestors from and sympathetic to the Southern Movement, or Hirak, have taken to the streets calling for regional sovereignty following the wider, nationwide protests that ousted Ali Abdullah Saleh from power.

Economy/Governance:
Tribesmen launch new attack on Yemen oil pipeline
AFP via France 24 — 27 June 2013
Yemeni tribesmen launched a fresh attack on a key pipeline overnight, interrupting the flow of oil and forcing troops to deploy as technicians were blocked from repairing the installation, officials said Thursday. The attack in the Sarwah area of Marib province, 170 kilometres (105 miles) east of the capital Sanaa, was the second time the pipeline has been targeted in less than a fortnight.

Bringing order to chaotic Sana’a streets
Yemen Times — 27 June 2013
With over 250 intersections, the traffic department’s 1200 traffic officers can’t cover all the shifts at all the intersections, Al-Jaifi said. Five officers should be present at each intersection, for three separate daily shifts. Al-Jaifi says there are currently about two officers deployed at 70 intersections in Sana’a, contributing to many of Sana’a’s traffic jams.  There are 50,000 taxis in the capital city, along with 50,000 visiting cars from other governorates on any given day and 130,000 vehicles being driven in Sana’a by Sana’a residents.

Yemen’s main crude pipeline repaired after blast -oil official
Reuters — 20 June 2013
Yemen’s main oil export pipeline has been repaired and crude is again flowing to the terminal on the Red Sea after tribesman blew up a section of the link last week, a Yemeni oil official said on Thursday. Friday’s explosion followed a day after the completion of repairs to damage from a similar attack on May 24, before which the pipeline had been pumping around 125,000 barrels per day (bpd).

75% of Yemen’s problems are economic: president
Gulf News — 23 June 2013
Yemen’s President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi said that 75 per cent of Yemen’s problems are economic, calling on Arab countries to help Yemen overcome those problems. Hadi made the remarks during a meeting on Saturday with a visiting delegation of the Arab Parliament, Yemen News Agency Saba reported.

Yemeni officials are not familiar with the concept of ‘good governance’
Yemen Times — 27 June 2013
The Supreme National Authority for Combating Corruption (SNACC) was established in 2006 with the task of creating strategies to fight corruption in Yemen. SNACC has yet to bring any officials to justice. Arya said that some Yemeni laws provide protection to senior officials in the government and require long, bureaucratic procedures that make it nearly impossible for officials to be prosecuted. Arya believes SNACC was sincere in its intention to fight corruption but that the organization wasn’t legally empowered to take action.

Over 1.5 million foreign workers change status before Saudi crackdown
Reuters — 22 June 2013
More than 1.5 million foreign workers in Saudi Arabia have changed their residence status since April ahead of a planned crackdown on illegally registered expatriates in the world’s leading oil exporter, the labour ministry said on Saturday. Remittances from millions of workers in Saudi Arabia are important to the economies of countries including Yemen, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan. Huge crowds of foreign workers have queued for long periods in sweltering heat outside government offices and their own consulates in recent weeks, fearing fines and possible deportation if they fail to legalise their status before July 3.

Yemen’s Aden Refinery seeks 600,000 T gasoil for July-Sept
Reuters — 25 June 2013
Yemen’s Aden Refinery is seeking 600,000 tonnes of high sulphur gasoil for delivery over July to September in a new short-term contract that closes later this week, industry sources said on Tuesday. The volumes are 37 percent lower than its term requirement for March to June, one of the sources said.

Street Cleaners Union protests outside president’s home
Yemen Times — 27 June 2013
Hundreds of street cleaners protested outside President Hadi’s residence Tuesday, threatening to go on strike if the government does not follow through on its promise to hire them as government workers. Street cleaners threatened to strike in April but postponed their plans when Sana’a mayor Abdulqader Hilal requested three months to meet their demands. Ten days remain of the three-month period requested.

Security:
Yemen tribesmen release kidnapped soldiers
AFP via Daily Star — 21 June 2013
Yemeni tribesmen have freed 11 soldiers after receiving an assurance from a senior commander that he would raise their demand for the release of a clansman, a military source said on Friday.

Tensions mount over appointment of Islah-affiliated security chief
Yemen Times — 24 June 2013
Tribal mediations are ongoing in this northern governorate following mounting tensions between armed men affiliated with the deputy of Hajja and state security forces which left one man dead in a shootout. Fahd Dahshosh, deputy of Hajja—and head of the General People Congress’ (GPC) branch in the governorate—ordered groups of armed men to set up makeshift checkpoints throughout the governorate in an act of provocation following the appointment of a new security chief associated with the Islamist Islah party in January.

Temporary truce called between tribes
Yemen Times — 27 June 2013
Following tribal mediation, clashes which had left at least six men dead and over ten others were injured in Shabwa and Marib have come to a temporary two-day halt, during which further negotiations are scheduled  to take place. Sheikh Nasser Al-Maleesh, the deputy governor of Shabwa, said the confrontations broke out on Monday at the border between the two governorates and involved members from the Balharith tribe from Shabwa and Al Abu Tuhaif tribe from Marib.

The US Just Killed A Boy In Yemen: Will Obama Respond?
Esquire — 21 June 2013
Last night, McClatchy Newspapers published a detailed report alleging that a U.S. drone strike in Yemen killed not only suspected militants, but also a ten-year-old boy named Abdulaziz Huraydan. If true, the boy’s killing sets a grisly new milestone. This is the first reported civilian death from a drone strike since President Obama’s May 23 speech on counter-terrorism, in which he told us that the U.S. would only strike if there was a “near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured.” A week after Obama’s speech, Secretary of State John Kerry publicly stated, “We do not fire when we know there are children or collateral … we just don’t.”

Boy’s death highlights anger some Yemenis feel over U.S. drone strikes
McClatchy — 20 June 2013
If an apparent U.S. drone strike this month in the village of Mahashama had killed only its intended targets – an al Qaida chief and some of his men – locals might’ve grumbled about a violation of Yemen’s national sovereignty and gone on with their lives.  But the strike also killed a 10-year-old named Abdulaziz, the younger brother of the targeted militant, Saleh Hassan Huraydan, according to local tribal leaders and Yemenis with close ties to the al Qaida branch here. And that set off a firestorm of complaints that underscores how American airstrikes can so outrage a community that even though al Qaida loses some foot soldiers, it gains dozens of sympathizers.

Refugees:
Syrians Add to Yemen Refugee Crisis
Al-Monitor — 26 June 2013
Many do not realize that Syrians started coming to Yemen as refugees three decades ago, when the regime of former President Hafez al-Assad began its cleansing campaign against Islamists at the beginning of the 1980s. The first wave of Syrian refugees after 1982 constituted an important tributary for the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen at the time. They were brought on for the most part as teachers in the group’s main body for scholarly institutes headed by the Brotherhood as complementary education to public education. Yet, things have certainly changed today. The relative distinction in the level of education exhibited by those coming from Syria to Yemen before 2011 allowed them ample work opportunities compared with those available to Yemenis. After 2011, things changed and residents of Sanaa grew accustomed to seeing dozens of Syrian women refugees begging in the streets. Yemeni officials consider the plight of the Syrian refugees a “cause for concern.”

Youth:
Yemen’s young face grim future
InterPress News via Asia Times — 26 June 2013
With an annual increase of 3.1%, Yemen’s population is estimated by the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) to be 26 million, with two-thirds living in rural areas. With an average of 6.2 births per family, half the country’s population is under 15, and nearly 70% are under 25. “Yemen has a big youth bulge, which has implications everywhere,” UNPF representative Himyar Abdulmoghni said. “The revolution was an entry point.” “Yemenis are proud of their family structure, and it’s a social norm that gives credit to big families,” Abdulmoghni said. “If you have more children you will have more power.”

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