Weekly News Update 5 July 2013

Highlights:
Viability of Yemen’s New Political Parties Questioned
Al-Monitor — 3 July 2013
According to the new regulations, the approval of security authorities for granting party licenses has been canceled. This contributed to the proliferation of new parties or new party projects. These parties lack institutional structures — minimal requirements and tools for a party — as well as the necessary popular base and media organizations to represent them. They are also — collectively or individually — unable to exert pressure in the defense of public issues, since 14 parties could not defend their right to representation in the NDC. However, the Rashad Union Party and the Justice and Construction Party did have these qualifiers: the first has a wide popular base and experience in community service and public mobilization through religious advocacy, and controls a number of mosques, charities and Quran teaching schools, while the second has a leadership with a relatively rich political history since it was part of the former ruling party.

Funding shortfalls hit Yemen humanitarian work
IRIN News — 4 July 2013
At the halfway point of the year, less than 40 percent of Yemen’s requested US$702 million Humanitarian Response Plan (YHRP) has reached aid groups, signalling a potential repeat of last year’s shortfall in which donors funded 56 percent of a $585 million budget appeal. The 190 relief projects outlined in this year’s YHRP represent a threefold expansion in humanitarian programming since 2011, when Arab Spring-inspired uprisings pushed 32-year president Ali Abdullah Saleh from office and eventually put the country on a two-year political reform process, scheduled to culminate in national elections in early 2014. But donor pledges have not kept pace with expanding NGO coverage and demands for bigger budgets – a development which is forcing aid groups to scale back or close down projects.

New Report Documents the Human Cost of U.S. Drone Strikes in Yemen
Rolling Stone — 3 July 2013
There are more than 80 names at the end of a human rights report published online this week. Each one is said to belong to a civilian killed or maimed as a result of U.S. missile strikes in Yemen since 2009. They were mothers, fathers, children and grandparents – and they stand in contrast to claims that the United States does not launch missiles into Yemen unless there is a “near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured,” as President Obama told the nation in May. The names are preceded by 25 pages of detailed descriptions of U.S. airstrikes in Yemen and their consequences, offering a rare level of information on specific attacks and their physical, psychological and financial impacts on individual Yemeni civilians.

National Dialogue:
Challenges faced by the Southern Movement
La Voix du Yemen — 30 June 2013
Since they own many media outlets, the Southern Movement phenomenon has also occupied the headlines of local and international press and media, a motivating factor for the Movement supporters. However, the main development occurred with the advent of the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) in March 2013. The Southern Movement was ascribed 50% of the total seats in the Dialogue, a move depicting the extent of the importance of the Movement in transitional and future Yemen.  These seats allocated to the Movement meant one thing for some people: the chances of Yemen being united or divided are equal. But perhaps the greatest acknowledgment of the Southern Movement is the northern people themselves. The popular northern discourse, which is not majoritarian but is reaching non-negligible numbers, suggests that it if the South is determined for secession, then it would be wiser to give it the right of self-determination, a view which was also expressed publicly by one of the NDC members.

HADI ISSUES ORDERS TO IMPLEMENT 20 POINTS
Yemen Times — 4 July 2013
President Abdu Rabbo Mansour Hadi has given orders to implement the remaining 20 points presented by the technical committee that the Southern Issue and Sa’ada Issue Working Groups conditioned before beginning their field visits, said Yasser Al-Ro’ini, the deputy secretary general of the National Dialogue Conference (NDC).  The other seven working groups (Transitional Justice, State Building, Good Governance, Military and Security Building, Independent Authorities, Rights and Freedoms, and Comprehensive Development) started their field visits in May. They have been tasked with working with communities and assessing their needs.

GENERAL INSPECTOR TO MONITOR MINISTRY OF INTERIOR
Yemen Times — 4 July 2013
The state can improve its human rights record by appointing a general inspector to the security forces, said Yemen’s new general inspector, Abdu Thabet Al-Sobaihi. The position was recently created within the restructured Ministry of Interior which was prepared by a team of European, Jordanian and Yemeni experts. The general inspector’s office will consist of four departments: a surveillance and inspection department tasked with monitoring the performance of the Ministry of Interior and its staff; a department committed to corruption control documenting police violations; a rights department responsible for ensuring the rights and freedoms of residents; and a quality control department responsible for monitoring and implementing policy to ensure the quality of work for all departments of the Ministry of Interior.

HADI RESOLVES PARLIAMENTARY DISPUTE
Yemen Times — 1 July 2013
President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi has mediated a month-and-a-half-long dispute between the General People’s Congress (GPC) and the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) that led to the boycott of Parliament sessions by the JMP. With a majority in Parliament, the GPC has been able to pass legislation without the support or presence of the JMP. The JMP insists that decisions should be made according to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Initiative and its implementation mechanism, not by majority vote.

GOVERNMENT TO ESTABLISH TEMPORARY COMMITTEES TO ASSIST CABINET, ENSURE SUCCESSFUL TRANSITION
Yemen Times — 4 July 2013
The Yemeni government intends to improve its weak performance by establishing temporary ministry committees to assist the cabinet, reported the state-run newspaper, Al-Thwara. The committees will be tasked with solving urgent issues stemming from the 2011 uprising and will help ensure a successful transitional phase, said Rajeh Badi, media advisor of Prime Minister Mohammed Basindawa.

NDC UPDATE
Yemen Times — 4 July 2013
– Members of the Freedoms and Rights working group have been disagreeing on including a 30 percent quota for women in the constitution. Alternatively, this group agreed to include a law to ensure political parties include a 30 percent quota for women among their candidates for any elections.

PROPOSAL TO ESTABLISH RELIGIOUS POLICE DEFEATED
Yemen Times — 4 July 2013
Islah’s proposal to codify laws that would entitle security forces to police public virtue and vice has been defeated because of opposition from the Houthis, the general people’s committees and other political powers. The legal articles proposed by Islah would have granted authority to security forces to “maintain public morals,” until a separate body was established and tasked with the assignment, said the deputy of the NDC’s Military and Security Building Committee Nasser Al-Taweel.

Security:
Arms ship seized by Yemen may have been Somalia-bound: U.N.
Reuters — 3 July 2013
An Iranian ship laden with arms seized by Yemeni authorities in January may also have been bound for Somalia, according to a confidential U.N. report seen by Reuters on Monday. Yemeni forces intercepted the ship, the Jihan 1, off Yemen’s coast on January 23. U.S. and Yemeni officials said it was carrying a large cache of weapons, including surface-to-air missiles, being smuggled from Iran to insurgents in Yemen. “Yemeni officials indicated that this arms consignment was to be delivered to the Huthi rebellion in north Yemen,” the report to the Security Council’s sanctions committee said. “However the Monitoring Group investigated if some of the Jihan 1 cargo could have been intended for delivery in Somalia.”

Yemen sovereignty focus of Jihane crew trial: experts
Al-Shorfa — 2 July 2013
The trial of eight Yemeni crew members from the alleged Iranian ship Jihane — along with a ninth defendant who is being tried in absentia — will resume in October when the criminal court returns to session after its annual break, officials say. Saeed Abdul Momen, a researcher on regional strategic affairs, told Al-Shorfa the trial has been sound, enabling the judiciary to “have its say in regard to those who violate the sovereignty of Yemen and its borders and threaten its security”.

Six-month update: US covert actions in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism — 1 July 2013
In Yemen the Pentagon has also run a targeted killing programme for four years or more, and does not publish details of these operations. So far this year the Bureau has recorded four confirmed US strikes on Yemen. However it is not clear who carried out up to 12 other reported strikes. In the first half of 2012 this pattern was more pronounced – the Bureau recorded at least 21 confirmed US drone strikes, but cannot confirm US involvement in 42 more reported attacks.

Obama has no answer for 10-year-old killed in Yemen drone strike
Salon — 3 July 2013
Researchers agree that the number of drone strikes and civilian deaths have dropped during the past year. (Before Obama’s speech, an administration official attributed this partly to the new heightened standards.) The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which generally has the highest tally of civilian dead, has found there were between three and 16 civilians reportedly killed in about 30 drone or other airstrikes in Yemen and Pakistan so far this year. No strikes have been reported in Somalia.

Dutch journalist kidnapped in Yemen
The Guardian — 2 July 2013
A Dutch journalist, Judith Spiegel, was abducted in Yemen with her husband, Boudewijn Berendsen, more than three weeks ago. The couple were seized by gunmen from their house in early June in the Haddah area of the capital, Sana’a, which is home to many diplomats and expatriates.

Yemen’s main oil export pipeline blown up Sunday
Reuters via Al-Arabiya — 30 June 2013
Tribesmen blew up Yemen’s main oil export pipeline on Sunday and it will likely be closed for a week, a local official said. Damage sustained during a previous attack on June 27 was fixed within hours, but repairs required after Sunday’s explosion will take longer. “The tribesmen blew up the pipeline on Sunday morning,” the local official said. “It will take up to a week to fully repair it.”

Press:
VIOLATIONS AGAINST JOURNALISTS INCREASE
Yemen Times — 4 July 2013
The Freedom Foundation for Media Freedom and Development in Yemen issued a new report this week, documenting increased violations against journalists. The report documented the number of violations against journalists for the first half of the year, reporting 199 violations and 279 journalists and media institutions that had been targeted.

Economy/Governance:
Yemen Said to Offer 2.1 Million Barrels of September Masila Oil
Bloomberg — 5 July 2013
Yemen is offering to sell 2.1 million barrels of Masila crude for loading in September, according to two people who received the sales document and asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak to the media.

OUT-OF-WORK UNIVERSITY GRADS TO RECEIVE ASSISTANCE
Yemen Times — 4 July 2013
A new fund from the Ministry of Civil Services (MCS) will help make that wait a little less painful. The number of graduates who have registered with the ministry is about 250,000, with 15,000 to 20,000 students registering every year, according to the director of the MCS Research Sector Policies Department Waheeb Bamakhram. Bamakhram told the Yemen Times that the MCS will announce 13,000 jobs for various majors during this month. The fund will provide YR20,000 ($100) for every graduate registered at the MCS until they secure work.

Yemen’s Aden Refinery buys 600,000 T gasoil for July-Sept –trade
Reuters — 3 July 2013
Yemen’s Aden Refinery Company has bought 600,000 tonnes of high-sulphur gasoil for delivery over July to September, with volumes about a third lower than its needs for March to June, industry sources said on Tuesday. The refinery bought 10 cargoes of 60,000 tonnes each of 0.5 percent sulphur from Kuwait’s Independent Petroleum Group, traders Trafigura, Vitol, Energen and United Arab Emirates-based Horizon Energy, the sources said.

Yemen’s main crude pipeline repaired after blast – officials
Reuters — 5 July 2013
Yemen’s main oil pipeline has been repaired and crude is again flowing to the export terminal on the Red Sea after tribesmen blew part of it up on Sunday, Yemeni security and oil officials said on Wednesday.

Migrants:
Deprivation, despair at a migrant dead-end in Yemen
IRIN News — 27 June 2013
These restrictions have led to a build-up of pressure in Haradh and the surrounding Hajjah Governorate, where poverty is widespread. The governorate, which depends on economic ties with Saudi Arabia, already supports more than a 100,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) who fled neighbouring Sa’dah Governorate after the 2004 Houthi uprising and subsequent conflicts. Some of the IDP families at the al-Mazraq IDP camps a short drive from Haradh rely on breadwinners in Saudi Arabia, but residents complain that the border restrictions have pushed them into poverty.

CUSTOMS AUTHORITY ENFORCES BAN ON IMPORTED USED CARS
Yemen Times — 4 July 2013
Yemen’s Customs Authority is now monitoring air and land ports barring the importation of damaged used cars to Yemen. Previously, these used cars had been imported, repaired and resold. However, the Customs Authority determined after research, these restored vehicles led to thousands of car accidents and were a hazard to the public.

14 CHINESE NATIONALS RELEASED AFTER DETENTION
Yemen Times — 4 July 2013
Fourteen Chinese mineral exploration experts were released Tuesday after a one-day long detention in Rabu Bani Khawli. The experts were held captive by local residents who said that the resources the experts were analyzing were on their land and that the people of the area should benefit from them. Area security manager Marib Al-Odari said that security forces were able to secure their release after being informed of their detention. “The detainees were released after a sum of YR28 million [about $130,280] was paid to local workers of the company that the experts were contracted with,” said Sheikh Abu Murshid.

Saudi Arabia Barricades Its Border, U.S.-Style
Bloomberg — 27 June 2013
From a new stone tower overlooking the border with Yemen, Saudi soldiers send out patrols in search of illegal immigrants drawn to the biggest economy in the Arab world. In the past year, dozens of observation posts have gone up along a 1,100-mile stretch in the southern province of Jazan, some positioned on mountain ridges, others just yards from where Yemenis herd goats through sand and brush. Lieutenant General Meladaan al-Meladaan, who’s responsible for protecting 52 miles, says his patrols catch as many as 70 people—from Yemen, Ethiopia, Somalia, Bangladesh—trying to sneak into the country each day.

Public Health:
Yemen seeks to improve public health
Al-Shorfa — 3 July 2013
The Yemen Social Welfare Fund launched a training programme in May in co-operation with UNICEF to develop the skills of healthcare specialists in order to enhance public health and welfare. Around 200 specialists are taking part in the programme, from government employees affiliated with the fund to local council members and healthcare sector volunteers in Sanaa and the provinces of al-Hodeidah, Hajjah, Taiz, Ibb, Aden, Lahij, al-Mahra and al-Mukalla. The programme seeks to educate low-income populations who lack access to media about issues such as malnutrition, the fund’s deputy executive director Qassem Khalil told Al-Shorfa.

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