Monthly Archives: August 2013

Weekly News Update 15 August 2013

Yuri Kozyrev/National Geographic/http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/13/130812-yemen-al-qaeda-aqap-attack-plot-united-states-drone-strikes-world/

Yuri Kozyrev/National Geographic/http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/13/130812-yemen-al-qaeda-aqap-attack-plot-united-states-drone-strikes-world/

Highlights:
Yemen leader basks in U.S. favour as drone strikes fuel rage
Reuters — 13 August 2013
In this maelstrom, Washington finds Hadi a more amenable partner than Saleh, depicted in U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks as manipulative, self-serving and untrustworthy. Tensions with Saleh often flared because he offered himself as an ally in combating al Qaeda, while sometimes striking deals with militants instead of seeking to root them out, as the United States wanted. With Hadi, things are markedly different. “He is everything his predecessor wasn’t in terms of his determination, his understanding of the threat … his determination to destroy al Qaeda,” said Daniel Benjamin, who was deeply involved in Yemen policy as former head of the State Department’s counter-terrorism office.

Saudi Arabia Keeps Tight Grip on Yemen
Al-Monitor — 13 August 2013
Some sources spoke of Saudi Arabia and Qatar funding the transfer of Yemeni militants to Syria to fight with the Free Syrian Army, with the cooperation of local religious authorities. Meanwhile, local newspapers reported on some fighters who had managed to escape from Syria. They even said that the Russian ambassador to Yemen met with the leader of the Islamic Yemeni Congregation for Reform to talk him out of sending militants to Syria, because this would mean certain death for them. The authenticity of this news usually depends on the concerned parties’ denial of the claims, and nothing of that sort happened, which tips the balance in favor of these claims being true.

Myopic Solutions to Chronic Problems: The Need for Aid Effectiveness in Yemen
CDDRL — August 2013
While there is currently some movement in aid, its efficiency, effectiveness, and appropriateness is not measured. The government and donors have internal procedures that appear to have lessened the impact of assistance provided. Issues like security and absorptive capacity have become the red herrings in development assistance to Yemen, diverting from the real issue of improving the lives of the poor. It is also not clear how initiatives such as the Executive Bureau have any real added value in the development process given that the majority of the funds delivered to Yemen are still being channeled bilaterally and multilaterally between donors and the government, based on donors’ areas of interest.

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Weekly News Update 9 August 2013

Highlights:
Yemen Steps Back From Terror-Plot Claims, Highlighting U.S.’s Challenge
Wall Street Journal — 7 August 2013
Yemeni officials said Wednesday that the country’s security forces had broken up several plots by al Qaeda militants but the government distanced itself from those reports later in the day, illustrating Washington’s challenges as it tries to work with Yemen’s government to combat al Qaeda’s branch there. Local sensitivities about the bilateral counterterrorism cooperation have spiked in recent years due to high-profile civilian deaths by U.S. missiles, prompting tight limitations on any visible American role in the fight against al Qaeda. For example, U.S. Special Forces aren’t allowed to accompany Yemeni units on patrols through the rugged mountains where al Qaeda cells have found safe haven, say military officials familiar with the situation. But Yemeni units have neither the skill nor political will to take on these sorts of quick-strike operations, the officials said. During meetings in Washington, D.C. last week, U.S. officials complained to Mr. Hadi that Yemeni forces weren’t taking the al Qaeda threat seriously and needed to stop pulling back from military offensives, people familiar with the meetings said. Yemeni officials say they have spared no effort battling al Qaeda and its affiliates but that the threat remains too large for their ill-equipped military.

How We Lost Yemen
Foreign Policy — 6 August 2013
Faulty assumptions and a mistaken focus paired with a resilient, adaptive enemy have created a serious problem for the United States.  Part of the U.S. approach to fighting AQAP is based on what worked for the United States in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where drone strikes have decimated what is often called al Qaeda’s core (though as al Qaeda’s strength moves back toward the Arab world, analysts will need to start rethinking old categories). Unfortunately, not all lessons are transportable. This means that the United States is fighting the al Qaeda that was, instead of the al Qaeda that is. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, al Qaeda was largely a group of Arabs in nonArab countries. In Yemen, al Qaeda is made up mostly of Yemenis living in Yemen.

Is Yemen Ready for a Social Market Economy?
CIPE Development Blog — 6 August 2013
Yemeni policymakers must also understand that a social welfare system is built steadily over time. The new Yemeni state should not bear the full responsibility of lifting the economy from the brink of collapse. Once a successful free market economy is established, the public sector will have the means and tools to follow in Scandinavia’s footsteps. Not unlike the political dialogue currently taking place, the Yemeni economic minister’s vision of a social market system in Yemen will take time. Continue reading

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Weekly News Update 1 August 2013

Highlights:
Reorienting Public Spending Would Create Jobs, Fight Poverty
International Monetary Fund — 31 July 2013
Although the authorities carried out prudent monetary policy in 2012, in the second half of the year, money expansion accelerated, and that partly reflected the financing of a larger-than-planned budget deficit. This deficit expansion occurred because of an increase in untargeted energy subsidies and the public sector wage bill. As a result, the government’s large financing needs are reducing the funds available for private investment. A full 70 percent of banking sector’s credit is to the government. So that leaves less for private investment. Plus, this drives the interest rate up, making it more expensive for small and medium-sized private enterprises to obtain sufficient financing to operate, which contributes to lower growth and higher unemployment.

A reluctant refuge for al-Qaeda
The Economist — 27 July 2013
Yet amid the poverty the province of Marib has an abundance of natural wealth: it is the source of much of Yemen’s modest oil and gas income. Locals complain, however, that most of the revenues go into the coffers of corrupt government officials. They insist that the province’s reputation as a haven for al-Qaeda is unfair. For sure, it is undisputed that fighters loyal to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which the Obama administration has marked down as a direct threat to the United States, hide in the province. But local tribes have not given them an eager welcome. Rather, AQAP fighters have exploited the security vacuum in areas where tribal structures have broken down and people are too weak to drive them out.

Offer some oxen: How tribal mediation works
Yemen Times — 29 July 2013
In May, in Hajja governorate, a local tribal sheikh, a social leader in Yemen, used his jambia, a traditional Yemeni dagger, to threaten an employee at the government-owned Electricity Corporation over an alleged dispute. As a result, employees shut off electricity in the governorate for almost a week. The employees turned the electricity back on when the sheikh placed an oxen in front of the corporation. The animal, which was to be slaughterd, served as all the employees needed in terms of an apology and the blackouts came to an end. Continue reading

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