Weekly News Update 12 September 2013

Kamran Jebreili/AP via The Atlantic/http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/09/yemeni-tribesmen-are-capturing-this-endangered-leopard-for-money/279399/

Kamran Jebreili/AP via The Atlantic/http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/09/yemeni-tribesmen-are-capturing-this-endangered-leopard-for-money/279399/

Highlights:
Yemen’s fitful dialogue
Foreign Policy — 6 September 2013
Many activists believe that the call for secession is a tactic intended only to raise the bar high in order to score points in the negotiations over federalism. Given the only two choices between secession and federalism, the latter appears to be the lesser of two evils. But if federalism is the only option for Yemen, the street has certainly not caught up with it. Furthermore, the National Dialogue has done very little to explain the haphazard ideas for federalism to the public. Many regions in Yemen desire some sort of administrative and financial autonomy but are fearful that a federal system will still not protect them from the greedy elites who have always managed to find creative ways to exploit their people.

Yemen sets up $1.2 billion fund for sacked state employees, soldiers
Reuters — 10 September 2013
Yemen has launched a $1.2 billion fund to give back tens of thousands of southern Yemenis jobs they lost after the 1994 civil war, a minister said on Tuesday, part of efforts to revive talks aimed at ending longstanding political divisions. International Cooperation Minister Mohammed al-Sa’adi said the fund, agreed on Sunday, had persuaded southern separatists to return to talks they boycotted last month in protest against the government’s handling of their demands. Sa’adi said Qatar would contribute $350 million to the fund, which will be used to rehire or compensate tens of thousands of civil servants and soldiers sacked after North Yemen won the civil war.

End Child Marriage
Human Rights Watch — 11 September 2013
Tawakkol Karman, the Yemeni activist who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, has criticized the transitional government’s failure to ban child marriage. She told Human Rights Watch that: “[Yemen’s] popular, peaceful revolution came about for the sake of fixing these societal problems. It didn’t happen just to solve political problems, but also to address societal problems, the most important being child marriage.” A 2011 Human Rights Watch report documented severe and long-lasting harm to Yemeni girls forced by their families to marry, in some cases when they were as young as 8. Human Rights Watch spoke to 34 Yemeni girls and women. They said that marrying early meant that they lost control over their lives, including the ability to decide whether and when to bear children. They said that it had cut short their education, and some said they had been subjected to marital rape and domestic abuse.

Security:
Yemen on alert over fear of suicide attacks by al-Qaida
AP via Fox News — 9 September 2013
Yemeni officials are warning of imminent attacks, distributing a photo of a suspected al-Qaida militant believed to be plotting suicide bombings with others. New intelligence shows a wanted militant in his 20s is believed to be preparing car bombs to use in suicide attacks along with two others, an official said Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the press.

Al-Qaeda steps up violence amid political stalemate
Asharq Al-Awsat — 7 September 2013
Two senior Yemeni officers were shot dead by unknown militants suspected of being affiliated to Al-Qaeda on Friday. Chief of intelligence for the Wadia district along the Saudi borders, Col. Omar bin Amr, was shot three times in the head by assailants as he left a mosque in the Al-Qatn district of Hadhramaut governorate. His attackers fled the scene on a motorcycle, security sources reported. In separate news, Col. Abdul Majid Al-Salami was killed as unknown gunmen shot him close to his home in the Al-Hawtah district in Lahij governorate, Reuters reported.

Suspected al Qaeda gunmen kill two officers in southern Yemen
Reuters — 6 September 2013
Suspected al Qaeda militants shot dead two senior officers in Yemen’s security services on Friday, security sources said, in the latest of a wave of such attacks. Colonel Omar Rabie Ben Amr, who headed what is known as the political security apparatus at a border checkpoint with Saudi Arabia, was shot dead as he left a mosque after Friday prayers in al-Qoton area of Hadramout.

Saudi diplomat kidnapped in Yemen asks family to stage protests
Reuters — 9 September 2013
A Saudi diplomat held hostage in Yemen for 18 months has urged his family to organize demonstrations asking the government to meet al Qaeda demands to free detained women and Muslim clerics as the best way to get him freed from captivity. He made the appeal in a recording posted online late on Sunday, the fourth such statement by Abdullah al-Khalidi since militants seized the Saudi vice consul in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden in March 2012.

Three suspected AQAP cells busted in August
Yemen Times — 10 September 2013
Government security forces announced on Sunday that men from three suspected Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)-affiliated cells were arrested during the month of August. According to officials, one cell was located in Al-Baida’a governorate, one in Hadramout and one in Sana’a with 13, six and eight members arrested respectively.

Yemeni court jails 3 Saudis for illegal entry, acquits them of al-Qaida membership
AP via Fox News — 12 September 2013
A state security court in Yemen has convicted five Saudis of entering the country illegally but only sentenced three of them to 18 months in jail. The Saudis were among suspected al-Qaida militants targeted in a recent wave of U.S. drone strikes.

Security forces announce new round of AQAP arrests
Yemen Times — 12 September 2013
Following an almost week-long chase, security forces in Marib governorate arrested four people believed to be Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) affiliates, the Interior Ministry announced on Wednesday.  “The suspects were caught on Airport Road while boarding a car,” said Brigadier Hameed Aldharat, the security manager of Marib governorate.

Cease-fire agreement fails in Ibb
Yemen Times — 10 September 2013
Clashes re-erupted in Ibb Saturday between the Houthi Al-Seraji tribe and the Salafi Al Da’m tribe, ending an hours-long cease fire that had been brokered by a mediation committee headed by Ibb’s governor, Ahmed Al-Hijri. Both sides breached the agreement, Ibb deputy governor Ali Alzalm said.

Ongoing conflict in Amran leaves at least 16 dead this week
Yemen Times — 10 September 2013
At least 16 people were killed and dozens injured over the past five days in Al Asha, Amran in violent clashes between Houthi-supporters and armed tribesmen loyal to the Al-Ahmar family. Al-Asha district security manager Mohammed Al-Raei told the Yemen Times that the casualties belonged to the Al Ahmar-affiliated Alusaimt tribe.

National Dialogue:
NDC greets the return of the Southerners with four state visions
Yemen Times — 12 September 2013
Southern Issue Working Group rapporteur Shafe Al-Abd told the Yemen Times on Wednesday that the sub-committee had revealed four popular visions for the future shape of the state. The first would restore an independent Southern state. The second vision is a federal state consisting of two regions. The third vision would be a federal state with multiple regions and the fourth vision suggests a single state that offers stronger local governance.

Yemen parties agree on federalism
AFP via Al-Arabiya — 11 September 2013
Participants in Yemen’s national reconciliation talks have agreed on the principle of changing the Arab republic into a federal state, Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Kurbi said on Wednesday. “There is an agreement on the principle of federalism,” Kurbi told AFP on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai. But differences remain on the number of regions proposed by each party, he said.

Government finalizes appraisal figures for property damaged in 2011uprising
Yemen Times — 10 September 2013
The government committee assigned to determine the cost of repairs to homes and buildings damaged during Yemen’s 2011 popular uprising announced the total cost of repairs to be YR3 billion, or $17.7 million.  The committee also put forth a plan to distribute the money to homeowners, who have been waiting on the compensation for two years. The compensation will be distributed through the Post Office. Those receiving YR5 million (about $23,000) or less will receive the entire amount in one payment. Those receiving more than YR5 million in compensation will collect the money in two phases.

Ibrahim Mothana:
Ibrahim Mothana Dead: Yemeni Activist Dies At 24
Huffington Post — 5 September 2013
Ibrahim Mothana, a 24-year-old Yemeni activist, died Thursday. Cause of death was not released. Co-founder of the Watan Party and Arab Thought Foundation’s 2011 ambassador, Mothana was known for his activism in Yemen and writings against U.S. drone policy.

In loving memory of Ibrahim Mothana
Yemen Times — 10 September 2013
Ibrahim was known for his intelligence, kind spirit and contagious sense of humor. He was the co-founder of the Watan Party and was the youngest member of the Arab Thought Foundation.  His articles and commentary have been featured in the New York Times, CNN and Al-Jazeera. In addition to his writing, Ibrahim was well-known as an eloquent speaker.  He presented at last year’s first TedX event in Sana’a and at the Global Leadership and New Digital Landscape seminar in Sweden in 2011.

Economy/Governance:
WTO set to agree Yemen’s membership terms
Reuters — 6 September 2013
Yemen’s 13 year pursuit of a seat at the World Trade Organization is set to end successfully this month, making its entry into the global trade club a formality early next year. According to an agenda circulated to WTO members this week and seen by Reuters on Friday, the WTO working party on Yemen’s accession will meet on Sept. 26 “with a view to adopting” the key documents setting out its membership terms.

Yemen expands phone and Internet services cross country
Al-Shorfa — 10 September 2013
The country’s Public Telecommunications Corporation (PTC) in late August launched the first phase of the “one-million new lines project”, with the project as a whole slated to be implemented by 2015. The first phase includes installing 232,000 fixed rural and urban telephone lines and 168,000 ADSL broadband Internet lines, which will cover approximately 556 sites in various provinces and districts of the republic, said Yemeni Telecommunications Minister Ahmed Obaid bin Dagher.

Debt drives Yemeni man to commit suicide
Gulf News — 8 September 2013
A heavily indebted Yemeni man gave in to psychological pressure and hanged himself after being unable to pay off his debt, a local newspaper reported on Saturday. The 35-year old Ahmad Mohammad Abdu Al Yafai, from Jibla district, in Ibb province, decided to end his life after being engulfed with despair as a result of falling into debt. Ahmad’s brother Faisal told Al Jumhuriah daily that his brother’s misery began when he recently borrowed SR20.000 (Dh20,422) to buy a visa to Saudi Arabia after being promised a job there. When Ahmad arrived in the kingdom, his sponsor backpedaled on his promise and told him that he had no job for him. As the kingdom’s recently enacted laws require that foreign workers should only work with their sponsors, the man was arrested and asked to pay more money for changing his sponsor.

Yemen to sell its LNG at market prices starting ’14
Gulf Times — 9 September 2013
Yemen will sell its liquefied natural gas (LNG) at global market prices next year after negotiations with its buyers, its oil minister said yesterday. An agreement came out of the negotiations with France’s Total and GDF Suez at the end of 2012 stipulating the sale of LNG at $7.21 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), Ahmed Dares was quoted as saying in state-run newspaper Al Thawra. The previous price of $1.50 per mmBtu will hold until the end of 2013, the paper said.

Yemeni Tribesmen Are Capturing This Endangered Leopard for Money
The Atlantic — 6 September 2013
Until the late 1960s, the Arabian leopard thrived throughout the entire Arabian Peninsula, stalking its arable, mountainous rim, but today the leopard is extinct in almost all of its former territory, including Jordan, the Egyptian Sinai, and the United Arab Emirates. The last two leopards recorded in Saudi Arabia were poisoned in 2007 because of their perceived threat to crops.  And the circumstances for the few remaining in Israel are no better—the half-dozen or so leopards believed to still roam the Negev Highlands are so hemmed in by human development that almost no hope remains for their long-term survival. This leaves the future of this critically endangered species in the hands of just Oman and Yemen. Other than a few scientists and organizations parachuting into Yemen over the years, FPALY is about the only show in town when it comes to Arabian leopard conservation. That means Mohamed and his team are one of the few substantive forces in Yemen keeping the top of the country’s animal food chain from complete extinction.

Poor drainage worsens flooding
Yemen Times — 12 September 2013
Floods have continued to kill scores of people in different governorates, including seven people in Mahweet on Monday. Ali Al-Qaleesi, the security manager of Hufash district in the governorate of Mahweet, told the Yemen Times that the lack of a proper drainage system has exacerbated the problem.

One in custody for cutting Yemen-Djibouti communication wire
Yemen Times — 12 September 2013
One man has been arrested for cutting the Yemen-Djibouti international telecommunication marine cable on Tuesday near the Gold Mohur Cost in the Al-Tawahi district in Aden. A specialized Emirati corporation has been commissioned to repair the cable for $1 million, Al-Faqeeh said.

‘Environmental catastrophe’ looms as street cleaners threaten nationwide strike
Yemen Times — 12 September 2013
Since the beginning of the year, street cleaners in Sana’a have temporarily gone on strike three times, with devastating consequences for the city’s hygiene as trash has accumulated with no one to clean it up. Each time, the government under pressure to keep their streets tidy, have asked the syndicate for more time to figure out the logistics of offering cleaning workers government contracts, including finding a budget for it and compiling lists of all the cleaners.

Roads like ‘bedridden people’
Yemen Times — 12 September 2013
Four months ago, the Capital Secretariat, Sana’a’s governing body, began contracting construction companies to repair neglected roads in Sana’a.  As part of an approximately YR1 billion budget, about $4.7 million, set aside by the city to deal with its crumbling streets.  As a result, considerable repairs were made on Baghdad, Al-Qadesia and Al-Dairi streets. Large sections of the high-traffic streets were ripped up and potholes paved over. For a brief period of time, drivers felt like progress was being made, they were enjoying a smoother ride. Then the rains came, destroying much of the construction work that had been done and highlighting other issues the city has in maintaining its roads.

Abdulelah Haider Shaye:
U.S. relied on dubious court to keep writer jailed
San Francisco Chronicle — 6 September 2013
Amid protests, Saleh quickly decided to pardon Shaye and other journalists convicted at the same time. But after getting a phone call from Obama the day before the scheduled release in February 2011, Saleh, whose government depended heavily on American aid, canceled Shaye’s pardon, and he remained in prison for almost 30 more months. He’s still subject to monitoring and is barred from leaving the capital city, Sanaa, for two years. Reporters Without Borders, one of several international organizations that support Shaye, ranks Yemen 169th among 179 nations for freedom of the press and says Saleh regularly used the antiterrorism court “to arrest his opponents, journalists and activists.” Sherif Mansour, Middle East and North Africa coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, said it has reviewed Shaye’s work and concluded he is a legitimate journalist who is not involved in promoting violence.

Migration:
Welcomes wear thin for Yemen’s displaced
IRIN — 9 September 2013
“It’s uncomfortable for everyone,” said Omar Yahya Fadil, whose family has been displaced by the conflict in northern Yemen. He now lives in cramped quarters in the city of Haradh with his wife and three daughters. They share a modest three-bedroom home with his in-laws and their four boys. “There is no privacy. It’s a shame,” Fadil said. They left their home in neighbouring Sa’dah Governorate for Haradh, in Hajjah Governorate, in July 2008, during the fifth round of fighting between Houthi militants and government forces.

Migrants continue to pour into Yemen from Africa
Yemen Times — 10 September 2013
Recent statistics issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) say that approximately 50,000 African refugees have arrived in Yemen since the beginning of 2013 through the end of July. The breakdown of statistics are roughly 42,000 Ethiopians, 8,000 Somalis and a small minority of refugees from other nations.

Child Marriage:
Yemeni child bride, eight, ‘dies on wedding night’
The Guardian — 11 September 2013
An eight-year-old Yemeni girl has died of internal bleeding on her wedding night after marrying a man five times her age, a social activist and two local residents said, in a case that has caused an outcry in the media and revived debate about child brides. Arwa Othman, head of Yemen‘s House of Folklore and a leading rights campaigner, said the girl, identified only as Rawan, was married to a 40-year-old late last week in the town of Meedi in Hajjah province, north-western Yemen.

Yemen Officials Deny 8-Year-Old Girl Died From Sex With 40-Year-Old Husband: Report
Huffington Post — 11 September 2013
Yemeni officials and journalists are saying the reports that an 8-year-old girl allegedly died of vaginal tearing on her wedding night are false, according to a report in Dubai-based news site Gulf News. “When I heard the rumors [of the girl’s death], I called the girl’s father,” the local director of Criminal Investigation, Mosleh Al Azzani, told Gulf News by telephone on Monday. “He came with his daughter and denied the marriage and death of his daughter. I have the photos of the girl and will show it to anyone.”

Justice:
State Security Forces Torture Victim Denied Justice
Human Rights Watch — 12 September 2013
Al-Sanbare told Human Rights Watch that after he had a dispute with paramilitary Central Security Forces officers on August 25, they beat him severely, breaking his arm. The officers then transferred him to a jail, where they shackled his arms and legs but did not treat his injuries. After his release, the police Criminal Investigation Division (CID) intervened with three public hospitals and a private hospital where he sought treatment for his injuries to keep him from getting a medical examination record of his condition. The case raises both the serious problem of torture in Yemeni detention centers and the government’s efforts to block redress for victims of abuse.

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