Monthly Archives: January 2014

Weekly News Update 17 January 2014

Highlights:
The United States’ bloody messes in Yemen
Washington Post — 14 January 2014
Our president may reassure the United States of his support for drone strikes but the reality is that no leader can legitimately approve the extrajudicial killing of his own citizens. Moreover, he does so in the face of Yemeni consensus. This August, Yemen’s National Dialogue Conference — which President Obama has praised — decided by a 90 percent majority that the use of drones in Yemen should be criminalised. Yemeni legislators are aware that the drone war is deeply unpopular. Since the Dec,. 12 strike, our parliament has unanimously voted to ban drone flights in Yemeni airspace, declaring them a “grave breach” of the country’s sovereignty. For a country so often divided, this unanimity from Yemen’s most representative bodies testifies to the strength of opinion against drones. But their calls have thus far met only with more bombings from the skies. How can the people of Yemen build trust in their fledgling democracy when our collective will is ignored by democracy’s greatest exponent?

Violence in Yemen overshadows National Dialogue
Al-Monitor — 13 January 2014
To many, the proposed solution’s most dangerous element is that it is officially acknowledged that there is one unified southern identity versus a northern one — something that isn’t completely true. Some southern provinces — al-Dhale, for example — are as tribal as provinces in the north. By contrast, the “northern” city of Taiz is far less tribally oriented than most of the south. Furthermore, the proposal divides legislative and executive powers evenly between the south and north — something that many northerners see as inherently undemocratic and contradicting justice, since the north has 75% of Yemen’s population. The president and international community are aiming to bring the Conference of National Dialogue to a belated end through the proposal, but there are many hurdles to arriving at a concrete solution.

Critics say 2014 budget not in line with country’s trajectory
Yemen Times — 16 January 2014
Yemen’s Parliament this week approved a budget of YR2.88 trillion ($13.4 billion) for 2014, about a four percent increase from the 2013’s budget plan, according to the Ministry of Finance. The new budget plan projected an estimated income, from oil revenues and taxes, at around YR2.2 trillion ($10.2 billion), along with a deficit of around YR6.8 billion ($3.16 billion). Other highlights of the budget include the government’s plan to pay YR 2.4 billion ($11.3 million) to the Tribes’ Affairs Authority (monthly salaries for tribal leaders) in 2014. In comparison, the budget projected for Yemen’s Coast Guard Authority is YR 1.6 billion ($7.2 million). Some of are highly critical of the budget seemingly overlooking an institution like the Coast Guard.  Yemen has around 2,000 km. of coastline and often serves as a transit country for smugglers bringing migrants, drugs and weapons into the region. Continue reading

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Weekly News Update 10 January 2014

Highlights:
Tribes attack Yemen pipeline twice in two days
Reuters — 7 January 2014
Tribesmen in the eastern Yemen province of Hadramawt have blown up an oil pipeline for the second time in two days, disrupting an important source of revenue for the impoverished state. The attacks targeted a pipeline with a capacity of 120,000 barrels a day carrying crude from the Masila field, the most important in Yemen, local and tribal officials said. Tuesday’s blast, which caused a fireball that could be seen from several kilometers away, struck in the Wadi Urf area, while Monday’s attack on the same pipeline was in the Sah area. Tensions between tribes in Hadramawt and the government have been running high since early December, when an important chief was killed in a shooting at an army checkpoint, local media have reported.

Yemen: “Historic” document to resolve Southern Issue signed
Asharq Al-Awsat — 9 January 2014
Yemen took a significant step towards a comprehensive settlement on the Southern Issue on Wednesday with the signing of an agreement on political power-sharing between the country’s Northern and Southern regions. During a session attended by Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, representatives of the two regions at the National Dialogue signed a “Just Solution” document, which aims to resolve ongoing issues in the complex and fractious relationship between North and South Yemen. Dr. Mohamed Ali Abu Lahoum, a senior member of the “8+8 Commission” at the National Dialogue’s Southern Issue Working Group, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “It is important to promote trust between all negotiating parties,” confirming that “the ‘Just Solution’ seeks to create trust and confidence between the negotiating parties in Yemen.” While actual details about the document remain scarce, Abu Lahoum said: “There are a number of key points. Over the next five years, the document affirms that there will be a complete 50–50 sharing of power and wealth between the Northerners and Southerners in order to restore trust.”

Former Ruling Party Signs NDC Document
Yemen Times — 9 January 2014
The General People’s Congress (GPC), Yemen’s former ruling party, and the Al-Rashad Union, the Salafi political  party, signed the Southern Issue Solution Document on Wednesday following two weeks of negotiations, according to Yasser Al-Ruainee, the deputy secretary general of the National Dialogue Conference (NDC). The GPC initially refused to sign the document, saying it jeopardized the nation’s unity and placed Yemen under unwanted international influence. Continue reading

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