Monthly Archives: March 2014

Weekly News Update 28 March 2014

Highlights:
Taiz’s Freedom Square: past its expiration date?
Yemen Times — 27 March 2014
Taiz’s Freedom Square was an epicenter of the 2011 revolution and a fount of national change. But, following the success of the National Dialogue Conference, there have been calls to evict protesters from the square, as has happened in other governorates. Abdulrahman Mohammed Ali, a welder at a workshop near Freedom Square, said, “I have been working here for 15 years but I lost most of my customers following the 2011 revolution. I owe the landlord YR800,000 ($3,720) as well as YR200,000 ($930) for electricity and water bills. I had to lay off six employees because we don’t have enough work.” “I wonder why this square hasn’t been evacuated yet like other squares across the country. What is the benefit of [the protesters] staying here?” asked Ali.

Where Yemen is at: Donor pledges vs. government action
Yemen Times — 25 March 2014
In 2012, Yemen requested assistance from the donor community to cover a deficit of $11.7 billion to fund the Transitional Program for Stability and Development (TPSD) for the years 2012-2014. The same year donors pledged $7.9 billion for the years 2012-2015, more than half coming from GCC countries, to help cover this funding gap. By Jan. 30, 2014 more than 90 percent of these pledges have been allocated, which means they have been reserved by the donors to specific projects in the TPSD. However, it goes downhill from there. Less than 60 percent of the pledged money has been approved by donors to begin the implementation of projects, and only around 35 percent has actually been disbursed.

Districts prefer to join Tehama region
Yemen Times — 25 March 2014
Three districts in Dhammar, 100 km south of the capital, Sana’a, have held several marches to protest their inclusion in the Azal district as decided by the Regions Defining Committee on Feb. 10. The three districts are Ottoma, Wesab Al-Ali, and Wesab Al-Safel. The latter two districts are of called Wesabain, or “two Wesabs”. The Regions Defining Committee created a federal state of six regions, four in the north and two in the south. The demonstrations have been held in Sana’a and Hodeida city. Because there are no direct routes to Dhammar city from any of the three districts, which are in a heavily mountainous area of the country, residents who need legal or other services from the governorate must first travel through Hodeida to get to Dhammar city. Some residents must travel through Hodeida and Ibb governorates, before making it back to Dhammar. Continue reading

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Weekly News Update 20 March 2014

Yemen Times

Yemen Times

Highlights:
Yemen’s quiet president
Al-Jazeera — 2 March 2014
A few days after one of the worst terrorist attacks in their country’s history, Yemenis tuned in to the state broadcaster for reassurance from their president, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi.  Hadi appeared onscreen – in a framed photograph, mounted on the wall behind a spokesman who read out the president’s comments. Sharp-eyed viewers noticed that Hadi, in the picture, and his spokesman, in real life, were wearing identical outfits: a dark blue suit, a crisp white shirt and a thickly knotted silver-blue tie.  For many, the TV no-show summed up Hadi’s presidency to date. Nearly invisible in his previous role as vice president, Hadi has continued to shun the public eye since becoming president two years ago, preferring by and large to let others do the talking instead.

The Popular Committees of Abyan, Yemen: A Necessary Evil or an Opportunity for Security Reform?
Middle East Journal — 5 March 2014
The government needs to take urgent measures to bring the PCs under the purview of the Ministry of Interior and into the police forces. Not only will that prevent the PCs from becoming a problem, but it might also bring about much needed security reforms in a country where a weak central government has often relied on informal structures to face crises and security threats. “There is a great potential for the PCs. They want to be integrated into local police forces, and they will be the best at it. They know their communities, they know the people and the strangers who come in and out in their areas,” said Ahmed Alfadhli, a local tribal and civic leader who was the deputy chief of police in Abyan in the 1960s. “But this has to happen soon. A year from now it might be too late, and things will get out of control.”

Yemen’s National Dialogue
Middle East Institute — 10 March 2014
The difficulties in completing the transitional plan of the Gulf initiative stem in part from the nature of the initiative itself. The Gulf initiative was an agreement between the competing elite factions of the old Saleh regime that had split into warring sides during the “Arab Spring.” The street protests in Yemen were the final straw rather than the force that brought down the Saleh regime. As such, Yemen’s Arab Spring was more an internecine fight between regime elites than a popular revolt that deposed a dictator. Continue reading

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