Al Qaeda Militants Flow Into Yemen’s Capital
Wall Street Journal — 14 September 2014
Scores of al Qaeda militants have moved into Yemen’s capital San’a in an attempt to exploit swelling political unrest and destabilize the government, officials said. While President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s government is bogged down with protests in the capital by the Houthis—a Shiite Muslim political and militant group—at least 60 al Qaeda militants have slipped in over the past few weeks and joined sleeper cells, according to Yemeni officials.
Houthis’ contradictory path in Sanaa
Al-Monitor — 15 September 2014
The group’s rule represents the worse and most oppressive model of governance, as it runs Saada as a radical religious armed group that bans music, for instance. Pictures taken at Houthi sit-ins show that women are absent. Al-Monitor attended a sit-in on Aug. 30 next to the Interior Ministry, and asked the media officer of the Houthis why no women were present; the answer was that women should stay home. However, at the NDC, the Houthis supported the demands of the women’s movement, including the quota (Houthis supported the demands of women to have a fixed share of political participation). NDC member Thurayya Damaj told Al-Monitor, “The Houthis’ position vis-a-vis women in the capital Sanaa is completely different than their position as a ruling authority in Saada. They supported the quota in Sanaa, but tightened women’s freedoms in Saada governorate by imposing restrictions on their movement and clothing.”
Building a Shared Vision for Economic Reform in Yemen
CIPE — 16 September 2014
The unprecedented level of consultation and input with the private sector, civil society, and political parties ensured a high level of legitimacy and buy-in for reforms. The involvement of the private sector in the National Dialogue is an important achievement because it strengthens the role of business in national policymaking and enables the Yemeni government to tackle mounting economic concerns with a better understanding of the microeconomic conditions in the country. As Yemen enters the next phase of its transition, the private sector will continue to implement reforms through legislative advocacy strengthen the economic platforms of political parties, and directly address concerns identified in the Private Sector Vision. Continue reading
When Yemeni lords were ‘comrades’
Al-Monitor — 3 September 2014
As a result of Saudi Arabia offering financial backing to clan elders, followers of Sayyed Hussein al-Houthi sought Iranian financial backing. And, to confront the militias formed by clan elders, they managed to gain the loyalty of some competing elders. As a result, during the early years of this century, the Houthi movement was transformed into an Islamic political movement to confront Islamic Sunni political movements. It gradually mutated in subsequent years into an armed militia that could face the army in six wars between 2004 and 2010. While most of those who took part in the wars of the Houthi militias were clansmen, a significant part hailed from Hashemite lord families. This indicates that a new [social] class was formed by the latter — a class endowed with social and cultural characteristics that differed from the traditional stereotype of their ancestors, who historically were viewed by other clans as non-aligned and refrained from participating in any fighting.
With its Economy in Freefall, Yemen Secures IMF Lifeline
Wall Street Journal — 3 September 2014
Spurred by a rapidly deteriorating economy, the International Monetary Fund has approved a three-year extended credit facility worth $552 million with Yemen, the impoverished Arab nation that has become a breeding ground for the terrorist group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The lifeline will provide some relief for Yemeni authorities who face a myriad of political and security challenges that continue to drag on the economy. An amount equivalent to about $73.8 million is available for immediate disbursement to Yemen, while the remaining amount will be phased in semi-annual disbursements, subject to six reviews, according to the IMF.
Yemen fuel subsidy cuts hit poor hardest
IRIN — 25 August 2014
In an internal document seen by IRIN, Yemen’s Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MoPIC) estimates that the decision to cut fuel subsidies could lead to an additional 500,000 Yemenis falling under the breadline. More than half Yemen’s population – in excess of 12.5 million people – currently lives in poverty. To prevent such a disastrous situation the government had promised to redirect any savings made from cutting subsidies – which historically benefited the country’s wealthiest people – towards welfare payments for the poorest. Sana’a announced in early August that it would add 250,000 people to the list of those receiving unconditional cash transfers from the Social Welfare Fund (SWF) – the state-run body that organizes the payments – bringing the total number of people covered by the fund to 1.75 million. Individuals would receive quarterly handouts up to YR12,000 ($60). But SWF, which is supported by a number of foreign governments and international institutions including the World Bank, has not made regular payments to its beneficiaries since the beginning of the year, SWF officials confirmed to IRIN. In early August the fund finally made its first payment in 2014, providing people with money that was due in January. Continue reading