Army splits that let Yemen’s capital fall augur new risks
Reuters — 27 November 2014
While many details of the surrender of Yemen’s capital by 100,000 Republican Guards to some 5,000 Houthi fighters on Sept. 21 remain murky, the nature of the capitulation bodes ill for President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s fragile grip on power. Home to an al Qaeda branch held responsible by Washington for three attempted bombings of aircraft in the United States, Yemen is close to becoming a failed state, thanks in part to covert maneuvering from its own ousted ruler and Iran. Corruption, internal splits and competing loyalties in the army began before former President Ali Abdullah Saleh was ousted by protests in 2011 and are now reaching a critical stage.
Yemen crisis a boon for people smugglers
IRIN — 20 November 2014
Yemen’s security crisis is leading to a rapid expansion in the people smuggling trade, with thousands of migrants from the Horn of Africa desperate to use the country as a gateway to Saudi Arabia. In September – the most recent month for which statistics have been released – the Nairobi-based Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat (RMMS) reported 12,768 arrivals – predominantly from Ethiopia. It was more than double the figure for September 2013 and represented the single largest monthly influx on record.
Yemen: Civilian Toll of Fighting in Capital
Human Rights Watch — 19 November 2014
The Houthi armed group and the Yemeni armed forces’ Sixth Regional Command appear to have committed violations of the laws of war during fighting in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, from September 17-21, 2014. The government should investigate alleged violations by both sides and appropriately punish those responsible. Human Rights Watch documented six incidents that resulted in the death of one civilian and injuries to 15 others. In two of the incidents, fighters appeared to have unlawfully targeted civilians. In other incidents, two hospitals came under attack. Continue reading
Houthi expansion puts Yemen on edge of civil war
Reuters — 13 November 2014
An advance into Yemen’s Sunni Muslim heartland by Shi’ite Houthi fighters has galvanised support for al Qaeda among some Sunnis, deepening the religious hue of the country’s many conflicts, with potential consequences well beyond its borders. Yemen’s tribal, regional and political divisions were widened by the rapid fall of the capital Sanaa to Houthi fighters on Sept. 21 after weeks of protests against the government and its decision to cut fuel subsidies. “The Houthi expansion has created a sectarian problem,” said Bassam al-Barq, a Sunni Muslim resident of the religiously mixed Sanaa, attending a protest by local activists held every week to demand the Houthis quit the capital.
Yemen’s Proposed Rehabilitation Center Isn’t Making Much Progress
VICE — 13 November 2014
Yemenis make up the majority of detainees cleared for transfer at Guantánamo. Despite their clearance, these 58 men remain imprisoned at least partly due to concerns over whether Yemen is able to safely reintegrate them into society. And although President Obama has made assurances that Yemen is the model for counterterrorism success during his administration, an initiative to build a rehabilitation center to house repatriated Guantánamo detainees from that country is showing little, if any, progress. In August 2013, President Obama and Yemen President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi issued a joint statement saying that both countries would begin a program to “to address the problem of violent extremism within Yemen, which could also facilitate the transfer of Yemeni detainees held at Guantánamo.” Then, in May, President Hadi issued a presidential decree stating that Yemen had established a committee to look into creating a rehabilitation facility to accept Yemeni Guantánamo detainees who had been sent back.
Economists agree: Yemen’s economy risks collapse
Yemen Times — 6 November 2014
Economic experts agree with the statement made earlier this week by Jamal Benomar, the UN Special Envoy to Yemen, who said that Yemen’s economy could collapse if the new government is not formed immediately. Benomar told the AFP news agency on Nov. 2 that many people who are concerned with the Yemeni economy worry “the government might not be able to pay employees by the end of this year.” According to Mustafa Nasr, an economic expert and the head of the Sana’a-based Studies and Economic Media Center, “the Yemeni economy might collapse during the few coming months, which will cause a complete halt in Yemen’s essential services such as health, education, electricity, and water.” Continue reading