Al Qaeda has vanished from Yemen!!

March 30, 2015 Leave a comment

Guest Post. Note on terminology “Ousted” is a reference to the deposed dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh a war criminal who was granted immunity by the UN.

Al Qaeda Has Vanished!! By: Mohammed Al Haddar.

One day after the collapse of Abdel Hafiz Al Saqaf, i.e. pro Ousted and Hothies, the Head of Al Amin Al Khas, formerly known as Al Amin Al Markazi, Al Qaeda has launched an attack on Lahij Governorate and destroyed some government buildings and slaughtered a number of army soldiers believed are loyal to Hadia; and the mysterious governor ran away after the People’s Committees (PC) entered Lahij to clean it from terrorists. Days before that Al Qeada attacked some military bases in Shawah Governorate. And in a military base in Shabwah, Al Qaeda let go the head of the base that is loyal to Ousted without hurting him with punch of his subordinates; and confiscated their heavy weapons to Al Baydah!! In addition, they, i.e. Al Qaeda, attacked some areas in Abyan and Hadramout weeks ago and calling others to clean the area and the army from Hothies affiliated groups who carry Iran agenda. Many people thought Al Qaeda is the ONLY and strongest player in South and Hadramout; and the next clashes will be between them in the Eastern part of so called “Republic of Yemen” as Al Qaeda has ideological differences with Hothies which was the main declared reason for Hothies to invade South to clean it from terrorists!!

All of a sudden, the terrorist groups have been vanished in Lahij, Abyan, Shabwah and even in Al Feyoosh, i.e. terrorist sleeping cells in northern Aden at the Green City which is protected by Al Saqaf himself!! And their bluster and threatening to the Hothies went with the wind!! I thought Aden, Lahij, Abyan, Shabwah and Hadramout will be the place of a long term war between so called Al Qaeda and Hothies. Instead PC was taking care of, with the remaining army loyal to Hadi, the invaders to the land of South Arabia. The media outlets of the terrorists, which declared their responsibilities of the past terrorist attacks in Hadramout, South Arabia and Yemen, did not mention anything regarding the recent developments; and not mentioning the disappearance of their activities against the invaders in this time which was very intensive in the past 4 years in South. All we can say they have been vanished because their role is over!! The role to give the new partners of Ousted, i.e. Hothies, the excuse to invade South Arabia and Hadramout and clean it from terrorists is over. But actually the main intention for the new invaders is to share the wealth of Hadramout and South Arabia with the Ousted instead of sharing it with Ali Mohsen and Al Ahmer family.

Now Al Qaeda has vanished, but it could be called up soon again when it has another role to be given by the Ousted especially after the failure of the ousted Malishea and Hothies of capturing Aden. The only way to deal with Al Qaead is by dealing with the Ousted himself.

Brought to you by the same author who gave us, “Brigade 27 Mika (Mechanical) is the Octopus of Smuggling and Terrorism in Hadramout, Yemen”

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Hadi appoints new SCER

October 24, 2012 Leave a comment

On Monday Yemen’s interim president Mansour Abdo Hadi named several judges to the Supreme Commission on Elections and Referendum (SCER).  The SCER is responsible for the technical aspects of elections and has a pivotal role in maintaining or subverting the integrity of elections.

In a meeting that included UN envoy Jamal ben Omar, President Hadi selected “honest and competent” judges, the state news agency SABA reported.

The SCER will oversee Yemen’s next presidential election, scheduled for 2014.

The question of electoral reforms has been the subject of heated dispute among Yemen’s political parties since at least 2003 when parliamentary elections were last held.

Yemen’s ruling party, the General People’s Congress party (GPC) systematically rejected electoral reforms that would diminish its stranglehold on political power, the Parliament and other state apparatus. As a result the GPC and the opposition party alliance, the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) have been politically deadlocked for years on the question of the SCER and other reforms.

It was Parliament’s inability to implement needed electoral reforms that gave rise to the perceived illegitimacy of government and mass demonstrations in 2011 and led in part ultimately the overthrow of Ali Abdullah Saleh, president since 1978, and head of the GPC.

In the run up to the 2006 presidential election, the opposition JMP suggested the SCER be split equally between GPC and JMP loyalists instead of selected by the President.  The partisan division of the SCER was a method deployed following 1990’s unity of North and South Yemen.  In a compromise, two additional members from the opposition were appointed to the SCER.

Saleh’s 2006 re-election was characterized by wide ranging irregularities.  Saleh’s ruling GPC party signed an agreement to implement a range of electoral reforms if the JMP dropped its claims of electoral fraud.  The GPC wanted to cement a veneer of legitimacy on Saleh. The JMP refocused on the 2009 parliamentary election and its goal of a proportional representation system.

The JMP advocated adopting the proportional or list method. The “first past the post” method in place gives advantage to the ruling GPC and established parties in general. In 2003’s parliamentary election, the GPC received 58 per cent of the vote and 238 seats. Candidates of JMP member party, Islah, won 22 per cent of the vote but only 46 seats. The GPC’s parliamentary seats increased from 123 in 1993, to 187 in 1997 and 238 in 2003. The participation of independent candidates and women candidates sharply dropped in each election.

The 2006 agreement on electoral reforms between the GPC and JMP was based on reports from impartial international observers and  included redrawing the imbalanced electoral districts, redefining “domicile” to prevent the transfer of army units into opposition strongholds in order to sway the vote, and revising wildly inaccurate voter rolls.

However the GPC dominated parliament stalled and stonewalled the negotiations, prompting opposition JMP members to boycott parliament several times. Without a modicum of progress  since 2006, Yemen’s 2009 parliamentary election was postponed until April 2011.

Yemen’s Youth Revolution began in January 2011 and called for the overthrow and trial of Yemen’s long ruling military dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh and his entire regime. The protesters rejected both the opposition and ruling parties as corrupt, ineffective and anti-democratic. For months the United States maintained support for Saleh despite atrocities committed against protesters by state security forces.  The US had invested over $300 million in Yemen’s counter-terror forces since 2006 and had little contact with political forces outside Saleh’s family and circle of elites.

In April 2011, Parliament voted itself more time in office, again delaying elections in order to “give political parties a chance to develop the political and democratic system, reshape the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum, and finalize discussions over related issues,” the Yemen Post reported.

By November 2011, ongoing nationwide protests forced Saleh from power under a transition plan devised by the United States and Saudi Arabia under the auspices of the United Nations (UN) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Known as the GCC plan and endorsed by the UN Security Council, the transfer of power in Yemen was based on a guarantee of immunity for Saleh and his cronies. The GCC plan left the ruling regime and its military assets largely intact. Saleh retained his financial assets, thought to be well in excess of $10 billion.

Saleh’s Vice President Abdo Mansour Hadi was nominated as a consensus candidate by both the ruling GPC and opposition JMP. Hadi was the sole candidate in a February 2012 presidential “election” that saw a 65% turn-out.

The electoral reforms stalled since 2006 were not an issue during the 2012 presidential election, as the winner was pre-determined,  but any unresolved issues certainly will come into play in 2014 when President Hadi’s term expires.

By dividing the interim government between Saleh’s GPC party and the JMP, the transition plan artificially empowered Yemen’s opposition parties, especially the Islamic Reform Party, Islah which dominates the JMP.

A report detailing President Hadi’s 220 new appointments alleges they were selected based on party affiliation and political loyalty, not merit, competence or ability.

Saleh remains active in Yemeni politics as head of the GPC party.  Saleh is also thought responsible for militias and terrorists who  are undermining the Yemeni security with violence directed against persons and infrastructure.

Mass protests continue in Yemen calling for the ouster of Saleh’s relatives and loyalists who remain as military commanders and in other high ranking positions.  Other demands include overturning the immunity deal, and trying Saleh for mass corruption, and the deaths of protesters during the revolution and for war crimes prior to 2011.

Hadi’s government is gearing up to hold a national dialog in November, bringing in disenfranchised groups including southern secessionists and northern rebels.

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High risk US embassy in Yemen gets Marine reinforcements as protests continue

September 19, 2012 Leave a comment

High risk US embassy in Yemen gets Marine reinforcements as protests continue
by Jane Novak

An elite Marine rapid response team arrived in Yemen’s capital to protect the US embassy there which remains vulnerable and in disrepair following a mob attack this week.

Protests against a video clip deeply insulting to Muslims turned violent Wednesday when several hundred protesters in Sana’a breached the US embassy’s exterior parameter, burned 61 cars, looted computers and destroyed other property including the gate surrounding the compound.

View slideshow: Mob attacks US Embassy, Sanaa

The 14 minute video clip was uploaded to Youtube by a man in California two months ago. Its existence became public knowledge in Yemen following the murder of US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and prompted the attack on the embassy, wide spread US flag burning and chants of “Death to America” as protests continued this week across Yemen.

News of the Marine’s deployment “enraged” Yemenis already in a heightened state of emotionalism, the Yemen Observer reported. About 50 Marines are reported to have been deployed.

Many Yemenis are unaware that the US Constitution specifically prohibits governmental infringement on religious speech and are hoping the US will arrest the film maker as could occur in a dictatorship. A substantial majority however consider the mob violence more insulting to Islam than the video.

President Abdu Mansour Hadi said in a statement that he “extends his sincere apologies to President Obama and to the people of the United States of America” for the attack.

US Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein, a highly controversial figure, said in a statement today that the deployment would be short lived and limited to the embassy grounds. Ambassador Feierstein said, “The only task of these individuals to provide assistance in our diplomatic facilities and protect American diplomats from violence, and is a temporary assignment…”

High Risk Embassy

The United States Embassy in Yemen is at especially high risk for a terrorist attack.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) previously attacked the US Embassy in Sana’a in September 2008 in a complex attack that killed four innocent bystanders including one Yemeni-American, as well as 10 Yemeni security personnel. AQAP is the most dangerous and active offshoot of al Qaeda.

The fanatical AQAP group was later responsible for the attempted murder of Saudi Prince Naif with the high explosive pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) in August 2009, and the attempted bombing of an airliner over Detroit in December 2009, also with PETN. In October 2010, AQAP shipped toner cartridges rigged with PETN on a cargo plane headed for the US.

In Yemen, AQAP derailed the 2011 Youth Revolution and seized territory—facilitated by military commanders loyal to the former dictator, Ali Saleh. The city of Zinjibar, capital of Abyan province, was looted, and destroyed. It became a ghost town as residents fled the al Qaeda occupation for the relative safety of Aden. Al Qaeda was driven underground in June of this year, reappearing in cells in the capital as well as other governorates. The group left behind hundreds of land mines in Zinjibar.

The al Qaeda group in Yemen is engaged in a long running assassination campaign targeting a wide variety of Yemenis, most frequently members of the security forces and intelligence and high profile members of the Yemeni Transitional Government.

On Saturday, AQAP praised the 9/11 murder of US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, as al Qaeda retribution for the June death of terrorist leader Abu Yahya al Libi in a US drone strike in Pakistan. “The killing of Sheikh Abu Yahya only increased the enthusiasm and determination of the sons of (Libyan independence hero) Omar al-Mokhtar to take revenge upon those who attack our Prophet,” Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula said as quoted by the US-based monitoring group, SITE.

President Abdu Mansour Hadi said the attack on the US embassy in Sana’a was an attempt to derail his visit to Washington DC later this month. He also pointed to divisions within the security forces; loyalists and relatives of the former dictator remain in their government posts. A Youtube video shows Yemeni security officers waved protesters past a checkpoint leading to the US embassy Wednesday.

The interim president, Mr. Hadi is facing substantial challenges seven months into his term. The US sponsored transition plan for Yemen grants the former oligarchy including Ali Saleh immunity from prosecution for its decades of war crimes prior to and during Yemen’s year-long uprising demanding regime change.

Rewriting international law

The protests across Yemen may point to a deeper frustration as many of the Youth Revolutionaries believe their path to democracy was highjacked by political leaders, AQAP and the international community.

Mr. Hadi was Mr. Saleh’s Vice President and was elected in a single candidate election on February 24, 2012 as part of the transition plan endorsed by the US, Saudi Arabia and the UN Security Council and brokered by UN envoy Jamal Omar. The immunity clause represents a significant departure from established international law on crimes against humanity.

The US has rejected the revolutionaries’ continuous appeals to freeze Saleh’s US assets, and Ambassador Feierstein supports Ali Saleh’s continued political activities as head of the ruling party. Youth protesters have called for Saleh’s exile or arrest since the transition plan was announced. Protests against Mr. Feierstein’s role in the Yemeni transition garnered hundreds of thousands since the revolution began. Other protests against the US use of drones to target al Qaeda have erupted after civilian loses. An errant air strike earlier this month killed 14 civilians in a minibus, including three women and three children, the Yemeni government said.

Less well publicized than the protest at the embassy were protests last week against terrorism, assassinations and the former president’s continued disruption of the political transition. Protesters called for President Hadi to “sack the rest” of the former president’s relatives who remain in their posts.

The protest against terrorism and Saleh, which is Yemen is often the same thing, followed a spate of assassination attempts on members of the transitional government. A car bomb in Sanaa targeted Yemen’s defense minister last Tuesday killing 12, The minister was unharmed.

Across the great divide

Many Yemenis who heard about an offensive video erroneously thought it was a movie being shown in theaters, when it is a low budget 14 minute Youtube clip. A second URL on Youtube that purports to be the entire movie is the 14 minute clip looped four times.

The video was posted to Youtube two months ago and had garnered 4000 views. In the week since riots began across the Middle East, the videos received over 10 million views from across the globe.

In discussions, many Yemenis are unaware that the United States was founded by religious dissidents and minorities seeking to ensure, above all, religious freedom. Many believe Germany’s law criminalizing Holocaust denial is actually a US law.

While acknowledging the importance of a free speech in countering government corruption and in areas of art and science, others argue for an exemption in US law for insults against Islam and other “people of the book”, ignorant of the vast multiplicity of religions in America and of the US constitutional requirement of equal rights for citizens.

Some prominent religious leaders are using the offensive video and the Marines’ deployment to Sanaa to stoke fears of a US military occupation, including religious leaders who regularly engage in Taqfirism- ie, the practice of labeling other Muslims as apostates and those who call Shia Muslims “Rawafidh” or rejectionists of the true Islam.

Others like former Endowments Minster Hamoud al Hittar rejected the attack on the US embassy in Sana’s in religious terms saying, “Personnel of these missions are covenanters, whose bloods and money are forbidden and should not be attacked, and those who live in our country have nothing to do with this film.”

Suggested by the author:

US lifts Yemen arms embargo before military restructuring
Yemeni security forces open fire on The Life March
Yemen, the long march toward justice
Yemen’s counter-terror chief accused of atrocities
US, Saudi meddling drives Yemen protesters to boycott

Jane @

Categories: News Articles

State Department ends Yemen arms embargo

July 22, 2012 1 comment

Without much fanfare or explanation, the US State Department revised its defense export policy on Yemen and will now consider applications for licenses to export lethal defense articles to Yemen.

The July 3, 2012 Federal Register notice updates the US International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and lifts the “presumption of denial” that had been in place since 1992.

In an earlier opening to US-based military contractors and suppliers, the ITAR was revised in August 2011 to allow the export of non-lethal defense articles and services to Yemen.

In the latest ITAR update, the State Department asserted that lifting the embargo would enhance US national security and that, “Yemen has taken important steps to stabilize the country, including holding successful presidential elections in February 2012.”

Post-revolution Yemen

The 33-year military dictatorship of Field Marshall Ali Abdullah Saleh came to an end following a year of nationwide, massive street demonstrations demanding complete regime change. Hundreds of unarmed citizens were killed and over ten thousand wounded as Yemen’s armed forces, headed by Saleh’s relatives, tried to shoot, bomb and burn the protesters into submission.

Saleh and his regime, notorious for brutality and grand corruption, received immunity under a US and Saudi sponsored deal in exchange for Saleh’s resignation. Despite ample evidence of war crimes and mass financial malfeasance prior to and during the Yemeni revolution, Saleh was neither exiled nor sanctioned. There has been no accounting for the billions stolen from the Yemeni treasury. The US maintains that Saleh is an esteemed leader, welcomed on the political scene.

With 10 million registered voters in Yemen, 6.6 million voted in February’s single candidate election for Saleh’s vice president, Abdu Mansour Hadi. As president, Hadi has achieved significant gains against al Qaeda following decades of Saleh’s appeasement and manipulation of the fanatical group.

However Saleh loyalists continue to thwart progress in Yemen administratively and through covert acts like bombing oil pipelines and a new round of al Qaeda jailbreaks. Saleh’s paid pens launched a smear campaign against the new Human Rights Minister, Hooria Mansour, prompted her boycott of cabinet meetings.

Among the many challenges Hadi faces, the most urgent is child starvation. More than one million Yemeni children are acutely malnourished and 60% suffer from chronic malnutrition, UNICEF said this week. Yemen is also facing a devastating water shortage and 70% of citizens have no access to healthcare.

Following the revolution, Yemenis remain largely fragmented and at odds, with many groups and individuals jostling to achieve narrow interests and goals. The lack of communications infrastructure and political experience means that rival groups and former opponents have yet to form a national consensus that the starving children are the nation’s top priority. Saleh’s overthrow has not yet shifted the balance of power between the citizenry and the elite, but instead instead resulted in a partial and ongoing re-shuffle of elites.

As a result, protests across the nation have continued following the election, demanding the removal of Saleh’s son Ahmed Saleh, commander of the Special Forces, and Saleh’s nephew Yahya Saleh, commander of the Central Security. The pair are the primary conduits of US counter-terror efforts and recipients of US CT funds and equipment. Ahmed Saleh is reported to own four condos in Washington, D.C. for which he paid over five million dollars, in cash.

Continuing US loyalty to Saleh’s relatives baffles and frustrates Yemenis. Nobel Laureate Tawakkol Karman recently stated, “I cannot believe the US didn’t know of Saleh’s relationship to al Qaeda.” Karman also described ousted president Ali Saleh as “the real hand” behind al Qaeda.

Judge Hamoud al Hittar was Minister of Endowments and spearheaded Yemen’s earlier efforts to reform imprisoned al Qaeda operatives through dialog and Koranic debate. He resigned the Ministry in 2011 following regime excesses during the revolution. Al Hittar recently described Ansar al Sharia, the extremist group that occupied several southern towns until Hadi’s election, as a blend of al Qaeda operatives, Saleh loyalists and those with local grievances. He also said that “some relatives of Saleh personally contacted with Al-Qaeda operatives and hampered the completion of investigation on the case of USS Cole.” Many have warned of the nexus between Saleh’s mafia and al Qaeda.

In June 2012, President Obama notified Congress of direct US military actions in Yemen, as required by the 1973 War Powers Resolution, stating “The U.S. military has also been working closely with the Yemeni government to operationally dismantle and ultimately eliminate the terrorist threat posed by al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the most active and dangerous affiliate of al-Qa’ida today. Our joint efforts have resulted in direct action against a limited number of AQAP operatives and senior leaders in that country who posed a terrorist threat to the United States and our interests.”

In addition to the State Department’s July 3 move to open the floodgates for arms and contractors, the Pentagon announced that it will resume shipments of about $112 million in weapons and equipment for counter-terrorism operations, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta wrote to congressional defense committees on July 5.

Yemen received $252 million in counter-terror funding through mid 2010. Shipments were later suspended after state forces, including the Air Force and units commanded by Ahmed and Yahya Saleh, turned their weapons against protesters.

US humanitarian and development aid to Yemen is expected to top $175 million this year.

The faulty Blue Lantern

Yemeni protesters and elites and US officials all consider the restructuring of the Yemeni military and security forces as a top priority. However the phrase has differing meanings to each group. For Yemenis “restructuring” means decommissioning Saleh’s relatives; to the US it means arming them.

Additionally, many in Yemen and the US have valid concerns about the US ability to effectively monitor US military shipments to Yemen. US embassy personnel have had difficulty in conducting “Blue Lantern” spot checks on US supplied weapons as far back as 2004, according to one Wikileaks cable.

As a result, in July 2008, the first-ever bilateral agreement between the Yemeni and American armed forces was concluded. In a press release posted to the website of the US embassy in Sana’a, then Ambassador Seche said the End Use Monitoring Agreement (EUMA) for U.S-sponsored military and security assistance would prevent “the misuse or illicit transfer of these items and service.” The press release and all references to the 2008 EUMA have since been deleted from the US embassy’s website.

Despite the EUMA, in 2009 US trained counter-terror units and US supplied equipment were routinely diverted to internal armed conflicts in northern Yemen, according to diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks. “In the cables, US diplomats complain that their requests for Yemen to halt such diversions were having little effect,” Human Rights Watch remarked in calling for an investigation into counter-terrorism assistance to Yemen.

A January 2010 report issued by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations found that some weapons shipped to the Yemeni military could not be accounted for and that the Yemeni military was “likely” diverting US counter terror assistance to wage war against their own citizens in the north. The Foreign Relations Committee’s fact finding mission further expressed uncertainty that US Embassy personnel fully understood what the EUMA required. The report noted,

This potential misuse of security assistance underscores the importance of enhancing the current (2008) end-use monitoring regime for U.S.-provided equipment. Indeed, the existing end-use monitoring protocols in place have revealed discrepancies between U.S. records of security assistance and those that are in the possession of Yemeni defense forces.

At a House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting on Yemen a month later, Member Ron Klein (D-FL) noted, “The worst thing we can have for our country, and our troops, and our interests over there is to find that U.S. weapons are being used against us.”

In response, Jeffery Feltman, Assistant Secretary of State assured the committee that, “We’re very aware of the human — of a poor human rights record in Yemen. We’re very aware of the fact that the country is awash in a black — in a black market on weapons. So these factors very much play into how we do the monitoring.”

In December 2010, Human Rights Watch urged the US to “investigate Yemen’s apparent diversion of US counterterrorism assistance to an abusive military campaign unrelated to terrorist threats and suspend such aid unless the misuse has stopped.” However, US support was only curtailed in mid-2011 when such abuses occurred in the full glare of the western media attending the popular uprising against Saleh’s regime.

Fanning the fire

The impending influx of private contractors and private weapons sales to a variety of end users in Yemen permitted under the latest ITAR revision magnify concerns about the diversion of US supplied weapons onto the Yemeni black market and their use against civilians and for political ends

With the loyalty of some units in the military and security services, and vast chunks of the state bureaucracies, lying with former President Saleh and other competing commanders, President Hadi’s task of wresting control of the state from al Qaeda and private militias is daunting.

The ITAR’s revision in its policy on Yemen may arise from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s vision for a State Department that actively prevents low intensity conflicts. In a speech at a military trade show, Ms Clinton cited US intervention in Yemen as an example of her vision of a more integrated and effective nexus between foreign partners, US diplomats and Special Forces, the Danger Room reports.

The State Department has stood up a new bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, which Clinton said “is working to put into practice lessons learned over the past decade and institutionalize a civilian surge capacity to deal with crises and hotspots.” Together, Special Operations Forces and State’s new Conflict Bureau are the twin arms of an expanding institution for waging small, low-intensity shadow wars all over the world.

But rumor has it Clinton’s vision has its detractors — and that its implementation in hotspots such as Yemen and Congo has made some Special Operations Forces officers very unhappy. In Yemen, in particular, some commando officers look upon the State Department’s expanding shadow-war powers as a bureaucratic intrusion on what should be military territory. A source tells Danger Room that in Yemen State has effectively hijacked all U.S. counter-terrorism funding, requiring a labyrinthine approval process for even small expenditures. According to detractors, the funding control is a way of cementing State’s expansion into the Special Operations Forces traditional remit.

The introduction of private defense contractors and commercial weapons vendors to Yemen in an effort to stabilize the state, enhance its reach and thwart al Qaeda carries both potential risk and reward. With the US’s proven inability to keep track of prior military shipments, the revision of the ITAR has the potential to inflame low intensity conflicts already underway. Many of Yemen’s internal disputes have deep roots and long histories; others are a result of the reconfigurations that occurred during and after the 2011 Yemen Revolution.

At the same time the Yemeni military and security services are sorely in need of re-organization, training, standardized methods and modern equipment. A strong legal framework including respect for civil and human rights, and the rights of the soldiers themselves, needs be introduced from the top down and the bottom up. An impartial body in Yemen should also provide oversight and limitations on imports allowed by the revised US ITAR.

Yemeni service men and women, police and security officers, are in the cross hairs of al Qaeda with assassinations and suicide bombers targeting them nearly daily. And like other sectors of the ravaged and dysfunctional Yemen state, the military and security services could benefit from international aid and support. But the focus of the US State Department must remain on creating an effective and cohesive national force that serves all the Yemeni people and not only urgent US counter-terror interests.

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Yemen’s Al-Qaeda booby traps southern city, 25 dead

June 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Several children were among 25 people killed by land mines planted as al Qaeda fled Yemen’s southern province of Abyan, the Yemen Executive Mine Action Center (YEMAC) said on Sunday.

Reporting to Abyan’s governor, the YEMAC said it had cleared or exploded over 2100 shells and mines since June 13, the day after al Qaeda’s retreat from strongholds in Abyan. Several hundred mines remain active and the de-mining group is urging public caution.

A local Sheikh in Zinjibar said the terrorists had sown explosives throughout the city’s main streets, and warned against early repatriation of tens of thousands of residents displaced by al-Qaeda’s year long occupation of the provincial capital.

The fanatical group had operated in Abyan under the brand Ansar al Sharia, or Supporters of Sharia, in order to distance itself from negative public perception Yemen’s al Qaeda affiliate, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

Also on Sunday Yemeni authorities announced they had reclaimed control of the town of Azzan in neighboring Shabwa province. It was the latest in a series of successes against AQAP under President Mansour Hadi who assumed office in February after a year of nationwide protests against the 33 year military dictatorship of Ali Saleh.

The Saleh regime long exploited the al Qaeda threat to elicit aid from the US and Saudi Arabia. At times, members of the former regime provided material support to al Qaeda despite hundreds of millions in counter-terror aid from the United States. These ties continue to hamper efforts to reassert state control and provide security to the public.

In May the perpetrator of an attack that killed 98 soldiers was found to be a member of the Central Security, commanded by Ali Saleh’s nephew, Yahya Saleh, military officials said. One analyst called it, “one desperate attempt by both al-Qaida and Saleh’s regime to survive.” Yahya Saleh was demoted following the attack.

In June, a senior military commander Major Ali Salem Qatan was murdered by a suicide bomber in Aden where the general has been orchestrating the military campaign against the al Qaeda franchise.

Qatan had been appointed by President Hadi in March, replacing Maj. Gen. Mahdi al-Magwala who was often accused of collusion with the militants. Yemeni authorities later arrested Sami Dhayan in connection with the attack. A jihaddist mercenary ties to the Saleh regime, Dhayan along with two others was captured in possession of explosives and suicide vests.

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Yemen’s al Qaeda threatens to execute 73 hostages

April 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Al Qaeda in Yemen threatened to execute 73 captured Yemeni soldiers unless the terror group’s imprisoned comrades are released.

“Executing prisoners is a serious violation of the laws of war and a war crime,” Human Rights Watch said in a statement today. “It is also a war crime to use detainees as hostages by threatening to kill or otherwise harm them to compel another party to do or abstain from any act.”

The rights group is calling on the militants to end the threat to kill their prisoners.

The ultimatum came on April 23, 2012 in posters distributed by “Ansar al Sharia” (Supporters of Sharia) in Abyan, Southern Yemen where al Qaeda has occupied several towns for nearly a year.

The hostages will be executed in groups of ten beginning April 30 unless the state agrees to swap al Qaeda prisoners for the soldiers.

The Yemeni soldiers were captured in early March as government forces battled the insurgents for control of Zinjibar, the provincial capital of Abyan. The terror group subsequently displayed the hostages in several propaganda videos.

Yemeni al Qaeda operatives rebranded themselves as Ansar al Sharia in order to distance themselves from their reputation as mercenaries for the former regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh. Last week, a member of the Yemeni military was suspended for arming the al Qaeda group with hundreds of artillery shells.

Military commanders loyal to ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh have been accused of colluding with al Qaeda since the group overran Zinjibar in May 2010. On Friday, a military commander was suspended on suspicion of providing 410 artillery shells to the Ansar al Sharia group for use against the Yemeni army.

The Yemen Times reports the commander’s goal in supporting al Qaeda is, “terrorizing the West, so it would see Saleh’s departure as synonymous with insecurity in Yemen.”

Ansar al Sharia imposed a strict and often brutal interpretation of Sharia law during the Yemeni revolution while Yemen’s counter-terror forces focused their efforts against Yemeni protesters demanding regime change, civil rights and accountability.

In February, after a year of protests, Vice President Abdo Mansour Hadi was sworn in as president, after a single candidate election, ending Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 33 year dictatorship.

Al Qaeda in Yemen committed a vast array of crimes against Yemeni citizens during its brutal occupation of Zinjibar, Jarr and other towns in Abyan. The terror group executed several citizens including a female traditional healer who was condemned as a witch. Several of these summary executions were videotaped and uploaded to Youtube.

Three suspected Saudi spies were also executed; their corpses were crucified and hung with signs warning against cooperation with Yemeni authorities. Al Qaeda in Yemen also banned satellite television and newspapers that promote human rights, reform and political participation.

Human Rights Watch documentation of abuses by the militants in areas they control includes floggings, amputations, and other harsh enforcement of Sharia law.

Over 100,000 Yemeni citizens fled their homes as al Qaeda used civilians in Abyan as human shields. Many too poor to flee are caught between al Qaeda’s tyranny and US drone strikes.

Ali Abdullah Saleh was coaxed from office after 33 years in power with a guarantee of immunity for war crimes and corruption spanning decades. US officials had hoped to retain Saleh’s relatives in key positions in the counter-terror units.

Yemen’s current president Abo Mansour Hadi is facing difficulty purging Saleh’s relatives from leadership positions. Saleh’s half brother refused to relinquish control of the Air Force for two weeks after he was officially replaced as commander.

FBI director Robert Mueller was in Yemen this week and pledged continuing US support for Yemeni efforts against al Qaeda.

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Obama’s strategic blunder in Yemen may shield Al Qaeda from prosecution

January 9, 2012 Leave a comment

A law passed by Yemen’s cabinet on Sunday provides blanket immunity to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and all those who served in his governments over the last 33 years. One unintended consequence may be to also immunize those al Qaeda operatives on the payroll of the Yemeni military and security services.

The law grants immunity to Saleh “and whoever worked with him in all the state’s civil, military and security apparatus and organizations during the period of his rule.” The US has pushed for the transition plan since May despite broad public rejection of the immunity clause.

Yemeni military commanders including those now in the opposition are thought be complicit in a range of terror attacks, in addition to a long standing pattern of facilitating al Qaeda. Many al Qaeda operatives who draw a state salary would be covered under the immunity deal.

As one example, former Interior Minister Hussain Arab issued an official travel permit to Abdel Rahman al Nashiri in 2000, covering the period of the USS Cole attack that killed 17 US service members. Not only would the law absolve Mr. Arab of any complicity in the al Qaeda attack, it may also absolve Mr. al Nashiri.

If Al Nashiri, who is currently scheduled for trial at Guantanamo Bay, can produce witnesses to the involvement of Yemeni government officials in the attack, the Obama administration will be placed in the uncomfortable position of having lobbied for immunity for al Qaeda operatives who attacked a US war ship.

Similarly another Yemeni detainee with demonstrated foreknowledge of the 9/11 attack in New York had been employed by the Yemeni Political Security Organization prior to his capture in Egypt.

Yemeni officials have openly admitted to paying al Qaeda operatives’ salaries, purportedly as informants or to keep them out of trouble. Some of those currently partaking in the al Qaeda occupation of Abyan have been found with identity cards from the National Security.

Yemeni activists have long asserted that the state uses al Qaeda to attack its enemies and threaten the international community. Al Qaeda targeted and killed several foreign nationals in Yemen since 2007 including aid workers from Germany, Britain and South Korea as well as tourists from Spain, South Korea and Belgium. Yemeni officials have stated that al Qaeda is able to obtain intelligence from the security services as a matter of corruption rather than ideology.

The law, which will be presented for parliament’s approval within coming days, also covers those government officials guilty of massive corruption and embezzlement, the primary cause of Yemen’s staggering illiteracy and malnutrition rates. Members of the presidential family are thought to have deposited millions abroad.

State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland termed the immunity clause “useful” if it encourages “the strongman to leave the stage.”

Hundreds of protesters were killed by security forces, many by sniper shots to the head, since protests began in February 2011 demanding regime change. The killings continued unabated even after Saleh signed the power transfer deal in November.

Saleh supporters and security forces have attacked numerous journalists RSF reported since the departure plan was signed. Calling December 2011 “a particularly black month,” Reporters Without Borders firmly condemned the continuing violations and urged the international community to intercede.

Yemeni protesters largely reject the US backed transition plan because of the immunity clause. Protests calling for Saleh’s trial continue in nearly every governorate.

The UN Security Council endorsed the agreement, which was ironed out by UN envoy, Jamal Benomar. However, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, issued a statement last week asserting that the plan is illegal under international law,

“I have been closely following the events in Yemen, particularly the very contentious debate about an amnesty law to be presented to Parliament shortly,” the High Commissioner said.

“International law and the UN policy are clear on the matter: amnesties are not permissible if they prevent the prosecution of individuals who may be criminally responsible for international crimes including war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and gross violations of human rights.”

Probable war crimes committed during the Saada war (2005-2010) include the “Scorched Earth” campaign during the sixth round of war, 2009-2010, when the Yemeni air force repeatedly bombed civilian villages, refugee camps and vital infrastructure. Saudi air support was responsible for bombing a Yemeni hospital, which Saudi authorities called “a mistake” in conversations to US officials, according to a Wikileaks document. The deliberate denial of humanitarian aid and a pattern of mass nationwide arrests are also thought to have contravened international law.

Another pattern of systematic abuse with regard to southern protesters since 2007 is well documented.

The transition plan, although forwarded by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), is the brain child of President Obama’s counter-terror adviser, John Brennan and US ambassador to Yemen, Gerald Feierstein.

The Wall Street Journal revealed last week that Mr. Brennan was “pissed” when it became apparent that President Saleh had orchestrated a hit on a political rival, via US drone, by feeding false intelligence to the US. The incident in May 2010 killed the deputy governor of Marib, Jabir Shabwani. Observers questioned Mr. Brennan’s gullibility considering Saleh’s quite long and extensive history of repeatedly duping the US on counter-terror issues.

Yemenis have held several protests calling for the expulsion of US Ambassador Feierstein after he disparaged a 170 mile march from Taiz to Sana’a, held to underscore public rejection of the amnesty deal. Ambassador Feierstein said the marchers were trying to provoke chaos and thus not inherently peaceful. When state forces killed 11 marchers later in the day, Yemenis charged that the US had given the Saleh regime the green light to murder as well as provided the amnesty afterward.

Over several months, US diplomats have pushed hard for the immunity deal as a way to ease Saleh out of office; however Saleh has outplayed the US at every turn. The aged dictator shows no real intention of giving up power and continues to operate on the political scene through proxies in the unity government.

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Former Yemen president’s intended US trip outrages USS Cole family

December 29, 2011 Leave a comment

As pressure builds on the Obama administration to deny a diplomatic visa to ousted Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, the family of a sailor killed in the al Qaeda attack on the USS Cole urged that Saleh be denied entry to the United States.

In a public plea, Gary and Deborah Swenchonis are calling on US officials to “do the right thing” in light of Saleh’s “ruthless behavior” toward both his own people and the sailors aboard the USS Cole when it was attacked.

“If Saleh was allowed to come here to America, it would be just another insult in a long line of insults to the murdered sailors, those wounded, and those sailors who fought so hard and so long to keep the Cole afloat, and to bring her back home. And not to mention all the other Americans who could never understand why our own government continued to befriend Saleh in light of how he helped the plotters of the Cole Attack in which 17 American sailors were murdered, and 39 more wounded.”

Their son Gary Swenchonis Jr. was a fireman aboard the USS Cole and among those US service members killed in October 2000 when al Qaeda operatives detonated a bomb alongside the warship as it was refueling in the Port of Aden.

The Swenchonis family notes that through several administrations, the US government has never held Saleh to account for his part in obstructing the USS Cole investigation, allowing the terrorists to repeatedly escape justice or in facilitating the attack itself.

Like other aggrieved parties including torture victims, the Swenchonis family vowed to use “every legal option at our disposal to make him stand trial in a civil court” should Saleh find refuge in the United States.

Saleh said last week that he intended to go into ”temporary exile” in the United States.

“I will go to the United States. Not for treatment, because I’m fine, but to get away from attention, cameras, and allow the unity government to prepare properly for elections,” he was reported as saying. The statement came hours after nine protesters were killed by Yemeni security forces. Other reports said the former president will seek treatment in the US for injuries sustained in a June bombing at the presidential palace.

The New York based Center for Constitutional Rights said yesterday that it is also considering filing a civil suit against Saleh for human rights abuses he committed since demonstrations demanding regime change began in February. Thousands were killed or wounded when Yemeni security forces, headed by Saleh’s relatives, opened fire on protesters.

The most recent fatalities came after thousands participated in “The Life March.” Protesters journeyed on foot 170 miles from the southern province of Taiz to the capital Sana’a to underscore public rejection of a US sponsored deal that grants Saleh immunity from prosecution in return for his resignation, tendered in November.

A third group considering legal action includes Yemeni Americans tortured while in Yemeni jail for political activity against the regime prior to the outbreak of protests.

The Swenchonis family noted that democracy minded Yemenis “cannot understand our government’s continued infatuation with Saleh of Yemen. The more our government continues to protect this murderer, his family, and his government, the more difficult it will be to gain these peoples’ trust. The Yemeni people have a right to make Saleh stand trial for all of his crimes. And we hope that Saleh will actually have to face the consequences of his actions towards them and his country.”

“We as citizens of this country do not believe that we as a nation should provide a safe haven for a man who has ordered the murder and torture of his own citizens, who had journalists arrested, tortured and imprisoned because they reported on the crimes and corruptions of his regime.”

President Obama assigned his counter-terror advisor, John Brennan, the leading role in US policy in Yemen, which is centered on the continuity of counter-terror efforts, leading to a wide disconnect with the Yemeni public.

Hours before the latest fatalities in Yemen, US Ambassador Gerald Feierstein said that the Life March although unarmed was not peaceful because it was intended to create chaos and provoke the security forces. The remarks, which appear to blame the protesters for their own deaths, infuriated many and organized efforts are underway demanding the ambassador’s expulsion.

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Yemeni security forces open fire on The Life March

December 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Participants in the Life March from Taiz to Yemen‘s capital Sana’a report that they are currently under gunfire. State security forces are also deploying water cannons, tear gas and batons.

About ten thousand are participating in the march which calls for President Ali Abdullah Saleh and other members of his regime to face trial for numerous massacres and other crimes committed by state security forces against protesters. .

After a trek of 170 miles, the procession was attacked by Central Security forces at it approached Sana’a Change Square, the center of Yemen’s Jasmine Revolution.

Several of the wounded were transported to the protesters’ field hospital in the square. However security forces are blocking ambulances from reaching many of injured bleeding out in the streets.
So far, medics have confirmed one fatality, but the number may rise as state violence is ongoing. Other reports indicate six were killed in the unprovoked attack.
CNN’s Mohammed Jamjoon reported on twitter that one protester said, “Everyone here is screaming, blood and tear gas everywhere..It’s a warzone out here.”
The march set out from Taiz on Tuesday to highlight public rejection of a UN sanctioned transition plan that offers President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his regime immunity from prosecution for crimes against the citizenry, including decades of mass corruption and assaults on protesters that resulted in thousands of deaths and injuries since February.

The six nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) devised the transition plan, which was roundly and repeatedly rejected by Yemenis since its proposal in April. However the US, EU and Saudi Arabia support the blueprint as a mechanism to restore stability.

The UN Security Council in a press statement on Friday expressed its endorsement of the plan saying, “The members of the Security Council reiterated their call that the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative and implementation mechanism must be implemented in a transparent and timely manner.”
Beyond the immunity clause, Yemeni protesters also dispute the authenticity of the transition of power that is said to have occurred when Saleh’s Vice President assumed some executive authority. The protest movement rather uniformly sees the unity government is an extension of the long reigning Saleh military dictatorship and compromised “opposition” party leaders.

Re-branding the the regime will do little to address the multiple crises Yemen is facing as the underlying cause is the Saleh regime itself, activists allege. Today’s violence is an indication that little has changed despite international pronouncements to the contrary..

“These GCC states are not at all competent to deal with popular requests for liberty and freedom, not to mention democratic government, because they themselves are mostly despotic regimes,” observed Yemen’s Coordinating Council of the Youth Revolution of Change (CCYRC). “They themselves would never welcome such requests from their own people, let alone be ready to accommodate such demands by people in neighboring states.”

The Obama administration’s insistence in retaining elements of the Saleh administration and security forces has thwarted the regime change demanded by millions and allowed al Qaeda to flourish in southern towns. Although US counter-terror efforts have had more latitude to operate since protests began, the Saleh regime and al Qaeda have long had a symbiotic relationship.

Reports issued one hour into the attack confirmed seven dead from gun shot wounds and eighty-eight injured.

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Yemen, the long march toward justice

December 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Yemen’s opposition party coalition, the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), announced Tuesday that it would support a US approved consensus candidate from the ruling party, Vice President Abdu Rabo Mansour Hadi, in upcoming presidential elections.

On November 24, President Ali Abdullah Saleh nominally transferred executive powers to Mr. Hadi but will remain Yemen’s honorary president until a new election on February 21, 2012.

After months of UN mediation, a unity government of ruling party and JMP leaders was formed earlier this month. Of particular concern is the retention of key security and military posts by Saleh loyalists. The new cabinet, which is largely beyond any mechanism of public accountability, approved a national reconciliation plan on Monday.

However, mass public protests are continuing in Yemen, even after November’s symbolic transfer of presidential power. Last Friday, hundreds of thousands across the nation participated in demonstrations themed, “Saleh’s trial is our demand.”

On Tuesday, thousands of protesters embarked on a 170 mile march from the southern province of Taiz to the capital city, Sana’a to highlight rejection of international guarantees of immunity for President Saleh and other officials. Both cities experienced repetitive massacres at the hands of state security forces since pro-democracy protests began last February. Thousands were killed and wounded.

The opposition parties in the JMP neither led nor initially endorsed the grass roots “Jasmine Revolution” in Yemen.

Protesters, rejecting both the ruling regime and the opposition parties, were frozen out of transition planning when their demands conflicted with those of the international community—stability and the continuity of counter-terror efforts.

The well articulated demands of the Yemeni public include, in addition to Saleh’s trial, the freezing his funds abroad, removal of the entire Sana’a regime, a public accounting of embezzled funds, a six month transitional period, and the correction of mass irregularities in the voter rolls under an impartial electoral commission leading to parliamentary system based on proportional list-based elections.

The JMP’s participation in an uncontested election in 60 days was greeted with derision by many in Yemen.

“The opposition in Yemen is as dirty as President Saleh’s party, and their turn will come. No one is excluded from the wrath of the people. Billions are still lost every year in corruption scandals. None of these files have been opened, so how can we consider the revolution over…From today, anyone who holds a high post in government will be held accountable,” as an editorial in the Yemen Post gave voice to the sentiment.

Years of unbridled government corruption and economic malfeasance had brought Yemen to the brink of collapse prior to the eruption of street protests which only further stalled economic activity. The UN estimates four million Yemenis will need food aid in the coming year.

UN Betrayal

A toothless UN Security Council resolution issued October 21 condemned nationwide human rights abuses by Yemeni authorities but contained no sanctions and did little to reduce state violence. The resolution also endorsed the implementation of the current transition plan, which was devised by the six nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

In addition to speedy presidential elections, a key and controversial element of the GCC plan is immunity for Saleh and others implicated in serious human rights violations. Yemenis have called it a free pass for murder. Amnesty International called the UN’s support for the GCC plan, “a hammer blow to accountability for human rights violations.”

“By lending their support to the transition deal, it appears that UN officials have allowed wiggle room for serious human rights violators to go unpunished in Yemen and violated the UN Secretary General’s directive that prohibits brokering peace agreements which contain immunity clauses,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Acting Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

The GCC plan’s strongest supporters are the US and Saudi Arabia, and its most vocal critics are the Yemeni people themselves. Nobel laureate Tawakkol Karman urged the UN to “stand up for human rights and democracy, which are the principles it was founded upon,” and to prosecute Saleh, whom she described as a war criminal.

However, the prosecution of Yemeni officials for crimes against humanity may also implicate Yemen’s northern neighbor, Saudi Arabia, which in 2009 bombed “rebel villages,” a hospital and other civilian infrastructure in Sa’ada, Yemen. Similarly western nations provided satellite imagery and other support to the Sana’a regime during the Sa’ada War (2005-2010) which was characterized by collective punishment of civilians, mass arbitrary arrests, denial of humanitarian aid and indiscriminate bombing, displacing 300,000 citizens, mostly women and children.

Other public demands include “forming an independent higher authority that will ensure freedom of expression.” However in the month since the “transition of power,” political and pro-revolution web sites remain blocked in Yemen. On Wednesday, armed men led by a known Saleh loyalist stormed the offices al Wahada newspaper, preventing the weekly’s distribution, after the editor expressed support for the protesters.

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1000 Yemeni protesters in prison

November 7, 2011 Leave a comment

The Yemeni Organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms (known as HOOD) launched an investigation into “disappeared” activists. HOOD, a credible organization, found that over 1000 protesters are jailed incommunicado and most likely enduring torture.

Abdul Rahman Barman, the executive director of HOOD told the Yemen Post, “the number of imprisoned youth is on the rise and the world must stand against the government for the sake of humanity.”

“These youth are being tortured and attacked fiercely. Some leave government custody with their minds lost from the torture,” added Barman.

While many protesters were grabbed randomly, Yemeni bloggers, tweeters, facebookers and journalists are targeted in particular. Last Friday, millions across Yemen marched, appealing for solidarity from people in the free world, but gained little western media coverage.

Its also likely some of the missing are dead. After nearly every protest, the state steals the wounded and corpses from hospitals and the streets to reduce the body count. At least three mass graves have been discovered since February.

One family came forward to report the Sanaa regime offered them $10,000 to accuse the opposition in their son’s murder, after he was shot in the eye and killed by the security forces.

Earlier witness testimony detailed brutal torture of prisoners in Yemen, including children as young as 12, at the hands of Yemeni security forces.

Violence has increased since the UN Security Council passed resolution 2014 two weeks ago strongly urging Saleh to step down. Its par for the course.

During 1994’s civil war, President Ali Abdullah Saleh ignored two security council resolutions calling for the immediate end to the random shelling of Aden City. Saleh’s utter disregard for the resolutions and the forced imposition of unity on south Yemen in 1994 gives rise to southern Yemenis’ claims that they are “occupied” by the northern Saleh regime.

About half of Yemen’s 25 million citizens are under 15 years old. The protest marches demanding regime change take place across the nation and draw the millions to the streets weekly. Hundreds of thousands of youth activists and others are living in protest squares since February, refusing to go home until Saleh and his regime are deposed.

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Yemen attacks Taiz overnight as youth urge UN action

October 4, 2011 Leave a comment

What began as a bloody day in Yemen, with random shelling in two cities, turned into an overnight massacre.

In the capital Sanaa today, two were killed in a busy shopping district, including a teen, when state security forces began random shelling. The area is under the control of youthful protesters who have been demonstrating since January for the overthrow of the Saleh regime.

In Taiz, Republican Guard forces shelled residential areas in the city center, injuring several residents. In the evening, the city’s protest center, Freedom Square was attacked. So far, eight fatalities have been reported along with dozens of injuries as the violence continues.

The Republican Guard, which contains the US trained elite counter-terror unit, is headed by President Ali Saleh’s son, Ahmed, and has committed much of the violence against protesters. Another of Saleh’s relatives, nephew General Yahya Saleh, heads the Central Security forces. In an interview with France24, General Saleh said the revolution was “boring” and accused defected soldiers of shooting the protesters to create negative publicity for the regime.

In May, state forces set Taiz’s Freedom Square ablaze at midnight and shot fleeing protesters. The square was later cleared by bulldozers. But despite nearly 100 fatalities on that day, the protesters re-took the square and continue to hold daily protests and rallies calling for the ouster of the regime.

The Organizational Committee of the Popular Revolution issued a press release on Tuesday urging UN action against the Saleh regime. The committee highlighted hundreds of protester fatalities and said the months long black-out was a tactic of collective punishment meant to coerce the millions of demonstrators into submission.

“We are being murdered once by Saleh’s regime weapons and his children, and we’re being murdered more by your silence,” the statement read.

Protesters asked the UN to refer the Saleh regime to the International Criminal Court and freeze his assets. They urged member states to suspend weapons sales and to end to military support and assistance.

The letter which was addressed to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, asked the UN to “stand on the side of the young males and females and the people of Yemen to achieve their legitimate demands in change and establishing a civil, modern and democratic country.”

The Saleh regime has stalled the international community for months, agreeing and then rejecting an initiative which afforded the dictatorship immunity from prosecution in return for a transfer of power to a transition government. General Saleh clarified in the interview that his uncle, President Saleh, has no intention of ever signing.

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Russia a partner in the murder of Yemenis says rights group

September 6, 2011 Leave a comment

A Yemeni rights organization called for an arms embargo on Yemen today, highlighting Russia’s role in propping up the faltering Saleh regime.

The Yemeni Organization for Rights and Freedoms, known as HOOD, issued a statement urging the international community “to help the Yemeni people to restore their right to elect who rules them and how, and to spare the Yemeni people the ordeal and destruction of war.”

Through six months of protests, millions of Yemenis have taken to the streets to demand an end to the dictatorship of Field Marshal Ali Abdullah Saleh. Attacks by security forces on the protest squares throughout the country have killed hundreds and wounded thousands.

As the impoverished nation teeters on economic collapse, continuing arms sales and shipments may lead the nation to a “catastrophic internal war,” HOOD warned.

In the statement, HOOD “calls for all countries of the world to stop exporting arms to Yemen, and condemns in particular the Russian continuous provision of arms and military equipment to the Republican Guards which makes Russia a war partner in the killing of the Yemeni people and the destruction of its infrastructure.”

The Republican Guard, headed by Saleh’s son Ahmed, contains the counter-terror unit and is responsible for many of the civilian deaths since the youth revolution began. Ahmed Saleh has become the de facto ruler of Yemen while his father recovers in Saudi Arabia from injuries sustained in a bombing. However, western nations have urged Vice President Mansour Hadi to accept presidential authority.

Russia earlier thwarted efforts in the UN Security Council to issue a statement condemning the state’s attacks on unarmed protesters.

Russia is Yemen’s largest bilateral creditor, with Yemen’s debt exceeding one billion dollars, incurred primarily from purchases of military hardware including an estimated 18 MIG war planes.

Russia accounted for nearly 59 percent of all major weapons deliveries to Yemen during 2004-2008, followed by Ukraine at 25 percent, Italy at 10 percent, Australia’s five percent, and the United States at less than one percent, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

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Al Qaeda in Yemen alienates local jihaddists

August 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Local jihaddists in Abyan, Yemen are fighting their former allies, al Qaeda militants from other countries and other Yemeni provinces, for control of Ja’ar City. The combined group, which calls itself “Ansar al Shariah,” has been in control of areas of Abyan since May when the military withdrew.

Clashes between local jihaddists and al Qaeda erupted Monday morning, al Teef reported. The local militants’ commander, Abullatif Al Sayed, tried to expel the non-resident terrorists who had earlier joined their operations for control of the province. Many came from Marib and are linked to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The gun battle that ensued raged for hours and the number of casualties is unknown.

Al Sayed objected to the “vast destruction” and “looting” that the AQAP members inflicted on the city.

In May, President Saleh warned of an al Qaeda take over if he was removed from power. Days later military units withdrew from Abyan, leaving behind a vast cache of weapons. Extremists from across the country moved in to seize control of the capital Zinjibar and other cities including Ja’ar, using the state’s abandoned arms. The group branded itself as Ansar al Sharia, and declared the establishment of an Islamic Emirate.

AQAP touted the battles in Abyan in the last issue of its magazine, Inspire, and noted the deaths of long time jihaddists Ali Abdullah al Harithi and Ammar al Waeli in a June 3rd US air strike in Znijibar.

The 25th Mechanized Brigade, stationed near Zinjibar, was ordered by the Defense Ministry to surrender twice but refused. The Yemeni military made no progress against the insurgents for two months.

Yemen’s US trained elite counter-terror units were not deployed against the terrorists in Abyan but against unarmed youthful revolutionaries across the nation. Millions of Yemenis have been protesting since February for the removal of the entire Saleh regime and the establishment of a transitional council. Opposition parties said the council will be announced on August 17.

As a result of the stalemate in Abyan and the devastating humanitarian crisis that unfolded—100,000 residents fled the fighting—an estimated 1600 tribesmen joined in support of the 25th Mechanized to engage the militants. The ad hoc force wrested control of Lauder and parts of Zinjibar from the jihaddists. In July, Yemen’s Air Force “accidentally” bombed the tribesmen, killing nine along with two military commanders.

The stance of the local tribesmen against the jihaddist forces exacerbated the divisions among them, SaadaAden website noted. The local jihaddists accused AQAP of creating “overwhelming discontent” among the population in “a war without limits.”

The local jihaddists, as distinct from al Qaeda, have no transnational coordination, support or goals and never pledged loyalty to any external entity or person (except President Saleh). This group first emerged as the Aden Abyan Islamic Army in the 1990’s and long aspired to an Islamic Emirate in Abyan. The group tried to impose a Taliban style government and murdered four suspected homosexuals when they were last in control of Ja’ar in 2009. At that time, they called themselves Jamaat al Jihad or the Jihad group.

However leader Khalidabdul al Nabi’s call for an Islamic Emirate in December 2009 produced some skepticism as he has had a long, mutually beneficial relationship with the state and bounces between playing the terrorist villain and reformed jihaddist as needed by Saleh.

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Yemenis protest against al Qaeda

August 6, 2011 1 comment

In a direct rebuke to the terror group, residents of Taiz held a major protest against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) on Thursday evening after prayers. Protesters held signs denouncing AQAP that said, “Your racism will do nothing but make us stronger.”


Taiz is the largest city in Yemen, often setting the tone for the six month revolution seeking to overthrow the regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh. The goal of the revolution is the establishment of a civil (non-military) democracy with equal rights and opportunities for citizens.

Protesters also denounced al Qaeda’s media statements, including the “Inspire” magazine, which they say distorts western perceptions of Yemen.

Regime change has been opposed by the United States and Saudi Arabia. Both states seek minor cosmetic changes in Yemen’s leadership on the pretext of counter-terror concerns.

Hundreds of thousands on the streets also condemned AQAP’s takeover of Zinjibar in Abyan. In chants, they expressed solidarity with the 90,000 Yemeni citizens who fled from the violence and al Qaeda’s attempted imposition of a Taliban style culture in the city.

Ray News reported that the protesters rejected the state’s slander and use of the al Qaeda “bogeyman” to garner western support and affirmed that Taiz is known as a “city of science and always stands against terrorists and terrorism.”

Protesters also reiterated their demand for a civil state and a transitional council.

Most Yemenis believe that the state colludes with AQAP, a premised based on a decade of state facilitation and leniency with the group. Current events in Abyan also give rise to concerns that al Qaeda is working with the ruling family to ensure its longevity.

In May, security forces attacked the protest camp in Taiz City. Commanded by Yemen’s counter-terror chief, Ahmed Saleh, the president’s son, security forces shot protesters point blank and set fire to the tent city in the early morning hours. Several children and disabled persons were unable to escape the flames and burned to death. The death toll of the massacre was 57 and over 1000 were injured from burns and bullet wounds, Bloomberg reported.



–Jane @

Categories: News Articles, Terrorism

اوباما يفقد السيطرة على اليمن

August 6, 2011 Leave a comment

My article from PJM at al Mostakela:

اوباما يفقد السيطرة على اليمن

تخاطر الولايات المتحدة بتمكين القاعدة في اليمن وتنفير الشعب اليمني عن طريق إحباط تغيير النظام هناك

كتبت – جين نوفاك

يعتبر اليمن بلد معقد، فقد ظل يرزح تحت وطأة اضطرابات كبيرة، كما أن فهم اليمن يخبرنا الشيء الكثير عن الشرق الأوسط المعاصر، والسياسة الخارجية لإدارة اوباما، واتجاه “الربيع العربي”.

فبينما يعتقد الأمريكيون أن السياسات الأخيرة لحكومتهم وقيادتهم قد جعلت الولايات المتحدة أكثر شعبية في المنطقة [الشرق الأوسط]، إلا أن الحقيقة – كما أظهرتها صناديق الاقتراع- هي عكس ذلك بشكل عام.

تكمن سياسة إدارة أوباما في دعم الديكتاتورية القائمة هناك أو على الأكثر مساندة تغيير شكلي في النظام، وفي هذا المنوال تساءلت صحيفة الصحوة الأسبوعية التابعة للمعارضة اليمنية بالقول: “لماذا أمريكا صامتة عن استخدام قوات مكافحة الإرهاب ضد الشعب اليمني؟”

انه سؤال جيد. فمنذ شهر فبراير، تحولت الاحتجاجات الشبابية في اليمن إلى ثورة أجيال على طول البلاد وذلك من أجل إسقاط الرئيس علي عبدالله صالح وكل أقربائه، بعد ثلاثة وثلاثين عاماً من تولي السلطة. قال المحتجون إنهم يريدون مجلساً انتقالياً مدنياً ليشرف على دستور جديد وانتخابات عادلة، وتحقيق غايتهم القصوى في دولة ديمقراطية مدنية. وبالمقابل، قتلت قوات الأمن التابعة للدولة حوالي ألف مدني في كل أنحاء اليمن.

رأي توماس كراجسي، سفير سابق للولايات المتحدة في اليمن، سياسة بلاده كما يلي: “إن علي عبدالله صالح هو قناتنا الرئيسية لكل شيء نحاول فعله في اليمن”.

إن الهدف الأساسي للولايات المتحدة في اليمن هو التغلب على تنظيم القاعدة، وتعتقد إدارة أوباما أن صالح أو على الأقل جهازه، هو وحده القادر على فعل ذلك.

وهذا هو بالضبط النهج القاصر الرؤية الذي انتقده أوباما حينما عزاه للسياسات السالفة تجاه الشرق الأوسط. ففي ظل نظام صالح، نجد أن التعذيب منظم، والاختطافات السياسية شائعة، والقصف المدفعي بمثابة معالجة مستمرة للاحتجاجات المناوئة للنظام. كما نجد أن الفرص الاقتصادية، والسلطة السياسية والسلطة المحلية تتوفر فقط عبر العبور من بوابة صالح وأسرته. فالفساد ونهب عائدات النفط والمساعدات الدولية أنتج غياب شبه تام للخدمات الأساسية. فقد بلغ الجوع وشحة المياه سابقاً مستويات حرجة، وبينما توشك الأرضية الاقتصادية على الترنح، فالوضع أضحى سيئاً.

فبعد أن قتل قناصة 58 متظاهراً في شهر مارس، استقال الكثير من إدارة صالح، وطلوا الثورة بالزنك. فاللواء البغيض علي محسن الأحمر، قائد عسكري قوي والأخ غير الشقيق لصالح، أنزل الفرقة الأولى مدرع لحماية المحتجين، وعرض بأن يغادر البلد سوية مع صالح. وفي شهر مايو أعلن صادق الأحمر، أكبر شيخ لقبيلة الرئيس القوية “حاشد” عن دعمه للمعارضة، واصفاً صالح بالسفاح. وكان هذا بعد قيام قوات الأمن بإحراق عشرات من النائمين في الخيام حتى الموت.

تبرأت أحزاب اللقاء المشترك المعارض في البداية عن الثورة الوطنية وذلك خوفاً من انتقام النظام، ونتيجة للضغط الغربي، ومن أجل تعزيز الانشقاق بين المعارضة الرسمية والشباب الثائر.

وفي شهر يونيو، ضرب انفجار القصر الرئاسي مخلفاً إصابة الرئيس صالح بجروح بالغة. ابتهج الملايين عندما غادر صالح إلى السعودية لتلقي العلاج، مخمنين أنه لن يعود أبداً. ومع ذلك لا السعودية ولا الولايات المتحدة تريدان تغييراً كبيراً في البلاد، وهكذا صادقت إدارة أوباما على نائب الرئيس عبد ربه منصور هادي كقائد للمرحلة الانتقالية بالرغم أن هادي رفض تولي الرئاسة بحسب ما يستلزمه الدستور اليمني.

عارضت حكومة الولايات المتحدة مطلب المحتجين لتشكيل مجلس انتقالي، وعوضاً عن ذلك راحت لدعم خطة معيبة جداً صاغها مجلس التعاون الخليجي. وتدعو الخطة الخليجية إلى أن يسلم صالح السلطة إلى نائب له ويستقيل مقابل حصانة من المحاكمة. وتقترح حكومة وحدة وطنية من الحزب الحاكم المهيمن ومن أحزاب المعارضة غير الفاعلة (أحزاب اللقاء المشترك). ويتبع هذا النهج انتخابات سريعة قد تعيد ترسيخ نظام صالح. ووافق صالح ونكث عن موافقته ثلاث مرات. حيث استفاد من أسابيع من المفاوضات لإفراغ البنوك، وتهريب النفط، وإعادة مركزة قواته.

وبينما دعا حوالي نصف الحكومة ونصف الجيش ومعظم الشعب بتغيير النظام، ساندت الولايات المتحدة تذرع صالح بالشرعية في شهر مارس.

فالبيانات الصادرة عن الولايات المتحدة، على وجه الخصوص وزارة الخارجية تحث على الحوار بين الأحزاب السياسية لحل “الأزمة السياسية”.

خصص الرئيس اوباما سطراً واحداً لليمن في حديثه عن الشرق الأوسط في شهر مايو، حيث طلب من “صديقنا” صالح أن يمتثل لالتزامه بنقل السلطة. حذر مسئولو الولايات المتحدة خلال زيارة قاموا بها في شهر يوليو أحزاب اللقاء المشترك من توسيع الاحتجاجات أو تشكيل مجلس انتقالي. حيث حث فقط مسئولو إدارة اوباما صالح لأن يقبل بالمبادرة الخليجية، التي هي في الحقيقة تشير إلى التسامح نحو النظام.

إن مئات الملايين من الدولارات الخاصة بتمويل مكافحة الإرهاب المخصصة لليمن منذ 2006 تُدار من خلال ابن صالح وأبناء أخيه (مشهورون محلياً بـ البلاطجة الأربعة)، والذين يرأسون الأجهزة الأمنية ووحدات مكافحة الإرهاب، وقوات أخرى.

وهم الذين يسرقون المساعدات، حتى أنهم في أوقات يساعدون تنظيم القاعدة. فمنذ فبراير والبلاطجة الأربعة مشغولون جداً بمهاجمة الشعب اليمني، متظاهرين بتحدي القاعدة. فبعد تحذير من سيطرة القاعدة، سحبت الدولة قوات من أبين وتحركت القاعدة بسرعة للسيطرة على مدينة زنجبار. يجزم اليمنيون بشكل موحد من خلال واقع تناسق الأحداث بأن نظام صالح يحضا تاريخياً بعلاقات حميمة مع القاعدة.

وهكذا تهدف السياسية الأمريكية إلى الدفاع عن نظام قمعي فاسد وغير شعبي لأسباب هي أنه يساعد في مكافحة الإرهاب، والمشكلة أن النظام ليس فاعلاً في القيام بذلك.

كما أن السعوديون يدعمون النظام ويرونه بأنه متراس ضد المتمردين الحوثيين. والسخرية هي أنه بينما تحضا القاعدة بدعم شعبي قليل جداً في اليمن، نجد أن سياسات الولايات المتحدة والسعودية قد تنتهي إلى تقوية مطالبة جماعة القاعدة والأراضي التي تسيطر عليها، وذلك من خلال تدمير أي بديل سياسي، ودعم الحكومة التي هي في الحقيقة لا تحارب القاعدة.

Categories: Arabic Articles

Yemen’s CT chief accused of war crimes

August 2, 2011 Leave a comment

After Yemen’s Republican Guard killed and dismembered tribal prisoners Thursday, Arhab tribesmen issued a statement Friday demanding the immediate arrest and prosecution of General Ahmed Saleh as a war criminal.

Ahmed Saleh heads the Republican Guard containing US funded counter-terror units and is the son of Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen’s president for 33 years. Ahmed Saleh is the primary liaison in Yemen for the United States’ counter-terror efforts and among the main recipients of US counter-terror funds for nearly a decade.

Republican Guard forces under Ahmed Saleh’s command have committed grievous war crimes in Yemen since the outbreak of popular protests in February, Yemeni opposition parties allege, including the recent corpse mutiliations. The parties called for an immediate ban on weapons sales to Yemen in a statement on Sunday.

Nationwide protests that began in February demand the immediate ouster of the entire Saleh regime, and a transitional council with the ultimate goal of fair elections and a civil state. Nearly 1000 protesters have been killed by security forces.

The Arhab tribesmen said the brutal killing and desecration of bodies was “a criminal act that have exceeded all the heavenly religions, international laws and tribal customs” and went beyond aggression to vengeance. Arhab tribesmen overtook al Samaa, one of the largest Republican Guard bases, triggering airstrikes on villages, wells, mosques and other civilian infrastructure. Arhab is on the outskirts of the capital, Sanaa.

Additional airstrikes took place in Taiz, killing two civilians when bombers attacked the residences of pro-revolution sheikhs. At least 45 were killed in Taiz in July as a result of clashes between the Republican Guard and pro-revolution tribesmen seeking to protect the thousands of protesters in the citiy center.

In response to the aggression in Arhab and threats against protesters, a new tribal confederation was declared Firday by Sheikh Sadiq al Ahmar comprising the Hasid and Bakil and other previously distinct groupings. The declaration by 750 tribes stated any aggression against the protesters will be considered an attack on the tribes and asked the international community to stand by the Yemeni people’s right of self determination.

President Saleh is recuperating in Saudi Arabia from injuries sustained in a June bombing. He reneged three times on an offer proffered by the international community of immunity for his substantial war crimes prior to and since the revolution in exchange for his resignation in 30 days. Saleh endorsed the deal again on Sunday.

The Saleh regime has a substantial history of internal war crimes. Events in Arhab echo the six year Saada War when the state’s habitual barbarism and collective punishment triggered a widening cycle of violence which ultimately created over 300,000 internal refugees. In his father’s absence, Ahmed Saleh has proven himself to be a capable mass murderer, unleashing a campaign of collective punishment in every province.

Continue reading on Yemen’s counter-terror chief accused of atrocities – National Yemen Headlines |

Categories: News Articles

Yemen protesters announce boycott of US, Saudi products

July 26, 2011 Leave a comment

Protesters in Yemen announced a boycott today of US and Saudi products, a largely symbolic move in light of Yemen’s grave humanitarian crisis. Protesters allege that the Obama administration has thwarted their efforts for regime change.

Millions across Yemen have demanded the end to the 33 year reign of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his family in six months of protests. State forces slaughtered nearly 1000 protesters, often by firing directly into crowds of the unarmed protesters.

US intransigence is thought to be linked to efforts to salvage hundreds of millions of dollars spent to train and equip Yemeni counter terror forces under the direction of Saleh’s relatives, known as The Four Thugs. Protesters charge the US trained counter-terror forces have perpetrated many of the fatal attacks on civilians. US military officials that said there was no direct evidence. The US has reaped little return on its investment in Yemen as the security forces are riddled with al Qaeda supporters.

The protesters platform calls for a transitional council to replace President Saleh who is in Saudi Arabia recovering from injuries suffered in a bombing. Another top demand is the restructuring of the security forces which have a long history of torture, corruption and al Qaeda facilitation. The Obama administration vetoed the idea and instead has imposed a transition plan that leaves most of the Saleh regime in place.

The Yemeni public has very little support for al Qaeda and is demanding a modern civil state that affords equal rights to all sects in Yemen’s religiously pluralistic landscape.

Continue reading on US, Saudi meddling drives Yemen protesters to boycott – National Yemen Headlines |

Categories: News Articles

Obama fumbles Yemen

July 25, 2011 Leave a comment

“By thwarting regime change in Yemen, the United States risks empowering al-Qaeda and alienating a nation,” my article at PJM:

Yemen is a complex country that has been under considerable turbulence. Yet understanding Yemen tells us a great deal about the contemporary Middle East, Obama administration foreign policy, and the direction of the “Arab Spring.”

While Americans may think that their government’s recent policies and leadership have made the United States more popular in the region, the truth — as polls show — is generally the opposite. Obama administration policy is to support the existing dictatorship or at most to back a relatively cosmetic change in the regime. Thus, the Yemeni opposition weekly al Sahwa asked, “Why is America silent about the use of `counter-terror’ forces against the Yemeni people?”

It’s a good question. Since February, youth protests in Yemen morphed into a nationwide and intergenerational revolution to overthrow President Ali Abdullah Saleh and all his relatives, after 33 years in office. Protesters said they wanted a civilian interim council to oversee a new constitution and fair elections, with the ultimate goal of achieving a civil democratic state. In response, state security forces have murdered nearly 1,000 citizens around the country.

Thomas Krajeski, former U.S. ambassador to Yemen, summed up the policy as follows: “Ali Abdullah Saleh is our main conduit to everything we are trying to do in Yemen.” The U.S.’s primary goal in Yemen is to vanquish al-Qaeda. And the Obama administration believes that Saleh, or at least his apparatus, is best able to do that.

This is precisely the short-sighted approach that Obama has criticized when attributing it to predecessors’ policies in the Middle East. Under Saleh’s regime, torture is systemic, political kidnapping common, and artillery fire a frequent remedy to anti-regime sentiment. Economic opportunity, political power, and local authority are available only through access to Saleh and his family. Corruption and embezzlement of oil revenues and international aid mean a near absence of basic services. Water scarcity and hunger were already at critical levels, but as the economy ground nearly to a halt, things are even worse.

After snipers killed 58 demonstrators in March, much of the Saleh administration resigned, galvanizing the revolution. The unsavory General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar, a powerful military commander and Saleh’s half brother, brought the First Armored Division to Sanaa to protect the protesters and offered to leave the country alongside Saleh. In May, after dozens sleeping in tents were burned to death by security forces, Sadiq al-Ahmar, paramount sheikh of Saleh’s powerful Hasid tribe, announced his support for the opposition, calling Saleh a butcher.

The opposition Joint Meeting of Parties (JMP) initially disavowed the national uprising in fear of regime reprisal and due to Western pressure, reinforcing the schism between the formal opposition and the revolutionary youth.

In June, an explosion rocked the presidential palace leaving President Saleh severely injured. Millions rejoiced when Saleh flew to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment, assuming he would never return. However neither the Saudis nor the United States want too much change. Thus, the Obama administration endorsed Vice President Mansour Hadi as interim leader although Hadi refuses to assume the presidency as required by the Yemeni constitution.

The U.S. government opposes the protesters’ demand for a transitional council and instead supports a deeply flawed plan drafted by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The GCC plan calls for Saleh to pick his successor and resign in return for immunity from prosecution. It proposes a unity government of the hegemonic ruling party and ineffective opposition parties, the JMP. This approach followed by quick elections would re-entrench the Saleh regime. Saleh agreed and reneged three times, using weeks of negotiations to empty the banks, smuggle oil, and reposition troops. The protesters were incensed.

With nearly half the government and military and most of the public calling for regime change, in March, Saleh’s pretense of legitimacy was bolstered by U.S. statements and especially the State Department’s urging dialog among political parties to resolve the “political crisis.”

In his Middle East speech in May, President Obama devoted one line to Yemen, calling on “our friend” Saleh to follow through on his commitment to transfer power. During a July visit, U.S. officials warned the JMP against escalating protests or recognizing a transitional council. Obama administration officials merely meekly urge Saleh to accept the GCC deal, which in fact signals tolerance toward the regime.

The hundreds of millions of dollars in counter-terror funding allocated to Yemen since 2006 ran through Saleh’s son and nephews (known locally as the Four Thugs) who head the security services, counter-terror units, and other forces. The aid is stolen by them and at times they even help al-Qaeda. Since February, the Four Thugs are too busy attacking the Yemeni public to take on al- Qaeda. After warning of an al-Qaeda takeover, the state withdrew forces from Abyan and al-Qaeda quickly moved in to occupy Zinjibar City. Yemenis rather uniformly assert coordination of the events, as the Saleh regime historically has had cordial relations with al-Qaeda.

Thus, American policy is aimed at defending an unpopular, corrupt, and repressive system on the grounds that it helps combat al-Qaeda. The problem is that the regime is not effective in doing so.

The Saudis, too, support the regime, seeing it as a bulwark against Shia rebels. The irony is that while al-Qaeda has very little popular support in Yemen, the U.S and Saudi policies, by destroying any political alternative and backing a government that doesn’t really fight al-Qaeda, may end by strengthening that group’s appeal and the territory it controls.

آليات ما بعد ثورة اليمن ينبغي أن تبدأ محلياً (ترجمه) الكاتبة الأمريكية نوفاك تبادر باقتراح آليات ما بعد الثورة –

June 19, 2011 3 comments

Mostakela: :: آليات ما بعد ثورة اليمن ينبغي أن تبدأ محلياً
(ترجمه) الكاتبة الأمريكية نوفاك تبادر باقتراح آليات ما بعد الثورة


آليات ما بعد ثورة اليمن ينبغي أن تبدأ محلياً

كتبت: جين نوفاك*- ترجمة خاصة بـ “يمنات”

المصدر: مدونة الكاتبة /ورد برس

بعد ثلاثة أشهر من الاحتجاجات الدامية، ما يزال ملايين من اليمنيين ثابتين في الشوارع على طول وعرض البلاد. إنهم يريدون رحيل صالح ونظامه بالكامل. اندلعت مصادمات في صنعاء بين القبائل المُعارضة والفصائل العسكرية، وبدأ الرئيس صالح بشن أعمال عدائية بعد حجز فريق واحد من الوسطاء، بمن فيهم سفير الولايات المتحدة، وقصف فريق آخر من الوسطاء أيضاً. كما أن رفض صالح قبول فرصة ذهبية قدمتها له دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي لم يكن مفاجئاً. فمن اليوم الأول للثورة، يدرك المحتجون أنه سيقاتل حتى آخر قطرة من دمه، وسوف يستخدم أي وسيلة لازمة من اجل بقائه على السلطة.

سينجح الشعب اليمني بالإطاحة بصالح. وبالتالي، يجب على هذا الجيل من الثوريين اليمنيين أن يبدؤوا في اليوم الذي يلي صالح بعمل شاق لبناء اليمن الديمقراطي المدني الذي يلبي مطالبهم. وما أن تنجح الثورة، يجب حمايتها. ولعل واحد من سبل حمايتها يكمن في توزيع السلطة على المستوى المحلي.

وفيما يلي جدول زمني بـ اثنا عشر شهر بعد رحيل الرئيس صالح من السلطة. ويهدف هذا الاقتراح إلى خلق آلية لتحقيق مطالب الشباب اليمني الثائر. وترتكز هذه الآلية على مبدأ الحقوق المتساوية لجميع اليمنيين، حيث يأخذ الاقتراح على عاتقه وجوب بناء هيكل الحكومة المؤقتة من الألف إلى الياء، مع تركيز مطرد على الاحتياجات الفردية لليمنيين. نظراً لأن عملية إعادة توازن السلطة تتطلب ألا تُسوى فقط بين التكتلات المختلفة ومراكز السلطة، بقدر ما تتطلب أن تُسوى بين الشعب وكافة مؤسساته. ذلك أن تحقيق المصير الوطني الشامل يكمن فقط في منح سلطات واسعة على الصعيد المحلي.

تنظيم المجتمع

إن التكلفة التقديرية لهذه الآلية الانتقالية المؤقتة على مدى ثلاث سنوات هي 2.4 مليار دولار، تُستمد من أموال الجهات المانحة التي تعهدت بها في مؤتمر المانحين عام 2006. وتتطلب هذه الآلية الانتقالية المؤقتة إجراء مسح سكاني للبلاد. وسيجرى هذا التعداد في مرحلة واحدة شاملة للعائلات والأفراد الذين لديهم شهادات ميلاد وبطاقات انتخابية، والطلاب المسجلين في المدارس والمسجلين في محو الأمية للكبار وكذالك طالبي التوظيف. ولعل أهم شرط أساسي بعد الثورة هو انتخابات نزيهة. كما يجب أن تبني الانتخابات البرلمانية والرئاسية المبكرة في قوائم الناخبين على الدقة. و على نفس القدر من الأهمية, سوف يحدد التعداد أيضا اليمنيين الأكثر ضعفا، واحتياجات المجتمع الملحة، فلقد امتص الرئيس صالح ثروات البلاد، وأصبح كثير من المواطنين على حافة المجاعة.

تتطلب الآلية الانتقالية المؤقتة من الناشطين اليمنيين والمواطنين إنشاء مراكز محلية في كل مديرية وقرية، وسوف تعمل هذه المراكز على استقبال طلبات العمل من اليمنيين البالغين- ذكوراً وإناثاً- والمستعدين لإعادة بناء الأمة مقابل دخل محدود، خلال الفترة التي تلي كارثة حكم صالح. كما ستساعد المراكز المحلية في الحصول على طلبات قروض صغيرة ومنح مجتمعية.

تُمنح القروض الصغيرة للأفراد لتكوين اقتصادهم الذاتي، وهو السبيل الأكثر عملية لبداية دفع الاقتصاد. كما أن المنح المقدمة لإعادة بناء المجتمع يجب أن تصبح متاحة بعد أن تقوم المجالس المحلية بتقييم الاحتياجات الأكثر إلحاحا في كل قرية ومديرية. أضحى الفساد الشامل عملية منظمة على كل المستويات في إدارة صالح، وهو يقوض قواعد الاقتصاد والمجتمع المدني، وبالتالي فإن إعادة البناء الجزئي سيحد من عملية النهب الكبير من خلال صرف أموال المانحين بكميات قليلة. كما يجب على كافة مشاريع إعادة بناء المجتمع نشر ميزانياتهم والتحلي بروح عالية من الشفافية. وعليه، فان الآلية الانتقالية المؤقتة تتطلب أيضا خدمة انترنت واسعة النطاق على المستوى الوطني، ووضع معايير للعمليات المحاسبية الوطنية، فضلا عن إنشاء مركز للمساعدة في كل مجتمع.

كما تقوم المجالس المحلية بتأسيس مراكز طبية مجتمعية لتقييم الاحتياجات الطبية على المدى القريب والبعيد، وستعمل على الرقابة على توزيع المساعدات الطبية الدولية، وتقديم برامج تعليمية طبية. وسيتم التشديد على إقامة عيادات ومراكز غسيل الكلى، وتوفير خدمات الصحة الإنجابية.

وكإجراء تشديدي إضافي لكبح الفساد، سيتم إنشاء مراكز إعلامية مجتمعية لتساعد في تكوين منافذ للأخبار المحلية والوطنية، وقنوات البث الإذاعي والصحف المستقلة.

تنظيم المحافظات والمناطق

تعمل الآلية الانتقالية المؤقتة على إيقاف كافة النشاط السياسي لمدة ثلاثة أشهر، بما في ذلك حركة الاستقلال الجنوبية، وهذه ليست محاولة لتقويض الحراك الجنوبي، أو إنكار الحق المشروع للجنوبيين في السعي نحو الاستقلال. هذه آلية محايدة، وهيكل سياسي يسعي إلى توفير الخدمات الأساسية لجميع اليمنيين قبل استئناف النشاط السياسي. وسيتم حل حزب المؤتمر الشعبي العام لمدة سنتين، وبعد ذلك يمكن أن يعاود تنظيمه. ويمكن لأحزاب اللقاء المشترك والأحزاب المؤسسة الأخرى أن تستأنف نشاطها بعد ثلاثة أشهر، وكذلك يجب وبقوة تشجيع وتطوير أحزاب سياسية جديدة، ويمكن أن تبدأ على الفور بعد رحيل صالح، مع الحرص على حصول الإناث على حصص “كوتا” خلال الدورتين الأوليتين من الانتخابات.

وبعد ستة أشهر من مغادرة صالح, يجب أن تجرى انتخابات المجالس المحلية والمحافظين ضمن قوائم انتخابية دقيقة، وتجرى هذه الانتخابات علي مبدأ القائمة النسبية، نظراً لأن النظام الانتخابي القائم على مبدأ “يأخذ الفائز كل شيء” أو “الأول يليه ما بعده” يميز بشدة الأحزاب الصغيرة والمستقلين، وسوف يكون منبوذاً. وخلال نفس المرحلة الانتخابية، يتم انتخاب القضاة ومدراء المدارس في كل مديرية، ويمكن رفع لائحة أسماء المنتحبين بواسطة مراكز المجتمع، وستجرى الانتخابات المحلية مرة كل سنتين لتشجيع مساءلة الممثلين السابقين من قبل المجتمعات المحلية التي يخدمونها.

كما سيقوم كل محافظ باختيار شخص ذو نزاهة عالية, وذلك كممثل على مستوى الوطن ككل لمصلحة “اللجنة العليا للانتخابات والاستفتاء”، والتي بدورها ستشرف علي الانتخابات البرلمانية والرئاسية. كما يمكن رفض المرشحين المقدمين من المحافظين بنسبة 75 ٪.

ستكون المجالس المحلية المنتخبة شريكة مع مراكز المجتمع والمراكز الطبية المجتمعية. وتقوم إدارة المجالس المحلية بالإشراف على الشرطة، والميزانيات المحلية والانتخابات. وستعقد الانتخابات البرلمانية والرئاسية بعد ستة أشهر من انتخابات المجالس المحلية، أي بعد سنة واحدة من سقوط صالح، ولن يكن حزب المؤتمر الشعبي العام مؤهلاً لخوض الانتخابات الأولى. وسيجرى في نفس الوقت استفتاء حول استقلال الجنوب، مع خيارات استقلاله أو وحدته أو التصويت مرة أخرى في الدورة الانتخابية المقبلة. وسيكون الاستفتاء جزءاً من كل مرحلة انتخابية حتى يحين الوقت الذي تصل فيه نسبة ما يجمع عليه الجنوبيون 75% من عددهم.

الأمن ومكافحة الإرهاب

يطالب الثوار اليمنيون بـ “إعادة بناء جهاز الأمن القومي، والأمن السياسي، والاستخبارات عن طريق دمجها في جهاز أمني وطني واحد.”، كما أن مخاوف مكافحة الإرهاب هي ذو أولوية عالية بالنسبة للمجتمع الدولي. فالولايات المتحدة خصصت ملايين من الدولارات كحزمة دعم أمنية لليمن، ومن ثم ما لبثت أن عادت وجمدتها، ولذلك ينبغي أن تطلق هذه الأموال وتوجه نحو تطوير جهاز مخابرات جديد، وإعادة هيكلة الجيش وتدريب الشرطة المحلية.

كما يجب استدعاء الجيش الجنوبي برتبهم الحالية لملء الفراغ في مكافحة الإرهاب في الفترة المؤقتة، وكذلك للمساعدة في إعادة هيكلة أجهزة الجيش اليمني، ذلك لأن جمعية المتقاعدين العسكريين الجنوبية مدربة تدريب عسكري روسي، وبعيدة عن الفساد العسكري القائم بما في ذلك الاتجار بالنفط والسلاح. وقد أثبتت احتراماً متزايداً للحقوق المدنية وحصانة المدنيين أكثر مما هي عليه الأجهزة الأمنية القائمة. كما إن الجيش الجنوبي المتقاعد على دراية بالتضاريس التي تستخدمها القاعدة لشن عمليات قتل جماعي ضد المدنيين في العالم. كما يجب تشجيع عبد الملك الحوثي على تخصيص علاقات متبادلة، كحد أدنى، والانضمام إلى وحدات مكافحة الإرهاب والوحدات العسكرية. إن عملية دمج الجيش الجنوبي المتقاعد وقادة الحوثيين بمثابة كبح مزدوج ضد تغلغل تنظيم القاعدة بشكل وجيه جدا في القوات الموجودة.


سيعتبر طي كل الحروب القبلية بأنه إقدام شريف، ويجب إنهائها، وسيسعي رجال القبائل للاستفادة من نظام المحاكم لحل النزاعات. وتعتمد آلية الانتقال المؤقتة على رجال القبائل وكافة المواطنين في إنشاء مراكز المجتمع (مراكز محلية) وفقا للقواعد المحلية وفي إطار المعايير الوطنية.

كما أن للمصالحة بين المؤتمر الشعبي العام والشباب الثوري أولوية مهمة. فبينما سيكون من المهم إنشاء محكمة لجرائم الحرب المتعلقة بجرائم ضد المواطنين اليمنيين، فإنه يجب تجنب المحاكمات السريعة و أحكام الإعدام، باستثناء ربما أولئك المجرمين من المستوى الكبير، الذين يمكن أيضا أن يحاكموا من قبل المحكمة الجنائية الدولية. أما أولئك الذين حوكموا وأدينوا في قضايا فساد صغيرة ينبغي أن يعملوا على خدمة المجتمع بدلا من فترة سجنهم.

يجب أن تتحقق مطالب الجنوب في الحقوق المتساوية واحترام التاريخ والهوية الجنوبية، وكذلك الاستفتاء. إن ممثلي استقلال الجنوب عليهم واجبات تجاه جماهيرهم المحلية، بمن فيهم أولئك غير المؤيدين لهم، وذلك في وضع الاحتياجات الطبية للجنوبيين قبل المطالب السياسية خلال الفترة المؤقتة.

وسيتم بذل جهود خاصة على الصعيدين المحلي والوطني تجاه الفئات المهمشة والأقليات الضعيفة، مثل الأخدام والصوماليين واليهود والبهائيين والمسيحيين. فعلى قاعدة ضمان الحقوق المتساوية لجميع اليمنيين، تتطلب الآلية الانتقالية المؤقتة حماية متساوية لجميع الأجناس والأعراق والأديان دون تمييز مؤسسي أو معياري من قبل الأغلبية.

اليوم الذي يلي رحيل صالح

يطالب الشباب اليمني الثوري بمجلس أمناء انتقالي من تسعة أشخاص من ذوي القيم الفاضلة للإشراف على الفترة الانتقالية حتى تجرى الانتخابات البرلمانية والرئاسية. وكدولة ثورية، يجب أن توافق التكتلات الرئيسية المهتمة على الأعضاء، إلا أنه بالمقابل، ينبغي على المجلس أن يكون سياسيا ويمثل المصلحة المثلى للشعب، وليس المصلحة الذاتية لجماعة أو هوية، على اعتبار أن جماهير الأنصار العريضة قد جرى تنظيمها مسبقاً عن طريق أحزاب اللقاء المشترك, لجنة الحوار الوطني، الحراك الجنوبي، والتحالفات القبلية و الحوثيين. وبالتالي، يجب على تلك التكوينات المذكورة آنفا الموافقة على مرشحين موثوق بهم في غضون 48 ساعة من مغادرة صالح، وأن تدعم جهود المجلس الوطني الانتقالي، لا أن تضعف مكانته.

وسوف يتخذ مجلس الأمناء على الفور معايير وإجراءات وطنية خاصة بمراكز المجتمع. وعند الحصول على قاعدة البيانات المجتمعية، سيخصص مجلس الأمناء مجالات إعادة التأهيل، بما في ذلك الصحة، والكهرباء، والتنمية الاقتصادية، والحقوق المدنية، والسجون. وسوف يختارون المدراء الأكثر تأهيلاً للإشراف على القوي العاملة التي تم تحديدها من خلال الطلبات المقدمة إلى المراكز المجتمعية خلال فترة التعداد. وبالرغم من أن المحافظات والمجتمعات المختلفة لديها احتياجات مختلفة ومتفاوتة عن بعضها البعض، إلا أنه لا بد من تطبيق كافة الإجراءات بشكل موحد إلى الحد الذي تكون فيه، على سبيل المثال، المراكز الطبية في ذمار مجهزة مثلها مثل نظيراتها في تعز.

وسيقوم الأمناء الوطنيين بتنظيم والإشراف على عديد من المهام الهامة، مثل مراجعة ميزانية الحكومة. ويتعين إجراء مراجعة للدستور لتشخيص المواد التمييزية والخطرة، وتعليق العمل بها، مثل تلك المتعلقة بوسائل الإعلام، إلا أن التنقيحات الدستورية ينبغي أن يضطلع بها برلمان منتخب، بحسب الأصول المتبعة. وعلاوة على ذلك، ينبغي أن تتمحور الوظيفة الأساسية للأمناء الوطنين في التركيز على بناء وتمكين الهياكل البيروقراطية والإدارية والتمثيلية على الصعيد المحلي البحت، وبالتالي، لا يمكن إنجاز هذا العمل إلا بمشاركة الملايين من اليمنيين، وعليه، فإن هذه هي المشاركة على وجه التحديد التي من شأنها أن تحول دون ظهور حكم استبدادي جديد في اليمن.

*جين نوفاك، محللة أمريكية في الشأن اليمني يمنية منذ وقت طويل، معروفة جيداً في اليمن والشرق الأوسط. حجبت الحكومة اليمنية موقعها الإلكتروني منذ عام

Post rev mechanisms

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Yemen shells protesters in Taiz

The Coordinating Council of the Yemeni Youth Revolution for Change (CCYRC) issued an urgent appeal to the international community today to take action against an unfolding massacre of unarmed protesters in Taiz City. A video released earlier today shows masked roof top gunment opening fire on protesters below. Residents have confirmed the state is now using artillery to shell citizens who were protesting for the immediate departure of long time dictator, Field Marshal Ali Abdullah Saleh. The death toll was earlier reported at four killed, 90 injured from bullet wounds and hundreds felled by tear gas. However casualty figures are likely to rise with the introduction of artillery. Protests have been ongoing for over three months and hundreds have died at the hands of the state and its proxies.

Statement no.43-B
Thursday , May 29, 2011

Urgent Call to the international community
Stop the Human Massacre in Taiz City – Yemen

المجلس التنسيقي لشباب ثورة التغيير: (تنّوع)
The Coordinating Council of the Youth Revolution of Change

As we write this statement to you, the security forces and republican guards in Taiz city in Yemen are attacking peaceful protester at protest camp for the past three hours resulting in many killed and hundreds wounded, we do not have exact number, as people are being shot at the moment with live ammunitions.

This is an urgent call to all the international human rights organizations, Governments, UN Counsel, and leaders of the world who call for global peace.

Please act NOW, unarmed citizens are facing a merciless war simply for demanding PEACE and FREEDOM. They are being forced to evacuate the camp site, under live fire by machineguns and heavy artillery.

The aggressive regime has forbidden all media activities and personnel from visiting freedom and change squares around Yemen, and evacuating them. There is no media coverage in Yemen, the regime is acting with aggression against Yemeni citizen with barbaric force.


Categories: News Articles

Post-revolutionary mechanisms in Yemen should begin locally by Jane Novak

May 25, 2011 1 comment

Post-revolutionary mechanisms in Yemen should begin locally by Jane Novak

After three months of bloody protests, millions of Yemenis remain steadfast—and on the streets—throughout the nation. They want Saleh and his entire regime gone. In Sanaa, skirmishes have broken out between opposing tribes and military factions. President Saleh initiated the hostilities after locking down one set of mediators, including the US Ambassador, and shelling another. Saleh’s refusal to accept the golden parachute provided by the GCC is no surprise. He will fight to the bitter end and use any tactic necessary to remain in power. The protesters understood this from day one.

The Yemeni people will succeed in overthrowing Saleh. The day after Saleh, this generation of Yemeni revolutionaries must begin the arduous work of building the civil democratic Yemen of their demands. Once the revolution has succeeded, it must be protected. One way is to disperse power at the local level.

The following is a twelve month timetable for the period following the removal of President Saleh from power. This proposal aims at creating mechanism that fulfill the demands of the Yemeni revolutionary youth. This structural proposal is guided by the principle of equal rights for all Yemenis. The proposal assumes that the structure of the interim government must be built from the ground up with constant focus on the needs of individual Yemenis. The re-balancing of power that is required is not among various groups and power players, but between the people and all their institutions. Self-determination on the national level can only be accomplished by empowerment on the local level.

Community Organizing

The estimated cost of this Interim Transition Mechanism (ITM) over three years is $2.4 billion dollars, drawn from donor funds pledged at the 2006 donors’ conference. The ITM requires a nationwide biometric census. The census will be one stop procedure for families and individuals that includes issuing birth certificates, voter registration cards, school registration including adult literacy programs, and job applications. Perhaps the most essential requirement in post-revolutionary Yemen is credible elections. Early parliamentary and presidential elections must be built on accurate voter rolls. Equally important, President Saleh has sucked the nation dry and many citizens are on the verge of starvation. The census will also identify the most vulnerable Yemenis and urgent community needs.

The ITM requires Yemeni activists and residents to establish Community Centers (CC) in every district and village. The CC will also accept work applications from adult Yemenis, male and female, willing to reconstruct the nation at low pay following the disaster of Saleh’s tenure. The Community Centers will also process applications for micro loans and community grants.

Micro-loans are small loans to individuals to start their own businesses. Micro loans are the most practical way to kick-start the economy. Grants for community reconstruction should become available after local communities assess the most urgent needs in each village and district. Mass corruption is systemic at all levels of the Saleh administration and pervades the norms of business and civil society. Micro-reconstruction limits the potential of mass theft by disbursing donor funds in small increments. All community reconstruction projects must publish their budgets and maintain a high level of transparency. Thus the ITM also requires nationwide internet broadband service and standardized national accounting practices as well as a help center in each community.

The CC will establish Community Medical Centers (CMS) to assess immediate and long term medical needs. CMS will provide oversight on the distribution international medical aid and provide medical education programs. An emphasis will be placed on establishing clinics, dialysis centers and providing reproductive services. As a further check on corruption, a Community Media Center will be established to aid in the formation of news outlets for local and national news and independent broadcast ventures and newspapers.

Provincial and regional organization

The ITM places a moratorium on all political activity for three months, including the southern independence movement. The ITM is not an effort to undercut the Southern Movement or deny the legitimate right of southerners to seek independence. The ITM is a party-neutral, apolitical structure that seeks to provide basic services to all Yemenis before political activity resumes. The GPC will be disbanded for two years, after which it may reorganize. The JMP and other established parties may resume activity after three months; however, the development of new political parties is strongly encouraged, should be facilitated at the CCC and may begin immediately after Saleh’s departure. Female quotas are required for the first two election cycles.

Six months after Saleh’s departure, governors and local council elections will be held based on accurate voter rolls. Elections will operate on a proportional basis (the list system). The “winner takes all” or “first past the post” system discriminates heavily against small parties and independents and will be discarded. Judges and citizen-run School Boards will also be elected in each district at this time. Recall petitions for elected officials including judges can be filed by any citizen at the Community Center. Local elections will be held every two years to encourage representatives accountability to the communities they serve.

Governors will each nominate an individual of high integrity that will act in the national, not provincial, interest to form the Supreme Commission on Elections and Referendums (SCER) that will oversee parliamentary and presidential elections. Nominees can be rejected by 75% of the governors.

The elected local councils (LC) will partner with the Community Centers and Community Medical Centers. Local Councils administrative role will include oversight of the police, local finances and elections. Parliamentary and presidential elections will be held six month after local council elections, -ie, one year after the fall of Saleh and the GPC will be ineligible for the first election. A referendum on southern independence will be held at the same time, with the options of independence, unity or a vote again at the next election. The referendum will be part of every election until such time as 75% of southerners have reached a consensus.

Security and counter-terror

The Yemen Revolutionaries demand the “rebuilding of the National and Political Security apparatuses and the Intelligence Agency to merge all of them into a single national security apparatus.” Counter-terror concerns are a high priority of the international community. The US designated and then froze a multi-million dollar security package for Yemen. These funds should be released and directed toward the development of a new intelligence service, restructuring military and training local police.

The southern army shall be recalled under their existing rank to fill the counter-terror void in the interim period as well as aid in restructuring the Yemeni military services. The Retired Southern Military organization has Russian military training and is disconnected from the corrupt ventures of the current military including the trafficking of oil, persons and weapons. The RTM has demonstrated a greater respect for civil rights and civilian immunity than the existing security services. The RSM is also familiar with the terrain the al Qaeda is using to plan mass murder of civilians abroad. Abdelmalidk al Houthi is encouraged to designate liaisons, at a minimum, to the military and counter-terror units. The insertion of the RSM and the Houthi commanders will act as a double- check against al Qaeda penetration which is quite substantial in the existing forces.


All tribal wars will be deemed to have an honorable resolution and will end. Tribesmen will endeavor to utilize the court system to resolve disputes. The ITM relies on tribesmen and all citizens to create Community Centers according to local norms and within national parameters.

Reconciliation between the GPC and the revolutionary youth is a high priority. While iit is important to establish a war crimes tribunal regarding crimes against Yemeni citizens, quick trials and death sentences should be avoided, except perhaps for those with the highest levels of guilt who may also be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court. Those tried and found guilty of low level corruption should perform community service instead of prison time.

Southern demands for equal rights, respect for southern identity and history, and a referendum shall be fulfilled. Southern independence representatives have a duty to their local constituents including non-supporters to place medical needs ahead of political demands in the interim period.

Special efforts will be made locally and nationally toward marginalized groups and vulnerable minorities such as the Akhdaam, Somalis, Bahais, Jews and Christians. With a foundation of equal rights for all Yemenis, the ITM requires equal protections for all races and religions without institutionalized or normative discrimination by the majority.

The Day after Saleh

The Yemeni Revolutionary Youth demand a nine person interim trustee council of virtuous persons to oversee the interim period until parliamentary and presidential elections are held. As the protesters state, major interest groups must sign off on the members, but the council should be apolitical and act in the best interest of the nation not individual groups or identity. Large constituencies of Yemenis are already organized through the JMP. National Dialog Committee, Southern Movement, Houthis and tribal coalitions. Each of these organizations is required to approve credible candidates within 48 hours of Saleh’s departure and to support, not undermine, the Interim National Council’s efforts.

The trustees will immediately establish nationwide standards and procedures for the Community Centers. Upon receipt of community assessments, trustees will designate areas of rehabilitation including health, electricity, economic development, civil rights and prisons. They will select the most qualified managers to oversee the work force identified through the applications received at the Community Centers during the census period. While different provinces and communities have varying needs, all procedures must be applied uniformly until such point that the Community Medical Center in Dhamar is identically equipped to that in Taiz, for example.

The National Trustees will organize and oversee many important tasks like an audit of the government budget. A review of the constitution should be performed to identify and suspend discriminatory and dangerous articles, like those pertaining to the media, but constitutional revisions should be undertaken by a duly elected parliament. However, the primary function of the National Trustees should be to retain focus on building and empowering bureaucratic, administrative and representative structures at the most local level. This work cannot be done without the participation of millions of Yemenis. And it is this participation precisely that will prevent a new tyranny from emerging in Yemen.

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Obama snubs Yemen protesters

April 2, 2011 Leave a comment

Protesters in Yemen began a letter writing campaign today, directed toward US President Barak Obama. The protests that began in January seek the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Unlike in Egypt where protests were centered in the capital, in Yemen demonstrations broke out around the country and swelled to the millions with each passing week. On Friday, massive protests were held in 18 of 20 governorates around the country.

“Millions of Yemeni peaceful protesters are questioning the silence and the insubstantial announcements by some members of your administration and moreover, overt bias in favor of the Yemeni tyrant. The respected Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, announced publicly that protests in Yemen are an internal affair and the primary concern of the United States is instability and diversion of attention from dealing with AQAP… Yemeni women, men, children, and elders are all eager and confident that they will hear from you as the leader of the free world and that you will support their democratic goals now and in the future.”

In public statements, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates repeatedly stressed the good relationship between the US and Saleh. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “The people of Yemen have the same rights as people anywhere, and we support dialogue as a path to a peaceful solution.”

However, the protesters are demanding Saleh’s immediate resignation and the exclusion of his family members from positions of authority.

The US is lobbying to retain Saleh’s son and nephews who head the US trained counter-terror units. President Saleh is seeking immunity from future prosecution of his substantial financial crimes as well as crimes against humanity and other violations of international and Yemen law.

The US Ambassador to Yemen, Gerald Feierstein, has been negotiating between the state and opposition parties. However the opposition party coalition, the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), is not the driving force behind the protests and did not join the protests until a month after they began.

Protester leaders, representing groups from around the nation, have issued and re-issued their demands and even resorted to Youtube to send a message to the US ambassador in Yemen.

The protesters’ letter highlights their “aspirations to maintain universal values, and to elect a free and democratic government that will guard and respect the achievements and victories attained by the blood of the young martyrs fallen and slaughtered in the squares of freedom.”

State forces, in uniform and in plain clothes, have killed over 100 protesters and wounded hundreds others. Last Friday 53 demonstrators were killed, mostly by shots to the head, when snipers positioned on rooftops opened fire. Over 150 villagers were killed in Abyan this week when an unsecured ammunition factory exploded, an incident many in Yemen have tied to regime attempts to create chaos.

The slaughter, the broad national protests and mass defections from the Yemeni bureaucracy and military are clear indications of the illegitimacy of the Saleh regime, protesters assert. The transition plan calls for civilian leadership by an interim transitional council.

On Wednesday, Ambassador Feierstein said that the economic challenges facing the country are important as the current political challenges.

Indeed decades of corruption, embezzlement and mismanagement under the Saleh regime, and the diversion of revenue of natural resources and foreign aid, have brought Yemen to the brink of economic disaster. Wikileaks revealed that the US is aware that Saleh and members of his family are also engaged in regionally destabilizing criminal enterprises including large scale weapons smuggling. Drug smuggling, currency counterfeiting and human trafficking of women and children are other lucrative enterprises for the Saleh regime.

In 2010, Human Rights Watch called for a UN investigation into whether the actions of the Yemeni military during the Saada War violated international law. The state’s tactics included sustained bombardment of civilians, and the blockade of food, medicine and international aid, which constitute collective punishment the rights group asserted. Over 300,000 were displaced. Residents of Saada joined the national protests calling for a democratic state and have been demonstrating weekly.

Categories: News Articles

Yemen’s Saleh plays the al Qaeda card

April 1, 2011 Leave a comment

At first glance, the FOX News headline, “al Qaeda: Yemen province now an Islamic Emirate,” is pretty disturbing. But it’s not remotely true. The US media is getting played by the King of Spin, President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his legion of Baghdad Bobs, again.

As anti-government protests calling for Saleh’s ouster engulfed Yemen and military commanders defected, the Saleh regime pulled back its remaining military and security forces and distributed weapons to proxies. In Abyan, state-jihaddists looted an ammo factory and took over the building housing a radio station. The terrorist mercenaries made an announcement on the radio that the city of Ja’ar in Abyan was deemed an Islamic Emirate and women were confined to their homes without a guardian. Later over 150 villagers, mostly women and children, scavenging the factory were killed in a horrific explosion. Yemenis claim the blast was remotely detonated.

Yemen’s state-jihaddists are al Qaeda types who work as mercenaries for the regime. The Saleh regime is very good at “cloning,” a tactic to undermine the opposition and confuse the west. The state has created look-alike newspapers, governmental non-governmental organizations (GONGO’s), and fake opposition parties. Beyond deploying security thugs in civilian clothes, as Mubarek did, the Saleh regime has a large contingent of jihaddist mercenaries on the payroll. Many of these “state-jihaddists” were released from jail after a pledge of loyalty to Saleh.

After the tragedy in Abyan, Yemenis across the nation accused Saleh of playing the Al Qaeda card to spin the western media and US, a frequent practice. They say that the state fosters and deploys al Qaeda mercenaries to elicit counter-terror funds, equipment and training, which are then used against internal opposition. As the Senate found last year, Saleh diverted US trained counter-terror units and US supplied equipment to the Saada War. (Indiscriminate bombing displaced over 300,000 residents in the northern Saada province as the state withheld food and medicine in a pattern that constituted collective punishment, Human Rights Watch found.) Beyond the 150 killed in the Abyan blast, dozens of others are suffering severe burns with little medical support.

The leaders of the raid on the ammo factory, Khaledabdul Nabi and Sami Dhayan, have worked for the state for years. Nabi, of the Abyan Aden Islamic Army, trained and led jihaddists into battle on behalf of the Saleh regime during the Saada Wars (2004-2010) against northern Shia rebels who claim religious discrimination. Nabi’s group, not AQAP, made the radio announcement. The residents in Ja’ar formed a local security committee which now has control of the area.

Yemenis are bewildered at the stance of the Obama administration in light of Saleh’s chicanery. Secretary Gates has repeatedly stated that the Saleh regime is an important partner to the US and the protests are an internal affair. At the same time, the US Ambassador in Sanaa is lobbying to keep Saleh’s sons and nephews in charge of the counter-terror units. A former Foreign Minister, Abdullah al Asnag, long in exile, detailed the regime’s duplicity from the USS Cole bombing to the 2010 US airstrikes in Yemen. Watan, the Coalition of Women for Social Peace, appealed directly to the American people yesterday,

Our stance depends on evidences proved that Selah is using al-Qaeda, and the American war against terrorism to receive generous financial support, and intensive training for the Special Forces, Central Security, and National Security, which all headed by his son and his nephews and use to suppress the Yemeni for more than a decade.

The last American stance, which was expressed by Robert Gates, reinforces our belief that the U.S. government is not serious in fighting terrorism and promoting democracy. The money is used in the name of the American people and the fight against terrorism to support dictatorial regimes and Al-Qaeda, against nations’ choices and demands for democracy. Yemen comes at the forefront of these nations.

American people, the hands of Yemeni people who have been in the streets in a peaceful revolution since two months, still rose demanding the elimination of the dictatorial regime and establish a modern civil state. However these hands are facing your weapons, your money, and the shameful attitude of your government, which we know that they do not reflect the spirit of the American nation which based on principles of freedom and human dignity.

Lift up your hands against your government that on your behalf and via your money is supporting the repression of peoples, democracy and peace.

Yesterday in Hajjah, 230 were wounded when Saleh’s thugs opened fire from rooftops on the peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators, echoing last Friday’s massacre when snipers killed 53 during a protest in Sanaa, largely by head shots.

Yesterday protesters issued a video statement to US Ambassador Feierstein along with a draft list of demands that represents a consensus among all the protesters around the county. Unlike in Egpyt where protests were centered in Cairo, Yemen is witnessing large sustained anti-government protests in nearly every province and even on the island of Socotra.

Yemeni womens coalition appreals directly to the American people

April 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Watan, the Womens Coalition for Social Peace, based in Yemen issued an appeal yesterday directly to the American people. In the letter, the group asks Americans to urge their elected representatives to end support of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh who has been in power for 32 years. Saleh, a notorious human rights abuser, has looted the Yemeni state budget, natural resources and international aid, bringing Yemen to the brink of economy disaster. Nationwide protests demanding Saleh’s ouster began in January. US officials including US Ambassador to Yemen, Gerald Feierstein, have repeatedly urged negotiations. Yesterday Feierestein called for a prompt resolution to the conflict, far short of the supporitng the protesters democratic ambitions. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said a transition of power in Yemen would be a “real problem” for the US. The text of Watan’s letter is as follows:

Letter to the American People

”Watan” calls the American People to demand their government to stop supporting the dictatorship and Al-Qaeda in Yemen

Yemen, March 30.2011

Last Monday, at least 120 civilians, including children and women have been killed in the explosion of ammunition factory in the town of Ja’ar, Abyan Governorate, southern Yemen. The blast occurred as a result of mining the place by al-Qaeda who had taken over the factory and looted a day after the regime army battalion, which was in charged of guard the factory, pulled out. The withdrawal of the military forces and the emergence of al Qaeda in Jaar, coincided with the withdrawal of security forces and the emergence of al Qaeda in several areas.

Moreover, the incident came after one day of the statement by U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates, in ABC channel, in which he said: ””We have had a lot of counterterrorism co-operation from President Saleh and Yemeni security services.. So if that government collapses or is replaced by one that is dramatically weaker, then I think we’ll face some additional challenges out of Yemen”

Watan Coalition, Women for Social Peace, condemns the crimes committed by al Qaeda against the Yemenis, at the same time, it condemns the recent U.S. attitude expressed by Mr. Gates. We consider such attitude as encouragement to the President Selah to use al-Qaeda card to suppress the peaceful revolution that calls overthrow the regime.

Our stance depends on evidences proved that Selah is using ”al-Qaeda, and the American war against terrorism” to receive generous financial support, and intensive training for the Special Forces, Central Security, and National Security, which all headed by his son and his nephews and use to suppress the Yemeni for more than a decade.

U.S reports revealed that the U.S. support; both in term of financial support and equipments, have gone to al-Qaeda, and some of this support has been used in the attack targeted the U.S. embassy in 2008.

The support, which haven’t been handed to al Qaeda, are currently used by security forces in suppressing peaceful protests, and that what happened extensively in the past few weeks. The American political position always has been up to date with this misuse of financial- and non financial support, within the war against terrorism frame.

The last American stance, which was expressed by Robert Gates, reinforces our belief that the U.S. government is not serious in fighting terrorism and promoting democracy. The money is used in the name of the ”American people and the fight against terrorism” to support dictatorial regimes and Al-Qaeda, against nations’ choices and demands for democracy. Yemen comes at the forefront of these nations.

American people, the hands of Yemeni people who have been in the streets in a peaceful revolution since two months, still rose demanding the elimination of the dictatorial regime and establish a modern civil state. However these hands are facing your weapons, your money, and the shameful attitude of your government, which we know that they do not reflect the spirit of the American nation which based on principles of freedom and human dignity.

Lift up your hands, against your government that on your behalf and via your money, is supporting the repression of peoples, democracy and peace.

Watan coalition Women for Social Peace

Continue reading on Yemeni womens coalition appeals directly to the American people – National Yemen Headlines |

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Hotels burn in Aden amid crisis

March 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Aden, March 22 Unidentified individuals thought to be militants burned and destroyed a number of hotels in Aden City early Tuesday morning. .

In addition to burning sections of the hotels, the perpetrators also destroyed the contents of the various hotel rooms, offices and showrooms as well as ripping out electrical wires and damaging the gardens that adorn the hotels’ entrances and parks.

Among the hotels and resorts that were attacked were the Sailors Club, the Nashwan Resort, Pearl Hotel, Wadhah Resort, and Sun Motel.

Eyewitnesses reported that the vandalism occurred in clear view of the Central Security forces and private forces stationed nearby, but the authorities did not intervene.

For over two months, growing public protests throughout Yemen demanded the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in power since 1978. Saleh’s authority suffered blows this week when hundreds of military commanders and government officials resigned following a violent attack on protesters in Sana’a last Friday. Over 50 unarmed demonstrators were killed by sniper fire and more than 200 seriously injured in the horrific attack.

It was reported in Aden that the Saleh regime plans to deliver Aden to fundamentalist groups as a last ditch effort to retain western backing. The earlier withdrawal of some security forces stationed in Aden is seen by some to be an indication of the scenario, as is today’s destruction of the hotels.

Security forces remain stationed at the presidential palace and other sensitive and important locations.

Al Qaeda in Yemen took credit for several lethal terror attacks on tourists beginning in 2007.

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Yemen fires on protesters in Sanaa

March 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Yemen entered the fourth week of anti-regime protests with a late night onslaught of state violence against protesters at Sanaa University who were demanding the resignation of long-ruling president Field Marshall Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The attack began two hours ago when security forces opened fire on the protesters. Early conflicting reports indicate two have died or are in very critical condition with bullet wounds to the head. Over 30 were wounded by gunfire and another 40 were injured after being beaten with clubs or choking on tear gas.

Several witnesses reported the medical professionals rushing to the scene were stopped by police. At the same time, the protesters appealed for blood donations and medical supplies via twitter stating several people are bleeding out near the gates of the university. Two medics were beaten by state security.

The crowd that gathered today, international Womans Day, had a larger number of women and girls than on prior days.

Witnesses said members of the Republican Guard opened fired along with Central Security forces. The Republican Guard is headed by President Saleh’s son Ahmed, and has received US counter-terror training, .The Central Security forces are under the command of President Saleh’s nephew.

The assault began late in the evening, about 11:00 as protesters were mostly hunkered down for the night or trying to set up new tents. Central Security officers were spotted removing their uniforms before entering the university square. The officers had arrived in government vehicles, witnesses report. The situation remains tense as it nears 1:00 am in Sanaa and the wounded have yet to receive treatment.

Widespread protests

The deaths in Sanaa were preceded by fatalities among protesters on Monday in outlying the provinces of Ibb, Aden, Dhamar when state forces opened fire on protesters. In Ibb over 70 were reported injured with bullet wounds at a protest that drew several hundred thousand. Protests have spread as far as Socotra Island. Sanhan, President Saleh’s home village was marked with anti-regime graffiti.

The war torn Saada province saw the resignation of Faris Manna from the ruling GPC party, the latest of over a dozen high profile allies to desert President Saleh. Manna, a long time regime ally, was the state’s mediator to the Houthi rebels. A major weapons dealer, Manaa was sanctioned by the UN in 2010 for smuggling arms to Somalia. Along with Manna, an estimated 300 ruling party officials also resigned following earlier attacks on protesters, leading to what a partisan site called “the emancipation of Saada from the corrupt regime.”

Military deploys in cities

The violence came after a meeting between Saleh and his relative, General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar, perhaps the most powerful man in the military. After the meeting last night, military units were deployed in Sanaa, Taiz and Aden today. Large scale protest were held in 12 provinces.

In Sanna, Al Masdar Online reported the “widespread and unprecedented presence of armored vehicles.” The day’s violence marked the first time soldiers had shot at the protesters in Sanaa. Previously the Saleh regime used paid thugs as deniable proxies as well as members of the security forces including the National Security.

Prison Riot

A riot at Sanaa Central Prison left at least three dead and four injured. Prisoners were chanting anti-government slogans, which led to an assault by guards. Authorities say they shot tear gas and fired over the inmates’ heads and acknowledge one prisoner was killed, but the prisoners report three fatalities and several serious injuries. The prison guards withdrew from the prison and are massed outside the gates along with security forces.

The prisoners have indicated they wished to make a peaceful surrender in a statement that read in part, “Prisoners of the Central Prison in Sana’a appeal to international organizations to intervene and save them from a real massacre which might take place today after guards retake control of the prison.”

Media Manipulation

The Yemeni state-owned ISP blocked al Masdar Online last week, the latest among dozens of independent Yemeni news websites to be blocked within Yemen. Internet access is strictly controlled by the state. Yemen Online was hacked by pro-regime operatives. Dozens of what appear to be government operatives have flooded pro-revolutionary Facebook groups. The Yemeni Journalists Syndicate detailed 53 cases of attacks on journalists including assaults, threats against their children, expulsion and in one case, arson.

“Beating up journalists is a blatant attempt by the authorities to prevent the Yemeni people and the world from witnessing a critical moment in Yemen,” Sarah Leah Whitson, director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division, said in a statement.

A Reuters report today quoting an individual in Sanaa who “heard” that in Aden southern protesters threatened to burn schools in Mallah and al Mansoura was hotly denied by dozens of residents in those neighborhood when contacted. The residents also pointed out that the state forced school children to participate in pro-regime rallies for years without parental approval. It is well documented that students who refused were denied sitting for their exams along with other punitive measures.

Yemen’s history of crimes against civilians

The atrocities against protesters that have garnered global attention are a continuation of the pattern of Yemen’s inhumane treatment of its citizens since at least 2005. In 2009, human rights organizations began calling for an investigation into the Sana’a regime’s potential war crimes and crimes against humanity. The military actions during the Sa’ada Wars and with regard to the southern protest movement are well documented but did not draw condemnation from the Obama administration or the EU. Some of these habitual patterns include:

– Punitive denial of medical services to injured civilians

– Arbitrary arrests

– Incommunicado detention

– Shooting unarmed protesters

– Deniable proxies including tribesmen harmed citizens

– Shelling residential areas

– Denial of food as policy

– International groups denied access to internal refugees

– Targeting journalists and rights activists

– Torture in jail

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Protesters buried in mass grave in Aden

March 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Protesters killed by security forces were buried in a mass grave in Aden on February 27, a ranking Yemeni official confirmed today.

The grave site is on the eastern edge of the Salahu Deen military camp, near little Aden, and was first reported last week.

The official said 15 protesters were buried together in an unmarked single grave about eight meters long, speaking anonymously due to the high risk of government reprisal.

On Friday, February 25 Yemeni security forces launched a broad assault in Aden resulting in twenty-two fatalities among protesters. These were identified by name and hometown, and the number is likely to rise. Over 100 demonstrators were also wounded by gunfire. The deaths occurred in several locations across Aden in what appears a pre-planned onslaught of state violence in the governorate which had seen increasing numbers of anti-government protesters.

Residents reported homes were strafed, and police shot directly into crowds, Human Rights Watch reported. Many protesters were arrested, some pulled from hospitals by security forces. Ambulances were blocked and the dead, dying and injured on the streets were pinned down by gun fire.

In an apparent effort to mask the death toll, Yemeni security forces raided hospital morgues in Aden and transported corpses to the Basuhaib military hospital in Tawahi. Medical sources at Basuhaib hospital confirmed the protesters bodies were later taken away by the military.

The burial took place in the early morning, Sunday, February 27 after the bodies arrived from Taqahi in two military trucks.

The state continues to withhold information from families regarding the identities of arrested protesters.

Rights groups have urged Yemen to halt assualts on peaceful protesters.

Dozens of reporters were beaten and harassed during the protests.

Tens of thousands gathered Friday, March 4, in a massive funeral march for Hael Waleed Hael, 18, that began in Mallah, Aden and ended at the Alqatee cemetery in Crater City. Mr. Hael was shot to death on Mallah’s main road during the assault on Aden.

Continue reading on Protesters buried in a mass grave in Aden, Yemen official says – National Yemen Headlines |

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Funeral march in Aden Yemen

March 4, 2011 Leave a comment

ADEN March 4, 2011–Tens thousands of people from across Aden attended a massive funeral march today for a protester killed by Yemeni security forces. Hael Waleed Hael, 18, was shot by to death in Maalla City last Friday.

The funeral procession begin at one pm in Maalla and wound up in Crater City where Mr. Hael was buried in Alqatee cemetery.

Hael Waleed was among seven persons killed on Maalla’s main road Feb. 25. Eyewitnesses reported that troops belonging Yemen’s Central Security Forces opened fire on peaceful protesters demanding the end of the regime Ali Abdullah Saleh, in power since 1978.

Twenty-two were killed on Feb 25-26 during widespread protests across Aden. Many violations of international law were documented since anti-government protests broke out over two weeks ago including shooting at medics attempting to retrive the wounded from the streets.

Official reports said that one colonel in the Central Security was killed in clashes and five solders injured in Maalla but trusted sources said there are seven soldiers’ corpses in the hospital morgue.

Continue reading on Funeral march in Aden, Yemen for young protester killed by security forces – National Yemen Headlines |

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Injuries and fatalities in Yemen after anti-government protests

February 26, 2011 4 comments

In what may be the bloodiest day yet since anti-government protests broke out in Yemen two weeks ago, residents around Aden are reporting numerous fatalities as security forces opened fire on protesters in many districts throughout the day and evening Friday.

Human Rights Watch issued a statement late Friday evening

The security forces opened fire in the afternoon in the al-Mu’alla district as more than 1,000 protesters chanting “peaceful, peaceful,” and carrying posters reading “peaceful” stopped about 100 meters from a line of approximately 100 military, police, and other security forces, the witness said. President Ali Abdullah Saleh had two days earlier promised to prevent clashes at anti-government demonstrations and protect the rights of protesters to assemble peacefully.

Police shot over the heads of protesters as well as directly into the crowd and fired tear gas. It was just one of many bloody scenes across Aden. A video shot outside the Aden Hotel in Khormakser that shows a crowd fleeing from live fire can be accessed at Youtube here. Government snipers were positioned on the roofs and tanks deployed early in the day.

A preliminary tally of fatalities by local sources indicates seven killed in Al-Areesh, four in Khormakser, at least two in Mallah, one in Tawahi, two in al Mansoura and one in Salahudin, with dozens more wounded. Efforts are underway by international organizations to document the full scale of the carnage.

If these figures hold, the death toll in Aden today exceeds that of all protest fatalities nationally since the fall of Tunisian president Zine bin Ali. The Yemeni protesters are calling for the resignation of the president, Field Marshall Ali Abdullah Saleh, in power since 1978.

Aden residents report that the dead and wounded lay in the streets, sometimes for hours, as live fire from security forces pinned down medics, ambulances and other concerned citizens trying to give aid. Several areas reported that homes were randomly strafed. Electricity was cut in many parts of Aden.

Gunshots were heard throughout the night with the last report coming in at 4 am local time, a full ten hours after the assault began.

International media sequestered in the capital Sana’a reported a party-like atmosphere as tens of thousands protested without incident. Similarly anti-government protests in Taiz, Yemen’s second largest city, were free from violence. Access to Aden has been nearly impossible for western journalists and the local journalists suffered a broad and brutal clamp down on the press that includes arbitrary arrests and imprisonment, fines, the shuttering of papers, physical assaults and slander.

Continue reading on Injuries and fatalities in Aden, Yemen after anti-government protests – National Yemen Headlines |

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Police shoot medics in Aden, Yemen

February 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Pro-democracy demonstrations are continuing today in Yemen marking the 12th day of protests in small state on the tip of the Arabian Peninsula. Yesterday students gained control of the square in Sana’a University and began setting up tents and checkpoints to keep out hired goons. Protesters in Taiz remain in the city center there and protests sprung up in other governorates.

The protesters are demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh who has been in power since 1978. last week Saleh announced he would not be running for president again, a pledge made before in 1999 and 2006. Yesterday at a news conference, Saleh said, “If they want me to quit, I will only leave through the ballot box,” a clear contradiction.

In the port city of Aden, foreign workers are packing up and violence continues. Five have been killed by police in the last week, the latest was yesterday. In the Khormaksar district in Aden, one person was killed and four wounded by security forces. Medics trying to retrieve the wounded were shot at with live rounds. Video can be viewed on youtube here.

Protests in South Yemen have been ongoing since 2007 when a secessionist movement was born. Over one hundred were killed and hundreds more wounded as police regularly shot at unarmed protesters, Human Rights Watch found in a 2009 report that noted,

The security forces, and Central Security in particular, have carried out widespread abuses in the south—unlawful killings, arbitrary detentions, beatings, crackdowns on freedom of assembly and speech, arrests of journalists, and others. These abuses have created a climate of fear, but have also increased bitterness and alienation among southerners, who say the north economically exploits and politically marginalizes them. The security forces have enjoyed impunity for unlawful attacks against southerners, increasing pro-secessionist sentiments in the south and plunging the country into an escalating spiral of repression, protests, and more repression.

Yemeni authorites indicated a belief that violence toward citizens in Southern Yemen would not provoke unrest in the northern areas because some southerners seek secession, however protesters in Taiz and Sanaa have expressed solidarity with the protesters under live fire in Aden.

Continue reading on Yemen, police shoot at medics in Aden – National Yemen Headlines |

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Game changer in Yemen as protests swell

February 19, 2011 Leave a comment

In Egypt and Tunisia, the stance of the military was pivotal in the success of popular uprisings; in Yemen, it may be the tribes that are the determining factor.

Anti-government protests across Yemen show no signs of abating. In Taiz, Yemen’s largest governorate, many who arrived last Friday are still in the city center a week later. Their numbers have grown as citizens from outside the city center have joined the sit-in demanding the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. A grenade attack today injured eight.

In Aden, security forces were reported shooting from rooftops. Four protesters were killed by gun fire this week and dozens injured. Demonstrations against President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in power since 1978, were also held in Hodiedah, Hadramout, Dhalie, Abyan, Ibb, al Beidha. Lahj and other governorates. The protests in the capital, Sana’a have gained the most international attention, because thats where the reporters are. In Sanaa, the state deployed deniable proxies, supposed pro-government protesters, to attack democracy activists with clubs and knives.

State violence from Aden to Sanaa increased public frustration and numbers of protesters. International media coverage of the violence has outraged not only the world, but Yemenis themselves. Internet activism hit a new high in Yemen as twitter accounts and facebook groups work to spread the news from governorate to governorate as never before.

Political momentum is shifting as major allies of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh peel away and long time adversaries coalesce in the unified demand for his departure. Fractures in Saleh’s alliances and opposition give space to new political formulations and creeds. However, the alliance of opposition parties, the Joint Meeting Parties, is still calling for dialog and reform, not an end to the corrupted and dysfunctional Saleh regime.

In Yemen, political institution have little impact on public policy. One effective check on executive power in Yemen is the tribes and Saleh has long ruled as the Imams centuries before, by relying on tribal muscle. It is pro-Saleh tribesmen from outside Sanaa that have occupied Yemen’s Tahrir Square and are attacking the university students, for a fee. It was a game changer when the Council of the Alliance of Marib and Al-Jawf Tribes denounced “the massacre of Aden and salutes Tai’z youth, the station of change and train engine of freedom.” Sheikh Hussain al Ahmar, from Saleh’s privileged Hashid tribe, promised Hasid tribal protection for the protesters in Sanaa. Long time Saleh ally Sheik Abdulmajid al Zindani, head of al Iman University where Saleh announced his candidacy in 2006, is calling for a national unity government and for the people to go peacefully to the streets.

In terms of Saleh’s real opposition, Abdelmalik al Houthi, denounced the states violence toward its citizens and calling for a just state. Al Houthi is leader of a Zaidi revivalist movement known as the Houthis that fought a six year war the state fought a six year war that ended only last year with a shaky ceasefire. One local paper characterized his statement as a declaration of war, although it is only a message of support and Houthi fighters have not been mobilized.

In the south, Hassan Baoum and Nassar al Nuba at the forefront of the southern independence movement, al Hirak, both issued statements calling security officials “occupation forces,” as they have since 2007, and urging supporters to march to Aden. Following 1990 union of northern and southern Yemen, and a civil war between the two former states in 1994, many in the south say Saleh’s regime treated the south as war booty and complain of economic, political and social discrimination. However, many south protesters have discarded the terminology of secession and are calling for the fall of Saleh and a democratic state. Protests in Aden and many around the south began spontaneously and outside the channels of al Hirak. Heads of state of the former southern state, Haider bin al Attas and Ali Nasser Mohammed, issued a statement noting over 300 protesters have been killed by police since 2007 and calling for international pressure on the Saleh regime.

Al Qaeda is nowhere in the mix and will probably be relegated to the dust bin of history in a shorter time than many expected. Yemenis are clearly demanding democracy, not just regime change. And the pluralism of the country precludes a Talaban style state. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula responded to the onset of protests last week by declaring jihad on the Houthi rebels who are an offshoot of Shiism.

The US and western allies have long been muted about years of violence toward civilian protesters in the south of Yemen and aerial bombing of residential village in Saada province that displaced 300,000 according to UN figures. Human Rights Watch and others have called for an international investigation into potential war crimes by the state.

Both the US and EU have recently urged a return to dialog between the Saleh regime and the JMP opposition parties. However the protests are beyond the control of the JMP which as little credibility as a representative institution. The US’s primary concern in Yemen appears to be building counter-terror capacity. The US recognizes that Yemen’s “Deterioration of governance will present serious challenges to U.S. and regional interests, including leaving (al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula) better positioned to plan and carry out attacks, exacerbating ongoing civil unrest and worsening humanitarian and socioeconomic problems,” U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in prepared remarks to the House of Representatives intelligence committee Game changer in Yemen as protests swell – National Yemen Headlines |

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In Yemen, Many Protests, One Villain

February 12, 2011 Leave a comment

It was only sheer chance or serendipity perhaps that southern Yemen’s “Day of Rage” was scheduled for Friday, earning the #Feb11 hashtag on Twitter. The Southern Uprising Facebook page drew nearly two thousand members since its founding two weeks ago in a nation with 2 percent Internet penetration. The group’s goal is the liberation of southern Yemen from occupation—by the northern forces of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of southerners have been demonstrating nearly weekly since 2007, but Friday’s appears to be the first organized on Facebook.

However, in the capital Sana’a, it was precisely the victory of the Egyptian people over their dictator that brought Yemenis streaming into their own Tahrir Square in jubilation. And it didn’t take long for chants to change to, “Go, go Ali!” Equally predictable has been the state’s response to both sets of protests.

Human Rights Watch estimates that “hundreds of men armed with knives, sticks and assault rifles attacked anti-government protesters in Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, as Yemeni security forces stood by.” The organization witnessed at least ten army trucks carrying men in civilian clothing to Tahrir Square where a crowd of around a thousand Yemenis had been demonstrating.

Around the south, there were mixed results from the state. Demonstrators in Dali’ chanted secessionist slogans and waved the flag of the former People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, which merged with the northern Yemeni Arab Republic in 1990. In Abyan protesters wore white shrouds to signify their willingness to die for democracy. The protest was led by former jihaddist and former regime ally, Tariq al Fadhli. Unlike in dozens of prior instances, the security forces did not assault the demonstrators.

The port city of Aden was another story. Days earlier, police used tear gas and live rounds to disburse a protest and wounded four, including one woman. Thursday saw the arrival of military reinforcements. Friday’s protest saw many injuries and arrests and figures remain inexact. One wounded man was seized in hospital by police. At midnight, reports continued that crowds of youths were burning tires and blocking roads, inflamed by the earlier injuries, as police shot live rounds over their head.

Since 2007 when the movement began, absent Western media, police in the southern provinces have used tear gas, batons, water cannons, arbitrary arrests and live fire to put down hundreds of peaceful protests. Well over one hundred citizens were killed, many hundreds injured and thousands arrested including children, journalists and political party leaders. Women, lawyers, professors and former ambassadors “disappeared” and teenage protesters shot dead on the street. A state imposed media blackout means that many outside the affected area have no real sense of the scale of the atrocities. When calls for equal rights were met by bullets and tanks, positions hardened and now nearly 70 percent of southerners support dissolving 1990′s unity agreement with northern Yemen.

The southern movement’s leaders uniformly advocate an internationally supervised referendum on secession as recently occurred in the Sudan. But that’s about all they agree on. As in the north, the southern movement’s political leadership is fragmented, jealous, aged and not computer literate. Historical figures dominate the political landscape along with tribal leaders whose revered status is based on lineage not accomplishment. Activists, journalists and bloggers in both the north and south carry the weight of a scattered, youthful and largely illiterate and poverty stricken populace But if anyone can find a common ground among disparate demands on the state, it would be the younger generation.
The Pink Protest in Sana’a

The unprecedented abdication of Tunisian President Ben Ali in January sent a shockwave across the Middle East. Masses in Egypt took to the street challenging the legitimacy of one of the Unites States’ most trusted allies, and one of the world’s most repressive regimes.

For a day, attention focused on Yemen and its “Day of Rage,” which was tagged #Feb3 on Twitter. When the protest and counter protests in the capital Sana’a passed without violence, Western attention shifted back to Egypt’s Tahrir Square. Even Yemenis were slightly bored. Pre-protest maneuvers by both the opposition parties and President Saleh unfolded like a chess game, neutralizing the impact of the day. Online activists and youth groups accused Yemen’s political opposition, the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) of hijacking their movement.[ii]

The opposition parties include the Yemeni Socialist Party, which formerly ruled south Yemen, as well as the Islah party, an Islamist reform platform that ranges from hardline Islamists to hardliner democrats and a strong tribal wing. Others in the grouping include a small Zaidi (Shiite) party, Baathists and a Nasserite party, explaining the otherwise bewildering small protest where marchers held pictures of Gamal Nasser aloft. Individually their ideologies are stale but the JMP’s unified platform since its inception in 2002 calls for social reform, corruption controls and the establishment of a proportional voting as well as a parliamentary system.

With momentum building and scenes of state violence in Egypt broadcast to the world, the Yemeni opposition announced that the purpose of the planned February 3 rally was not to demand the ouster of long ruling President Saleh. Instead they demanded electoral reforms which were agreed to in 2006. Another demand was the withdrawal of constitutional amendments unilaterally advanced by the ruling party, the General People’s Congress (GPC), that revoked term limits on the presidency. As Faisel bin Shamlan the JMP’s candidate for president in 2006 had said after the election, “The Mountain was in labor and brought forth a mouse.”

It’s not just the United States and Western nations that choose stability over progress and stagnation over reform—even in the face of deplorable governance and widespread public discontent. In Yemen, many are fearful of change including the Joint Meeting Parties who have a vested stake in the continuation of the status quo. The JMP’s failure to reach out to disenfranchised southerners and their willingness to engage the regime before the people was considered a sellout and defined the grouping as not fully within the opposition. With the high incidence of arms in Yemen, and the Saleh’s regimes history of brutal violence against it citizen, the JMP chose pink as the protest’s color to signify their nonviolence intent.

Yemen’s opposition parties failed to capitalize on political opportunities before. The 2005 fuel riots began as spontaneous public protests at a hike in fuel costs and, leaderless, spiraled out of control. The JMP condemned the protesters and wholly failed to address the underlying national issues of corruption, poverty and mismanagement. Following the 2006 election, opposition voters were poised to take to the streets to protest fraudulent votes counts, but the JMP accepted the vote totals in exchange for the electoral reforms they were promised again last week. The 2009 parliamentary elections were postponed to 2011, not only because the state reneged on the reform agreement, but also because of the laziness of the JMP to put in the required work.
Promises, promises

The every wily President Saleh preempted the momentum of the #Feb3 protest by agreeing to all the JMP’s demands, leaving them little to chant about. And he went further and pledged a raise in military salaries of around $30 a month. There are an approximate 600,000 on the military payroll, and an average of ten dependents each, meaning about a quarter of Yemenis will directly or indirectly benefit from the raise, if it is in fact implemented. Other civil servants were granted raises as well. And promising pay raises is a tactic that has worked before in Yemen to defuse social tension.

In response to the 2005 fuel riots, President Saleh enacted the revised Wages Strategy which purported to offset higher fuel costs with salary increases for civil servants. Designed with a multistaged rollout, the failure to fully implement the second phase of the strategy later triggered strikes, notably by the teachers union. In negotiations, the union demanded the salary increases should be retroactive to the date they became law.

Saleh’s current promise to increase wages is being framed by the regime, correctly, as implementation of the third phase of the 2005 Wages Strategy. In the weeks prior to the 2006 presidential election, Saleh promised a bonus to civil servants, payable after the election. However, here in 2011, Yemen is teetering on bankruptcy and there is little to no cash in the state’s coffers.

Another regular tactic in response to anti-government protests is the counter pro-regime protest, and like clockwork, Saleh bussed in loyalist tribesmen to camp out in Yemen’s Tahrir Square, forcing the JMP to move the February 3 rally to the campus of Sana’a University.

Arrests, arbitrary violence and suppression of the media are other characteristic tactics of the regime, deployed against southern protesters and civilians in areas of the northern Houthi rebellion. These tactics invariably swelled the ranks of the southern and Houthi opposition movements, and if implemented again in Sana’a, they will have the same effect on the newborn northern protest movement.
To run or not to run

In advance of the #Feb3 rally, Saleh made what for Westerners was a grand concession. Saleh announced he would not run for reelection in 2013. It was promise he has made before. “The door of candidacy is open not for Ali Abdullah Saleh but for everyone who likes to run for president’s position,” Saleh said on July 5, 1999. “I’m not a candidate, and I don’t accept candidacy because I know what the power is,” he added. Four days later, the ruling party announced Saleh as its candidate. The opposition Islah party also nominated Saleh and he won handily in September’s election. Yemenis say he made the same announcement, only to renege, several times since 1985.

On July 17, 2005, Saleh announced that he wouldn’t run in the 2006 election, saying, “We want to establish a model for peaceful handover of power.” Saleh urged political parties to, “nominate for this post young leaders capable of bearing responsibility based on clear programs to manage the country.” However, as the fuel riots were raging against the regime, on July 21st adoring GPC crowds had convinced him to change his mind and the formal announcement came in November at the party conference.

Despite a history of broken promises, Saleh’s announcement in February 2011 was hailed by authorities in the Unites States and the United Kingdom and others around the world. Few can imagine he’ll stay. Yemenis can’t imagine he’ll go.

Categories: Uncategorized

Novak: The Southern Leaders Don’t Practice Democracy

December 19, 2010 Leave a comment

My interview with the Aden News Agency

Jane Novak… a name that has become coupled with Yemen, not Yemen that is known as it is known by those who doesn’t know it, but Yemen as it known by its people, with all its sorrows and economical, political and humanitarian setbacks, that are recognized by Jane Novak from a distance, from the United States, her country. The human rights, political and media activist, Jane Novak, has devoted herself for Yemen and its several issues, and whom the distance couldn’t separate her from Yemen’s issues, but she has recognized them at first hand, whether traditionally or through the modern technology.

Jane Novak is known for her severe defense for the human rights in Yemen and the freedom of the press and word, besides giving a number of initiatives that may extract Yemen from its political crises. She is also known for her unhurried reading of the reality of Yemen, and refraining from reading one-media propaganda, while she wrote tens of articles about Yemen and its issues accurately and objectively on famous websites like World Press, Arab American News, in addition to her well-known website the Armies of Liberation, this empathy gained her the sympathy of many of the Southern Case supporters in the south, and Sa’ada Case in the north.

The Aden News Agency has conducted an exclusive interview with the writer Jane Novak, we hope that it would cast some light on the fact of the different and recent issues of Yemen.

* You were attacked by official Yemeni media, are you afraid of visiting Yemen?

– The Yemeni government treats me as if I am a Yemeni journalist. They blocked my website for years, introduced false testimony about me in court and slandered me in the newspapers. We know what happens to Yemeni journalists, they get arrested, kidnapped and imprisoned and suffer other penalties for their work. The Yemeni government has no ethics or humanitarian limitations regarding its own citizens. The reason for the targeting of Yemeni journalists is that the truth is so dangerous to the regime. The Yemeni government spends a lot of energy creating propaganda and false realities for the Yemeni citizens and the international community.

* Do not you think that there is a contradiction between the concept of “democracy” and the United States’ support for the regime of President Saleh that is in power in since 1978?

– Every country operates from its own self-interest, and the US support for President Saleh’s administration is motivated in recent years by US counter-terror requirements. It is the US government’s primary function to keep Americans safe. At the same time, the US is founded on democratic principles and committed constitutionally to the equality of all. The US provides a theory of individual freedom and government accountability that, while far from perfect in practice, is a formulation to protect and empower the weak and minorities, to promote the talented and to enable social harmony and economic growth.

Clearly Yemeni democracy is going in the wrong direction. Ambassador Krajeski was correct in 2005 when he said progress toward democracy in Yemen had stopped. In fact it has reversed. Liberalizing reforms in Yemen ended when the reforms begin to threaten the ruling regime’s grip on power. Since that point, we have seen elaborate propaganda designed to appear as if the state has commitment to democratic ideals.

The part that is incomprehensible is the US pretense that Yemen is a working democracy or interested in democratic progress. This allows the ruling regime to escape responsibility for its actions. Yemen is a country riddled with corruption, where power, money and land are increasingly concentrated in the hands of President Saleh’s cronies. The media is increasingly repressed and equal rights become a more distant goal every day. The delayed electoral reforms and the attitude toward elections is a good example. Meanwhile the US and western donors appear to want any election, whether it is fair or not, in order to bestow the image of legitimacy on a hegemonic ruling party.

* What is the benefit derived by the Yemeni regime of a confidential relationship with al-Qaeda?

– The Yemeni regime plays the terror card very well and the confidential relationship with al Qaeda provides many benefits to both the regime and the terrorists. The Yemeni regime gains international support and financing by exploiting the terror threat. Some have suggested the intelligence services may have perpetrated some attacks themselves in order to generate support, to portray itself as a victim and relieve international pressure toward reform. Another benefit for the state is the use of al Qaeda operatives as mercenaries whether in the Saada War or against other domestic opposition from the 1993 assassination of Southern leaders and the murder of Omar Jarallah. There are questions about the kidnapping of the nine westerners in Saada in June of 2009. The state also advances the al Qaeda ideology itself by fatwa-ing its opposition which diminishes equal rights and pluralism and further entrenches the ruling structure.

The al Qaeda reveal themselves as mercenaries when they take part in the schemes to target Saleh’s enemies and also all these statements taking credit for a variety of murders that support Saleh politically. Most of the al Qaeda fanatics don’t understand who they are really working for and who they are hurting. Although they state their goal is to destroy the US economy, in fact they are destroying Yemen and mostly harming the Yemenis they claim to be protecting. This decades long enmeshment between al Qaeda and the Yemeni government proves beyond a doubt that the al Qaeda is a false ideology. The al Qaeda are mercenaries, bent on attaining power to control society and impose their narrow view through false statements and the murder of innocent persons.

* To what extent does Yemen’s desire correspond to the support of the U.S, that has increased recently, with the statements of the Yemeni Minister of Foreign Affairs that the number of al-Qaeda members does not exceed 400?

– The number of 400 al Qaeda members is only valid if we do not count the al Qaeda supporters among the Yemeni ministries and in the security, business, endowments, military and education. These enablers of al Qaeda have a significant impact on the productiveness of the group and their ability to terrorize the world at large. It is my view that to diminish the al Qaeda threat—in a way that does not endanger any Yemeni civilians—a good strategy would be to purge these al Qaeda supporters from the government starting with some top level officials.

* How will you explain moving Yemen from amplifying the presence of al-Qaeda to minimizing it, especially after the last incident of the bomb packages plot?

– The Yemeni government says anything that it thinks will gain it support, even if today’s statements are the opposite of yesterday’s statement. The Vice President recently wondered about all the fuss in the world media over the packages, when plot could have killed so many, while another official said that Yemen needs billions of dollars to fight the threat. At the same time it is important to value and protect all life equally. A counter-terror operation that kills innocent Yemenis is as bad as a terror plot that kills innocent Americans. There are still thousands of people displaced without food after the assaults on Hawta in Shabwa.

Many in Yemen believe the threat of AQAP (al Qaeda in Yemen) is overstated, a product of the western nations or the Saudis. One thing that is clear is the ambition of the AQAP to murder Americans. Anwar al Awlaki my countryman has participated in the first airliner plot, the one with the Nigerian and the latest with the cargo plane. He said that all Americans should be killed. AQAP has also deemed itself a holy judge of all Yemenis, and said that those Yemenis they kill deserve it, whether it is some poor driver or a woman walking. With these idiotic statements, Awlaki and the rest –if its 40 or 400–are reining disasters on the Yemeni people–from terrorist violence and drones to the fears of military intervention and these raids by the Yemeni counter-terror forces that do not go near where the terrorists are but instead target opposition. The al Qaeda are using the Yemeni people as brutally as President Saleh does, and it is the people themselves who are paying for al Qaeda’s ambitions.

* In your opinion, is there a possibility of a military intervention, as it was said by the British Chief of Staff, Gen. David Richards?

– No, I think any reasonable analyst would be able to predict the disastrous outcome of a military intervention. It is exactly al Qaeda’s goal to draw the United States into Yemen. The US Secretary of Defense said there would be no war in Yemen, and therefore they are working with the Yemeni military and security. And then, of course, the US is stymied by the lack of real intelligence from the Yemeni side.

* Do you think that there is a possibility of raising the issues the use of unconventional weapons, in the intermittent wars against the Shiite rebels in northern Yemen, in the international courts against the regime of President Saleh?

– There is circumstantial evidence that the Yemeni military under Brigadier General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar used prohibited chemical weapons during the earlier rounds of the Sa’ada War. There may be physical evidence as well. But as of now, there is little proof and little desire on the part of the international community to pursue these charges.

Furthermore, there are numerous instances of overt war crimes in Yemen. Indiscriminate bombing in the Sa’ada wars as well as the withholding of aid to the civilians both violate international law. It’s now quite open and well documented by international rights groups, and yet the international community is focused on moving forward with President Saleh. The US Congress and the State Department are concerned that US military aid will be diverted to domestic conflicts, where laws of war were violated. Other international law violations include violent tactics against the southern protesters including shooting unarmed persons. If the international community is overlooking these blatant acts of violence and collective punishment, I think they will never investigate the chemical weapons.

* Do the Yemeni opposition parties in northern Yemen play a positive role in the political life?

– The opposition parties play a positive role in that the JMP voices the issues and open up the discussion. They try to hold the government to account. And they face terrible costs for that. Many in the opposition have been jailed and threatened, beaten and kidnapped.

One way the JMP fails to maximize their impact is by their inability to promptly issue English language statements to the western media. I don’t know if it is a question of disagreements among the leadership as to the content of press releases, or if it is an administrative failure to appoint an English language translator and press contact for the JMP. But I do know they could be a much more powerful voice if they made any attempt to engage the English speaking world.

Furthermore the JMP has the same elitist mindset that they criticize. The leadership figures have been political leaders for decades. There is little input from the party members. The JMP directs the members, not the other way. The JMP mobilizes its base in protests only as a temporary tactic to pressure the GPC and usually in the midst of a back-room deal. While the electoral system is heavily weighted in favor of the ruling party, there is nothing preventing the opposition from modeling democratic practices internally by respecting term limits, demonstrating fiscal transparency, and creating egalitarian routes to leadership.

* What is your advice for the establishment of a transparent parliamentary election in Yemen? And what will you say to the South Yemenis who intend to boycott it?

– South Yemenis have that right to boycott. Some southerners refuse the election on the ground that it is occurring in a different country. Southerners like northerners also have a right to a fair election. Many were hopeful that the 2006 presidential election might bring a change, or at least a greater level of popular empowerment. Many were disappointed by the vote rigging and after the election observers left, when the regime began targeting the opposition poll workers and activists for their participation in the democratic process.

There are clear mechanisms that will enable a fairer election. Many of these were spelled out by the EU election observers, and they formed the basis of the agreement following the 2006 election. One simple issue is where a voter is able to vote. Currently, voters can chose to vote at either their home address or their work address, meaning the 30,000 soldiers transferred to Aden and Abyan for the Gulf 20 would be entitled to vote in those governorates. Another hindrance to a fair election is the merger between the ruling party and the state apparatus. The state lobbies for the GPC and the GPC lobbies for the state twelve months a year, so the JMP has a disadvantage. Most people did probably vote for President Saleh, but Mr. Bin Shamlan had to compete against fatwas and fear mongering, voter intimidation and bribery.

The ruling party and the state continually thwart power sharing—both with leaders of opposition parties and movements and with the people themselves. The president selects the winners and then the election is held, like with the 2008 governor’s elections. The results were overturned in the two provinces where the GPC’s candidate did not win.

The way for the GPC and the JMP to ensure a transparent election is through the integrity of the SCER, which President Saleh announced would be formed from judges. But even judges are vulnerable to threats on their families and other means of influencing their decisions. We can say in a joking way that the judges of the SCER should be afforded political asylum after the election, or to choose those with a terminal illness who don’t fear death. But the key to the process is to de-politicize the decision making process and to protect the decision makers from any harm or consequences.

* What is the cause of the international silence towards the Yemeni army’s suppression against the people’s movement in the south?

– There are so many war crimes and atrocities in Yemen, and they are all overlooked. Iranian paramilitary shot and killed Neda Agha-Soltan during protests in Iran and the all world knows her name. But no one outside Yemen knows Wadhah Hussain Ali, Ahmed Darwish or two year old Chavez. External and internal factors are at play in the global silence on the issues and atrocities occurring in the south.

I’m not sure that the embassies even understand or believe the full extent of what is happening. I was very concerned to read in the Wikileaks that US General Patraeus and Ambassador Seche in January of 2010 both believed that “only three” civilians were killed in the December air strikes. President Saleh to his credit tried to explain that many more were killed, but the general and ambassador thought President Saleh was uniformed and out of touch. As we all know, Saleh was telling the truth, and they missed it.

Another reason is the lack of international media coverage and comprehension, including the language barrier. I commend the Aden News Agency on having an English page. None of the southern leaders have a translator. With the western media, it doesn’t matter what Mr. Al Beidh says if he doesn’t say it in English. Most of what the English speaking world hears and knows about Yemen comes from the regime and this is part of their logic of censorship, blocking the web and jailing journalists.

The modern world moves on twitter and facebook. Mobile phone videos and photos can replace an international news crew if they are widely circulated. I understand in Yemen the electricity is poor and the internet is worse and the internet cafes have intelligence officers and people are embarrassed if their English is not the best, but the truth is important.

The world is a very busy place and full of starving people and corrupt governments that have innocent people in jail. People need a reason to care and a way to mentally connect. Even having more signs in English during the protests would help reach a broader audience. There is a lack of cultural understanding and unthinking bias on both sides that has to be overcome. Yemen is very special and it’s important to show the real Yemeni face to the world.

* Do the interests of the international community with the central government in Sana’a prevent a public support for the movement in the south?

– Yes, I don’t think the western nations see a workable alternative to President Saleh. Western support or even recognition of the southern issue would jeopardize the regime’s cooperation with them. The legal argument under international law that the south was occupied following the civil war has little weight when the UN itself is a majority of dictators and even Somalialand that has been self-governing for 20 years has not received international recognition.

Some southern leaders say the goal of the movement is independence but they don’t practice democracy or demonstrate the ability to govern based on a mechanism that determines the people’s will. There are many factions that could come to the table as equals. But like in the rest of Yemen and also in Bangladesh, historical personalities lock in old rivalries and old habits. I would like to hear more from the young leaders who weren’t even alive during the 1960s, much less already heroes. The question for the southerners is—are they really breaking away from the traditions of nepotism and elitism to establish a basis for equal opportunity, equal protection and equal rights? It’s a challenge but it is the basis of democracy.

* How can Yemen go beyond the recent problems and step towards a clearer way of future?

– In these last years I have offered many suggestions, not as solutions but as ideas for thought. Some of these ideas included disbanding the GPC, introducing federalism, transforming to a parliamentary system, reinstituting the document of pledge and accord, paying every citizen an equal dividend from the gas and oil, a caretaker government of Yemeni technocrats, and a public accounting of the Yemeni government budget. The quickest way to heal Yemen however is with a free media.

In my view most of the public grievances and structural dysfunctions arise from the hegemony of the ruling family. It is a system of unfair advantages politically, economically and socially that is based on the denial of equal rights. The solution must include a mechanism that creates equality, a system that entrusts power in neutral bureaucratic institutions and in politicians who are accountable and have term limits. While Yemen’s crises need to be addressed and resolved with urgency, in the long term, dialog among the elite is just more elitism.

Arabic, ANA link is down but its still up at al Eshteraki

جين نوفاك… اسم بات مقروناً باليمن، ليس باليمن الذي يعرفه من لا يعرفه، ولكن اليمن الذي يعرفه أهله بمآسيه ونكباته الاقتصادية والسياسية والانسانية والتي تعرفت عليها الكاتبة (جين نوفاك) عن بعد، من الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، موطنها، حيث سخرت هذه الكاتبة والناشطة الحقوقية والسياسية والإعلامية نفسها لليمن وقضايا اليمن المتعددة والتي لم تحول المسافة بينها وبين معرفتها بقضاياه بل تعرفت عليها عن قرب، عبر التماس حال الناس أنفسهم، سواءً بأسلوب تقليدي أو معاصر عبر التقنية الحديثة.

عرفت “جين نوفاك” بدفاعها الشرس عن حقوق الإنسان في اليمن، وحرية الصحافة والكلمة، إلى جانب تقديمها المبادرات تلو الأخرى للخروج باليمن من أزماته السياسية المتأزمة، حيث تمتاز بقراءتها المتأنية للواقع اليمني وعدم اتباع الإعلام الواحد سواء كان إعلام السلطة أو المعارضة حيث قامت بكتابة العشرات من المقالات عن اليمن وأزماته بكل موضوعية ودقة وتعبير عن حال اليمن المعاش في عدة مواقع إلكترونية معروفة كـ World Press و Arab American News بالإضافة إلى موقعها الشهير Armies of Liberation الشيء الأمر أدى بالتالي إلى اكتسابها تعاطف الكثير من حملة القضية الجنوبية جنوباً, وحملة قضية صعدة شمالاً, وحملة القضايا الاقتصادية والسياسية والحقوقية والاجتماعية جنوباً و شمالاً. وفي حوار مع وكالة أنباء عدن “عنا” قالت نوفاك أن النظام اليمني يلعب ببطاقة الإرهاب بشكل جيد جداً, مضيفة “والعلاقة السرية مع القاعدة تجلب الكثير من الفوائد لكل من النظام والقاعدة على حد سواء”.

نص الحوار:

* هاجمتك وسائل إعلام يمنية… هل أنت خائفة من زيارة اليمن؟

– الحكومة اليمنية تهددني كأنني صحافية يمنية، فقد قامت بحجب موقعي لسنوات، وقدمت شهادات كاذبة ضدي في المحاكم، وافترت علي في الصحف. نحن نعلم أن هذا يحدث للصحافيين اليمنيين، فهم يعتقلون، يختطفون، يسجنون، ويعانون من العقوبات بسبب عملهم. الحكومة اليمنية ليس لديها آداب أو حدود إنسانية فيما يتعلق بمواطنيها. السبب في استهداف الصحافيين اليمنيين هو أن الحقيقة خطرة جداً على النظام. الحكومة اليمنية تنفق الكثير لأجل الدعاية و والوقائع الكاذبة للمواطنين اليمنيين والمجتمع الدولي.

* ألا ترين تناقضاً بين مفهوم “الديمقراطية” ودعم أميركا لنظام الرئيس صالح المسيطر على الحكم في اليمن منذ 1978م؟

– كل دولة تعمل استناداً إلى مصلحتها الذاتية، ودعم الولايات المتحدة لإدارة الرئيس صالح دفعتها متطلبات مكافحة الإرهاب في السنوات الحالية. فالوظيفة الأولوية للولايات المتحدة هي جعل الأميركيين يشعرون بالأمان. وفي نفس الوقت الولايات المتحدة أسست على مبادئ ديمقراطية وهي ملتزمة دستورياً بالمساواة بين الجميع. الحكومة الأميركية تقدم نظرية الحرية الفردية ومسائلة الحكومة – في حين أنها بعيدة عن الكمال في الممارسة العملية – هي صياغة لحماية وتمكين الضعفاء والأقليات وتشجيع الموهوبين وتمكين الوئام الاجتماعي والنمو الاقتصادي. بشكل واضح، الديمقراطية اليمنية ذاهبة في الاتجاه الخاطئ، السفير كراجسكي كان محقاً في 2005م عندما قال أن التقدم نحو الديمقراطية في اليمن قد توقف. في الواقع إنها قد انعكست. تحرير الإصلاحات في اليمن انتهت عندما تهدد هذه الإصلاحات قبضة النظام الحاكم على السلطة. واعتماداً على هذا، رأينا دعاية مفصلة صممت لتبدو كأن الدولة عندها التزامات بالمثل الديمقراطية. الجزء الذي لا يمكن فهمه هو ادعاء الولايات المتحدة بأن اليمن بلد ديمقراطي أو مهتم بالتقدم الديمقراطي. وهذا يسمح للنظام الحاكم أن يتنصل من المسؤولية عن أفعاله. اليمن بلد مليء بالفساد. حيث تتركز السلطة والمال والأرض بأيدي مقربي الرئيس صالح بشكل متزايد. وسائل الإعلام تقمع بشكل متزايد والحقوق المتساوية تصبح هدفاً بعيد المنالً كل يوم. تأخر الإصلاحات الانتخابية والموقف تجاه الانتخابات هو مثال جيد. وفي الوقت نفسه الولايات المتحدة والمانحين الغربيين يبدو أنهم يريدون أي انتخابات، سواء كانت نزيهة أم لا، لكي تضفي صورة شرعية على حزب حاكم مهيمن.

* ما الفائدة التي يجنيها النظام من علاقة سرية مع القاعدة؟

– يلعب النظام اليمني ببطاقة الإرهاب بشكل جيد جداً. والعلاقة السرية مع القاعدة تجلب الكثير من الفوائد لكل من النظام والقاعدة على حد سواء. النظام اليمني يجني الدعم الدولي والتمويل من خلال استغلال تهديد الإرهاب. البعض ألمح إلى أن أجهزة المخابرات قد قامت ببعض الهجمات على نفسها لكي تولد الدعم ولتصور نفسها بأنها ضحية ولتخفف الضغط الدولي تجاه الإصلاح. هناك فائدة أخرى للدولة وهي استخدام عناصر القاعدة كمرتزقة سواء في حرب صعدة أو أخرى ضد المعارضة الداخلية من اغتيالات لقادة جنوبيين العام 1993 وإغتيال جار الله عمر . هناك أسئلة حول خطف تسعة ألمان في يونيو 2009م. الدولة تقدم فكر القاعدة نفسه من خلال إصدار الفتاوى ضد معارضتها، الشيء الذي يحد من الحقوق المتساوية والتعدد ويكرس المزيد من البنية الحاكمة. عناصر تنظيم القاعدة يظهرون أنفسهم كمرتزقة عندما يشاركون في مؤامرات لاستهداف أعداء صالح و أيضاًُ كل البيانات التي تحسب لمجموعة متنوعة من القتلة الذين يدعمون صالح سياسياً. معظم متعصبي تنظيم القاعدة لايعلمون لصالح من يعملون وبمن يلحقون الضرر. بالرغم من أنهم يصرحون بهدفهم وهو تدمير إقتصاد الولايات المتحدة، في الواقع هم يدمرون اليمن وفي الأغلب يضرون اليمنيين ويدعون أنهم الحماة. التشابك الطويل في هذا العقد بين القاعدة والحكومة اليمنية يثبت بلا شك أن تنظيم القاعدة هو أيديولوجية زائفة. تنظيم القاعدة هم من المرتزقة العازمين على تحقيق القوة للسيطرة على المجتمع وفرض وجهة نظرهم الضيقة من خلال بيانات كاذبة وقتل أشخاص أبرياء.

* إلى أي مدى تتوافق رغبة اليمن في الدعم الأميركي الذي زاد مؤخراً مع تصريحات وزير الخارجية اليمني بأن عدد عناصر القاعدة لايتجاوز 400 عنصر؟

– عدد 400 من أعضاء تنظيم القاعدة صحيح فقط إذا كنا لا نحتسب أنصار القاعدة بين الوزارات اليمنية والأمنية والتجارية والمنح والجيش والتعليم. هذه العوامل المساعدة لتنظيم القاعدة لها تأثير كبير على إنتاجية هذه المجموعة وقدرتهم على ترويع العالم بأسره. لتقليل تهديد تنظيم القاعدة من وجهة نظري – بالطريقة التي لا تعرض أي مدنيين يمنيين للخطر- هو أن يتم تطهير أنصار القاعدة هؤلاء من الحكومة بدءً ببعض من كبار المسؤولين.

* كيف تفسرين انتقال اليمن من تضخيم وجود تنظيم القاعدة إلى تصغيره، خصوصاً بعد حادثة الطرود المفخخة؟

– الحكومة اليمنية تقول أي شيء تعتقد بأنه سيكسبها الدعم، حتى ولو أن تصريحات اليوم تتناقض مع تصريحات الأمس. استغرب نائب الرئيس في الآونة الأخيرة ضجة الإعلام العالمي حول الطرود الملغمة، بينما كان من الممكن أن تقتل تلك الطرود الكثير من الناس، في حين صرح مسئول آخر بأن اليمن بحاجة إلى مليارات الدولارات لمكافحة التهديد. في الوقت نفسه من المهم أن نقدر ونحمي جميع أشكال الحياة على قدم المساواة. عملية مكافحة الإرهاب التي تقتل يمنيين بريئين هي بنفس سوء مؤامرة الإرهاب التي تقتل أميركيين بريئين. لايزال هناك الآلاف من النازحين بدون غذاء بعد الاعتداءات على الحوطة في شبوة. العديد في اليمنيين يؤمنون بأن تنظيم القاعدة في جزيرة العرب قد تم تضخيمه، وأنه بضاعة للأمم الغربية أو السعوديين. شيء واحد واضح وهو أن طموح القاعدة في جزيرة العرب هو قتل الأميركان. أنور العولقي، ابن بلدي، شارك في مؤامرة الطائرة الأولى، مع النيجيري، والأخيرة مع طائرة النقل. فقد صرح بأن كل الأميركان ينبغي أن يقتلوا. وتعتبر القاعدة في جزيرة العرب نفسها قاضٍ مقدس لكل اليمنيين، وقال أن كل اليمنيين الذين يقتلون يستحقون ذلك، سواء كان سائقاً فقيراً أو امرأة تمشي. بهذه التصريحات الحمقاء، العولقي مع بقية الـ 40 أو الـ 400 يوجهون الكوارث إلى الشعب اليمني. من العنف الإرهابي وطائرات بدون طيار إلى مخاوف من تدخل عسكري وغارات هذه من جانب قوات مكافحة الإرهاب اليمنية التي لا تذهب بالقرب من مكان الإرهابين ولكنها تذهب إلى المعارضة. القاعدة تستغل الشعب اليمني بوحشية مثلما يفعل نظام صالح. والشعب نفسه هو من يدفع ثمن طموحات القاعدة.

* في رأيك، هل هناك احتمالية لتدخل عسكري في اليمن، حسبما صرح به رئيس هيئة الأركان البريطاني الجنرال ديفيد ريتشاردز؟

– لا، أعتقد أن أي محلل عاقل سوف يتنبأ بالنتائج الكارثية التي ستكون حصيلة تدخل عسكري في اليمن. إنه بالضبط هدف القاعدة أن تجلب الولايات المتحدة إلى اليمن. وزير الدفاع الأميركي صرح بأنه لن تكون هناك حرب في اليمن، ولذلك هم يعملون مع الجيش والأمن اليمنيين. وبعد ذلك، بالطبع، الولايات المتحدة معاقة بسبب افتقارها للمعلومات الصحيحة من الجانب اليمني.

* هل تعتقدين بإمكانية رفع قضايا في محاكم دولية، حول استخدام أسلحة غير تقليدية خلال الحروب المتقطعة مع المتمردين الشيعة في شمال اليمن، ضد الرئيس صالح؟

– هناك أدلة ظرفية أن الجيش اليمني تحت قيادة العميد علي محسن الأحمر قد استخدم أسلحة كيماوية محظورة خلال الجولات السابقة من حرب صعد, قد يكون هناك دليل مادي أيضاً. ولكن حتى الآن ، هناك دليل ضعيف ورغبة ضعيفة من جانب المجتمع الدولي لتعقب هذه الاتهامات. وعلاوة على ذلك ، هناك العديد من حالات جرائم الحرب العلنية في اليمن القصف العشوائي في حروب صعدة فضلاً عن قطع المساعدات للمدنيين، فهي على حد سواء تنتهك القانون الدولي. إنها الآن مفتوحة تماماً وموثقة بشكل جيد من قبل جماعات حقوق الإنسان الدولية، وحتى الآن يركز المجتمع الدولي على المضي قدماً مع الرئيس صالح. الكونجرس ووزارة الخارجية الأميركيان يشعران بالقلق حول تحويل المساعدات العسكرية الأميركية لصراعات داخلية، حيث قوانين الحرب اخترقت. غيرها من الانتهاكات للقانون الدولي تتضمن تكتيكات عنيفة ضد المتظاهرين بما في ذلك إطلاق النار على المحتجين جنوبيين من ضمنهم أشخاص عزل. إذا كان المجتمع الدولي يغض النظر عن أعمال العنف والعقاب الجماعي الصارخة، أعتقد أنه أبداً لن يحقق في موضوع الأسلحة الكيماوية.

* هل تلعب أحزاب المعارضة اليمنية في شمال اليمن دوراً إيجابياً في الحياة السياسية؟

– أحزاب المعارضة تلعب دوراً إيجابياً حيث أن اللقاء المشترك يطرح القضايا ويفتح الحوار. هم يحاولون أن يحملوا الحكومة المسؤولية. ويواجهون ثمناً مريعاً بسبب ذلك. الكثيرون في المعارضة مسجونون ومهددون، يضربون ويختطفون. لكن في المقابل أحزاب اللقاء المشترك لاتستطيع أن تزيد من تأثيرها بسبب عدم قدرتها على إصدار البيانات باللغة الإنكليزية على وجه السرعة إلى وسائل الإعلام الغربية. أنا لا أعرف إذا كانت هي مسألة الخلافات بين القيادة وبالنسبة لمضمون النشرات الصحفية، أو إذا كان فشل إداري في تعيين مترجم إلى اللغة الإنجليزية والتواصل الصحفي لأحزاب اللقاء المشترك. ولكنني أعرف أنها يمكن أن تكون صوتاً قوياً أكثر من ذلك بكثير إذا ما قامت بأي محاولة للارتباط بالعالم الناطق بالانكليزية. علاوة على ذلك أحزاب اللقاء المشترك لديها نفس العقلية النخبوية التي ينتقدونها. الشخصيات القيادية لازالوا قيادات سياسية لعقود. هناك القليل من المدخلات من أعضاء الحزب. اللقاء المشترك يأمر الأعضاء، وليس العكس. اللقاء المشترك يحرك قاعدته في شكل احتجاجات فقط كتكتيك مؤقت للضغط على المؤتمر الشعبي العام وعادة مايكون في خضم صفقة غرفة خلفية. بينما النظام الانتخابي مرجح لصالح الحزب الحاكم بشدة، ليس هنالك شيء يمنع المعارضة من صياغة ممارسات ديمقراطية داخلياً من خلال احترام حدود الأجل، إظهار الشفافية المالية ، وخلق طرق عادلة للقيادة.

* ماهي نصيحتك لإقامة انتخابات برلمانية شفافة في اليمن؟ وماذا تقولين للجنوبيين الذين يعتزمون مقاطعتها؟

– اليمنيون الجنوبيون يمتلكون الحق للمقاطعة. بعض الجنوبيين يرفضون الانتخابات على أساس أنها تحدث في بلد آخر. الجنوبيون هم مثل الشماليين، أيضاً لهم الحق في انتخابات نزيهة. الكثيرون كانوا مفعمين بالأمل بأن انتخابات 2006 الرئاسية ربما تجلب التغيير، أو على الأقل درجة أكبر من التفويض الشعبي. الكثيرون خاب أملهم عندما تم التلاعب بالأصوات بعد مغادرة المراقبين، عندما بدأ النظام يستهدف العاملين في مراكز الاقتراع ونشطاء المعارضة بسبب مشاركتهم في العملية الديمقراطي

هناك آليات واضحة من شأنها أن تمكن من انتخابات أكثر شفافية. وحددت الكثير من هذه المشاريع من قبل مراقبي الانتخابات في الاتحاد الأوروبي، وهي شكلت أساساً للاتفاق بعد انتخابات عام 2006. قضية واحدة صغيرة هي أين يمكن للمصوت أن يضع صوته. حالياَ يمكن للناخبين التصويت في اختيار إما عنوان المنزل أو عنوان عملهم، الأمر الذي يعني أن الجنود الــ30000 الذين تم نقلهم إلى عدن وأبين لدورة كأس الخليج 20 سيحق لهم التصويت في تلك المحافظات. عقبة أخرى أمام إقامة انتخابات نزيهة هي الخلط بين الحزب الحاكم وأجهزة الدولة. لوبيات الدولة لحزب المؤتمر ولوبيات حزب المؤتمر للدولة تعمل على مدار السنة. حتى أحزاب اللقاء المشترك عندها عائق. معظم الناس على الأرجح صوتوا لصالح الرئيس، ولكن السيد بن شملان كان يجب عليه التنافس ضد الفتاوى وإخافة الناس والترويج وترهيب الناخبين والرشوة. الحزب الحاكم والدولة يحبطان أي محاولة مشاركة بالسلطة – كلاهما من أحزاب قادة المعارضة والحركات ومع الناس أنفسهم. الرئيس يختار الفائزين ثم تعقد الانتخابات، مثلما حدث في انتخابات المحافظين في العام 2008م. النتائج كانت مقلوبة في محافظتين، حيث لم ينجح مرشحي المؤتمر. السبيل لحزب المؤتمر الشعبي العام وأحزاب اللقاء المشترك من أجل ضمان انتخابات شفافة هو من خلال نزاهة اللجنة العليا للانتخابات. التي أعلن الرئيس صالح أنها سوف تتشكل من القضاةة. ولكن حتى القضاة هم عرضة للتهديدات لأسرهم, وغيرها من وسائل التأثير على قراراتهم. ويمكننا القول بطريقة مازحة أن قضاة اللجنة العليا للانتخابات ينبغي أن يتاح لهم اللجوء السياسي بعد الانتخابات، أو اختيار أولئك الذين لديهم أمراض عضال الذين لا يهابون الموت. ولكن المفتاح لهذه العملية هو عدم تسييس عملية صنع القرار وحماية صانعي القرار من أي ضرر أو عواقب.

* ماهو سبب الصمت الدولي تجاه قمع الجيش اليمني للحركة الشعبية في الجنوب؟ – هناك الكثير من جرائم الحرب والفظائع التي ترتكب في اليمن والتي يتم التغاضي عنها. المليشيات الإيرانية قتلت ندى آغا سلطان خلال احتجاجات في إيران والعالم كله أصبح يعرف اسمها. لكن لا أحد خارج اليمن يعرف وضاح حسين علي أو أحمد درويش أو شافيز ذو العامين. هناك عوامل خارجية وداخلية لها دور في الصمت العالمي على القضايا والفظائع التي تحدث في الجنوب. حتى أنني لست متأكدة من أن السفارات تعلم بمدى حجم ما يحدث، فقد كنت قلقة جداً لقراءة تسريبات الويكيليكس التي تحدثت أن الجنرال بترايوس والسفير سيتش اعتقدوا في يناير 2010 أن “ثلاثة مدنيين فقط” هم من قتلوا في الغارات الجوية في ديسمبر 2009. يحسب للرئيس صالح أنه حاول أن يشرح أن العديدين قتلوا، لكن الجنرال بترايوس والسفير سيتش اعتقدوا أن الرئيس صالح كان ببدلته الرسمية ولا يدري بما حوله. كما نعرف، الرئيس صالح كان يقول الحقيقة وهم كانوا مخطئين. سبب آخر وهو نقص الفهم والتغطية الإعلامية العالمية، بالإضافة إلى حاجز اللغة، أنا أشيد بوكالة أنباء عدن التي تمتلك صفحة ناطقة باللغة الإنجليزية. لا أحد من القادة الجنوبيين عندهم مترجم، فليس مهماً للإعلام الغربي مايقوله السيد البيض ما لم يقله باللغة الإنجليزية. وأغلب ما يسمعه ويعرفه العالم المتحدث باللغة الإنجليزية عن اليمن يأتي من النظام وهذا جزء من منطق رقابتهم، فهم من جانب آخر يحظرون المواقع ويعتقلون الصحافيين. ينتقل العالم الحديث إلى تويتر وفيسبوك. فيمكن لأشرطة الفيديو وصور الهاتف المحمول أن تحل محل طاقم أخبار دولي إذا عممت على نطاق واسع. أنا أقدّر أن الكهرباء في اليمن سيئة والانترنت أسوأ، وأن هناك بعض ضباط الاستخبارات في مقاهي الانترنت والبعض قد يشعرون بالإحراج في حال أن لغتهم الإنجليزية ليست جيدة، لكن الحقيقة مهمة. العالم هو مكان نشط جداً، ومليء بالجياع والحكومات الفاسدة التي لديها أناس أبرياء في السجون. الناس يحتاجون إلى سبب لكي يهتموا وطريقة للتواصل فكرياً، حتى رفع شعارات باللغة الإنجليزية أثناء الاحتجاجات ربما يساعد في الوصول إلى جمهور أوسع. هناك نقص في التفاهم الثقافي ومحاباة غير متعقلة من كلا الجانبين والتي ينبغي التغلب عليها. اليمن بلد مميز ومن المهم أن نظهر وجه اليمن الحقيقي للعالم.

*هل مصالح المجتمع الدولي مع الحكومة المركزية في صنعاء تحول دون دعم علني للحركة الشعبية في الجنوب؟

– نعم، لا أعتقد أن الدول الغربية تستطيع إيجاد رئيس عملي بديل للرئيس صالح. فالدعم الغربي أو حتى الاعتراف بالقضية الجنوبية سوف يعرض تعاون النظام اليمني معهم للخطر. الحجة القانونية بموجب القانون الدولي بأن الجنوب محتل بعد الحرب الأهلية عام 1994م ليس لها وزن في الأمم المتحدة التي تدار بأغلبية من الديكتاتوريين، وحتى جمهورية أرض الصومال المستقلة منذ 20 سنة لم تحظَ باعتراف دولي. البعض من قادة الحراك يقولون أن هدف الحراك الجنوبي هو الاستقلال، لكنهم لا يمارسون الديمقراطية أو يبدون القدرة على الحكم على أساس الآلية التي تحدد إرادة الشعب. هناك العديد من الهيئات التي كان من المستطاع أن تأتي إلى طاولة الحوار على أساس التساوي. لكن كما هو الحال في بقية اليمن، وكذلك في بنغلاديش، الشخصيات التاريخية عالقة في المنافسات والعادات القديمة. أنا أرغب بسماع المزيد من القادة الشباب الذين حتى لم يكونوا موجودين في الستينات، فكلمة أبطال فعلاً قليلة بحقهم، السؤال للجنوبيين هو: هل هم حقاً يريدون ترك المحسوبية وتقاليد النخبوية لإرساء قاعدة تكافؤ الفرص والحماية المتساوية والحقوق المتساوية؟ إنه تحدٍّ، ولكنه أساس الديمقراطية.

*كيف يمكن لليمن أن تتجاوز المشاكل الحالية وتخطو خطوة نحو مستقبل أفضل؟

– في هذه السنوا ت الأخيرة قدمت اقتراحات، ليست كحلول، لكن كإضافة للأفكار. بعض هذه الاقتراحات كانت إقالة حزب المؤتمر الشعبي العام الحاكم وسن الفيدرالية وتحويل النظام إلى نظام برلماني وإعادة تنفيذ وثيقة العهد والاتفاق ودفع لكل مواطن مبالغ متساوية من عائدات النفط، وإقامة حكومة انتقالية من التكنوقراطية اليمنية، والمحاسبة العامة من حكومة الجمهورية اليمنية، هي الطريقة الأسرع لمعالجة الأوضاع في اليمن شرط أن يصاحبها إعلام حر. في رأيي معظم الشكاوى العامة والاختلالات الهيكلية ناجمة عن هيمنة العائلة الحاكمة. فالنظام هو مزيج من مزايا غير عادلة سياسياً واقتصادياً واجتماعياً يقوم على نكران الحقوق المتساوية. الحل لابد أن يتضمن ميكانيكية تخلق المساواة في ظل نظام يتعهد السلطة في مؤسسات بيروقراطية محايدة ومسئولين محدودي الأجل يخضعون للمحاسبة. الأزمات في اليمن يتعين معالجتها وحلها على وجه السرعة، في المدى الطويل، والحوار بين النخبة هو فقط “نخبوية” أكثر.


– نص الحوار ارسل الى الاشتراكي نت من قبل الكاتبة نفسها

Categories: Uncategorized

Jane Novak Interview with Aden News Agency Arabic

December 19, 2010 1 comment

جين نوفاك… اسم بات مقروناً باليمن، ليس باليمن الذي يعرفه من لا يعرفه، ولكن اليمن الذي يعرفه أهله بمآسيه ونكباته الاقتصادية والسياسية والانسانية والتي تعرفت عليها الكاتبة (جين نوفاك) عن بعد، من الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، موطنها، حيث سخرت هذه الكاتبة والناشطة الحقوقية والسياسية والإعلامية نفسها لليمن وقضايا اليمن المتعددة والتي لم تحول المسافة بينها وبين معرفتها بقضاياه بل تعرفت عليها عن قرب، عبر التماس حال الناس أنفسهم، سواءً بأسلوب تقليدي أو معاصر عبر التقنية الحديثة.

عرفت “جين نوفاك” بدفاعها الشرس عن حقوق الإنسان في اليمن، وحرية الصحافة والكلمة، إلى جانب تقديمها المبادرات تلو الأخرى للخروج باليمن من أزماته السياسية المتأزمة، حيث تمتاز بقراءتها المتأنية للواقع اليمني وعدم اتباع الإعلام الواحد سواء كان إعلام السلطة أو المعارضة حيث قامت بكتابة العشرات من المقالات عن اليمن وأزماته بكل موضوعية ودقة وتعبير عن حال اليمن المعاش في عدة مواقع إلكترونية معروفة كـ World Press و Arab American News بالإضافة إلى موقعها الشهير Armies of Liberation الشيء الأمر أدى بالتالي إلى اكتسابها تعاطف الكثير من حملة القضية الجنوبية جنوباً, وحملة قضية صعدة شمالاً, وحملة القضايا الاقتصادية والسياسية والحقوقية والاجتماعية جنوباً و شمالاً. وفي حوار مع وكالة أنباء عدن “عنا” قالت نوفاك أن النظام اليمني يلعب ببطاقة الإرهاب بشكل جيد جداً, مضيفة “والعلاقة السرية مع القاعدة تجلب الكثير من الفوائد لكل من النظام والقاعدة على حد سواء”.

نص الحوار:

* هاجمتك وسائل إعلام يمنية… هل أنت خائفة من زيارة اليمن؟

– الحكومة اليمنية تهددني كأنني صحافية يمنية، فقد قامت بحجب موقعي لسنوات، وقدمت شهادات كاذبة ضدي في المحاكم، وافترت علي في الصحف. نحن نعلم أن هذا يحدث للصحافيين اليمنيين، فهم يعتقلون، يختطفون، يسجنون، ويعانون من العقوبات بسبب عملهم. الحكومة اليمنية ليس لديها آداب أو حدود إنسانية فيما يتعلق بمواطنيها. السبب في استهداف الصحافيين اليمنيين هو أن الحقيقة خطرة جداً على النظام. الحكومة اليمنية تنفق الكثير لأجل الدعاية و والوقائع الكاذبة للمواطنين اليمنيين والمجتمع الدولي.

* ألا ترين تناقضاً بين مفهوم “الديمقراطية” ودعم أميركا لنظام الرئيس صالح المسيطر على الحكم في اليمن منذ 1978م؟

– كل دولة تعمل استناداً إلى مصلحتها الذاتية، ودعم الولايات المتحدة لإدارة الرئيس صالح دفعتها متطلبات مكافحة الإرهاب في السنوات الحالية. فالوظيفة الأولوية للولايات المتحدة هي جعل الأميركيين يشعرون بالأمان. وفي نفس الوقت الولايات المتحدة أسست على مبادئ ديمقراطية وهي ملتزمة دستورياً بالمساواة بين الجميع. الحكومة الأميركية تقدم نظرية الحرية الفردية ومسائلة الحكومة – في حين أنها بعيدة عن الكمال في الممارسة العملية – هي صياغة لحماية وتمكين الضعفاء والأقليات وتشجيع الموهوبين وتمكين الوئام الاجتماعي والنمو الاقتصادي. بشكل واضح، الديمقراطية اليمنية ذاهبة في الاتجاه الخاطئ، السفير كراجسكي كان محقاً في 2005م عندما قال أن التقدم نحو الديمقراطية في اليمن قد توقف. في الواقع إنها قد انعكست. تحرير الإصلاحات في اليمن انتهت عندما تهدد هذه الإصلاحات قبضة النظام الحاكم على السلطة. واعتماداً على هذا، رأينا دعاية مفصلة صممت لتبدو كأن الدولة عندها التزامات بالمثل الديمقراطية. الجزء الذي لا يمكن فهمه هو ادعاء الولايات المتحدة بأن اليمن بلد ديمقراطي أو مهتم بالتقدم الديمقراطي. وهذا يسمح للنظام الحاكم أن يتنصل من المسؤولية عن أفعاله. اليمن بلد مليء بالفساد. حيث تتركز السلطة والمال والأرض بأيدي مقربي الرئيس صالح بشكل متزايد. وسائل الإعلام تقمع بشكل متزايد والحقوق المتساوية تصبح هدفاً بعيد المنالً كل يوم. تأخر الإصلاحات الانتخابية والموقف تجاه الانتخابات هو مثال جيد. وفي الوقت نفسه الولايات المتحدة والمانحين الغربيين يبدو أنهم يريدون أي انتخابات، سواء كانت نزيهة أم لا، لكي تضفي صورة شرعية على حزب حاكم مهيمن.

* ما الفائدة التي يجنيها النظام من علاقة سرية مع القاعدة؟

– يلعب النظام اليمني ببطاقة الإرهاب بشكل جيد جداً. والعلاقة السرية مع القاعدة تجلب الكثير من الفوائد لكل من النظام والقاعدة على حد سواء. النظام اليمني يجني الدعم الدولي والتمويل من خلال استغلال تهديد الإرهاب. البعض ألمح إلى أن أجهزة المخابرات قد قامت ببعض الهجمات على نفسها لكي تولد الدعم ولتصور نفسها بأنها ضحية ولتخفف الضغط الدولي تجاه الإصلاح. هناك فائدة أخرى للدولة وهي استخدام عناصر القاعدة كمرتزقة سواء في حرب صعدة أو أخرى ضد المعارضة الداخلية من اغتيالات لقادة جنوبيين العام 1993 وإغتيال جار الله عمر . هناك أسئلة حول خطف تسعة ألمان في يونيو 2009م. الدولة تقدم فكر القاعدة نفسه من خلال إصدار الفتاوى ضد معارضتها، الشيء الذي يحد من الحقوق المتساوية والتعدد ويكرس المزيد من البنية الحاكمة. عناصر تنظيم القاعدة يظهرون أنفسهم كمرتزقة عندما يشاركون في مؤامرات لاستهداف أعداء صالح و أيضاًُ كل البيانات التي تحسب لمجموعة متنوعة من القتلة الذين يدعمون صالح سياسياً. معظم متعصبي تنظيم القاعدة لايعلمون لصالح من يعملون وبمن يلحقون الضرر. بالرغم من أنهم يصرحون بهدفهم وهو تدمير إقتصاد الولايات المتحدة، في الواقع هم يدمرون اليمن وفي الأغلب يضرون اليمنيين ويدعون أنهم الحماة. التشابك الطويل في هذا العقد بين القاعدة والحكومة اليمنية يثبت بلا شك أن تنظيم القاعدة هو أيديولوجية زائفة. تنظيم القاعدة هم من المرتزقة العازمين على تحقيق القوة للسيطرة على المجتمع وفرض وجهة نظرهم الضيقة من خلال بيانات كاذبة وقتل أشخاص أبرياء.

* إلى أي مدى تتوافق رغبة اليمن في الدعم الأميركي الذي زاد مؤخراً مع تصريحات وزير الخارجية اليمني بأن عدد عناصر القاعدة لايتجاوز 400 عنصر؟

– عدد 400 من أعضاء تنظيم القاعدة صحيح فقط إذا كنا لا نحتسب أنصار القاعدة بين الوزارات اليمنية والأمنية والتجارية والمنح والجيش والتعليم. هذه العوامل المساعدة لتنظيم القاعدة لها تأثير كبير على إنتاجية هذه المجموعة وقدرتهم على ترويع العالم بأسره. لتقليل تهديد تنظيم القاعدة من وجهة نظري – بالطريقة التي لا تعرض أي مدنيين يمنيين للخطر- هو أن يتم تطهير أنصار القاعدة هؤلاء من الحكومة بدءً ببعض من كبار المسؤولين.

* كيف تفسرين انتقال اليمن من تضخيم وجود تنظيم القاعدة إلى تصغيره، خصوصاً بعد حادثة الطرود المفخخة؟

– الحكومة اليمنية تقول أي شيء تعتقد بأنه سيكسبها الدعم، حتى ولو أن تصريحات اليوم تتناقض مع تصريحات الأمس. استغرب نائب الرئيس في الآونة الأخيرة ضجة الإعلام العالمي حول الطرود الملغمة، بينما كان من الممكن أن تقتل تلك الطرود الكثير من الناس، في حين صرح مسئول آخر بأن اليمن بحاجة إلى مليارات الدولارات لمكافحة التهديد. في الوقت نفسه من المهم أن نقدر ونحمي جميع أشكال الحياة على قدم المساواة. عملية مكافحة الإرهاب التي تقتل يمنيين بريئين هي بنفس سوء مؤامرة الإرهاب التي تقتل أميركيين بريئين. لايزال هناك الآلاف من النازحين بدون غذاء بعد الاعتداءات على الحوطة في شبوة. العديد في اليمنيين يؤمنون بأن تنظيم القاعدة في جزيرة العرب قد تم تضخيمه، وأنه بضاعة للأمم الغربية أو السعوديين. شيء واحد واضح وهو أن طموح القاعدة في جزيرة العرب هو قتل الأميركان. أنور العولقي، ابن بلدي، شارك في مؤامرة الطائرة الأولى، مع النيجيري، والأخيرة مع طائرة النقل. فقد صرح بأن كل الأميركان ينبغي أن يقتلوا. وتعتبر القاعدة في جزيرة العرب نفسها قاضٍ مقدس لكل اليمنيين، وقال أن كل اليمنيين الذين يقتلون يستحقون ذلك، سواء كان سائقاً فقيراً أو امرأة تمشي. بهذه التصريحات الحمقاء، العولقي مع بقية الـ 40 أو الـ 400 يوجهون الكوارث إلى الشعب اليمني. من العنف الإرهابي وطائرات بدون طيار إلى مخاوف من تدخل عسكري وغارات هذه من جانب قوات مكافحة الإرهاب اليمنية التي لا تذهب بالقرب من مكان الإرهابين ولكنها تذهب إلى المعارضة. القاعدة تستغل الشعب اليمني بوحشية مثلما يفعل نظام صالح. والشعب نفسه هو من يدفع ثمن طموحات القاعدة.

* في رأيك، هل هناك احتمالية لتدخل عسكري في اليمن، حسبما صرح به رئيس هيئة الأركان البريطاني الجنرال ديفيد ريتشاردز؟

– لا، أعتقد أن أي محلل عاقل سوف يتنبأ بالنتائج الكارثية التي ستكون حصيلة تدخل عسكري في اليمن. إنه بالضبط هدف القاعدة أن تجلب الولايات المتحدة إلى اليمن. وزير الدفاع الأميركي صرح بأنه لن تكون هناك حرب في اليمن، ولذلك هم يعملون مع الجيش والأمن اليمنيين. وبعد ذلك، بالطبع، الولايات المتحدة معاقة بسبب افتقارها للمعلومات الصحيحة من الجانب اليمني.

* هل تعتقدين بإمكانية رفع قضايا في محاكم دولية، حول استخدام أسلحة غير تقليدية خلال الحروب المتقطعة مع المتمردين الشيعة في شمال اليمن، ضد الرئيس صالح؟

– هناك أدلة ظرفية أن الجيش اليمني تحت قيادة العميد علي محسن الأحمر قد استخدم أسلحة كيماوية محظورة خلال الجولات السابقة من حرب صعد, قد يكون هناك دليل مادي أيضاً. ولكن حتى الآن ، هناك دليل ضعيف ورغبة ضعيفة من جانب المجتمع الدولي لتعقب هذه الاتهامات. وعلاوة على ذلك ، هناك العديد من حالات جرائم الحرب العلنية في اليمن القصف العشوائي في حروب صعدة فضلاً عن قطع المساعدات للمدنيين، فهي على حد سواء تنتهك القانون الدولي. إنها الآن مفتوحة تماماً وموثقة بشكل جيد من قبل جماعات حقوق الإنسان الدولية، وحتى الآن يركز المجتمع الدولي على المضي قدماً مع الرئيس صالح. الكونجرس ووزارة الخارجية الأميركيان يشعران بالقلق حول تحويل المساعدات العسكرية الأميركية لصراعات داخلية، حيث قوانين الحرب اخترقت. غيرها من الانتهاكات للقانون الدولي تتضمن تكتيكات عنيفة ضد المتظاهرين بما في ذلك إطلاق النار على المحتجين جنوبيين من ضمنهم أشخاص عزل. إذا كان المجتمع الدولي يغض النظر عن أعمال العنف والعقاب الجماعي الصارخة، أعتقد أنه أبداً لن يحقق في موضوع الأسلحة الكيماوية.

* هل تلعب أحزاب المعارضة اليمنية في شمال اليمن دوراً إيجابياً في الحياة السياسية؟

– أحزاب المعارضة تلعب دوراً إيجابياً حيث أن اللقاء المشترك يطرح القضايا ويفتح الحوار. هم يحاولون أن يحملوا الحكومة المسؤولية. ويواجهون ثمناً مريعاً بسبب ذلك. الكثيرون في المعارضة مسجونون ومهددون، يضربون ويختطفون. لكن في المقابل أحزاب اللقاء المشترك لاتستطيع أن تزيد من تأثيرها بسبب عدم قدرتها على إصدار البيانات باللغة الإنكليزية على وجه السرعة إلى وسائل الإعلام الغربية. أنا لا أعرف إذا كانت هي مسألة الخلافات بين القيادة وبالنسبة لمضمون النشرات الصحفية، أو إذا كان فشل إداري في تعيين مترجم إلى اللغة الإنجليزية والتواصل الصحفي لأحزاب اللقاء المشترك. ولكنني أعرف أنها يمكن أن تكون صوتاً قوياً أكثر من ذلك بكثير إذا ما قامت بأي محاولة للارتباط بالعالم الناطق بالانكليزية. علاوة على ذلك أحزاب اللقاء المشترك لديها نفس العقلية النخبوية التي ينتقدونها. الشخصيات القيادية لازالوا قيادات سياسية لعقود. هناك القليل من المدخلات من أعضاء الحزب. اللقاء المشترك يأمر الأعضاء، وليس العكس. اللقاء المشترك يحرك قاعدته في شكل احتجاجات فقط كتكتيك مؤقت للضغط على المؤتمر الشعبي العام وعادة مايكون في خضم صفقة غرفة خلفية. بينما النظام الانتخابي مرجح لصالح الحزب الحاكم بشدة، ليس هنالك شيء يمنع المعارضة من صياغة ممارسات ديمقراطية داخلياً من خلال احترام حدود الأجل، إظهار الشفافية المالية ، وخلق طرق عادلة للقيادة.

* ماهي نصيحتك لإقامة انتخابات برلمانية شفافة في اليمن؟ وماذا تقولين للجنوبيين الذين يعتزمون مقاطعتها؟

– اليمنيون الجنوبيون يمتلكون الحق للمقاطعة. بعض الجنوبيين يرفضون الانتخابات على أساس أنها تحدث في بلد آخر. الجنوبيون هم مثل الشماليين، أيضاً لهم الحق في انتخابات نزيهة. الكثيرون كانوا مفعمين بالأمل بأن انتخابات 2006 الرئاسية ربما تجلب التغيير، أو على الأقل درجة أكبر من التفويض الشعبي. الكثيرون خاب أملهم عندما تم التلاعب بالأصوات بعد مغادرة المراقبين، عندما بدأ النظام يستهدف العاملين في مراكز الاقتراع ونشطاء المعارضة بسبب مشاركتهم في العملية الديمقراطي

هناك آليات واضحة من شأنها أن تمكن من انتخابات أكثر شفافية. وحددت الكثير من هذه المشاريع من قبل مراقبي الانتخابات في الاتحاد الأوروبي، وهي شكلت أساساً للاتفاق بعد انتخابات عام 2006. قضية واحدة صغيرة هي أين يمكن للمصوت أن يضع صوته. حالياَ يمكن للناخبين التصويت في اختيار إما عنوان المنزل أو عنوان عملهم، الأمر الذي يعني أن الجنود الــ30000 الذين تم نقلهم إلى عدن وأبين لدورة كأس الخليج 20 سيحق لهم التصويت في تلك المحافظات. عقبة أخرى أمام إقامة انتخابات نزيهة هي الخلط بين الحزب الحاكم وأجهزة الدولة. لوبيات الدولة لحزب المؤتمر ولوبيات حزب المؤتمر للدولة تعمل على مدار السنة. حتى أحزاب اللقاء المشترك عندها عائق. معظم الناس على الأرجح صوتوا لصالح الرئيس، ولكن السيد بن شملان كان يجب عليه التنافس ضد الفتاوى وإخافة الناس والترويج وترهيب الناخبين والرشوة. الحزب الحاكم والدولة يحبطان أي محاولة مشاركة بالسلطة – كلاهما من أحزاب قادة المعارضة والحركات ومع الناس أنفسهم. الرئيس يختار الفائزين ثم تعقد الانتخابات، مثلما حدث في انتخابات المحافظين في العام 2008م. النتائج كانت مقلوبة في محافظتين، حيث لم ينجح مرشحي المؤتمر. السبيل لحزب المؤتمر الشعبي العام وأحزاب اللقاء المشترك من أجل ضمان انتخابات شفافة هو من خلال نزاهة اللجنة العليا للانتخابات. التي أعلن الرئيس صالح أنها سوف تتشكل من القضاةة. ولكن حتى القضاة هم عرضة للتهديدات لأسرهم, وغيرها من وسائل التأثير على قراراتهم. ويمكننا القول بطريقة مازحة أن قضاة اللجنة العليا للانتخابات ينبغي أن يتاح لهم اللجوء السياسي بعد الانتخابات، أو اختيار أولئك الذين لديهم أمراض عضال الذين لا يهابون الموت. ولكن المفتاح لهذه العملية هو عدم تسييس عملية صنع القرار وحماية صانعي القرار من أي ضرر أو عواقب.

* ماهو سبب الصمت الدولي تجاه قمع الجيش اليمني للحركة الشعبية في الجنوب؟ – هناك الكثير من جرائم الحرب والفظائع التي ترتكب في اليمن والتي يتم التغاضي عنها. المليشيات الإيرانية قتلت ندى آغا سلطان خلال احتجاجات في إيران والعالم كله أصبح يعرف اسمها. لكن لا أحد خارج اليمن يعرف وضاح حسين علي أو أحمد درويش أو شافيز ذو العامين. هناك عوامل خارجية وداخلية لها دور في الصمت العالمي على القضايا والفظائع التي تحدث في الجنوب. حتى أنني لست متأكدة من أن السفارات تعلم بمدى حجم ما يحدث، فقد كنت قلقة جداً لقراءة تسريبات الويكيليكس التي تحدثت أن الجنرال بترايوس والسفير سيتش اعتقدوا في يناير 2010 أن “ثلاثة مدنيين فقط” هم من قتلوا في الغارات الجوية في ديسمبر 2009. يحسب للرئيس صالح أنه حاول أن يشرح أن العديدين قتلوا، لكن الجنرال بترايوس والسفير سيتش اعتقدوا أن الرئيس صالح كان ببدلته الرسمية ولا يدري بما حوله. كما نعرف، الرئيس صالح كان يقول الحقيقة وهم كانوا مخطئين. سبب آخر وهو نقص الفهم والتغطية الإعلامية العالمية، بالإضافة إلى حاجز اللغة، أنا أشيد بوكالة أنباء عدن التي تمتلك صفحة ناطقة باللغة الإنجليزية. لا أحد من القادة الجنوبيين عندهم مترجم، فليس مهماً للإعلام الغربي مايقوله السيد البيض ما لم يقله باللغة الإنجليزية. وأغلب ما يسمعه ويعرفه العالم المتحدث باللغة الإنجليزية عن اليمن يأتي من النظام وهذا جزء من منطق رقابتهم، فهم من جانب آخر يحظرون المواقع ويعتقلون الصحافيين. ينتقل العالم الحديث إلى تويتر وفيسبوك. فيمكن لأشرطة الفيديو وصور الهاتف المحمول أن تحل محل طاقم أخبار دولي إذا عممت على نطاق واسع. أنا أقدّر أن الكهرباء في اليمن سيئة والانترنت أسوأ، وأن هناك بعض ضباط الاستخبارات في مقاهي الانترنت والبعض قد يشعرون بالإحراج في حال أن لغتهم الإنجليزية ليست جيدة، لكن الحقيقة مهمة. العالم هو مكان نشط جداً، ومليء بالجياع والحكومات الفاسدة التي لديها أناس أبرياء في السجون. الناس يحتاجون إلى سبب لكي يهتموا وطريقة للتواصل فكرياً، حتى رفع شعارات باللغة الإنجليزية أثناء الاحتجاجات ربما يساعد في الوصول إلى جمهور أوسع. هناك نقص في التفاهم الثقافي ومحاباة غير متعقلة من كلا الجانبين والتي ينبغي التغلب عليها. اليمن بلد مميز ومن المهم أن نظهر وجه اليمن الحقيقي للعالم.

*هل مصالح المجتمع الدولي مع الحكومة المركزية في صنعاء تحول دون دعم علني للحركة الشعبية في الجنوب؟

– نعم، لا أعتقد أن الدول الغربية تستطيع إيجاد رئيس عملي بديل للرئيس صالح. فالدعم الغربي أو حتى الاعتراف بالقضية الجنوبية سوف يعرض تعاون النظام اليمني معهم للخطر. الحجة القانونية بموجب القانون الدولي بأن الجنوب محتل بعد الحرب الأهلية عام 1994م ليس لها وزن في الأمم المتحدة التي تدار بأغلبية من الديكتاتوريين، وحتى جمهورية أرض الصومال المستقلة منذ 20 سنة لم تحظَ باعتراف دولي. البعض من قادة الحراك يقولون أن هدف الحراك الجنوبي هو الاستقلال، لكنهم لا يمارسون الديمقراطية أو يبدون القدرة على الحكم على أساس الآلية التي تحدد إرادة الشعب. هناك العديد من الهيئات التي كان من المستطاع أن تأتي إلى طاولة الحوار على أساس التساوي. لكن كما هو الحال في بقية اليمن، وكذلك في بنغلاديش، الشخصيات التاريخية عالقة في المنافسات والعادات القديمة. أنا أرغب بسماع المزيد من القادة الشباب الذين حتى لم يكونوا موجودين في الستينات، فكلمة أبطال فعلاً قليلة بحقهم، السؤال للجنوبيين هو: هل هم حقاً يريدون ترك المحسوبية وتقاليد النخبوية لإرساء قاعدة تكافؤ الفرص والحماية المتساوية والحقوق المتساوية؟ إنه تحدٍّ، ولكنه أساس الديمقراطية.

*كيف يمكن لليمن أن تتجاوز المشاكل الحالية وتخطو خطوة نحو مستقبل أفضل؟

– في هذه السنوا ت الأخيرة قدمت اقتراحات، ليست كحلول، لكن كإضافة للأفكار. بعض هذه الاقتراحات كانت إقالة حزب المؤتمر الشعبي العام الحاكم وسن الفيدرالية وتحويل النظام إلى نظام برلماني وإعادة تنفيذ وثيقة العهد والاتفاق ودفع لكل مواطن مبالغ متساوية من عائدات النفط، وإقامة حكومة انتقالية من التكنوقراطية اليمنية، والمحاسبة العامة من حكومة الجمهورية اليمنية، هي الطريقة الأسرع لمعالجة الأوضاع في اليمن شرط أن يصاحبها إعلام حر. في رأيي معظم الشكاوى العامة والاختلالات الهيكلية ناجمة عن هيمنة العائلة الحاكمة. فالنظام هو مزيج من مزايا غير عادلة سياسياً واقتصادياً واجتماعياً يقوم على نكران الحقوق المتساوية. الحل لابد أن يتضمن ميكانيكية تخلق المساواة في ظل نظام يتعهد السلطة في مؤسسات بيروقراطية محايدة ومسئولين محدودي الأجل يخضعون للمحاسبة. الأزمات في اليمن يتعين معالجتها وحلها على وجه السرعة، في المدى الطويل، والحوار بين النخبة هو فقط “نخبوية” أكثر.


– نص الحوار ارسل الى الاشتراكي نت من قبل الكاتبة نفسها

Categories: Uncategorized

مُقارنة لمكافحة حركات التمرد في اليمن

December 19, 2010 Leave a comment

مُقارنة لمكافحة حركات التمرد في اليمن
السبت, 02-أكتوبر-2010
شهارة نت- جين نوفاك* /تقرير –
ترجمة: عبدالله عبدالوهاب ناجي، وجاسم محمد

تعد اليمن من بين أكثر الدول فسادا وأقلها نموا في العالم، وهو ما يفسر الاستمرار الطويل للحرب في الشمال و انفجار حركة الاستقلال في الجنوب. ويتعامل الرئيس اليمني علي عبد الله صالح مع معارضة شرعية باعتقال صحفيين، وإطلاق النار على محتجين، وقصف مدنيين، إلى حد يرقى إلى مستوى جرائم حرب. وبينما ظل “صالح” لفترة طويلة يعمل على تمكين تنظيم القاعدة، إلا أن الهجوم الإرهابي خلال يوم عيد الميلاد الأخير أحدث نقلة حتمية جديدة في العلاقات بين الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية واليمن. ومع ذلك، فإن الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية تخاطر بأن تصبح طرفا في القمع العنيف وتعزيز دعم نظام أحد اكبر الشركاء الطموحين التابعين لتنظيم القاعدة Read more…

Categories: Arabic Articles


September 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Yemen is among the world’s most corrupt and least developed nations, factors that explain a long running war in the north and an exploding independence movement in the south. Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Salih deals with legitimate dissent by jailing journalists, shooting protesters, and bombing civilians on a scale that reaches the level of war crimes. Salih has long been an al-Qa’ida enabler, but the December 25, 2009 Christmas Day terror attack brought new urgency to U.S.-Yemeni relations. However, the United States risks becoming a party to violent repression, as well as enhancing the support system of one of the world’s most ambitious al-Qa’ida affiliates.

The government of Yemen is engaged in three counter-insurgency campaigns. Southern secessionists, northern rebels, and al-Qa’ida are each challenging the state. The calls for independence, revolt, or jihad arose as the state came to exist as the equivalent of a privatized mafia, but only al-Qa’ida in Yemen (AQIY) presents a transnational threat. The lethal jihadi attack on Fort Hood in November 2009 and the December 2009 attempted bombing of an airliner over Detroit were linked to al-Qa’ida terrorists in Yemen.

AQIY’s global ambitions arise in part from its lack of credibility within Yemen, where AQIY is widely perceived as a corrupt entity exploited by the state for political gain. The current interlude of “hunting” notwithstanding, the regime of Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Salih has had a mutually beneficial détente with al-Qa’ida for decades. Since the 1980s, Yemen has been an incubator and exporter of terrorists. Since 1992, substantial al-Qa’ida attacks in Yemen targeted Western interests, embassies, and persons–with only one exception.

Beyond an expansionist al-Qa’ida, Yemen is facing two sustained domestic conflicts: the northern Sa’ada War and the southern secessionist movement. Both these anti-government groups arose from the economic marginalization and political exclusion that impact all non-elite Yemenis. They tap into an indigenous pro-democracy consensus by claiming discrimination and demanding application of the law. Their narratives dilute the draw of al-Qa’ida by verbalizing national grievances tailored to a local context.

In contrast to Yemen’s appeasement of al-Qa’ida, indiscriminate state violence against the northern Huthi fighters and southern demonstrators—and civilians in both conflict areas—triggered escalating cycles of conflict and public frustration. The state’s failure to respect the norms of civilian immunity has become a primary grievance of both movements. Yemen, like al-Qa’ida, legitimizes attacks on civilians as a necessary feature of progress and justified by identity. The state of Yemen, like al-Qa’ida, considers host populations as combatants and endorses jihad.


Through two administrations (George W. Bush and Barack Obama), the United States government had little condemnation as Yemen engaged in bloody warfare against its own citizens. The United States is perceived in Yemen as endorsing random violence or state terrorism against Yemeni civilians. The Obama administration deems the domestic unrest an internal Yemeni affair, a threat to regional stability, and a diversion from counter-terror activities.

U.S. authorities are concerned about citizens returning from Yemen to launch attacks, for good reason. “Underwear” bomber, Nigerian Farouk Abdulmatallab, said he trained in Yemen for December’s operation alongside English speaking non-Yemenis. The FBI has arrested a number of Americans on charges relating to terrorist plots or associations that trace back to Yemen.[1]

Although President Salih has long been a duplicitous and inconsistent ally in the War on Terror, the Obama administration appears confident of his new found sincerity.[2] Current U.S. strategy–like previous U.S. strategy–hopes to strengthen the Yemeni government’s capacity to tackle the al-Qa’ida threat. Since December 2009, the United States boosted levels of intelligence sharing, equipment, and financing to Yemen.

Results are disappointing. Contrary to multiple erroneous Yemeni press releases, AQAP’s (al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula) entire leadership structure remains at large. On December 17, 2009, an errant airstrike killed 43 civilians in Abyan. The deaths inflamed anti-American sentiment, stoked fears of a U.S. invasion, and became a focal point of al-Qa’ida’s propaganda. In June 2010, a prominent pro-government shaykh in Marib, set to meet a surrendering al-Qa’ida operative, was killed in another misdirected airstrike. Marib tribesmen bombed a pipeline, closed roads, and clashed with security forces. The abdication of rural Yemen to tribal proxies means that military forces must negotiate for access, making real-time intelligence difficult to obtain.

As a result, Yemen is also having trouble locating the Yemeni-American jihadi blogger and self-proclaimed cleric, Anwar Awlaki, in Shabwa province. Awlaki mentored Nidal Hassan and Farouk Abdulmutallab and supported several al-Qa’ida operations. Yemeni authorities initially defended Awlaki as a legitimate preacher, but later said they would bring him to trial if captured. Yet Yemeni courts have found that jihad in Iraq is legal and admirable.[3] If Yemeni law supports the murder of U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians in Iraq, there is no basis to expect that conspiring to murder U.S. soldiers at Fort Hood is against Yemeni law.[4]

Beyond strengthening Yemen’s counter-terror capacity, the second prong of U.S. strategy focuses on economic development and basic services, a reversal from earlier years when political reform was a key goal. Yet Yemen’s growing terror menace, bloody instability, and grinding poverty are all rooted in “the personalization of the state.”[5]


The United States, as part of its whole of government approach, seeks to “halt and reverse troubling socio-economic dynamics” in Yemen. It is a Herculean task, as these dynamics were entrenched over four decades and form the underpinnings of the criminalized oligarchy in Sana’a. A USAID corruption assessment notes that as the state’s military and security apparatuses have been subverted to personal interests, a tribal parasitic bourgeoisie reliant on state contracts has emerged and further captured state resources for private gain. Documented cases of state corruption and embezzlement in 2007 totaled over YR 72 billion.

Yemen’s per capita income is ranked 166th of 174 countries. Its press freedom ranking is 167th. Unemployment is about 40 percent. A third of adults are malnourished, and half of children are physically stunted from chronic hunger. One third of all under-five deaths occur from vaccine preventable diseases. Donor aid has had little impact. Only 10 percent of the $4.7 billion pledged by donors in 2006 has been disbursed, largely due to the failure to complete necessary paperwork.[6]

Yemen is facing predicted economic crises while long-standing patterns of grand corruption inhibit reform.[7] Diesel subsidies cost four billion dollars, but half of subsidized diesel is smuggled abroad.[8] Oil revenues, accounting for 70 percent of state funds, dipped more than half in 2009. As the patronage system becomes unglued, violence is increasing. In June 2010, soldiers in Mahwit and tribal fighters in Amran demanding overdue pay clashed with military forces.

Yemen is also running out of water. Yemen’s largest city, Ta’iz, gets public water once every 45 days. The cultivation of qat, a stimulant shrub, accounts for 40 percent of water usage–with irrigation costs offset by subsidized diesel. Workable water policies have been on the table for years, but implementation requires coordination among competing ministerial fiefdoms, the loss of somebody’s profit, and political will the executive does not have.[9] The state’s inability to control its geographical periphery is matched by its inability to control the periphery of government, resulting in irrational, contradictory, and half-executed policies.

Ali Abdallah Salih took his post in 1978 as president of the Yemeni Arab Republic (YAR) and in 1990, became president of unified Yemen. For over thirty years, Salih ruled much as Imams before him, relying on personal relationships, tribal muscle, and a patronage system. Salih’s relatives and loyalists head the military, intelligence, and security forces as well as major corporations, media, and social institutions including NGOs–often all at the same time.[10] The expenses of the parliament and presidency consume 20 percent of public spending, the military another quarter. Salih personally funded construction of the al-Salih Mosque at a cost of $120 million.

The Pretense of Democracy

The exercise of real power in Yemen occurs behind the scenes and outside formal institutions. Salih heads the ruling General People’s Congress (GPC), a party of access and advantage that deploys the media, police, civil service employment, and judiciary to overwhelm and punish its opponents.

After the 2006 presidential elections, opposition party workers were jailed, fired, or beaten as retribution for their political participation. Indirect governor’s elections in 2008 were touted as progress toward local governance, but the GPC’s candidate won in all provinces except two, where the results were overturned. The GPC and its opposition, the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP),[11] are in contention over the scope of proposed electoral reforms. As a result, parliamentary elections set for 2009 were postponed until 2011. With no progress since 2006, future elections are in doubt.

The GPC-dominated parliament and Shura Council are comprised largely of loyalist shaykhs, military commanders, and businessmen–reinforcing tribal authoritarianism and economic centralization. Other tribal confederations are excluded from power entirely and resort to kidnapping foreigners in order to pressure the state for concessions.

Beyond the military, party and tribal arms of power, and U.S. support, the Sana’a regime is allied with Islamist fundamentalists, further thwarting pluralism and popular empowerment. The death of a 12-year-old in childbirth did not break the hardliners’ opposition to a minimum marriage age. With the independent media under assault, peaceful protests met by bullets and fatwas (religious edicts), and some members of parliament absent for months, the options for Yemenis were starkly described by a United Nations official as “revolt, migrate or die.”[12]


Both the northern Sa’ada War and the southern independence movement are rooted in the state’s corruption and inability to share power. Both conflicts began with citizens demanding enfranchisement, the impartial imposition of law and limits on governmental abuses. Underlying issues including economic marginalization and political exclusion were never addressed or even acknowledged as valid by the state. These issues also underlie tribal discontent and other areas of civil unrest. Human Rights Watch found that in both conflicts, Yemeni authorities violated the requirements of international law regarding civilian protections.[13]

Following the Christmas Day attack, the United States urged Yemen to resolve areas of instability and focus its efforts against al-Qa’ida. The sixth round of the northern Sa’ada War ended in February 2010, although peace is unlikely to hold. During the lull in open warfare, the military intensified its campaign in the south, fortifying military positions and blockading and bombing several areas.

President Salih announced a general amnesty on May 22, 2010, the twentieth anniversary of Yemeni unity. About 3,000 political prisoners were covered under the amnesty including journalists, activists, southern protesters, Huthi rebels, and various children. About 800 were released, reinforcing the state’s lack of credibility and triggering prison riots. It was the fourth time since 2005 that the state promised to release Huthi prisoners.[14]

The Roots of the “The Huthi Rebellion”

War in Sa’ada can be traced back to the 1962 Republican revolution when the northern YAR overthrew the Zaidi theocracy in place for centuries. During the Imamate, the ability to rule was restricted to Hashemites, who trace their lineage to Muhammad. Despite their elite status, many Hashemites joined the struggle to break free from the isolationism, nepotism and tribalism at the core of the twentieth century Imamate. The social inversion following the revolution set the stage for Zaidi revivalism decades later, triggered in part by the infusion of Salafism in the 1990s.[15]

The Believing Youth, a Zaidi study group, was formed in the 1990s, and the group’s literature presented an ideology that discredited the al-Qa’ida strain of Salafism on nearly every point.[16] Hostilities with the state began in 2004 when security forces clashed with members of the Believing Youth chanting “Death to America” in opposition to the Iraq War.[17] The group, numbering in the hundreds, retreated to the northern Sa’ada province and fought under charismatic leader, Husayn al-Huthi, killed in 2004.

Husayn al-Huthi was a member of parliament, as is his brother Yahya, and never disputed the republican nature of the state.[18] The loose organization of fighters now called “the Huthis” has grown to about 7,000 and is headed by al-Huthi’s brother, Abd al-Malik. War efforts in Sa’ada were commanded by General Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar, the president’s half brother and former recruiter for Usama bin Ladin.

Huthi Grievances and Narrative: Forced Conversions

The Huthis insist they are waging a defensive war and never presented a coherent political platform or, unlike the state, framed the war in sectarian terms. The Huthis also complain of the lack of economic development and institutionalized religious discrimination. The state replaced Zaidi mosque preachers with Salafists beginning in 2005. It forbade the celebration of al-Ghadir day, a mainstream Zaidi holiday, and confiscated books promoting Zaidism, practiced by nearly 40 percent of Yemenis.

The state used tribal volunteers and jihadists as fighters during war and as deniable proxies during periods of ceasefire. Billions spent on the war gave rise to a self perpetuating war economy benefiting weapons dealers, tribal leaders, and government officials who continue to agitate for the war’s resumption.[19]

In a 2010 statement to the National Preparatory Committee, an ad hoc reform-minded grouping, Abd al-Malik al-Huthi signaled the group’s willingness to enter the political system, calling for broader mobilization of the common people in the political system and for greater awareness among the citizenry of their rights.

The RAND Corporation noted that “despite anti-Israel and anti-U.S. rhetoric, the Huthis have not targeted Americans or U.S. facilities and equipment, and share with the United States some of the same enemies in the region, including intolerant, expansionist Wahhabism and authoritarian state systems.”[20]

Counterinsurgency in the Sa’ada War: Bombing Villages, Arresting Children

The state’s methods of counterinsurgency in the six Sa’ada Wars since 2004 designated the 700,000 residents of Sa’ada and the Hashemite population nationally as combatants. The Sa’ada War was characterized by sustained blockades of food and medicine and nationwide arbitrary arrests. Indiscriminate government bombing in the 2005 round displaced over 50,000 residents. In the 2009 “Operation Scorched Earth,” Yemeni and Saudi bombing flattened over 9,000 structures, including mosques, schools, houses, and entire villages. By 2010, internal refugees had swelled to over 300,000. The UN’s appeal for Yemen is only 30 percent funded, and what aid there is cannot get through.

One Yemeni official described the goal of the blockade, “When [the residents] begin to starve and their source of income is interrupted, they will eventually hand over the Huthis in their area.”[21] Human Rights Watch characterized the blockade as collective punishment and “in contravention of international humanitarian law that provides that a civilian population is entitled to receive humanitarian relief essential to its survival.”[22]

Past ceasefires have been a tactic of war–rather than a strategy to end it–and the state repeatedly failed to honor its own terms. In 2007, a governmental fact finding committee was jailed after reporting that the governmental failed to implement several terms of the ceasefire including reconstruction and the freeing of rebel prisoners. A reconstruction committee was arrested after issuing a damage survey that reported losses to property and infrastructure from government bombing exceeded billions of riyals.

Beyond capturing and often torturing rebel fighters, the state also engaged in widespread “preventive arrests” of those suspected of sympathy with the fighters, based on religious identity, geographical location, or family associations.[23] Many children in jail were also subject to routine torture.[24]

Zaidi political leaders complained in March 2010 that the Minister of Endowments was enabling militant preachers in the Great Mosque in Sana’a to engage in “a fierce campaign against Zaidi and Sufi thought,” continuing the provocations that should have ended with the war.[25] Arrests and assassinations are continuing, as is the disinformation campaign, and Huthi prisoners remain in jail, signaling the likelihood of a seventh war.

The Roots of the Southern Movement

The state’s counter-insurgency tactics in the northern Sa’ada War defined combatants by religious identity, location, and lineage. In the south, police targeted peaceful demonstrators with live fire and arrests; a combatant is anyone in the street. The southern secession movement may be the most threatening of the three insurgencies the Yemeni regime is facing. It is the only one that seeks a fundamental change to the nature of the state.

While the northern YAR evolved from a theocracy, southern history is very different. The British colonized the port city of Aden in 1839 and established a protectorate in southern Yemen. Nationalist groups expelled the British in 1967. The British legacy in south Yemen meant that to some degree southerners had replaced tribal norms with civil constraints and developed equal economic and political opportunity between the sexes. The new state was built on impartial bureaucratic structures left behind by the British.

A Marxist-Leninist Soviet satellite state that harbored Carlos the Jackal, the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY) strove to become a proletarian utopia, but corruption and infighting soon set in. State confiscation of land and targeting of former foes forced many into exile. In 1986, President Ali Nasir Muhammad ordered the assassination of his politburo. After a civil war, Haydar Abu Bakr al-Attas assumed power. The current inability of the southern movement to coalesce into a unified front has its roots in factional rivalry that existed since the 1986 civil war.

In 1990, 12 million citizens of the YAR and the 2 million in the PDRY joined together in the modern state of Yemen under a democratic system of power-sharing, at least in theory. Salih became president of the unified state, and Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP) leader Ali Salim al-Baydh, the vice-president.

Tensions were high as northern hegemony took hold. Over 150 YSP officials were assassinated following unity. In 1994, al-Baydh declared secession and civil war broke out. President Salih deployed repatriated Afghan Arabs as a mercenary force and received material support from Usama bin Ladin for the war effort.[26] The United Nations Security Council issued resolutions 928 and 931, urging a ceasefire and return to negotiations.

After three months of fighting, mostly in the south, Salih’s forces achieved an overwhelming victory. Aden was thoroughly looted following the war, and the northern military established ubiquitous camps and checkpoints throughout the south that remain today. Supporters of Ali Nasir Muhammad who fought against the southern secessionists were appointed senior positions following the war, fostering the illusion of political enfranchisement of Salih’s former southern rivals.

Southern Grievances and Narrative: An Occupied Country

In contrast to the limited number of Huthi fighters, the southern independence movement is supported by approximately 70 percent of adults in the former PDRY, one survey found.[27] Many southerners would welcome a reformed and unified state but have lost all confidence in Salih and the political system to deliver it. Similar to the Sa’ada Wars, the southern movement grew largely in reaction to the state’s methods of counterinsurgency.

The southern narrative asserts that unity was re-imposed by force in violation of UN resolutions 928 and 931, and the PDRY is an occupied country. Following the war, hundreds of thousands of southerners were fired from the civil service and military. “Retired” southern soldiers received pensions below sustenance levels and less than northern officers.

Southerners were excluded from state employment and scholarships and subject to wide-spread land confiscations, a leading cause of southern instability. Resurgent tribalism and Islamist fundamentalism added another layer of perceived social oppression. Yemen’s oil, mostly found in the former PDRY, was exploited by the northern elite for personal gain. Southern despair festered unspoken for a decade. Many northerners and Western diplomats were shocked when it exploded onto the streets in 2007.

In 2009, the exiled Ali Salim al-Baydh declared his support for the movement and became its figurehead. The defection of former Salih loyalist Tariq al-Fahdli was also greeted with great joy. However, both men have failed to unify the movement, establish any methods of representation, or articulate a coherent platform. Al-Baydh called for an internationally supervised referendum on unity as well as an investigation into the state’s crimes against its citizens.

Counterinsurgency Against Southern Protesters: Shooting into Crowds

Following the 2006 presidential election, the forcibly retired soldiers led by General Nasir al-Nuba began public protests against unequal treatment of the retirees, dubbed “the stay-at-home party.” As protests swelled, Yemen attempted to co-opt its leaders with an initiative to reinstate southern officers if they refrained from political activity. The offer was refused. Other issues quickly came to the fore, including overt land theft by top regime officials. President Salih periodically established commissions that named his cronies as land thieves, but no further action was taken.

The three year protest movement brought hundreds of thousands to the streets as a vicious cycle of state violence and mass arrests enflamed sentiments. The Yemeni Interior Ministry tallied 445 demonstrations in the southern governorates from January 2009 through June 2010. Hundreds were killed and wounded as police routinely opened fire on unarmed protesters. Others died in jail, allegedly tortured to death. Mass arrests set the rhythm of escalation.[28] Other state abuses include targeted assassinations and denial of medical services. Southern protesters raised U.S. and British flags alongside the flag of the former PDRY and hung effigies of President Salih.

In March 2010, the Obama administration stated that southern unrest was an internal Yemeni affair. Within days, Yemen launched tank assaults, cut phone lines, and rounded up activists. In May 2010, Yemen imposed a blockade on Dhale, a center of anti-state sentiment, and began shelling, destroying 78 homes. In June 2010, a peace convoy from Ta’iz delivered food. As in Sa’ada, the state is having difficulty living up to its pledges; a deal was struck in which protesters would clear the roads in return for a military pull-back. Violence flared again when military commanders failed to vacate their compounds.

In addition to the language of apostasy, the Salih regime also employs the language of racism. In one speech, Salih belittled the southerners as “Somalis, Indonesians, and Indians,”[29] a reference to a darker complexion often found among southerners. Yemeni officials reject federalism as a form of power-sharing with southerners and have said separatist leaders (and Huthis) will be excluded from a long-promised national dialog.

As with the Sa’ada War, Yemen criminalized speech, activity, and journalism that advocated the immunity of Yemeni citizens from attacks by the state. In what can be considered a fourth front of counterinsurgency, the war on journalists and activists includes physical attacks as well as judicial and administrative procedures such as arrests, closing and cloning newspapers, blocking and hacking websites, and levying fines.[30] The closure of the Aden-based al-Ayyam newspaper and the enforced disappearance of journalist Muhammad al-Maqalih triggered significant unrest.


At the same time that Yemen has engaged in disproportionate, indiscriminate violence against civilians, journalists, and these anti-government movements, it has offered al-Qa’ida negotiations, appeasement, and–some say–facilitation. The outward focus of al-Qa’ida in Yemen is an outgrowth of the Salih government’s long history of tactical truces and alliances with the terror group.

The Roots of al-Qa’ida in Yemen

During the 1980s, with U.S. blessings, President Salih’s half brother, Brigadier General Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar recruited thousands of Yemenis for Usama bin Ladin and set up training camps in Yemen.[31] These Yemeni fighters formed a trusted inner core around bin Ladin, serving as cooks, drivers, bodyguards, secretaries, and intermediaries. Al-Ahmar remains among the most powerful men in Yemen and commanded the brutal military operations in Sa’ada. AQIY’s long-standing intimate relationships with al-Qa’ida’s central command distinguish it from other regional affiliates.

After the Soviet defeat, President Salih welcomed Yemeni and non-Yemeni jihadi veterans as heroes. He deployed about 5,000 during the 1994 civil war. Usama bin Ladin provided President Salih with weapons, ammunition, and fighters.[32] The Yemeni civil war, like the earlier Afghan war, was promoted as a jihad against immoral Marxist atheists, a description Salih still uses to describe the southern protest movement.

Many jihadists who had fought for Salih were rewarded with military commands, political positions, or civil service posts. The state’s continuing integration of al-Qa’ida operatives since the 1990s is often portrayed as a positive initiative to deradicalize jihadists. Yet the preponderance of their number gives rise to concerns that al-Qa’ida has co-opted elements of the state.

The state continued its use of jihadi mercenaries during the Sa’ada War against the Huthi rebels.[33] The Defense Ministry publicized fatwas against the Shi’a fighters. General Muhsin’s extremist office manager indoctrinated soldiers during Friday prayers, explaining that “Huthi blood is free.”[34] Most recently, opposition party leader Hassan Zaid said the existence of a large al-Qa’ida camp in the Sa’ada governorate is “an obstacle to lasting peace” between the state and the Huthi fighters.[35]

Counterterrorism As a Revolving Door

In 1999, bin Ladin negotiated with Yemen for the release of imprisoned operative Khallad bin Attash. In a deal that set a pattern of diplomacy for a decade, Yemen released Attash and promised not to confront al-Qa’ida. In exchange, bin Ladin pledged not to attack Yemen. Attash went on to participate in the October 2000 al-Qa’ida attack on the USS Cole in Aden harbor, which killed 17 U.S. service members. The attack was directed by bin Ladin from Afghanistan. The bombers used official Yemeni documents in expediting their arrangements.[36]

In 2003, al-Qa’ida offered another truce, praising President Salih as “the only Arab and Muslim leader who is not an agent for the West.”[37] No further attacks were launched within Yemen for several years, attributed by some to the strength of U.S.-Yemeni cooperation. However, it appears that both Yemen and al-Qa’ida complied with most terms of the proposed deal. Yemen has refused to extradite American al-Qa’ida operatives Jaber Elbaneh[38] and Anwar al-Awlaki to the United States, as well as indicted USS Cole plotters Jamal al-Badawi and Fahd al-Quso.

Thousands of Yemenis traveled to Iraq for jihad, comprising about 20 percent of foreign fighters. A substantial number of Saudis and other foreigners used the Yemeni pipeline. A Yemeni paper tallied over 1,800 Yemeni men who traveled to Iraq for jihad in a two-year period ending in 2007.[39] Family members of suicide bombers reported their sons and brothers were trained with the knowledge of security officials and logistical support from top military commanders “known for their jihadist associations.”[40]

Over 360 al-Qa’ida members were released from prison after participating in Yemen’s rehabilitation program. The Dialog Program run by Minister of Islamic Endowments Judge Hamud al-Hittar, discouraged jihad in Yemen but not in Iraq. Graduates described it as a charade. Huthi prisoners were not eligible for rehabilitation. The program was discontinued in 2005 after the United States found graduates fighting in Iraq. Judge al-Hittar hopes to restart the program if the United States returns Yemeni detainees from Guantanamo Bay.[41]

In Yemen, prison escapes are exclusive to al-Qa’ida. Ten awaiting trial for the USS Cole bombing escaped an Aden jail in 2003. Fahd al-Quso surrendered in March 2004 and was sentenced to ten years. He was released in 2007 and by 2010 was threatening the United States in an al-Qa’ida video. In 2006, 23 high-value al-Qa’ida operatives escaped a maximum security prison with some official sanction and facilitation.[42] Those who later surrendered were released after a loyalty pledge to President Salih.

Salih began open negotiations with al-Qa’ida in 2006.[43] Abu al-Fayda, bin Ladin’s matchmaker and former deputy, gained many concessions and praised the Yemeni government’s flexibility.[44] In 2008, the United States intercepted a communication indicating a deal between Ayman al-Zawahiri and President Salih, wherein Zawahiri promised fighters for the Sa’ada War in exchange for prison releases. Early in 2009, local media reported an influx of foreign jihadists to Sa’ada, and Yemen freed over 100 al-Qa’ida prisoners.[45] Former government insider Tariq al-Fadhli said the release was part of the broader negotiation between President Salih and al-Qa’ida.[46] In July 2010, President Salih lamented, “We released a number of detainees of Al-Qaida many times, and they declared their repentance, but they rebel again and go back to do destructive works.”[47]

The Anti-al-Qa’ida Narrative: Collusion and False Flag Operations

The only substantial AQIY attack that targeted the state itself was days prior to Yemen’s 2006 presidential election. Two attacks on oil facilities were thwarted. Opposition party leaders suggested the attacks may have been staged. “The ruling party have fabricated these operations with the aim of accusing the opposition parties of being behind these terrorist acts,” said Sultan al-Atwani, General-Secretary of Nasserite Party.[48]

This level of skepticism is not unusual in Yemen. After years of backroom deals, AQIY is considered by many as a regime creation or, at a minimum, a useful prop in domestic and foreign policy. Former southern president Ali Salim al-Baydh said, “This terror network has built a strong alliance with the regime in Sana’a, engineered and supervised by a leading member of the ruling regime. This is known by regional states, Egypt and the United States. I don’t exaggerate when I say that some leaders of Al Qaida are in fact officers in the Republican Guard.”[49] The Republican Guard is headed by Salih’s son Ahmad, who is set to inherit the presidency.

Members of parliament from both the ruling GPC and the opposition were unable to restrain their criticism following an attack on South Korean officials in March 2009. MPs charged the government had provided “aid for terrorist groups to carry out attacks” and that the government’s support for jihadi and terrorist networks in the country was politically-motivated, the Yemen Post reported. One MP said the government itself was involved in many terrorist acts in the past years.[50] Officials denied the state perpetrated terror attacks but acknowledged al-Qa’ida’s subversion of the security forces as a mechanism of corruption not ideology.[51] In 2010, after a failed attack on the British ambassador, the paramount shaykh of President Salih’s Hashid tribe, Sadiq al-Ahmar, warned authorities against playing the terror card to pressure Western countries, sarcastically saying that Yemeni labs produced DNA results in two hours.[52]

Al-Qa’ida operatives also raised allegations of false flag attacks. Hamza al-Dhayani, named in several al-Qa’ida operations, said, “I am ready to prove the reality that some attacks were planned in co-ordination and agreement of the Political Security and its agents to gain foreign support and to confirm to America that they launch war against terrorism.”[53] Abu al-Fayda said lethal suicide attacks on tourists were a result of “security congestion together with dissatisfaction with the performance of Arab regimes and their hastening to please America. I am certain that it was not waged by Al-Qaeda as a movement but could of [sic] been implemented by people claiming to be Al-Qaeda affiliates.”[54]

One editorial suggested the government was linked to the July 2010 al-Qa’ida attacks on police in southern Yemen in order to convince the West that “the south would become an al-Qa’ida safe haven if secession takes place.”[55] In July 2010, Yemen’s announcement that terrorists relocated to Sa’ada and Aden was seen by many as a pretext to target anti-government activists in those cities. The Huthis organized a public awareness campaign harshly criticizing AQIY as a “U.S. intelligence tool used by Washington to occupy any Arab or Islamic country under the pretext of combating terrorism.”[56] This and other indigenous narratives delegitimizing al-Qa’ida as a tool of one state power or another weaken its appeal.

The al-Qa’ida Narrative: No Such Thing As Civilians

Al-Qa’ida in Yemen launched a complex and deadly attack in September 2008 on the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a but failed to breach its perimeter. In January 2009, AQIY renamed itself al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) after merging with its Saudi counterpart. Nearly half of AQAP’s estimated 300 members are Saudi.[57] Its public face is limited to a few publicity hounds. AQAP relies on Saudi funding as well as the proceeds of drug and weapons trafficking.[58] In August 2009, an AQAP operative feigning surrender targeted Saudi counter-terror chief Prince Muhammad bin Nayif. The failed attack heralded the innovation of concealing explosives in the rectum.

AQAP benefits from a weak state more than it would from a failed state.[59] One of AQAP’s goals is to establish an area of Taliban style rule in Yemen. Ayman al-Zawahiri and AQAP have both pleaded with Yemeni tribes for support. However, al-Qa’ida’s goal of establishing an international caliphate, propensity for extreme violence against civilians, and hard-line religious ideology conflict with local norms and weaken al-Qa’ida’s appeal to the Yemeni people, including the tribes.[60] One al-Qa’ida screed laments, “Where are you, O people of reinforcement?”[61]

AQAP asserts that non-Muslims in Yemen are legitimate targets, “We warn all the unbelievers who enter the Arabian Peninsula that [targeting] their money and their blood are religiously right for us.”[62] Traditional Yemeni culture includes the concept of honor, the obligation to avoid bloodshed, to defend women and children, and protect the weak. Deadly attacks on tourists in Yemen drew national condemnation, and the slaughter of three Western nurses in 2009 brought Yemenis into the street in sorrow and fury.

The supremacist, takfiri al-Qa’ida narrative holds little attraction in pluralistic Yemen. Northern Shi’a Zaids and southern Sunni Shafi’is are both moderate, tolerant, non-proselytizing sects, similar in doctrine, and traditionally had little sectarian conflict. Peaceful coexistence among Muslims is centuries-long Yemeni value and practice.

AQAP’s ideological challengers are identical to the state’s and include a significant portion of Yemenis including democracy advocates, intellectuals, “secular media writers,” women, southern socialists, and Zaidi Shi’a. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between the regime’s rhetoric and AQAP’s. The Yemeni government has long derided the Huthis as Satanic, backwards, deviant, and blasphemous while AQAP disparaged the “heresies, polytheist abominations and tomb-worship fabricated by the rafidites.”[63] (From rafid, meaning to reject, rafidites is a disparaging term applied to Shi’a, meaning rejectionists of Islam.)

AQAP’s strategy may be to draw American military forces into Yemen, which would mobilize significant public opposition.[64] AQAP defines its primary enemy as the United States, a stance endorsed by al-Qa’ida’s number three, Abu Yahya al-Libi, who asked AQAP to remain dedicated to bringing the war to U.S. soil. To that end, AQAP also asserts that all American citizens are legitimate targets. Anwar al-Awlaki encourages mass murder by ruling that American citizens are combatants because they pay taxes and vote. AQAP leader Nasir al-Wahishi said the United States is a cancer that needs to be wiped off the map completely. At the same time, AQAP evokes the concept of civilian immunity for Muslims as the basis for its violence.


Unrest in Yemen is a symptom of the criminalization of the state. The Salih regime is at war with the Huthi fighters, southern protesters, and elements of the citizenry and civil society, all of whom define themselves as fighting for democracy. Popular demands for equal rights vastly overshadow AQAP’s supremacist narrative and its vision of a foreign, authoritarian, and fundamentalist government.

In a tone-deaf remark, President Obama “applauded Yemen’s determination to address the terrorist threat the Yemeni people face.”[65] The overwhelming threat Yemenis face is from their government. The clout of the United States is its narrative of human rights and equality, a narrative shared with Yemenis and sorely undermined by current U.S. policy. The natural right of civilian immunity—the concept al-Qa’ida finds so threatening—is an area of agreement. Both Yemenis and Americans agree civilians should be spared from lethal attacks by their own governments, foreign governments, and non-state actors intent on domination through terrorism. This synergy is undermined when the only threat the U.S. government recognizes in Yemen is terrorism, despite the Yemeni government’s war crimes.

U.S. acquiescence to Yemen’s atrocities in return for its hunting al-Qa’ida is a tactic that failed before and carries many risks. A new front of civilian slaughter and arbitrary arrests will generate sympathy for AQAP, bolster its narrative, and generate tribal and civil unrest. The United States also faces the risk that its counter-terror assistance will be diverted to operations against Salih’s domestic opposition. Additional risk lies in the Yemeni government’s continuing exploitation of the terror threat for political and economic gain.

U.S. intelligence sharing and capacity building in Yemen can incrementally disrupt AQAP but not destroy it. The Salih regime is founded on corruption and corrupted by al-Qa’ida. Only limited rehabilitation is possible without a more equitable alignment of political power. Fears that an unhappy Salih will unleash al-Qa’ida and fears of chaos ensuing in his absence are reasonable concerns. By design, there is no easy alternative to the long reigning tyrant. U.S. boots on the ground is not an option, but neither is building a better dictatorship.

The threats Yemenis face are the blight of the region: static executive power, massive state corruption, and authoritarian repression. The inclusion of the public in the political system would undermine the government. In 50 years of political turmoil, however, Yemenis have narrowed the political spectrum considerably by overthrowing an autocratic theocracy, rejecting Soviet style communism and building a national consensus for democracy.[66] To that end, Yemenis are engaged in nation-building through a broad spectrum of initiatives.

AQAP often references a hadith predicting 12,000 warriors will arise from Yemen in defense of Islam. Although the dozens of wild-eyed al-Qa’ida fanatics in Yemen claim this legacy as their own, the army is already here. It is Yemen’s reformers and they are being slaughtered on the streets, tortured in jail, and starved of food and education. Nonetheless, this is the winning side. And they deserve U.S. recognition on both moral and tactical grounds. The key to the productive political engagement of Yemeni youth is the internet and print media. Media repression inhibits expression of the national consensus, splinters reformers, and short-circuits accountability. It is imperative that the United States robustly support the civil and human rights of Yemenis and especially the right of journalists to perform their jobs without retribution. The structural remedy to corruption, violence against civilians, and extremist thinking is a free press. The shortcut to a Yemen that performs in the best interests of its citizens is an unfettered independent media.

*Jane Novak is a freelance journalist and long time Yemen analyst, well known in Yemen and the Middle East. Her website has been banned by the Yemeni government since 2007.


[1] After spending two years in Yemen, Abdulhakim Muhammad, born Carlos Bledso, opened fire at an Arkansas recruiting station in June 2008, killing one U.S. soldier and wounding another. Tarek Mehanna and Ahmad Abousamra were arrested in October 2009. The pair had traveled to Yemen in hopes of joining up with al-Qa’ida in Yemen (AQIY). New Jersey nuclear worker Sharif Mobley was arrested in Yemen on terror charges in March 2010. In April 2010, New Yorkers Wesam El-Hanafi and Sabirhan Hasanoff were charged with conspiring “to provide al Qaeda (in Yemen) with, among other things, computer advice and assistance, services, and currency.” Hanafy traveled to Yemen in 2008. In May 2010, there was Faisal Shahzad, Times Square bomber, inspired to action by the teachings of Yemeni-American jihadi blogger Anwar Awlaki. In Texas, Barry Walter Bujol was arrested in June 2010. Bujol had been in communication with Awlaki since 2008 and made numerous attempts to deliver items to AQIY. In July 2010, Paul Rockwood Jr. and his wife, Nadia Rockwood, of Alaska pled guilty to lying about creating a hit list of targets of assassination. Zach Chesser, arrested in July 2010 after attempting to travel to Somalia to join al-Shabab, was also in contact with Awlaki via email.

[2] Barbara Starr, “U.S. Official Gives Details of Assistance to Yemen in Fight Against al Qaeda,” CNN, December 29, 2010,

[3] Yemen’s law does not criminalize jihad abroad in defense of occupied Muslim lands. In a terror trial in July 2006, the defendants admitted to fighting in Iraq against coalition forces as well as training suicide bombers. “This does not violate [Yemeni] law,” the judge found. “Islamic Sharia law permits jihad against occupiers,” he said. CNN’s article is no longer available online, for a copy see: “Judge Acquits 19 Suspected al Qaeda in Yemen, Says Jihad OK Against Occupiers,” Jihad Watch, July 10, 2006,

[4] Another legislative shortcoming is the near absence of controls on terror financing, because such legislation would inhibit donations to “legitimate resistance” groups endorsed by the state. Yemeni officials host Hamas, Hizballah, and Iraqi terror leaders. President Salih on repeated occasions urged states to open their borders for a Muslim army to travel to Gaza and Lebanon for jihad against Israel.

[5] The National Dialog Committee, a bipartisan initiative to create a national blueprint for reform, diagnosed the root of all Yemen’s ills as the personalization of the state. See their website at:

[6] Nadia Al-Sakkaf, “New Progress in State Reform Plans,” Yemen Times, July 8, 2010,

[7] Yemen was also battered by external shocks that it was ill prepared to weather. Incidents of piracy off Yemen’s coast increased dramatically beginning in 2008. The global financial melt-down in 2007 led to increased food costs, and renewed war in Somalia drove hundreds of thousands of refugees to Yemen’s shores. A major flood in 2008 in Hadramout disrupted Yemen’s emerging non-oil economy and impacted tens of thousands, most of whom are still awaiting promised aid that was stolen and resold in 2008.

[8] “Raising Oil Prices Would Make Awful Yemeni Situation Even Worse, Economists,” Yemen Post, April 10, 2010,; and “Qubati: Government Intends not to Raise Oil Derivatives & Local Governance Constitutes Best Solution to Problems in South Yemen,” Yemen Post, April 10, 2010,

[9] Demographics are another concern. Half of Yemenis are under 20 years old. Yemen leads the world in gender inequality. In Yemen’s segregated society, most girls are illiterate, marry before the age of 15, and spend much of their day hauling water. High birth rates mean that Yemen’s population of 22 million is estimated to rise to 61 million by 2035.

[10] For example, Brigadier General Yahya Salih, the president’s nephew and son-in-law, heads the Central Security forces and the MAZ Corporation, a large conglomerate closely tied to the state. General Salih is also the chairman of the Yemeni tourism association and several NGO’s including the Ka’nan Association for support of the Palestinian resistance. He is associated with Naba News, a pro-regime mouthpiece. General Salih hosted a symposium at al-Iman University of leading figures of the Iraqi resistance and praised their attacks against U.S. troops.

[11] Outside the election cycle, the opposition parties maintain a careful state of détente required for self-preservation and hold countless seminars that diagnose the national crisis as the absence of any transition of power. Meanwhile the opposition leadership plays musical chairs just as enthusiastically as the regime itself. The JMP mobilizes its base only as a temporary tactic to pressure the GPC and usually in the midst of a back-room deal. While the electoral system is heavily weighted in favor of the ruling party, there is nothing preventing the opposition from modeling democratic practices internally by respecting term limits, demonstrating fiscal transparency, and creating egalitarian routes to leadership.

[12] “Hunger in Yemen Could Spark Unrest, Exodus-UN,” Reuters, May 4, 2010,

[13] “Yemen/UN: Allies Should Press Yemen on Human Rights Violations,” Human Rights Watch, January 22, 2010,

[14] Yemen’s information operations are Stalinist in scope and include elaborate propaganda ploys, news blackouts, defamations, and takfirism, repetitive attacks on journalists, and cloning newspapers.

[15] Approximately 27,000 well-indoctrinated Yemeni jihadists returned home following the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan. In 1990, 800,000 Yemeni workers were expelled from Saudi Arabia following Yemen’s abstention from a UN Security Council resolution condemning Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. Many had adopted Wahhabism during their years in Saudi Arabia. Saudi “aid” also financed mosques and learning centers in Yemen, which promoted a fundamentalist, takfiri, and supremacist interpretation of Salafi Islam.

[16] Unlike Salafism, Zaidism rejects automatic allegiance to a Muslim ruler and requires action against a ruler who is unjust. Zaidism encourages interaction with others and reinterpretation of Islamic scripture to meet current realities. Zaidi beliefs are moderate compared to other Shi’a sects. The Zaidis do not believe Imams are infallible or receive divine guidance. Zaidis believe that the Imamate can be held by any descendant of Ali, but theologians in recent decades asserted that qualified non-Hashites can be Imams. Zaidis also reject the Twelver notion of a hidden Imam. In matters of law or fiqh, the Zaidis are closest to the Sunni Shafi’i school.

[17] Yahya al-Huthi, brother of Abd al-Malik and Husayn, said in a 2005 interview that President Salih had asked the Believing Youth to go fight in Iraq, and hostilities with the state began when they refused.
[18] Disinformation campaigns by the state frame the Huthis as an insurgency seeking to overthrow the government, as a Hizballah-type arm of Iran or–although a contradictory concept–as seeking to reinstall the Hashemite Imamate. The Huthis’ weapons are procured in Yemen from the Yemeni military itself or at local weapons markets, not from Iran as the state claims. The group has not adopted a strategy of targeting civilians or U.S. interests, and do not fit the description “terrorists” the official media so often applies to them. For a complete treatment on these and other issues, see Barak A. Salmoni, Bryce Loidolt, and Madeleine Wells, Regime and Periphery in Northern Yemen: The Huthi Phenomenon (Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation, 2010),

[19] “Defusing the Saada Time Bomb,” Middle East Report, No. 86 (May 2009),

[20] RAND Corporation, “Conflict in Yemen Fueled by Tribalism, Religious Conflicts,” News Release, May 3, 2010,

[21] “Bani Hushaish Residents’ Lives Deteriorate as Security Measures Escalate,” Relief Web, June 15, 2008,

[22] “Invisible Civilians,” Human Rights Watch, November 19, 2008,

[23] The Yemen Times reported in May 2005, “Government and security forces would assault villages looking for Houthi suspects and demanded that all males are to come out and give themselves up… The prisons are packed in Sa’ada with hundreds – some say thousands of suspected Houthis, most of whom do not have any clear charges against them or even have any links with the Houthis.” The pattern continued through 2010.

[24] In 2007, Ahmad Saif Hashid, an independent member of parliament, conducted a survey of prisons and found children were arbitrarily arrested in connection to the Sa’ada War. In one interview, 12-year-old Nabil old said he was taken from his classroom to prison. “We have been beaten by the soldiers and officers, we have been beaten with sticks while we were handcuffed. They beat us and lay us faces down.” Hussein, 13, told Mr. Hashid, “We have been beaten, handcuffed. They beat us as soon as we arrived before even interrogating us. I saw Qasem fainted while his head was bleeding. Some of us have been made naked and they took off all our clothes.” See “Witness Testimony: from the Dungeons of Yemeni Prison,” Armies of Liberation, November 14, 2007,

[25] “The Right Party Condemns the Targeting at the Great Mosque in Sana’a, and the Minister of Awqaf Carries the Responsibility of Creating Sectarian Conflicts,” News Yemen, July 3, 2010,

[26] Robert F. Worth, “Is Yemen the Next Afghanistan?” New York Times, July 6, 2010,

[27] Jane Novak, “Southern Yemen, 70% Favor Secession Poll Shows,”, January 29, 2010,

[28] “In the Name of Unity,” Human Rights Watch, December 15, 2009,

[29] “The Yemen President Swears at the Race of Indians, Indonesians and Somali’s,” YouTube, June 8, 2009,

[30] Jane Novak, “Corruption Triggers Media Repression,” Yemen Times, September 11, 2008,

[31] Steven Erlanger, “At Yemen College, Scholarship and Jihadist Ideas,” New York Times, January 18, 2010,

[32] Robert F. Worth, “Ex-Jihaddist Defies Yemen’s Leader, and Easy Labels,” New York Times, February 26, 2010,

[33] Sudarsan Raghavan, “Yemen’s Alliance with Radical Sunnis in Internal War Poses Complication for U.S.,” Washington Post, February 11, 2010,

[34] One fatwa justifying the shedding of Huthi blood was issued by senior state Mufti Isma’il al-Amrani in March 2007. Tribal sources reported to the Yemen Times that Askar Zuail, a radical administrative assistant to General Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar had indoctrinated soldiers during Friday prayers. For a copy of the Yemen Times article see, “Ali Mohsen’s Extremist Office Manager Fatwas Houthis and Other Sa’ada Updates,” Armies of Liberation, January 8, 2008,

[35] The al-Qa’ida camp is located in an abandoned military compound in the Abu Jaraba Wadi. Estimates are that about 500 jihadists rotate through the compound. The truce agreement requires the rebels to hand in their weapons; Mr. Zaid suggests the al-Qa’ida terrorists be disarmed as well.

[36] One document admitted at the 2003 trial of five accused Cole plotters was an official letter from Yemen’s then interior minister, Husayn Arab, which instructed Yemeni security forces to give safe passage and cooperation to Abd al-Rahman al-Nashiri, a primary planner, from April to December 2000. Other documents used by the bombers included arms permits normally issued by the Ministry of the Interior, which were said to be a forgery.

[37] In return for an end to attacks within Yemen, al-Qa’ida advanced eight conditions including “stop hunting down for suspected al-Qaeda militants as well releasing their fellow colleagues in jails.” The prohibition of extradition of any Muslim to the United States, limiting the number of foreign visitors, and the termination of military cooperation with the United States were other conditions. Minister of Islamic Endowments Judge al-Hittar noted at the time, “Some of these conditions cannot be negotiated at all.” For all eight conditions see, “Al-Qaeda Praises Yemeni President Saleh,” Armies of Liberation, May 22, 2005,

[38] Another American that Yemen refuses to extradite is Jaber Elbaneh, member of the Lackwanna Seven, an al-Qa’ida cell from Buffalo, New York. Elbaneh is currently on the FBI’s most wanted terrorists list. Elbaneh escaped jail in 2006 and later surrendered. He was then convicted in absentia of the 2006 oil attacks, showed up at his court appeal in 2008, announced that he had struck a deal with the Yemeni president, and left the court again. He was reportedly returned to prison.

[39] Tensions with Iraq remain high. Iraqi politicians allege Yemen is harboring wanted Ba’thists and facilitating the flow of fighters to Iraq. President Salih was a close ally of Saddam Hussein and recipient of his largess, including a palace in Baghdad. Prior to the 2003 Iraq War, Salih was smuggling Yemeni military weapons to Hussein. At the outset of the war, thousands of Iraqis including top Ba’thists made their way to Yemen. Many were incorporated into the Yemeni military as trainers and influenced the Sa’ada Wars. In 2005, Ayatollah al-Sistani spoke of “a pact of evil from Baghdad to Sana’a,” in reference to Ba’thist involvement in the Sa’ada War.

[40] On November 23, 2005, the Yemen Times published a translation of an article at the Aden-based Attagammua, affiliated with the Unitary Congregation Party. A copy of the article can be accessed at, “Training Yemenis for Iraq Suicide Bombings Supported by Military Commanders,” Armies of Liberation, November 28, 2005,

[41] Gwen Ifil, “Yemen Lacks Counter-terrorism Resources to Halt Jihaddists,” PBS Newshour, March 24, 2010,

[42] Sudarsan Raghavan, “Yemen Security Agency Prone to Inside Threats, Officials Say,” Washington Post, February 10, 2010,

[43] President Salih and Ghalib al-Qamish, head of the Political Security Organization, met al-Fayda as the representative of former al-Qa’ida prisoners. For al-Fayda’s interview in the Gulf News see, “Saleh and PSO Negotiate with al-Qaeda Suspects,” Armies of Liberation, June 18, 2006,

[44] “Leading al Qaeda: Yemen Will Not Confront the Mujahiadden,” Armies of Liberation, October 20, 2006,

[45] Jane Novak, “Yemen Strikes Multifaceted Deals with al Qaeda,” Long War Journal, February 11, 2009,

[46] Adrian Blomfield, “Yemen Offered to Free al-Qaeda Leaders,” The Telegraph, January 11, 2010,

[47] “JMP: Between Saleh and al-Qaida,” Yemen Post, July 12, 2010,

[48] The Yemen Observer article can be accessed at “Four Arrested After Attacks Announced,” Armies of Liberation, September 22, 2006,

[49] Hussam Kanafani, “Yemen Top Brass Dragged Saudis into Conflict,” Gulf News, November 29, 2009,

[50] Fuad Rajeh, “MPs Say Government Aided Terrorists,” Yemen Post, April 10, 2010,

[51]“A Senior Government Official Admits al Qaeda Broke Into Yemen’s Security Forces,” al- Eshteraki, March 24, 2009,

[52] “He Warned of the Outbreak of the Seventh War. Leader of the Largest Tribe in Yemen: Suppression of the Movement a Big Mistake and the Attempt to Assassinate British Ambassador Political,” al-Tagheer, April 28, 2010,

[53] Jane Novak, “Yemeni al Qaeda Leader: State Conducts Terror Attacks,” Long War Journal, December 3, 2008,

[54] Moneer al-Omari, “An al Qaeda Leader in Yemen, Rashad Mohammed Saeed Ismail,” Yemen Post, February 4, 2008,

[55] Hakim Almasmari, “Government Hoping for More Qaeda Attacks in South,” Yemen Post, July 26, 2010,

[56] Shuaib M. al-Mosawa, “Al-Houthis Criticize US, al-Qaeda,” Yemen Observer, June 30, 2010,

[57] Saudi national and former Guantanamo detainee Said al-Shihiri is among AQAP’s leadership along with Yemenis Nasir al-Wahishi and Qasim al-Raymi, the only two of the 2006 escapees who did not surrender. See Alistair Harris, “Exploiting Grievances, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, No. 111 (May 2010),

[58] Zaid al-Alaya’a, “Al-Qaeda in Yemen, A Real Threat or Media Exaggeration?,” Yemen Today, July 20, 2010,

[59] Sarah Philips, “What Comes Next in Yemen? Al-Qaeda, the Tribes and State Building,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, No. 107 (March 2010),

[60] Ibid.

[61] In February 2010, AQAP released the 12th edition of Sada al-Malahim, an internet magazine. In an editorial entitled, “Universality of Islam and the Massacre of Abyan,” the author encourages Muslims to follow in the footsteps of Major Nidal Hassan and Yemeni tribes to rise up against the government.

[62] “Al-Qaida in Yemen: Target Airports/Airplanes with Small Explosives,” NEFA Foundation, October 29, 2010,

[63] “Issue #12 of al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula’s Magazine, Sada al Malahem: ‘The Huthis, Rafidites with a Zaidi Mask’,” Flashpoint Partners, February 14, 2010,

[64] Michael W. S. Ryan, “Al-Qaeda’s Purpose in Yemen Described in Works of Jihad Strategists,” Jamestown Organization, January 28, 2010,

[65] “Barak Obama Praises Yemen’s Fight Against al-Qaeda,” The Telegraph, July 16, 2010,

[66] Yemen’s opposition political parties present a collection of mostly stale ideologies including Nasserism, Ba’thism, and socialism. The ruling GPC’s has a pragmatic lack of any ideology at all. Islamist parties including Islah and al-Haqq contain a broad range of political formulations including some of the most progressive in the region. Yemen’s largest opposition party, Islah, incorporates tribal elements, reformists, a range of Salafists, Muslim Brotherhood adherents, and Salih loyalists, rendering it more middle of the road than most of its component wings. The Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP) is a democracy-minded vestige of the PDRY. In 2002, these diverse parties created the opposition coalition, the Joint Meeting Parties under the stewardship of the YSP’s Jarallah Omar, who was later assassinated. Also on the political landscape are numerous government-cloned opposition parties, created and funded to appear as if the opposition supports the GPC’s various proposals and projects.

MERIA Journal Staff
Publisher and Editor: Prof. Barry Rubin
Assistant Editor: Yeru Aharoni.
MERIA is a project of the Global Research in International Affairs
(GLORIA) Center, Interdisciplinary University.
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The blockade of South Yemen follows tactics of Saada War

June 3, 2010 6 comments

As Yemen’s blockade on southern Yemen enters its third week, stocks of food, medicine and oil have dwindled to dangerous levels. Prices have skyrocketed and already malnourished children bear the brunt of the military action.

The blockade began 17 days ago when the Western Armored Division established new checkpoints on roads and at city entrances preventing the flow of persons and commerce including food, medicine, oil and water. The blockade has cut off Radfan, Yafea, al Dhala, al Melah, al Habeelan, al Shaib, Gahaf, Lazarik, and parts of Shabwah.

The main road between Aden and al Dahlie is closed. Al Habaleen, Lahj was indiscriminately shelled three days ago after two soldiers were killed in an ambush. Another ambush in al Melah killed one soldier, and authorities have accused renegade elements of the southern independence movement with the attacks.

Nearly one thousand have fled Radfan, al Habaleen and al Bilah seeking safety. Like the 250,000 internally displaced by the Sa’ada War, these are mostly women and children. On May 24, a pregnant woman en route to a hospital in Aden was stopped at a military checkpoint and later died in childbirth. Due to the blockade, people in need of medical treatment have not had access to doctors in nearly a month.

Reports indicate a heavy military mobilization including tanks and armored personnel carriers. As during the Saada war, a total media blackout is in place, often accomplished by the arrest of southern journalists. An American journalist was expelled from Yemen last week after visiting Yafee, a center of southern resistance.

On May 22, the 20th anniversary of Yemeni unity, President Saleh announced the pardon of southern journalists and other political prisoners. Several high profile journalists were released, but others remain imprisoned and hundreds of others arrested during protests remain jailed.

Baggash Al Aghbari has been in prison since his arrest in 1994, despite several amnesties for southerners announced over the following decade. Al Aghbari was never charged or tried but was thought to be among the activists that triggered the civil war.

The southern independence movement began as a call for equal rights in 2007. As the state imprisoned thousands and police killed hundreds during peaceful demonstrations, the movement gained supporters and its goals evolved to calls for independence.

he northern Yemeni Arab Republic and the southern Peoples Democratic Republic of Yemen unified in 1990 and fought a brief civil war in 1994. Southerners claim unity was imposed by force in violation of the UN resolutions. Northern hegemony brought institutionalized discrimination more akin to occupation than unity that reached into areas of employment, education and development. However, the massive corruption of the Saleh regime means that all citizens outside the circle of elite power are subject to retribution by the state including the judiciary, police and civil service. All Yemenis suffer from the near absence of basic services arising from chronic mismanagement and insider infighting and embezzlement.

With a peace deal concluded in February ending the northern Sa’ada War, President Ali Abdullah Saleh heightened the military presence in the south. Yemen’s conduct of the Saada war generated 250,000 internal refugees with arbitrary aerial bombing of civilian areas and a strict blockade of food, medicine and international aid.

Human Rights Watch has called for an investigation into war crimes committed during the Saada war.

Yemen’s previous violations of international law related the southern protests include mass arbitrary arrests and the murder of hundreds of peaceful protesters, rights organizations charged. As tensions mounted over the last year, some northern merchants and travelers were targets of violence in southern areas

UPDATE: Cell phone video shot today: Yemeni military armored vehicle in al Hableen ran over and killed a motorcyclist suspected of sympathies with the separatists.

The Chinese and the Dutch at least report the non-al Qaeda news. And apparently the official statement is… the motorcyclists started shooting after the armored vehicle ran him over, so they killed him. On a brighter note, regime decided late today to start pretending they opened the Aden – al Dhalie road. People’s Daily:

Two pro-separatist southern activists opened fire at an army’s vehicle after they were mistakenly hit by the vehicle. The two were then killed in the clashes in al-Melah district in the southern province of Lahj, said Kasim al-Afefi, deputy governor of Lahj.

Another three southerners were injured as well as a privately- owned shop and a car were burnt in the clashes, he added.

Meanwhile, al-Afefi said “the security committee and local council in the province reached an agreement today to re-open a main highway linking al-Dhalee-Radfan-Lahj and the southern city port of Aden after being closed for about two weeks due to riots and instability.”

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بقلم الكاتبة الامريكية جين نوفاك : ثلاثة أسابيع من الحصار في جنوب اليمن تجلب الجوع والعنف

June 3, 2010 1 comment

مع دخول الحصار اليمني على اليمن الجنوبي أسبوعه الثالث ، إنخفضت المخزونات من المواد الغذائية والدواء و المشتقات النفطية الى مستويات تنذر بالخطر. و ارتفعت الأسعار و أصبح الأطفال يعانون بالفعل من سوء التغذية تحت وطأة العمليات العسكرية.

وبدأ الحصار قبل 17 يوما عندما قامت وحدات المنطقة الغربية المدرعة بإقامة نقاط تفتيش جديدة على الطرق وعند مداخل المدن لمنع وصول الأشخاص والبضائع التجارية بما في ذلك الغذاء والدواء والنفط والمياه. وقد فرض الحصار على كل من ردفان ، يافع ، الضالع ، الملاح  ، الحبيلين ،الشعيب  ، جحاف ، الأزارق ، وأجزاء من محافظة شبوة.

الطريق الرئيسي بين عدن و الضالع مغلق. وقُصفت الحبيلين – لحج – بشكل عشوائي قبل ثلاثة ايام بعد مقتل اثنين من الجنود في كمين كما قتل جندي أخر في كمين في الملاح  ، و اتهمت السلطات عناصر منشقة من حركة استقلال الجنوب بهذه الهجمات.

و قد نزح قرابة 1000 مواطن من ردفان ، الحبيلين و الملاح  بحثا عن الأمان ، مثل 250000 من المشردين داخليا بسبب حرب صعدة ، و معظمهم من النساء والأطفال. في 24 ايار / مايو تم توقيف امرأة حامل عند نقطة تفتيش عسكرية و هي في طريقها الى مستشفى في عدن ، وتوفيت في وقت لاحق أثناء الولادة.

و هناك تقارير تشير إلى وجود تعبئة للمعدات العسكرية الثقيلة بما فيها الدبابات وناقلات الجنود المدرعة. وكما حدث أثناء حرب صعدة ، هناك تعتيم اعلامي كامل تحقق في كثير من الأحيان بإعتقال الصحفيين الجنوبيين. و قد تم طرد صحفية أمريكية من اليمن الاسبوع الماضي بعد زيارة ليافع ، أحد مراكز المقاومة في الجنوب.

في 22 مايو ، الذكرى 20 للوحدة اليمنية ، أعلن الرئيس صالح العفو عن الصحفيين الجنوبيين والسجناء السياسيين الآخرين. وأطلق سراح العديد من الصحافيين البارزين ، ولكن هناك آخرون ما زالوا في السجون ، و كذا المئات غيرهم اعتقلوا خلال الاحتجاجات و لا يزالون قيد الاحتجاز.

فلازال بجاش الاغبري في السجن منذ اعتقاله في عام 1994 ، على الرغم من العديد من قرارات العفو عن الجنوبيين التي أعلنت على مدى العقد التالي. والاغبري لم يدان بتهمة أو محاكمة ولكنه يعتقد أنه من بين النشطاء الذين تسببوا في الحرب أهلية.

وبدأت حركة استقلال الجنوب بالمطالبة بالمساواة في الحقوق في عام 2007. و لكن عندما تم سجن الآلاف وقتل المئات من قبل الشرطة خلال المظاهرات السلمية ، كسب الحراك مؤيدين و تطورت أهدافه إلى الدعوة من أجل الاستقلال.

الشمال ، الجمهورية العربية اليمنية ،  والجنوب ،  جمهورية اليمن الديمقراطية الشعبية ،  توحدا في عام 1990 وخاضا حربا أهلية قصيرة في عام 1994. الجنوبيون يدعون أن الوحدة فرضت بالقوة في انتهاك لقرارات الامم المتحدة. و جلبت الهيمنة الشمالية تمييزا مؤسسيا هو أقرب إلى الاحتلال منه إلى الوحدة الوطنية و خاصة في مجالات العمالة والتعليم والتنمية. ومع ذلك ، فإن الفساد الواسع النطاق لنظام صالح يعني أن جميع المواطنين خارج دائرة سلطة النخبة تخضع للعقاب من قبل الدولة بما في ذلك القضاء والشرطة والخدمة المدنية. جميع اليمنيين يعانون من إنعدام الخدمات الأساسية بالقرب منهم و الناجم عن سوء الادارة المزمن والاقتتال الداخلي والاختلاس.

مع اتفاق السلام المبرم في شباط / فبراير و إنهاء حرب صعدة الشمالية ، ضاعف الرئيس اليمني علي عبد الله صالح الوجود العسكري في الجنوب. أسلوب اليمن في إدارة حرب صعدة أنتج 250،000 لاجئ داخلي بسبب القصف الجوي للمناطق المدنية وفرض حصار تعسفي صارم للغذاء والدواء والمساعدات الدولية.

ودعت هيومن رايتس ووتش إلى إجراء تحقيق في جرائم الحرب التي ارتكبت خلال حرب صعدة.

و اتهمت منظمات حقوقية اليمن في الماضي بانتهاكات لقواعد القانون الدولي في أمور ذات صلة بالاحتجاجات الجنوبية وتشمل اعتقالات تعسفية جماعية وقتل المئات من المتظاهرين السلميين. و مع تصاعد حدة التوتر خلال العام الماضي ، تعرض بعض التجار والمسافرين من الشمال لأعمال عنف في المناطق الجنوبية.   Aden Gulf Ne


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السلام مع الكرامة في اليمن: هل يمكن ايقاف دوامه الحرب؟

April 30, 2010 1 comment

السلام مع الكرامة في اليمن: هل يمكن ايقاف دوامه الحرب؟

كتبت: جين نوفاك*- لصحيفة “إجسامينر”

ترجمة/ عبدالله عبدالوهاب ناجي- ترجمة خاصة بـ: المستشار نت

كل حرب من حروب صعدة الستة في اليمن هي نسخة مكررة من الحرب التي سبقتها، باستثناء أن كمية القنابل تزداد أكثر، والأطفال يزدادون وهناً، والسجون تشتد ازدحاماً. رفضت الحكومة اليمنية بشكل ممنهج منح الغذاء والدواء والمساعدات الدولية للمدنيين في محافظة صعدة، شمالي البلاد، كخطة حربية، منذ الحرب الأولى عام 2004. و شرد القصف العشوائي، الذي شنته الحكومة في حربها الثانية عام 2005، أكثر من 50،000 من المدنيين. وبلغ عدد اللاجئين بحلول نهاية الحرب الخامسة 120000 لاجئ. وفي الحرب السادسة، التي بدأت في أغسطس 2009، فان القصف اليمني السعودي المشترك هدم أكثر من 9000 مبنى، بينها مساجد ومدارس وقرى بأكملها. ومع نصر الدولة المضني والشاق في فبراير 2010، كان عدد اللاجئين داخلياً قد وصل إلى ربع مليون نسمة. وبهذا الخصوص، تدعو “هيومن رايتس ووتش” إلى إجراء تحقيق في جرائم حرب محتملة.

أفرج الحوثيون في فبراير عن 178 مدني وعسكري، كانوا محتجزين لديهم ، كما أعادوا عدداً من جثث جنود سعوديين. و أعلنت اليمن الإفراج عن 161 من المعتقلين الحوثيين، غير أن المنظمة اليمنية للدفاع عن الحقوق والحريات (هود) قالت بأنه تم أطلاق سراح 32 معتقلا فقط من أصل  2,000.

إن فشل الدولة في الإفراج عن سجناء متمردين يفتح الباب أمام  احتمالية نشوب حرب سابعة، حيث أوضح الدكتور عبد الله الفقيه، أستاذ العلوم السياسية في جامعة صنعاء، قائلا: ” في الحقيقة أن النظام لا يزال يحتجز سجناء من الحوثيين، وهذا يعني أن المتشددين داخل النظام ما زالوا يخططون لجولة جديدة من الحرب “. وأضاف قائلا : “مع انضمام الحوثي إلى اللجنة التحضيرية للحوار الوطني، فإن احتمالات نشوب حرب جديدة يبدو أكبر “.

وقدر السياسي المعارض حسن زيد عدد السجناء الذين مازالوا في السجن بنحو 1000 سجين، بالإضافة إلى 500 من المختفين، وقال زيد: “معظم من تم القبض عليهم هم من الأبرياء… تم اعتقاهم لمجرد انتمائهم إلى المذهب الزيدي أو الهاشمي”. وتذهب تقديرات أخرى إلى أن عدد السجناء يصل إلى 3000 سجين.

تاريخاً من الوعود المعطلة

يقبع بعض المقاتلين الحوثيين و آخرون أبرياء في السجون منذ سنوات، على الرغم من أن نظام صنعاء أعلن مرارا الإفراج عنهم . وعد الرئيس اليمني علي عبدالله صالح، بعد وساطة مايو 2005، بإطلاق سراح ما يقرب عن 600 شخص، اعتقلوا بدون تهم، وأصدر مرسوماً بالعفو في 25 سبتمبر 2005. وأعلنت وسائل الإعلام الحكومية اليمنية في 3 مارس 2006 الإفراج عن 630 سجينا بعد زيارة 80 برلمانياً لمحافظة صعدة.

وذكر منتدى الشقائق العربي في 22 مارس 2006 بأن ” معظم أقارب المعتقلين أخبرونا انه تم الإفراج عن قرابة 150 معتقلا فقط حتى الآن”. وفي أبريل 2006 قال زعيم الحوثيين، عبد الملك الحوثي أن عدد من أتباعه تم اعتقالهم بينما كانوا عائدين إلى منازلهم امتثالاً للعفو العام . وقال انه لم يتم الإفراج على أكثر من 80 من أتباعه. حيث أن بقية السجناء المفرج عنهم كانوا ضحايا اعتقالات تعسفية، والذين لم يكن له لهم صلة بقواته.

كما يعد تبادل الأسرى جزءا من اتفاق السلام، الذي أجرت التفاوض بشأنه دولة قطر، منهياً بذلك الحرب الرابعة في يونيو 2007. حيث أفرج الحوثيون عن 96 من أسرى الحرب خلال شهر رمضان الموافق لشهر سبتمبر. وفي 20 سبتمبر أفرجت الحكومة عن 67 فقط  من المقاتلين المتمردين، بمعية عديد من المواطنين المعتقلين بشكل تعسفي، بالرغم من أن التوجيهات المكتوبة من قبل رئيس الجمهورية قضت بالإفراج عن 500 من المقاتلين الحوثيين.

وبينما أعلنت الحكومة اليمنية مرارا وتكرارا في عام 2008 أنه تم إطلاق سراح 380 سجين إضافي، إلا أن عديد من السجناء المذكورين تم الإفراج عنهم، في حقيقة الأمر، منذ عام، ولم يكونوا من الحوثيين. وقد تعرضت لجنه تقصي الحقائق، المعينة من قبل الحكومة، إلى السجن بعد أن ذكرت أن الدولة فشلت في تنفيذ بنود عديدة من اتفاقية وقف إطلاق النار 2007، بما فيها الإفراج عن المعتقلين الحوثيين.

الاعتقالات التعسفية

يقف وراء اعتقال مقاتلين حوثيين، وتعذيبهم في أحايين كثيرة، تورط الدولة بـ ” اعتقالات وقائية” مرتكزة على الانتماء الديني، و الموقع الجغرافي، أو الروابط العائلية. وصنفت منظمة “هيومن رايتس ووتش” على نطاق واسع  السجناء المدنيين المسجونين كرهائن لدى الدولة، فهم إما “هاشميون” أو “زيديون”، يتنقلون في مناطق ساخنة بالأحداث، أو ممن يشتبه بهم في تعاطفهم مع الحوثيين. كما أنه جرى اعتقال صحفيين كتبوا حول الحرب .

وذكرت صحيفة يمن تايمز في شهر مايو 2005 بأن ” الحكومة وقوات الأمن تعتدي على القرى  بحثً عن مشتبهين حوثيين، وتطالبهم بإخراج كل الذكور وتسليم أنفسهم… و تكتظ السجون في صعدة بالمئات، ويقول البعض  أن معظم أولئك المشتبه بانتمائهم لجماعة الحوثي، وهم بالآلاف، لا توجد ضدهم أي تهم واضحة، أو ليس لديهم حتى صلات مع الحوثيين”.  وهكذا استمر هذا المشهد خلال عام 2009.

فعلى سبيل المثال، ناشدت منظمه “الكرامة لحقوق الإنسان” في سبتمبر 2007 إطلاق سراح 47 من المعتقلين، بينهم أحداث معتقلين منذ أكثر من عام  في سجن النصيرية المركزي، في محافظة حجة. وقالت المنظمة، التي تتخذ من جنيف مقراً لها، أن جهاز الأمن السياسي اليمني  قد اعتقل بشكل عشوائي أبرياء، من أبناء الطائفة الزيدية. وأدلى سجناء حجة، المشار إليهم أعلى، بتصريحات إخبارية مفادها أنهم عندما رفضوا أن يفطروا من صومهم في رمضان في نفس الوقت الذي يفطر فيه حراس السجن قبيل خمس دقائق عن توقيتهم الخاص بالشيعة، قام حراس السجن بتقييدهم بالسلاسل وضربهم.

وقد اختفى ستة أفراد من عائله واحدة منذ أكثر من ثلاث سنوات، مع خمسة من عائلة أخرى، تدعى عائلة “المؤيد”، وتم العثور عليهم مؤخرا في سجن الأمن السياسي في محافظة حجة. كما تم العثور هنالك على 28 رجلا، جرى اعتقالهم بدون تهمة خلال العام الماضي، بعضهم عثر عليهم بعد فتره إعلان السلام في فبراير 2010. وبهذا الخصوص، قالت مصادر بأن موجة الاعتقالات التعسفية في صعدة مازالت مستمرة برغم اتفاقية السلام الأخيرة.

وناشد أطفال بعض المعتقلين الرئيس صالح الإفراج عن ذويهم الأسبوع الماضي ، حيث عرضوا رسومات لآبائهم المفقودين. وكان عنوان الفعالية، التي نظمها منتدى الإعلاميات اليمنيات ومنظمة هود في صنعاء، “من حقي أن أعيش مع والدي”. وفال علي الديلمي، المسئول عن الفعالية، أن بعض الأطفال لم يروا آبائهم منذ سنوات. إن سجن المواطنين الأبرياء بشكل تعسفي وبمعزل عن العالم الخارجي ينتقص من شرعية الدولة ويغذي التوترات الاجتماعية.

بالإضافة إلى أن هنالك كثير من الأطفال المسجونين يتعرضون للتعذيب الروتيني. حيث أجرى البرلماني المستقل/ أحمد سيف حاشد عام 2007 مسحاً للسجون، وعثر على 16 من الأحداث، تتراوح أعمارهم بين 10 إلى 16، في سجن المركزي في الحديدة، وقد تم اعتقال أولئك الأطفال بشكل تعسفي على خلفية حرب صعدة.

ففي إحدى المقابلات، قال طفل يدعى نبيل، يبلغ من العمر 12 عاما، بأنه أُخذ من فصله الدراسي إلى السجن، “ضربنا الجنود والضباط بالعصي ونحن مكبلون، ضربونا وعلقونا للأسفل “. كما أخبر الطفل حسين، ذو الثالثة عشر عاماً، السيد حاشد قائلاً: ” ضُربنا وكبلنا، ضربونا حينما وصلنا، حتى قبل أن يستجوبونا، و رأيت قاسم مغميا عليه ورأسه ينزف، ونزعوا ملابس بعضنا.. ونزعوا كل ملابسنا “.

مجاعة في زمن السلم

ليس الأطفال المعتقلين وحدهم من بين الأطفال اليمنيين، الذين يحيق بهم خطر مميت، بل هناك عشرات آلاف الأطفال في صعدة على حافة الجوع، من بينهم حسن، طفل صغير يبلغ من العمر سنتين، ويعيش في كهف بصحبة أمه الحامل وجدته من أمه وعدد آخر من أفراد أسرته، دُمر منزلهم في الجولة الخامسة من الحرب، وفي أحسن حال، يأكل حسن قطعة خبز صغيرة ويشرب ماء ملوث. وحينما يسمع هذا الطفل طائرة، يقع على الأرض، ويغطي رأسه. أجرى صندوق الأمم المتحدة للطفولة استطلاعاً عام 2008، قبل الجولة السادسة من الحرب، فوجد أن 29% من أطفال صعدة معرضين لخطر الصراعات المسلحة، حيث أن معظم الذين تم استطلاعهم يعانون من اضطرابات إجهاد ما بعد الصدمة، مثلهم مثل السكان المصدومين في فلسطين والنيبال.

قتلت القنابل السعودية اليمنية عشرات من الأطفال خلال الحرب السادسة في مساكنهم ، وفي الأسواق، وفي مخيمات اللاجئين… وكثيرون تضوروا جوعاً حتى الموت، وكثير آخرون سيواجهون نفس المصير، حيث أن مخيمات اللاجئين الكبيرة التابعة للأمم المتحدة تضم 30،000 مشرد فقط من بين 250،000 مشرد داخلي.

تحتاج الأمم المتحدة لنحو 40 مليون دولار لفترة قصيرة الأجل لمواصلة توزيع حصص غذائية منقذة الحياة في صعدة إلى ما بعد يونيو. و يعتمد أكثر من مليوني نسمة من سكان البلد على المساعدات الغذائية للأمم المتحدة. وفي الوقت الذي  أعلنت فيه الولايات المتحدة عن تقديمها منحة لليمن قدرها 4.8 مليون دولار من المواد الغذائية وزيت الطهي، فإنها خصصت منحة للقوات اليمنية الخاصة على شكل طائرات نقل عسكرية تبلغ قيمتها بـ 39 مليون دولار. وأما الجهات المانحة الأخرى لليمن فلم تسهم بشيء لصندوق الأمم المتحدة. وفي هذا الصدد، اختلس مسئولون يمنيون فاسدون ملايين الدولارات من المساعدات الدولية.

يعاني ثلث سكان اليمن من سوء التغذية، وأن اندلاع حرب سابعة تعني تفاقم الأزمة. نظراً لأن موقف اليمن تجاه عدد من اتفاقيات وقف إطلاق النار منذ عام 2004 كان عبارة عن سلسلة من التوقعات الفاشلة: فلم يتم إعادة إعمار، ولم ينسحب الجيش ولم يتم تنفيذ وقف إطلاق النار. فالدولة بحاجة لاتخاذ إجراءات  لبناء الثقة مع الحوثيين للاحتفاظ بالسلام الهش وتغليب المصلحة الوطنية فوق كل شيء. وفوق هذا وذاك، هناك المئات، بل الآلاف من المعتقلين الحوثيين، والأبرياء المدنيين، يقبعون في السجون، وموجة الاعتقالات مازالت مستمرة.

وفي حين أن نظام صنعاء مدعوم بالهبات المالية من قبل دعاة الحرب لاستئناف الصراع واستئناف إنتاج بطانات التشدد ذوي الدوافع الأيديولوجية، يبدو المانحون الغربيون خاسرون في إرساء إستراتيجية فعالة في اليمن. وكما يبدو واضحاً، فإن اليمنيين أنفسهم فحسب من بإمكانهم تفادي الكارثة التي تلوح في الأفق الوطني.


كاتبه أمريكية خبيرة بالشأن اليمني

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Peace with Dignity in Yemen, Can the Cycle of Endless War be Broken?

April 21, 2010 1 comment

Each of the six Sa’ada wars in Yemen was a photo copy of the one before, except the bombs got bigger, the children more frail and the jails more crowded. The Yemeni government systematically denied food, medicine and international aid to civilians in the northern Sa’ada province as a tactic of war since the first in 2004.

Indiscriminate government bombing in the second round of war in 2005 displaced over 50,000 civilians. By the end of the fifth war, 120,000 were refugees. In the sixth war that began in August 2009, a joint Yemeni-Saudi bombing campaign flattened over 9000 structures including mosques, schools, and entire villages. With the state’s Pyrrhic victory in February 2010, the number of internal refugees had swelled to a quarter of a million. Human Rights Watch is calling for an investigation into potential war crimes.

In February, the Houthi rebels released 178 civilian and military men in their custody and returned the bodies of several Saudi soldiers. Yemen announced the release of 161 Houthi detainees. However the Yemeni Organization for the Defense of Rights and Freedoms (HOOD) said only 32 detainees were released out of a total of 2,000.

The failure of the state to release imprisoned rebels signals the eventuality of a seventh war Dr. Abdullah al Faqih, political science professor at Sana’a University, explained. “The fact that the regime is still holding the Houthi prisoners means that hardliners within the regime are still planning a new round of war. With the Houthi joining the Preparatory Committee for National Dialogue, the prospects of a new war seem greater,” he said.

Opposition politician Hassan Zaid estimated that about 1000 prisoners are still in jail with an additional 500 disappeared, “Most of the arrested are innocent…They were taken simply because they are belonging to the Hashimite or Zaidi sects,” Mr. Zaid said. Other estimates go as high as 3000.

A History of Broken Promises

Some rebel fighters and innocent bystanders have been in jail for years, although the Sana’a regime repeatedly announced their release. After mediation in May 2005, President Ali Abdullah Saleh promised to release approximately 600 persons imprisoned without charge. He issued an unnumbered pardon decree on 25 September 2005. On March 3, 2006, Yemen’s state-run media announced the release of 630 prisoners after 80 parliamentarians visited Sa’ada.

On March 22, 2006, The Arab Sisters Forum reported, “Most of the relatives told us that only about 150 detainees had been released so far.” In April 2006, rebel leader Abdelmalik Al-Houthi said many of his followers were arrested as they returned home following the general amnesty. He said no more than 80 of his followers had been released. The rest of the freed prisoners were victims of arbitrary arrest who had no connection to the rebel forces.

A prisoner exchange was also part of the peace agreement negotiated by Qatar ending the fourth war in June 2007. The rebels released 96 prisoners of war during Ramadan in September. On September 20, despite the president’s written instructions to release 500, only 67 rebel fighters were freed along with several arbitrarily arrested citizens.

In 2008, the Yemeni government repeatedly announced that 380 more prisoners were released, but many of the prisoners named actually were freed a year earlier and were not rebels. A government appointed fact finding committee was jailed after reporting that the state failed to implement several terms of the 2007 cease fire including the release of rebel prisoners.

Arbitrary arrests

Beyond capturing and often torturing rebel fighters, the state engaged in “preventive arrests” based on religious identity, geographical location or family associations. Human Rights Watch broadly categorized the civilian prisoners as state hostages, Hashemites, or Zaidis traveling in hot zones or suspected of sympathizing with the rebels. Journalists who reported on the war were also arrested.

The Yemen Times reported in May 2005, “Government and security forces would assault villages looking for Houthi suspects and demanded that all males are to come out and give themselves up…The prisons are packed in Sa’ada with hundreds – some say thousands of suspected Houthis, most of whom do not have any clear charges against them or even have any links with the Houthis.” The pattern continued through 2009.

For example, in September 2007, the Dignity Organization for Human Rights appealed for the release of 47 including juveniles detained for over a year in al-Noseirya central prison in Hajjah. The Geneva-based organization said Yemen’s Political Security Organization (PSO) had randomly rounded up innocent Zaidis. The Hajjah prisoners made the news when they refused to break their Ramadan fast at the same time as the prison guards, five minutes earlier than Shia dictates allow, and were shackled in leg irons and beaten.

Six members of the Tamy family who disappeared over three years ago along with five from the Moid family were recently discovered in the PSO prison in Hajjah. Another 28 men found there were arrested without charge within the last year, including some after the peace announcement in February 2010. Several sources have said that arbitrary arrests in Sa’ada are continuing despite the latest peace deal.

The children of some of the detainees appealed to President Saleh last week, presenting drawings of their missing fathers. The event, organized by the Women’s Media Forum and HOOD in Sana’a, was entitled, “I have the right to live with my father.” Ali al-Dailami, director of the event, said some of the children hadn’t seen their fathers in years. Arbitrary and incommunicado imprisonment of innocent citizens throughout Yemen diminishes the legitimacy of the state and stokes social tensions.

Many children are also in jail and subject to routine torture. In 2007, Ahmed Saif Hashid, an independent Member of Parliament, conducted a survey of prisons and found 16 juveniles, aged 10 to 16, in the PSO prison in al-Hodeida. The children were arbitrarily arrested in connection to the Sa’ada War.

In one interview, 12 year old Nabil old said he was taken from his class room to prison. “We have been beaten by the soldiers and officers, we have been beaten with sticks while we were handcuffed. They beat us and lay us faces down”. Hussein, 13, told Mr. Hashid, “We have been beaten, handcuffed. They beat us as soon as we arrived before even interrogating us. I saw Qasem fainted while his head was bleeding. Some of us have been made naked and they took off all our clothes.”

Starvation in Peacetime

The children in prison are not the only Yemeni kids in mortal jeopardy. Tens of thousands of children in Sa’ada are on the verge of starvation including two year old Hassan. The toddler lives in a cave with his pregnant mother, her grandmother and several other family members. Their house was destroyed in the fifth war. On a good day, Hassan eats a little bread and drinks dirty water.

When the boy hears an airplane, he falls to the ground and covers his head. A UN Children’s Fund survey in 2008, before the expansive sixth war, found that 92% of Sa’ada children had been exposed to armed conflict. Most exhibited symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, on a level at par with traumatized populations in Palestine and Nepal.

In the sixth war, dozens of children were killed in their own homes, in markets and in refugee camps by Saudi and Yemeni bombs.. Many starved to death and many more will. Of the 250,000 internally displaced, only about 30,000 are in the abysmal UN refugee camps.

The UN is short about $40 million it needs to continue distributing life saving food rations in Sa’ada beyond June. Nationally, over two million rely on UN food aid. The US announced a grant of $4.8 million in food and cooking oil for Yemen, and an intended donation to Yemen’s Special Forces of a $39 million dollar military transport aircraft. Yemen’s other donors have not contributed to the UN fund. In years past, corrupt officials embezzled millions of dollars in international aid.

A third of Yemenis are malnourished and a seventh war would exacerbate the crisis. Yemen’s performance in several ceasefires since 2004 is a tale of failed expectations: no reconstruction occurred, the military failed to pull back, and disengagement was never completed. The state needs to enact confidence building measures with the rebels to sustain the fragile peace, a vital priority for the nation. However hundreds if not thousands of rebel prisoners and innocent civilians remain in jail, and arrests are continuing. While the Sana’a regime is propped up by warmongers with financial interests in resuming the conflict and hard liners with ideological motives, western donors appear at a loss for an effective strategy in Yemen. Clearly only Yemenis themselves can avert the looming national catastrophe.

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Would Yemeni law find Anwar Awlaki guilty?

April 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Yemen’s Foreign Minister Abu Baker al Qirby urged Anwar Awlaki to turn himself to be tried under Yemeni law, vowing that no Yemeni citizen would be extradited to the US or any other country.

The US announced last week that it had authorized Awlaki’s kill or capture, having determined he is an active al Qaeda operative. Awlaki was previously known for brainwashing vulnerable persons on the internet. Awlaki holds duel Yemeni-American citizenship.

“Yemen is going to prosecute those within its territory, and they will be punished according to the law if found guilty of any crimes punishable by the law,” al-Qirby said in an interview published by the quasi governmental Yemen Observer.

There is one small problem. Yemen’s law does not criminalize jihad abroad in defense of occupied Muslim lands. If Anwar Awlaki, or any other Yemeni jihaddist, is guilty of conspiring to commit murder in the US, there’s no law in Yemen that prohibits it. Yemeni courts have explicitly accepted jihad as a viable defense.

In a terror trial in July, 2006, the defendants admitted to fighting in Iraq against coalition forces as well as training suicide bombers. “This does not violate [Yemeni] law,” the judge found. “Islamic Sharia law permits jihad against occupiers,” he said.

Jihad on American Soldiers and American Civilians

What is jihad? A lethal shooting spree at Fort Hood, according to Anwar Awlaki. Awlaki was in contact with Nidal Hassan prior to the attack and issued a statement after, entitled “Nidal Hassan is a hero.”

Personable and easy spoken, Awlaki is the calm western voice of al Qaeda’s bloody  fanaticism who slipped under the door of many English speaking homes. His logic of slaughter is chilling: “Nidal opened fire on soldiers who were on their way to be deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. How can there be any dispute about the virtue of what he has done?” Some of Yemen’s religious authorities also consider US troops as legitimate targets of terrorism.

Yemen’s Koranic dialog program, aimed at reforming al Qaeda terrorists, never discouraged fighting in Iraq. An expedited release program, the dialog program discouraged religious fanatics from defining the regime of President Ali Abdullah Saleh as an apostate. The program’s director, Judge Hamoud al Hittar said in 2005, “Iraq is not a subject of the dialogue.” Al Hittar has since become Minster of Endowments. Some state clerics in Yemen call for harm to the US in weekly prayers.

The Yemeni judicial system and religious authorities have found that US soldiers are legitimate targets. Does it matter if they are in Iraq or the US? Yemeni courts would likely agree with Anwar Awlaki that Fort Hood is a legitimate target of jihad.

Awlaki goes further and defines ordinary Americans as sanctioned victims of terrorism. Awlaki was joyous in praising Umar Farouk Abdulmutalla, who tried to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Dec. 25. Exploding a jet plane in mid air is legitimate under Islamic law because “the American populace is living within a democratic regime and they hold the responsibility of its policies.” Awlaki defined all Americans civilians as worthy of a death sentence because they are “participant in all the crimes of their government.”

Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh openly supports many external resistance groups. Hamas and Hezbollah both have official offices in Yemen. A variety of other regional death cults maintain informal offices.

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Alwaki Tribe Denies Statement

April 12, 2010 1 comment

The Sheik of the Awlaki tribe in Yemen denied that tribal leaders held a meeting or threatened Yemeni citizens as is being widely reported in the Western media.

Reuters reported receiving a faxed statement last week from the Awalki tribe that said, “We warn against cooperating with America to kill Sheikh Anwar al-Awlaki” after the Obama administration announced that it authorized operations to kill or capture Anwar Awlaki, who holds duel Yemeni American citizenship.

News Yemen, a reliable independent news website, interviewed the head of the Awlaki tribe, Sheik bin Fafeed, who denied an official statement was issued. “We haven’t held any meeting of our tribe regarding Anwar Awalki. What has been published doesn’t reflect our tribe’s attitude,” the Sheik said

Sheik bin Fareed said his tribe is loyal to the government, and that they are working to keep their tribe from becoming embroiled in any acts of violence or revenge. “We can’t let government down,” he said.

Sheik bin Fareed added that the responsibility for the arrest of Anwar Awalaki lies with the government’s forces, not the tribe’s, saying, “We don’t know where Awlaki is. The government is the one who knows where Anwar Awlaki is and is capable to arrest him, because she is responsible for that.”

Reuters reported the “heavily armed” al-Awaliq tribe warned it would “not remain with arms crossed if a hair of Anwar al-Awlaqi is touched, or if anyone plots or spies against him.” The purported statement also said that tribal leaders held a meeting and denounced “the reckless act by the U.S. government to allow the killing of the brave sheikh.”

Reuters employs President Saleh’s personal translator as a stringer in Yemen, and its reporting is often biased in favor of the Yemeni government.

Yemen was aptly described by the LA Times as “a surreal world of spin, lies and propaganda (that) makes one wonder if reality exists at all in this cruel and beautiful land.”  The Saleh regime reported the death of Ammar Al Waeli in January. Al Waeli was later spotted recruiting for al Al Qaeda in the war torn northern Sa’ada governorate. Al Qaeda leader Qasim al Reimi was also reported dead, three times, although he is not.

Awlaki is noted as al Qaeda’s primary propagandist to the English speaking world. In a 2010 audio, Awlaki urged American Muslims to commit jihad against the US. Awlaki has been in contact with several English speakers who later committed violent acts, including Nidal Hassan, Farouk Abdulmatallab and Sharif Mobley. Awlaki is relatively unknown in Yemen. His father is an ally of President Saleh and previously held the posts of Agriculture Minister and head of Sana’a University. Yemeni authorities have described Anwar Awlaki as a preacher not a terrorist.

Awlaki is thought to have become an operational al Qaeda cultist after his release from jail in 2007. The independent al Tagheer reported that Awlaki returned to Shabwa and “started preaching to people in the mosque every Friday and began to recognize a group of young people and meet them.” USS Cole bomber Fahd al Quso lives in the same area of Shabwa. Al Quso was convicted in Yemeni court and sentenced to ten years in jail. The 2000 terror attack on the USS Cole in the port of Aden killed 17 US service members and wounded 49. Al Quso was released after three years in prison, despite having escaped once.

On Dec. 24, Yemeni warplanes, using U.S. intelligence help, bombed a meeting of senior al-Qaida figures at al Quso’s farm. Awlaki and other al-Qaida top leaders left the meeting hours before the strike giving rise to speculation that they were tipped off by compromised elements within the Saleh regime.

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Yemen National Dialog Coalition Seeks Reform, Broad Political Inclusion

April 10, 2010 Leave a comment

Yemen’s National Dialog Committee published an English language summary of its National Salvation Plan yesterday. The document is available at

The National Dialog Committee (NDC) is an important Yemeni civil society coalition dedicated to creating a forum and consensus on a peaceful route to popular empowerment. The NDC is comprised of members of the opposition party alliance, the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) along with independents, some of the ruling General People’s Congress party members and prominent social figures including political leaders, tribal sheiks, businessmen and intellectuals. It is headed by Mr. Mohammed Salem Basandwah, an adviser to President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The JMP’s Hamid Al-Ahmer is its Secretary General. The group is dedicated to building a national consensus on the issues facing Yemen and implementing solutions through peaceful means.

Yemen is a hyper-political state where benefit accrues from proximity to President Saleh, his family and his tribesmen who control much of the military and security forces, the economy and political system. The high degree of cronyism means that state bureaucracies are dysfunctional and corrupt. Basic services are nearly absent and the black market is thriving. Yemen’s water shortage gave rise to water barons who thwart implementation of water strategies. Land theft by officials is overt and further centralizes the economy. The rule of law is absent; the powerful flout the law and the weak are subject to retaliatory verdicts. Yemeni children are the second most malnourished globally and half of Yemenis are under 24 years old.

The JMP faces criticism on the street as “the other face of the regime,” interested in retaining power, corrupt, disconnected from the citizenry, and restricting itself to complaining without opposing due to the Saleh government’s brutality. The political party system is dominated by historical personalities, rebuffing the energy of Yemen’s youthful population. However some members of the JMP have made dedicated efforts to expand the horizons of hope in Yemen, often with tragic consequences.

Years of Reform Efforts Blocked

The opposition Joint Meeting Parties contains ideologically diverse political parties joined together in a pragmatic quest, the rescue of Yemen. The architect of the rapprochement between the Yemeni Socialist Party and the Islamic Reform Grouping, Jarallah Omar, was assassinated in 2002 by a fundamentalist who, authorities claim, was working alone.

In 2005, it became obvious that economic reform was vital to the survival of the nation. Depleting oil coupled with rampant corruption and abuse of power had distorted Yemen’s economy to the point where only a handful benefited from natural resources and foreign aid, unemployment was staggering and development stalled. But economic reform was contingent on political reform, the opposition parties found, as powerful interests continually blocked efforts to rationalize the economy. The JMP released a reform initiative calling for the establishment of a Parliamentary system of governance.

They were soon to learn that if economic reform is contingent on political reform, then political reform is contingent on electoral reform. In the 2006 elections, members of the ruling party had overwhelming advantage in local elections, and President Saleh won his re-election handily against his rival, the JMP’s Faisal bin Shamlan. The JMP agreed not to dispute the election’s results in exchange for an agreement with the GPC to overhaul the electoral system. Recommendations from the European Union’s Mission to Yemen were to be the starting point.

Following the election, Salah’s regime rounded up activists who campaigned for the opposition candidate, imprisoning some and firing others from civil service jobs. Electoral reform stalled when the JMP and GPC could not agree on the terms or scope of negotiations. The JMP also insisted on the release of political prisoners prior to discussions.

A Vision of the Future

Yemen has since seen two brutal wars in northern Sa’ada and an exploding anti-government sentiment in the south provinces that eventually morphed into an independence movement, largely due to the states brutal response to the peaceful protests.

With electoral reform stalled in Yemen, and civil unrest threatening to drive the state to failure, the National Dialog Committee formed a broad coalition among predominant social groups to devise a plan for “National Salvation.” The grouping finds the central issue is “the personalization of the state” that has devolved into a clan-based structure dedicated to retaining power and acquiring personal wealth. In the absence of a functional parliament the NDC’s strategy for Yemen relies on a conference representing the people of Yemen and their communities.

The NDC noted the “blocking horizons of any change through free and fair elections, obstructing the principle of the peaceful transfer of power, destruction of the plural political system, diminishing the democratic project and civic live pillars, seizure of public freedoms and rights, strangulation of free press, generation and fueling of violence, fanaticism, hatred and all forms of political conflicts, tribal feuds and battles and local violence.”

The committee found both the Saada War and Southern protest movement arose from the centralization of the state. The economic crisis ruthlessly crushing the vast majority of Yemenis is a product of the Saleh regime which dealt with natural resources and national wealth as “gain to be shared among the oligarchic group, their relatives and affiliates.”

The report continues, “The hand of corruption was unleashed and the mafia of illegal interests dominated. Hence, corruption, unfortunately, became a regular practice to manage the country and a tool to monopolize, own and secure power as well as inheriting it to the sons thereafter. The development process and plans became merely tools to seize national wealth and an element for political propaganda.” The deterioration of education, health services, private investment and the squandering of donor aid accompanied the downward spiral.

The coalition suggests treating the hotspots of instability as a first step toward reversing the collapse of the Yemeni state recommending the immediate cessation of state violence, campaigns of arrest and the release of political prisoners. The NDC invited the northern rebels, southern separatists and opposition abroad as well as the ruling authority to a national conference, much to the consternation of the GPC which has labeled all its opposition as unpatriotic apostates.

Not everyone accepts the Committee as a legitimate effort. General Nassar al Nuba, Head of the Military Retired Association which initiated the southern protests in 2007, said in an emailed statement that the JMP’s efforts to organize protests in solidarity with besieged southerners is a ploy cooked in the “kitchen of influential people who seized the fortunes and wealth of the south with a view to occupancy opinion external public about what is going in the land of the south and attempt to confuse the issue, the South, which imposed itself on the table of international conferences and has become a just cause and political distinction.”

Equal Opportunity for All

The NDC is reaching out to moderate southerners with the concept of a reformed, unified state. With regard to growing calls for southern independence the NDC sees the need to “remove the impacts of 1994 war through a comprehensive national settlement leading to resolving the southern cause with its righteous and political dimensions fairly and comprehensively putting the south in its natural position as party in the national equation and as a real partner in power and wealth in a national partnership state. This is a critical entry point for a comprehensive national solution for the aggravating situation under which the vast majority of people in all parts of the country live.” It’s easier said than done.

Among several strategies to accomplish the decentralization of the state power are the prohibition of family members of the president or prime minister to assume any of the nation’s top posts including in the judiciary, military and intelligence. Senior state officials should be banned from any commercial, financial or industrial activities, and from buying or selling state properties, and from bidding for state contracts.

The establishment of a Parliamentary system is one option for decentralization but the group does not exclude consideration of proposals by other parties to the dialog. Reform of the judiciary, the electoral system and civil service are other essential components. Free and fair elections are a fundamental requirement to entrench pluralism and the peaceful transfer of power.

Among the economic and social reforms included in the proposal is the empowerment of women, a topic that receives a one line treatment. Yemen is ranked in last place globally in terms of gender equality by the World Economic Forum. In the highly gender segregated society, women have social, physical and legal obstacles in efforts to support their children economically, gain an education or participate politically. About half of Yemeni women marry before age 15, usually to an older man, and 70% are illiterate, resulting in perpetual dependency.

Obstacles to Consensus

Obstacles to developing a national consensus are many; among the foremost is state domination of broadcast media. The NDC finds that implementation of the strategy includes both communicating the national crises to the citizenry, and creating mechanism for dialog and consensus building.

Furthermore over 70% of Yemenis live in rural communities, and half of those have no electricity, meaning they are out of touch with each other and the nation’s elite. Parliamentary representatives are often tribal Sheiks, reinforcing an unresponsive patriarchal system. Many MP’s do not have an office in their districts or make regular visits to assess the concerns of their constituencies. Local councils are another arm of the Saleh regime.

The NDC recognizes the need to develop mechanisms of “qualitative communications, intellectual and media interaction to expand the scope of support for the salvation, change and national development and reforms solutions reaching to a stage where a national community-based framework is formed with peoples’ support encompassing all elements of the Yemeni society to work as a guardian for the state from collapse.”

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Al Qaeda in Yemen, unwanted nomads or essential nucleus?

April 8, 2010 Leave a comment

The announcement that al Qaeda in Yemen’s (AQIY) leadership escaped to Somalia in recent weeks is not the end of Yemen’s terrorism woes, but may instead signal the Yemeni al Qaeda group is taking a leading regional role among al Qaeda factions from Saudi Arabia to Somalia and beyond.

The flight of al Qaeda’s leadership is at best a temporary move and at worst may be an indication of continuing collusion between Yemeni President Saleh and terrorists seeking to harm the US.

Al Qaeda in Yemen dubbed itself “Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” in January 2009 after it integrated Saudi al Qaeda figures driven to Yemen by the kingdom’s harsh counter-terror measures. Last month Saudi Arabia announced the arrest of over 100 al Qaeda operatives including 51 Yemenis. Explosive belts were seized. Saudi authorities reported the group had been planning attacks on oil and security targets inside the kingdom on orders from leaders in Yemen, indicating the group’s continued focus on and capacity within Saudi Arabia. Al Qaeda’s movement from Yemen to Somalia is much different than its earlier shift from Saudi Arabia to Yemen.

By air or by sea?
The relative ease with which these wanted leaders exited Yemen is an indication of the weakness of Yemen’s effort in combating the group. One group of about 15 AQIY operatives including prominent leaders departed the al Mukalla port in early March, Yemeni sources reported. The exiled AQIY group issued orders from Somalia to cells in Yemen to cease activities, communication and meetings until the end of June by when they expect Yemeni security efforts to relax.

Mukallah is a primary debarkation point for illegal weapons flooding into Somalia. The UN monitoring group on the Somali arms embargo found that the lack of regular Coast Guard patrols in al Mukalla “means that arms traffic continues unabated.” The port is under the control of the Republican Guard, headed by President Saleh’s son, and the Central Security, headed by his nephew and is notorious as a drug smuggling hub as well.

Somali sources tell a different story. An al Qaeda group arrived in Somalia from Yemen via plane disguised as humanitarian workers. Somalia officials said 12 Yemeni commanders arrived in the last two weeks of March and were carrying cash to aid the al Qaeda linked al Shabab’s recruiting efforts. Somali Treasury Minister Abdirahman Omar Osman said that AQIY’s purpose in Somalia was to “assess the situation to see if al Qaeda may move its biggest military bases to southern Somalia since they are facing a lot of pressure in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

The designation of AQIY as al Qaeda Central’s forward scouts and terror tutors in Somalia indicates the predominance of the group among all regional affiliates, a function of the comfort level that the core al Qaeda has with its Yemeni affiliate.

Hybred al Qaeda
Al Qaeda in Yemen is unique among terror groups due to its enmeshment with the state. The Yemeni al Qaeda and Al Qaeda Central, specifically bin Laden and Zawaheri, have long standing ties with President Saleh. Bin Laden notoriously advised his minions in Afghanistan to surrender, not fight, if they were captured in Yemen. Ayman al Zawaheri was reportedly in and out of Yemen through the 1990’s and again in 2001. Saleh released Khalid bin Attash from jail at the request of bin Laden in 1999, the 9/11 commission found. Attash later went on to a leading role in the terror attack on the USS Cole.

The Yemeni government portrayed al Qaeda’s exodus to Somalia as an indication of its success in cracking down on the terror group, but President Saleh’s regime has a long history of appeasement and facilitation of al Qaeda. Aspects of the security, military and intelligence forces have long been co-opted by al Qaeda operatives, sympathizers and veterans.

State resources comprise an essential part of al Qaeda in Yemen’s infrastructure. Conversely, the Yemeni regime has used al Qaeda as mercenaries in the Sa’ada Wars (2004-2010) and trains them in state run camps.

While President Saleh may lack both the will and capacity to combat al Qaeda, Yemeni tribes resent the intrusion of al Qaeda, their foreign ideology and norms, and have created an inhospitable environment in many areas. A study by Sarah Phillips at the Carnegie Foundation found that “Al-Qaeda’s goal of establishing an international caliphate, propensity for extreme violence against civilians, and hard-line religious ideology conflict with local norms and weaken al-Qaeda’s appeal to the Yemeni people, including the tribes.”

A new deal?
The relocation may be the fruition of an earlier offer by President Saleh bribing the group to leave Yemen. The Telegraph reported that in January 2009, Yemen offered to free all imprisoned al-Qaeda militants if the group agreed to leave the country. President Saleh also offered money to the AQIY’s leadership. Yemen released over 100 jihaddists as a good will gesture to al Qaeda and then defended the release internationally as good governance. According to a former government official, Tariq al Fadhli, they were al Qaeda members and the move was part of the broader negotiation with al Qaeda.

The duplicity of the Yemeni government is notorious, extensive and sometime comical. Authorities announced the death, three times, of AQIY leader Qasim al Reimi although he is alive. A March report by the Yemeni weekly Attagammua indicated that Ammar al Waeli, reported killed by the authorities is fact in Saada, alive and well and recruiting for al Qaeda. Al Waeli was listed on a US 2002 seeking information bulletin, implicated in the 2007 murder of eight Spanish tourists and two Yemeni guides in Mareb and declared dead by Yemeni authorities on January 15, 2010.

This level of duplicity is long standing. In 2004, Yemen reported to the US that Aden Abyan Army leader Khalidabdul Nabi was killed in a firefight when in reality he had been captured and let go.

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Large al Qaeda camp in North Yemen dims peace prospects, politician says

March 29, 2010 1 comment

In Yemen, al Qaeda’s training camp in the Abu Jabara valley is no secret. It is in an old military camp between Sa’ada and al Jawf provinces, near the Saudi border, and it houses hundreds of Yemeni and foreign al Qaeda loyalists.

Acting as mercenaries for Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, al Qaeda operatives fought in the Sa’ada War against the Houthi rebels. As a result, hundreds of jihaddists gained battlefield experience during the five years of brutal war. In an interview with, Yemeni politician Hassan Zaid recommended the terrorists in Abu Jabara be disarmed now that the war has ended.

Corrupt al Qaeda

Despite their high flown rhetoric, Quoranic citations and photo-shopped internet magazine, al Qaeda in Yemen is just as corrupt as the Saleh regime itself. The enmeshment of al Qaeda with Yemen’s subverted military and intelligence services is a product of long standing relationships that stretch from the caves of Afghanistan to the presidential palace in Sana’a.

The sixth round of the Sa’ada War ended in February when President Saleh declared a ceasefire. Yemen’s ability to construct a durable peace is doubtful. Disengagement is moving slowly. A frank assessment of the underlying issues of exclusion, religious pluralism, development and equality never occurred.

The rebels are required to turn relinquish their weapons as a condition of the cease fire. Opposition politician Hassan Zaid said the terrorists in the Abu Jabara al Qaeda camp should be disarmed as well. “This group sours the atmosphere of peace,” Mr. Zaid noted to al Tagheer.

Al Qaeda with Official Passports

The rebels are Zaidis, a Shiite offshoot, and claim religious discrimination by the state. Mr. Zaid leads the al Haqq opposition party and previously headed the Joint Meeting Parties, Yemen’s opposition coalition. He disputed the notion that he was the rebels’ “spiritual leader” as state propaganda in an interview at the Yemen Post.

In my interview for, Mr. Zaid confirmed that the al Qaeda fighters in Abu Jabara participated in the war against Houthi rebels. “Our brothers said there are around 500-800 (al Qaeda) fighters training there under General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar’s command,” he said.

A powerful military commander, General al Ahmar is President Saleh’s half brother and as commander of the North West region, led the war against the rebels. Al Ahmar recruited fighters for Osama bin Laden during the Afghan jihad in the 1980’s and is reputed to facilitate several al Qaeda groups in Yemen.

“They are well armed and holding authorized (official) ID which enables them to move between Yemen and Saudi Arabia,” Zaid continued. “They joined the government to fight the rebels. They are well supported and financed by (sources within) Saudi Arabia, and they are better-off, richer, than other Qaeda members in Yemen.”

Foreign al Qaeda in Northern Yemen

The al Qaeda group in Sa’ada includes foreign fighters, but the presence of westerners is unclear. In March 2009, the southern weekly Attagammua reported, “Local sources in Saada confirmed that members of various Arab nationalities as well as citizens from different provinces” were in Abu Jubara. The papers sources noted “the striking emergence of Salafist groups in the city of Saada, and the effort to build a center for Yemeni al-Qaeda in Yemen.”

The independent Yemen Times reported foreign fighters in Sa’ada the same month: “Thousands of Jihadist groups, or Salafia – including Yemenis and foreigners from neighboring Arab and non-Arab countries (were) gathering against the Houthis in coordination with the army under the management of military centers and sheikhs…”

In June 2009, al Eshteraki, mouthpiece of the Yemeni Socialists Party (YSP), said that large numbers of al-Qaeda operatives and other jihadist organizations in the Abu Jubara camp had gathered to meet “the Shiite tide,” represented by the Houthi rebels.

“It was originally an official camp of the armed forces of Yemen that was abandoned,” al Eshteraki reported. The camp is under the stewardship of Afghan Arabs inducted into n the Yemeni military after they fought for President Saleh in the 1994 civil war. Usama bin Laden supplied fighters and arms to President Saleh’s jihaddist forces as they battled southern socialists in the 1994 civil war, the New York Times reported.

In December 2009, Attagammua again reported that al Qaeda terrorists who returned to Yemen after fighting American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan were in Sa’ada, fighting for the Yemen state

State Support

The sixth round of the Sa’ada War broke out in August. In October, with the war raging, the Houthi rebels’ website, al Menpar, published an article referencing the Abu Jabar camp that alleged a high level al Qaeda leader had sold al Qaeda’s services to the Yemeni state.

“They agreed that the government will provide them with light weapons and the Al Qaida fighters will participate in the war against the rebels. Omar Obadah and his followers who just came back from Saudi Arabia (had) received some training in Afghanistan.”

According to al Menpar, some current al Qaeda leaders in Sa’ada were previously imprisoned in Saudi Arabia and others had escaped in the infamous 2006 al Qaeda jailbreak in Yemen.

“Many sources affirm that this coalition is beneficial to both parties, the Yemeni government, and al Qaeda leaders, and the Saudi’s as well. The Saudi embraced and supported (the camp) because they consider the Houthi rebels in the north as infidels from their perspective,” the article concluded.

In January 2010, Saada Online also reported on the arrangement between al Qaeda and the state. The al Qaeda camp in Abu Jabara valley is funded by Saudi sources, the investigation found. After receiving arms and ammunition from the government, al Qaeda mercenaries “attacked the rebels from behind” the Saudi border. The al Qaeda group coordinates through intermediaries at General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar’s office, the site said, noting some al Qaeda operatives were integrated directly into the military, and the group has freedom of movement across the Saudi/Yemeni border at the al Baqea crossing.

The sixth Sa’ada War took a heavy toll. Months of extensive bombing by Yemeni and Saudi air forces targeted markets, mosques, hospitals and refugees. Hundreds of thousands of civilians are internal refugees. Over 9000 structures were damaged. The Abu Jabara camp was not. The six westerners kidnapped in June 2009, a German family and a British engineer, may be held captive in the Abu Jabara training camp.

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South Yemen clashes escalate, police wound 20

March 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Twenty people were wounded today when police opened fire on a funeral march in the restive town of Dhalie. Local reports indicated one person later died. The crowds had gathered to honor two victims killed when police broke up a anti-government protest on March 11.

Yemen launched a broad assault on its southern region earlier this month with ground troops and tanks following a US declaration that unrest in the south was a Yemeni internal affair.

In an escalating cycle of state violence, demonstrations against the siege were met with live fire, water cannons, tear gas and arrests. Cell phone communications were cut on the orders of the Ministry of Information which also ordered the seizure of al Jazeera and al Arabyia broadcast equipment.Two protesters died earlier in the week after being shot by police during a protest in Dhalie on Thursday.

Another 50 prisoners have been on a hunger strike since March 10. The men have been imprisoned for three years without a trial, News Yemen reported. On March 24, a southern oppositionist was sentenced to ten years for “spreading hatred against unity.” Ahmed Ba-Muallim, a former Member of Parliament was arrested April 15, 2009. Ba-Muallim said he would not appeal because both the court and its verdict are illegitimate. There are hundreds of political prisoners jailed in Yemen.

In an ominous note, Yemeni state media reported that al Qaeda operatives are sheltering in mountains of Dhalie and Radfan, centers of the swelling independence movement in restive south Yemen. President Ali Abdullah Saleh regularly conflates his domestic opposition with al Qaeda. Analysts have raised concerns that Yemen will launch airstrikes under the guise of counter-terrorism that instead target dissidents and oppositionists.

A Human Rights Watch statement urged the US and Yemen to “take all feasible precautions to ensure that counter terrorism operations do not harm the very people they aim to protect.” Human Rights Watch is particularly concerned about the potential for manipulation of intelligence because of Yemen’s inconsistent approach to confronting al Qaeda in the past and its history of resorting to repressive measures to quell political dissent. In December, an airstrike targeting al Qaeda killed 42 civilians.

The protests were begun in 2007 by forcibly retired military officers seeking overdue pension compensation equivalent to their northern counterparts. The state offered to make some payments if the officers pledged to refrain from political activity. The offer was rejected. The head of the Military Retired Coalition, General Nasser al Nuba, today called for an independent fact finding commission into the state’s war crimes.

Peaceful protests turned bloody when police repeatedly used live fire against the demonstrators, killing dozens. Demonstrations marred by police violence and arbitrary arrests triggered new protests. Other tactics include targeted assassinations and denial of medical services.

The Southern independence movement is a popular movement with the active support of 70% of southerners, a recent poll found. Leadership is fragmented and often quarrelsome, reflecting unresolved power struggles dating back decades.The southern narrative is based on the premise that after 1994’s civil war, unity was imposed by force and the south was plundered by northerners.

Resentment simmered for a decade as discriminatory state practices excluded southerners from employment, scholarships and development. Yemen’s oil wealth, based in the south, was looted and overt land theft by military officers and state officials left southerners with no recourse to justice.The Saleh regime has termed them apostates for a decade. Usama Bin Laden armed and funded Afghan Arabs fighting for Saleh’s forces in 1994’s civil war between north and south.

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Tribal anarchy in Yemen: the tragedy in al Jasheen, Ibb

March 26, 2010 Leave a comment

The Yemeni government’s abdication of its responsibilities in rural Yemen is amply demonstrated by the ongoing saga in the village of al Jasheen, in Ibb province. In this drama, a group of poor villagers refuse to submit to a tyrannical Sheik who demands illegal taxes. The Sheik’s personal militia of state security forces attack, expell and imprison these citizens with impunity.

In al-Jasheen, Yemeni citizens were denied access to their own homes. In response, the Yemeni state reinforced the tribal system at the expense of the civil system. Residents received no redress from the courts, local council, parliament, the ruling party (of which they were members) or the opposition parties. State security forces tasked with protecting citizens instead targeted them. The governor of Ibb and Parliament’s leadership rallied around the sheik.

Al Jasheen’s sheik, Mohammed Mansour is President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s poet and the father of a Member of Parliament. He expelled the villagers three times since 2007. They trekked to the capital and camped out in front of parliament in protest. Women and children slept in the courtyard of a local NGO for weeks at a time.

The villagers demanded an official police station and for the state to disarm the Sheik and bring him to justice, along with his militia. When Parliament issued a statement, they returned to the village and faced the same conditions, despite a presidential guarantee, leading to new protests.

”[Sheik Mansour] set fire in our houses and shot us with heavy weapons. A woman is a victim of shrapnel wounds. We are subject to a broad displacement campaign. The Sheik’s militia drove women and children out of their own houses. Meanwhile, they are burning the houses searching for the wanted one who is unable to pay the high taxes,” one villager, Mohammed Murshed, told HOOD, a prominent NGO, in January

.”Al-Jasheen’s trouble is that they intended to pay the tax to the state and not to the hands of the Sheik,” Mr. Murshed said. “People used to pay tax to the Sheik due to their ignorance but now they are aware to pay it to the state and that what irritates the Sheik,” Mr. Murshed added.

Operating the village as a state within a state, the sheik’s authority is paramount in al-Jasheen. In a letter to Mareb Press, residents reported in 2007 that they were required to “follow his orders without discussion or debate.” Citizens who had dared to challenge the sheik’s authority or criticize his practices were summarily jailed in the sheik’s private prison. The sheik charged a 10% harvest tax in excess of the state taxes, the villagers said. In lieu of payment, he sometimes collected farm animals and gas cylinders.

Sheik Mansour has alleged the entire story was fabricated by the opposition. However, HOOD noted the sheik used government vehicles and troops to expel the citizens.

For their courage, the al Jasheen villagers won HOOD’s 2009 Human Rights Award. In presenting the award, HOOD’s director, Khalid al Ansi said that Al-Jasheen’s accomplishment is that they overcame “historical inherited fear” and challenged the Sheik’s regime.

After three years, the villagers continue to suffer . The most recent Parliamentary report was issued Wednesday. It said that while the nearly one hundred villagers are camped out in the capital, Mansour’s militia “looted their cows, ships, gold and all their home furnishings.”

“Mansour has unauthorized private prisons in which he punishes citizens, indicating a lack of the state sovereignty in the district,” Parliament found.The findings echo a 2007 Parliamentary report that concluded that Parliament must “compel the Government to impose the authority of the State in Al-Jasheen area as part of the territory of the Republic of Yemen.”

Tribal Paradigms Subverted by Corruption

Many rural villages in Yemen are equally isolated from governmental institutions, democratic structures and the judiciary. The ability of President Saleh to deliver the state to the villages is limited by the widespread subversion of public authority to private interests. The elite among President Saleh’s northern tribesmen have supplanted the jurisdiction of the state. Since Yemen’s 1994 civil war, power has become consolidated in a network of influential individuals who largely operate above the law. Weak central government is counterbalanced by strong tribal authority, resulting in a nearly feudal substructure. The glue that stabilizes this political system is entrenched governmental corruption and patronage.

Many tribal elite are also government leaders, reinforcing patriarchal norms and discriminatory practices.

Tribal figures including the president’s relatives dominate Yemen’s key military and security positions. Governmental employment is widely politicized. Some economic enterprises are monopolies. Favoritism in governmental procurements allows the ruling party to undermine the political system through patronage. Land theft by influential persons is systematic, endemic and destabilizing, especially in the former south.

Yemeni citizens are often subject to a tribal sheik whose authority outweighs state institutions. Tribal leadership varies from village to village, and some sheiks are quite altruistic. Generally sheiks provide residents with security and mechanisms of conflict resolution in the absence of a functional judicial system in Yemen.

An influential sheik can procure governmental funding for development and infrastructure projects including roads, schools and electricity. However, these benefits come with a price tag. A recent report from the Carnegie Institute found, “a state-sponsored patronage system has distorted the country’s traditional mechanisms of dispute resolution and resource distribution. Tribal sheikhs are pillars in both the traditional and the patronage systems, although in the latter the regime detaches them from their communities by offering wealth and status in exchange for political acquiescence. This has resulted in the rapid centralization of the political system, which was built on the state’s capacity to distribute oil wealth to those it deems politically relevant.”

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Yemen releases two half dead editors as the US notes atrocities,increases terror aid

March 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Yemen released the editor of the banned Al Ayyam after holding him without charge for three months. The 66 year old Hisham Basharaheel was freed in extremely poor medical condition. There was no word on the status of his two sons who were imprisoned at the same time. Al-Ayyam, one of the largest dailies in the south, was closed in May last year over allegations that, by reporting news of civil unrest, the paper “harmed unity.”

Also released today was Mohammed al Maqaleh arrested in September after reporting on a military airstrike in the war torn Sa’ada province that targeted a group of refugees sheltering in an open field. Over 80 were killed, and dozens wounded. Al Maqaleh was kidnapped the next day, and for months Yemeni authorities denied that he was in custody. Brought to court in February, al Maqaleh recounted various methods of torture including mock executions, beating and starving. The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomed his release, urging Yemen to release or bring to trial other journalists held without charge.

Both men were hospitalized upon release and are expected to live. There are thousands of other political prisoners in Yemen including several journalists. In February, the funeral of 28 year old Fares Zaid al Tamah, who died in police custody in Aden on January 30 drew tens of thousands. Mr. al Tamah was allegedly tortured to death in the escalating government violence against activists and protesters in Yemen.

Earlier in the month, Yemen’s Ministry of Information seized Al Jazeera’s and al Arabyia’s broadcast equipment on the grounds that the news channels, operating in Yemen for years, lacked the proper licenses. Journalists said they had received warnings from the state to stop reporting on the brutal government response to southern unrest.

State Atrocities Common

The US State Department in its annual report Human Rights Practices in Yemen found that in 2009, “Serious human rights problems increased significantly during the year.” The report recounted numerous murders of southern protesters by police, as well as thousands of political arrests and an epidemic of torture in jail.

Yemen also significantly increased restrictions on freedom of speech, press, and assembly by harassing, arresting and intimidating journalists, opposition members, civil leaders and academics, the report stated.

Another pattern of state atrocities related to the Saada war where the Yemeni military “waged an extensive campaign of aerial bombardment in the Saada and Amran governorates, destroying many villages and killing hundreds of civilians, according to press reports.” More than 175,000 persons are displaced and only about 30,000 are in UN refugee camps.

The US increased military support to Yemen’s brutal central government in the wake of the failed Christmas day bombing of an airliner as it was landing in the US. Over half of Yemeni children are stunted from malnutrition.

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Election in Yemen, ploy or progress?

March 20, 2010 1 comment

Yemen’s President Saleh submitted a draft constitutional amendment to Parliament that calls for transforming the appointed 111 member Shura Council into an elected body. At first glance, the move appears to further popular empowerment. However, the electoral system in Yemen is heavily weighted in favor of President Saleh’s ruling party, the General People’s Congress (GPC), which monopolizes political power.

Parliament is considering the measure today, the state media reported. Parliament rarely initiates legislation, instead acting as a rubber stamp for Saleh’s dictates while providing a facade of legitimacy.

Glaringly absent from the President’s reform plans is any provision for long overdue electoral reform, the issue that has driven a wedge between the ruling GPC and alliance of opposition parties, the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP).

The JMP is comprised of the Socialist Party, the Islamic Reform grouping known as Islah, al Haq, a predominantly Zaidi party as well as Nasserite and Ba’athist parties. Socialist Party leader Jarallah Omar led the formation of the alliance and was assassinated by a militant in 2002.

The JMP dropped its objections to the legitimacy of Saleh’ s 2006 re-election, despite numerous irregularities, in exchange for the state’s pledge to reform electoral provisions.

After the 2006 election, EU observers recommended changes to enable transparent vote counting, enforcement of election law, media fairness, and improving the voter register, electoral laws and systems. These recommendations formed the basis for the now defunct JMP-GPC dialog. Specific reforms include prohibiting voters from registering an employment address as a domicile of record, an important limitation considering the size of Yemen’s military. In 2006, the voter registry contained hundreds of thousands of underage and duplicate registrations.

Years of delay, recriminations and posturing have followed, but not reform. Parliamentary elections, slated for 2009, were delayed until 2011, to give the JMP and GPC more time to agree on electoral reforms. There has been no progress on the issue as the GPC continued to consolidate power.

Indirect governors’ elections were held for the first time in 2008. The GPC’s candidate “won” 19 of 23 governorships. The election of an independent was overthrown in the al Jawf province and the GPC candidate installed.

Mr. Saleh announced in March that Parliamentary elections would take place in 2011, with or without the JMP. Dialog between the JMP and GPC ground to a halt with the increase in state violence against the citizenry and illegal arrests of activists, journalists and protesters.

Without electoral reform, Saleh’s General People’s Congress (GPC) party will remain the dominant force on all levels of government in Yemen. Similar to the Ba’ath party’s position under Saddam Hussain, the GPC acts as a mechanism of access and privilege for Saleh loyalists.

A recent US State Department report on Yemen notes, “Severe limitations on citizens’ ability to change their government included corruption, fraudulent voter registration, administrative weakness, and close political-military relationships at high levels.” Public frustration over the abuse of state power triggered social unrest in several areas and fears of state failure.

In an interview on al Arabyia, Mr. Saleh stated that he will not seek re-election at the end of his term in 2013. Twice previously, Saleh has declared that he would not seek re-election only to be convinced by adoring crowds of state workers and school children bused in to the capital from outlying towns.

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Suspected American al Qaeda, Sharif Mobley, shoots up Yemen hospital in escape bid

March 10, 2010 Leave a comment

A New Jersey man from Buena Borough is accused of joining Yemen’s al Qaeda terrorists. Sharif Mobley is in custody in Yemen after an escape attempt in a deadly hospital rampage that left one guard dead.

Yemeni officials charge that the 26 year-old Mobley was planning a terror attack. Mobley was apprehended and hospitalized last week. In a thwarted escape attempt, Mobley killed a policeman on Sunday as he attempted to shoot his way out of the hospital reports say.

His friends and family expressed shock.

Mobley’s father Charles spoke to NBC40. “We don’t know nothing, we’re trying to hear something,” said Charles Mobley. HIs mother said accusations are completely false and that her son is not a terrorist.

The Yemeni military earlier reported the shooter was a German citizen of Somali origin. He is currently thought to be a Yemeni-American duel citizen.

A British Airways employee charged today with plotting a terror attack also may have Yemen links.

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Southern activist dies in shoot-out after burning effigy of President Saleh

March 3, 2010 Leave a comment

On Monday, Yemeni authorities announced the death of Ali Saleh al Yafie, labeled by authorities as an al Qaeda operative. Two soldiers and several members of al Yafie’s family were also killed in the pre-dawn raid on his home in Abyan, including a seven year-old granddaughter.

Al Yafie was an activist in the populist movement which calls for the independence of southern Yemen. On Sunday, al Yafie burned an effigy of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh during an anti-government rally in Zanzibar, Abyan. Activists allege that Monday’s deadly raid was in retaliation for al Yafie’s actions at the demonstration. His family said he had no relation to al Qaeda.

Yemeni authorities often conflate domestic political opposition with al Qaeda in a bid to gain international backing. Sana’a repeatedly accused both the northern Houthi rebels and the southern secessionists of links to al Qaeda, however the central government of Ali Abdullah Saleh itself has struck numerous deals with al Qaeda’s leadership and operatives over the last decades.

The New York Times reported last week rhat Osama bin Laden supplied weapons, ammunition and fighters from abroad to bolster the military efforts of the Saleh regime in 1994’s civil war. Saleh also deployed jihaddists in the five year northern Sa’ada War that began in 2004.

According to al Eshteraki, the website of the Socialist Party, witnesses to the raid said security forces took cover in the minaret of a mosque near al Yafie’s home and opened fire on the house with machine guns, RPG’s and tear gas. Al Yafie and his sons returned fire. Al Yafie’s wife and daughter were injured in the shoot-out and hospitalized. His son was arrested.

The incident is the latest in an ongoing stream of fatalities in south Yemen where mass protests began in 2007 calling for equal rights. Over 100 unarmed protesters have been killed during protests since then and over a thousand arrested including political leaders, journalists, children and activists. The deaths and arrests triggered new protests as the cycle of state violence and civil unrest engulfed the region.

Protesters claim they were denied equal rights and opportunities after north and south Yemen unified into a single state in 1990. Government overtures to lessen tensions have been half-hearted and sporadic. In 2007, the central government said it would pay military pensions overdue by a decade in return for a pledge by former military officers to refrain from peaceful political activity. The offer was rejected.

The movement is loosely organized and generally pledges allegiance to the former president of South Yemen, Ali Salem al Beidh, who said on Wednesday that unity had “failed completely,” Radio Sawa reported. Al Beidh, who was exiled to Oman following the civil war, condemned the state’s violence against the protesters and warned that “things cannot go on as they are.”

Demonstrations continued this week throughout the south as police arrested over 100 southern activists. Yemen has thousands of political prisoners of all stripes in jail, and many are subjected to torture.

In February, the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), in concert with 24 other rights groups, said the Yemeni government was habitually “taking brutal retaliatory actions against human rights defenders, journalists and critics of the regime’s policies.” In the statement IFEX called on Yemen’s government to end kidnappings, forced disappearances, torture and arbitrary arrests.

On Wednesday, the US Department of State Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, said in an interview to official al-Thawra, the crisis in the south is an internal affair, but he said issues behind the crisis should be solved.

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Yemen admits Al Qaeda raid was mistake

March 3, 2010 Leave a comment

A senior Yemeni defense official admitted on Wednesday that a December 17 air strike against al Qaeda in southern Yemen killed scores of civilians and not 30 al Qaeda operatives as the government previously insisted.

The strike has been touted by both US and Yemeni officials as evidence of Yemen’s newly found commitment to battling an increasingly active Yemeni al Qaeda affiliate.

Within hours of the bombing, U.S. President Barack Obama called Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, saying the operation “confirms Yemen’s resolve in confronting the danger of terrorism represented by al Qaeda for Yemen and the world,” Yemen’s state media reported.

Witness testimony and photographic evidence disputing the Yemeni government’s claims surfaced within a day of the air strike. A parliamentary fact finding committee documented that 42 civilians, mainly women and children, were killed. Seventy were hospitalized with injuries.

After months of delays, Deputy Prime Minister for Defense and Security Rashad al-Alimi appeared for Parliament’s debate on the air strike. “We work, and anyone who works makes mistakes,” he said.

“We apologize to those innocent citizens killed in the operation against al-Qaeda organization in Abyan,” al-Alimi said. He also said the government would pay compensation.

State Jihaddist or Al Qaeda?

Only two al-Qaeda members were killed in the raid including Mohammed Saleh al-Kazemi, a Saudi living in Yemen since his return from fighting in Afghanistan. Al Kazemi was imprisoned in Yemen for two years before his release in 2005 without a trial. He was on a most wanted list of 154 al Qaeda-linked militants, a Yemeni official told the New York Times. Al Kazemi helped plan a July 2007 suicide attack that killed seven Spanish tourists and two Yemeni guides in Marib, he said. The al Qaeda deputy also provided safe haven to foreign al Qaeda militants operating in Yemen, the official stated.

However a Member of Parliament for the opposition Islah party said the al Kazemi had close ties to Yemeni security forces. In a February interview with al Sahwa, Abdul Karim Shiban said that the two alleged al Qaeda operatives traveled back and forth from Shabwa to Abyan openly since their release from prison. The men were digging a well at the time of the raid and could have been easily captured, he said. Mr. Shiban also said the men used to chew khat with security officials and received an allowance from the state.

The enmeshment of al Qaeda and Yemen’s security forces complicates counter-terror operations. Yemen’s Political Security Organization was not informed of the air raid until it was over, the Washington Post reported.

At a Parliamentary session in March 2009, MPs from both the ruling party and opposition said that the Yemeni government’s aid to terrorists was politically motivated, the Yemen Post reported. MP Sakhr Al-Wajih said the government was involved in many terrorist acts which took place in the past years. The session followed an attempted suicide attack on South Korean investigators, who had arrived in Yemen to aid authorities in the investigation of the murder of four South Korean tourists.

The US is increasing military funding to Yemen from the $67 million spent in 2009 to $150 million for fiscal year 2010. The funds are to be used to repair and service 10 Mi-17 helicopters, and to provide four Huey IIs and train Yemeni crews to operate and maintain them.

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Dirty Tricks in Yemen’s Media War

March 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Activists in southern Yemen allege that the Yemeni government is taking the western media for a ride.

Aden Press charged that Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s translator, who works as a reporter for one of the major wire services, is infusing his reporting with pro-government bias and sometimes outright lies. Planting government operatives in western media outlets is only one tactic the Yemeni government uses to spin the news in its favor.

Yemen is among the world’s worst press violators, ranked 167 of 175 countries surveyed by Reporters without Borders. The Yemeni regime tries to cover up Southern unrest, crime, corruption and the northern war and these topics are most likely to draw government retribution against reporters.

National Security operatives carry out most of the physical attacks on journalists including kidnappings and assaults, a study by Women Journalists with Chains found.

Politicized Courts Attack Journalists
The judiciary is another instrument of media repression. Journalists in prison for their writing include Salah Alsagalde, Fuad Rashid, and Ahmed Alzubairi. Al Ayyam newspaper was assaulted and shuttered in May 2009, after 46 years in print. Its editors were arrested in January 2010. Amnesty International repeatedly sounded the alarm that the men are at risk of torture.

Anissa ‘Uthman, a journalist working for the weekly al-Wassat, was sentenced to jail because of articles she wrote criticizing the arrest and imprisonment of human rights activists. The editor of al Wasat was fined and both were prohibited from writing by the court.

In 2009, Yemen created a Special Press Court dedicated to prosecute journalists. At a symposium, leading civil rights activist, attorney Mohammed Allaow said the court’s establishment violates guarantees provided under the Yemeni constitution. Many Yemeni legal scholars agree. Allaow was charged this week by the Special Press Court with “insulting the judiciary.”

Editor Mohammed al Maqaleh was kidnapped in September after reporting on a government air strike that killed 87 civilians. The government denied he was in custody until this month. Al Maqaleh described five months of torture to his first visitor, a union representative, in February. His family appealed for his release this week, saying that prison officials are denying al Maqaleh access to medicine. He was charged with supporting the northern rebels by publishing war news.

Roadblocks to Truth
Administrative decrees also suppress Yemen’s independent media. The state operates most of Yemen’s printing presses and regularly denies publishers permission to print. Magazines which carry unfavorable coverage- or even an unflattering photo of President Saleh- have been seized at the border. The Ministry of Information also denies licenses to independent journalists for a new newspapers. Private ownership of the broadcast media is prohibited.

Another tactic of deception is the cloning of newspapers, whereby a look alike newspaper with pro-government content is published in an effort to confuse the Yemeni citizenry. In 2007, three papers were operating under the name al Shoura, bearing similar logos and layouts. Defamation is a common tactic to undermine journalists’ credibility. Government sponsored yellow tabloids also defame journalists as hired operatives, bad Muslims, drunks, homosexuals and disloyal citizens. Editorial cartoons portray them as animals.

Internet Blockade
The internet in Yemen is heavily censored. While al Qaeda doesn’t have difficulty publishing its propaganda, dozens of political websites, including those of mainstream opposition parties, are blocked in Yemen. Al Masdar Online was blocked just 24 hours after the launch of a new website. It was the third time since the site was launched in May 2009. A manager at YemenNet, Yemen’s only internet provider, admitted security officials ordered the site blocked.

The hacking and destruction of websites is another means of preventing the free flow of information. News Yemen reported in December that its website was taken offline and the site’s archives destroyed by a hacker whose IP traced back to the Yemeni Ministry of Information. Beyond hacker attacks, Reporters without Borders also noted the orchestrated posting of comments on popular websites. Yemen also raised the rates for internet service while requiring internet cafes to take identifying information from patrons.

Yemen Portal, a news aggregator, provides a proxy service to bypass the censorship. The site has tens of thousands of page views monthly in Yemen. The site’s founder, Walid al Saqqaf, won the 2010 Democracy Prize from the University of Orebro for his work.

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Funeral for police torture victim draws thousands in southern Yemen

February 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Thousands of Southern Yemenis marched in the funeral Monday of 28 year old Fares Zaid al Tamah, who died in police custody in Aden on January 30. Mr. al Tamah was allegedly tortured to death in the latest incident of escalating government violence against activists and protesters in Yemen.

Separatist sentiment is running high in southern Yemen where 70% of residents favor dissolution of the unified state. Activists claim they have been illegally occupied since 1994’s civil war while southern oil deposits and land were looted by the tribesmen and relatives of northern President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The deceased was arrested in Abyan in his Landcruiser, his relatives said, while he was listening to an audio of the singer Aboud Khawaga, whose material often includes political themes.

Mr. al Tamah was killed following three days of torture, activists allege. He was hung from the ceiling upside down for 12 hours, burnt with cigar butts and shocked with electricity, other prisoners in the Malla police station reported. On January 30, Mr. al Tamah was found dead on the floor in a pool of blood by visitors. His family reported that his body showed signs of torture.

Stretching for miles, the funeral march began at Aljamohria hospital in Aden and concluded at the southern martyrs cemetery Radfan, Lahj . Mr. Al Tamah was buried alongside dozens of other southerners killed by Yemeni security forces.

Protests began in 2007 calling for equal rights and political inclusion and were met by mass arrests. Dozens of unarmed protesters have been killed by police in southern Yemen, Human Rights Watch found. A pattern of wide spread and brutal abuses characterized the state’s response to the growing protests, triggering a spiral of “repression, protests, and more repression.”

A report issued by a southern activist last week detailed 147 civilians killed by Yemeni security forces in the last year.

In November, Amnesty International issued a statement noting that “torture and other ill-treatment are widespread practices in Yemen and are committed, generally with impunity, against both detainees held in connection with politically motivated acts or protests and ordinary criminal suspects. Methods of torture and other ill-treatment are reported to include beatings all over the body with sticks, rifle butts, punching, kicking, prolonged suspension by the wrists or ankles, burning with cigarettes, being stripped naked, denial of food and prompt access to medical help, as well as threats of sexual abuse.”

HOOD, a leading Yemeni civil rights advocacy group in Yemen, disclosed this week that it had obtained video evidence of prisoner torture at the Criminal Investigation Prison in Taiz province. Ammar al-Tayar, 23 years old, was in custody of the Shar’ab al-Salam Security after a family dispute on January 16, 2010. Al-Tayar alleged he was subjected to beatings, electric shock and burning at the prison by three men while he was blindfolded. The video tape revealed scars and other indications of the torture, which were on his upper region of the shoulders, back, fingers and different parts of his body.

The UN’s Committee against Torture found the “widespread practice of torture and ill-treatment” in Yemen. Yemen failed to appear as requested at the UN Committee’s examination.

Journalist Mohammed al Maqaleh described his four months of torture to a union representative in February as including severe beatings, mock executions and starvation. Amnesty International has repeatedly issued statements warning that southern editors Hasham, Hani and Mohammed Bashraheel are at risk of severe torture since their “arrest” in January.

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Yemen sells Coast Guard services and Navy personnel to highest bidder

February 15, 2010 Leave a comment

With renewed focus on al Qaeda threats emanating from Yemen, the US is substantially increasing support to several branches of the Yemeni military. However, Yemen’s military and security forces are often involved in for-profit ventures, on both overt and covert levels. The task of building up Yemen’s Coast Guard demonstrates such difficulties.

Last year, the Coast Guard complained several times to the Interior Ministry that the Border Guard was complicit in criminal activity and “aiding smugglers as smuggling takes place in an organized way,” the Yemen Post reported. The Border Guards prevented the Coast Guard from searching boats suspected of smuggling, sometimes resulting violent clashes between the forces’ members.

The diversion of US aid into private pockets is another area of concern. US support to Yemen’s Coast Guard began in 2003, and it seems a worthy investment in light of the wide variety of criminal networks operating in Yemeni waters.

Piracy is a global priority when 20% global shipping passes through the Gulf of Aden. Tens of thousands of Somalis are smuggled across the narrow Bab al Mendab to Yemen annually. Traffickers carry weapons and other contraband to Somalia on the return leg of the trip. Diesel subsidized by the Yemeni government is smuggled out as enormous quantities of illegal narcotics and counterfeit pharmaceuticals are smuggled in. Yemen’s 1900 km coastline makes it easy for al Qaeda terrorists to slip into and out of the country. Counter-terror operations become more pressing with Somalia’s al Shabab terrorists coordinating with Yemen’s al Qaeda.

The problem for the US arises when the Coast Guard neglects these concerns to hire itself out as a private security contractor to shipping lines.

The Yemeni firm, Lotus Projects, was established “based on the demand of various official bodies for professional intermediaries to act between government bodies and private or public entities overseas.” Lotus’s website further highlights the firm’s “close working relationship with Yemeni Governmental Security Organizations” including the Coast Guard.

Lotus’ UK based franchise, the Gulf of Aden Group Transit (GoAGT), reports that it has a “unique agreement with Lotus Projects and the Yemen Navy which means you are guaranteed the protection of highly trained military personnel and the Yemen Government in the event of an attack.”

Indeed. “For $35,000 for a three day transit, GoAGT will supply an armed team of six serving Yemen military or coastguard personnel to embark on and protect a vessel between the GoAGT transit coordinates,” reported.

The US has been training the Yemen Coast Guard since 2003. The US delivered 24 vessels to Yemen in that time. In 2009, the US Coast Guard awarded a $28.2 million contract to build two 87-foot Protector-class Coastal Patrol Boats for the Yemen Coast Guard. The vessels “will assist the Yemen Coast Guard in addressing an anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden that is strategically important to U.S. interests,” the USCG said in announcing the contract.

But those anti-piracy missions will likely profit a private company. And other important patrols may be abandoned altogether in favor of lucrative contracts with foreign shippers.

GoAGT promises “a dedicated escort by a heavily armoured 37.5 metre Yemen Navy Austal patrol boat.” Yemen only has ten Austal vessels, delivered in 2005 at a cost of about US$ 5 million dollars each. The boats, now tasked as merchant escorts, were built to engage in “general police missions in coastal waters, customs control and anti-terrorist operations at sea, offshore protection and tracking, surveillance of the Exclusive Economic Zone, defence and protection of national sea areas and operations within integrated task forces,” Austal reported.

Stars and Stripes, an independent news source for the US military community, reported on the controversy. Lt. Col. Bakill Hamzah, operations officer for the Aden District of the Yemeni coast guard, and manager of the country’s National Anti-Piracy Center said to the paper that Yemen considers hiring out Yemeni Coast Guardsmen to commercial companies as an “appropriate” and “good” solution to counter piracy.

Not all agree.

“It slightly smacks of vigilantism to me,” said Tony Mason, secretary general of the International Chamber of Shipping and International Shipping Federation.

On a broader level, one of the leading causes of instability in Yemen boils down to the widespread appropriation of government resources by individuals for profit or personal goals.

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Prisoner exchanges may undermine shaky peace in five year war

February 14, 2010 Leave a comment

The sixth round of the Sa’ada War ended Thursday when Yemeni President Saleh agreed to a cease fire with the Houthi rebels. The six point truce requires the rebels to unblock roads, withdraw from government buildings, return arms and release all prisoners including Saudi soldiers. The rebels also pledged not to attack Saudi Arabia.

However, the issue of prisoner exchanges is threatening to undermine the fragile peace in Yemen’s long simmering northern war. The Saudis issued a 48 hour ultimatum for the return of their soldiers, but the status of rebel prisoners in Saudi and Yemeni custody has not been addressed. A video posted to LiveLeak shows Saudi authorities brutally whipping the feet of prisoners, purported to be suspected Yemeni rebels. The rebels say the unilateral immediate release of all their captives was not in the original agreement.

Yemen began a sustained bombing and ground assault on the rebels in August 2009. Saudi forces joined the war in November after the rebels attacked a Saudi outpost near the border. The rebels previously returned the fort to Saudi control but took it back after the Saudis allowed Yemen to station troops there. Since November, over 100 Saudi soldiers were killed and five are believed held by the rebels.

Civilians in jeopardy
With 250,000 civilian refugees homeless in northern Yemen, the UN’s Secretary-General urged “full access for humanitarian assistance to be provided to the affected civilian population.” Yemen stymied international efforts to deliver aid since the war resumed in August 2009. Human Rights Watch found a similar pattern that “appears to constitute collective punishment” of the civilian population in earlier wars.

Yemen’s indiscriminate bombing of cities, villages, hospitals, mosques and hospitals resulted in the deaths of hundreds of civilians since August.

An increase in Western and US counter-terror funding for Yemen has not been matched by humanitarian aid for the war refugees despite continuous UN appeals.

“We are facing a dramatic funding situation in Yemen and may be forced to scale down our operations for refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) there if we do not receive fresh contributions very soon,” Melissa Fleming, UNHCR spokesperson, said.

History of failed agreements
The announcement by the Yemeni government and northern rebels of a ceasefire was welcomed by the international community and Yemenis alike. UN Secretary General Ban said he hoped the ceasefire will hold and “provide an opportunity to fully resolve this conflict.”

The war began in 2004. Several earlier ceasefires prior to the resumption of war in 2009 collapsed including the Qatari mediated Doha agreement in February 2008. A government sponsored fact finding committee found the 2007 ceasefire crumbled after the Yemeni military failed to abide by the terms of the agreement. The members of the committee were imprisoned after the report was issued.

The peace deal brokered by Qatar floundered during disengagement. Prisoner releases promised by the Yemeni government since 2005 never materialized. Peace was undermined by a lack of confidence building measures as well as deliberate provocations.

The International Crisis Group in an earlier study found “The conflict has become self-perpetuating, giving rise to a war economy as tribes, army officers and state officials have seized the opportunity to control the porous border with Saudi Arabia and the Red Sea coastline. Tribal leaders and senior officials have amassed military hardware and profit from illegal sales of army stockpiles.”

Many experienced observers believe without supervised mutual disengagement, the process is likely to fail again. Yahya al Houthi, exiled member of Parliament and brother of rebel leader Abdel Malik al Houthi said he believes Yemen halted the war only as a result of international pressure and it will resume.

“I think that for our brothers in Sadah, there will not be peace. There will be assassinations, and the Yemeni government will resume the siege of Sa’ada as it did in past years,” al Houthi said.

Categories: Uncategorized

State violence continues in Yemen: two protesters killed by police

February 13, 2010 Leave a comment

In the continuing cycle of violence in southern Yemen, police opened fire at a hospital, killing one and wounding six. Another person was killed later in a separate incident.

The latest deaths occurred today when a group of southern activists attempted to retrieve the corpse of a protester killed February 2. Police guards at Ibn Khaldun hospital in the town of Hutah opened fire on the group, wounding seven. Abdullah Muhammad Al-Baqery, 45, died of his injuries.

Police used live ammunition and tear gas to disburse the crowds that swelled with news of the al Baqery’s death. Saeed Abdullah Alcaoui was killed by police. Five protesters were arrested.

Hutah is in Lahj governorate, a hotbed of the independence movement in south Yemen. The Al Hirak movement is calling for the dissolution of the unified state. About 70% of southerners favor independence. The southern governorates witnessed escalating protests since 2007, often triggered by arbitrary arrests and violence against the unarmed protesters.

The arrests of journalists who report on the unrest are another trigger for clashes. Public outrage at the closure of al Ayyam newspaper in May was dwarfed by the outpouring when its editors were arrested.

Hashim Bashraheel, 68, and his two sons Mohammed and Hani were arrested in January. Amnesty International has repeatedly warned that the trio is at high risk for torture. Journalist Mohammed al Maqaleh was brought to court Sunday after four months of torture including beatings and mock executions.

Categories: Uncategorized

Yemen’s Reign of Terror: Tortured Editor Al Maqaleh Comes to Bogus Trial

February 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Four months of uncertainty surrounding the fate of kidnapped editor, Mohammed al Maqaleh, came to an end this week when he was brought to trial. The journalist’s court date was marred by numerous irregularities including the exclusion of his court appointed lawyer. Mr. al Maqaleh disclosed details of his torture by Yemeni security forces in an interview with a union representative. Yemen is one of the world’s worst violators of press freedom and notorious for prisoner torture.

Kidnapped in Broad Daylight
Mr. Al Maqaleh was kidnapped from a Sana’a street September 17, 2009 by plain clothes police. Yemeni authorities repeatedly denied he was in custody as his family and activists held weekly demonstrations.

A member of the Yemeni Socialist Party’s Central Committee, al Maqaleh also edits the party’s website, Al Eshteraki. On September 16, al Maqaleh reported on a military air strike that killed 87 internally displaced war refugees in Sa’ada province. Graphic photos accompanied the article. The UN urged an inquiry into the civilian deaths, an all too regular occurrence in the Sa’ada War. Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized

Southern Yemen: 70% favor secession poll shows

January 28, 2010 Leave a comment

The Yemeni Center for Civil Rights announced Friday that a public opinion poll found that an overwhelming majority of southern Yemenis favor independence.

At a press conference, the center’s director, Nouradinne Azizi, said 70% of Yemenis living in the territory of the former People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY) favor secession from the unified Yemen state. Read more…

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War in Yemen: a humanitarian disaster

January 27, 2010 Leave a comment

The humanitarian crisis in war-torn north Yemen is “worse than ever,” the International Committee of the Red Cross warned today. Civilians, primarily women and very young children, remain at critical risk without much needed aid.

Over 200,000 Yemenis are estimated to be displaced by the fighting in Yemen’s Sa’ada War. The ICRC has provided food, water and essential aid to 75,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Sa’ada and Amran governorates, the group said. Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized

Yemen’s Human Rights Heroes Honored

January 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Yemen’s National Organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms (HOOD) announced the winners of its Human Rights Awards for 2009.

Among the honorees was a comedian imprisoned for being too funny, a woman who spoke out about rape by security forces, members of a village who rebelled against a brutal sheik and a man tortured and sodomized in a tribal prison. Read more…

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Southern oppositionist calls for UN peacekeepers in Yemen

January 25, 2010 Leave a comment

With a donors’ conference on Yemen scheduled for next week, southern Yemenis are demanding the international community take their grievances into account.

One person was wounded and 25 arrested in Radfan when police opened fire on protesters. The demonstration was called in support of the imprisoned editors of al Ayyam Newspaper and the release of hundreds arrested at earlier protests and funeral marches. The protesters urged the British-hosted conference to support their calls for secession and a two state solution to Yemen’s instability. Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized

Bin Laden claims Yemen airliner plot

January 24, 2010 Leave a comment

In an audio tape broadcast by al Jazeera today, al Qaeda leader Usama Bin Laden claimed credit for the failed plot to bomb an airliner as it was landing in Detroit, December 25. Bin Laden called the Nigerian perpetrator of the plot, Abdulmutallab Al-Farouq , “a hero” and said the plot was intended to send the same message as the attacks of 9/11. The authenticity of the tape has not been confirmed yet by US officials. Read more…

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Yemen’s human rights atrocities fuel al Qaeda, rights group says

January 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Human Rights Watch issued a report yesterday linking the Yemeni government’s brutality to the pronounced terror threat emanating from the al Qaeda group in Yemen, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

Britain raised its terror alert level yesterday from “substantial” to “severe” indicating a terror attack is “highly likely.” No specific reason was cited by British authorities. The UK is holding a conference on Yemen January 27 to address heightened concerns about the terror threat from AQAP following the failed attempt to bomb an airliner landing in Detroit on Christmas day. A conference on Afghanistan will follow the Yemen conference. Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized

Somalia’s terror group al Shabab to support al Qaeda operations in Yemen

January 19, 2010 Leave a comment

In an interview al Shabab spokesman Ali Rage said the Somali terror group intended to provide manpower to Yemen’s al Qaeda group (al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) , and that the Yemeni terrorists had provided generous support to al Shabab in the past.

Closer coordination between Somalia’s al Shabab and Yemen’s Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) heightens risk of a coordinated attack on the NATO anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden. Read more…

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Yemeni al Qaeda leader al Reimi alive after third report of his death

January 18, 2010 1 comment

Local sources dispute the Yemeni government’s account of the death of top level al Qaeda leader. Qasim al Reimi. Yemeni authorities claimed al Reimi was among six top level al Qaeda figures were killed in an air strike January 15.

The website of the Yemeni Defense Ministry reported that six were killed while driving in between Sa’ada and al Jawf provinces in the north of Yemen.

Yemeni Ministry claimed on Saturday that it had positively identified the bodies as including Qasim al Reimi, third in command of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The terror group earlier claimed credit for a failed plot to blow up an airliner over the US last Christmas. The other fatalities were identified as Ammar Abadah al-Waili, Saleh al-Tais, Ayedh Jaber al-Shabwani and Ibrahim Mohammed Saleh al-Banaa. (Al Waeli was later found to be recruiting for al Qaeda in Sa’ada.) Read more…

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Yemen bars MP from prison visit with editor Bashraheel as media crack-down continues

January 16, 2010 Leave a comment

The siege of al Ayyam newspaper and the arrest of its editors in Aden is heightening tensions, especially in the volatile south of Yemen.

On Thursday, Yemeni authorities prevented an opposition politician from seeing Hasham Bashraheel, the editor of al Ayyam newspaper, held without charge in an Aden jail. Read more…

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Air Strike in Yemen as clerics threaten jihad

January 15, 2010 Leave a comment

A statement by 158 Yemeni religious scholars warned the US that any military intervention will be met by violence.

“If there is any insistence from any foreign party or aggression or invasion against the country … then Islam considers jihad a duty to repel the aggression,” the declaration read. Read more…

Categories: News Articles

Aid Won’t Fix the Crisis in Yemen

July 27, 2009 2 comments

On July 17, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh celebrated the 31st anniversary of his ascension to power. The Sana’a regime, perverted by corruption, is largely unable to provide public services, including water, electricity, security, medical care and education. A third of Yemenis—7 million people—are malnourished. Police and military units act as enforcers for corrupt officials. The judiciary dispenses political retribution. Torture in Yemeni jails is systemic and brutal.

On his anniversary, Saleh published an essay calling for dialog and tolerance. The same week, 18 protesters were killed by police, a journalist sentenced to jail and an opposition party prevented from holding its conference. A four-year rebellion in the north and a two-year uprising in the south threaten to engulf the nation in violence. Known al Qaeda operatives roam the capital freely, and teenage suicide bombers routinely target elderly tourists.

Yemen’s donors believe stabilizing President Saleh’s regime will thwart the devolution of Yemen into a failed state and an al Qaeda safe haven. U.S. aid proposed for 2010 is at the highest levels in years. The Department of Defense allocated $66 million in military aid, mostly for patrol boats and armored pick-ups. Congress’ Foreign Operation Appropriation bill includes an additional $15 million in military aid and $40 million in development and economic aid. Other humanitarian aid is channeled through USAID. However, increased funding to Yemen is a questionable strategy that may escalate instability. Read more…

Categories: Opinion

Aid Won’t Fix the Crisis in Yemen (Arabic)

July 27, 2009 1 comment

جين نوفاك- ورد برس- 26 يوليو، 2009
ترجمة: عبدالله عبدالوهاب ناجي- ترجمة خاصة بيمنات

احتفل الرئيس اليمني علي عبدالله صالح في السابع عشر من يوليو بالذكرى الواحدة والثلاثين لتوليه السلطة. ويعتبر نظام صنعاء، المضلل بالفساد، غير قادر، إلى حد كبير، على تقديم الخدمات العامة بما فيها المياه والكهرباء والأمن، والرعاية الطبية والتعليم. حيث يعاني ثلث من اليمنيين- سبعة ملايين نسمة- من سوء التغذية. تعمل وحدات من الشرطة والجيش كمنقذين لمسئولين فاسدين. القضاء ينفذ عقوبات سياسية. كما أن التعذيب في السجون اليمنية شامل ووحشي.

نشر صالح بياناً يدعو فيه إلى الحوار والتسامح بمناسبة ذكرى توليه السلطة، وفي نفس الأسبوع قتلت الشرطة ثمانية عشر متظاهراً، وتم الحكم على صحفي بالسجن، ومُنع أحد أحزاب المعارضة من عقد مؤتمره. إن مضي أربع سنوات من حركة التمرد في شمال البلاد وسنتين من الانتفاضة في الجنوب يهدد بإغراق البلد في دوامة من العنف. ويتجول أعضاء معروفون في تنظيم القاعدة في العاصمة بحرية، ويستهدف مفجرون انتحاريون مراهقون سائحين مسنين بشكل متكرر.
Read more…

Categories: Arabic Articles

Yemen on the Brink of Civil War, Arabic

May 17, 2009 4 comments


اليمن على شفا الحرب
كتبت: جين نوفاك/ ورد برس
ترجمة: عبدالله عبدالوهاب ناجي/ ترجمة خاصة بالمستقلة

أصدرت سفارة الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية يوم الأحد في صنعاء بيانا حول العنف السياسي في جنوب اليمن الذي أدى إلى مقتل ثمانية أشخاص في الأسبوع الماضي. وشددت الولايات المتحدة على أن “وحدة اليمن تعتمد على قدرتها على ضمان المساواة في معاملة جميع المواطنين بموجب القانون…” وما تدعوه الحكومة اليمنية بالوحدة فإن المتظاهرين يدعونه احتلالاً. Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized

Yemen on the Brink of War

May 16, 2009 10 comments

On May 3, the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a issued a statement on the political violence in South Yemen that claimed eight lives last week. The United States stressed that “Yemen’s unity depends on its ability to guarantee every citizen equal treatment under the law.” What the Yemeni government calls unity, the protesters call occupation.

Since protests erupted in South Yemen in May 2007, dozens were killed, hundreds injured and over a thousand arrested. As police shot into the crowds, Southern claims of institutionalized discrimination turned into calls for independence. After regional protest marches last week, Yemen began shelling the town of Radfan. Some Southerners took up arms for the first time. Read more…

Yemen Retakes Ja’ar

April 15, 2009 1 comment

On March 28, Yemen launched a major security operation to regain control of Ja’ar in the governorate of Abyan. Yemeni authorities announced Monday that 45 of 56 wanted militants have been arrested during the operation. Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized

Yemen’s three terror fronts

March 29, 2009 2 comments

By Jane Novak March 28, 2009 3:18 PM

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula took credit in an internet statement Friday for a pair of suicide attacks that targeted South Koreans in Yemen.

A teen-aged suicide bomber killed four South Korean tourists in Shibam, Hadramout on March 15. A second terror attack three days later in Sana’a targeted a convoy of family members and South Korean investigators. The motorcade had left a military camp and was traveling along a highway when a suicide bomber detonated his device between two of the cars. There were no injuries to the passengers. Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized

Yemen’s Multi Faceted Deals with Al Qaeda (Arabic GT)

March 16, 2009 1 comment

اليمن تعقد صفقات متعددة الوجوه مع القاعدة

كتبت: جين نوفاك – فبراير/ 2009
عبدالله عبدالوهاب ناجي- ترجمة خاصة بالمستقلة

عقد الرئيس اليمني علي عبدا لله صالح مؤخرا صفقة مع أيمن الظواهري، حيث أن اليمن بصدد إفراغ سجونها من جهاديين معروفين. تقوم الحكومة اليمنية بتجنيد مجاهدين مؤسسين لمهاجمة أعداءها المحليين بينما تحجم عن تدابير جدية لمكافحة الإرهاب ضد تنظيم القاعدة الذي تم تشكيله مؤخراً في شبه الجزيرة العربية. حيث مكنت العلاقة ثلاثية الأطراف بين النظام اليمني وتنظيم القاعدة، جميع المشاركين على مواصلة تحقيق أهدافهم على حساب الأمن الوطني والإقليمي، و العالمي. Read more…

Categories: Arabic Articles

Yemen strikes multi-faceted deals with al Qaeda

February 13, 2009 4 comments

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh recently struck a deal with Ayman Zawahiri, and Yemen is in the process of emptying its jails of known jihadists. The Yemeni government is recruiting these established jihadists to attack its domestic enemies as it refrains from serious counter-terror measures against the newly formed Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The tripartite relationship between the Yemeni regime and al Qaeda enables all participants to further their goals at the expense of national, regional and global security.

Yemen releases 95 jihadists
Read more…

Arabian Peninsula al Qaeda groups merge

January 27, 2009 5 comments

In the face of Saudi Arabia’s success against the al Qaeda organization, many Saudi operatives have fled to the more hospitable climate in Yemen, joining others who recently arrived from Iraq, Somalia, and Pakistan. Al Qaeda in Yemen announced its merger with Saudi Arabia’s al Qaeda organization to form al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP. The announcement came in its latest release of the online journal Sada al Malahim, or the Echo of Epics. A propaganda video was also released by the group on Friday. Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized

US Sanctions Iran Based al Qaeda, Zawahiri Promises Fighters to Yemen

January 19, 2009 Leave a comment

The US Treasury Department placed financial sanctions on Saad bin Laden, thought to be in Pakistan, and three alleged al Qaeda operatives in Iran including a Yemeni. The terrorist designation Friday froze their assets within US jurisdictions and prohibits Americans from financial dealings with the four.

Saad bin Laden, son of radical figurehead Osama bin Laden, facilitated communications between al Qaeda’s number two, Ayman Zawahiri, and the Iranian Qods Force after an al Qaeda attack on the US embassy in Sana’a last year, the Wall Street Journal reported. Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized

Yemeni Weapons Fuel Somali Instability

December 29, 2008 4 comments

Yemen the main source of illegal arms to Somalia: UN

Jane Novak for the Yemen Times

SANA’A, Dec. 27— A UN investigation found Yemen is the primary source of arms and ammunition to Somalia which has been under an arms embargo since 1992. The panel of independent experts monitoring the embargo also reported arms smuggling from Yemen intersects with acts of piracy and human trafficking. The findings were presented in a December 10 report to the UN Security Council.

The report notes commercial weapons imports from Yemen supply Somali retail markets as well as opposition and criminal groups. The Yemeni government’s inability to stem the large scale arms trafficking is “a key obstacle to the restoration of peace and security to Somalia,” the panel found. The UN Security Council extended the monitoring group’s mandate for another year. Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized

Saleh’s Orders to Release Sa’ada Detainees Dated 12/08

December 27, 2008 Leave a comment

If Saleh ordered the Sa’ada prisoners released on 12/08 and they are still in jail, then its either a ploy or he can’t get his own directives implemented.

The order: saleh-order-to-release-prisoners-120808a Read more…

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Eid al-Ghadir Day, Saada Yemen 12/08

December 18, 2008 Leave a comment
Eid al-Ghaidr Day, Sa'ada Yemen 12/2008

Eid al-Ghaidr Day, Sa'ada Yemen 12/2008

After several years of outlawing this Shia celebration, in 2008 the ban was lifted.

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Interview with Nasser al-Nuba

December 15, 2008 Leave a comment

Exclusive Interview

Brigadier General Nasser al-Nuba is the head of the Retired Military Consultive Association (MCA) in Aden and the southern governorates. The MCA under General al-Nuba organized demonstrations in South Yemen beginning in July 2007 to demand equal rights for military retirees and southerners in general. As the year long demonstrations began to swell to include hundreds of thousands, demonstrators were met with an increasingly repressive response on the part of security forces. Over twenty protesters were shot dead, hundreds severely beaten and over a thousand arrested. Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized

The Yemeni Intelligence Concocts Terror Attacks for Political Gain

December 4, 2008 1 comment

The leader of the Yemeni Soldiers Brigades claimed the Yemeni state participates in terror attacks for political gain. by Jane Novak for the Long War Journal

Yemen’s security forces have repeatedly orchestrated terror attacks within Yemen in order to manipulate US and international perceptions, the most wanted fugitive in September’s terror attack on the US Embassy in Sana’a said in an interview Tuesday.

Hamza Ali Saleh al Dhayani (also Aldhaini, al Dhajani) is a prime suspect in the September 17 suicide attack on the US Embassy that killed 16, including an American citizen. Yemen also named al Dhayani as a suspect in March’s mortar attack on the US Embassy.

Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized

Global crises, natural disaster shake Yemen’s economy

December 2, 2008 Leave a comment

Jane Novak For the  Yemen Times

 SANA’A, Nov. 29 — Yemen’s oil-reliant economy is in trouble. Known oil reserves are depleting. Low global oil prices make economic diversification and budgetary rationalization urgent concerns. The outbreak of piracy in the Gulf of Aden harms potential growth sectors including Aden port, off-shore oil blocks and Yemen’s LNG project. Swelling numbers of Somali refugees, as well as Somali pirates, burden the economy. The struggling non-oil economy was dealt a blow from devastating floods in October. These factors combine to create an economic storm brewing on the horizon of 2009. Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized

The roots of protest: Prior elections impact future polls

December 2, 2008 3 comments

By: Jane Novak For the Yemen Times 

LAHJ, Nov. 22 — Voter registration committees triggered protests on Thursday that drew crowds estimated at hundreds of thousands. The registration process was launched November 11 in preparation for April’s Parliamentary election.

A teen was killed at a registration center in Radfan, Lahj on November 15 when police opened fire on protesters, an opposition MP said. Registration committees were forcibly ejected by residents in other southern towns. Radfan was the scene of four fatalities in September 2007 when security forces clashed with protesters. The year-long protest movement in the southern governorates culminated in the election of the Southern Liberation Council (SLC) on November 14, 2008. The SLC, purporting to represent hundreds of thousands of southern Yemenis, will boycott the election.

Yemen’s opposition party alliance, the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), is boycotting the registration process. The JMP claims the registration committees were illegally formed and favor the ruling General People’s Congress Party (GPC). Security officials said on Thursday that hampering the committees’ activities is a crime. Dozens of JMP activists were arrested during otherwise peaceful protests. Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized

Electoral Violence in Yemen Five Months Early

December 2, 2008 Leave a comment

Violence is breaking out all over Yemen, especially in the Southern governorates, in advance of April’s Parliamentary elections. Angry citizens have repeatedly attacked and expelled voter registration committees, and security forces opened fire on several occasions.

Yemen’s opposition party alliance, the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), is boycotting the registration process because the government reneged on implementing needed electoral reforms.  Southern Yemenis just elected their own representative body, the Southern Arabian Liberation Council (SALC), which has called for an electoral boycott claiming the central government, not just the election, is illegitimate in the south.

Yemen’s government deploys the institutions, processes and rhetoric of democracy to legitimize its rule and gain western support. In reality, the consolidation of democracy has made little progress since 1994 when Saleh’s forces re-imposed a unified state on southern Yemen by force. At the center of the national dynamic is greed. Saleh’s regime loots the state treasury at every step of administration. Brutal security forces, secret police, corrupt courts and systematic torture are the systems in place for those who do not succumb to bribery, blackmail and threats. While the forms of democracy have spread, the practice has not. Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized

US Embassy Attacked in Yemen

September 18, 2008 Leave a comment

Yemeni security forces repelled a complex attack on the US embassy in the capital of Sana’a. More than sixteen were killed after terrorists detonated multiple bombs then launched a ground attack in an attempt to breach the compound.

The attack begun after several bombs were detonated just outside the embassy. The terrorists then ambushed the first responders by using pre-positioned snipers. The terrorists were wearing uniforms of Yemeni security forces and driving what appeared to be police cars, which enabled them to get close to the heavily fortified compound. Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized

Corruption Triggers Media Repression in Yemen

August 28, 2008 1 comment

The level of media repression may be a determining factor in whether Yemen avoids the threat of state failure. The Yemeni government suffers from entrenched corruption in nearly every office, a legacy of traditional patron/client relationships. Demands for transparency threaten the substantial patrimonial networks associated with access to the government budget.

More than 20% of state funds go to the administrative expenses of the Presidency and Parliament. A quarter of the Yemeni budget is allocated to the military as a line item. Another third of the budget is spent on diesel subsidies. Beyond the misappropriation of state funds, members of the administration also spin off criminal enterprises using advantages gained from their official positions.

In Yemen’s pervasively corrupt environment, investigative reporting is challenging the conditions that undermine efforts at wider economic and political reform. Read more…

Categories: Media

The spreading destruction of the Sa’ada War in Yemen

July 18, 2008 Leave a comment

The boundaries of the war in Yemen war are expanding beyond the northern Sa’ada governorate. For the first time, bombing is audible from Sana’a, the nation’s capital. Recent battles are among the bloodiest in memory.

After four years of armed conflict between the government and a group of Zaidi rebels, the war’s impact is spread far beyond the combatants and the field of combat. Military, judicial and civil policies targeting the rebels have precipitated a humanitarian crisis in Sa’ada and a civil crisis in the nation with rights groups protesting mass arrests and other tactics. Read more…

Categories: Yemen

Yemeni Security Forces Blanket Aden on War Anniversary

Aden, July 7- In the early morning hours Monday, Yemeni army units supported by Central Security forces blanketed Aden City, the former capital of southern Yemen, in advance of a planned civil rights demonstration.

By the end of the day, the fourteenth anniversary of the end of Yemen’s civil war, government forces had arrested over 300 in Aden and detained numerous reporters. Security blocked all the routes to the public square at al-Hashimi station, the site of the planned sit in. Read more…

Categories: News Articles

Yemeni Hunger Striker, Hassan Baoum, Serously Ill

Southern Yemeni activist Hassan Baoum is seriously ill and has been transferred to a police hospital, his family reports. Baoum is on a hunger strike in protest of his “illegal arrest” on April 1, 2008. He has had a diabetic reaction, and his blood pressure is very high. Baoum has been held incommunicato since his arrest on April 1, 2008, restrained by leg irons and handcuffs. Read more…

Categories: News Articles

Yemen Spirals Toward Disintegration

May 1, 2008 1 comment

اليمن: حركات لولبية باتجاه التفكك

هجمات ارهابية تضرب العاصمة صنعاء ، مع تجدد الحرب شمالي اليمن وتحول الاحتجاجات إلى أعمال شغب جنوبي اليمن، والمعارضة تقاطع الانتخابات القادمة.

الحريات المدنية تقبع تحت الهجمات وينموالاتجاه التقليدي مع تحول الحكومة المركزية إلى متطرفين للتأييد، والاحتياجات الاساسية للسكان تستمر بلا تلبية.

الحرب في الشمال

يواجة البرنامج العالمي للغذاء نقصا حادا في الامدادت اللازمة لتوفير احتياجات 77.00 ألف مواطن من مشردي الحرب في الشمال،رغم الدعم الاخير المقدم من المملكة المتحدة بقيمة 1.4مليون دولار،لقي عدة الاف حتفهم في هذه الحرب التي بدأت منذ 2004م كما تدمرت آلاف المنازل والمساجد والمحال التجارية نتيجة القصف الحكومي بالقذائف.
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Categories: Arabic Articles

Yemen Spirals Toward Disintegration

April 24, 2008 2 comments

As war renews in Yemen’s North and protests turn to riots in the South, terror attacks have hit the capital, and the opposition is boycotting upcoming elections. Civil liberties are under attack and traditionalism growing as the central government turns to hard liners for support and the population’s basic needs go unmet. Read more…

Categories: Political Evolution, Yemen Tags:

Al-Qaeda In Yemen: Mercenaries or Terrorists

April 22, 2008 Leave a comment

القاعدة في اليمن مرتزقة أم إرهابيون؟ [23/4/2008] ? : – جين نوفاك*- ترجمة خاصة بـ[يمنات]

لقد تم الإعلان عن تناقض وجهات النظر بين محللين سياسيين غربيين ويمنيين حول اندلاع الهجمات الإرهابية في اليمن حيث بينت إحدى المقالات في مركز مكافحة الإرهاب أنه«تم التغلب على القاعدة في اليمن بسبب التعاون الوثيق بين اليمن والولايات المتحدة أثناء المرحلة الأولى من الحرب (2000 – 2003) لكنها – القاعدة – تعلمت من هذه الخسارة»وكيفت تكتيكاتها وأهدافها.
الجيل الجديد من هذا التنظيم يرفض التفاوض مع نظام الحكم اليمني وتبشر به إستراتيجية جديدة ورقي مستمر،عبر الدعاية الخاصة بالشبكة العنكبوتية.

في الوقت الذي تستحوذ فيه الضغوطات الداخلية على اهتمام نظام الحكم اليمني، تأتي فيه السيطرة على هذا التنظيم في آخر الأولويات. Read more…

Categories: Arabic Articles, Terrorism, Yemen Tags:

Al-Qaeda in Yemen, Mercenaries or Terrorists

April 10, 2008 Leave a comment

The dichotomy of viewpoints between Yemeni and Western analysts on the recent outbreak of terror attacks in Yemen is pronounced. An article at the Counter Terrorism Center at West Point finds that “Al-Qa`ida in Yemen was defeated by the close cooperation of the United States and Yemen during the first phase of the war (2000-2003), but it learned from the loss,” and adapted its tactics and goals. Read more…

Categories: Terrorism, Yemen Tags:

Violence Explodes on Multiple Fronts in Yemen

April 7, 2008 Leave a comment

Twenty-one people died in political violence across Yemen this weekend, including southern protesters, northern rebels, tribal paramilitary fighters, and Yemeni soldiers. A mortar attack by al Qaeda in the capital heightened tensions. Read more…

Yemen Mobilizes Military to Quell Riots

April 1, 2008 Leave a comment

Yemen has rounded up opposition political leaders in response to several days of riots that caused extensive damage to government buildings and vehicles. Over the last 48 hours, the Yemeni military deployed dozens of tanks, armored vehicles and fighter jets into the southern Yemeni governorates.
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Massive Protest in South Yemen

March 27, 2008 Leave a comment

A rally in the southern Yemeni governorate of Dhalie on Monday drew several hundred thousand protesters from the governorates of Hadramout, Aden, Abyan, and Shabwa. Some estimates put the crowd at more than a half million. Read more…

Unsteady Peace in War Torn North Yemen

March 22, 2008 Leave a comment

A three-year war in Sa’ada, Yemen generated thousands of casualities, wide-scale destruction, tens of thousands of internal refugees and cost upwards of a billion dollars. Progress toward implementing a cease-fire agreement negotiated by Qatar reached an impasse this week as both the Yemeni military and several thousand Shia rebels refused to abandon their positions. Reports of a prison massacre are heightening tensions amid sporadic skirmishes in the province, which borders Saudi Arabia. Read more…

Categories: Political Evolution, Yemen Tags: