Armies of Liberation

Jane Novak's blog about Yemen

Hadi appoints judges to SCER

Filed under: Elections, Janes Articles — by Jane Novak at 2:23 pm on Wednesday, October 24, 2012

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.

The Jane that I know by Abdulkarim al Khaiwani

Filed under: Yemen, al-Khaiwani, mentions — by Jane Novak at 5:40 am on Friday, September 21, 2012

Jane I know!! Khaiwani

America face other than that ugly face, which stands for policy, and the Marines and Tools killings and drone America is not the film abuser of the Prophet peace be upon him and God and peace, not a movie rules of engagement, America has another face, the face of coexistence, peace and rights, and justice. And freedom and equality, and respect for religions, all of which are represented by Jane Novak, journalist and human being

Back knowing Jane Novak to 2004, and I was in prison, where she championed the issues and defended me, and Raseltha from prison, by my brother and my friend Sami Noman, and continued issues continued Jane Tnasserna, and she advocates for all issues in Yemen, Saada for Djaashen, southern mobility, was suffering for Yemen, Yemen, struggling to Yemen and Yemenis, bothered favor, did not succeed Baskadtha, not bought, sent them more than the Messenger of them Judge Hamoud al-Hitar did not receive him.

My relationship to date powerful, and I can say it’s closer friend of mine in the world, a friend who feel it with me honestly, do not deny themselves some question, I learned them a lot, they are friendly and sister and Chancellor, and the heart that I miss, not have the opportunity to meet her, and my not Tsafna with them but with the understanding that, I understand English Jane and Jane Arabeety understanding, help us Mr. Google Chrome, I hope to visit America for Jane something more, but I did not pyrimidotriazine even the International Visitor لسؤ program was perhaps.

Jane present in my house as one of us, my wife ask me from time to time how Jane? Him? Mohamed, Alaa and replace them fathers named Aunt Jane, recognition thanks.

Cried Jane as a human being to misery Yemen, and the violation of rights, and the looting of life, and the suppression of freedom, war, once told me dear friend Fikri Qasim, Yemenis, they would tell if there for one thing, O Ahmed Bin Alwan, and today they say Oh Jane girl Novak, a comment on the amount of messages and issues that people sent to Jane,

Mguett Jane Novak, Saleh and Ali Mohsen, also abhors terrorism and hate tyranny and corruption, and she loved Jane Yemen, was writing the most impact on the system, but they are sometimes embarrassed the U.S. administration itself, which stand antibody for Yemen, Jane known in Yemen, Saada know well, and in the South also know in Taiz, Ibb.

Newborn them talk dominated by emotion, because I love Jane, I thought type them, and came proposal Mr. Abdullah Musleh suitable for articulated than in myself, and admitted I whenever stumbled صداقاتي, and Hasrtina concerns some, and won my heart, arrows stray, for this or that, and increased nervous this, and racism that remain Jin, the heart that Oe him at nights dreary, almost feel their spirit, relieve me, and gladdens my chest, she says to me Karim, I will pray for you and believe that God will hear it, perhaps this spirit, fairness and humanity to God closer than who live their hearts envy and fill them rancor, and consisted of hypocrisy, and they thought they were a must shoot in order to measure up.

In the days of distress and tribulation, pray for me to the church, and pray also her mother, father and even the church, O God, how wonderful you are Aijin, and I also mention Bdaaúa, and how are we not the people!! The unity of humanity, tolerant which it Antmina, or did not say Imam Ali, peace be upon him, man you brother in religion or your creation.

Jane my guardian angel, sometimes some are trying to drive a wedge between me and Jane, ignorance too, do not know the level of trust between us, and they know me very well. Elaborated talking personal Anojaddan, forgive me I am بمقام man gratitude, tell you about Jane know.

Our issues in Yemen and many too many, Otabt heart gene, which تفرغت us and our issues, and doctors advised her that moving away from the worries and problems, and relieve her emotions, and leave the net, and actually forced absence period, but returned to relay more strongly, became specialized reliable issues Yemen, and writes for newspapers and sites for Yemen and what happens in it.

Note some comments by U.S. Ambassador yesterday in favor of immunity and initiative, but they did not know he was responding to an article for Jane Novak, saying that acting in good One ambassador in Yemen, and talked about the problem of survival in favor of Yemen.

Here Jane declares her delight coming Hadi as Yemeni new to America, and Jane have preferred the revolution of Yemen, to share her post, is aware Hadi this, you يكرمنا Hadi Medal to Jane Novak, Sam Yemeni commenting on the chest of Jane recognition thanks, Sam says we honor human who has blessed us and Nasserna and loved it security is not naive announced, but naive political not do!!, they step represents created a revolutionary and nobler and smarter politically to address peoples, do you keep this in mind Hadi?? expressed as a human being Yemeni can say thank our name Kimnyen free, The rebels??. inviting home on Yemen, which has supported and championed change it and defended its issues,!!

Seeking American programs to improve her face and ugly policy, failed, Vmmarsadtha increase image uglier, but Jin Bansanatha, improved the face of America and highlighted the face civilized, proud America, perhaps the face that you need in the eyes of the people, until it became Jane is America into another.

Jane what to tell you, or what to say about you.? You a world of humanity, and beauty, thanks Jane I’m glad your friendship, and am grateful for your presence with our lives.

جين التي أعرف !!
عبد الكريم الخيواني
لأمريكا وجه أخر غير ذلك الوجه القبيح ,التي تمثله سياستها , والمارينز وأدوات القتل والطائرة بدون طيار امريكا ليست الفيلم المسيء للرسول صلوات الله عليه واله وسلم ,ولا فيلم قواعد الإشتباك ,أمريكا له وجه أخر , وجه التعايش ,والسلام والحقوق ,والعدالة . والحريه والمساواه ,واحترام الأديان ,وكلها تمثلها جين نوفاك الصحفية والإنسانة
تعود معرفتي بجين نوفاك إلى العام 2004 ,وأنا بالسجن ,حيث كانت تناصر قضيتي وتدافع عني ,وراسلتها من السجن , عن طريق اخي وصديقي سامي نعمان ,واستمرت القضايا واستمرت جين تناصرني , وتناصر كل قضايا اليمن ,من صعده للجعاشن ,للحراك , كانت تتألم من اجل اليمن , كل اليمن , وتناضل من اجل اليمن واليمنيين ,أزعجت صالح ,ولم يفلح بإسكاتها ,ولا بشرائها ,أرسل إليها أكثر من رسول منهم القاضي حمود الهتار ولم تستقبله .
علاقتي بها حتى اليوم قويه ,وأستطيع أن أقول أنها أقرب صديق لي في المعمورة , الصديق الذي أشعر انه معي بصدق , لا نغيب عن بعض بالسؤال , تعلمت منها الكثير ,فهي الصديق والأخت والمستشارة , والقلب الذي افتقد , لم تتاح لي فرصه لقائها , ولغتي لا تسعفني بالتفاهم معها لكن مع ذلك ,افهم انجليزية جين وتفهم جين عربيتي , يساعدنا السيد جوجل كوروم ,اتمنى زيارة امريكا من اجل جين اكثر شيء ,لكني لم اوفق حتى ببرنامج الزائر الدولي لسؤ حظي ربما .
جين حاضره في بيتي كواحدة منا , زوجتي تسألني بين وقت وأخر كيف جين ؟ سلم عليها ؟ محمد والاء وإباء يحلوا لهم تسميتها عمه جين , اعترافا بفضلها.
بكت جين كإنسانه لبؤس اليمن , وانتهاك الحقوق ,وسلب الحياة , وقمع الحرية ,والحرب ,قال لي ذات مره الصديق العزيز فكري قاسم , اليمنيين ,كانوا يقولوا إذا حصل للواحد شيء يا احمد بن علوان ,,واليوم يقولوا يا جين بنت نوفاك , تعليقا على كمية الرسائل والقضايا التي يرسلها الناس لجين ,
مقتت جين نوفاك ,صالح وعلي محسن , كما تمقت الإرهاب وتكره الاستبداد والفساد , وأحبت جين اليمن ,فكانت كتاباتها أشد أثرا على النظام , بل أنها أحيانا أحرجت الأداره الأمريكية ذاتها ,وهي تقف موقف الضد لصالح اليمن , جين معروفه باليمن , بصعده يعرفونها جيدا ,وفي الجنوب يعرفونها ايضا وفي تعز وإب .
حديثي عنها حديث يغلب عليه العاطفة , لأني أحب جين , فكرت اكتب عنها , وجاء اقتراح الأستاذ عبد الله مصلح مناسبة كي افصح عما في نفسي ,واعترف اني كلما تعثرت صداقاتي , وحاصرتني هواجس البعض , ونالت من قلبي , سهام طائشة ,لهذا أو ذاك ,وزادت عصبية هذا ,وعنصرية ذاك ,تبقى جين , القلب الذي أوي أليه , في الليالي الموحشه , وأكاد أشعر بروحها , تخفف عني ,وينشرح صدري وهي تقول لي كريم ,سأصلي من أجلك وأؤمن أن الله سيستمع إليها ,لعلها بهذه الروح والإنصاف والإنسانية إلى الله أقرب , ممن سكن قلوبهم الحسد وملئ نفوسهم الغل , وتألفوا مع النفاق , وأعتقدوا أنهم لابد أن يسقطوك لكي يرتقوا.
في أيام الشدة والمحنه ,كانت تصلي من اجلي بالكنيسة , وتصلي أم زوجها أيضا ,وحتى الأب بالكنيسة , يا الله كم أنت رائعه ياجين , وانا أيضا أذكرها بدعائي ,وكيف لا ألسنا أهل !! وحدتنا الإنسانيه , السمحاء التي انتمينا اليها , أو لم يقل الإمام علي عليه السلام ,الأنسان أخ لك في الدين أو نظير لك بالخلق .
جين ملاكي الحارس , يحاول البعض أحيانا الوقيعة بيني وبين جين , بجهل مفرط ,لا يعلمون مستوى الثقة بيننا ,وإنها تعرفني جيدا . أسهبت بالحديث عنوجدان شخصي, أعذروني أني رجل بمقام العرفان,احدثكم عن جين التي اعرف .
قضايانا باليمن كثيرة وكثيرة جدا ,أتعبت قلب جين ,التي تفرغت لنا ولقضايانا ,ونصحها الأطباء بأن تبتعد عن الهموم والمشاكل ,وتخفف انفعالاتها ,وتترك ألنت , وفعلا أجبرت على الغياب فتره لكنها عادت ,لتتابع بقوه أكثر , صارت متخصصة يعتد بها بقضايا اليمن , وتكتب لصحف ومواقع عن اليمن وما يحدث فيه .
لاحظ البعض تصريحات السفير الامريكي امس الاول عن صالح والحصانه والمبادره , ولكنهم لايعلمون انه كان يرد على مقال لجين نوفاك ,قالت فيه ان السفير يتصرف كصالح باليمن ,وتحدثت عن مشكلة بقاء صالح باليمن .
هاهي جين تعلن فرحتها بقدوم هادي كرئيس يمني جديد إلى أمريكا , وجين لها فضل في ثورتنا اليمنية , لها نصيب لها مشاركه ,فهل يعي هادي هذا , هل يكرمنا هادي بوسام لجين نوفاك , وسام يمني يعلق على صدر جين اعترافا بفضلها ,وسام يقول أننا نكرم الإنسان الذي أكرمنا وناصرنا وأحبنا أنها أمنيه ليس من السذاجه أعلانها , بل من السذاجه السياسيه عدم القيام بها !!, فهي خطوه تمثل خلقا ثوريا ونبلا وذكاء سياسيا في مخاطبة الشعوب ,هل يعيه هادي ؟؟ويعبر عنه كإنسان يمني يستطيع أن يقول شكرا بأسمنا كيمنيين أحرار ,وثوار ؟؟.ويدعوها ضيفه على اليمن التي دعمت وناصرت التغيير فيه ودافعت عن قضاياه ,!!
تسعى أمريكا ببرامج أن تحسن وجهها وقبح سياستها ,ولم تفلح ,فممارساتها تزيد صورتها قبحا ,لكن جين بإنسانيتها , حسنت وجه أمريكا وأبرزت وجها حضاريا , تفخر به أمريكا ,لعله الوجه الذي تحتاجه في نظر الشعوب , حتى صارت جين هي أمريكا بنظر البعض .
جين ماذا أقول لك ,أو ماذا أقول عنك .؟ أنت عالم من الإنسانية ,والجمال , شكرا جين أنا سعيد بصداقتك ,وممتن لوجودك بحياتنا .

ed- Wow thats really overwhelming and in reality it is al Khaiwani and the others in Yemen who are the modern heroes, I am their historian. I wish I could get a translation, theres somethings I dont understand and I’m not sure are said in a joking tone, but I get the gist of it. Its quite touching and lovely and I wrote him back a longer letter. Its a very nice gesture on Karim’s part to remember me in a public letter, especially now when the situation is so inflamed by the film and by the Marines, but maybe that’s why he wrote it.

Marines to Yemen

Filed under: Janes Articles — by Jane Novak at 6:31 am on Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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 @

State Department permits sale of lethal weapons to Yemen

Filed under: Janes Articles, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 5:04 pm on Saturday, July 21, 2012

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 arms 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 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 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 newly appointed and quite effective 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 Yemenis 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 clear national consensus that the rescue of the starving children is 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 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 5.5 million dollars in cash.

Continuing US loyalty to Saleh’s relatives baffles and frustrates Yemenis. Nobel Laureate Tawakkol Karman said, “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, “some relatives of Saleh personally contacted with Al-Qaeda operatives and hampered the completion of investigation on the case of USS Cole.” Many others have warned of the nexus between the 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 shipping 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-terrorism 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 scrubbed 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 US counter-terrorism assistance to Yemen.

A January 2010 report issued by Senate Committee on Foreign Relations found that some of the weapons the US government had 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, and that diversion was prohibited. 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 new gun sales to a variety of end users in Yemen permitted under the ITAR revision magnify these 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 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 its prior military shipments, the revision of the ITAR has the potential to inflame low intensity conflicts already underway. Many of these 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 under 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 greatly 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.

Nasser al Weddady, effective cyber activist for civil rights globally

Filed under: Civil Rights, mentions — by Jane Novak at 9:32 am on Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Niiiiice, long time friend of this website, Yemen and me personally, Naser al Weddady gets a nice write up in the Atlantic recognizing his work and his amazing contribution to supporting freedom and civil rights in some of the darkest corners of earth, the Middle East. Naser helped me a lot with strategy, advice and moral support for both of the campaigns for al Khaiwani (2005, 2008) and his door is always open when I’m confused (or furious). A very smart guy, Nasser is dedicated to changing the world and is actually doing it. Read it all at the Atlantic.

Thats funny, so I thought maybe I should stop gushing about Naser for a minute and read the entire article (I got the link off twitter) before I posted it and there I was too:

Testifying to the global reach of the cyber activists, Jane Novak, a New Jersey housewife, has established herself as a highly-regarded source on all things Yemen, even, at one point, consulting with the U.S. State Department. Her Twitter feed and blog,, are consulted by activists and journalists. She is well-known among policy makers, activists and reporters in the country’s besieged capital, Sana’a. And she has never been to Yemen.

“She doesn’t speak a word of Arabic, she hasn’t set foot in the Middle East, but she still became an authority,” Weddady says. He claims her influence helped secure the 2008 release of Yemeni journalist Abdulkarim al-Khawaini, who had been convicted of defaming President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

To clarify, I gave a 2008 presentation at the Carnegie Institute, at the invitation of State, on media repression in Yemen. I said many of the attacks on press freedom are retribution for journalists who exposed mass corruption at the highest levels of the US allied Saleh regime.

Its funny that Naser describes the fact that I don’t speak Arabic or visit Yemen in a positive light, when the na-na-nana-na crowd always tries to use it to depreciate my work and me personally. My ten thousand Yemeni friends don’t hold it against me though.

Orwellian Yemen

Filed under: Janes Articles — by Jane Novak at 7:47 am on Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Yemen’s Theater of the Absurd: The regime pays al-Qaeda to cause trouble, bringing more international aid to the regime, my article at PJM. Here it is in Arabic at Mareb Press.

اليمن مسرح اللامعقول

Filed under: Yemen, janes articles arabic — by Jane Novak at 11:47 am on Sunday, October 2, 2011

My article at Yemenat, will post the English link shortly.

اليمن مسرح اللامعقول

· كتبت: جين نوفاك- ترجمة خاصة بموقع: “يمنات” الإخباري

أطلق مدير المخابرات المركزية الأمريكية ديفيد بترايوس تحذيراً من أن “تنظيم القاعدة في شبه الجزيرة العربية قد برز كالورم الإقليمي الأكثر خطورة في الجهاد العالمي”. لكن على الرغم من زيادة حرية وصول الولايات المتحدة وضرباتها الجوية هناك، والثناء على تعاون الحكومة اليمنية، فقد واصل تنظيم القاعدة في جزيرة العرب نموه بشكل أقوى.

وما تسقطه تصريحات الحكومة الأمريكية من الذكر هو أن الحكومة اليمنية قد ظلت تربِح إرهابيي القاعدة، وتدربهم، وتوجههم، وتوفر لهم ملاذاً آمناً، وتصدرهم على مدى عقدين من الزمان. فعلى سبيل المثال، قامت بإخلاء سراح 70 من نشطاء القاعدة في شهر مارس، ناهيك عن تنظيمها عمليات هرب أخرى، وعمليات إطلاق مبكرة، وعمليات عفو.

كما أن مسئولي الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية نادرا ما يذكرون أن نظام صنعاء قد ذبح المئات من المتظاهرين اليمنيين وقصف عشرات القرى منذ اندلاع الاحتجاجات في عموم أنحاء البلاد في شهر فبراير. ومن أجل استعادة الاستقرار، أيدت الولايات المتحدة والمملكة العربية السعودية خطة دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي التي توفر الحصانة القضائية للجماعة الحاكمة إذا هي ستقبل تشكيل حكومة وحدة وطنية وإجراء انتخابات مبكرة. وفي الواقع، فإن هذا يدعم بقاء النظام في سدة الحكم على الرغم من المظاهرات الداعية للإطاحة به فوراً.

وعلى الرغم من المظلة الذهبية التي قُدمت له، أقدم الرئيس اليمني علي عبد الله صالح مرارا وتكرارا على نكث التوقيع على مثل هكذا صفقة. ففي شهر مايو، فرض أنصار النظام حصاراً على دبلوماسيين حضروا مراسم التوقيع المزعوم. وبعيد ساعات خلت، قلل السفير الأميركي من الحادث. وفي يوم 19سبتمبر وصل محاورون دوليون إلى صنعاء لإعادة المحاولة لوضع اللمسات الأخيرة على الاتفاق. وفي ذلك اليوم، فتحت قوات الأمن النار على المحتجين، ما أسفر عن مقتل 93 متظاهرا وجرح 700. كما قام قناصة ودبابات بعمليات هجوم في تعز، ثاني أكبر مدينة في اليمن. وحثت وزارة الخارجية “جميع الأطراف” إلى “الامتناع عن الأعمال التي تثير المزيد من العنف”، كما لو أن المتظاهرين العزل كانوا مسئولين إلى حد ما عما حدث.

في خطوة جريئة بشكل مذهل، عاد الرئيس علي عبدالله صالح إلى اليمن في وقت لاحق بعد ثلاثة أشهر قضاها في المنفى في المملكة العربية السعودية، حيث كان يتعافى من جروح أصيب بها في هجوم على القصر الرئاسي. وقال صالح انه جاء بـ: “حمامة سلام” ولكن قوات النظام بدأت بقصف المتظاهرين عند منتصف الليل، كما أطلق قناصة من على أسطح المباني النار على المتظاهرين. وقتل في ذلك اليوم خمسون شخصاً.

إلا أن الولايات المتحدة والمملكة المتحدة وفرنسا والمملكة العربية السعودية ودول مجلس التعاون الخليجي والأمم المتحدة جميعها ناورت مرة أخرى بردة فعل واحدة وهي تأييد خطة دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي ولكن من دون أي انتقاد لصالح. يستخدم النظام تهديد القاعدة لحشد الدعم الدولي لصالح نفسه. وتعتبر قوات مكافحة الإرهاب، التي يرأسها نجل الرئيس صالح وأبناء أخيه، والتي يتم تمويلها وتدريبها وتجهيزها من قبل الولايات المتحدة، تعتبر جزءاً حيويا من دفاعات النظام. ويقول مسئولو أوباما أنه ليس هناك أدلة على أن هناك وحدات خاصة دربتها الولايات المتحدة متواطئة في قتل المتظاهرين.

أسوأ من ذلك، يلعب أقارب الرئيس صالح بشكل مزدوج على المتاجرة بالإرهاب. على سبيل المثال، انسحبت قوات الأمن من مدينة زنجبار في محافظة أبين في شهر مايو، وتركت المكان مفتوحاً لتنظيم القاعدة في جزيرة العرب، والذي استولى على الأسلحة المتروكة، ونهب المدينة، وأعلن إمارة إسلامية هناك. وقاموا بقطع رأس عرًافة مشتبه بها وقطعوا ذراع صبي في ناد (إستاد) مزدحم. وجرى قصف نحو 1500 من رجال القبائل المحليين الذين تكاتفوا معا لمحاربة القاعدة في جزيرة العرب “بطريقة الخطأ” من قبل القوات الجوية اليمنية في شهر يوليو، ما أسفر عن مقتل العشرات.

قال القاضي حمود الهتار، وزير سابق للأوقاف، ورئيس برنامج الحوار البائد في اليمن، الذي عمل على “تقويم” 342 من الإرهابيين المتشددين، قال أنه في الواقع قام نظام صنعاء بتسليم أبين لتنظيم القاعدة في جزيرة العرب من خلال مسئولين أمنيين كبار في النظام، وذلك “لتخويف الغرب، وقمع الثورة اليمنية”.

كتب وزير الخارجية السابق عبد الله الأصنج أن هناك في أبين “عدداً كبيرا من هؤلاء الإرهابيين المزعومين قد اتضح أنهم موجودون في كشف الرواتب التابع لجهاز الأمن القومي. وقد ذكرت عديد من عائلات الإرهابيين المتوفين والمزعومين أن أبنائهم جرى توظيفهم من قبل جهاز الأمن القومي حتى أن بعض العائلات قدمت بطاقات هوية خاصة بجهاز الأمن القومي في لأولئك المتوفين. ”

وكجزء من جهود الوساطة المحلية، شارك الشيخ حسين بن شعيب في النقاش مع كبار قادة تنظيم القاعدة. وقال في وقت لاحق أن مقاتلي القاعدة جرى “زرعهم” في محافظة أبين من قبل صالح “الذي يستخدمهم دائما” في صراعات داخلية، استخدمهم النظام في حرب صيف 1994، والحروب على الحوثيين في صعدة. وليس سرا أن أولئك الذين فجروا السفارة الأميركية في صنعاء في 17 سبتمبر 2009 ، كانوا ضباط في الجيش وأنهم استخدموا سيارة عسكرية واستأجروا مقاتلين من القاعدة، وأعطوهم الزي العسكري. لا يمكن أن يكون نظام صالح موثوقاً في أي شيء. هذا هو سبب كل المشاكل في البلاد “.


Filed under: Janes Articles, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:41 am on Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Yemen’s theater of the absurd
Imagine this nightmare scenario—the Yemeni government is murdering protesters but paying al Qaeda, while the Obama administration stalls the Yemeni revolution in order to lob drones.

With the death of Osama bin Laden and other successes against al Qaeda in Afghanistan, all eyes are on Yemen. As CIA chief David Patraeus said,. “Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, has emerged as the most dangerous regional node in the global jihad.”

Obama officials continually highlight the AQAP threat, along with Yemen’s increased counter-terror cooperation. But despite increased US access and air strikes, AQAP has grown stronger, larger and more complex.

US statements about Yemen uniformly fail to mention that the Sanaa regime has been paying, hiding, training, directing and exporting al Qaeda terrorists for two decades. In fact, the state freed 70 al Qaeda operatives in March, continuing an expansive pattern of al Qaeda escapes, early releases, rehabilitation and pardons.

US officials also rarely mention that since nation-wide protests erupted in February, the Sana’a regime slaughtered hundreds of Yemeni protesters and bombed dozens of villages and residences.

In order to restore “stability,” the US and Saudi Arabia endorse the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) plan, which offers the ruling mafia prosecutorial immunity, a unity government and early elections, securing the regime’s continuity as mass demonstrations call for its ouster.

Despite the golden parachute, President Ali Abdullah Saleh repeatedly reneged on signing. In May, regime supporters besieged diplomats gathering for the signing ceremony. Freed hours later, the US ambassador downplayed the incident.

On September 19th as international interlocutors arrived in Sanaa to try again finalize the agreement, security forces opened fire, killing ninety three protesters and injuring 700. Snipers and tanks also attacked in Taiz, Yemen’s second largest city. The State Department urged “all parties” to “refrain from actions that provoke further violence,” as if the unarmed protesters were somehow responsible.

In a stunningly audacious move, President Saleh returned to Yemen days later following a three month exile in Saudi Arabia, where he was recovering from injuries sustained in a bombing. Ever magnanimous, Saleh said he came with “a dove of peace.” Regime forces began shelling the protesters at midnight as snipers lined the roofs. Fifty were killed in a day.

The US, UK, France, Saudi Arabia, the GCC and UN all squeaked something, without naming Saleh or proposing punitive action, and again endorsed the GCC plan. Clearly the lunatic tyrant is buying time, hoping to bomb the protesters into submission, while blackmailing the west with the violence and the threat of al Qaeda.

To Yemenis, Obama’s policy thwarting authentic regime change becomes more repugnant with every massacre it excuses. And while the US sacrifices its legitimacy on human rights and democracy on the altar of counter-terrorism, the Saleh regime continues to play a double game.

Saleh’s son and nephews head the intelligence and security services which contain the CT units, and have received substantial US counter-terror funding, equipment and training. Obama officials say there is no evidence that specific US trained CT units are complicit in protester murders, but these commanders surely are.

And worse, like Pakistan’s ISI, Saleh’s relatives operate on both sides of the terrorism fence.

For example, security forces withdrew from Zinjibar,City in Abyan in May. AQAP seized abandoned weapons, looted the city, and declared an Islamic Emirate. The fanatics beheaded a suspected witch and chopped off a boys arm in a crowed stadium. About 1500 local tribesmen banded together to fight AQAP and were “accidentally” bombed by the Yemeni air force in July, killing dozens.

Judge Hamoud al Hittar is formerly the Minister of Endowments and head of Yemen’s defunct dialog program that “reformed” 342 hardened terrorists. He said that in reality the Sana’a regime is paying AQAP in Abyan “to frighten the West, and to suppress the Yemeni revolution.” Al Hittar said the long standing payments run through top security officials.

Former Foreign Minister Abdullah al Asnag wrote that in Abyan, “A substantial number of these supposed terrorists have turned out to be on the payroll of the National Security Agency. Many families of the deceased and supposed terrorists have reported that their sons were employed by the National Security Agency and some families even presented NSA ID Cards belonging to the deceased.”

As part of a local mediation effort, Sheik Hussain bin Shuaib engaged top al Qaeda commanders. He later said Qaeda fighters were “planted” in Abyan by the Saleh “who always uses them” in internal conflicts, “The regime used them in the summer 94 war and used them in wars on the Houthis in Saada. It is no secret that those who blew up the U.S. embassy in Sana’a on September 17, 2009, were military officers and they used a military vehicle and hired al Qaeda fighters, giving them military uniforms. The Saleh regime is not to be trusted on anything. It is the cause of all problems of the country.”

The Sana’a regime is the cause and the target of the Yemeni Youth Revolution, as centers of vast corruption, inherited privilege and brutality. By 2009, the ruling family had committed enough overt mass atrocities to be brought before the ICC. Here in 2011, continued US appeasement of, and alliance with, these terrorist enablers comes at the expense of 22 million Yemenis demanding regime change, a civil government and democracy.

اوباما يفقد السيطرة على اليمن

Filed under: janes articles arabic — by Jane Novak at 10:05 am on Thursday, August 4, 2011

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.

Failed Obama policy in Yemen

Filed under: Janes Articles — by Jane Novak at 6:16 am on Monday, July 25, 2011

“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

Filed under: Yemen, janes articles arabic — by Jane Novak at 6:55 am on Sunday, June 19, 2011

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.
(Read on …)

the impact of bin Laden’s death

Filed under: Yemen, mentions — by Jane Novak at 8:59 pm on Sunday, May 15, 2011

I’m not in Yemen but as far as I can tell the rest of it is correct


أي أثر لمقتل بن لادن على الثورة اليمنية ونظام صالح؟

دنيز يمين
بعد استيعاب العالم صدمة تفجيرات واشنطن ونيويورك في 11 أيلول 2001، كان السؤال المصيري الأكثر إثارة للقلق «إلى أين يتجه العرب والغرب بعد الزلزال المدوّي الذي ترك بصماته عند كل مفصل في حياة العرب والمسلمين وغيّر معالم السياسة العالمية كلها؟». لم تتأخر الإجابة في الظهور بعدما فتح مخطط «الحرب على الإرهاب» الباب أمام الحكومات الغربية ـ الراعية لهذا المشروع والمشاركة فيه ـ لوضع كل القوى المنضوية تحت محور «ممانعة أميركا»، في قفص الاتهام ذاته، بعدما كان تصنيف «الإرهابي» مقترنا بعناصر تنظيم «القاعدة» فقط. أما اليوم، وقد تحقق الجزء الأهم من الـ«بروباغندا» الأميركية لـ«الحرب على الإرهاب» بمقتل زعيم
(Read on …)

Protesters in Yemen reach out to President Obama, again

Filed under: Janes Articles — by Jane Novak at 12:31 pm on Saturday, April 2, 2011

Obama snubs Yemen protesters

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,” protesters wrote.

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.


President Saleh second from left has been in power since 1978

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.

Governments in the US, UK, Russia and others have urged their nationals to leave Yemen, as the state continues its indiscriminate violence toward the protest movement.

New slaughter in Yemen: Sanaa University

Filed under: Aden, Janes Articles, Military, Sa'ada, Sana'a, Security Forces, political violence, prisons, protests — by Jane Novak at 7:31 pm on Tuesday, March 8, 2011

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 three have head wounds and died or are in very critical condition. 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 Woman’s 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 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 has 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

- Use of deniable proxies including tribesmen to harm citizens

- Shelling residential areas

- Denial of food as policy

- Denial of access by international humanitarian groups to internal refugees

- Targeting journalists and rights activists

- Torture in jail

Jane @

Funeral march in Malla

Filed under: Janes Articles, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:37 am on Friday, March 4, 2011


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 cemetry.

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.

Game changer in Yemen as protests swell

Filed under: Janes Articles — by Jane Novak at 7:58 pm on Friday, February 18, 2011

Game changer in Yemen as protests swell – Yemen Headlines

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. (Read on …)

A fluid political dynamic in Yemen

Filed under: Janes Articles — by Jane Novak at 12:09 pm on Friday, February 18, 2011

Last week’s analysis had background on why no one in Yemen was even remotely excited by President Saleh’s promise to step down as well as a history of unrest and political maneuvering over the last few years: In Yemen, many protests, one villain at the Atlantic Sentinel.

This week’s article recounts events over the last week including Saleh’s allies rapidly peeling off and opposition re-posturing: Game changer in Yemen as protests swell at

In Yemen, Many Protests, One Villain

Filed under: Janes Articles — by Jane Novak at 8:04 pm on Saturday, February 12, 2011

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. (Read on …)

Is a general amnesty what Yemen needs? Updated

Filed under: Janes Articles, Presidency, Reform, political violence, poverty/ hunger — by Jane Novak at 11:31 pm on Thursday, December 9, 2010

International lawyer Adel Al Dhahab diagnosed the central obstacle to reform in Yemen: so many are guilty of serious legal infractions. There is no latitude for reform when the establishment of the rule of law would penalize those who are required to implement it. The structural component that has been missing from all proposed solutions to Yemen’s crises is a general amnesty.

Mr. Al Dhahab is a Yemeni practicing law in Canada with vast experience in civil activism, international law, the intricacies of Yemen’s political affairs and the social and tribal dynamics in Yemen.

Al Dhahab explained in a recent paper, The Missing Step, “What Yemen needs is an amnesty that will pardon all offenders across the board, whether political crime or corruption or tribal offenses. It requires selecting a cut-off date where selected crimes that occurred prior are nullified and crimes that happen after are prosecuted. “

Amnesty is a mechanism endorsed by the UN in exceptional circumstances. It was implemented in Algeria in 2006 and Iraq in February 2008. The concept of amnesty also has a strong basis in Islamic law, a prerequisite in the conservative country. (Read on …)

Novak: The Southern Leaders Don’t Practice Democracy

Filed under: Janes Articles, mentions — by Jane Novak at 8:37 am on Wednesday, December 8, 2010

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? (Read on …)

وفاك في حوار مع «عنا»: قادة الحراك لايمارسون الديمقراطية

Filed under: Janes Articles, mentions — by Jane Novak at 8:25 am on Wednesday, December 8, 2010

وفاك في حوار مع «عنا»: قادة الحراك لايمارسون الديمقراطية

Aden News Agency

الأربعاء / 8 ديسمبر كانون الأول 2010

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.

وعرفت “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 أو “جيوش الحرية”، 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”.

وقالت نوفاك أن “ادعاء الولايات المتحدة بأن اليمن بلد ديمقراطي أو مهتم بالتقدم الديمقراطي. وهذا يسمح للنظام الحاكم أن يتنصل من المسؤولية عن أفعاله”, واتهمت “الولايات المتحدة والمانحين الغربيين يبدو أنهم يريدون أي انتخابات، سواء كانت نزيهة أم لا، لكي تضفي صورة شرعية على حزب حاكم مهيمن”.

وعن ما وصفتها بـ”جرائم الحرب العلنية” قالت نوفاك “إنها الآن مفتوحة تماماً وموثقة بشكل جيد من قبل جماعات حقوق الإنسان الدولية” لكنها استدركت “حتى الآن يركز المجتمع الدولي على المضي قدماً مع الرئيس صالح” وعن إمكانية رفع قضايا في محاكم دولية أكدت أن هناك “رغبة ضعيفة من جانب المجتمع الدولي لتعقب هذه الاتهامات”.

وانتقدت “نوفاك أحزاب المعارضة اليمنية بأنها لديها “نفس العقلية النخبوية التي ينتقدونها. الشخصيات القيادية لازالوا قيادات سياسية لعقود” وأضافت “اللقاء المشترك يحرك قاعدته في شكل احتجاجات فقط كتكتيك مؤقت للضغط على المؤتمر الشعبي العام وعادة مايكون في خضم صفقة”.
(Read on …)

A teaser on my interview with Aden News Agency

Filed under: mentions — by Jane Novak at 11:17 am on Saturday, December 4, 2010

The interview actually contains the phrase, “President Saleh, to his credit….”

ANA: United States of America (us) – ruled out the American journalist specialized in the affairs of Yemen “Jane Novak” any US military intervention in Yemen, describing the consequences of such a thing as “disastrous” and emphasized that, according to US government officials the United States is “working with the army and the Yemeni security” but however that “the United States lacks the truth of the Yemeni side.” (Read on …)

شهارة نت – جين نوفاك

Filed under: janes articles arabic — by Jane Novak at 8:00 am on Saturday, October 2, 2010

Shaharah شهارة نت – جين نوفاك

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


مُقارنة لمكافحة حركات التمرد في اليمن

كتبت: جين نوفاك*

ترجمة: عبدالله عبدالوهاب ناجي، وجاسم محمد

المصدر: دورية “ميريا” – مركز الأبحاث العالمية للشئون الدولية “جلوريا”

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 في العالم .

تخوض الحكومة اليمنية ثلاث حملات لمكافحة التمرد. حيث يشكل كل من الانفصاليين الجنوبيين والمتمردين الشماليين وتنظيم القاعدة تحدياً للحكومة. وإذا كانت الدعوات للاستقلال، والثورة، أو الجهاد، قد نشأت جراء احتفاظ الدولة ببقائها كـ “مافيا” خصخصة، إلا أن القاعدة في اليمن وحدها تتجلى كتهديد عالمي. حيث رُبطت حادثة الهجوم الجهادي القاتل في مدينة “فورت هود” في شهر نوفمبر، ومحاولة تفجير إحدى الرحلات الجوية فوق مدينة “ديترويت” في شهر ديسمبر، بعناصر إرهابية تابعة لتنظيم القاعدة في اليمن.

توسعت المطامح العالمية لتنظيم القاعدة في اليمن، في جانب منها، جراء افتقاره للمصداقية داخل اليمن، حيث يُفهم هناك على نطاق واسع بأنه كيان فاسد يتم استغلاله من قبل الدولة لتحقيق مكاسب سياسية. ورغم نقاهة “القنص” التي يقوم بها نظام الرئيس علي عبد الله صالح في الوقت الحالي ضد عناصر تنظيم القاعدة، إلا أن نظامه قد احتفظ بانفراج منفعي متبادل مع التنظيم لعقود من الزمن. فقد ظلت اليمن حاضنة ومصدرة للعناصر الإرهابية منذ ثمانينات القرن المنصرم. ومنذ العام 1992، استهدفت هجمات “تنظيم القاعدة” بشكل أساسي المصالح والسفارات والأشخاص الغربيين، مع الإبقاء على استثناء وحيد!

تواجه اليمن، غير “تنظيم القاعدة” التوسعي، صراعين داخليين مستمرين هما: حرب صعدة في الشمال والحراك الانفصالي في الجنوب. حيث نشأت كلا الحركتين المناهضتين للحكومة جراء التهميش الاقتصادي، والاستبعاد السياسي، الذي ألقى بظلاله على جميع اليمنيين باستثناء الصفوة. حيث استفادوا من إجماع شعبي مؤيد للديمقراطية عن طريق حديثهم عن التمييز في المعاملة، ومطالبتهم بتطبيق القانون، فميعت رواياتهم الورقة التي يلعب بها تنظيم القاعدة، من خلال تفعيل المظالم الوطنية المصممة على السياق المحلي.

وعلى النقيض من مراضاة اليمن لتنظيم القاعدة.. فإن عنف الدولة العشوائي الموجه ضد المقاتلين الحوثيين في الشمال والمتظاهرين الجنوبيين، والمدنيين أيضاً في كلتي مناطق الصراع، تسبب بتوسع دوامات الصراع والإحباط الشعبي. وقد أضحى فشل الدولة في احترام المبادئ المتعلقة بحصانة المدنيين مظلمة رئيسية مشتركه لكلا الحركتين. وتشرعن اليمن، مثلها مثل القاعدة، الهجمات ضد المدنيين، كسمة ضرورية من سمات تقدمها، التي يتم تبريرها بالهوية الذاتية. وعلى غرار تنظيم القاعدة، تعتبر الدولة اليمنية حشود السكان مقاتلين، وتؤيد الجهاد.

سياسة الولايات المتحدة ومخاوفها

خلال حكم إدارتين..لم تدن حكومة الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية، إلا فيما ندر، تورط اليمن في حروب دموية ضد مواطنيها. فإذا كانت الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية تدعي الحق في حماية مواطنيها من العنف العشوائي للعناصر الإرهابية في اليمن، فإن اليمنيين يدركونها هناك على أنها تقر العنف العشوائي أو إرهاب الدولة ضدهم. حيث تعتبر إدارة الرئيس “أوباما” الاضطرابات المحلية شئناً يمنياً داخليا، وتهديداً للأمن الإقليمي، وانحرافاً عن مسار أنشطة مكافحة الإرهاب .

تشعر سلطات الولايات المتحدة بالقلق تجاه مواطنيها العائدين من اليمن لسبب وجيه، وهو احتمال قيامهم بهجمات. حيث قال النايجيري فاروق عبد المطلب أنه تدرب في اليمن، لعملية ديسمبر الماضي، بجانب آخرين يتحدثون اللغة الانكليزية من غير اليمنيين. وقد اعتقل مكتب التحقيقات الفدرالي عدداً من الأمريكيين بتهم تتعلق بمؤامرات إرهابية، أو من ذوي الارتباطات العائدين إلى اليمن .

ورغم أن الرئيس صالح حليف مزدوج ومتقلب منذ فترة طويلة في الحرب على الإرهاب، إلا أن إدارة أوباما تبدو واثقة من إخلاصه الجديد المُكتشف. وتأمل إستراتيجية الولايات المتحدة الراهنة، مثلها مثل سابقتها، تعزيز قدرات الحكومة اليمنية في معالجة تهديد تنظيم القاعدة. فمنذ شهر ديسمبر الماضي، رفعت الولايات المتحدة من مستويات التبادل الإستخباري مع اليمن، ودعمها بالمعدات والتمويل.

إلا أن النتائج كانت مخيبة للآمال بعد أن تبين أن الهيكل القيادي لـ(تنظيم القاعدة في شبه الجزيرة العربية) كله ما يزال طليقاً، خلافاً لما أوردته عديد من البيانات الصحفية اليمنية الخاطئة. ففي السابع عشر من ديسمبر الماضي قتلت غارة جوية عشوائية 43 من المدنيين في محافظة أبين. فألهبت تلك الوفايات مشاعر مناهضة لأمريكا، وأججت المخاوف من غزو الولايات المتحدة لليمن، وأصبحت نقطة ضعف يستغلها تنظيم القاعدة في دعايته. وفي شهر يونيو الماضي قتل شيخ بارز موالٍ للحكومة في محافظة مأرب بواسطة غارة جوية خاطئة أيضاً بينما كان في موعد محدد يلتقي خلاله بعنصر مستسلم من تنظيم القاعدة. ما دفع رجال قبائل في مأرب لتفجير أنبوب نفط، وقطع طرق، ومقاتلة قوات الأمن. إن تفويض الأرياف اليمنية مشايخها القبليين يحتم على القوات العسكرية أن تتفاوض مع المشايخ لتمكينها من التنقل والعبور، وهو ما يجعل من الصعوبة بمكان الحصول على معلومات استخبارية في الوقت المناسب.

ونتيجة لذلك، فان اليمن يواجه مشكله أيضاً في تحديد مكان تواجد أنور العولقي، المدون اليمني-الأمريكي، ورجل الدين الذي نصب نفسه بنفسه، في محافظة شبوه. وأرشد العولقي كلاً من نضال حسن وفاروق عبد المطلب، ودعم عدداً من عمليات تنظيم القاعدة. دافعت السلطات اليمنية عن العولقي في البداية باعتباره واعظ متزن لكنها قالت بعد ذلك أنها سوف تقدمه إلى المحاكمة إذا ألقي القبض عليه. والمشكلة أن المحاكم اليمنية قد شرعت وأشادت بالجهاد في العراق. فإذا كان القانون اليمني يؤيد قتل الجنود الأمريكيين والمدنيين العراقيين في العراق، فلن يكن هنالك أي أساس لنتوقع أن التآمر في قتل الجنود الأمريكيين في فورت هود يتعارض مع القانون اليمني.

ويأتي التركيز على دعم التنمية الاقتصادية وتوفير الخدمات الأساسية لليمن في الشق الثاني من استراتيجيه الولايات المتحدة، بعد دعم قدرات اليمن في مكافحه الإرهاب، وذلك على عكس السنوات الماضية، عندما كان الإصلاح السياسي هو الهدف المحوري. وبهذا الخصوص، فإن التهديد المتنامي للإرهاب، والصراعات الدموية، والفقر الطاحن، كلها، ضاربة جذورها في “شخصنة الدولة”.

حصيلة ثلاثين عاماً من النهب

تسعى الولايات المتحدة إلى إيقاف وقلب دينامية الوضع الاجتماعي والاقتصادي المقلق في اليمن، وذلك كجزء من النهج الكلي لحكومتها. إلا أنها مهمة شاقة إذا ما نظرنا إلى إن تلك الديناميات قد جرى ترسيخها طوال ثلاثين السنة الماضية، وشكلت الأسس لحكم الأقلية المجرمة في صنعاء. ذكرت “الوكالة الأمريكية للتنمية” في دراستها ” تقييم الفساد في اليمن” أنه بينما جرى تدمير الأجهزة العسكرية والأمنية للدولة في سبيل مصالح شخصية، فقد برزت برجوازية طفيلية قبلية معتمدة على تعاقدات حكومية، وعلاوة على ذلك، فقد أحكمت قبضتها على موارد حكومية لتحقيق مكاسب خاصة. وبلغت تكلفة إجمالي الحالات الموثقة من الفساد والاختلاسات الحكومية في عام 2007 أكثر من 72 مليار ريال يمني.

تُصنف اليمن في المرتبة 166 من بين 174 دولة في معدل دخل الفرد الواحد. وتأتي في المرتبة 167 في مؤشر الحريات الصحافية. ويبلغ معدل البطالة فيها حوالي 40 %. ويعاني فيها ثلث البالغين من سوء التغذية. كما يعاني نصف أطفالها من التقزم البدني جراء الجوع المزمن. وتتسبب أمراض، يمكن الوقاية منها باللقاحات، بوفاة ثلث من إجمالي الأطفال دون سن الخامسة. وأما منح المساعدات فهي ذات تأثير محدود، حيث تم صرف 10% فقط من إجمالي 4.7 مليار دولار تعهد بها المانحون في عام 2006،ويرجع ذلك إلى حد كبير إلى عدم استكمال المستندات الورقية اللازمة.

يواجه اليمن في الوقت الراهن أزمات اقتصاديه متوقعه مادامت الروافع المديدة للفساد الكبير تحول دون الإصلاح. ففي حين يكلف دعم الديزل 4 مليارات دولار أميركي، فإننا نجد أن 50% من الديزل المدعوم يتم تهريبه إلى خارج البلاد. كما تراجعت العائدات النفطية، التي تمثل 70 % من الموارد المالية للدولة، أكثر من النصف في عام 2009. وبينما أضحى نظام المحاباة غير جذاب، فإن وتيرة العنف آخذة في الاطراد. ففي يونيو الماضي، دخل جنود في المحويت ومقاتلون قبليون آخرون في عمران- كانوا يطالبون بمتأخرات دفع لدى الحكومة- في مواجهات مع القوات المسلحة.

تعاني اليمن أيضا من نضوب المياه. وتحصل مدينة تعز، أكبر محافظة في اليمن، على المياه العامة مرة كل 45 يوماً، أما عملية زراعة القات، وهو شجرة منشطة، فتستهلك 40% من المياه المستخدمة، مع تكاليف ري تعتمد على ديزل مدعوم. وقد ظلت السياسات المائية العملية مركونة على الطاولة منذ سنوات، لأن عملية التنفيذ تستلزم تنسيقاً بين قطاعات الوزارات المتنافسة، فقدان شخص ما الفائدة والإرادة السياسية التي لا تمتلكها الجهة الإدارية.

ويقترن عجز الدول عن السيطرة على محيطها الجغرافي بعجزها عن السيطرة على محيط سلطة حكمها، وهو ما أدى هنا إلى إنتاج سياسات نصف منفذة، وغير عقلانية، ومتناقضة.

تولى علي عبد الله صالح منصبه كرئيس للجمهورية العربية اليمنية عام 1978، وأصبح رئيسا لليمن الموحدة 1990. وحكم “صالح” اليمن منذ أكثر من ثلاثين عاماً، بقدر ما حكم الأئمة قبله، معتمداً في حكمه على العلاقات الشخصية، والعصبية القبلية، ومنظومة لمحاباة الأقارب والأصدقاء. ويتربع أقارب “صالح” والموالين له على قمة هرم الجيش والمخابرات وقوات الأمن، بالإضافة إلى مؤسسات حكومية، ووسائل الإعلام، ومؤسسات اجتماعية، بما فيها منظمات غير حكومية، وكثيراً ما يحدث ذلك كله في نفس الوقت. وتستهلك نفقات الرئاسة والبرلمان حوالي 20% من الإنفاق العام، كما تستهلك نفقات الجيش 25%. ومول “صالح” شخصياً بناء “جامع صالح” بتكلفة بلغت 120 مليون دولار.

ذريعة الديمقراطية

تعمل ماكينة دعاية، في غاية التدليس والتضليل، على تغليف السلطة اليمنية المتكلسة بشماعة “الديمقراطية”. ومن الوهم أن يتعامل مانحو اليمن مع هذه السلطة بصفتها “فن الممكن الموجود”. فممارسات السلطة الحقيقية في اليمن تدار من خلف الكواليس ومن خارج المؤسسات الرسمية.

يرأس صالح الحزب الحاكم “المؤتمر الشعبي العام”، وهو حزب الوصولية والمصلحة الذي يوظف وسائل الإعلام، والشرطة، والتوظيف الخاص بالخدمة المدنية، والقضاء، لسحق ومعاقبة معارضيه.

تعرض عاملون في أحزاب المعارضة، في أعقاب الانتخابات الرئاسية عام 2006، للسجن والقتل والضرب كعقوبة لمشاركتهم السياسية. وبينما جرى وصف انتخابات المحافظين غير المباشرة عام 2008 على أنها تقدم نحو الحكم المحلي، إلا أن مرشحي المؤتمر الشعبي العام فازوا في كل المحافظات، ماعدا محافظتين تم إسقاط نتائجها. كما جرى تأجيل الانتخابات البرلمانية من موعدها عام 2009 إلى عام 2011 وسط اتهامات متبادلة بين المؤتمر الشعبي العام والمعارضة “أحزاب اللقاء المشترك” حول الإصلاحات الانتخابية المتعثرة. وفي ظل عدم إحراز أي تقدم يذكر في هذا الشأن منذ عام 2006، فإن عملية إجراء انتخابات في المستقبل ما تزال موضع شك.

يهيمن المؤتمر الشعبي العام على البرلمان ومجلس الشورى، وهما مجلسان يتألفان في معظمها من المشايخ الموالين، والقادة العسكريين، ورجال الأعمال، ويعملان على تعزيز السلطوية القبلية والمركزية الاقتصادية. ويجري استبعاد تحالفات قبلية أخرى من السلطة تماماً، فيلجئوا إلى خطف الأجانب من أجل الضغط على الدولة للحصول على امتيازات.

وإلى جانب ما تملكه وتحضا به السلطة من جيش وحزب وأسلحة قبلية، ودعم من الولايات المتحدة، فإن نظام صنعاء عمد على التحالف مع الأصوليين الإسلاميين، وعمد من ناحية أخرى على إعاقة التعددية السياسية والتمكين الشعبي. حيث إن حادثة وفاة طفلة في الثانية عشر من عمرها بينما كانت في حالة ولادة لم تثني معارضة متطرفة عن مناهضة تحديد سن أدنى للزواج. وفي ظل وطأة الاعتداءات التي ترزح تحتها وسائل الإعلام المستقلة، ومواجهة الاحتجاجات السلمية بالرصاص والفتاوى، وغياب بعض أعضاء البرلمان منذ شهور، فإن الخيارات المتاحة أمام اليمنيين، حسبما تم توصيفها بشكل صارخ من قبل مسئول في الأمم المتحدة، هي: “الثورة، أو الهجرة، أو الموت.”

انعدام الاستقرار الوطني:انعكاس للحكم الأسري

ترجع جذور حرب صعده في الشمال والحراك الجنوبي الداعي للاستقلال إلى فساد الدولة وعجزها عن إشراك قوى أخرى في السلطة. حيث بدأ كلا الصراعين بمطالبة المواطنين بالمساواة وحقوق المواطنة، وفرض عادل للقانون، والحد من انتهاكات حكومية. ولم تقم الدولة أبداً بمعالجة قضايا أساسية، من ضمنها التهميش الاقتصادي، والاستبعاد السياسي، أو حتى الإقرار بها كقضايا واقعية موجودة. وتكمن هذه القضايا أيضا وراء السخط القبلي، ووراء الاضطرابات الأهلية في مناطق أخرى. وفي هذا السياق، خلصت منظمة “هيومن رايتس ووتش” إلى أن السلطات اليمنية انتهكت قواعد القانون الدولي المتعلقة بحماية المدنيين بخصوص حرب صعدة وحركة الاحتجاجات في الجنوب.

ففي أعقاب محاولة هجوم عشية عيد الميلاد، حثت الولايات المتحدة اليمن على إيجاد حلول للمناطق غير المستقرة، وتركيز جهودها لمكافحة تنظيم القاعدة. وبهذا الشأن، انتهت الجولة السادسة من حرب صعدة في فبراير، على الرغم من أنه من غير المرجح استمرار السلام. وخلال فترة التهدئة التي أعقبت تلك الحرب المفتوحة، كثفت القوات المسلحة حملاتها العسكرية في الجنوب، حيث استحدثت مواقع عسكرية وطوقت الحصار وقصفت عديد من المناطق هناك.

أعلن الرئيس صالح عفوا عاما في 22 مايو، الذكرى العشرين للوحدة اليمنية. وشمل العفو حوالي 3000 سجينا سياسيا بمن فيهم صحفيين، وناشطين، ومحتجين جنوبيين، ومتمردين حوثيين، وعدداً من الأطفال. ومع ذلك، فإن عدد الذين تم إطلاق سراحهم بلغ نحو 800 سجين فقط، وهو ما يعزز من فقدان مصداقية الدولة ويثير أعمال شغب في السجون. وهذه هي المرة الرابعة منذ عام 2005 التي تقطع فيها الحكومة وعداً بالإفراج عن سجناء حوثيين دون أن تفي بوعدها.

جذور “التمرد الحوثي”

يمكن إرجاع حرب صعده إلى الثورة الجمهورية عام 1962 عندما أطاحت الجمهورية العربية اليمنية بحكم الإمامة الزيدية، والتي حكمت اليمن قروناً من الزمن. حيث كان الحكم خلال عهد الإمامة محصورا على الهاشميين فقط، والذي يعود نسبهم إلى الرسول محمد. ورغم مكانتهم الطبقية الرفيعة، فقد انخرط عدد من الهاشميين في صفوف النضال من أجل التحرر من النزعات الانعزالية والمحسوبية والقبلية في ذروة العهد الإمامي في القرن العشرين. إلا أن الموجة الاجتماعية المضادة التي أعقبت الثورة مهدت الطريق لإحياء المذهب الزيدي بعد عقود لاحقة من الزمن، بعدما استثيرت واستدعيت بشكل جزئي جراء المد السلفي في تسعينيات القرن الماضي.

وتشكلت جماعة تدرس فكر الزيدية تحت اسم “الشباب المؤمن” في تسعينيات القرن المنصرم، وقدمت منشوراتها أفكاراً شوهت هالة الجذب لدى “القاعدة”، ذات الفكر السلفي، في كل أدبياتها تقريباً. وبدأ القتال مع الدولة في عام 2004 عندما اشتبكت قوات الأمن مع أعضاء من “الشباب المؤمن” بينما كانوا يهتفون “الموت لأمريكا”، في معارضة منهم لحرب العراق. وتوافدت الجماعة، التي يبلغ عددها بالمئات، نحو محافظة صعدة الشمالية وحاربت تحت لواء قائدها حسين الحوثي، الذي قتل في عام 2004.

وكان حسين الحوثي وأخوه يحيى الحوثي أعضاء في البرلمان، ولم يعارض أبداً طبيعة الحكم الجمهوري للدولة. وكبر كيان المقاتلين غير المنظم، الذي يدعى الآن بـ: “الحوثيين”، ليبلغ حوالي 7000 مقاتل ويتزعمه عبدالملك الحوثي، شقيق حسين. وأوكلت مهمة قيادة المجهود الحربي للدولة في حرب صعدة إلى الجنرال علي محسن الأحمر، وهو الأخ غير الشقيق للرئيس، وسبق أن جند مقاتلين لصالح أسامة بن لادن.

مظالم وحكايات الحوثيين: قلب إجباري للمعني

يؤكد الحوثيون على أنهم يشنون حرباً دفاعية، وأنه لم يكن لديهم أي مشروع سياسي مبيت، وأنهم لم يؤطروا الحرب بشعارات طائفيه- كما فعلت الدولة. كما يشكو الحوثيون من افتقارهم للتنمية الاقتصادية، ومن التمييز الطائفي الممنهج ضدهم. وقد استبدلت الدولة خطباء مساجد سلفيين بخطباء زيديين في بداية عام 2005، ومنعتهم أيضاً من الاحتفال بـ: “يوم الغدير”، وهي يوم إجازة سائدة جرت فيها العادة عندهم، وصادرت الحكومة كتباً مهمة خاصة بالمذهب الزيدي، الذي يمثل قرابة 40% من سكان اليمن .

استخدمت الدولة مقاتلين قبليين متطوعين، ومقاتلين جهاديين خلال حرب صعدة، وحتى أثناء فترات وقف إطلاق النار. وقد تم صرف المليارات على هذه الحرب، والتي شجعت في خلق اقتصاد حرب يديم نفسه بنفسه، ويفيد تجار السلاح، وزعماء القبائل، ومسئولين في الحكومة، والذين استمروا في التأجيج من أجل استئناف دوامة الحرب.

وبحسب بيان صادر عن “لجنة التشاور الوطني” عام 2010، فإن عبد الملك الحوثي أبدى استعداد جماعته للدخول في المشاركة السياسية، داعيا إلى مشاركة أوسع تشمل كافة الناس في النظام السياسي، وإلى وعي أكبر لدى المواطنين بحقوقهم. وجاء ذلك بعدما وجهت له لجنة التشاور وجهة نظرها حول إمكانية تنظيم جماعته في إطار سياسي.

وأشارت مؤسسه “راند” بأنه “على الرغم من شعار الحوثيين المناهض لإسرائيل وأميركا، فإنهم لم يستهدفوا مواطنين أمريكيين أو منشآت و معدات أميركية، بل إنهم يشاركون الولايات المتحدة نفس العداء تجاه بعض الخصوم في المنطقة، ومن بينهم “الوهابية” التوسعية المتعصبة، وأنظمة الحكم الاستبدادية”.

مكافحة التمرد في حرب صعدة: قصف قرى واعتقال أطفال

إن أساليب الدولة في مواجهة التمرد في حروب صعدة الست منذ 2004 حولت سبعمائة ألف من سكان صعدة والهاشميين إلى مقاتلين. واتسمت حرب صعدة بفرض حصار مضطرد على الغذاء والدواء، واعتقالات تعسفية في كل أنحاء البلاد. وشرد القصف العشوائي الذي شنته الحكومة خلال عام 2005 أكثر من 50.000 من السكان. وخلال “عملية الأرض المحروقة” عام 2009، دمر القصف اليمني والسعودي أكثر من 9000 مبنى، بينها مساجد ومدارس ومنازل وقرى بأكملها. وبحلول عام 2010، كان عدد المشردين داخلياً قد ازداد أكثر من 300000. وبهذا الخصوص، رصدت الأمم المتحدة، من خلال النداء الذي أطلقته من أجل اليمن، 30 في المائة فقط من إجمالي المساعدات المطلوبة، ثم أنه ماذا تعني تلك المساعدة في ظل حصار يحول دون إيصاله.

وصف مسئول رسمي يمني الهدف من وراء الحصار بالقول: “عندما يبدأ السكان بالإحساس بمعاناة الجوع وينقطع مصدر دخلهم، فإنهم سيضطرون في نهاية المطاف إلى تسليم الحوثيين في مناطقهم”. واعتبرت “هيومن رايتس ووتش” الحصار بأنه عقوبة جماعية وانتهاك للقانون الدولي الإنساني والذي ينص على حق المدنيين في الحصول على الإغاثة الإنسانية الضرورية لبقائهم .”

وقد كانت عمليات وقف إطلاق النار السابقة عبارة عن خطوات تكتيكية للحرب، أكثر من كونها إستراتيجية لإيقافها، وفشلت الحكومة مراراً وتكرارا في الوفاء بالتزاماتها في هذا النحو. حيث جرى اعتقال لجنه تقصي الحقائق المعينة من قبل الحكومة عام 2007 بعد أن ذكرت أن الجانب الحكومي فشل في تنفيذ عدد من التزاماتها بخصوص وقف إطلاق النار، ومنها إعادة إعمار ما دمرته الحرب وإطلاق سراح السجناء المتمردين. كما جرى اعتقال لجنه إعادة الإعمار بعد أن أصدرت تقرير “مسح الأضرار”، الذي ذكر أن حجم الخسائر، التي لحقت بالممتلكات والبنيات التحتية جراء قصف القوات الحكومية، تجاوز مليارات من الريالات .

وعلاوة على اعتقال مقاتلين متمردين وتعذيبهم في كثير من الأحيان، تورطت الدولة على نطاق واسع بـ: “اعتقالات وقائية” لأولئك المشبهين بتعاطفهم مع المتمردين، وذلك على أساس هويتهم المذهبية أو منطقتهم الجغرافية أو ارتباطاتهم العائلية. وتعرض عدد من الأطفال المسجونين لتعذيب روتيني.

إن استمرار وتيرة الاعتقالات والاغتيالات، وحملات التضليل في الوقت الذي ما يزال فيه سجناء حوثيون يقبعون في المعتقلات، تنذر باحتمال اندلاع حرب سابعة.

جذور الحركة الجنوبية

إذا كانت أساليب الدولة في مواجهة التمرد في حرب صعده الشمالية قد عرفّت أعداءها المحاربين على أساس مذهبي ومناطقي وعرقي، فإن عدوها المحارب في الجنوب هو أي شخص يتواجد في الشارع، حيث استهدفت الشرطة متظاهرين سلميين بالذخائر الحية والاعتقالات. وربما يكون حراك الانفصال في الجنوب هو التهديد الأكبر بين حركات التمرد الثلاث، التي تواجهها السلطة اليمنية. وهي الحركة الوحيدة التي تسعى إلى تغيير جذري في طبيعة الدولة اليمنية.

ففي حين أن الجمهورية العربية اليمنية في الشمال قد تولدت من رحم سلطة دينية، إلا أن تاريخ الجنوب مختلف جدا. حيث استعمر البريطانيون مدينة عدن الساحلية عام 1839، وأنشئوا محمية في اليمن الجنوبي. وقامت مجاميع قومية بطرد البريطانيين في عام 1967. فالتركة البريطانية في جنوب اليمن يقصد بها هنا أن الجنوبيين استبدلوا، إلى حد ما، المعايير القبلية بالقيود المدنية، وطوروا فرص تكافؤ اقتصادية وسياسية بين الجنسين. وبنيت دولة الجنوب في أعقاب 1967 على أسس بيروقراطية عادلة خلفها البريطانيون.

كانت “جمهورية اليمن الديمقراطية الشعبية” دولة مريدة للسوفيتية الماركسية اللينينية، آوت “كارلوس الثعلب”، وقد سعت جاهدة لأن تصبح مدينة “بروليتارية” فاضلة، إلا أن الفساد والاقتتال الأهلي سرعان ما أسقطها. واضطر العديد من الناس إلى اللجوء إلى المنفى جراء مصادرة الدولة للأراضي واستهداف خصوم سابقين. وقام الرئيس علي ناصر محمد عام 1968 بتوجيه أوامر باغتيال رفاقه في المكتب السياسي. وبعد اندلاع حرب أهلية حينها، تولى حيدر أبو بكر العطاس السلطة. للعلم أن عجز قوى الحراك الجنوبي عن التكتل والانضواء تحت جبهة واحدة يرجع إلى التنافس المحتدم ما بين فصائله منذ عقود من الزمن.

توحد في عام 1990 اثنا عشر مليون نسمة في الجمهورية العربية اليمنية مع مليوني نسمة في جمهورية اليمن الديمقراطية الشعبية تحت الدولة الحديثة “الجمهورية اليمنية”، وتم ذلك على أساس نظام ديمقراطي يعتمد على تقاسم السلطة- حتى ولو كان بشكل نظري. فأصبح صالح رئيسا لجمهورية اليمن الموحد، وأصبح نائباً له علي سالم البيض، وهو قيادي في الحزب الاشتراكي اليمني.

وسادت التوترات جراء سيطرة الهيمنة الشمالية، حيث تم اغتيال 150مسئولاً في الحزب الاشتراكي اليمني في أعقاب دولة الوحدة. فأعلن “البيض” الانفصال عام 1994 واندلعت الحرب الأهلية. واستثمر الرئيس صالح توظيف المقاتلين “العرب الأفغان”، العائدين من أفغانستان، كقوة عميلة مأجورة، وحصل على دعم مادي في المجهود الحربي من قبل أسامة بن لادن. فأصدر مجلس الأمن التابع للأمم المتحدة القرارين رقم 928 ورقم 931، اللذين ألح فيهما على وقف إطلاق النار والعودة إلى المفاوضات .

وبعد ثلاث أشهر من القتال، جرى أغلبه في الجنوب، استطاعت قوات صالح من تحقيق نصر عسكري ساحق. وقد تعرضت عدن إلى نهب تام في أعقاب الحرب، ونصبت القوات المسلحة الشمالية معسكرات ونقاط تفتيش على طول الجنوب مازالت ماثلة حتى يومنا هذا. أما أنصار علي ناصر محمد اللذين قاتلوا ضد الانفصاليين الجنوبيين فقد تم تعينهم في مناصب عليا في فترة ما بعد الحرب، لتخليق وهم مفاده قيام صالح بتحرير خصومه الجنوبيين السابقين سياسياً.

مظالم وحكايات الجنوب: بلد محتل

على عكس العدد المحدود للمقاتلين الحوثيين.. يقف وراء حركة الاستقلال الجنوبية 70% من الأفراد البالغين في نطاق “جمهورية اليمن الديمقراطية الشعبية” سابقاً، بحسب ما وجده أحد المسوحات الميدانية. وعلى الرغم من أن هناك عديد من الجنوبيين ممن يرحبون بدولة موحدة صالحة، إلا أنهم في الوقت ذاته قد فقدوا الثقة تماماً في أن يتولى حكمها الرئيس صالح ونظامه السياسي. وعلى غرار حروب صعدة، توسع الحراك الجنوبي بشكل كبير كردة فعل على أساليب الدولة في مواجهة التمرد.

وتؤكد روايات الجنوبيين بان الوحدة جرى إعادة فرضها بالقوة في انتهاك لقراري الأمم المتحدة 928 و 931، وأن “جمهوريه اليمن الديمقراطية الشعبية” بلد محتل. حيث طُرد مئات الآلاف من الجنوبيين من وظائفهم الحكومية والجيش في أعقاب حرب صيف 1994. ويحصل “المتقاعدون” العسكريين الجنوبيين على مرتبات تقاعدية لا تفي بمتطلبات مستوى المعيشة واقل من نظرائهم في الشمال.

وجرى استبعاد الجنوبيين من التوظيف الحكومي، والمنح الدراسية، وتم مصادرة أراضيهم بشكل واسع، وهو السبب الرئيس الذي أدى إلى عدم الاستقرار في الجنوب. وزادت سلطتا القبلية والأصولية الإسلامية الظافرتان معاناة أخرى من الاضطهاد الاجتماعي الملموس على معاناتهم. أما الثروة النفطية في اليمن، التي جرى اكتشاف معظمها في “جمهورية اليمن الديمقراطية الشعبية” سابقاً، فقد تم استغلالها من قبل النخبة الشمالية لمكاسب شخصية. وهكذا تكور بركان اليأس والإحباط بصمت لدى الجنوبيين لعقد من الزمن، حتى اصطدم كثير من الشماليين والدبلوماسيين الغربيين عندما تفجر إلى الشوارع عام 2007.

وأعلن المنفي علي سالم البيض في 2009 دعمه للحراك الجنوبي وأصبح رمزاً له. وجرى استقبال واقعة تخلي طارق الفضلي عن الرئيس صالح، وهو أحد مواليه السابقين في الجنوب، بفرح عظيم. ومع هذا وذاك، فقد فشل كل من “البيض” و”الفضلي” في توحيد دفة الحراك، أو إيجاد أي طريقة لتمثيله، أو الوصول إلى أرضية مشتركة له. وطالب البيض بإجراء استفتاء تحت إشراف دولي حول الوحدة في الجنوب، وطالب أيضاً بإجراء تحقيق قي جرائم الدولة ضد المدنيين .

مكافحة تمرد المحتجين الجنوبيين: إطلاق النار على الجماهير

في أعقاب الانتخابات الرئاسية عام 2006، بدأ الجنود المتقاعدون قسرا بقيادة الجنرال “ناصر النوبة” بتنفيذ فعاليات احتجاجية شعبية ضد المعاملة غير المتساوية للمتقاعدين، التي يطلق عليها اسم “حزب خليك في البيت”. وعندما توسعت دائرة الاحتجاجات، حاولت السلطة اليمنية استمالة قادتها عن طريق مبادرة تهدف إلى إعادة ضباط جنوبيين إلى مراكزهم السابقة مقابل أن يتوقفوا عن نشاطهم السياسي، لكن العرض قوبل بالرفض. وسرعان ما تصدرت قضايا أخرى إلى الواجهة، من بينها قضايا سطو مكشوف للأراضي من قبل مسئولين رفيعي المستوى في السلطة. ومع أن الرئيس صالح شكل لجاناً لهذا الغرض، والتي بدورها قدمت أسماء مقربين منه كناهبي أراضي، إلا أنه لم يتم اتخاذ أي إجراء ضدهم .

إن حركة الاحتجاجات، ذي الثالثة ربيعاً، دفعت بمئات الآلاف من الجنوبيين إلى الشوارع جراء دوامة العنف الوحشية التي تشنها الحكومة، وموجة الاعتقالات الجماعية التي ألهبت مشاعرهم. حيث قتل وجرح المئات نتيجة إقدام الشرطة بشكل روتيني على فتح النار على المحتجين العُزل. وقد توفي بعض من المحتجين في الزنازين، وتعرض بعض آخر منهم للتعذيب حتى الموت حسبما هو مزعوم. وفاقمت الاعتقالات الجماعية من وتيرة التصعيد. كما أن هناك انتهاكات حكومية أخرى تتضمن اغتيالات مترصدة ورفض تقديم الخدمات الطبية. وعليه، فقد قام محتجون جنوبيون برفع الأعلام الأمريكية والبريطانية بجانب علم جمهورية اليمن الديمقراطية الشعبية سابقاً، وشنقوا دمى للرئيس صالح.

قالت إدارة أوباما في شهر مارس الماضي بأن الاضطرابات الجنوبية هي شأن داخلي يمني، وفي غضون أيام من ذلك، شنت اليمن هجمات بالدبابات، وقطعت خطوط الهاتف، واعتقلت ناشطين. كما فرضت اليمن في شهر مايو الماضي حصاراً على محافظه الضالع، التي تعد بؤرة الغضب المناهض للحكومة، وأخذت بقصف وتدمير78 من منازلها.

وفي شهر يونيو من الحصار كسرت قافلة سلام من محافظة تعز الحصار من أجل إدخال الغذاء. وقد فشلت الدولة في الوفاء بتعهداتها، كما هو الحال في صعده . ففي حين أنه جرى إبرام اتفاق ينص على أن يتوقف المتظاهرون عن قطع الطرق مقابل انسحاب الجيش من المواقع المستحدثة، إلا أن أعمال عنف اندلعت من جديد عندما رفض قائد عسكري إخلاء أحد المواقع العسكرية في الضالع .

وبالإضافة إلى لغة الردة التي يوظفها نظام صالح، فإنه يكرس أيضاً لغة عنصرية، فقد استخف الرئيس صالح بالجنوبيين بوصفهم: “صوماليين، اندونيسيين و هنود ” في إشارة منه إلى لون البشرة السمراء التي تسود في أوساط الجنوبيين أكثر عمن سواهم. ورفض مسئولون يمنيون الفيدرالية كشكل من أشكال تقاسم السلطة مع الجنوبيين، وقد قالوا أن قادة الانفصال والحوثيين سوف يستثنوا من الحوار الوطني الذي طالما وعدت به السلطة.

جرمت اليمن حرية التعبير والأنشطة والصحافة التي تدافع عن حصانة المواطنين من الهجمات التي تشنها الحكومة في الجنوب، مثلما هو واقع الحال في حرب صعدة. وهو ما يمكن اعتباره بجبهة رابعة في قائمة حركات التمرد التي تكافحها الدولة، حيث تشمل الحرب الموجهة ضد الصحفيين والناشطين اعتداءات جسمانية، وإجراءات قضائية وإدارية مثل الاعتقالات، إغلاق الصحف واستنساخها، حجب المواقع الإلكترونية والقرصنة عليها، وفرض الغرامات. وقد أثار إغلاق صحيفة الأيام الصادرة من عدن والإخفاء القسري للصحفي محمد المقالح اضطرابات كبيرة.

مراضاة “القاعدة” هي القاعدة
إذا كانت السلطة اليمنية قد قامت بأعمال عنف عشوائية وغير متكافئة ضد المدنيين والصحفيين وتلك الحركات المناهضة، فإنها، في الوقت ذاته بالمقابل، قد منحت تنظيم “القاعدة” فرصاً للتفاوض، ومراضاة، وتسهيلات- كما يقول البعض. ويأتي اتخاذ تنظيم القاعدة لليمن مركزاً لنشاطه الخارجي، كثمرة لتاريخ طويل قضّته حكومة صالح في صناعة تحالفات وهدنات تكتيكية مع هذه الجماعة الإرهابية.

جذور تنظيم القاعدة في اليمن

قام الأخ غير الشقيق للرئيس صالح، العميد علي محسن الأحمر، بمباركة أمريكية، بتجنيد عشرات الآلاف من المقاتلين لصالح أسامه بن لادن وإقامة معسكرات تدريب في اليمن، وذلك خلال عقد الثمانينات من القرن المنصرم. وشكل المقاتلون اليمنيون نواة دائرية موثوقاً بها حول بن لادن، وعملوا معه كطباخين، وسائقين، وحراساً شخصيين، وأمناء، ووسطاء. وما يزال علي محسن الأحمر واحداً من بين الشخصيات الأكثر قوة في اليمن، وهو من قاد عمليات الجيش الوحشية في محافظة صعدة. ويتمتع تنظيم القاعدة في اليمن بعلاقات حميمية طويلة الأمد مع قيادة تنظيم القاعدة المركزية، تميزه عن بقيه فروعه الإقليمية الأخرى.

وقد استقبل الرئيس صالح آلافاً من العائدين الجهاديين، يمنيين وغير يمنيين، بصفتهم أبطال، بعد هزيمة السوفيت في أفغانستان. وقام بتجنيد حوالي 5000 منهم خلال الحرب الأهلية عام 1994. كما زود أسامه بن لادن الرئيس صالح بالسلاح والذخائر والمقاتلين. وجرى الترويج لتلك الحرب الأهلية في اليمن، مثلها مثل سابقتها “حرب أفغانستان”، بصفتها جهاد ضد الملحدين الماركسيين الفاسقين، وهو التوصيف ذاته الذي ما انفك الرئيس صالح يستخدمه في وصفه لحراك الاحتجاج الجنوبي .

وقد كافأ صالح عديد من الجهاديين الذين سبق وأن قاتلوا بجانبه بمراتب عسكرية قيادية، ومناصب سياسية أو مراكز مدنية. وبينما جرى كثيراً تصوير عمليات الدولة المتواصلة في إدماج عناصر القاعدة في المجتمع منذ تسعينات القرن المنصرم على أنها مبادرة ايجابية لاجتثاث جذور المتطرفين، إلا أن تزايد أعدادهم رفع من مخاوف مفادها أن تنظيم القاعدة قد استمال “عناصر” الدولة.

واصلت الحكومة استخدامها للمرتزقة الجهاديين خلال حرب صعده ضد المتمردين الحوثيين. حيث عممت وزارة الدفاع نشر فتاوى ضد المقاتلين الشيعة، وعمل المدير العام لمكتب علي محسن الأحمر، وهو متطرف، على تلقين الجنود بتلك الأفكار خلال صلوات الجمعة، شارحاً: ” إن دم الحوثيين مباح”. كما قال مؤخراً حسن زيد، رئيس احد أحزاب المعارضة، بأن وجود معسكر كبير لتنظيم القاعدة في محافظه صعده” هو أحد معوقات السلام الدائم” بين الدولة ومقاتلي الحوثي.

مكافحة الإرهاب كباب دوار

تفاوض بن لادن في عام 1999 مع اليمن من أجل إطلاق سراح احد عناصر القاعدة يدعى خالد بن عطاش. وعليه أطلقت اليمن سراح “عطاش” ووعدت بعدم الدخول في مواجهة مع القاعدة، لتحدد تلك الصفقة أنموذجاً للدبلوماسية السارية بين الطرفين منذ عقد من الزمن. وبالمقابل تعهد بن لادن بعدم مهاجمة اليمن. بيد أن “عطاش” ما لبث أن شارك في الهجوم على المدمرة الأميركية “يو إس إس كول” في ميناء عدن في أكتوبر عام 2000، والذي راح ضحيته سبعة عشر من أفراد القوات الأميركية. وجرى توجيه هذا الهجوم من قبل أسامه بن لادن من أفغانستان، وقد استخدم الإرهابيون وثائق يمنية رسمية للتسريع بترتيباتهم الخاصة بالعملية.

وفي عام 2003 منحت القاعدة النظام اليمني هدنة أخرى، حيث امتدحت الرئيس صالح واصفة إياه بـ: “القائد العربي المسلم الوحيد الذي ليس بعميل للغرب”. و بعدها لم تنفذ القاعدة هجمات داخل اليمن لعديد من السنوات، ويُعزى ذلك إلى تعزيز التعاون ما بين الولايات المتحدة واليمن حينها، ومع ذلك، يبدو أن النظام اليمني وتنظيم القاعدة التزما وقتها بمعظم بنود الصفقة، وقد رفضت اليمن تسليم عناصر تنظيم القاعدة جابر البناء، وأنور العولقي، والمتآمرين المتهمين بمهاجمة المدمرة الأميركية كول وهما جمال البدوي وفهد القصع.

سافر آلاف من اليمنيين إلى العراق من أجل الجهاد، وشكلوا ما نسبته 20% من المقاتلين الأجانب هناك. كما استخدم عدد كبير من السعوديين وغيرهم من الأجانب المسلك المباشر لنظرائهم اليمنيين المؤدي إلى العراق. حيث ذكرت صحيفة يمنية أن عدد اليمنيين الذين سافروا إلى العراق من أجل الجهاد تجاوز 1800 شخص خلال عامين انتهت عام 2007. وذكر أهالي بعض أولئك الانتحاريين أنه جرى تدريب أبنائهم وذويهم على اطلاع من مسئولي الأمن، وتم تزويدهم بدعم لوجستي من قبل قادة عسكريين كبار “معروفين لدى أصدقائهم الجهاديين”.

أُفرج عن أكثر من 360 من أفراد القاعدة من السجن بعد مشاركتهم في برنامج إعادة التأهيل الخاص باليمن. وعمل ” برنامج الحوار”، الذي أداره القاضي حمود الهتار، وزير الأوقاف الحالي، على تثبيط فكرة الجهاد في اليمن لدى المستهدفين، إلا أنه لم يمانع أن يكون ذلك في العراق. ووصف بعض الخريجون البرنامج بالتمثيلية. وبالمقابل، فإن السجناء الحوثيين غير مستحقين لبرنامج إعادة تأهيل- من وجهة نظر الحكومة اليمنية. وقد توقف البرنامج في عام 2005 بعد أن عثرت الولايات المتحدة على بعض خريجي البرنامج التأهيلي وهم يقاتلون في العراق. ويأمل “الهتار” أن يعيد إطلاق برنامجه إذا أعادت الولايات المعتقلين اليمنيين من خليج غوانتناموا.

وتعتبر حوادث هروب السجناء في اليمن حق حصري بتنظيم القاعدة. حيث هرب عشرة سجناء في عام 2003 من أحد سجون محافظة عدن بينما كانوا في انتظار الإيذان بمحاكماتهم على خلفية تفجير المدمرة الأميركية كول. وما لبث فهد القصع أن استسلم في مارس 2004 وحكم عليه بالسجن مدة 10 سنوات، إلا أنه تم إطلاق سراحه في عام 2007، ليظهر عام 2010 في شريط فيديو منسوب للقاعدة يهدد فيه الولايات المتحدة. إلى ذلك، فر 23 سجين من الأعضاء ذوي الأهمية البارزة في تنظيم القاعدة في عام 2006 من سجن أمن مشدد الحراسة، حيث جرى ذلك تحت موافقة وتسهيل رسميين. وفيما يخص أولئك الذين سلموا أنفسهم لاحقاً، فقد تم الإفراج عنهم بعد تعهدهم بالولاء للرئيس صالح .

بدأ صالح التفاوض مباشرة مع القاعدة في عام 2006. وحصل “أبو الفداء”، وسيط زواج بن لادن ونائبه السابق، على عديد من الامتيازات وأشاد بمرونة الحكومة اليمنية.

اعترضت الولايات المتحدة عام 2008 اتصالاً ما بين أيمن الظواهري والرئيس صالح يشير إلى ثمة صفقة بينهما، حيث وعد فيه الظواهري صالح بمشاركة مقاتلي القاعدة في الحرب في صعده مقابل الإفراج عن سجناء. وقد ذكرت وسائل إعلام محلية في مطلع عام 2009 أن ثمة تدفق جهاديين أجانب نحو محافظة صعده، وأن اليمن أطلقت سراح أكثر من مائة من سجناء القاعدة. وفي هذا النحو، قال طارق الفضلي، وهو مسئول حكومي سابق مطلع ببواطن الأمور، أن الإفراج عن سجناء القاعدة المشار إليه كان جزء من اتفاق أوسع بين الرئيس صالح والقاعدة. وقال الرئيس صالح في شهر يوليو 2010 نادباً: “نحن أطلقنا عدداً من معتقلي تنظيم القاعدة عدة مرات، وأعلنوا توبتهم، لكنهم يتمردون مرة أخرى، ويعودون للقيام بأعمال تخريبية”.

حكايات مكافحة القاعدة: تواطؤ وعمليات ترويجية زائفة

إن الهجوم المادي الوحيد الذي استهدف الحكومة من قبل تنظيم القاعدة حدث قبل أيام من الانتخابات الرئاسية اليمنية عام 2006. حيث جرى إحباط هجومين على مصالح نفطية. وقد أشار قادة أحزاب المعارضة أن تلك الهجمات هي مسرحية مدبلجة. حيث قال سلطان العتواني، الأمين العام للحزب الناصري: ” لقد فبرك الحزب الحاكم هذه العمليات بهدف اتهام أحزاب المعارضة بالوقوف وراء هذه الأعمال الإرهابية”.

إن هذا المستوى من التشكيك بات مألوفاً في اليمن. فبعد سنوات من الصفقات المتبادلة خلف الكواليس، يعتبر الكثيرون تنظيم القاعدة في اليمن على أنه صنيعة النظام الحاكم، أو أنه عند اقل تقدير سندا داعما له في سياسته الداخلية والخارجية. وقال علي سالم البيض، الرئيس الجنوبي السابق: “إن هذه الشبكة الإرهابية قد بنت تحالفاً قوياً مع النظام في صنعاء، وتم هندستها والإشراف عليها من قبل عضو قيادي في الحزب الحاكم. وهذا معروف لدى دول المنطقة، ومصر والولايات المتحدة. ولا أبالغ عندما أقول أن بعض قادة القاعدة في الحقيقة هم ضباط في الحرس الجمهوري”. ويرأس الحرس الجمهوري “أحمد”، نجل الرئيس صالح، وهو المُعين لأن يرث الرئاسة عن أبية.

لم يستطع أعضاء البرلمان سواء في حزب “المؤتمر الشعبي العام” الحاكم أو أحزاب المعارضة كبت انتقاداتهم في أعقاب هجوم استهدف مسئولين من كوريا الجنوبية في آذار 2009. حيث اتهم أعضاء من البرلمان الحكومة بأنها كانت قد قدمت “مساعدات للجماعات الإرهابية لتنفيذ هجماتها” وأن دعم الحكومة للشبكات الجهادية والإرهابية في البلاد ذو دوافع سياسية. وقال النائب صقر الوجيه بأن الحكومة نفسها متورطة في عدد من الأعمال الإرهابية التي حدثت خلال السنوات الماضية. وفي حين ينفي مسئولون تورط الحكومة في هجمات إرهابيه، إلا أنهم أقروا بأنفسهم تآمر القاعدة مع قوات الأمن كآلية من آليات الفساد وليست تآمرا إيديولوجيا. وبهذا الصدد، حذر صادق الأحمر، وهو شيخ مشايخ “حاشد”، القبيلة التي ينتمي إليها الرئيس، السلطات من اللعب بورقه الإرهاب من أجل الضغط على الدول الغربية، وكان ذلك في 2010 بعد الهجوم الفاشل على السفير البريطاني. ومزح الشيخ صادق بسخرية من أن المختبرات اليمنية تكشف نتائج الحمض النووي (للانتحاري) في غضون ساعتين فقط .

كما أثار مقاتلو القاعدة بأنفسهم مزاعم ارتكاب هجمات إرهابية مصطنعة ووهمية. حيث قال حمزة الضياني، وهو مشتبه به في عديد من عمليات القاعدة: “أنا مستعد لإثبات حقيقة أنه جرى التخطيط لبعض الهجمات بتنسيق مع الأمن السياسي وتحت موافقته، وذلك من أجل أن يحصل أفراد الأمن على دعم أجنبي، ومن أجل أن يؤكدوا لأمريكا أنهم يشنون حرباً على الإرهاب”. وقال أبو الفداء بان الهجمات الانتحارية ضد السياح كانت نتيجة لـ ” احتقانات أفراد الأمن جراء عدم رضاهم لأداء الأنظمة العربية، وتسارعها لإرضاء أمريكا. أنا على يقين من أن تلك العمليات لم تنفذها القاعدة كتنظيم، لكن ممكن أنه تم تنفيذها من قبل أناس يدعون بأنهم ينتمون إلى تنظيم القاعدة”.

أشارت إحدى الصحف بأن الحكومة مرتبطة بهجمات القاعدة على الشرطة في شهر يوليو الفائت في جنوب اليمن، وذلك من أجل أن تقنع الغرب بأن “الجنوب سيتحول إلى ملاذ آمن لتنظيم القاعدة في حال ما حصل الانفصال”. كما أعلنت الحكومة اليمنية في يوليو 2010 بان الإرهابيين فروا إلى صعده وإلى عدن، فاعتبر كثيرون هذا الإعلان بأنه مجرد ذريعة لاستهداف الناشطين المعارضين للحكومة في كلتا المحافظتين. وقام الحوثيون بحملة توعية عامة للمواطنين تنتقد بشدة تنظيم القاعدة في اليمن بصفته “أداة استخبارية للولايات المتحدة يتم استغلالها من قبل واشنطن بغرض احتلال أي بلد عربي أو إسلامي تحت ذريعة مواجهة الإرهاب”. وهذه الرواية وروايات شعبية أخرى هي التي تنتزع الشرعية عن القاعدة باعتبارها احد أدوات النظام السياسي.

صورة القاعدة: لاشيء مثل المدنيين

شن تنظيم القاعدة في اليمن هجوماً مركباً فتاكاً على السفارة الأميركية في صنعاء في سبتمبر 2008، إلا أنه فشل في اختراق محيط السفارة.

أعاد “تنظيم القاعدة في اليمن” تسمية نفسه بـ ” تنظيم القاعدة في جزيرة العرب” في شهر يناير 2009 بعد اندماجه مع نظيره السعودي. ويشكل السعوديون قرابة نصف أعضاء “تنظيم القاعدة في جزيرة العرب”، المقدر إجمالي عددهم بـ 300 عضو. كما أن حضورهم الاجتماعي نادر إلى حد يشبه كلاب صيد قليلة الشيوع. ويعتمد “تنظيم القاعدة في جزيرة العرب” على التمويل السعودي، وكذلك على عائدات المخدرات والأسلحة المهربة. وقام عنصر تابع لـ “تنظيم القاعدة في جزيرة العرب” في شهر أغسطس 2009 باستهداف الأمير السعودي محمد بن نائف، المسئول عن ملف مكافحه الإرهاب، بعد أن قابل الأمير متظاهراً باستسلامه. وكشفت محاولة الهجوم الفاشلة تلك اختراع جديد يعتمد على إخفاء المتفجرات داخل جسم المهاجم الانتحاري.

يستفيد “تنظيم القاعدة في جزيرة العرب” من وجود دولة ضعيفة، بل وأكثر من كونها “دولة فاشلة”. حيث أن واحداً من أهداف “تنظيم القاعدة في جزيرة العرب” هو إقامة منطقة حكم له في اليمن على غرار حركة “طالبان”. وقد ناشد كل من أيمن الظواهري و”تنظيم القاعدة في جزيرة العرب” القبائل اليمنية لأن تدعمهم. بيد أن هدف القاعدة في إقامة خلافة عالمية، ونزوعها نحو العنف المفرط ضد المدنيين، وأيديولوجيتها الدينية المتشددة، تتعارض مع العادات والمبادئ المحلية، وتُضعف استغاثة القاعدة إلى الشعب اليمني، بمن فيهم القبائل. حيث تندب واحدة من خطب القاعدة المطولة: ” أين أنتم؟ أيها الناس.. المدد.. المدد”.

يؤكد تنظيم القاعدة في جزيرة العرب بأن الأشخاص غير المسلمين داخل اليمن هم أهداف مشروعه بقوله: “نحذر جميع الكفار الذين يدخلون الجزيرة العربية بأن أموالهم ودماءهم مباحة لنا شرعياً.” وعلى النقيض من ذلك، تشمل الثقافة اليمنية التقليدية مفهوم الشرف، وتجنب سفك الدماء، والذود عن النساء والأطفال، وحماية الضعفاء. حيث لاقت هجمات القاعدة القاتلة على السياح في اليمن إدانة شعبية عامة، كما أن القتل الوحشي لثلاث ممرضات غربيات عام 2009 دفع اليمنيين إلى الشوارع للتعبير عن الغضب والحزن الذي يسودهم.

تحضا جماعة القاعدة التكفيرية بجاذبية ضئيلة في اليمن المتعدد المذاهب، حيث يوجد “الزيود” الشيعة في الشمال و”الشوافع” السنة في الجنوب. وهما طائفتان معتدلتان، وغير متعصبتان، ومتشابهتان في الجانب العقيدي، ويوجد بينهما صراع طائفي ضئيل. فخلال قرون طويلة من الزمن، شكلت القيم والممارسات اليمنية نموذجاً للتعايش السلمي بين المسلمين.

إن المتعصبين الأيديولوجيين المستفزين التابعين لـ “تنظيم القاعدة في جزيرة العرب” مطابقون لنظرائهم في نظام حكم الدولة، إلا أن الدولة تشمل أيضاً جزء مهماً من اليمنيين، بينهم دعاة للديمقراطية، ومفكرين، و”كتاب صحفيين علمانيين”، ونساء عاملات، واشتراكيين جنوبيين، وشيعة زيديين.

يصعب التمييز أحياناً بين خطاب النظام الحاكم وخطاب “تنظيم القاعدة في جزيرة العرب”. فقد استخفت الحكومة اليمنية زمناً طويلاً بالحوثيين بنعوتها لهم كـ: “الشيطانيين، الرجعيين، المنحرفين، المجدفين”، وبالمثل، استخف “تنظيم القاعدة في جزيرة العرب” بالحوثيين بوصفهم “أهل البدع، ورجسيات/ فضائع شركية، وعبًّاد المقابر، ويوصمونهم بـ”الروافض”.

قد تكمن إستراتيجية “تنظيم القاعدة في جزيرة العرب” في استدراج القوات الأمريكية إلى داخل اليمن من اجل أن تدفع بحركة معارضه خطيرة (ضد أمريكا).

وقال “تنظيم القاعدة في جزيرة العرب” بان الولايات المتحدة هي عدوه الرئيسي، وهو ذات الموقف الذي أيده الشخص الثالث في التنظيم “أبو يحيى الليبي”، والذي طلب من “تنظيم القاعدة في جزيرة العرب” الاستمرار في تكريس أنشطته لدفع الحرب إلى تراب الولايات الأمريكية. وتحقيقاً لهذه الغاية، أكد “تنظيم القاعدة في جزيرة العرب” أن كل المواطنين الأميركيين أهداف مشروعة. كما حث أنور العولقي على قتل الأمريكيين بشكل جماعي سواء كانوا مقاتلين أو مدنيين، مسوغاً لذلك بحكم مفاده أن كافة الأمريكيين يُعتبرون مقاتلون من خلال دفعهم الضرائب وتصويتهم في الانتخابات. وقال ناصر الوحيشي، القيادي في تنظيم القاعدة في جزيرة العرب”، أن الولايات المتحدة سرطان بحاجة لأن يُستأصل من الخارطة نهائياً. ولكنه في نفس الوقت، أثار “تنظيم القاعدة في جزيرة العرب” مفهوم حصانة المدنيين للمسلمين بصفته أساس لعنفها.

الخلاصة: إجماع المستبعدين

إن حالة الاضطرابات التي تعصف باليمن هي أحد أعراض الدولة المجرمة. فبينما يمضي نظام صالح في حرب مع المقاتلين الحوثيين، والمحتجين الجنوبيين، وأفراد من المواطنين والمجتمع المدني، فإن هؤلاء جميعهم، بالمقابل، يعرِّفون أنفسهم بأنهم يخوضون معركة من اجل الديمقراطية. كما أن المطالب الشعبية من أجل حقوق متساوية كفيلة إلى حد كبير بحجب وتعتيم الرواية السيادية لـ “تنظيم القاعدة في جزيرة العرب”، ورؤيته لحكومة خارجية استبدادية وأصولية.

وبشكل أخرق، “أشاد – الرئيس اوباما- بعزم اليمن في مواجهة التهديد الإرهابي الذي يواجهه الشعب اليمني”، بيد أن التهديد الماحق الذي يواجهه اليمنيون هو سلطتهم الحاكمة. إن سر قوة الولايات المتحدة يكمن في تاريخها العريق في مجال حقوق الإنسان والمساواة، والذي سبق للولايات المتحدة أن تشاركت سُبله مع اليمنيين، إلا أن سياسات الولايات المتحدة الحالية قوضته على نحو خطير. إن الحق الطبيعي في حصانة المدنيين اليمنيين، الذي ترى القاعدة في مفهومه تهديداً لها، هو محل إجماع. حيث يتفق اليمنيون والأمريكيون على ضرورة تجنيب المدنيين من الهجمات المميتة، سواء كانت من قبل حكومتيهما، أو من قبل حكومات خارجية، أو أطراف غير حكومية تنوي فرض سيطرتها عن طريق الإرهاب. بيد أن التعاون في هذا الخصوص يصبح مقوضاً عندما تختزل الولايات المتحدة التهديدات في اليمن في الإرهاب فحسب، وتغض الطرف عن جرائم الحرب التي ترتكبها الحكومة اليمنية بحق شعبها.

إن إذعان الولايات المتحدة في الصمت إزاء الأعمال الوحشية التي ترتكبها اليمن مقابل تنفيذ عمليات اصطياد لعناصر القاعدة على الأراضي اليمنية هو تكتيك ثبت فشله من قبل ويحمل عديداً من المخاطر. كما أن فتح جبهة جديدة لذبح المدنيين وحملة اعتقالات تعسفية سوف يخلق تعاطفاً مع “تنظيم القاعدة في جزيرة العرب” ويعزز روايته، وسيولِد موجة من الاضطرابات على المستويين القبلي والمدني. و وبرغم “اتفاقية مراقبة الاستخدام النهائي” الموقعة بين واشنطن وصنعاء، فإن الولايات المتحدة أيضاً تواجه خطر أن يتم تحويل مسار مساعداتها المخصصة لمكافحه الإرهاب إلى عمليات موجهة ضد الأطراف المعارضة لـ”صالح” في الداخل. وما يقلق أكثر هو أن روسيا، المورد الرئيسي لليمن بالأسلحة، لا تضع اشتراطات على مبيعات أسلحتها في هذا الخصوص. هذا بالإضافة إلى المخاطر الكامنة في استغلال الحكومة اليمنية المتواصل لتهديد الإرهاب لتحقيق مكاسب سياسية واقتصادية.

إن أنشطة الولايات المتحدة في اليمن، المتمثلة بالمشاركة الاستخبارية وبناء القدرات، بإمكانها أن تربك “تنظيم القاعدة في جزيرة العرب” تدريجياً، لكنها لن تتمكن من القضاء عليه. لقد قام نظام صالح على الفساد، ثم أُفسد من قبل تنظيم القاعدة. وبدون توافق وإجماع أكثر عدلاً للسلطة السياسية، فإن فرص الإصلاح تظل ممكنة ولكن بشكل محدود ليس إلا. وأما بخصوص المخاوف التي تفيد أنه إذا ما سخط “صالح” فسوف يطلق العنان للقاعدة، وأن الفوضى ستعقب غيابه، فهي مخاوف معقولة. وكما هو مجرب، فليس هناك بديل سهل لطاغية مكث طويلا في السلطة. وعليه فإنه مثلما تبدو مسألة الوجود الأميركي على التراب اليمني ليست خيارا، فإنه ليس لها ثمة خيار أيضاً في أن تسهم ببناء دكتاتورية يمنية أشد بطشاً مما هي عليه في الوقت الراهن.

تعتبر التهديدات التي تواجه اليمنيين آفة أوافي المنطقة برمتها: وهي سلطة تنفيذية راكدة، وفساد الدولة الكبير، والقمع الاستبدادي. ومسألة إشراك الشعب في النظام السياسي سوف يقوض السلطة. إلا أن اليمنيين خلال خمسين عاما من عدم الاستقرار السياسي قد ضيقوا ألوان الطيف السياسي بشكل كبير، فمن إطاحتهم بالكهنوتية الدينية، إلى رفضهم النمط الشيوعي السوفيتي، وإرساء إجماع وطني من أجل الديمقراطية. وبهدف تحقيق تلك الغاية، فقد شارك اليمنيون في بناء دول

Also published: article abstract

Comparative Counter-Insurgency in Yemen (Sticky, scroll down)

Filed under: Janes Articles — by Jane Novak at 9:00 am on Friday, October 1, 2010

My latest Yemen analysis, Comparative Counter-Insurgency in Yemen, is in the Middle East Review of International Affairs, available at online at The GLORIA Center. Download a PDF file here. For the Arabic see, For earlier articles, click here.

AQAP demands release of al Tais

Filed under: janes articles arabic — by Jane Novak at 7:19 am on Friday, September 24, 2010

al Teef: جين نوفاك
في أغسطس/آب 25، أَسرَ ثوّارَ الحوثي زعيم القاعدة حسين التيس في المحافظةِ الجوف لليمن. التيس رئيسُ مجموعةِ القاعدةَ النشيط في محافظةِ. إنّ المجموعةَ يُعْتَقَد بأنَّه تُخبرُ الجنرالَ علي محسن الةأحمر، أخ غير الشّقيق الرئيسَ وقائدَ الحروبِ الستّة صعدة ضدّ ثوّارِ الحوثي في أقصىِ شمال صعدة . إنّ إستعمالَ الجهاديين كمرتزقة (Read on …)

Jane Novak, Hausfrau Und Staats-Feindin

Filed under: mentions — by Jane Novak at 11:55 am on Thursday, September 9, 2010

Annabelle 8/25/10

Diese hausfrau ist der Schrecken der jemenitischen Regierung. Denn Jane Novaks Blog gibt der Bevolkerung des arabischen Landes eine Stimme. Taglich deckt die Amerikanerin Missstande auf – obwohl sie noch nie einen Fuss in den Jemen gesetzt hat.

Minderstens sechs Stunden am Tag bearbeitet Jane Novak ihre emails und surft arabische Zeitungen und websites im Internet ab. Alle Meldungen, die sie unber den Jemen finden kann, lasst sie sich vom Uber setzungsprogramm ihres Computers ins English ubersetzen, checkt die Informationen und fugt all diese Puzzlestucke zu einem Gesamtbild, zu einer ausserst prazisen Innenansicht des geheimnisvollen Jemen zusammen. (Read on …)

Jane Novak, the terror of the Yemeni government

Filed under: Yemen, mentions — by Jane Novak at 9:40 am on Thursday, September 9, 2010

(published August 25, 2010 by Annabelle Magazine, Switzerland, translated from German)

The housewife and state enemy

This housewife is the terror of the Yemeni government. For Jane Novak’s blog is the population of the Arab country’s one vote. The American covers the situation daily – even though she has never set foot in the Yemen.

When Jane Novak’s morning alarm clock rings at 6:45, it is still dark outside in New Jersey. Her husband, on a construction site in Manhattan, has been several hours out of the house. As always, Jane Novak wakes first the young son and then the daughter. She runs down quickly in the kitchen, baking waffles and bagels smeared and gives each child a glass of orange juice.

“Do you have your homework?” Two quick kisses goodbye, and then the school bus turns the corner. Jane Novak fills the washing machine, makes the beds and writes a shopping list for the supermarket. Then she climbs the stairs to the basement where her work is, where gold framed baby pictures, wedding pictures and other family photographs hang over her desk. Outside the window is the tiptop-kept garden of Novak- an American idyll.

Jane Novak opens the lid of her laptop. Now the 48 – year old is state enemy No. 1
(Read on …)

Jane Novak, Housewife and State Enemy

Filed under: Yemen, mentions — by Jane Novak at 8:38 am on Sunday, September 5, 2010

The August 25 issue of Anabelle, the largest woman’s magazine in Switzerland, has a profile of yours truly starting on page 60. Its not online but I decided to translate the title and one blockquote:

Hausfrau Und Staats-Feindin
diese hausfrau ist der Schrecken der jemenitischen Regierung. Denn Jane Novaks Blog gibt der Bevolkerung des arabischen Landes eine Stimme. Taglich deckt die Amerikanerin Missstande auf – obwohl sie noch nie einen Fuss in den Jemen gesetzt hat.

“Mutter sind mutter, egal, wo sie leben und an welchen Gott sie glauben”

Housewife and state enemy
This housewife is the terror of the Yemeni government. For Jane Novak’s blog is the population of the Arab country’s one vote. The American covers the situation daily – even though she has never set foot in the Yemen.

“Mothers are mothers, no matter where they live and what God they believe in.”

Well thats very nice…

Filed under: Yemen, mentions — by Jane Novak at 3:03 pm on Monday, August 30, 2010

You’re welcome!!

Gratitude to Ms. Novak of South Yemen> By / Raed Jehafi

Miss Jane Novak, writer and human rights activist U.S., specializing in the political affairs of Yemen, one of the best political analysts in Yemeni affairs, as dealing with the issues of Yemen with tact and professionalism, and during the six years since Yemen outbreak of war in Sa’ada between the Yemeni and Houthi, managed Ms. Novak of addressing the problem of Saada politically wise and far-sightedness and impartial adult, was making a contribution to all new developments, not to relent in defending human rights in Saada and exposing the crimes of murder and destruction, which affected people in Sa’ada, and by then proceeded Ms. Jane Novak at follow-up developments in the street south in southern Yemen , is well aware of what the status quo in the southern provinces, has a historical background of Yemen and its inherited political stages of different political systems unless they owned the majority of Yemenis, including writers, journalists, and became the American writer dealing with deeply serious terrorism files and al-Qaeda in Yemen, the sequence of events is accurate and proficient in sort of problems and analysis through the draw from the evidence and the evidence, you receive a day thousands of information on Yemen and the issue of Houthi and al-Qaeda and the case of South and connect with nearly four thousand Yemen and south, share with most of them, especially intellectuals, politicians, journalists and other information and ideas, and engage in discussion in the overall issues Yemeni affairs, and through numerous news media are included in the Web, co writer Jane Novak Yemen and South through the codes and three locations the most important of the armies of liberation, in addition to Facebook and other living writer, Novak reality and suffering of the streets of Yemen and South, and had a head start thanks defense of cases of the victims accelerated in southern Yemen and other …

باسمي وباسم أبناء الجنوب اليمني مثقفين ورجال اعلام وساسة وطلاب وفلاحين وغيرهم نتقدم بأجمل التحايا وجزيل الشكر والعرفان للسيدة نوفاك. My own behalf and on behalf of the sons of the South Yemeni intellectuals and media men and politicians, students, farmers and others extend greetings and warmest thanks and gratitude to Ms. Novak.

المصدر:ملتقى جحاف Source: Forum Juhav

برقية وفاء وعرفان للسيدة نوفاك من جنوب اليمن
08-30-2010 06:23
الجنوب الحر – رائد الجحافي

الآنسة جين نوفاك , كاتبة وناشطة حقوقية امريكية , متخصصة في الشؤون السياسية اليمنية , تعد من أفضل المحللين السياسيين في الشأن اليمني , إذ تتناول قضايا اليمن بحصافة واقتدار, وخلال ست سنوات منذو اندلاع حرب صعدة بين السلطة اليمنية وأتباع الحوثي , تمكنت السيدة نوفاك من تناول مشكلة صعدة بحنكة سياسية وبُعد نظر وبحيادية بالغة , كانت تدلي بدلوها في كافة المستجدات , لم تتوانى في الدفاع عن حقوق الانسان في صعدة وفي كشف جرائم القتل والتدمير التي طالت السكان في صعدة , والى جانب ذلك شرعت السيدة جين نوفاك في متابعة مستجدات الشارع الجنوبي في جنوب اليمن , تدرك جيداً ماهية الوضع القائم في المحافظات الجنوبية , لديها من المعلومات التاريخية اليمنية ومن الموروث السياسي لمراحل الأنظمة السياسية المختلفة مالم يمتلكها غالبية اليمنيين , بمن فيهم الكتاب والصحافيين , وأضحت الكاتبة الامريكية تتناول بعمقٍ بالغ ملفات الارهاب والقاعدة في اليمن , تتابع الاحداث بشكل دقيق وتجيد في فرز المشاكل وتحليلها من خلال ما تستخلصها من قرائن وأدلة , تتلقى في اليوم الواحد آلاف المعلومات عن اليمن وقضية الحوثي والقاعدة والقضية الجنوبية , وتتواصل مع ما يقارب الأربعة آلاف يمني وجنوبي , تتبادل مع معظمهم خصوصاً المثقفين والسياسيين والصحافيين وغيرهم المعلومات والأفكار , وتدخل في نقاش في مجمل قضايا الشأن اليمني , وعبر وسائط اعلامية عديدة تندرج جميعها داخل الشبكة العنكبوتية , تعايش الكاتبة جين نوفاك اليمن والجنوب من خلال مدونات ومواقع ثلاثة أهمها جيوش التحرير , بالاضافة الى موقع الفيس بوك وغيرها , تعيش الكاتبة نوفاك واقع ومعاناة الشارعين اليمني والجنوبي , وكان لها السبق والفضل في الدفاع عن قضايا ضحايا المعجلة في جنوب اليمن وغيرها…

باسمي وباسم أبناء الجنوب اليمني مثقفين ورجال اعلام وساسة وطلاب وفلاحين وغيرهم نتقدم بأجمل التحايا وجزيل الشكر والعرفان للسيدة نوفاك.

المصدر:ملتقى جحاف

Ungoverned Yemen, Citizens Demand Imposition of Law

Filed under: Civil Rights, Tribes, editing — by Jane Novak at 12:58 pm on Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ungoverned Yemen: Al-Ja’ashin civilians launch hunger strike demanding state action

A press release from HOOD
By Nisreen Shadad, edited by Jane Novak

Residents of the beleaguered Al-Ja’ashin district in Ibb began a hunger strike on July 25, 2010 to demand the state assert its authority in their district. The villagers have been camped out in Sana’a for months after being ejected from their village by Sheikh Ahmed Mansour.

In some areas of rural Yemen, often called “ungoverned regions,” the state abdicated its authority to tribal proxies. Al-Ja’ashin residents struggled for years against tyrannical practices including illegal taxes, seizure of personal property, physical assaults and imprisonment in Sheik Mansour’s private prison.

“We will never eat until we die and go to a world without oppression and fear or to go to our homes and live safely under the law,” according to the al-Ja’ashin statement. The Al-Ja’ashin civilians began their hunger strike in front of the Parliamentary Council, as they had been unable to gain redress through any other means.

“For eight months we have been displaced and suffering in the streets of Sana’a. The public authority didn’t respond to our needs. Hunger, disease, rain and heat are exhausting us, while we are waiting for fair acts towards our case and the kind touch of people who are after all Yemenis and Muslims like you,” said the statement. The villagers demanded security and compensation for what was stolen by Sheikh Mansour and his followers.

“We want to live with dignity as human beings in Allah’s land. Islamic Sharea’a and Yemeni law should protect us from Sheikh Mansour and his soldiers and provide all weak people a life with dignity and peace,” the statement declared.

Parliament ordered a new committee to consider the issue of al-Ja’ashin and scheduled discussions for next Monday. A Parliamentary report issued in March said that while the nearly one hundred villagers were 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.”

Many parliamentarians, journalists and human rights activists joined the hunger strike in solidarity with the al-Ja’ashin civilians including MP Ahmed Saif Hashid, MP Sahwqi al-Qadhi, Tawakul Karman, the head of Women Journalist Without Chains and Mohammed Naji Allaow, the General Coordinator of the National Organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms (HOOD).

“As Muslims and Yemenis, we have the rights of citizenship, equity and advocacy. We are oppressed, however, for eight months. We have been humiliated from you, the police officers and others who may relate to you or not, until we are disappointed and willing to die. Your negligence and humiliation make us feel we are unseen insects,” said the villagers’ statement.

HOOD called on all free people to declare their solidarity with Al-Ja’ashin and their demand to live under the protection of the law. 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 the villagers overcame “historical inherited fear” in challenging the Sheik’s tyranny.

Pregnant Woman Dies at Aden Checkpoint Amid Broad Siege

Filed under: Janes Articles, South Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:42 pm on Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Yemeni military, finished destroying Sa’ada, have turned more attention to the south, using the same tactics of collective punishment including blockade, denying the freedom of movement as well as the import of food, gas and medicine. There’s a siege for the past 16 days in Radfan, Yafea, al Dhala, al Melah, al Habeelan, al Shaib, Gahaf, Lazarik, and Shabwah. On the 18th, the military began shelling al Habeelan, Lahj following a bloody clashes.

Reports indicate a heavy military mobilization including tanks, missiles and other artillery but are difficult to confirm in the total media blackout. An American journalist was expelled from Yemen last week after visiting Yafee, a center of southern resistance. On May 24, a pregnant woman attempting to get to a hospital in Aden was stopped at a military checkpoint and later died in childbirth.

On May 22, the 20th anniversary of Yemeni unity, President Saleh announced the pardon of southern journalists and other political prisoners and several high profile journalists were released, but others remain imprisoned and hundreds of others arrested during protests remain jailed. An ambush in al Rahda, Lahj Two soldiers were ambushed killed two soldiers and wounded 11. Another ambush in al Melah killed one soldier, and authorities have accused renegade elements of the southern independence movement with the attacks.

Al Khaiwani at the Oslo Freedom Forum: Jane restored my faith in human beings

Filed under: Yemen, al-Khaiwani, mentions — by Jane Novak at 10:03 pm on Thursday, May 6, 2010

Wow. Jay Nordlinger attended the Oslo Freedom Forum, the human-rights conference in the Norwegian capital and wrote it up for the National Review. Among the speakers was Abdulkarim al Khaiwani). Abdulkarim has won several prestigious awards for his dedication to his ideals and his courage, in between being repeatedly kidnapped, beaten, bugged, smeared and jailed. He’s also an extremely talented writer.

Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani repeatedly appeals for solidarity. I mentioned him in this journal a few days ago — he is the journalist from Yemen who has endured kidnappings, beatings, imprisonment, and other ghastly things. Here in theater, he says that “living in Yemen is like being trapped on a hijacked plane.” Elections are never fair, and the judiciary is directly controlled by the presidency. It is “dangerous” to be a journalist in Yemen, he says — as his life has proven.

He mentions the prominent American journalist Thomas Friedman. He expresses disappointment: saying that Friedman came to Yemen and stuck close to the government, his hosts, without “going into the streets” or “meeting any journalists.” (I have no idea whether this charge is true.) He then says, “I would like to salute the American blogger Jane Novak, who learned about Yemen and led an international campaign to free me. Jane restored my faith in human beings.” He pleads with journalists in free countries to keep an eye on their colleagues in unfree countries, and yell as loud as they can when those colleagues are in danger.

He closes his remarks by saying, “I have made it a tradition to write an article entitled ‘We Shall Continue’ every time I leave prison. And I say to you now, ‘We shall continue.’”

That’s a very nice salute. Actually I led two campaigns to free him, 2005 and 2008, but who’s counting? I had a lot of help from the other bloggers and HAMSA was incredible in the second campaign. Al Khaiwani is absolutely correct that if journalists with rights focused the spotlight on the brutal targeting of journalists with no rights, the world would get better much faster. Information is power, and journalists and bloggers give it to the people. And what do we have? Olberman. The US media entirely ignores the plight of their colleagues abroad when they could do so much so easily.

Update: full Arabic text below

Khaiwani Oslo: failed democratic experience in Yemen.
الإثنين 10-05-2010 01:36 صباحا Monday 05/10/2010 1:36

المصدر صحيفة النداء. Source newspaper appeal.
السلام عليكم.. Peace be upon you .. ونهاركم جميل كأوسلو Beautiful and a Good Kooslo
أولا أشكر منظمة العفو التي جاءت لتقديمي إليكم اليوم. First, I thank the Amnesty, which came to a presentation to you today.
- أولاً اسمحوا لي باسمي وباسم الصحفيين اليمنيين أن أوجه – First let me on my behalf and on behalf of Yemeni journalists to draw
الشكر لمنتدى أوسلو للحريات لإتاحة الفرصة لنقل واقع الحرب Thanks to the Oslo forum freedoms to allow for the transfer of the reality of war
التي تشن على الصحفيين اليمنيين. Being waged against Yemeni journalists. (Read on …)

السلام مع الكرامه في اليمن . هل يمكن ايقاف دوامه الحرب ؟

Filed under: janes articles arabic — by Jane Novak at 8:41 pm on Friday, April 23, 2010

السلام مع الكرامه في اليمن . هل يمكن ايقاف دوامه الحرب ؟

ان جميع حروب صعدة الستة في اليمن هي نسخة من صورة واحدة ، باستثناء ان عدد القنابل اصبح أكبر و الأطفال اصبحوا اكثر معاناة والسجون أكثر ازدحاما. لقد منعت الحكومة اليمنية الغذاء والدواء والمساعدات الدولية للمدنيين في محافظة صعدة شمال البلاد كأسلوب للحرب منذ حرب عام 2004 اما القصف العشوائي للحكومة في حربها الثانية عام 2005 فقد شرد اكثر من 50،000 من المدنيين. وبحلول نهاية الحرب الخامسة فقد شردت 120،000 لاجئ. اما الحرب السادسة التي بدأت في آب / أغسطس 2009 فان القصف اليمني السعودي المشترك هدم أكثر من 9000 مبنى بينها المساجد والمدارس ، وقرى بأكملها مع وقف اطلاق النار في شباط / فبراير 2010 ، كان عدد اللاجئين الداخليين قد وصل الى ربع مليون نسمة. وقد دعت هيومن رايتس ووتش الى اجراء تحقيق في احتمالت جرائم الحرب.

افرج الحوثيون في شباط / فبراير عن 178 مدني وعسكري كانوا محتجزين لديهم ، واعادو عدد من جثث الجنود السعوديين ايضا. و أعلنت اليمن بالإفراج عن 161 من المعتقلين الحوثيين لكن المنظمة اليمنية للدفاع عن الحقوق والحريات (هود) : قالت بانها تم أطلاق سراح 32 معتقلا فقط من أصل 2,000
(Read on …)

Yemen Govt Reneges on Peace Terms Again, 7th War Looms

Filed under: Janes Articles, Saada War, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:24 am on Wednesday, April 21, 2010

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

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.


Yemen’s National Dialog Committee Publishes National Salvation Plan

Filed under: JMP, Janes Articles — by Jane Novak at 11:21 am on Friday, April 9, 2010

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 National Dialog Committee 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.

The Vision of Salvation

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. (Read on …)

al Qaeda in Yemen, Nomads or Nucleus?

Filed under: Hodeidah, Janes Articles, Somalia, TI: External, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:34 am on Thursday, April 8, 2010

Jane Novak, Yemen Times: 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 government portrayed al Qaeda’s exodus 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.

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.

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, the men 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.

The State Run al Qaeda Camp in Northern Yemen

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Janes Articles, Saada War, TI: Internal, Yemen, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 1:42 pm on Monday, March 29, 2010

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 Jane Novak, 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 in their weapons as one 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 Zaidi oriented 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 regime propaganda to the Yemen Post.

In my interview, Mr. Zaid confirmed that the al Qaeda fighters in Abu Jabara participated in the war against the 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,” Mr. Zaid said. “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 Jabara 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, noting the camp is under the stewardship of Afghan Arabs inducted into 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 Jabara 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 found a similar 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, the 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. Hundreds of thousands of civilians are internal refugees. Months of extensive bombing by Yemeni and Saudi air forces targeted markets, mosques, hospitals and refugees. Over 9000 structures were damaged. The Abu Jabara camp was not. It is thought that six western hostages kidnapped in June 2009, a German family and a British engineer, may be located in Abu Jabara. The external focus of al Qaeda in Yemen is a logical outcome of its merger with Yemeni state institutions.

Yemen: Pre-dawn raid kills man who hung effigy of Saleh

Filed under: Janes Articles, South Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:27 am on Thursday, March 4, 2010


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 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.

Undermining al Qaeda in Yemen 2/3/10

Filed under: Janes Articles, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:57 am on Saturday, February 27, 2010

Undermining al Qaeda in Yemen; Should the US outsource its security to a war criminal?
by Jane Novak @ 12:01 am on February 3, 2010. Filed under Barack Obama, Yemen, al Qaeda, guest authors

The global reach of al Qaeda in Yemen became clear when a Nigerian disciple of the murder cult nearly blew up an airliner over Detroit. In response, the Obama administration is strengthening its support for Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, one of the regions longest serving dictators and one of the most corrupt.

President Obama said he hopes to communicate to “Muslims around the world that al Qaeda offers nothing except a bankrupt vision of misery and death, including the murder of fellow Muslims, while the United States stands with those who seek justice and progress.” The hypocrisy is stunning.

The US administration is well aware that Saleh’s government is committing atrocities against civilians that rise to the level of war crimes. In a Darfur-like conflict in Sa’ada, northern Yemen, collective punishment of Shiite civilians includes indiscriminate bombing and intentional starvation. A former recruiter for Usama bin Laden leads the military with the help of tribal militias, former Iraqi army officers and foreign jihaddists. Over 200,000 are homeless from the war and largely deprived of aid. When Oxfam warned of a “humanitarian catastrophe of terrifying proportions,” the Yemeni Health Minister threatened to expel the organization.

Journalists who report on the carnage are tried as terrorists, like Abdulkarim al Khaiwani, or disappear like Mohammed al Maqaleh, who reported an air strike that killed 87 war refugees in September and hasn’t been seen since.

In south Yemen, police shot and killed dozens of anti-government protesters since 2007. Thousands were arrested. (Torture in Yemeni jails is brutal.) At a recent demonstration, southerners raised the US flag like a distress signal for rescue from tyranny. Funeral marches snake for miles along dusty roads.

If bombed starving children, disappeared journalists and bloody protesters aren’t enough for those who ascribe to the strongman theory of Middle Eastern politics, there’s also Yemen’s consistent duplicity on the terror issue.

President Saleh is a long time al Qaeda appeaser who relies on militants as an essential base of support and deploys terrorists as mercenaries. It’s no surprise Yemen’s al Qaeda morphed into a transnational threat or that its leadership survived a recent spate of Yemeni air strikes. The surprise is that the US is staking its security on President Saleh, the King of Spin. Saleh promised to reform after the 2000 USS Cole bombing, the 2002 Limburgh bombing and after qualifying for the Millennium Challenge Account in 2005. He said things were going to be different after the 2006 donor’s conference and the 2008 US Embassy attack that killed 13. In Yemen, al Qaeda is dubbed “the other face of the regime” in reference to the multi-tiered enmeshment between the two. Officials covertly provide training, transport and passports to jihaddists. When Yemen needs fighters, it releases terrorists from jail and puts them on the payroll.

If Obama’s goal is to push back on the terror threat from Yemen for a few years, then Saleh’s messy air strikes, botched raids and half hearted hunting may achieve some limited disruption. But at the root of Yemen’s growing terror threat is elite, not popular, support for al Qaeda. In 1994’s civil war between north and south Yemen, Saleh used veterans of bin Laden’s Afghan jihad to defeat the “Godless communists” in the south. Some of these bin Laden loyalists are now military commanders, governors and ambassadors.

Conventional wisdom holds that al Qaeda fanatics could raise a small army in such a poverty stricken, rowdy and largely illiterate country. Saudi money funds the spread of hard core Salafism while most rural areas have no clean water, electricity or medical services. Jobs go to government loyalists. But instead of lining up as suicide bombers, Yemenis all over the country are protesting for civil rights.

Yemen is not, as Maureen Dowd said, a place “that breeds people who want to kill us.” Yemenis are a kind hearted and courageous people. Last week, Women Journalists Without Chains led the 31th weekly demonstration to support banned newspapers. When ten Sana’a University professors, Academics against Corruption, were fired for exposing massive theft, protesters took to the streets in solidarity. In Aden, security forces strafed a peaceful sit-in at al Ayyam Newspaper, an award winning independent banned in May. Police set the offices on fire and arrested its editors, claiming they were hunting al Qaeda.

The Yemeni people have their own narrative that delegitimizes al Qaeda’s bloody imperialism. In Yemen, democracy is not a dirty American word but a constitutional right denied by a thuggish regime.

Despite the smiling assurances of Yemen’s legion of Baghdad Bobs, Yemen’s government is a brutal mafia. The idea that has broad resonance in Yemen is not the coming of the global caliphate, but the coming of the democratic state.

What Yemen needs, if not a war crimes tribunal, is a major crimes tribunal to purge corrupt officials and foster governmental legitimacy. Yemen’s public funds and lands, foreign aid and oil revenue were stolen by President Saleh and his relatives for decades, while millions of children wither from malnutrition and never attend school. Stability will be achieved when the Yemeni oligarchy accounts for its crimes against the nation. Maybe with amnesty, they’ll leave quietly and a caretaker government of Yemeni technocrats can take the reins with little bloodshed.

Prisoner Exchanges may Undermine Cease Fire in Sa’ada

Filed under: Janes Articles, Saada War — by Jane Novak at 1:18 pm on Sunday, February 14, 2010

The fifth 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. (Read on …)

Yemen’s Reign of Terror: Tortured Journalist Gets Bogus Trial

Filed under: Janes Articles, Media, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 2:47 pm on Thursday, February 11, 2010

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. (Read on …)

Undermining al Qaeda in Yemen; Should the US outsource its security to a war criminal?

Filed under: Janes Articles — by Jane Novak at 2:59 pm on Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The global reach of al Qaeda in Yemen became clear when a Nigerian disciple of the murder cult nearly blew up an airliner over Detroit. In response, the Obama administration is strengthening its support for Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, one of the regions longest serving dictators and one of the most corrupt.

President Obama said he hopes to communicate to “Muslims around the world that al Qaeda offers nothing except a bankrupt vision of misery and death, including the murder of fellow Muslims, while the United States stands with those who seek justice and progress.” The hypocrisy is stunning.

The US administration is well aware that Saleh’s government is committing atrocities against civilians that rise to the level of war crimes. In a Darfur-like conflict in Sa’ada, northern Yemen, collective punishment of Shiite civilians includes indiscriminate bombing and intentional starvation. A former recruiter for Usama bin Laden leads the military with the help of tribal militias, former Iraqi army officers and foreign jihaddists. Over 200,000 are homeless from the war and largely deprived of aid. When Oxfam warned of a “humanitarian catastrophe of terrifying proportions,” the Yemeni Health Minister threatened to expel the organization.

Journalists who report on the carnage are tried as terrorists, like Abdulkarim al Khaiwani, or disappear like Mohammed al Maqaleh, who reported an air strike that killed 87 war refugees in September and hasn’t been seen since.

In south Yemen, police shot and killed dozens of anti-government protesters since 2007. Thousands were arrested. (Torture in Yemeni jails is brutal.) At a recent demonstration, southerners raised the US flag like a distress signal for rescue from tyranny. Funeral marches snake for miles along dusty roads.

If bombed starving children, disappeared journalists and bloody protesters aren’t enough for those who ascribe to the strongman theory of Middle Eastern politics, there’s also Yemen’s consistent duplicity on the terror issue. (Read on …)

No Easy Solution for Yemen

Filed under: Yemen, mentions — by Jane Novak at 10:20 pm on Monday, January 18, 2010


As with Afghanistan, experts say there’s no easy solution to countering al Qaeda in Yemen.

Joost Hiltermann, deputy program director with International Crisis Group’s Middle East and North Africa arm, warned that military intervention could weaken the central government, allowing al Qaeda more free rein there.

“In a situation as fragile as in Yemen, to put a major external military force could be fatal,” Hiltermann told “The country may not be able to sustain it.”

Complex problems

Yemen is a semi-mountainous country on the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula with a fast-growing population of some 22 million people. (Read on …)

Well thank you Michelle

Filed under: Yemen, mentions — by Jane Novak at 10:53 am on Thursday, December 31, 2009

That Michelle is so spot on.

Yahoo: Yemen human rights activist and blogger Jane Novak has reported for years on how Yemeni intelligence and military officials have facilitated al-Qaida training camps — often providing “safe houses, training and passports to the jihadists that travel to Iraq to attempt to kill U.S. troops.”

The Yemeni government, Novak points out, has also used al-Qaida mercenaries to fight northern rebels and train tribal militias. Jihad spiritual advisor Anwar al-Awlaki, linked to the Sept. 11 hijackers and Fort Hood mass killer Hasan, also calls Yemen home — and reportedly blessed the Crotch Bomber attack, according to The Washington Times.

Now, the Yemen government has the gall to blame the West for not providing enough assistance to stop the breeding of hundreds of future flying Crotch Bombers.

The woman really has a way with words, read it all.

Yemen’s Natural Gas

Filed under: Janes Articles, LNG — by Jane Novak at 6:24 am on Monday, December 21, 2009

Just to avoid any confusion my August 2006 article, “Yemen’s Natural Gas, Who Benefits?” was reprinted today by Zarwa as a current 2009 article. The article’s points that remain valid, but at the same time, one hopes for growth in a three year interval and the global LNG market has changed substantially in the interum.

Yemen’s natural gas: Who benefits? (Read on …)

زوجة موظف الأمم المتحدة المختطف وليد شرف الدين تتعرض للاعتداء والضرب على أيدي الشرطة

Filed under: janes articles arabic — by Jane Novak at 9:51 am on Thursday, December 10, 2009

زوجة موظف الأمم المتحدة المختطف وليد شرف الدين تتعرض للاعتداء والضرب على أيدي الشرطة

مع تصاعد وتيرة الحرب في اليمن، ينهك المعتقلون السياسيون: حالة وليد شرف الدين

اليمن تتأرجح على شفير الهاوية، الحكومة اليمنية تحاول عاجزة أن تخفي الأزمة الإنسانية التي لم يسبق لها مثيل والناتجة عن حرب صعدة.

مئات الآلاف من النازحين يتضورون جوعاً وفي معزل عن وصول جمعيات الإغاثة. الماء والغذاء والدواء في المنطقة أصبحت في مستويات حرجة نتيجة لحصار الحكومة.

قذائف الجيش لا تميز وتستهدف المنازل والقرى وكذلك المدن بينما المتمردون يختبؤون في الجبال. وكنتيجة لمحاولات السلطة اليائسة والمتهورة لإخفاء هذه الأخبار فإن المعتقلين السياسيين يتعرضون للعنف والإرعاب كما تقوم السلطة بحملة اعتقالات اعتباطية وعشوائية. (Read on …)

PSA: Search Function, Archives and Categories Re-Installed

Filed under: Posts — by Jane Novak at 8:45 am on Wednesday, December 9, 2009 readers now have the option of searching the 5000 posts on this website for specific information by keyword, date and topic. Dates on Yemen run from late 2004 through current although category topics have been added over time and may not encompass all of the earlier posts. Click on the category button on the right sidebar to see a listing of the 157 available categories. Click on the archives button to select a specific month and year. (Read on …)

Today I predict the future of Taiz

Filed under: Posts, Taiz, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:41 pm on Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I will now predict the future of Taiz, Yemen. A small popular movement in Taiz emerges, striving to address legitimate grievances, for example the government’s neglect of a Dengue Fever outbreak. The security forces beat and arrest dozens at a protest, triggering more protests, which trigger more arrests. Then security forces start shooting in the air, and later shooting and killing protesters. The rest of the country has no reaction. The Yemeni regime blames saboteurs in military uniforms for the civilian deaths. The movement’s numbers grow from of the community’s sense of injustice and boredom. In a speech, the President accuses the people in Taiz of being al Qaeda, Houthis, secessionists, and apostates. The international community has no reaction. Medicine sent by the UN gets stolen from the Health Ministry’s warehouse and re-sold in pharmacies in Sana’a.

Journalists and civil rights leaders who discuss civil rights violations are arrested on charges of undermining stability and insulting the President. Some are tortured badly. The President accuses Iran, Israel and/or Yemeni expatriates of funding the movement. The military increases checkpoints on the road to Taiz where the soldiers are rude to women, rough up men and block people from entry when there is a protest scheduled.

Someone sets off a small bomb at an empty building in the early morning. The president announces it is an al Qaeda attack and asks the US for more for counter-terror funding. This is the only story about Taiz that makes it into the western media, except for one article on Yemeni women in the police department. Nasir al Wahishi takes credit for the bombing in his al Qaeda Internet magazine. Several top level US security officials visit, and the official Yemeni media says they came to Yemen to praise democracy .

Sana’a moves some tanks to Taiz. The protests get bigger but consist of only men. The leaders of the popular movement argue among themselves about who is the actual leader and split into factions. They never create a mechanism to hear the people’s opinions and preferences, instead their own children get top positions.

The governmental media never mentions the protests in Taiz, except to accuse the opposition JMP of undermining stability. The opposition parties issue a statement in Arabic denouncing the violence and that’s all they do. A journalist gets kidnapped, and the police say he beat himself up trying to embarrass the regime. The ruling party wins all the local and Parliamentary seats in Taiz, and the EU applauds a free and fair election.

After the election, democracy advocates among teachers and government workers are fired or jailed. The price of water and food triples. Western analysts conclude the Yemeni government needs more development funds. The Health Ministry never addresses the outbreak of Dengue Fever that triggered the protest in the first place.

Sa’ada Summary

Filed under: Janes Articles, Saada War, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:33 am on Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Sa’ada War in Yemen re-erupted on August 12, 2009 for the sixth time since 2004. The war expanded to parts of Amran province as well as most districts in Sa’ada. Both provinces border Saudi Arabia. The war is primarily a political dispute between Zaidi Shia rebels (Houthis) and the Salafi leaning government of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in power since 1978.

The Yemeni government terms the rebels “Satanic” and says their aim is to re-institute a Zaidi theocracy in Yemen. The rebels insist they are fighting a defensive war with demands for political inclusion and religious equality. With journalists excluded from the region since 2004, both sides are skewing battlefield reports in their favor. There are a few things we know:

The Yemeni military is engaged in a bombing campaign (termed “Operation Scorched Earth”) that is targeting mountainous rebel hide outs. Villages and major cities such as Dhayan were also subject to repeated and intense bombing in the last two weeks.


The bombing and fighting forced 35,000 civilians to flee their homes, in addition to the estimated 100,000 civilians displaced during the last rounds of war. There are nearly 150,000 war refugees in total, the vast majority women and children.

The UN, EU, US, ICRC, OIC and a Yemeni civil society coalition have all appealed for a humanitarian cease fire so that aid can reach the displaced civilians. In prior wars, the ICRC had very limited access to Sa’ada town, but was denied access to the tens of thousands of outlying refugees. In the current conflict, assessment teams report thousands of women and children literally wandering the roads with no food, water or shelter. Others are sheltering with in the mountains, with host families or in poorly supplied refugee camps.

Food, water and medicine shortages are at “critical” levels in northern Yemen. Amnesty International urged the government to avoid the “gross violations of human rights” that occurred in other outbreaks. Previously, Human Rights Watch found the denial of access by aid organizations to civilian refugees appeared to constitute illegal collective punishment. Arbitrary arrests of Hashimites occurred throughout Yemen (2005-2009) and their continued detention, in violation of a 2007 settlement mediated by Qatar and an earlier 2005 cease-fire, is one of the triggers for the new fighting.

Although some have framed the war as a Saudi-Iranian proxy war, this is an over simplification. The Iranian media is cheerleading for the rebels, infuriating the Yemeni government which responded with heated rhetoric. Evidence of Iranian logistical support is weak. Although the Yemeni government found a few Iranian made weapons, the countries of origin of the rebels’ armaments are varied. Research by the International Crisis Group among others indicates that the rebels buy their weapons from the robust weapons markets in Yemen or obtained them from the Yemeni military, either through capture or sale.

Saudi support for the Yemeni government effort is prompted by fears of regional instability and incitement of its own oppressed Shia population on the other side of the border, but the level of monetary and military support is unclear. The rebels have alleged the Saudis are flying sorties over Sa’ada, allowed Yemeni troops to attack from Saudi territory and are funding Yemen’s military efforts.

Regionally, Iraqi Shiite MPs suggested opening a headquarters for the Houthi rebels in retaliation for Yemen’s hosting wanted Iraqi Baathist insurgent leaders. A Bahraini Sunni MP accused a Bahraini Shiite party of contacts with the rebels, which they denied. Reportedly Egypt offered to mediate between the rebels and the government through back channels.

Both sides have claimed significant battlefield victories. The rebels posted Youtube videos of the military fleeing an attack, captured vehicles and skirmishes. Some reports indicate the Houthis have control of a substantial part of the governorate. As in prior outbreaks, the Yemeni military is utilizing tribal militias, calling them volunteers. Rebels have alleged the use of white phosphorous as a weapon. As in prior outbreaks, the Yemeni government has vowed to crush the rebels.

The Sa’ada War is only one of the major challenges to Yemeni stability. Last month, sixteen protesters were killed by police during a protest in Abyan, South Yemen where a separatist movement is gaining strength. Southern demonstrations began in 2007, protesting institutionalized discrimination after the north’s victory in Yemen’s 1994 civil war. As in the Sa’ada war, southern grievances of political exclusion were met with government violence against civilians and attempts at co-option. Authentic power sharing is anathema to the Saleh regime. Additionally, Western concerns center on al Qaeda which conducted over a dozen attacks on tourists and foreign targets since 2007, including the September 2008 attack on the US Embassy.

For more, see my category Sa’ada War.

WARNING: Extremely graphic photos of civilian casualties aned body parts below the fold. The photos are from the August 18th bombing of Dhayan City and are not for the faint of heart or anyone under 13. (Read on …)

Detainee al Hilah in Fear for His Life after Assassination Attempt at Guantanamo

Filed under: Security Forces, editing, gitmo — by Jane Novak at 10:16 am on Monday, August 3, 2009

Its a very odd story all in all.

الإثنين 03 أغسطس-آب 2009 / Radhia Khairan-Edit: Jane Novak
HOOD Online

In his second call home in a matter of months, Abdulsalam al Hilah, a Yemeni detainee incarcerated at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, said he survived an assassination attempt three weeks ago.

During the call to his family in Yemen last month, Mr. al Hilah received the news of the death of his mother and two young sons. The boys were killed in April 2009 just two days after Mr. al Hilah’s last call home when a grenade accidentally exploded. (Read on …)

Al Fadhli Welcomes/Invites Al Qaeda to Southern Movement

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Posts, South Yemen, Yemen, political violence, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 6:53 pm on Saturday, August 1, 2009

What a total disaster. You know who I really feel sorry for are the dozens of people already killed, like Wadhah, who were sold out by a bunch of opportunists who prefer to win even if it means sacrificing their principles. But when you sacrifice your principles, you don’t actually win.

That’s likely the end of any hope of international support, and al Qaeda will slowly metastasize yet another valid nationalistic conflict into a fundamentalist quest. Its a shame, the movement was both peaceful and pro-democracy up until the point al Fadhli joined. Its difficult to discount as unrelated al Fadhli’s defection to the opposition and the up tick in violence against northern civilians and the security forces. At least now we have an answer about where he is standing.

The ready acceptance of al Qaeda also points to the erosion of respect for civilian immunity in war and the growing acceptance of violence targeting civilians to achieve political ends. The Yemeni government is overtly targeting civilians both in Sa’ada and in the South. Tribal conflicts often result in injuries to women and children. The Houthi rebels, although they mingle with civilians, don’t target them. Previously, the Southern movement had explicitly rejected violence and denounced terrorism in particular as an attribute of the regime. (Read on …)

Aid Won’t Fix the Crisis in Yemen

Filed under: Janes Articles — by Jane Novak at 7:42 am on Tuesday, July 28, 2009

World Press, Jane Novak July 26, 2009
Also at the Yemen Times. July 30, 2009

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. (Read on …)

Aid Won’t Fix Crisis in Yemen (Arabic)

Filed under: Janes Articles — by Jane Novak at 7:41 am on Tuesday, July 28, 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 on …)

“Yemen Unity: Discussions and Studies”

Filed under: Janes Articles, mentions — by Jane Novak at 11:12 pm on Saturday, June 27, 2009

I’m happy to report that I have an analysis included in the new book published in Yemen entitled: Yemen Unity.. Discussions and Studies


The following article which appears in the book in English and Arabic concludes, “Almost any strategy is better than pinning the future of 22 million Yemenis on dreams of rehabilitating President Ali Abdullah Saleh.”

Yemen on the Brink of Civil War

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.

Southern grievances include overt theft of public and private land by Northern officials, the embezzlement of oil revenues and the subjugation of the south after Yemen’s 1994 civil war.

Northern citizens outside President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s ruling elite are just as impoverished and face the same brutality. The Yemeni military bombed cities and villages in the northern Sa’ada province, countering an isolated Shiite rebellion that flared from 2004 to 2008. (Read on …)

Yemen on the Brink of Civil War

Filed under: Janes Articles — by Jane Novak at 9:04 pm on Sunday, May 17, 2009

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.

Southern grievances include overt theft of public and private land by Northern officials, the embezzlement of oil revenues and the subjugation of the south after Yemen’s 1994 civil war.

Northern citizens outside President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s ruling elite are just as impoverished and face the same brutality. The Yemeni military bombed cities and villages in the northern Sa’ada province, countering an isolated Shiite rebellion that flared from 2004 to 2008.

The government withheld food, medicine, and aid from the 700,000 residents in Sa’ada—a practice Human Rights Watch called collective punishment. The United States and the European Union were largely silent as 130,000 Yemenis fled their homes and Hashemite men and boys were arbitrarily arrested and often brutally tortured.

The state used jihadists to train and lead tribal militias in Sa’ada and convicted a journalist, Abdulkarim al Khaiwani, of terrorism for “demoralizing the military” with an article about the war.

The bombing of Radfan may signal the beginning of a similarly brutal campaign in the south that deploys the deadly trio of bombing, blockade and jihadists.

U.S. efforts to repatriate the ninety-four Yemenis at Guantanamo Bay are at a “complete impasse.” The United States is understandably concerned by President Saleh’s penchant for making deals with escaped terrorists and presumably by his open support for the “resistance” in Iraq, Lebanon and Gaza.

The state’s legitimization of the jihad ideology works to repress progressives, silence critics and short circuit reform. The official media cast both Shiite rebels and Southern socialists as apostates. Six independent newspapers have been shuttered including Aden based al Ayyam. Government preachers declared a holy war against the southern separatists last Friday.

After suicide bombers assaulted the U.S. embassy in Sana’a last September, the Saudi branch of Al Qaeda regrouped in Yemen. The country is a terrorist safe haven in part because Yemeni law does not criminalize jihad abroad or terror financing. As in Pakistan, aspects of the Yemeni security forces are subverted by Al Qaeda, and vast rural areas have no government presence.

What the international community must recognize is that the primary dysfunction in Yemen is the criminalization of the state. The current bloodshed in the south, the resurgence of Al Qaeda and the northern rebellion all have roots in the failure of the state to act in the public interest. As Yemeni officials thwart reforms and subvert the law to protect illicit profit flows, poverty and frustration grow.

Corruption and embezzlement documented in 2007 totaled over YR 72 billion (about $360 million) but no prosecutions occurred. The quite substantial corporate holdings of officials—including the president—violate the law.

In April, President Saleh’s son (and heir apparent) was named in U.S. federal court as the intended recipient, along with other government officials, of over a million dollars in bribes from a U.S. telecom company. Yemen has been called a kleptocracy—a government of, by and for thieves. It’s like a mafia with an air force.

Yemen is one of the most water scarce countries in the world, but the implementation of water strategies proves impossible time and time again. The city of Taiz gets water once every 40 days, and water barons reap the profits of thirst.

The electric, medical and education sectors are equally perverted by corruption. Half of citizens have no medical service, and what exists is poor. Over 70 percent of medicine in Yemen is either counterfeit or smuggled. Medicine donated to the Health Ministry disappears from the shelves. Three quarters of women give birth without a doctor. There is a lethal shortage of dialysis machines.

Unpacking regional concerns, piracy, violence in Somalia and criminal networks of drug smuggling, gun running and human trafficking all have a Yemen component.

Somali pirates hide their mother ships in Yemen’s waters. NATO Commander, Admiral Mark Fitzgerald, said the pirates receive “a lot of the logistical supplies” from Yemen. Pirates say they receive information on ship location from Yemeni collaborators.

The U.N. committee that monitors the arms embargo on Somalia found Yemen to be the primary source of illegal arms and ammunition. Yemen’s inability to stem the large-scale arms trafficking is “a key obstacle to the restoration of peace and security to Somalia,” the panel determined.

Weapons are also smuggled to Saudi Arabia and Gaza. Yemen, the poorest nation in the Middle East, spends a third of its budget on the military. President Saleh inked a billion-dollar weapons deal with Russia in February.

Narcotics from Pakistan, Iran and Syria, including millions of Keptagon tablets and tons of hashish, enter Yemen and flood the Gulf States. Yemeni children are sold to beg in Saudi Arabia and have their kidney’s harvested in Egypt. In some border villages, one third of children are missing.

Poverty drives child smuggling. Yemeni children are among the hungriest on earth. But foreign aid, like oil revenue, is subject to elite capture. Yemen can’t effectively absorb the aid it has and pay interest on unused loans.

The United States says it supports “a stable, unified, and democratic Yemen.” Yemenis chose a democratic system in 1990, but they haven’t seen it yet. What exists in Yemen is a criminal enterprise that bombs its own people, smuggles weapons, frees terrorists and kidnaps journalists.

Solutions exist, and have been promised by the Saleh regime many, many times, including substantive decentralization, combating corruption and electoral reform. But President Saleh, in power since 1978, does not have the political will to solve legitimate grievances or they would have been solved already.

With Yemen on the brink of civil war and deaths in the South mounting daily, the United States has called for dialog, not violence. However, many Southerners (and Northerners) have no confidence in Saleh’s ability to negotiate in good faith. He has lied too many times and stolen too much. Two years of peaceful southern protests brought only tanks and bullets.

Dialog at this point requires regional or international oversight. Southerners have been calling for U.N.-supervised negotiations for years. A caretaker government under the guidance of the Gulf Cooperative Council is another possibility. But almost any strategy is better than pinning the future of 22 million Yemenis on dreams of rehabilitating President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Yemen on the Brink of Civil War

Filed under: Janes Articles, janes articles arabic — by Jane Novak at 1:40 pm on Sunday, May 17, 2009


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.

فمنذ الاحتجاجات التي اندلعت في جنوب اليمن في مايو 2007 قتل العشرات وجرح المئات واعتقل أكثر من ألف. كما أطلقت الشرطة النار على حشود، حيث أن دعاوى الجنوب بالتمييز المؤسسي تحولت إلى دعوات للاستقلال. بدأت اليمن بقصف مدينة ردفان بعد مسيرات احتجاجية في المنطقة الأسبوع الماضي، حمل فيها بعض الجنوبيين السلاح للمرة الأولى.

تشمل مظالم الجنوب سرقة صريحة للأراضي العامة والخاصة من قبل المسئولين في الشمال، واختلاس عائدات النفط وإخضاع جنوب اليمن بعد الحرب الأهلية عام 1994.

المواطنون الشماليون خارج نخبة الرئيس علي عبد الله صالح الحاكمة هم مجرد فقراء ويواجهون نفس الوحشية. قصف الجيش اليمني المدن والقرى في شمال محافظة صعدة في مواجهة تمرد شيعي معزول والتي اندلعت في الفترة من 2004 إلى 2008. (Read on …)

Yemeni Unity in Jeopardy

Filed under: South Yemen, mentions — by Jane Novak at 12:09 pm on Wednesday, May 13, 2009

IRIN: Yemen’s stability and security, and its future as a unitary state, are in jeopardy following recent violent demonstrations in the south, experts say.

In the past few days, thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in the governorates of Lahj, al-Dhalei, Hadhramaut and Abyan, chanting anti-government slogans and calling for secession and the withdrawal of “the northern occupation”.

Scores were killed in clashes between protestors and security forces, and a number of soldiers were killed when armed groups attacked security checkpoints.

The violent demonstrations were the worst in the south since late 2006.

Mohammed al-Daheri, a professor of politics at Sanaa University, said the protesters had initially demanded rights but were now calling for secession.

“If the situation remains unresolved, those who are calling for secession could find a sympathetic ear among the jobless and those who feel oppressed,” he told IRIN. (Read on …)

Cross Your Fingers

Filed under: South Yemen, Tribes, mentions, political violence — by Jane Novak at 3:47 pm on Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lets hope Yemeni security forces don’t follow their standard pattern and shoot into the crowds of southern demonstrators on Monday.

The 27th is Tariq al Fadhli’s “Day of Silent Protest” in Zanjibar, although the regime is calling it “Democracy Day” along with planning other distractions.

The military build-up is going swimmingly in all southern provinces including Aden (a military camp now), Dhalie (two more injured in Radfdan yesterday), other parts of Lahj, Hadramout and all over Abyan where al Fadhli is calling for the marches tomorrow.

Oddly the military let the would-be protesters heading for Zanjibar past the check-points, and thousands are already gathered. (Read on …)

Obama’s Yemen Quandry

Filed under: Diplomacy, Saudi Arabia, USA, Yemen, gitmo, mentions — by Jane Novak at 11:25 am on Sunday, April 26, 2009

Commenting on the following NTY article, The Weekly Standard notes Gitmo detainee al-Hilal, a top PSO officer with foreknowledge of 9/11, phoned home from Gitmo and accused Saleh of using the detainees as bargaining chips, and then al Hilal’s two young sons were killed (playing with a hand grenade?) while home alone.

Speaking of money, the Miami Herald reports the Defense Department’s request for $83.4 billion in supplemental funds included $81 million to fund President Barack Obama’s order to move or release the 240 or so detainees by Jan. 22. Here’s theNYT article about the problem of returning Yemenis from Gitmo to Yemen where support for “resistance” is governmental policy, prisons have a revolving door and jihaddists are defined by their willingness to negotiate with the government (and we see how well thats working out in Swat). The Yemeni govt puts the price tag at about a mil per detainee to take them back but notes the Obama administration appears to have rejected its offer.

(Then there’s Yemen’s role in piracy and instability in Somalia, the collective punishment of its civilians n Sa’ada, the institutionalized looting of the South, and Yemen’s substantial role in smuggling drugs, weapons and persons all over the region.)

The Obama administration’s effort to return the largest group of Guantánamo Bay detainees to Yemen, their home country, has stalled, creating a major new hurdle for the president’s plan to close the prison camp in Cuba by next January, American and Yemeni officials say. (Read on …)

Yemen Retakes Ja’ar, Jama’at al Jihad Pledges Loyalty

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, Janes Articles, other jihaddists, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 11:00 pm on Monday, April 6, 2009

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.

Commanded by Defense Minister Mohammed Nasser Ahmed, hundreds of Central Security police were supported by troops from the 312th Military Brigade. Security forces deployed helicopters, tanks and armored personnel carriers. Several police were injured in the clashes which have locked down the city for a week under heavy fighting. The militants are well armed, some with experience in Iraq, and coordinated defensive tactics, including snipers.

The fighting in Ja’ar is ongoing. A large explosion in Khanfar was heard Monday followed by prolonged gunfire.

The operation is targeting militants outside the scope of the Yemeni government’s truce agreements signed with the jihadists in January. In recent months, fundamentalists attacked government facilities and summarily executed citizens including suspected homosexuals, “wine drinkers,” and a woman. Homes were leafleted with warnings against “immoral behavior”. (See LWJ report, A city falls to jihadists).

Four terrorists are reported to have been killed, including jihadist commander Mohammed Hussain al Atif. More than 300 terrorists in are estimated to be in Ja’ar. Authorities said Monday that they had captured “Haliman”, one of the militants who stormed a police station in Khafar, Abyan last month. It is unclear if jihadists Alaa al Hulba, and bin al Sha’ir were among the arrested.

Abyan is home to numerous groupings of jihadists with cross cutting affiliation by tribe, ideology, and relation to the state and external terror organizations. Tribes in the region include the Fadhli and the upper and lower Yafae tribes. The current campaign is directed at a Jama’at al Jihad (the Jihad Group) splinter group which had targeted government installations. As a result of the campaign, government facilities closed by militants have begun to re-open.

The siege of Ja’ar followed a January meeting between Yemen’s President and several jihadist factions that culminated in the release of 108 prisoners (See LWJ report, Yemen strikes multi-faceted deals with al Qaeda).

Some militants are fighting on the side of the state. The weekly Al Tajamo noted, “Those who pretended to give up on the work of jihad and acts of violence during the recent years were seen carrying weapons and fighting alongside government forces… (including) Mujahideen affiliated to the security and military leadership in Sana’a, including those who had received the money and jobs paid in February and early March in the wake of the meeting of the President of the Republic Ali Abdullah Saleh.”

Hassaan Dayyan, representative of the Jama’at Al Jihad, said the group met with Defense Minister Ahmed before the assault began and provided information on wanted members. Nadir Al Shaddadi said Jama’at al Jihad planned another meeting the defense minister and the governor of Abyan to “reaffirm our commitment to the agreement with the State” and discuss the state’s obligations to the group. Members of Jama’at al Jihad were among the militants released from prison in January and promised payments.

Ja’ar offensive may be part of wider campaign in the south

The military buildup extended to Hadramout and included stationing two additional Central Security brigades in Sayoun. Dozens of tanks were shipped by sea to Mukallah’s Khalf Harbour.

The assault comes in the midst of increasing tensions in South Yemen. Civil unrest has wracked the southern governorates since 2007 (See LWJ report, Security forces blanket Aden). Dozens of protesters have been killed by security forces and over a thousand protesters arrested.

The southern opposition is factionalized in structure but unified in its viewpoint and goals. The southern opposition defines the unified Yemeni state as illegitimate as well as illegal under international law. Southerners reference the non-implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions 924 and 931 that governed the end of the civil war.

Widespread popular grievances center on institutionalized regional discrimination in the years that followed the 1994 civil war. Many southerners consider themselves “occupied” by northern forces and see the wealth of the south as “looted” by Saleh’s regime. The goal of the southern opposition is a shift in the unipolar balance of power within the state. The remedy advocated by various opposition leaders range from a confederation to independence. The concept of an internationally supervised referendum on the issue of unity or independence has broad support.


Yemen’s Three Fronts of Terror

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Janes Articles, SK — by Jane Novak at 3:37 pm on Friday, March 27, 2009

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula took credit in an internet statement today 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.

According to al-Tajamo Weekly, the terrorist obtained information on the route and schedule of the delegation from Yemen’s security forces who were aware of the attack twelve hours in advance.

The AQAP internet statement said the attacks were an effort to “expel the infidels from the Arabian Peninsula” and were in retribution for the killing of Hamza al Qaiti by security forces after a suicide bombing in Sayoun last August. As additional rationale, the group cited South Korea’s “alliance with Crusader forces” in Iraq and Afghanistan, the corrupting influence of tourism and the spread of Christianity. The statement rejected the concept of a covenant of protection for visitors.

At a special parliamentary session, opposition and majority MPs alleged the Yemeni security forces are infiltrated by al Qaeda. MPs also accused the Yemeni government of deploying al Qaeda for political purposes. Independent MP Sakhr Al-Wajih said the government itself was involved in many of the terrorist acts which took place over the last years.

Parliament called for the disclosure of the ambiguous relationship between Yemeni authorities and al Qaeda. A ranking member of the ruling party said the relationship between the government and al Qaeda had harmed the country. Another MP said that it was clear that al Qaeda had penetrated the Yemeni security forces. (Read on …)

Yemen: New terror camps as a city falls to jihadists

Filed under: Abyan, Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, Janes Articles, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:04 pm on Monday, March 2, 2009


Yemen: New terror camps as a city falls to jihadists
By Jane Novak March 3, 2009 12:04 AM

In January, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh asked his network of loyalist jihadists to prepare for offensive operations against domestic “enemies of the state.” In return, Saleh has ceded authority to fundamentalist fanatics who seek to impose a neo-Salafi theocracy in the religiously pluralistic country. It is unclear if this is the full extent of the quid pro quo. (Read on …)

Yemen: New Terror Camps as City Falls to Jihaddists

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Janes Articles, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:26 am on Sunday, March 1, 2009

In January, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh asked his network of loyalist jihadists to prepare for offensive operations against domestic “enemies of the state”. In return, Saleh has ceded authority to fundamentalist fanatics who seek to impose a neo-Salafi theocracy in the religiously pluralistic country. It is unclear if this is the full extent of the quid pro quo.

For nearly a decade, Yemen’s counter terror strategy has hinged on deal-making with Yemen’s jihadists. Counter terror operations are sporadic and often driven by US or Saudi intelligence. President Saleh has negotiated agreements whereby hundreds of militants’ jail terms were suspended in exchange for a loyalty pledge. Convicted and suspected al Qaeda operatives were given state jobs, cash payments, cars and land.

High profile terrorists have repeatedly broken out of jail and then were pardoned for their original crime as well as the escape. This is Yemen’s terrorist rehabilitation program, and these appeasements are staunchly defended by Yemeni officials as necessary to gain intelligence and ensure security. Recently, however, Saleh began to activate this army of militants to target his political foes. (Read on …)

Yemeni Military Police Detain 92 Year Old Hostage Incommunicado

Filed under: Civil Rights, Yemen, editing, hostages, political violence, prisons — by Jane Novak at 9:35 pm on Thursday, February 26, 2009

They have no heart. None. A 92 year old man, think about that.

HOOD online-Translation: Radhia Khairan-Editor: Jane Novak

Yemeni Military Police have detained a 92 year old as a hostage and are refusing to inform his family of his location.

The police and other security forces in Yemen use the tactic of hostage taking to exert pressure on relatives. In this case, the Military Police incarcerated 92 year old Ali Ali Ahmed Shubaih in a bid to pressure his son to turn himself in to the police. His son is wanted in connection with an alleged land dispute.

Mr. Shubaih was arrested on February 3 although he had committed no crime. He was held on remand in Area Number Five at the Security Center in Sana’a. Mr. Shubaih is infirm, suffers from dementia and multiple ailments related to his age. Mr. Shubaih’s relatives filed a complaint with HOOD over the illegal and unconstitutional detention.

One of HOOD’s lawyers visited the detention center Saturday and found that the elderly gentleman was both blind and nearly unconscious. Mr. Shubaih was distraught, infirm and did not know where he was. He was transferred to hospital after HOOD’s visit and later returned to the jail.

Mr. Shbaih’s family reports today that security officials said Mr. Shubaih was transferred to another facility and refused to disclose his location. The family is extremely concerned for his well being.

HOOD sent a complaint to the General Prosecution maintaining that Mr. Shubaih’s detention is against law. HOOD seeks an investigation of the incident, the immediate release Mr. Shubaih and the prosecution of those responsible for this egregious act.

This was by no means the first incident of its type. In a similar case, 82 year old Sheikh Isshaq was detained as a hostage for two months in the Political Security’s center.

Editor: Jane Novak

Court Acquits al-Belad of Libel Against Rahma Hujaira: HOOD

Filed under: Media, Trials, editing — by Jane Novak at 8:28 am on Thursday, February 19, 2009

This is pathetic. It must be so frustrating to live in a country with no judicial system, or actually a judicial system that functions as a political weapon.

Court Acquits al-Belad of Libel Against Rahma Hujaira
By: Radhia Khairan-Editor: Jane Novak

Two al Belad newspaper employees were acquitted of insult and libel charges brought on behalf of two civil activists, Rahma Juhaira and Hafeth al-Berari. The plaintiffs claimed they were libeled by a highly insulting article published by al Belad in 2005.

On Sunday, the Secretariat Northern-West district court acquitted the Editor-in-Chief of the al-Belad, Abdul-Malek al-Faishani, and journalist Ishak Mohammed al-Baseer. The court’s verdict found no tangible evidence against them for insult or libel. The charges were originally filed on May 25, 2005 by the Press and Publication Prosecutor.

Ms. Juhaira’s lawyers appealed the decision.

Rahma Hujaira is the chief of Media Women Forum (MWF) and her husband Hafeth al-Bekari is the Secretary General of Yemeni Lawyer Syndicate.

Journalist Isshak Mohammed al-Baseer wrote an inflammatory article insulting both claimants without evidence. Al-Belad newspaper published the article in its issue (no. 0).

Pardoned Comic Faces Second Trial in Yemen: HOOD

Filed under: Civil Rights, Presidency, Trials, editing — by Jane Novak at 8:26 am on Thursday, February 19, 2009

Al-Khaiwani was convicted after his pardon (??!!), lets see what happens to al Qarni. I can almost hear Rodney Dangerfield: I was pardoned by President Saleh but somebody forgot to tell the judge.

Pardoned Comedian al-Qarni’s Second Trial Delayed:
The Court Awaits Prosecution Paperwork
By: Radhia Khairan-Jane Novak

The Western District Court of the Secretariat circuit Court set March 10 as the date for the Prosecution to bring a copy of Fahd al-Qarni’s presidential pardon. Four other defendants in the case are required to bring an explanatory argument.

In March 2006, the Press and Publication Prosecutor filed charges against Mr. al-Qarni, a well known entertainer and comedian. Mr. al-Qarni was charged with “insulting the Yemeni President” by disseminating two unauthorized cassettes of political humor in the genre of folk songs. The Cultural Ministry sued al-Qarni for producing two cassettes in which he made caustic jokes about the government and the ruling party, presided over by the President al-Saleh.

In the prior session, the Court ordered the Prosecution to bring a copy of al-Qarni’s presidential pardon. In yesterday’s trial, the court did not hear the explanatory defense or receive a copy of the pardon because the Prosecutor has not yet received a response from the General Prosecution.

Health issues prevented the defendant al-Qarni from attending the trial. He was represented by a lawyer assigned by The Allawo Law Firm who asked for a delay.

Interestingly, Al-Qarni had been tried as a fugitive and in absentia by one court while he was on trial in another.

The Western District Court of the Secretariat circuit labeled al-Qarni a “fugitive from justice” although the defendant was on trial in Taiz province. In the Taiz trial, al-Qarni was also charged with insulting the president. The case centered on a live comedy performance that included political humor. The Taiz court issued a guilty verdict and sentenced him to 18 months imprisonment and a fine of 500.000 YR(2500$) . The president granted al-Qarni a pardon after two months. Nevertheless, his case file was opened again later on.

Article19 and HOOD issued a statement calling for closing al-Qarni’s file before the Western District Court of the Secretariat circuit. HOOD seeks the application of the Presidential pardon decision for the second charge as well as the first.

Yemen’s Multi Faceted Agreements with al Qaeda

Filed under: janes articles arabic — by Jane Novak at 4:14 pm on Friday, February 13, 2009

نيوجيرسي – لندن ” عدن برس ” : 13 – 2 – 2009
عقد الرئيس اليمني علي عبدالله صالح مؤخرا اتفاق مع ايمن الظواهري ، واليمن في هذا الاتفاق عليه إفراغ السجون المعروفة للجهاديين. والحكومة اليمنية تقوم بتجنيد مقاتلين من المجاهدين لمحاربة الأعداء الداخليين كما تمتنع عن اتخاذ تدابير حقيقية لمكافحة تنظيم القاعدة في شبه الجزيرة العربية.
العلاقة الثلاثية بين النظام اليمني و القاعدة تمكنهم جميع من مواصلة تحقيق أهدافهم على حساب القضايا الوطنية والإقليمية ، والأمن العالمي.

اليمن تفرج عن 95 من الجهاديين

ذكرت تقارير من اليمن بالتفصيل في صنعاء لقاء بين الرئيس صالح وعدد من ما يسمى الجهاديين أواخر كانون الثاني / يناير. المتشددين طالبوا بالافراج عن المسجونين المرتبطين بها. وهناك لجنة رئاسية حددت 170 الجهاديين مؤهلين لإطلاق سراحهم ، وأطلق سراح 95 يوم السبت الماضي. وتشير تقارير أخرى إلى أن السلطات تستعد لاطلاق سراح 300 شخص من مجموع 400 من المشتبه بأنتمائهم الى القاعده في السجن

في آخر جولة من المفاوضات ، طلب الرئيس صالح من المجاهدين المسلحين على الانخراط في أعمال العنف ضد الحركة الشعبية الجنوبية. والانتفاضة الجنوبية عازمة على تحقيق استقلال جنوب اليمن ، ويشكل تهديدا كبيرا لحكم صالح واحكام قبضته على السلطة . طارق الفضلي كان مشارك في هذه الاجتماعات وعقد اجتماعات لاحقة في ابين ، وهناك توجيهات رسميه للقيادة العسكرية بتزويد مجموعات المرتزقة بالاسلحة والذخائر والفضلي معروف انه قاتل الى جانب اسمه بن لادن في افغانستان ، وقد اتهم بالتواطؤ في تفجير فندق عدن عام 1992 ، في اول اعتداء لتنظيم القاعدة الذي استهدف القوات الاميركية.
اخت الفضلي متزوجة من العميد علي محسن الأحمر ،الاخ غير الشقيق للرئيس صالح والمجند مع اسامه بن لادن منذ مطلع الثمانينات الرئيس صالح استخدم الفضلي والافغان العرب في حربه ضد الاشتراكيين الجنوبيين في حرب 1994 وكانت المكافأة لبعض الموالين لأسامة بن لادن مناصب عالية في السلطه والجيش بعد الحرب الاهلية عام 1994.
في الآونة الأخيرة ، أدخل العميد الاحمر المتطرفين السنة في صفوف الجيش خلال حرب صعده 2004-2008 ضد “الحوثي” . ونفس المراجع هم من إضفاء الشرعية على حد سواء في عام 1994 او في حرب صعدة بوصف العدو(كافر). هذه المهمة أكثر سهولة من قبل وسائل الاعلام الرسمية في وصف كل من الحزب الاشتراكي والشيعة شياطين .

انتشار تنظيم القاعدة والمتطرفين شبه حكومي يتيح للجهاديين التدريب ، والخبرة ، والاتصالات ، والاستفادة المالية ، والقدرة على تلقي أملاءات النظام وأتباعه. وتم منح العديد منهم رواتب في الجيش ومناصب رسمية. بعد سنوات من دمج النشطاء في قوات الأمن اليمنية والبيروقراطية ، ومن جوانب حكوميه كان يختارهم من قبل المتطرفين.
مفاوضات مباشرة بين الرئيس اليمني مع قادة تنظيم القاعدة في اليمن “في برنامج للحوار” أنشئ في عام 2002. من خلال المناقشة من القرآن ، فإن البرنامج يسعى إلى الحصول على ضمانات بأن المجاهدين لن تشن هجمات داخل اليمن لكنه لم يقل شيئا عن الشرعية الإسلامية من الهجمات على القوات الأمريكية في العراق. استمر هذا البرنامج حتى عام 2005 ، وطالب بعض المشاركين به الإعلان عن البرنامج.

في عام 2005 ، بدأ الرئيس صالح التفاوض علنا مع الجهاديين. واحدة من هذه المفاوضات في عام 2006 أجرى صالح ورئيس جهاز الامن السياسي في اليمن. مع’ممثل الجهاديين رشاد محمد سعيد (ابو الفداء) ،الذي يمثل عنصرا مهما في تنظيم القاعدة وحركة طالبان الذي كان في شرائط الفيديو بالقرب من اسامة بن لادن.

ووصف سعيد في وقت لاحق نتائج الاجتماع مع صالح. “انه تم الاتفاق على إلغاء التدابير المفروضة على أولئك الذين يطلق سراحهم ، مثل الاقامة الجبرية والتوقيع الشهري في السجل الرسمي وأخذ إذن إذا كنت ترغب في الذهاب إلى منطقه اخرى في اليمن”.
في عام 2006 أشاد سعيد باليمن بأنه “أفضل بلد” للتعامل مع المسلحين ، وأشار إلى ان “الحكومة اليمنية لن تدخل مواجهات مفتوحة مع المجاهدين”.

الرئيس صالح رتب وظائف الدولة ، والسيارات ، ودفعات نقدية ، وحتى حفلات الزفاف للمتشددين الذين عاهدوا على السير على تلقي توجيهات مسئولون النظام وتدور هذه المفاوضات تحت داعي في تعزيز وإعادة التأهيل والاندماج في المجتمع.

في يناير 2008 ، حسبما ذكر متحدث باسم خلية للقاعدة في اليمن وقال ان الحكومة قد قامت بتجنيد بعض أعضائها للقتال في حرب صعدة. في المقابل ، فإن قوات الأمن وافق على “تخفيف من اضطهاد (القاعدة).
” أحمد منصور افاد ان المجموعة على اتصال مع الحكومة من خلال وسطاء ، واضاف ان بن لادن ، بفرض حظر على الهجمات الموجهة ضد النظام في اليمن ، وأن الولايات المتحدة لا يزال العدو رقم واحد. وقياداة أخرى لتنظيم القاعدة والمطلعين الذين اكدواإشارة بن لادن ، وحظر الهجمات ضد حكومة صالح وتشمل ناصر البحري (ابو جندل) ، الذي عمل حارساً شخصياً لأبن لادن لفترة طويلة ، ورشاد سعيد من القاعدة الوسطى

الشق الآخر من ثلاثية علاقة الرئيس صالح مع تنظيم القاعدة و القيادة المركزية للجماعة ، الذي يعتقد حاليا أن يكون في افغانستان او باكستان او اليمن الذي يعتبر صاحب اعلى رقم في تزويد الآلاف من المجندين للجهاد الأفغاني في الثمانينات ، وكذلك تشكيل نواة للأفراد الذين يتولون حراسة ، وتغذية ، ونقل بن لادن.
رحب صالح بالآلاف من اليمنيين وغير اليمنيين من مجاهدين افغانستان بعد انسحاب السوفيت.
أيمن الظواهري وأسامة بن لادن ، كثيراً ما زاروا اليمن في عام 1990 ويوجد الكثير من الموالين لهم في الحكومة اليمنية .
منذ زمن طويل نمط التفاوض موجود. بعد اعتقال خالد بن عطاش في عام 1999 ، اتصل بن لادن بمسؤولين يمنين وتفاوض من اجل الافراج عن خالد عطاش. بعدها افرج النظام اليمني عن عطاش ووعد بعدم مواجهة تنظيم القاعدة. في المقابل ،تعهد بن لادن بعدم مهاجمة الحكومة اليمنيه.
عطاش ذهب في وقت لاحق ولعب دوراً في تفجير المدمرة الامريكية كول.
جولة أخرى من المفاوضات ويبدو أنها وقعت في 2003 والذي أدى إلى تقديم تنازلات من قبل النظام حصانة من اي هجوم.
وهناك حاليا اتفاق بين الرئيس اليمني صالح ، وتنظيم القاعدة الارهابي هو تقديم تقرير هنا عن الحرب الطويلة اليومية وتفاصيل الاتصال بين أيمن الظواهري والرئيس صالح في أيلول / سبتمبر بعد الهجوم على السفارة الامريكيه وقال مسؤول عسكري امريكي ان “صالح يخشى ان حكومته ستكون الهدف القادعده، ولكن الظواهري قال ان تنظيم القاعدة يريد من الحكومه اليمنيه الافراج عن سجناء من تنظيم القاعده اتو للمشاركه في محاربة المتمردين الحوثيين.”
انشطة الجهاديين
رغم أن اليمن انضمت رسميا الى الحرب التي تقودها الولايات المتحدة على الارهاب بعد هجمات 11 سبتمبر ، وقد سهل النظام اليمني للجهاديين جهود من الخارج ،وحماية المقاتلين في الداخل ، الولايات المتحدة مرارا ضللت عن مكان وجودهم.
في أوائل عام 2007 ، سجلت صحيفة يمنية عدد 1800 يمني وصلوا الى العراق للجهاد التي إفادة أسرهم أنهم شباب تم تدريبهم على مستوى عال من قبل القادة العسكريين اليمنيين.
المحاكم اليمنية لا تجرم الهجمات على المدنيين أو القوات الأمريكية في الخارج. في عام 2006 محاكمة 13 من المجاهدين الذين قاتلوا في العراق ، وحكمت المحكمة أنه ليس ضد القانون اليمني قتل رعايا أجانب في الأراضي الإسلامية المحتلة . على الرغم من اعتراف المتهمون انهم قاتلوا القوات الأمريكية والعراقية ، وأنهم لا يواجهون أي عقوبة قضائية وأدينوا فقط بتهمة تزوير الوثائق.
اليمن يرفض تسليم أو سجن نشطاء القاعدة الذين أدينوا في الهجوم الارهابى على المدمرة الامريكية كول. الرئيس صالح قدم كل التساهل مع المدانين في الهجمات على السياح والمنشآت النفطية. و منح العديد منهم “الإقامة الجبرية” بعد فرارهم من السجن.
النظام المصرفي في اليمن تفتقر إلى إطار قانوني لتجريم تمويل الإرهاب.
ويؤكد بعض المحللين أن بعض الهجمات الإرهابية التى وقعت منذ عام 2006 وكانت ورائها قوى الامن اليمنية في محاولة للتلاعب على الراي الدولي وعدم الإلقاء بظلالها على الأزمات السياسية الداخلية. واحد من اكثر الإرهابيين المطلوبين اسمه حمزة علي صالح الضحياني قال “انا مستعد لاثبات حقيقة أن بعض الهجمات المخطط لها بالتنسيق والاتفاق مع الأمن السياسي وعملائه للحصول على دعم خارجي”.
في نوفمبر 2008 ،أجرت صحيفة القدس العربي مقابلة مع ارهابي سابق في اليمن ، وصفته بأنه “قريب جدا من القاعدة”.أوضح ان المنظمة الإرهابية قد دخلت “مرحلة ايجابية” في التخطيط لهجوم على الولايات المتحدة يفوق 11 سبتمبر.
القدس العربي التي نشرت عام 1998 فتوى ضد الولايات المتحدة من قبل بن لادن. اشارت ان الارهابي اليمني السابق ذكر انه على اتصال مع القيادات الحالية للتنظيم في اليمن ، الذي بدوره يتلقى رسائل من بن لادن.
مجموعات القاعدة في اليمن والمملكة العربية السعودية دمجت عملياتها رسميا في يناير ، تحت اسم تنظيم القاعدة في شبه الجزيرة العربية أعلنت المجموعة الاندماج فى مؤتمر صحفى حضره واحد صحفي ،اسمه عبدلاه شايع ، وهو باحث يعمل في وكالة الانباء اليمنية سباء.
اعلن أيمن الظواهري في بيان. ان مقر الجماعه في اليمن وان امير المجموعه هو يمني ، ناصر الوحيشي ، الذي كان احد المقربين من اسامة بن لادن في أفغانستان. الذي تعهد بضرب المصالح الغربية وطرق الإمداد عبر المنطقة.
ويبدو أن استراتيجية المجموعة الجديدة والأهداف العريضة التنمية على جزء من القاعدة المركزية في تعزيز استراتيجيتها العالمية.
الأهداف المعلنة منذ ابريل 2008 في بيان لتنظيم القاعدة الذي قال ان القيادة المركزية تعمل من اجل إنشاء الخلايا الإرهابية والسيطرة على البحار المحيطة باليمن يشكل “خطوة حيوية” في تحقيق الخلافة العالمية فإن مضيق باب المندب المائي وخليج عدن وصفت بأنها “من الأهمية الإستراتيجية العليا” في تنظيم القاعدة في خطة طويلة الأجل. في أبريل أصدرت تنظيم القاعدة بيان أبرز الهجمات على المدمرة الأمريكية كول في عام 2001 والناقلة الفرنسية ليمبورغ في عام 2002 في ميناء عدن.
وردا على إعلان تنظيم القاعدة في شبه الجزيرة العربية أعلن نظام صالح عن عزمه العثور على مخبأ الجماعات الإرهابية . ودعا صالح زعماء القبائل والمواطنين لتسليم المسلحين. واتهم مسئولون في أحزاب المعارضة من دعمهم لتنظيم القاعدة في محاولة للإطاحة بالحكومة. أقامت قوات الأمن نقاط التفتيش ، وفازت باعتقال رجل يدعى الزاهري لأن اسمه مماثل لزعيم تنظيم القاعدة.
تنظيم القاعدة في شبه الجزيرة العربية أصدر بيانا شرح فيه لأعضاء القاعدة في اليمن وخرجها وحثهم على القتال من اجل شرعية الدولة من قبل المراجع وحرب 1994. نسخة من الرسالة التي حصلت عليها أخبار اليمن. مرددا ما سبق الاتفاق عليه من قبل صالح والظواهري في أواخر عام 2008 ، وأعلن تنظيم القاعدة في شبه الجزيرة العربية وشرح لأتباعه أن الرئيس صالح يريد جهاديين للقتال لحساب الدولة ، وخاصة أولئك الذين سبق أن قاتلوا في حرب عام 1994 ، ضد من أسموهم بأعداء الوحدة — في الجنوب . سيحصلوا في المقابل الإفراج عن السجناء وإزالة عوائق سفرهم الى الخارج للجهاد .

Yemen strikes multi-faceted deals with al Qaeda

Filed under: Janes Articles — by Jane Novak at 9:05 pm on Wednesday, February 11, 2009

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

News reports from Yemen detail a meeting in Sana’a between President Saleh and a number of so-called reformed jihadists late January. The militants demanded freedom for imprisoned associates. A presidential committee identified 170 jihadists eligible for release, and 95 were released Saturday. Other reports indicate that authorities have cleared for release a total of 300 of the 400 total suspected al Qaeda in prison.

In the latest round of negotiations, Saleh reportedly asked the militants to engage in violence against the southern mobility movement. The southern uprising is bent on achieving the independence of South Yemen and is a substantial threat to Saleh’s grip on power. Tariq al Fahdli was present at the meeting, and at a later meeting in Abyan, militants brandished an official order directing the military to supply the mercenary group with arms and ammunition. Fahdli fought alongside bin Laden in Afghanistan and has been accused of complicity in the 1992 Aden hotel bombing, the first al Qaeda attack that targeted American troops. Fahdli’s sister is married to Brigadier General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar, President Saleh’s half brother and a recruiter for bin Laden in the 1980’s.

President Saleh deployed Fahdli and other Afghan Arabs against southern Socialists in 1994’s civil war. Some bin Laden loyalists were rewarded with high positions in the administration and military after the 1994 civil war. More recently, General al Ahmar incorporated Sunni extremists into military ranks during the 2004-2008 Saada War against Shiite “Houthi” rebels. Militants legitimize both the 1994 and Saada deployments by referencing the “apostate” nature of the enemy. This task is made easier by the official media’s description of both Socialists and Shiites as satanic.

The deployment of al Qaeda extremists as a government paramilitary affords the jihadists training, experience, contacts, financial benefit and the ability to dictate to the regime and indoctrinate followers. Many are awarded military salaries and official positions. After years of integrating militants into Yemen’s security forces and bureaucracy, aspects of the state have been co-opted by extremists.

Direct negotiations between the Yemeni president and al Qaeda operatives grew out of Yemen’s “Dialog Program” established in 2002. Through discussion of the Koran, the program sought to gain assurances that jihadists would not launch assaults within Yemen but said nothing about the Islamic legitimacy of attacks on US troops in Iraq. The program ran until 2005 and was described by some participants as an expedited release program.

In 2005, President Saleh began openly negotiating with the jihadists. One such negotiation in 2006 was conducted by Saleh and the head of Yemen’s Political Security Organization. The jihadists’ representative was Rashad Mohammed Saeed (Abu al Feida), formerly a major figure in al Qaeda and the Taliban who has been seen in videos near Osama Bin Laden.

Saeed later described the outcome of the meeting with Saleh. “It was also agreed to cancel measures imposed on those who are released, like house arrest, the monthly signing of official register and taking permission if you wish to go another province in Yemen,” he said. In 2006, Saeed praised Yemen as “the best country” to deal with militants and noted “The Yemeni government will not enter open confrontations with Mujahideen”.

President Saleh has also arranged state jobs, cars, cash payments and even weddings for militants who pledged to follow the regime’s dictates. Officials spin these negotiations as fostering rehabilitation and integration into society.

In January 2008, a spokesman for an al Qaeda cell in Yemen said the government had recruited some of its members to fight in the Saada War. In exchange, the security forces agreed to “ease the persecution of (al Qaeda) members.” Ahmed Mansour said the group is and has been in contact with the government through intermediaries, adding bin Laden ordered a ban on attacks directed against the regime and that the US remains enemy number one. Other al Qaeda insiders who reference bin Laden’s prohibition on assaults against Saleh’s government include Nasser al Bahri (Abu Jandal), bin Laden’s long time body guard, and Rashad Saeed.

Al Qaeda Central

Another prong of President Saleh’s tripartite relation with al Qaeda is with the group’s central leadership, thought to currently be in Afghanistan or Pakistan. Yemen supplied thousands of recruits to the Afghan jihad in the 1980’s, and Yemenis were among the top ranks in the organization, as well as forming the core of personnel who were guarding, feeding and transporting bin Laden. Saleh welcomed thousands of Yemeni and non-Yemeni jihadists from Afghanistan after the withdrawal of the Soviets. Ayman Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden frequently visited and preached in Yemen in the 1990’s and have many loyalists among Yemeni government ranks.

A long standing pattern of negotiation exists. After al Qaeda operative Khallad bin Attash was arrested in Yemen in 1999, Bin Laden contacted a Yemeni official and bargained for Attash’s release. The Yemeni regime released Attash and promised not to confront al Qaeda. In exchange, Bin Laden pledged not to attack the government. Attash later went on the play a role in the USS Cole bombing. Another round of negotiation appears to have taken place 2003 in which regime concessions resulted in immunity from attack.

A current agreement between Yemen’s President Saleh and the al Qaeda terror group was referenced in a report in here at The Long War Journal detailing communication between Ayman Zawahiri and President Saleh after September’s embassy attack. A US military official reported that, “Saleh feared his government would be the next target, but Zawahiri wanted al Qaeda prisoners released from Yemeni jails and committed al Qaeda foot soldiers to fight the Houthi rebels.”

Active Jihadists

Although Yemen formally joined the US led War on Terror after the Sept. 11 attacks, the Yemeni regime has facilitated jihadists efforts externally, sheltered fighters internally, and repeatedly misled the US about their whereabouts and status. In early 2007, a Yemeni newspaper tallied 1800 Yemenis who traveled to Iraq for jihad; their families said the young men were trained by top level Yemeni military commanders.

Yemeni courts fail to criminalize attacks on US troops or civilians abroad. In a 2006 trial of 13 jihadists who fought in Iraq, the court found that it is not against Yemeni law to murder foreign nationals in “occupied” Muslim nations. Although the defendants admitted to fighting US and Iraqi forces, they faced no judicial penalty and were convicted only of document fraud.

Yemen refuses to extradite or imprison the al Qaeda operatives convicted of the terror attack on the USS Cole. President Saleh has been equally lenient with those convicted of attacks on tourists and oil facilities. Several were granted “house arrest” after escaping from prison. Yemen’s banking system lacks the legal framework to criminalize terrorist financing.

Some analysts assert that some of the terror attacks since 2006 were orchestrated by Yemen’s security forces in a bid to manipulate international perceptions or overshadow domestic political crises. One of Yemen’s most wanted terrorists, Hamza Ali Saleh al Dhayiuani, 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.”

In November 2008, Al Quds Al Arabi carried an interview with a former terrorist in Yemen who was described as “very close to al Qaeda”. The senior jihadi reported that the terrorist organization has entered a “positive phase” in planning an attack against the US that will “outdo by far” Sept. 11. Al Quds Al Arabi previously published bin Laden’s 1998 fatwa against the US. The Yemeni former operative reported that he is contact with the current leaders of the organization in Yemen who in turn receive messages from bin Laden.

Al Qaida groups in Yemen and Saudi Arabia formally merged operations in January, under the name al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The group announced the merger at a press conference attended by a single journalist, Abdulea Shaya, employed as a researcher by the state news agency, SABA. The group was acknowledged by Ayman Zawahiri in a statement. AQAP is based in Yemen. Its leader is a Yemeni, Nasser al Wahishi, who was a close associate of Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. AQAP vowed to strike at Western interests and supply routes across the region. The new group and its broad goals appear to be a strategic development on the part of al Qaeda Central in furtherance of its global strategy.

The stated goals of AQAP mirror an April 2008 statement by Al Qaeda’s central leadership which said establishing naval terror cells and control of the seas around Yemen is a “vital step” in achieving a global caliphate. The Bab al Mandeb waterway and Gulf of Aden were termed “of supreme strategic importance” in al Qaeda’s long term plan. The April statement highlighted the attacks on the USS Cole in 2001 and the French tanker Limburg in 2002 in Port Aden.

In response to the formation of AQAP, Saleh’s regime made several announcements of its intent to find the group’s hideout. Saleh called on tribal leaders and citizens to turn in the militants. Officials accused the opposition parties of supporting al Qaeda in an attempt to overthrow the state. Security forces set up check points, engaged in hunting activities and beat a man named al Zaheri because his name was similar to the al Qaeda chieftain.

AQAP issued a communiqué explaining the unique configuration to its local members and legitimized fighting for the state by referencing the 1994 war. A copy of the letter was obtained by News Yemen. Echoing the earlier agreement by Saleh and Zawahiri late in 2008, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula explained to its followers that President Saleh wants jihadists to fight on behalf of the state, especially those who did already in 1994, against the enemies of unity- southern oppositionists. AQAP in return will gain prison releases and unimpeded travel to external theaters of jihad, the letter explained.

-Jane, Long War Journal

“Anywhere but Yemen”

Filed under: USA, Yemen, gitmo, mentions — by Jane Novak at 10:32 am on Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Weekly Standard, Yemenat:

في اليوم الثاني والعشرين من يناير 2009، وبعد يومين من أداء باراك أوباما يمين تولي المنصب،أصدر الرئيس الجديد أمرا تنفيذيا يقضي بإغلاق مركز الاعتقال في خليج غوانتانامو بكوبا خلال عام واحد.
ومن خلال كاميرات رصدت الرئيس وهو يمضي توقيعه على الوثيقة، قال أوباما أن التغيير سيعيد للولايات المتحدة “الأساس الأخلاقي السامي” و “استعادة المعايير عبر إجراءات القيم الدستورية التي قد رفعت من شأن هذا البلد حتى في أثناء الحرب، والتعامل مع الإرهاب “.
وفي طلب تنفيذي مستقل، أنشأ الرئيس الجديد لجنة عمل تقود لمراجعة شاملة في سياسة الاعتقال الأمريكية ولتزويده “بمعلومات من حيث الكيفية التي نتمكن من خلالها معالجة التخلص من بعض المعتقلين الذين من الممكن أن يكونوا حالياً في غوانتانامو،ولا يمكننا نقلهم إلى بلدان أخرى،والذين يمكن أن يشكلوا خطرا جديا على الولايات المتحدة”.
وفي حين كان أوباما قد تعمد الغموض بشأن ما قد يحدث لحوالي 248 محتجزاً في خليج غوانتانامو حالياً، فإن سياسة إدارته بدأت تتبلور سريعاً في منتصف الطريق في جميع أنحاء العالم. فهناك حوالي 100 ممن تبقى من معتقلي غوانتنامو هم من اليمن، موطن أجداد أسامة بن لادن.
وفي تصريحات نشرت يوم إصدار أوباما أوامره التنفيذية، قال السفير الأميركي في اليمن انه يأمل أن يسمح لـ: “غالبية” اليمنيين المحتجزين بالعودة إلى ديارهم لـ:”يصنعون لأنفسهم مستقبلا هنا”.
وذكر السفير ستيفن سيش لموقع الخارجية الإلكتروني التابع للحكومة الأمريكية: “نود بالتأكيد أن نتمكن من إعادتهم لليمن وأن نساعدهم على إعادة دمج أنفسهم في مجتمعهم وعائلاتهم “. ورغم أنه أقر ببعض “المخاطر المؤكدة” في عودة الإرهابيين المشتبه بهم إلى الوسط السكاني، رأى سيش أن عددا قليلا فقط من المحتجزين يشكلون مشاكل حقيقية. وأضاف قائلاً: ” ربما باستثناء حالة بعض عناصر متشددة جدا، نعتقد أن غالبية هؤلاء المعتقلين يمكن وضعهم في برنامج إعادة الاندماج بما يعود بالفائدة بهدف تمكينهم مع مرور الوقت من العثور على طريق العودة إلى المجتمع اليمني دون تشكيل خطر أمني “.
وذهب الرئيس اليمني علي عبد الله صالح بعد يومين أبعد من ذلك. ففي ظهور له في مؤتمر أمني بصنعاء، أعلن صالح أن اليمن قد وضعت برنامجا لإعادة التأهيل، وأنه سيتم فعلياً إرسال كافة المعتقلين اليمنيين إلى بلادهم في غضون ثلاثة أشهر. كما أعلن: “الآن وفي حدود 60-90 يوما، سيكون 94 معتقلا يمنياً هنا بيننا”. (Read on …)

Yemen’s Multi-Faceted Deals with al Qaeda (GT Arabic)

Filed under: Janes Articles, janes articles arabic — by Jane Novak at 4:13 pm on Wednesday, February 4, 2009

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 on …)

“Anywhere But Yemen”, Weekly Standard

Filed under: gitmo, mentions — by Jane Novak at 11:58 pm on Monday, February 2, 2009

A good analysis from the Weekly Standard on the issue of the difficulties of repatriating Yemeni detainees from Guantanamo Bay detention facility: There are two obvious problems with releasing the Yemeni detainees from Guantánamo: the detainees and Yemen.

I like the section on Hilal because its important that more people understand that a top member of the Yemeni government, close to President Saleh, seemingly had foreknowledge of 9/11. Tom and Steve’s write up:

Al Hilal worked for the Political Security Organization (PSO), which is an intelligence agency that reports directly to President Saleh. The PSO operated an official government “deportation” operation, in which veteran mujahedeen were relocated. The U.S. government says al Hilal has admitted that he was tasked with keeping tabs on al Qaeda operatives for Saleh’s government. The U.S. government also charges, however, that al Hilal was really an al Qaeda member who used his position of authority to assist his fellow terrorists. (Read on …)

“I believe the detainees may be exploited by the regime as a bargaining chip with both the US and Al-Qaeda,” Novak stated.

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, gitmo, mentions — by Jane Novak at 8:36 am on Thursday, January 29, 2009

Maybe this, “It is extremely difficult to have confidence in the regime’s commitment to security issues,” she said.

For the record my full answer did express concerns about the Gitmo detainees reintergration into society, possible torture and arbitrary arrest. However there were several people interviewed for the article who expressed similiar concerns, so the author took that part of my answer which is good because someone has to say it.

Yemen Times: Vague plans for Gitmo returnees’ rehabilitation center

SANA’A, Jan. 28 — President Ali Abdullah Saleh confirmed last week the government’s eight-month old announcement to set up a rehabilitation center for Yemeni returnees from Guantanamo. The center will be operational within three months from now.

“Ninety-four Yemeni detainees will be here among us” stated President Saleh during the security conference last week. He also mentioned that the former US administration had suggested sending the Yemeni detainees to Saudi Arabia rather than Yemen because of the lack of a rehabilitation environment in the country. (Read on …)

Al Qaeda Groups Merge

Filed under: janes articles arabic — by Jane Novak at 11:38 pm on Tuesday, January 27, 2009


الأحد , 1 فبراير 2009
ان دمج تنظيم القاعدة في الجزيرة العربية يكشف ان السعودية بسبب فرار إلى مناخ أكثر ترحابا في اليمن ، والانضمام إلى الآخرين الذين وصلوا مؤخرا من العراق ، والصومال ، وباكستان. تنظيم القاعدة في اليمن أعلن الاندماج مع المملكة العربية السعودية لتنظيم القاعدة لتشكيل تنظيم القاعدة في شبه الجزيرة العربية ، أو عقاب. وجاء هذا الاعلان في أحدث الإصدارات من مجلة على الانترنت السادة آلعقاب ملاحم ، أو صدى الملاحم. وهناك أيضا الدعاية الفيديو الذي أصدرته جماعة يوم الجمعة.

الرئيس الجديد هو ناصرالعقاب ، وتنظيم القاعدة في اليمن وزعيم السكرتير الشخصي السابق لأسامة بن لادن. كان من جانب ايران لتسليم اليمن في عام 2003. الرجل الثاني في القيادة سعيد علي الشهري ، الذي تم إطلاق سراحه من جوانتانامو الى المملكة العربية السعودية في تشرين الثاني / نوفمبر 2007. سعيد الشهري واتهمت وزارة الدفاع في وثائق تقدم دعما لوجستيا لتنظيم القاعدة في ايران من بينها اطلاعهم على كيفية الدخول إلى أفغانستان. الجامعة العربية هي المتهمين بالمشاركة في تفجير السفارة الاميركية في سبتمبر 2008. السابق برتبة مقدم ، قاسم الريمي ، ويبدو في الشريط وقال : “إن الكارثة التي تواجهك بالنسبة لك ويكفي لتحقيق الذين هم الأعداء الحقيقيون الخاص بك : [هم] أولئك الذين يتكلمون لغتك… ولكن هل محاصرة وحرمان لكم العلاج الطبي والطعام والماء ، ومنع هؤلاء الذين إخوانكم في عمان والقاهرة ودمشق وبيروت والرياض وصنعاء من مساعدتكم. ”

وسوف بناء مخيمات تدريب في اليمن للمقاتلين الذين يرغبون في الانضمام الى الجهاد في قطاع غزة. وأعلنت الجماعة ، “من هنا نبدأ ونحن نجتمع في الاقصى” في غزة أيضا موضوع الدعاية البيانات الصادرة خلال هذا الشهر من قبل بن لادن وأيمن الظواهري ،الجامعة الليبي ، الطالبان ، و آل القاعدة في المغرب الاسلامي. ووفقا لشركة السادة ، المجموعة ستركز الاستراتيجية على قطع خطوط الامداد من الدول الغربية الداعمة لاسرائيل.

ترسيم تابعة بين الجماعات الجهادية في اليمن غالبا ما يكون على طول الخطوط الجغرافية وكذلك تعتمد على قوة علاقة بتنظيم القاعدة المركزية القادة. في الأسبوع الماضي صحيفة الوسط أفاد بيان صادر عن كتائب جند اليمن ان اكثر من 300 توجه الجهاديين الى العراق ، والصومال ، وأفغانستان في عام 2008. المفاوضات مع الحكومة فشلت ، وفقا للقائد “أبو أسامة”. “لم يتبق بيننا وبينهم (الحكومة) إلا السيف” ، حسبما ذكر البيان. جاء هذا البيان بعد ان القوات اليمنية قتلت اثنين من العاملين في صنعاء الاسبوع الماضي.

وعدت مجموعة من الهجمات على منشآت نفطية ، والسياح ، وقوات الأمن. واضاف البيان ان محافظات ابين وشبوة ، حضرموت ، مأرب ، وشركة الجوف ، وصعدة على وشك الوقوع في تنظيم القاعدة. في كانون الأول / ديسمبر ، قتل ثلاثة من الجهاديين في رجل مثلي الجنس ، وأبين والحاخام في عمران.

وقال التقرير إن الحرب الطويلة في المجلة أشارت إلى أن أيمن الظواهري ووعد الرئيس اليمني علي عبدالله صالح المزيد من المقاتلين للحرب صعدة شمال تريد مزيدا من السجون والافراج عن عملاء له. صالح الجهاديين وتستخدم لتدريب القوات شبه العسكرية المنتشرة ضد القبائل الشيعية والمتمردين والسكان المدنيين في كثير من الأحيان. ثقت هيومن رايتس ووتش الحكومة القصف العشوائي للمناطق السكنية في سعاده ، الحصار المفروض على المواد الغذائية والادوية الى المدنيين ، والاعتقالات التعسفية ، ومنع وصول المساعدات الإنسانية باعتبارها مخالفة للقانون الدولي.

الحكومة اليمنية لدعم حماس

الرئيس صالح وركزت الجهود على تعزيز حركة حماس. صالح لجميع موظفي القطاع العام على منح راتب يوم واحد من قطاع غزة ، ودعا إلى تفعيل العربية اتفاقية الدفاع المشترك ضد اسرائيل فى 20 يناير خلال قمة في الكويت.

اليمن هي المزود الرئيسي للاسلحة للجماعات الجهادية في جميع أنحاء المنطقة ، وإسرائيل ، قال إن اليمن تهريب الاسلحة الى حماس عبر السودان ومصر. اليمن تستضيف زعيم حماس خالد مشعل اليوم الثلاثاء. ويحتفظ مكتب حماس في اليمن بدعم قوي من الحكومة اليمنية.

يوم 17 يناير ، نبع أخبار اليمن ، صحفي مصدرا مقربا من الحكومة ، وأعلن أن اليمن قد افتتحت أول مخيم لاستقبال الأجانب لتدريب للجهاد في غزة. ما يعني ان الجهاديين وسوف تلقى في صحيفة جامعة الإيمان التي يرأسها الشيخ بن عبد المجيد الزنداني الذي سمي ارهابية الممول من قبل لجنة الامم المتحدة 1267 ونتيجة لمستشاره الروحي لاسامة بن لادن من قبل وزارة الخزانة. الزنداني يعتبر حليفا قويا للرئيس صالح. مجمع الايمان في وقت لاحق نفى المتحدث باسم معسكر تدريب وكان داخل المبنى.

وادعت الولايات المتحدة الى ان جامعة الإيمان هي مركز تجنيد وتدريب لعناصر في القاعدة. وتشمل خريجي دورته الاميركي جون ووكر ليند والفرنسية بريجيت تحويل. داخل اليمن ، والادعاءات حول قرب الإيمان إلى معسكر يديره الرئيس صالح الاخ غير الشقيق للرئيس اليمني علي محسن الأحمر ، والتجنيد لابن لادن في 1980s. اليمن قوات الأمن والجيش ، وتحتوي على إدارة قوية من المتعاطفين مع بن لادن و “تأهيل.

اليمن يستعد لاستقبال معتقلين

الرئيس صالح أعلن أن الولايات المتحدة سوف اليمنية ترحيل 94 معتقلا في غضون ثلاثة أشهر. اليمن تبني مركزا لاعادة التأهيل والمساعدة مع الولايات المتحدة ، ومكتب التحقيقات الاتحادي هذا الاسبوع وسلم نصف مليون دولار من المعدات بما في جمع بيانات بيولوجية متنقلة يضع بصمات الأصابع. الرئيس صالح اليوم السبت ان اليمن قد رفض الخطة الامريكية لاطلاق سراح 94 الى المملكة العربية السعودية لإعادة التأهيل. في 23 يناير المقابلة ، قال السفير الامريكى لدى اليمن ، وستيفن ان “الحكومة اليمنية مشروعة يمكن الإشارة إلى بعض المسائل التي تعيق قدرة فعاليته ضد الارهابيين”.

لاحظ عن حالة من اليمنيين في غوانتانامو ، قال : “باستثناء الحالة التي يكون من الصعب جدا في بعض العناصر الأساسية ، نعتقد أن غالبية هؤلاء المعتقلين يمكن وضعها بصورة منتجة في برنامج إعادة الدمج… مع مرور الوقت والهدف من لتمكينهم من العثور على طريق العودة الى المجتمع اليمني دون أن يشكل خطرا على الأمن “.

اليمن له تاريخ مقلق استرضاء نشطاء القاعدة ، وهو التاريخ الذي يشمل الافراج المبكر من الإرهابيين المدانين ، هروب متعددة ، مما يجعل التعامل مع الجماعة الارهابية ، والكذب الصريح على الولايات المتحدة عن حالة من القاعدة. في عام 2000 ، تعرض لهجوم يو اس اس كول في ميناء عدن مما ادى الى مقتل 17 بحارا أمريكيا ، و 10 مدنيا قتلوا في الهجوم الارهابى على السفارة الاميركية في صنعاء في أيلول / سبتمبر الماضي.

أخبار العصر –

Arabian Peninsula al Qaeda Groups Merge

Filed under: Janes Articles — by Jane Novak at 9:26 pm on Tuesday, January 27, 2009

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.

The new head of AQAP is Nassir al Wahishi, the al Qaeda in Yemen leader and former personal secretary to Osama bin Laden. He was extradited by Iran to Yemen in 2003. AQAP’s second-in-command is Said Ali al Shihri, who was released from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia in November 2007. Said al Shihri was accused in Department of Defense documents of providing logistical support to al Qaeda operatives in Iran including briefing them on how to enter Afghanistan. Al Shihiri is accused of participating in the bombing of the US embassy in September 2008. Wahishi’s former lieutenant, Qasim al Reimi, appears in the video saying, “The calamity which you experience suffices for you to realize who your true enemies are: [They are] those who speak your language … but besiege you and deprive you of medical treatment, food and water, and those who prevent your brothers in Amman, Cairo, Damascus, Beirut, Riyadh and San’a from assisting you.”

AQAP will construct training camps in Yemen for fighters who wish to join the jihad in the Gaza Strip. The group declared, “From here we start and in Aqsa we meet!” Gaza has also been the topic of propaganda statements issued this month by bin Laden, Ayman Zawahiri, Yeyah al Libi, the Taliban, and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. According to Sada al Malahim, the group’s strategy will focus on cutting supply lines of Western nations supporting Israel.

The delineation among affiliated jihadi groups in Yemen is often along geographical lines as well as dependant on the strength connection to al Qaeda’s central commanders. Last week the local newspaper Al Wasat reported a statement from the Yemen Soldiers Brigade that more than 300 jihadists traveled to Iraq, Somalia, and Afghanistan in 2008. Negotiations with the government failed, according to commander “Abu Osama.” “There is nothing left between us and them (government) except for the sword,” said the statement. The statement came after Yemeni forces killed two of its operatives in Sana’a last week.

The group promised attacks on oil facilities, tourists, and security forces. The statement also said that the governorates of Abyan, Shabwa, Hadhramout, Marib, Al Jawf, and Sa’ada are on the verge of falling into al Qaeda control. In December, jihadis murdered three homosexual men in Jahr, Abyan and a Rabbi in Amran.

A report in The Long War Journal noted that Ayman Zawahiri promised Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh more fighters for the northern Sa’ada War and wanted more prison releases for his operatives. Saleh uses jihadis to train the tribal paramilitaries deployed against Shiite rebels and often the civilian population. Human Rights Watch documented the government’s indiscriminate bombing of residential areas in Sa’ada, the blockade on food and medicine to civilians, arbitrary arrests, and the denial of humanitarian access as contrary to international law.

Yemeni government support of Hamas

President Saleh has focused considerable efforts on strengthening Hamas. Saleh ordered all public employees to donate one day’s salary to Gaza and called for the activation of the Arab Joint Defense Agreement against Israel on Jan. 20 during a summit in Kuwait.

Yemen is a main supplier of weapons to jihadist groups throughout the region, and Israel said that Yemen smuggles weapons to Hamas through Sudan and Egypt. Yemen will host Hamas leader Khalid Mishaal on Tuesday. Hamas maintains an office in Yemen with strong support from the Yemeni government.

On Jan. 17, Yemen’s Naba News, a news source close to the government, announced that Yemen had opened its first camp to receive foreigners to train for jihad in Gaza. The would-be jihadists will be received at al Iman University, headed by Sheik Abdulmajid al Zindani who is designated as a terrorist financier by the UN’s 1267 committee and as a spiritual advisor to bin Laden by the US Treasury. Zindani is a strong ally President Saleh. An al Iman spokesman later denied a training camp was on the premises.

The US has alleged that al Iman University is a recruiting and training center for al Qaeda operatives. Its alumni include American John Walker Lindh and French convert Willie Brigitte. Within Yemen, allegations have centered on the proximity of al Iman to a military camp run by President Saleh’s half-brother Ali Mohsen al Ahmar, a recruiter for bin Laden in the 1980s. Yemen’s security forces, military, and administration contain a strong contingent of bin Laden sympathizers and “rehabilitated” jihaddists.

Yemen prepares to receive detainees

President Saleh announced that the US will repatriate 94 Yemeni detainees within three months. Yemen is building a rehabilitation center with US assistance, and the FBI this week delivered a half million dollars worth of biometric collection equipment including mobile fingerprint sets. President Saleh said Saturday that Yemen had rejected a US plan to release the 94 to Saudi Arabia for rehabilitation. In a Jan. 23 interview, US Ambassador to Yemen, Steven Seche noted, “The Yemeni government legitimately can cite capacity issues that hinder its effectiveness against terrorists.”

Remarking on the status of the Yemenis at Guantanamo, Seche said, “Except in the case perhaps of some very hard-core elements, we believe that the majority of these detainees can be put productively into a … reintegration program with the goal over time of enabling them to find a way back into Yemeni society without posing a security risk.”

Yemen has a troubling history of placating al Qaeda operatives, a history that includes early releases of convicted terrorists, multiple escapes, deal making with the terror group, and outright lying to the US on the status of al Qaeda operatives. In 2000, the USS Cole was attacked in the Aden port killing 17 US sailors, and 10 civilians were killed in a terror assault on the US Embassy in Sana’a last September.

Zawahiri Pledges New Fighters to Yemen’s Sa’ada War

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Iran, Janes Articles, Military, Saada War, embassy — by Jane Novak at 7:21 pm on Sunday, January 18, 2009

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.

Zawahiri contacted the Qods Force after his agreement to supply more fighters to Yemen to battle Shiite rebels, a US military source was quoted as saying. Zawahiri spoke to Qods Force commander Brigadier General Qassem Suleimani, the senior US military intelligence official told The Long War Journal, confirming the account in The Wall Street Journal.

“Zawahiri was concerned that the al Qaeda-manned militia fighting on the side of the government against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels might threaten Iran’s interests in Yemen,” the official said.

The Yemeni government incorporated thousands of extremists and tribesmen into its military ranks to battle the Houthi rebels in Yemen’s northern Sa’ada province. The editor of Al-Share newspaper and two journalists are on trial in the State Security and Terrorism Court for publishing reports of the Aden Abyan Islamic Army’s role training tribal militias for the government. The journalists are charged with “threatening national security, demoralizing the military and divulging state secrets.”

After the US Embassy bombing in September that killed 16 including an American, “(Yemeni President) Saleh feared his government would be the next target, but Zawahiri wanted al Qaeda prisoners released from Yemeni jails and committed al Qaeda foot soldiers to fight the Houthi rebels,” the senior US military official said.

Zawahiri was concerned about relations between al Qaeda and Iran, “so he took great care by reaching out to the Iranians” after committing more fighters to the Yemeni government.

Sana’a has struck numerous bargains with al Qaeda leadership and operatives. The 9/11 Commission reported the Tawfiq bin Attash was released from Yemeni custody in 1999 after Osama bin Laden contacted Yemeni authorities. Bin Attash later went on to have a role in the USS Cole bombing and train some of the 9/11 highjackers. In 2007, Yemen’s Foreign Minister defended the early release of al Qaeda operatives convicted in the USS Cole bombing as “normal” saying, “Everybody makes deals with anybody who cooperates, not just in Yemen, but in the United States.”

Among those in Iran the US Treasury Department designated as terrorists last week is Yemeni Ali Saleh Husain. A senior al Qaeda operative close to Osama bin Laden, Husain goes by the alias Abu Dhahak al Yemeni. He reportedly is the intermediary between al Qaeda and its affiliates Fatah al Islam in Lebanon and Jund al Islam in Gaza.

Saad bin Laden fled to Iran after September 11, 2001. He may no longer be in Iran as of September 2008, the US Treasury Department said in a statement.

The Telegraph reported in November that an intercepted letter signed by Zawahiri thanked Iran’s Revolutionary Guards for “monetary and infrastructure assistance” after the deadly attack on the US embassy and commended their “vision” in helping al Qaeda establish new bases in Yemen after the group faced increasing pressure in Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Although tensions rose at the peak of the Sa’ada War, Yemen and Iran have good relations overall, as does Yemen and Syria. The Houthi rebellion was triggered by localized grievances. In a November report, Invisible Civilians, Human Rights Watch (HRW) charged that Yemen contravened international humanitarian law during the war and “severely restricted humanitarian access to tens of thousands of civilians in need”. An estimated 70,000 Zaidi civilians who fled the bombing and fighting remain out of the reach of international aid groups. HRW also found that hundreds of Hashimites were arbitrarily arrested. Imprisoned clerics were often replaced by fundamentalist preachers at mosques throughout Yemen.

Terror Tales: Zionist Jihaddis, American Pirates and Other Bedtimes Stories from Yemen

Filed under: Other Countries, Posts, Somalia, USA — by Jane Novak at 10:12 pm on Friday, January 16, 2009

Yemeni super-sleuthing uncovered an international conspiracy in the Gulf of Aden – the US is the source of Somali piracy! The US in a devilish plot created the pirates as a power play against the Islamic Courts, officials announced. The pirates’ true identity was probably discovered because they were wearing those American X-ray sunglasses or something.

As reported in Al-Sahwa, “The advisor of Yemen’s cabinet Salim Hussein said that the Somali piracy was produced by the U.S. because…it failed to control Somalia and when the Islamic Courts could get rid of warlords which were Unites states’ agents in Somalia.”

Back on planet earth, Yemen is the primary supplier of illegal weapons to Somalia, fueling ongoing instability (and piracy), the UN monitoring committee on the Somali sanctions reported in December. However, Israel’s total control of the planet is so all encompassing that the UN Monitoring Committee’s report was issued to divert attention from the existence of Israeli spies in Yemen. It’s all so fiendishly complicated! Its a good thing we have Naba News to explain it all to us.

Similarly, the recent report that Yemen smuggled Chinese missiles to Gaza was nothing but an Israeli diversion created to obscure the trial of the Mossad spies in Yemen. Or at least that’s what the Yemeni stooge newspapers are reporting.

Yemen’s president said the Islamic Jihad terror cell emailed Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, offering to spy and blow things up. “We are the Jihad Organization and you are Jews but you are honest and we are ready for anything,” the email said according to Yemeni security officials.

Olmert replied (also by email) that the arrangement would be just peachy, “We are ready to support you to be a stumbling block to the Middle East and we will support you as agents.” Aha!

There must be a government department in Yemen dedicated to concocting false trial evidence and cloning newspapers and NGOs to confuse the public. It probably clocks a lot of hours thinking up new insults for its critics and new enemies and new plots against Yemen and other ways to distract the public and confuse the international community.

When the spy story first broke in October, there were 40 Israeli spies “from different Arab nationalities spying for Mossad” according to the National and Political Security Units. Now its down to three on trial for espionage and threats against foreign embassies.

Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility the September terror attack on the US embassy in Sana’a that killed 12 people including an American. They threatened other western and Arab embassies. The attending implication in the stooge media is that Israel somehow orchestrated the bombing. Yemen’s scramble to blame Israel raises doubts about the level of collusion by regime officials in the bombing.

The Yemeni regime is quite consistent and Stalinistic in its broad deployment of outrageous propaganda. In 2006, Field Marshall Saleh publically accused the US of perpetrating the terror attack on the USS Cole that killed 17 sailors. The US wanted to invade and establish a naval base in Aden, the president said.

The funny part about the unending spew of small and large lies is they can’t keep track of what they said before. One of my favorite stories involves Abdulkhaled Nabi, leader of the Abyan Aden Islamic Army. The Yemeni regime told the US in 2003 that they killed al-Nabi in a shoot-out. In 2004, Yemeni officials admitted that they let al-Nabi go after he was spotted breathing. In 2005, top Yemeni officials claimed Nabi was completely rehabilitated and living the life of a peaceful farmer. In 2006, local media reported Nabi and his band of fanatics was training a tribal paramilitary for the government to battle Shiite rebels in Sa’ada. In 2007, the newspaper (Al-Sharie) was brought up on charges of revealing state secrets, and the editor faces the death penalty. In 2008, the Yemeni government announced with great fanfare that they had captured the dangerous terrorist al-Nabi after an intensive five year manhunt. The tickers all said, “Yemen captures al-Qaeda terrorist after five year hunt.”

Some Yemeni propaganda is designed for the domestic audience and some for the US policy makers. Abu Bakr al-Reibi, convicted in the 2002 maritime bombing of the French tanker Limburg, was sentenced to ten years. But his father said in an interview that Abu Bakr never spent a day in jail. Field Marshal Saleh called Abu Bakr at the beginning of the trial and asked him to go along with the charade and assured him that all would be well. The security officials would come to the house with a set of prison clothes and accompany him to court where everyone pretended (for the benefit of the US) that Abu Bakr had come from jail. Field Marshal Saleh is a compulsive liar. The sad and sorry thing is the US often buys it.

With American pirates in the Gulf of Aden and Mossad spies in Sana’a, who can focus on the abject failure of Field Marshall Saleh to spend any government money on the people? There’s no medical care, few schools, little clean water, no jobs given by merit and no electricity, but plenty of guns and drugs imported, child smuggling, prostitution by starving girls, missile purchases and tribal wars. However poor Ali Abdullah Saleh is a victim of circumstance, doing the very best he can and entirely sincere. Some believe that, really.

Another funny pattern is Saleh’s use of democratic terminology to legitimize his battle against basic civil rights including free speech and free association. “Democracy is the rescue ship of all regimes,” he says, therefore security forces slaughter protesters in the street, kidnap journalists and torture children. There are ten million literally starving children in Yemen. Poverty in Yemen exceeds poverty in Africa. Each one of the ten million is an actual kid, and its pretty damn sad.

(Read on …)

Yemeni Arms Fuels Instability in Somalia

Filed under: Janes Articles, Military, Ports, Proliferation, Somalia, pirates, smuggling — by Jane Novak at 12:08 pm on Monday, December 29, 2008

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.

Yemen plans to refute the charges. SABA news agency dubbed the report “misleading” and noted that “smuggling weapons is sometimes associated with the arriving of displaced Somalis.” A Foreign Ministry statement said that one million Somali refugees in Yemen create an economic burden that “sometimes leads to social, security and health repercussions.” Nearly 50,000 Somali refugees made the maritime crossing to Yemen in 2008, authorities reported.

In prior years, about 30,000 Somalis migrated annually.

The UN report ties together weapons smuggling, human trafficking and piracy, noting some small boats used in acts of piracy also “move refugees and economic migrants from Somalia to Yemen, bringing arms and ammunition on the return journey,” Piracy in the waters between Yemen and Somalia spiked dramatically with over 100 pirate attacks and over 40 vessels captured by pirates this year. The authorities in Puntland and Somaliland told the UN monitoring group that “maritime traffic from Yemen, across the Gulf of Aden, remains their largest single source of arms.” Weapons purchased in Yemen are also smuggled to insurgent groups in Ethiopia, the investigation found. One intercepted shipment included 101 anti-tank mines, 100 hand grenades, 170 rocket-propelled grenade-7 rounds, and 170 boxes of 7.62 mm ammunition.

Increased activity by the Yemeni Coast Guard between Aden and al Mukalla impacted arms shipments from ports in the patrolled areas. However, the monitoring group found that the lack of regular patrols in al Mukalla “means that arms traffic continues unabated.” The group recommended capacity building programs for the Coast Guard and direct naval interdiction.

Yemen’s coast line extends 1906 km. The Coast Guard, created in 2003, is working towards taking control of Mocha and al Mukalla from the military. The Republican Guard and Central Security forces have authority at ports where the Coast Guard has limited presence. The Coast Guard has nine operational ships in a fleet of 15, and only two with deep water capacity.

Inadequate funding is an obstacle to increased capacity, Coast Guard Commander Ali Ahmed Ras’ee said in May.

The US provides some operational and training support and in 2004 donated seven patrol boats. With Italian financing, the Italian firm SELEX is implementing a coastal radar system that will eventually cover 450km of coast line including hot spots for piracy and smuggling.

Responding to the UN report, the Foreign Ministry said, “Yemen reiterates its readiness to cooperate with the UN and all regional concerned parties to fight piracy and all forms of weapon smuggling, the issues resulted due to the situation in Somalia where there is not a central government.”

Yemen has the second most heavily armed citizenry per capita after the United States. In August 2007, authorities implemented a ban against carrying weapons in cities and have confiscated over 150,000 weapons since the program began. Over 200 weapons shops were also closed.

Weapons smuggling from Yemen to Saudi Arabia is also a concern. In July, Saudi Arabia announced that in a three month period, border guards confiscated over a ton of explosives and a large number of arms including 13 rocket-propelled grenades, 99 sticks of dynamite, 100 fuses, 12 detonators, more than 100 guns and 15,000 cartridges.

Shabwa Press

Filed under: Yemen, mentions — by Jane Novak at 12:46 pm on Sunday, December 7, 2008

Its amazing what a few articles can do for people’s spirits, especially in the midst of a media black-out. But for the record I didnt write the article entitled, The Winds of Change, it was a guest post. The two news type articles were me. Technically I haven’t expressed my opinion yet, just reported the developments as they happened. And there’s another interesting one coming actually. This is the wrong link for this article, I know. Ah this is the right one. Jin I say to them.

I say to you, Jane

Ms. Jane Novak great .. يا جين قولي لهم .. Jin you say to them .. يطلق أسم الجنوب العربي سياسيآ على المنطقة الممتدة من باب المندب وخليج عدن غربآ حتى حدود عمان شرقآ ويحدها من الشمال اليمن والمملكة العربية السعودية ، ومن الجنوب بحر العرب ، وهي تشمل منطقة عدن العبدلية ، والمحمية الشرقية ، والمحمية الغربية ، وكل الجزر التابعة لها ، ومن ضمنها سلطنة البيضاء ، و جزيرة كمران ، التي قامت سلطات الجمهورية العربية اليمنية بالإستيلاء عليها بالقوة ، وطوال 128 سنة كانت قوة من البوليس المسلح العدني تحكم الجزيرة ، وكان قائد قوة بوليس عدن ، هو الحاكم العسكري للجزيرة ، وتوجد في عدن كثي من العائلات الكمرانية المعروفة التي أستوطنت عدن ، وسكنوا في حارة حسين وحارة القاضي .. Name of the south called the Arab region politically from the Bab and the Gulf of Aden west to the borders of Oman is bounded on the east and north Yemen and Saudi Arabia, the Arabian Sea from the south, including the Aden held in El Abdellia Palace, and protected the East, West and protected, and all of its islands, including Sultanate of white, and Kamran Island, which authorities have overrun the Yemen Arab Republic by force, and for 128 years was a force of armed police Aladeni governing island, and the Force Commander of Police Aden, is the military governor of the island, and there in Aden Kthi families settled known Alkamranip Aden, and lived in Haret Hussein and the judge warm .. كريتر – عدن .. Crater – Aden .. عاصمة الجنوب العربي . Arab capital of the south. (Read on …)

The Yemeni State Participates in Terror Attacks for Political Reasons: Top Al-Qaeda Fugitive Speaks Out

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Janes Articles, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:58 am on Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The leader of the Yemeni Soldiers Brigades claimed the Yemeni state participates in terror attacks for political gain. by Jane Novak, cross posted at 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.

Officials earlier announced Dhayani was the recruiter and driving instructor for the suicide car bomber who murdered eight elderly Spanish tourists in Mareb in July 2007. Dhayani is Mareb under the protection of Jahm tribe and granted the interview to Mareb Press after taking several security precautions.

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 (the Yemeni state) launch war against terrorism,” Dhayani said in the explosive interview. (Read on …)

Yemeni Economy Gets Triple Whammy

Filed under: Business, Janes Articles, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 8:29 am on Monday, December 1, 2008

Global crises, natural disaster shake Yemen’s economy

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.

Dwindling oil supports irrational spending

Oil revenues fund over seventy per cent of state spending. Confirmed deposits are dwindling and will be largely exhausted within a decade. Production decreased from the 2002 high of 460,000 bbd to about 300,000 bbd in 2008 as blocks 14 and 35 begin to bottom out. High oil prices previously offset production declines, but oil prices dropped from over USD 120 in July to under USD 50 in November. The 2009 state budget is based on the expectation of higher sale prices and includes a deficit of seven percent of GDP.

Efforts at fiscal rationalization and budgetary restraint have been weak and inconsistent. Oil subsidies account for a third of spending and benefit large scale oil smugglers as well as the poor. About a quarter of the budget is lost to corruption, but few high officials face legal proceedings. In November, the Al-Saleh Mosque opened in Sana’a at a cost of USD 60 million amid concerns development programs are underfunded.

Yemen is in a water crisis; 2007 spending on the water sector was 1.1% of GDP. With unemployment estimated at 40%, social security funding totaled 1.1%. Health care services cover only half the nation. Health sector spending was 3.1%. Military spending consumes about 7% of GDP, among the highest in the world.

Expenditures for the Sa’ada war (2004-2008) are estimated at over YR one billion. Although a truce has been reached with the rebels, the state is in negotiations with the Chinese firm Chin Shida on new weapons purchases. It also contracted with the Ukrainian defense ministry (Odesaremservis) to upgrade Yemen’s fleet of 47 RSK Mig-21’s at a cost of several million dollars each. The work will enable the Migs and Yemen’s L-39 trainers to deploy precision guided weapons. With the anticipated drop in oil revenue, unabated high military spending will undermine already meager basic services. Transition to a non-oil economy is another urgent concern that faces an array of challenges.

Somalia launches pirates and refugees

Yemen’s coastal location is a foundation of its economic growth strategy. However, instability in Somalia triggered a spike in piracy that is disrupting maritime shipping in the Gulf of Aden. The fourth bidding round for Yemen’s eleven off shore oil blocks was postponed in August in part due to international concerns about security and sky rocketing insurance rates.

High insurance costs also negatively impact Yemen’s USD 4 billion liquefied natural gas project scheduled to come on line in May 2009. Yemen LNG, a consortium led by TOTAL, will have a capacity of 6.7 million tons per year and ship from Bal Haf Harbor, about 75 km from the epicenter of piracy. Likewise the renovation of Port Aden by Dubai Ports World is a linchpin of Yemen’s economic diversification efforts. Security concerns led Norwegian shipping group Odfjell to discontinue sailing through the Gulf of Aden, and others may follow suit.

Chaos in Somalia means Yemen has to deal with refugees as well as pirates. A signatory of the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, Yemen provides automatic refugee status to those fleeing war. About 38,000 Somali migrants crossed the Bab al Mendab this year, and Somali refugees in Yemen are estimated to exceed a quarter million. Already burdened with a 43% poverty rate and 46% child malnutrition, the state has little to offer refugees in terms of immediate assistance or economic opportunities. Concrete international aid for Somalis in Yemen is slight.

Floods wash away non-oil industries

In Yemen’s worst natural disaster in recent history, flash floods in October killed 90, damaged over 3000 houses and affected over 650,000 people according to international estimates. The massive flooding in Hadramout and al-Mahara left 30,000 in need of permanent shelter.

Infrastructure damage includes roads, schools, telephone pylons, bridges, health centers and water facilities. Relief efforts focused on humanitarian concerns of food and shelter. Environmental issues were largely unaddressed the first weeks. Consequently, the region is at risk for the outbreak of contagious diseases.

The natural disaster hit the fledgling non-oil sector of the economy. Thousands of farmers, bee-keepers and fishermen lost their livelihood and need both immediate and long term assistance. International agencies estimate damages and loss of income will exceed USD one billion.

The financial shock of the floods by itself would be difficult to absorb, even with generous international aid. The simultaneous occurrences of three shocks – the global financial crisis, piracy and the floods – magnifies their impact, and combined, threaten fiscal sustainability. Immediate and robust action on the part of the state is required to address the looming economic challenge.

The BOBs, RSF award of World’s Best Press Freedom Blog is…

Filed under: Yemen, mentions — by Jane Novak at 4:40 pm on Thursday, November 27, 2008

not me, but wow! Look who I lost to:

BOBS: The 2008 Reporters Without Borders Prize was awarded by the jury to a pair of blogs.

Zeng Jinyan, the wife of an imprisoned Chinese human rights activist Hu Jia, and 4equality, a Persian blog that fights for women’s rights in Iran.

Placed under house arrest, Zeng Jinyan’s blog describes life under constant surveillance by the Chinese authorities.

“It’s a moving example of what people go through when someone is always watching what they are doing,” said Clothilde Le Coz, the Reporters Without Borders representative on the jury. “She is isolated at home raising a daughter with her husband in jail. Hopefully this award will raise her spirits.”

The Persian Weblog 4equality is working to gather 1 million signatures on a petition for increased women’s rights in Iran.

“This blog is an alternative media,” said Farnaz Seifi, the BOBs’ Persian-language jury member, adding that 48 people involved with the movement surrounding the blog landed in prison and that the Web site had been blocked by Iranian authorities a total of 17 times.

I agree with the judges completely, the two winners deserve it more than me, and furthermore they need the publicity and international support more than me. I have rights; my Chinese and Iranian co-finalists are fighting a bigger battle under much more dire circumstances, and really its an honor to be grouped in with them. Good job ladies.

Historical Triggers for Instability in Yemen

Filed under: Elections, GPC, JMP, Janes Articles, South Yemen — by Jane Novak at 3:43 pm on Monday, November 24, 2008

The roots of protest: Prior elections impact future polls

By: Jane Novak, also at the 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.

Authorities report several hundred thousand new voters or domicile changes have been recorded since the registration process began. The GPC said the election will be held as scheduled and alleges the JMP is instigating the protests out of weakness.

After Yemen’s 2006 presidential and local elections, European Union (EU) election observers recommended measures to build public confidence in the electoral process, but steps were never taken. Current unrest stems largely from diminished pubic faith in the impartiality and integrity of the electoral process. Protests are also a backlash to the heightened expectations generated by the 2006 campaigns. (Read on …)

The Roots of Protest: Prior Elections Impact Future Polls

Filed under: Janes Articles, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 2:47 pm on Friday, November 21, 2008

The Roots of Protest: Prior Elections Impact Future Polls

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. (Read on …)

A Footnote in History

Filed under: Yemen, mentions — by Jane Novak at 9:40 am on Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How Cute! From the footnotes of the stupendous HRW report, Invisible Civilians

15 The leading English-language blog reflecting the Huthi’s perspective is “Armies of Liberation” See also Robert Worth, “A Living-Room Crusade via Blogging,” The New York Times, May 20,

To be clear, I do not actually endorse the Houthis, I just give them page space to tell their side of the story (like I do with the Southerners.) My primary concern has always been giving a voice to the civilians. My catagory “Sa’ada War” dates back to 2005 and is available on the sidebar or click here. There’s over 300 posts of war news, the Yemeni government’s statements and actions and those of the rebels. The Yemeni government strives for a media black-out of the Sa’ada war, as noted in the HRW report, so they banned me in Yemen.

Electoral Violence Hits Yemen Five Months Early, Southerners Form Council

Filed under: Elections, JMP, Janes Articles, South Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:27 pm on Monday, November 17, 2008

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.

Elections since 1993 reduced the citizenry’s access to power and reinforced autocratic tribal power structures. The parliamentary majority of Saleh’s ruling party, the General People’s Congress (GPC), increased from 123 seats in 1993, to 187 in 1997 and 238 in 2003.

Through time, the state and ruling party became one entity. The state’s position as the largest employer in Yemen became a weapon of partisan politics. The GPC deployed a myriad of governmental resources in support of its candidates during the 2006 local and presidential election, and in meting out retribution after. Yemen’s first governors’ election in 2008 was a hasty process that rubber stamped GPC candidates. In the few cases where an independent won, the results were promptly overturned.

The impact of the ruling party’s merger with the state is magnified by the winner take all system (first past the post). The Yemeni opposition has long championed the proportional or list system. After the 2006 election, the ruling and opposition parties agreed to a number of electoral reforms based on recommendations from EU election observers. The GPC reneged, prompting the JMP to urge citizens not to register. The US funded National Democratic Institute that has been working with the parties is now urging consensus and, if necessary, postponing the election to allow time for the parties to come to an agreement. President Saleh said the election will go forward and numerous opposition activists have been arrested. Tensions have flared with Marib, Amran and Haja witnessing violence against electoral committees.

A significant development is South Yemen’s rejection of the entire political process. Yearlong regional protests were met with bullets and tanks, prompting southern Yemen to self-organize a representative political mechanism. The election of the Southern Arabian Liberation Council may have been the first “free and fair election” in Yemeni history. Its platform advocates a peaceful struggle for independence. The election results were announced in Yafi’ on November 14. The body consists of a president (Hassan Ba’oum), a ten member cabinet, 25 administrative officers and 352 National Council members.

The majority of Yemenis- north and south- are excluded from the ruling oligarchy. However Southern Yemen was under British rule for over a hundred years during which time several full bodied civil institutions functioned efficiently and impartially. The same cannot be said of northern Yemen during the Imamate or since the 1962 Republican Revolution. After the 1990 unification of north and south Yemen, media censorship, corruption and discrimination thwarted the institutional and cultural merger of the two Yemens. In Yemen, different histories and expectations are producing different outcomes among one people.

The 1994 north-south civil war ended with the military victory of President Saleh’s northern forces. Since then, southerners claim, the south has been looted as the spoils of war. Southerners perceive themselves as treated as third class citizens who face institutionalized discrimination and exclusion from the central government, which is firmly in the grip of the President and his family.

Public protests began in the south in May 2007. Dozens of demonstrators were shot by police, hundreds injured and over a thousand arrested. The regime’s response to the civil unrest consisted of a schizophrenic mix of violence, arrests and defamation sprinkled with fleeting allusions to wrong-doing by regime officials and superficial remedies to discriminatory policies. Thousands of troops reinforced the areas of greatest unrest. As government failed to remedy or even address the inequality, the response of the populist protest movement was to organize.

The failings of the JMP also had a demoralizing effect in the south where many as recently as 2006 were politically enfranchised and supportive of the opposition presidential candidate Faisel bin Shamlan. Southern disappointment lay not so much in the thuggish behavior of the GPC, which was expected, but instead in the opposition’s personal self-interest and capitulation. At a rally in the southern town of al-Dhalie on March 6, JMP speakers were pelted with stones and forced to leave. The JMP was again expelled from demonstrations in Radfan and Abyan in May 2008. Western observers’ lavish praise of a flawed process increased the sense of betrayal prevalent in the south. Following the 2006 election, it was the hope of achieving justice and equal rights in a unified state that prompted the year long demonstrations. It was the loss of that hope that brought about the Liberation Council which formally advances the notion that the south is illegally occupied by northern forces.

Electoral committees have been expelled throughout the south. There are also numerous no-go areas for government forces, including parts of Yafe, al-Dhalie, Abyan and others formerly under government control. All (northern) central government officials were expelled from Toor Albaha in Lahj in April 2008 and 40 soldiers captured. The soldiers were released four months later when the government agreed to several demands. Sheik Musa al-Nakhibi was freed by force from jail in Yafe on November 1. He had been charged with providing security for Hassan Ba’oum during the first Yafe conference in late October. The second Yafe conference, which elected the cabinet, was heavily guarded by men with RPGs, including farmers, laborers, academics and professionals.


al-Khaiwani post-release interviews

Filed under: Yemen, al-Khaiwani, mentions — by Jane Novak at 1:49 pm on Wednesday, October 8, 2008

“We are responsible for securing a better future for our children. I am just a man who sticks to his views and believes in power of his words and nonviolent actions.”

He will keep writing he says to the Yemen Times:

SANA’A, Oct. 5 — Journalist Abdulkarim Al-Khaiwani narrated his ordeal while serving a five-month imprisonment term for his writing and undertook to continue his activities in defense of human rights and press freedoms in Yemen. This came during an interview with the Yemen Times following his release from the Sana’a-based Central Prison.

“I was jailed by a false verdict after the regime questioned me over my writings, opinions and human rights and democratic activities for which I was awarded the ‘Special Award for Journalists Under Threat’ by Amnesty International. The court verdict reflects retaliation by the government against any journalists known for their criticism of its policies” Al-Khaiwani said in reply to a question about why he was jailed. (Read on …)

American Islamic Congress Hails Release of Journalist Al-Khaiwani

Filed under: al-Khaiwani, mentions — by Jane Novak at 11:08 am on Thursday, September 25, 2008

I’d really like to thank everyone at Jawa who helped and the ladies of the Cotillion who really did a wonderful job highlighting the petition and the case. A remarkable grass roots coalition they call it in the article. (No astroturfing here!)

The people at HAMSA who set up the petition, organized the facebook group and helped me with the media (akkk!) really deserve a lot of credit. Thirty-seven international human rights organizations and a variety of civil society groups in Yemen kept up the pressure since June when al-Khaiwani was sentenced to six years for writing an article that “made the military sad” as my son called it.

Anyway for the second time in my life I have a post called Al-Khaiwani Sprung. (There’s a few people around, including Rusty, who remember when we did this the first time in 2005.)

Earth Times:

BOSTON, Sept. 25 AIC-Yemen-Journalist

Weddady: “A Great Day for Free Expression in the Middle East.”

BOSTON, Sept. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The American Islamic Congress (AIC) today hailed news that leading Yemeni journalist Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani has been pardoned after more than three months in prison on charges of “insulting the president.”

AIC has campaigned for al-Khaiwani’s release since June, generating over 1,600 letters to Yemeni officials from free speech supporters around the world (

“This is a great day for freedom of expression in the Middle East,” said Nasser Weddady, AIC’s Civil Rights Outreach Director. “A pioneering Arab journalist who stuck to his principles is once again a free man.”

“Freedom is not a gift, and the struggle is for everyone,” al-Khaiwani said in a statement to AIC following his release. He left prison just before 4 pm local time and returned home, reuniting with his family. (Read on …)

Yemeni Islamic Jihad Claims Responsibility for Suicide Attack on US Embassy

Filed under: Janes Articles, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:45 am on Wednesday, September 17, 2008

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.

A sustained firefight then ensued between the terrorists and the embassy guards. The exchange of fire included machine guns, RPGs and hand grenades according to one report. Six attackers were killed as well as a dozen Yemeni security forces. No US causalities were reported. The Yemeni embassy reported that one of the attackers was wearing a suicide vest.

The US withdrew non-essential personnel in March due to terror threats and only recently decided to reverse that decision.

A group calling itself Yemeni Islamic Jihad took credit for today’s attack. The group is also known as the Al-Tawheed battalions and last month claimed responsbility for a July 25 suicide car bombing which at a police station in Hadramout killed one policeman and injured 18. The police station had been previously bombed on April 22 with no injuries.

Yemeni Islamic Jihad issued a statement last Tuesday threatening more attacks unless the Yemeni government met its demands for the release of several members from jail.

“We, the organization of Islamic Jihad in Yemen declare our responsibility for the suicide attack on the American embassy in Sanaa,” the statement read.

“We will carry out the rest of the series of attacks on the other embassies that were declared previously, until our demands are met by the Yemeni government.”

The former leader of Yemeni Islamic Jihad, Hamza al Quaity issued an audio statement August 5 threatening future attacks if al Qaeda prisoners were not released from jail. Yemeni press at the time reported the failure of negotiations between al Quaity and the head of the Political Security Organization, Ghalib al Qamish, who frequently negotiates truce agreements on behalf of the Yemeni government. Al Quaity said in his August statement, “As for you, oh [Ariel] Sharon of Yemen, [Political Security director] Ghalib Ba Gumesh, you’ll see how our colleagues will be freed from your prisons, Allah willing.”

Authorities rounded up over fifty suspected militants including Aden Abyan Islamic Army leader Khalid Abdul Nabi and Saudi Muhammad bin Nayif al Qahtani. After the arrests, Yemen announced that it had thwarted an attack in Saudi Arabia targeting oil industries.

The relationship between Yemeni Islamic Jihad group and Al-Qaeda in Yemen is unclear. The latter is headed by two of the 23 al-Qaeda terrorists who escaped prison in 2006, Qasim Al Raymi and Nasser Al Wahayshi. Al-Quaiti, the third remaining escapee, was killed in August . All three were named by the Yemeni government as participants in a 2007 suicide bombing in Maib. The rest of the escapees are either dead or have been granted a conditional pardon after surrendering. Jamal al Badawi who facilitated the attack on the USS Cole is among the escapees who was granted loose house arrest, a development that strained US-Yemeni relations. A third group calling itself Yemen Soldiers Brigade has taken credit for a spate of attacks on oil pipelines and security installations which caused little damage and few injuries.

Yemeni terror groups have launched several attacks on Western embassies this year. Early in 2008, mortar attacks were launched in Sana’a against western targets including the US embassy, Italian embassy and a western housing complex. The mortars missed their targets in each case. The Yemen Soldiers Brigade took credit for the attacks.

Prior suicide car bombings include coordinated attacks in September 2006 on oil facilities in Marib and Hadramout, and an attack on tourists in Marib in July 2007 which killed eight elderly Spanish tourists.

-Jane, Long War Journal

Corruption Triggers Media Repression

Filed under: Janes Articles, Media, al-Khaiwani — by Jane Novak at 9:10 pm on Thursday, September 11, 2008

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. The Supreme National Authority for Combating Corruption credits journalists with uncovering the vast majority of cases in its docket. The NGO, “Journalists Against Corruption”, recently documented financial malfeasance in every governmental ministry.

This investigative journalism is an agent of change on a social level as well. Published reporting on corruption has somewhat reduced the culture of fear. Corruption is now a topic more available for public discussion.

International efforts in working with the Yemeni government on the issue from the top down are augmented by the efforts of the journalists working from the bottom up. As the CPJ noted, “During the last three years, opposition newspapers have smashed political taboos by criticizing rampant government corruption…”

However, red lines exist for journalists wherever there is money and crime. One Yemeni journalist defines the taboo topics as the President, his family and close associates, oil revenues, oil smuggling, military budgets, corporate nepotism, and the naming of corrupt officials or their activities.

Journalists faced hundreds of attacks from 2005-2007. No investigations occurred. Of 301 instances of media repression, 96 were committed by the National Security Organization, including physical assaults, arbitrary imprisonment, property vandalism and theft, kidnapping and death threats. Ninety-five violations were perpetrated by the Ministry of Information including revoking licenses, prohibiting the printing or circulation of newspapers, fines and judicial proceeding. The Interior Ministry committed 54 violations, the PSO 45 and the military 11. Powerful non-state actors brought lawsuits against journalists and sometimes subjected them to assaults. As reports on corruption triggered retaliation, Yemeni journalists turned to technology and international rights groups to amplify their message. (Read on …)

Welcome Al-Hurra Viewers and Rotana Readers

Filed under: Yemen, mentions — by Jane Novak at 4:00 pm on Sunday, July 20, 2008

Welcome! Please sign a letter for the Yemeni journalist. Thank you.
Click here please.

مرحبا. يرجى تسجيل الدخول لرسالة الصحافي اليمني. شكرا لك.
اضغط هنا من فضلك.

Update: that was the first time I heard al-Khaiwani’s voice. He sounded nice but different than I was expecting. And my kitchen looked clean. My kids were excited that our kitchen was on TV. My 20 year old dining room table managed to look shiney. I wish there was a transcript to translate but I’m sure it was a very good show. Any attention on al-Khaiwani’s case is good, but with that line-up, I’m sure the real issues got out.

Check Out al-Hurra Sunday 10 PM (Yemen Time)

Filed under: Yemen, mentions — by Jane Novak at 8:07 pm on Saturday, July 19, 2008

Update: its on at 3:10 in New York, I forgot about daylight savings. I think I’ll add a Yemen clock to the blog.

The show is “Eye on Democracy ” on al-Hurra satellite TV at 22:10 Yemen time, which is as we all know 14:10 New York time.

The woman who will be on is Zainab Al-Suwaij, Executive Director of the American Islamic Congress, which sponsors HAMSA which is coordinating the letters campaign for al-Khaiwani, the American guy is Joel Campagna who heads the Committee to Protect Journalists Middle East program and the Yemeni guy is Munier al-Mawari, a Yemeni American journalist and analyst.

The crew came to my house to tape an interview, which I though was nice. You can watch it streaming here. Also al-Hurra re-plays the show through the week, schedule here.

Also this week’s issue of Rotana magazine has a nice article (I hear) about al-Khaiwani and me, entitled, “American Jane Novak, the most famous foreigner known in Yemen”. I can’t believe I’m anywhere in a celebrity magazine but apparently so.

I just wish I could read the Rotana article and/or understand what they are saying on al-Hurra. My Arabic studies are going very slowly. Its such a hard language. I wish I could get somebody to live-blog the show.

Oh and in October, the Ladies Home Journal, again somewhat incomprehensible to me. However al-Khaiwani is still in jail. I’m going to need a new plan if the “End of the Sa’ada War” machinations don’t include his release along with all the kids and thousands others arbitrarily arrested in relation to the war.

The Spreading Destruction of the Sa’ada War in Yemen

Filed under: Janes Articles, Saada War — by Jane Novak at 10:31 am on Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The boundaries of the war in Yemen war are expanding beyond the northern Sa’ada governorate. Bombing is audible from the nation’s capital for the first time. 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.

Opposition party leaders in Sa’ada condemned the unannounced military bombing of Dhahian City in July, calling the tactic, “an unprecedented crime.” In May, rebel spokesman Sheik Saleh Habrah said government shelling in Dhahian, Al-Mahader and al-Ghabair killed 30 civilians and wounded scores. Over 85,000 Sa’ada residents fled indiscriminate government bombing and are internal refugees. Malnutrition is widespread among the 750,000 Sa’ada residents after a long standing government blockade.

Casualties in the last month number in the hundreds. Aerial bombardment in Sa’ada and Amran was accompanied by direct engagement of forces. The Yemeni military is deploying helicopters, tanks, Hawn mortars and Katushkya rockets to target the Zaidi rebels who are themselves well armed and often mingle among the civilian population.

Thousands died since the fighting began in 2004 when security forces clashed with a small group of students protesting the Iraq war. The group was led by Zaidi cleric and Member of Parliament, Hussain al-Houthi, who was later killed by regime forces in what some claim was an ambush during a mediation session.

Both the military and the rebels’ ranks have swelled since the war began. The Houthi rebels grew from 400 fighters to several thousand today. Many of the rebel’s newest recruits are not ideologically affiliated with the Houthist movement but motivated by anti-government sentiments and in some cases, by financial reward. Many joined the rebellion in response to the bombardment of the governorate and a campaign of arbitrary arrests. Security forces also arrested dozens of soldiers who defected to the Houthis. Foreigners fighting on the rebels side purportedly include Somalis who joined for a USD100 fee.

The Yemeni military inducted Salafi tribal fighters and jihaddists into its campaign against the rebels. The paramilitary is led by Sheik Abdulmajid al-Zindani and Tariq al-Fadhili. Both men had personal relationships with Usama bin Laden in years past. Al-Zindani is classified as a terrorist financier by the US Treasury. Between five and ten thousand of these fighters are deployed by the state, some quite young and often without adequate military training. (Read on …)

Yemeni Government: Sending Photos to Jane Novak is A Crime

Filed under: Judicial, Media, Saada War, Yemen, mentions, photos/gifs — by Jane Novak at 11:12 am on Thursday, July 10, 2008

Yemen Observer
The investigations showed that they used internal and external journalists’ e-mails, and provide them with false news about the conflicts in order to raise the insurgents’ morals.

The security source said that the captured elements’ confessions disclosed that they used to write reports about public opinion trends and sent them together with some photographs to Abdulmalik al-Huthi and external journalists, particularly to the American journalist Jane Novak using certain links.

The Yemeni government doesn’t dispute the authenticity of the photos in question. The crime is sending them out of the country, “especially” to me.

Update: Not that the truth matters in Yemeni courts, but Howie reminds me he found the photos at a public forum and sent them to me. I’ll dig for the link where they were posted online way before I ever published them.

Announced by the 26 Septemper (sic), website of the Yemeni military, the charge is distributing information (probably photos of civilians killed by government bombing in Saada.) No mention of progress in tracking down the al-Qaeda in Yemen webmaster though…

From al-Motamar,

the ruling party’s website: The source also pointed out that elements of the network were writing leaflets and sending some information on trends of the public opinion and then sending them to terrorist Abdulmalik al-Houthi in addition to sending some film shots to journalists and newspapers abroad , among them American press especially to the American journalist Jane Novak. They were also writing daily bulletins of the so-called the information office of the rebels. The source added that elements of the network confessed of receiving funds from families of Hamidudin living in one of the neighbouring countries. He explained that after completing investigations with the network elements they would be sent to concerned authorities to be given just punishment for the acts they have committed.

Did they mean photos like these? The ones that show the Yemeni government’s war crimes? These photos were actually published by a Yemeni newspaper . They show Yemenis digging out the bodies of women and children killed by government bombing. In Sa’ada, the Yemeni government is waging an intensive and random bombing campaign against its own citizens as well as starving them with a food blockade. Very Sudan-like.




Warning: Horrible pictures below the fold of the Yemen women and children killed by their own government in Saada Yemen. (Read on …)

Yemeni Security Forces Blanket Aden on War Anniversary

Filed under: Civil Rights, Janes Articles, South Yemen, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:13 am on Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Yemeni security forces blanket Aden on war anniversary
By Jane Novak LWJ July 11, 2008 8:03 AM

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 14th anniversary of the end of Yemen’s civil war, government forces had arrested more than 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.

The clashes marked a year of near continuous civil unrest in southern Yemen. The movement is spearheaded by former southern military officers, the Military Retirees Coordination Council (MRCC), who demand equal opportunity for southerners.

“The security forces directed by the Sana’a regime were not satisfied with closing up the exits and entrances to al Hashimi square, but in addition they launched a random arrest campaign targeting anyone near al Hashimi square and took them to military prisons,” a member of the MRCC leadership commented on Monday’s events to this reporter.

Demonstrations were held throughout southern Yemen on Monday. In Lahj, dozens were arrested. In Dhalie, 80 miles from Aden, a grenade wounded eight when police moved into to break up a demonstration. Protests in Dhalie have previously drawn tens of thousands with protesters’ arrests and deaths sparking more demonstrations.

Security forces arrested reporters from Al Jazeera TV,,, and Elaph newspaper and held them incommunicado for several hours until the crowds had broken up.

The demonstrations marked the 14th anniversary of the 1994 capture of Aden by President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s northern military forces, which ended a bloody two-month civil war.

Some activists charge the South has since been treated as the spoils of war, with jobs, scholarships, and leadership positions denied to Southerners, and land and natural resources plundered by the victors for over a decade. The unity of North and South Yemen, President Saleh’s crowning achievement, is described by some in the South as a military occupation that contravenes the UN resolutions governing the cessation of hostilities in the civil war.

Officials in Aden last week warned against unauthorized demonstrations and against persons from outside Aden coming to the city to disturb the peace. The central government defends its tactics as necessary to maintain stability. Dozens of protesters have been killed by security forces since 2007. Earlier in the year, the regime announced that deaths or damage that occur during a protest are the liability of the protest organizers.

In May, Hassan Baoum and other Socialist Party officials were charged in state security court with instigating civil disorder, a death penalty offense, for speaking at a demonstration where police later killed several protesters.

Prominent opposition leaders, newsmen, and activists are among the nearly 1,000 arrested since the protests began in 2007, and many remain in jail. “All of these acts which were committed by the Sana’a regime never frighten us,” the MRCC source said, commenting on the government’s tactics. “We will continue in our peaceful struggle until we get all our legal rights.”

At an afternoon press conference held on Monday, Dr. Mohammed Saleh al Qubati, spokesman for the opposition Joint Meeting Parties, demanded an official, impartial inquiry into the day’s events, saying Aden has become “a military checkpoint where citizens cannot go out for shopping.”

Video Fox and Friends

Filed under: Yemen, mentions — by Jane Novak at 1:12 am on Thursday, June 26, 2008

bucket hair,gah!

Local blogger irritates government in Yemen

Filed under: Yemen, mentions — by Jane Novak at 7:38 am on Sunday, June 15, 2008

Update: Wow! The article looks so good in hard copy! And its really on the front page. The APP published a photo of one of the massive protests in South Yemen and another of the poor residents of Saada in North Yemen digging out the bodies of a woman and baby killed in one of the government bombing strikes. And there’s a map! And several nice photos of al-Khaiwani, including the one where he’s interviewing bin Shamlan and smiling. So thats NICE. Some of the comments are hilarious. Scroll through, they’re even funnier than the comments at the article on Alarabiya’s website.

This is a recent letter from al-Khaiwani to his supporters here (before he got sentenced to SIX years for an article “liable to undermine the morale of the military”. Seriously, that’s the charge he was found guilty of.)

We believe that democracy and freedom have an expensive price…

Thank you very much for this campaign, which comes in the context of the overall values that we believe, and they punish us when we believe those values and adopt them. I do not want to talk about myself, but rather the environment that we live in and suffering we endure from the inconsistency between what the authorities announce about democracy and freedoms, and what happens when we believe in those same things, democracy and freedoms.

They want us to practice our rights as they understand them, but we do it ideally. The regime said that democracy is the way of ruling, but when we try to practice our rights within this concept, criticizing the way that the regime governs and how they act, then they deal with us in a way that has no relation to democracy. They deal with us as outlaws. They use all of the state’s resources to attack anyone who has any opinions not corresponding with their opinions, and to attack those who even discuss their way of ruling.

What I am suffering and facing is part of the price I and many others pay for the democracy and freedom we hope to achieve in the future. At least we are preparing for a healthy environment that we want the next generation to live in. We believe that democracy and freedom have an expensive price, and this is a part of that price.

However that doesn’t mean we will keep silent and bend, as it is the price. We will refuse injustice peacefully. Solidarity is a way to enhance new civil values which support the democracy we will make with our sacrifice and with the support of others. We pay the price of the freedom for ourselves and for the generations after us. Again, thank you very much for your help and support.

Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani
Sana’a, Yemen

And then he went to jail.

To the regular readers: NICE article in the APP.

Local blogger irritates government in Yemen

To rulers’ chagrin, she backs free press, democracy


In a country many Americans might have trouble locating on a map, one Monmouth County woman has become the focus of both hatred and admiration by government officials, journalists and citizens — all without ever leaving the comfort of her home.

“It boggles my mind entirely,” said Jane Novak, 46, an energetic stay-at-home mother of two who — between caring for her children and husband — devotes hours of her time exposing the alleged dirty deeds of the government of Yemen, especially its crackdown on opposition journalists. (Read on …)

Welcome NPR Listeners!

Filed under: Yemen, mentions — by Jane Novak at 9:45 pm on Friday, June 13, 2008

HI!!! Welcome to my blog, the bane of the Yemeni government. I’m banned in Yemen along with many Yemeni news websites including Yemen Portal, a news aggregator (??!!). The al-Qaeda websites remain accessible in Yemen, but I’m banned…. Go figure.

If you’d like to join the 1400 people who took a stand for civil rights in Yemen, you can sign a letter in support of my friend, the Yemeni journalist, al-Khaiwani. Please click here.

Check out the categories on my sidebar for a variety of information on Yemen.

Also, if you’d like to subscribe to this website for updates, the link is also on the sidebar.

Of course, if you really want to listen to the interview again, here you go:

Thanks to National Public Radio, On the Media.

Transcript: (Read on …)

American Launches Campaign to Defend Yemeni Journalist in Prison

Filed under: janes articles arabic, mentions — by Jane Novak at 11:29 am on Friday, June 13, 2008

أمريكية تطلق موقعا للدفاع عن صحفي يمني مسجون

سيدة امريكية تطلق قبل يومين موقعا على شبكة الانترنت تنشر فيه مقالات تدعو الى الافراج عن الصحفي اليمني عبد الكريم الخيواني الذي دخل السجن لست سنوات

في الصورة: جين نوفاك. تصوير وكالات

تزعمت سيدة شقراء أمريكية حملة عالمية للمطالبة بإطلاق سراح الصحافي اليمني عبد الكريم الخيواني الذي قضت محكمة في صنعاء متخصصة بالإرهاب الاثنين الماضي (9-6-2008)، بسجنه لـ 6 سنوات، بتهمة الاتصال مع جماعة الحوثيين المتمردين في محافظة صعدة شمال اليمن، وفق ما اوردته العربية على موقعها على شبكة الانترنت.

وعلقت جين نوفاك التي أطلقت موقعا الكترونيا “جيوش التحرير” للدفاع عن الصحافي الخيواني وإيصال قضيته للعالم، على قرار المحكمة أنه “قرار ظالم ومثير للاستغراب”.

وقالت جين نوفاك إنها كتبت عن أوضاع اليمن في عدة صحف عربية ناطقة بالانجليزية مثل جريدة “آراب نيوز” السعودية، مشيرة إلى أنها تعرفت إلى قضية الخيواني عن طريق خبر نشر في “اليمن تايمز” استرعى انتباهها، “فقررت حينها أنني سأكون محاميته وصوته في الغرب”.

من جهة أخرى قالت داليا زيادة رئيسة منظمة المؤتمر الاسلامي الأمريكي إن المنظمة أدانت الثلاثاء 10-6-2008 بشدة الحكم الصادر ضد الصحافي اليمني الحائز على جائزة دولية.

وطالب ناصر ودادي مدير التوعية بالحقوق المدنية في المنظمة “بتصحيح هذا الخطأ والعفو عنه فورا، و إلا يكون النظام اليمني بذلك يؤكد قولنا بأن اليمن أكثر قسوة على الصحفيين منها على تنظيم القاعدة الإرهابي.”

Free al-Khaiwani

Jane on Al-Jazeera 2005

Filed under: Yemen, mentions — by Jane Novak at 10:27 am on Friday, June 13, 2008

The transcript of the 2005 al-Jazeera show “From Washington.” I didn’t see it online before. I should save it here at the website for reference. I can see now why it had such an impact. I ran a goggle translation which is at the end. I was rather straightforward.

The seminar: Hafez Mirzaee
ضيوف الحلقة: Diouf seminar:
- إدموند هول/ السفير الأميركي السابق لدى صنعاء — Edmund Hull / Former American ambassador to Sanaa

- جين نوفاك/ كاتبة أميركية متخصصة في الشؤون اليمنية — Jane Novak / American writer specializing in the affairs of Yemen

- أبو بكر القربي/ وزير خارجية اليمن وآخرون — Abu Bakr al-Qurbi / Minister of Foreign Affairs of Yemen and others

تاريخ الحلقة: 14/11/2005 Date Seminar: 14/11/2005

العلاقات اليمنية-الأميركية

– خلفية العلاقات اليمنية-الأميركية ووضعها الحالي
- الملف الأمني والتعاون في مكافحة الإرهاب
- تقييم وزير الخارجية اليمني للعلاقات مع أميركا

حافظ المرازي: مرحباً بكم معنا في هذه الحلقة من برنامج من واشنطن موضوعنا العلاقات اليمنية الأميركية في ضوء اللقاء الثالث بين الرئيس علي عبد الله صالح والرئيس بوش وهو اللقاء الذي تم في البيت الأبيض في الأسبوع المنصرم، سنبحث ملف هذه العلاقات؛ الموضوع الأول على أجندة هذه العلاقات مكافحة الإرهاب، ثم هناك موضوع الوضع الاقتصادي ومكافحة الفساد وأجندة واشنطن في نشر الديمقراطية هل تتعارض فيما يتعلق باليمن مع أجندتها في موضوع مكافحة الإرهاب؟ هذا ما نناقشه مع ضيوفنا في هذه الحلقة من برنامج من واشنطن.

خلفية العلاقات اليمنية-الأميركية ووضعها الحالي

[تقرير مسجل]

حافظ المرازي: كان هذا الاجتماع الثالث للرئيس اليمني مع الرئيس الأميركي منذ أحداث الحادي عشر من سبتمبر 2001 وشأن كل الزيارات ظل الموضوع الأول على أجندة العلاقات الأميركية اليمنية هو مكافحة الإرهاب والدور الذي يمكن لليمن أن يلعبه في هذا المجال. (Read on …)

The Heroine of Yemen

Filed under: mentions — by Jane Novak at 1:03 pm on Friday, June 6, 2008

Cool! Google Translation works from Portugese to Arabic, nice. This is an article published in Unica, the magazine of Expresso the largest newspaper in Portugal, published May 31. The English translation is a few posts down:

الحياة المزدوجه للجين نوفاك يلعب في المطلق الشديد. عند الخروج من الشوارع في حي في ولاية نيو جيرسي في الولايات المتحدة على الذهاب الى التسوق ، أن أحدا لن يعترف. إذا أي شيء ، للجيران ، السيدة نوفاك. نعلم ان البعض ربما لكونها صاحبة المنزل 46 عاما من وقررت اسقاط مهنة بوصفه المدير التجاري لرعايه طفلين ، كما أكد عدد منهم قد يبدو هادئا روتينيه.

ولكن بعد آلاف الاميال في أرض كان فيها من اي وقت مضى ، جميع قراء الصحف في معرفة من هو جين. في اليمن ، جين اصبحت كابوسا للنظام ، وسيكون هذا جدا في الحياة الوطنية التي يتوجب على الناس ان لا تتناول الا بالاسم. المواد هي لعقد الرئيس علي عبد الله صالح والى اقارب من كانوا معه في ادارة شؤون البلاد في ظل ديكتاتوريه مموهه هناك 27 سنة : الأخ علي أ ص الاحمر ، قائد القوة الجوية ، الاخ غير الشقيق علي محسن Al — الاحمر ، قائد المنطقة الشمالية ؛ ابنه احمد ، قائد القوات الخاصة والحرس الجمهوري ، ابن شقيق طارق ، قائد الامن المركزى ، شقيق طارق ، قائد الأمن الوطني. قائمة اقاربهم في الوظائف الرئيسية الفاي طويلة ، وابعد من المجال العسكري. (Read on …)

“The Heroine of Yemen” (President Saleh’s Nightmare): Unica, Portugal

Filed under: Yemen, mentions — by Jane Novak at 9:51 am on Wednesday, June 4, 2008

oh, Stupendous article in Unica, the magazine of Expresso the largest newspaper in Portugal, published June 7. It says Yemen has been a dictarship for 27 years in the hands of President Saleh and his family. And half the Yemeni kids are malnourished. These are important facts for the Portugese people and the rest of Europe to keep in mind. This is the google translation:

The heroine of Yemen

An American housewife, mother of two children, became a star in Middle East from her living room in New Jersey. Without ever going to Yemen, Jane Novak’s articles are shaking the regime.

The double life of Jane Novak plays in absolute extremes. When leaving the street in her neighborhood in New Jersey in the United States to go to shopping, no one will recognize her. If anything is, for the neighbours, Mrs Novak. Some possibly know that she is an owner of home of 46 years who decided to drop a career as a commercial manager to take care of two children, with whom she has an apparently tranquil routine.

But thousands of miles away in a land where ever was, all readers of newspapers know who is Jane. In Yemen, Jane has become a nightmare for the regime, going to be very present in national life that people have to deal only by name.

Her articles are held for President Ali Abdullah Saleh and to the relatives who were with him in administering the country under a dictatorship camouflaged there for 27 years: the brother Ali Saleh Al-Ahmar, commander of the air force, the half-brother Ali Mohsin Al – Ahmar, commander of the northern region; his son Ahmad, commander of special forces and Republican Guard, the nephew Tariq, commander of the central security, the brother of Tariq, commander of national security. The list of relatives in key posts is long and goes far beyond the military sphere.

Jane is not afraid to write unequivocally against clan Saleh in her blog ( For now, because it will never be caught in the comfort of their home in New Jersey. The independent newspapers and opposition in Yemen know that, republicando the articles it without restrictions. A blonde woman and American is able to say a few truths that can be difficult to hear and an uncomfortable experience for those who are in power in an Arab country, closed and conservative, facing a war in the north, a civil uprising in the south and a widespread poverty, with half of the malnourished children.


How do you Novak of New Jersey describe the making of the Yemen Jane? At first, things seemed a little naive, decided to warm. The September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the Twin Towers of New York killed 3,500 people in the heart of the city and put the Americans in shock. (Read on …)

“It’s like an iron curtain. The government wants the people of Yemen to stay disconnected from the world.”-Jane

Filed under: Yemen, janes articles arabic, mentions — by Jane Novak at 6:22 pm on Thursday, May 29, 2008

This is a nice article about me, Yemen and al-Khaiwani from Menassat in Lebannon. Its based on a different interview: “While they block my blog, the Jihadi Al-Qaeda web sites are working just fine in Yemen. They release the USS Cole bombers and throw journalists and even comedians in jail. It leaves me speechless. This is supposed to be a U.S. ally. I feel I have an obligation to let people know,” she said.

It takes a lot to leave me speechless.

Article in full is here and has a very cool graphic I thought.

(Read on …)

Jane on the Radio, Soon

Filed under: Yemen, mentions — by Jane Novak at 4:40 pm on Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I’m on Canada Radio One, the Canadian Broadcast System shortly, a little after 7 tonight in each time zone. The show is called “As It Happens”. I’m going to be talking about Yemen, al-Khaiwani and the whole situation. I think this is the one where I talk about the Sa’ada war, the same “crime” that al-Khaiwani is facing the death penalty for.

Please sign a letter on behalf of al-Khaiwani here.

Update: Hi CBC listeners!! Thanks for stopping by! Thats so neat.

Every major journalists orgnization is supporting al-Khaiwani, one US Congressman (Trent Franks) sent a letter to the Yemeni government, and theres a church in Brooklyn praying for him. The Irish organization Front Line Defenders joined us today. Al-Khaiwani has been nominated for the 2008 Amnesty International UK’s special award for “human rights journalist under threat”.

The Civil Rights in the Middle East activists, Hands Across the Middle East Support Alliance is helping me coordinate all the efforts. These are the people who ran the campaign for Faoud the Saudi blogger who was jailed and is now freed.

Update: Listen to the CBC radio show at this link here. Click on May 28, Part two. I thought it was great. Loved the intro…
(Read on …)

New York Times Article Arabic

Filed under: janes articles arabic, mentions — by Jane Novak at 8:05 am on Saturday, May 24, 2008

To follow, a translation of this New York Times article about me and al-Khaiwani and Yemen.

عبر التدوين الإلكتروني .. حملة تشن من غرفة الجلوس

كتب :روبرت ورث

عبدالله عبدالوهاب ناجي، محمد العريقي- ترجمة خاصة بيمنات

20مايو 2008

بيروت – لبنان

جان نوفاك، 46عاماً، ربة بيت, أم لطفلين في (نيو جرسي), لم تزر اليمن حتى الآن, لا تتحدث العربية, تعترف بشفافية أنها حتى قبل سنوات قليلة ماضية، لا تعرف شيئاً عن تلك الدولة التي مزقها النزاع في جنوب الجزيرة العربية.

ومع ذلك, إلا أن نوفاك قد أصبحت مشهورة جداً في اليمن, لدرجة أن محرري الصحف يقولون إنهم يبيعون نسخاً كثيرة إذا تصدرت صورتها – الشقراء المبتسمة- غلاف أي صحيفة. وقد تم حظرت مدونتها (نشرة إخبارية صريحة عن الشئون اليمنية). يذمها حلفاء الحكومة بشكل متكرر في الصحافة المقروءة باعتبارها عميلة أمريكية, مناصرة للملكية الشيعية، وعضو في (القاعدة), أو نوفاك الصهيونية.

وليس ثمة جريرة ارتكبتها سوى حملتها العتيدة من أجل الصحفي اليمني عبدالكريم الخيواني، الذي حمل حكومته على الغضب جراء كتابته عن تمرد دموي في أقصي شمال البلاد، وهو الآن تحت المحاكمة بتهم التحريض على العصيان، التي يمكن أن تسبب له عقوبة الموت، في قرار من المتوقع أن يصدر الأربعاء .

بادرت نوفاك، التي تعمل من حاسوب نقال في غرفة جلوسها بمقاطعة (مونماوث) “عندما يكون الأطفال في المدرسة”, بعريضة طلب على الانترنت لإطلاق سراح السيد الخيواني, وقد ضمنت فيها السياسيين والصحفيين ونشطاء حقوق الإنسان اليمنيين, وآخرين من حول العالم. أظهرت مدونتها نجاحا كبيرا لتتجاوز قضية الخيواني وتصبح مخرجا حاسماً لصحفيي المعارضة والشخصيات السياسية، الذين يؤيدون معلوماتها عبر رسائلهم النصية أو البريد الكتروني عن الدسائس السياسية اليمنية.

تقول نوفاك بأن حملتها مسألة مبدأ أساسي. وقالت: “هذا بلد يطلق سراح أعضاء القاعدة ليحاكم عوضاً عنهم صحفي، لا لشيء سوى أنه يمارس مهنته”، “وهو الجنون بعينه”.

لكن نوفاك تعترف فعلاً باهتمامها الشخصي في تلك القضية، لقد أصبحت والخيواني صديقين مقربين، رغم أنهما لم يجتمعا قط, ولا يتكلم أحدهما لغة الآخر. واحدة من التهم الموجهة ضده هي استلامه رسالة نصية عبر تليفون خلوي منها, باعتبار ذلك جزءاً من مؤامرة مزعومة، التي ينكرها بالمقابل، لمساعدة المتمردين الحوثيين في شمال اليمن. (Read on …)

NZZ: A Nervous Yemen

Filed under: mentions — by Jane Novak at 5:33 am on Thursday, May 22, 2008

From the Swiss paper Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), a major German language Swiss daily newspaper based in Zürich known as the Swiss newspaper of record. (This is a translation from the German to English, with thanks to the very nice Marcus.) Its wonderful:

From the Living Room, A Government Much Nervous

A housewife from New Jersey interferes in Yemen

If a newspaper in Yemen wants to sell more copies, it publishes a picture of Jane Novak. The 46 year old American housewife and mother of two children has reached surprising popularity in the southern Arabic country. All because of her Internet Blog. For the Yemeni government she has become something like enemy of the state number one.

The descriptions and names of Jane Novak are diverse: A member of al-kaida, an American secret agent, a Shiite monarchist, a Zionist – that’s what representatives from the Yemeni Government have called the women on different occasions. A women which sits some thousand kilometers away on a different continent, in front of her a Laptop-Computer blogging, assumed her children are in school and she has time at the moment.

The 46 year old housewife out of the American state of New Jersey openly admits to have known almost nothing about Yemen just a few years ago. In the meantime she is known in Yemen by her given name “Jane”. Also she possibly is the best known foreigner in the country even though the opinions about her greatly differ. Already the name and the graphical design of her Website, in the colors of the American flag ought to be enough to get the blood of Islamists and Arabic governments rushing through their veins.

Everything began with a petition

Everything began in the year 2004 with a petition to free the Yemenite journalist Karim al-Khaiwani. Khaiwani had attracted his governments anger, because he dared to write about a rebellion in the north of the country. He was charged with high treason and theoretically he has to fear the death penalty.

Out of the simple appeal on the Internet developed a Blog, which stood at the beginning of a campaign whose momentum holds steadily. The Website has developed into a kind of bulletin board for Journalists which are particular near to the countries opposition and oppositional politicians. They send emails which provide new information and make the blog into more than the hobby of a dilettante. One thing lead to another: But mainly the Yemeni government made the mistake to created the concept of the enemy “Jane” which made her an icon. By now Novak also publishes in the English “Yemen Times”. Her articles show a considerable knowledge of the inner workings.

Talk guest on “al-Jazira”

2005 Novak was a first time guest in a discussion on the arabic television station al-Jazeeza. When it was the speaker of the Yemeni governments turn he began with a tirade against Novak: “You do not speak Arabic, you never were in Yemen and you aren’t even a journalist. Everything you have is a website you are using to smear Yemen.”

No “normal” activist

Reading her biography the 46 year old doesn’t really fit the picture of an activist who fights for the rights of people in an exotic country. According to “The New York Times” she was working as sales manager for a textile company before she became a mother. When a Yemeni Minister visited Washington last year he offered to meet “Jane”. She refused because the trip to Washington was too expensive and the complications in securing the supervision for her children.

Bloody conflict

Through her campaign Novak was sucked into one of the least known and most complex conflicts in the middle east. In the southern Arabic country, which formerly was divided into Northern and Southern Yemen, a rebellion of tribes in the north west has existed for years. The rebels which are located near the border to Saudi Arabia are fighting against the central government who accuses the rebels of being supported by Iran. The death toll is located in the thousands. The Journalist Karim al-Khaiwani whom Novak supports wrote, in spite of an official embargo, about the conflict on his website. This was the reason for the charge against him.

The Yemeni government accuses him of being a supporter of the “Terrorists”, which is the government’s portrayal of the rebels. According to Novak this is a bitter irony because the stance of the regime on this subject has to be called ambivalent. Numerous prisoners which were incarcerated because there existed the suspicion of ties to al-Kaida have been freed in spite of protests from the West. The twilight of the global terror networks also lies on the small country on the southern tip of the Arabic peninsula. The definition of friend and foe is seldom definite.

Novak is convinced that al-Khaiwani is on the right side . The two have never met but are still corresponding by email. By the way, it took Novak months until Novak confessed to her protégé that she isn’t a Journalist but a housewife with a Laptop at home.

Amerikanische Hausfrau, Yes

Filed under: mentions — by Jane Novak at 8:15 am on Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hello NZZ readers!!!! Alles begann mit einer Petition! (click this, please)

Wow, a lot of people are signing. Thank you very much for that. Read Karim’s letter right below this, I moved it up for you. He’s a wonderful guy, quite heroic, and well worth the fight.

Wow, the blog is getting a lot of traffic from this article in NZZ:

Wenn in Jemen eine Zeitung ihre Auflage steigern möchte, dann bringt sie auf ihrer Titelseite ein Bild von Jane Novak. Die 46-jährige amerikanische Hausfrau und Mutter von zwei Kindern hat es in dem südarabischen Land dank ihrem Internet-Blog zu erstaunlicher Berühmtheit gebracht. Für die dortige Regierung ist sie eine Art Staatsfeind Nummer eins geworden.

bbu. Die Bezeichnungen für Jane Novak sind sehr vielseitig: Ein Mitglied von al-Kaida, eine amerikanische Agentin, eine schiitische Monarchistin, eine Zionistin (ed: Its even funny in a foreign language.) – so haben Vetreter der Regierung Jemens bei verschiedenen Gelegenheiten die Frau bezeichnet, die einige tausend Kilometer entfernt auf einem anderen Kontinent an ihrem Laptop-Computer sitzt und bloggt. Vorausgesetzt, ihre Kinder sind in der Schule und sie hat gerade dazu Zeit. (Read on …)

Full Article from the New York Times

Filed under: Yemen, mentions — by Jane Novak at 4:57 pm on Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New York Times

May 20, 2008
A Living-Room Crusade via Blogging
BEIRUT, Lebanon — Jane Novak, a 46-year-old stay-at-home mother of two in New Jersey, has never been to Yemen. She speaks no Arabic, and freely admits that until a few years ago, she knew nothing about that strife-torn south Arabian country. (Read on …)

Websites (mostly US) Carrying the Case of al-Khaiwani

Filed under: USA, Yemen, Yemen-Journalists, guest posts, mentions — by Jane Novak at 1:24 am on Monday, May 19, 2008

This is a second list. (List #one is here and is a seperate listing.) Please join us and sign at this link in support of the heroic journalist, Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani. If you have a link, please leave it in the comments. Thanks AGAIN to Nicki for keeping track of this today…. Update: 1001 people sent a letter so far. Its a beautiful thing.

Yemen Spirals Toward Disintegration, Arabic

Filed under: Yemen, janes articles arabic — by Jane Novak at 6:40 pm on Friday, May 2, 2008


جين نوفاك تكتب عن احتجاجات الجنوب وحرب صعدة وعن علاقات يمنية أمريكية متوترة

[30/4/2008] ? : – جين نوفاك*- ترجمة خاصة بـ[يمنات]

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.

فشلت اتفاقية محًبرة في يونيو2007م لوقف اطلاق النار، في ايقاف الصراعات وتم إعادة التفاوض في يناير الفائت،تراجع الوسطاء القطريون هذا الأسبوع بسبب رفض كل من الجيش الحكومي و«المتمردين الشيعة الزيديين في الشمال»التخلي عن مواقفهم حسب ما هومطلوب ونقل ممثل الامم المتحدة للاجئين أن مائتي عائلة وصلت إلى مدينة صعدة الأسبوع المنصرم بسبب تجدد الحرب.

الاحتجاجات في الجنوب

تستمر الاحتجاجات الكبيرة في الجنوب لتصبح أكثر استمرارية وسخونة وقد تم اعتقال ما يقارب المائتي شخص دون تهمة تتصل بأعمال الشغب التي حدثت مطلع ابريل واستمرت اسبوعا.

بدأت هذه الاحتجاجات العام الماضي بشكل مطالبات بحقوق متساوية وتطورت إلى مناشدات بإنفصال الجنوب من الدولة التي توحدت في 1990م ،لقي عشرون متظاهرا حتفهم منذ اغسطس،وأعلام جمهورية اليمني الديمقراطية الشعبية ترفرف عاليا أثناء هذه الاحتجاجات منذ عام ولا مجال لذكر هذا الموضوع،وفي الاثنين الماضي تعرض ستة طلاب جامعيين للاعتقال ونظام الحكم يتهم كلا من المعارضة المحلية واليمنيين المغتربين بالتحريض على الاحتجاجات التي تركز حاليا على اطلاق سراح السجناء السياسيين.

مقاطعة المعارضة

اتهمت المعارضة السلطة بإصدار تحريم جديد لللمظاهرات يتمثل في حالة طوارئ غير معلن عنها، وأعلنت احزاب اللقاء المشترك أنها ستقاطع انتخابات محافظي المحافظات في مايوالقادم، واصفة إياها بوجه الديمقراطية وهذه الاحزاب تتألف من ائتلاف حزب الاصلاح الاسلامي،والحزب الاشتراكي اليمني،وبعض الاحزاب الصغيرة وسيتم انتخاب محافظين من قبل المجالس المحلية التي يسود فيها الحزب الحاكم ممثلا بالرئيس، والمؤتمر الشعبي العام.

من المقرر أن تنعقد الانتخابات البرلمانية عام 2009م كما ترفض المعارضة مسودة قانونية تحدد بأن تكون اللجنة العليا للانتخابات مكونة من قضاة فالقضاء في اليمن خاضع بشدة للسلطة التنفيذية قد يؤدي هذا الطريق المسدود إلى مقاطعة المعارضة للانتخابات البرلمانية ايضاً.

هجمات ارهابية:

تم تفجير ثلاث مواد متفجرة بالقرب من الجدار الخارجي للمركز الرئيس للشرطة في محافظة حضرموت الشرقية في وقت متأخر من مساء الثلاثاء من غير إصابة أحد وهو الحادث العاشر البسيط يستهدف منشأة حكومية مراكز شرطة،مباني حكومية، نقاط تفتيش، خارج العاصمة منذ منتصف مارس.

وفي أربع هجمات- معظمها تتم ليلا -قُتل ستة جنود،قامت كل من الولايات المتحدة بسحب اجهزتها غير الاساسية في الاسابيع الماضية إثر هجوم مدفعي استهدف السفارة الامريكية أدى إلى قتل شرطي يمني في مارس، وفي ابريل تعرض مجمع سكني غربي لنار مدفع ولكن لم يكن ثمة إصابات وادعت القاعدة مسؤليتها في بيان بالانترنت عن هذه الهجمات وكذا هجوم سابق على نقطة تفتيش في حضرموت.

في هذا الاسبوع أعلن نظام الحكم اليمني انه اعتقل عضوا من الجهاد الاسلامي المصري محمد ياقوت على خلفية الهجوم على السفارة الامريكية ونقل عن مصادر اعتقال عبد الله الريمي أحد كبار التنظيم القاعدي في 7أبريل ولكن الأمر اتضح أنه حالة لهوية مغلوطة علما بأن الريمي مطلوب على خلفية الهجوم الارهابي في الرياض في 2003م والذي أودى بحياة سبعة عشر شخصا وجرح مائة وعشرين آخرين.

علاقات يمنية امريكية متوترة

قام مدير مكتب المباحث الفيدرالي روبرت مولر بزيارة إلى اليمن في 10ابريل لبحث سبل التعاون في مكافحة الارهاب بين اليمن والولايات المتحدة وقد كرر مولر طلب الوليات المتحدة بتسليم جمال البدوي إلى حكومته كونه ضالعا في التفجير على المدمرة كول وقد فر من السجن مرتين واستسلم لمسؤلين يمنيين في اكتوبر2007م.

أبلغت وسائل اعلام محلية مؤخرا عن البدوي بأنه يعيش في وطنه رغم أن مسئولين حكوميين ادعوا أنه كان زائرا فقط وانه حاليا تحت الحجز .

تعرض سبعة عشر بحارا أمريكيا للقتل وتسعة واربعون للاصابات في الهجوم على المدمرة كول في اكتوبر2000م بميناء عدن وبعد زيارة مولر، تم تأجيل زيارة وزير الخارجية أبو بكر القربي المخطط لها تأجيلا مفاجئا البدوي يعد واحد من المطلوبين بشدة لدى مكتب المباحث الفيدرالي كما هو الحال بشأن اليمني الامريكي جابر البانح.

كما ترفض اليمن تسليم البانح للولايات المتحدة مستشهدة بتحريم دستوري وقد حضر البانح مخيم الفاروق التدريبي في افغانستان بصحبة ستة من رفقائه من لاكوانا بنيويورك وهؤلاء الستة جميعهم اعترفوا بالجرم بشأن تهم ارهابية بعد ان عادوا إلى امريكا أما البانح فلم يعد قط إلى الولايات المتحدة وفر من السجن اليمني برفقة البدوي وواحد وعشرين من نشطاء القاعدة وذلك في فبراير 2006م ،وفي مايو 2007م استسلم البدوي أما في نوفمبر2007م فقد تم الحكم غيابيا على البدوي بالسجن مدة عشر سنوات على خلفية هجوم ارهابي وهو مطلق السراح بكفالة وقد حضر جلستي تحقيق هذا الشهر وقد أدعى أمام المحكمة أنه قد توصل إلى اتفاق مباشر مع رئيس الجمهورية وأن الموضوع قد انتهي.

انكماش الحريات المدنية

تستمر محاكمة الناشط والصحفي الشهير عبد الكريم الخيواني بقصد إثارة غضب المجتمع المدني اليمني وبقصد اثارة غضب زملاء المهنة والمنظمات الحقوقية،الخيواني متهم بالارهاب ويواجه عقوبة الاعدام لامتلاكه معلومات وصور عن حرب صعدة «تسمى الحكومة اليمنية متمردي صعدة بـ( الارهابيين) رغم أن هذه الحرب هي نوع من التمرد المحلي وأن المتمردين لا يستهدفون مدنيين» وبعد محاكمة طويلة تم التوصل إلى حجز القضية للحكم في مايو.

في أبريل تم اغلاق صحيفة الوسط، إحدى الصحف المستقلة البارزة وأشارت هيئة الصحيفة في بيان إلى أنه بينما يواجه البلد انهيارا كاملا لا يدخر النظام فرصة في اغلاق كافة وسائل التعبير والجام كافة الاصوات الحرة في البلاد.

وما تزال الحكومة اليمنية تفرض قيودا وتستهدف الاعلام وحرية التعبير منذ اندلاع حرب صعدة في 2004م ومرة أخرى مع تزايد الاحتجاجات في الجنوب، كما وقعت عديد هجمات بدنية وقضائية على الصحفيين والصحف بأنتظام وقامت الحكومة باغلاق المواقع الاخبارية المعارضة والمستقلة والمدونات.

وقد قام محرك البحث «يمن بورتال الاخباري» بتغيير اسماء المجالات عدة مرات وابتكر عدة تكتيكات للتغلب على حجب الدولة للمواقع الاليكترونية بما فها تغذية ال ار اس اس وملحق فايروفوكس.

تنامي النظام التقليدي

في أبريل رفض البرلمان ذو الغالبية التابعة للمؤتمر الشعبي العام التصويت على مشروع مقترح يقضي بعدم شرعية التمثيل بالأعضاء الجنسية الأنثوية وعلى آخر يقضي بتحريم زواج الفتيات تحت سن الخامسة عشرة،ليشيع الزواج دون السن القانونية في اليمن حيث أن نصف كافة النساء يتزوجن قبل الثامنة عشرة وكثير منهن يحملن بعيد الدورة الاولى، النمو السكاني من بين أعلى المعدلات في المنطقة مما يؤدي إلى استنزاف الاقتصاد.

في الأسبوع الماضي توجهت نجود محمد ناصر البالغة الثامنة من العمر إلى المحكمة لتطالب بطلاقها من زوجها البالغ ثلاثين عاماً والذي ارغمها على الممارسة الجنسية في حين فضلت أن تلعب في الفناء على حد قولها وانفسخ الزواج بعد ما قام مانح مجهول بتوفير المال لتعويض المهر.

يعتمد النظام الحاكم باستمرار على دعم المتطرفين السياسيين لمواجهة ضغوطات متمردين شيعة في الشمال واشتراكيين من الجنوب ونشطاء مدنيين على مستوى البلد ،وقامت الحكومة بنشر مصطلح «تكفيري» في مساجد البلاد والصحافة الرسمية مما يؤدي إلى إقصاء المتنافسين السياسيين واضفاء الشرعية على موتهم عند البعض.

إن نظام الحكم اليمني نظام مُجرّم إلى حد ما،حيث يتم تهريب الأسلحة والمخدرات وعمالة الأطفال بالتنسيق مع أشخاص من منتسبي الإدارة الحكومية،والحكومة في قمة الفساد حيث تخضع ايرادات العوائد النفطية وهبات المانحين والقروض لاستيلاء الطبقة العليا.

صحيح أن النظام يقوم بجهود اصلاحية عامة استجابة لضغوطات دولية ومحلية لكنها سطحية في أغلب الأوقات وتتزامن مع مقدار من الانحسار المتكافئ، في الواقع ارتفاع أسعار الغذاء قد محا سنوات من الادخار البسيط خشية الفقر ويعيش 46 % هم اليمنيين على أقل من دولارين يوميا والخدمات العامة من مياه وتعليم وكهرباء وأمن ومنشأة طبية غير متوافرة على نطاق واسع في الريف اليمني حيث يقطن 70% من السكان مما يؤدي إلى تعزيز اعتماد العامة على الانتساب القبلي من أجل البقاء.

لقراءة النص الأصلي باللغة الانجليزية LWJ


* باحثة ومحللة سياسية أمريكية متخصصة في الشأن اليمني

Al-Qaeda in Yemen, Mercenaries or Terrorists, Arabic

Filed under: Janes Articles, Yemen, janes articles arabic — by Jane Novak at 8:21 pm on Saturday, April 26, 2008

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.

إن استقرار اليمن ونظام حكم الرئيس اليمني هو الخطوة الأولى المهمة للتغلب على نظام القاعدة، وهذا ما يؤكده المقال المشار إليه،وعلى الولايات المتحدة أن تضخ المزيد من الأموال تحقيقاً لهذا الهدف. وقد بين الكاتب أنه على الولايات المتحدة أن ترتب مطالبها من اليمن حسب الأولوية ثم تقرر ما إذا كانت تريد شريكاً في الحرب على القاعدة أو ما إذا كانت تريد دولة تحاول أن تلبي معايير الديمقراطية.

يشارك في هذا التقييم العام محللون غربيون آخرون ممن يتفقون مع التأكيد بأن العاملين المتسترين في تنظيم القاعدة والذين عادوا من العراق، مسئولون عن تكرار الضربات في اليمن الهادفة إلى إضعاف نظام الحكم اليمني.

وتصف وحدة الرقابة الأمنية(أي اس إن) الهجمات بقولها «استهدفت إضعاف العائدات الحكومية مع الهجمات على منشآت نفطية وكذا الأنابيب وشركات النفط الأجنبية و السياح».

وبالمثل تجد مؤسسة جمس تاون الخاصة بالبؤر الإرهابية أن:«الهجمات جسدت رسالة إلى الرئيس صالح وإلى المجتمع الدولي مفادها أن استراتيجية تنظيم القاعدة في العراق استراتيجية إحداث الفوضى، يتم الآن نقلها إلى أوطان الجماعات المتطرفة».

يتواجد الرأي المعارض كثيراً بين أوساط المحللين السياسيين اليمنيين ويعتقد أن نظام الحكم في اليمن يرعى وينشر متطرفين إسلاميين بصفتهم مرتزقة ووسيلة سياسة خارجية.

وحيث إن هذه الرؤية تسود فيما بين أوساط المعارضة السياسية الداخلية في اليمن، إلا أنها غير محصورة عليهم، وبعضهم في الحكومة اليمنية يعبر عن هذه النظرة سرياً.

في هذا المثال تلاقي معظم الهجمات الإرهابية تخويلاً من شخصيات تنتسب إلى نظام الحكم بغرض تحقيق عديد أهداف من ضمنها إثارة الاستعطاف والتمويل الدوليين في حال تقليل مطالب المانحين للإصلاح والتعاون الفاعل في محاربة الإرهاب.

عبر عن هذه الرؤية منير الماوري عندما كتب في (يمن تايمز) قائلاً «ولكن الأمر الذي ظهر صدقه بالبرهان هو أن معظم العمليات الإرهابية في وطننا قام بها أشخاص أحالتهم السلطة من الشبكة الإرهابية لتنظيم القاعدة إلى معسكر إرهابي تسيطر عليه الحكومة، ولذا نجد أن معظم الإرهابيين المتواجدين في اليمن، يتلقون أوامر من مسئولين في الجيش اليمني ومؤسسات أمنية.

ويؤكد الماوري أن نظام الحكم يراعي زعم «القاعدة»،كما أنها تراعي ادعاء الديمقراطية وأن التنظيم الجديد للقاعدة في اليمن ألعوبة إبادية تشكلت إيفاءً بتوقعات غربية.

الاستاذ عبد الله الأصنج، وزير خارجية اليمن سابقا، شخصية محترمة رفيعة المستوى، علق قائلا:«لا أستطيع أن أتفق مع الماوري أكثر من هذا فعناصر الإرهاب لا تنتسب إلى تنظيم القاعدة، بل معظمها لها علاقة بأعمال يقال إن لها صلة بزعماء القبائل و الحزب السياسي الحاكم. ومما ترسخ دون أدنى شك أن نظام الحكم في اليمن بقيادة فخامة الرئيس علي عبد الله صالح وحكومته السلطوية قد صب الزيت على الحرب الأهلية الدائرة في الصومال من خلال الاتجار غير المشروع بالأسلحة مع الأطراف المتصارعة».

كما أشار الأصنج إلى استخدام مصادر الدولة في تسهيل أنشطة ارهابية واجرامية قائلاً«: تذهب مصادر حكومية بقدر ماهو مقترح أن مسؤولين حكوميين رفيعي المستوى يدعمون باستمرار عمليات تداول نقود غير قانونية وتزوير دولارات أمريكية وريالات سعودية.الأسلحة والمخدرات وتهريب الأطفال أحداث يومية تنبع من اليمن وتنتقل إلى دول مجاورة تحديداً المملكة السعودية، الإمارات العربية المتحدة وبقية دول الخليج وتدفق المتطوعون للانضمام الى طوائف حرب مختلفة حاملين جوازات سفر يمنية أمر واضح، فمنذُ أسابيع قليلة فقط قامت سلطات سورية بتسليم عدد من اليمنيين العابرين للحدود السورية من العراق بزعم ارتباطهم بإرهابيين في العراق، و مثل هكذا تسرب لعناصر تحمل جوازات سفر يمنية إلى العراق ومنها لا يمكن أن يتم دون موافقة المستبد اليمني واعوانه».

كما أوضح الأصنج أن الفساد والتواطؤ في اليمن يستمران حتى أعلى القيادة السياسية وقال : «لا يمكن الاعتماد على الرئيس اليمني شريكاً لاحلال الاستقرار في اليمن حتى في الفترة القصيرة،إن الدعم المالي والسياسي لن يعمل إلاّ على فتح شهيته على القيام بمزيد من الاعمال البشعة».

محلل سياسي يمني آخر معتد به وجد أن عدم الاستقرار السياسي الراهن في اليمن وسلسلة الهجمات الإرهابية، وثيقة الارتباط ببعضها لكن ليس بالصورة التي يفهمها الغرب عموماً.و يقول المحلل السياسي – طالباً عدم الكشف عن هويته :«الواضح من التطورات الأخيرة – سواء كانت اقتصادية أو أمنية – أن نظام الحكم مصاب بالمرض ويستخدم آخر بطاقات قليلة لديه ليظل في السلطة».

وأضاف المحلل«إن تشكيل ستار اعلامي كبير يعد واحدا من أنجح التكتيكات سواء كان هذا الإخفاء محلياً أو دولياً،و ذلك بغرض إخفاء الاتفاقات المشبوهة مع عناصر القاعدة والاحتجاجات الكبيرة وقتل المواطنين جنوب اليمن، لكن الحقيقة قادمة». وخلص إلى القول : «الحقيقة خلافاً لما يظن الكثيرون – أن أنهيار اليمن – دولة ونظاما – قريب ، فعلاً قريب،وذلك هو الواقع المرير الذي ينبغي التنبه إليه».

ويقول مسعد علي،مدير المركز اليمني الأمريكي لمكافحة الإرهاب، معلقاً على هذا المقال إن نظام الحكم اليمني مسؤول عن الهجمات الأخيرة مسؤولية جادة طالما وقد قًتل العديد من السياح الأجانب، ويقول إن الهجمات«نتيجة العلاقة الجيدة بين نظام الحكم وتنظيم القاعدة».

وتهدف الهجمات إلى«حمل الغرب عموماً والولايات المتحدة خصوصاً على الاعتقاد بأن اليمن حليف للولايات المتحدة ضد تنظيم القاعدة، لكن الواضح بالنسبة للشعب اليمني هو العلاقة القوية بين نظام الحكم والتنظيم».

وعلى هذا فإن مساعدة الولايات المتحدة لمواجهة الإرهاب والمتمثلة في التمويل والتدريب والإعداد قد تم استخدامها«ضد الشعب اليمني فقط» .

وتابع الاستاذ علي ساردا أسماء عدة أعضاء رفيعة المستوى ضمن ادارة الرئيس صالح،يقول عنهم الأستاذ علي بأنهم منتسبون للتنظيم ومسهلون له،من ضمن هذه الأعضاء قائد الفرقة الأولى مدرع علي محسن الأحمر،ورئيس جهاز الأمن السياسي غالب القمش،وقائدالأمن المركزي يحيى محمد عبد الله صالح،ورئيس جهازالأمن القومي علي الآنسي.

نقلا عن صحيفة اللونج وور

19 أبريل2008


لقراءة النص الأصلي باللغة الانجليزية Long War Journal

Yemen Continues Disintegrating, April 2008 Overview

Filed under: Janes Articles, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:13 am on Wednesday, April 23, 2008

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.

Northern War

Despite a recent 1.4 million dollar donation from the UK, the WFP is facing an urgent shortage of funds to feed the 77,000 civilians displaced by the war in north Yemen. Several thousand have been killed in the war that began in 2004 and thousands of homes, mosques and businesses destroyed by government shelling. A cease fire agreement inked in June 2007 failed to stop the fighting and was renegotiated in January. Qatari mediators withdrew this week as both the Yemeni military and the northern Zaidi Shiite rebels refuse to abandon their positions as required. The UNHCR reported that 200 families arrived in Sa’ada City over the last week due to renewed fighting.

Southern Protests
Large protests continue in southern Yemen, and have become more frequent and heated. About 200 people are detained without charge in connection with the week long riots in early April. The protests began last year as demands for equal rights and morphed into calls for southern succession from the state which unified in 1990. Twenty demonstrators were killed since August. Flags of the former Peoples Democratic Republic of Yemen are openly flown at the protests, unthinkable a year ago. Six university students were arrested on Monday. The regime accuses both the domestic opposition and expatriate Yemenis of instigating the protests which currently focus on the release of political prisoners.

Opposition Boycott

A new prohibition against demonstrations is an undeclared state of emergency, the opposition charged. The Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) is an opposition coalition of the Islamic Reform party known as Islah, the Yemeni Socialist Party and some smaller parties. The JMP announced it will boycott gubernatorial elections in May, calling them a facade of democracy. Governors will be elected by local councils that are dominated by President Saleh’s ruling party, the General People‘s Congress (GPC). Parliamentary elections are slated for 2009. The opposition JMP is rejecting a draft law designating that the Supreme Electoral Commission will be comprised of judges. The judiciary in Yemen is highly subject to executive influence. This stalemate may result in an opposition boycott of the Parliamentary elections as well.

Terror Attacks

Three explosive devices were detonated near the exterior wall of the main police center in the eastern province of Hadramout late Tuesday evening . No one was wounded. It is the tenth incident of a small attack on government targets (police stations, government buildings and checkpoints) outside the capital since mid-March. Six soldiers were killed in four of the attacks, many of which took place at night. Both the US and UN withdrew non-essential personnel in the last weeks after a mortar attack targeting the US embassy killed one Yemeni policeman in March. In April a western residential compound was subject to mortar fire. No one was injured. Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility in an internet posting for the mortar attacks and an earlier attack on a check point in Hadramout.

The Yemeni regime announced this week that it arrested a member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Mohammed Yaqout, in connection with the attack on the US embassy. Senior al-Qaeda terrorist Abduallah al Reimi was reported arrested on April 7, but it was later found to be a case of mistaken identity, Al Reimi is wanted in the 2003 al Qaeda attack in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia which killed 17 and wounded 120.

US/Yemeni Relations Strained

FBI Director Robert Mueller visited Yemen April 10 to discuss counter-terror cooperation between the two countries. Mueller repeated the US request for the extradition of Jamal al Badawi, convicted in the attack on the USS Cole, who escaped jail twice and surrendered in October 2007 to Yemeni officials. Al Badawi was later reported by local media to be living at home, although government officials claimed he was only visiting and is currently incarcerated. Seventeen US sailors were killed and 49 wounded in the attack on the USS Cole in October 2000 in the port of Aden. After Mueller’s visit, a planned trip by Yemen’s foreign minister Abu Bakr al-Qirby to the US was abruptly postponed. Al Badawi is one of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists, as is Yemeni-American Jaber Elbaneh.

Yemen also refuses to extradite Elbaneh to the US, citing a constitutional prohibition. Elbaneh attended the al Farouq training camp in Afghanistan along with six of his friends from Lackawanna, New York. The Lackawanna Six all pleaded guilty to terror related charges after their return to the US. Elbaneh never returned to the US and escaped Yemeni jail in February 2006 along with al Badawi and 21 al Qaeda operatives. Elbaneh surrendered May 2007. In November 2007 Elbaneh was sentenced in absentia to ten years in jail for a terror attack. Elbaneh is free on bail and attended two appeal hearings this month. Elbaneh claimed to the court that he reached an agreement directly with Yemeni president Saleh and the matter is finished.

Civil Liberties Diminished

The trial of prominent activist and journalist Abdulkairm al-Khaiwani continues to infuriate Yemeni civil society, fellow journalists and rights organizations. Al Khaiwani is charged with terrorism and faces the death penalty for possessing information and photographs of the war in Sa’ada. (The Yemeni government calls the Sa’ada rebels “terrorists” although the war is a domestic rebellion and the rebels do not target civilians.) After a lengthy trial, a verdict is expected in May.

A leading independent weekly al Wasat was abruptly closed in April. In a statement, the paper’s staff noted, “While the country is facing a total collapse, the regime is sparing no chance to shutdown all means of expression and clamp on all free voices in the country.” Since the outbreak of the Saada war in 2004, and again with the growing protests in southern Yemen, the Yemeni government increasingly restricted and targeted the media and free expression. A slew of physical and judicial attacks on journalists and newspapers occurred with regularity. The government also blocked opposition and independent news websites and blogs. The internet news aggregator changed domain names several times and devised several tactics to circumvent the censorship including an RSS feed and a downloadable firefox extension.

Growing Traditionalism

In April, the GPC dominated Parliament refused to vote on a proposed bill outlawing female genital mutilation and another prohibiting the marriage of girls under fifteen. Underage marriage is common in Yemen with half of all women married before their 18th birthday and many bearing a child shortly after their first menstrual period. Population growth is among the highest in the region, straining the economy. Eight year old Nojoud Muhammed Nasser went to court last week requesting a divorce from her thirty year old husband who forced her to have sex with him when she preferred to play in the yard, she said. After an anonymous donor provided funds to repay her dowry, the marriage was dissolved. The regime is increasingly relying on the support of religious hardliners in response to pressures from northern Shiite rebels, southern Socialists and civil activists across the country. The government deploys takfiri terminology in state mosques and the official media, ex-communicating political rivals and according to some, legitimizing their deaths.

The Yemeni government is in part a criminalized regime, with drug and weapons smuggling and child trafficking accomplished with the coordination of administration affiliated persons. The government is highly corrupt, with the proceeds of oil revenues, donor grants and loans subject to elite capture. The regime does make public reform efforts in response to domestic and international pressure, but these are often superficial and accompanied by an equal amount of regression in practice. Rising food prices have erased years of small gains against poverty, and 46 per cent of Yemenis now live on under USD 2.00 per day. Public services including water, education, electricity, security and medical facilities are largely unavailable in rural Yemen where 70 per cent of the population resides, strengthening public reliance on tribal affiliation for survival.


al-Qaeda in Yemen

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, Janes Articles, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:24 am on Monday, April 21, 2008

For those of you following along at home, I thought I’d weigh in here. There are jihaddists who are opposed to Saleh’s rule and they probably perpetrated some if not all of the current flurry of attacks. But the relationship between the regime and the terrorists is complex.

The regimes does much more than just calling the opposition terrorists, whether its the JMP or the Houthis. The point al Asnag and many make is that the regime not only spins the terror issue but has the capacity to order them around, as al Mawari said. Its a little more active than a non-aggression pact.

The Yemeni government is subject to state capture by both criminal and jihaddist influences. As al Asnag notes and is widely understood, the smuggling of drugs, weapons and persons is accomplished with the consent of those within the administration. It is a criminalized state and regionally destabilizing. In a similiar way, a segment of the state is also jihadisized.

Jihaddis are sometimes created by those within the state itself, educated in state funded religious schools, recruited and trained under the stewardship of military figures like Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar and the Iraqis in Yemen, documented and transported to Iraq sometimes with the assistance of individuals associated with the state and sometimes on Yemenia. There comes a tipping point in the intergration process when the state stops co-opting the extremists and the extremists start deploying the state.

In legitimizing and negotiating with the the jihaddists, Saleh strengthened them and became himself more vulnerable to their ideology. He became bound not to be too aggressive with them. And they are in a better bargaining position. So he pretends to send them to jail, pretends to try them or pretends to look for them after they escape. He said he knew where the 23 escapees all were. The reason he didnt get them is they had to agree to come in or their friends including jihaddists and tribesmen would get riled. If he wants to arrest al Wahishi, people know where he is. Like Abdullah al-Reimi, strolling around Sana’a, top jihaddists who already perpetrated lethal attacks enjoy some immunity in Yemen. Certainly the returnees from Iraq faced no sanction as a court found violent jihad legal and even a requirement. The quiet from 2003 – 2007, the non-aggression pact, only protected Saleh, not the Saudis or Iraqs or Somalis or Lebanese.

In this way, those engaging in violence in Yemen now are one way or another a product of the regime’s policies. The question becomes can Saleh take real action and under what circumstances does he get off the fence? Maybe appeasing them is his only option now. And re-integration into society is a very worthy goal that has worked in some cases. Saleh is not Musharaf, and meeting democratic benchmarks is necessary to unraveling the mechanism in place. Without some real power-sharing, the state will continue to spiral into further instability, poverty and chaos anyway. Its very late in the game.


MyNews: The Institute for Conflict Management, the world’’s premier open source for research and data on terrorism in South Asia, on Sunday received the M L Sondhi Prize for International Politics, 2007…. He (President of the Institute for Conflict Management and former Punjab top cop K P S Gill) further noted, “Many Muslim fundamentalist states including Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are being thrown into direct conflict with the Islamist extremists, and the imperatives of self-preservation are soon going to force their leaderships to make drastic choices between one of just two options: to throw in their lot with the jihadis and take their countries back into the 16th century, or to dismantle their own extremist Islamist agendas and embrace modernisation, democracy and the ideologies of freedom and religious coexistence.”

If this is a correct assessment, then the promotion of civil rights is essential when a country is teetering between an alliance with the jihadists and democracy.

Al-Qaeda in Yemen: Mercenaries or Terrorists?

Filed under: Janes Articles, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:26 pm on Thursday, April 10, 2008

Al-Qaeda in Yemen: Mercenaries or Terrorists?

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. The new al-Qaeda generation rejects negotiation with the regime and is heralded by a new strategy and increasing sophistication in online propaganda. As domestic pressures sap the Yemeni regime’s attention and resources, the control of al-Qaeda has taken a low priority. The stability of Yemen (and the regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh) is the vital first step to defeating al-Qaeda, the article asserts, and the US will have to funnel more funds to Yemen to achieve this goal. The author finds the US should prioritize its demands on Yemen and decide, “whether it wants a partner in the war against al-Qa`ida, or whether it wants a country that is attempting to meet democratic benchmarks.”

This general assessment is shared by other Western analysts who also agree with the assertion that al Qaeda operatives who returned from Iraq are responsible for repeated strikes in Yemen designed to weaken the Saleh regime. ISN Security Watch describes the attacks as, “designed to undermine government revenues with strikes on oil facilities and pipelines and foreign oil companies and tourists.” Similarly, Jamestown Foundation’s Terrorism Focus finds, “The attacks were a message to Saleh, and to the global community, that the chaos-producing strategy of al-Qaeda in Iraq…is now being exported to the militants’ homelands.”

The opposing view is most often found among Yemeni analysts and holds that the Yemeni regime fosters and deploys Islamic extremists as mercenaries and as a tool of foreign policy. While this view is predominant among Yemen’s internal political opposition, it is not exclusive to them, and some within the Yemeni government privately express this view. In this paradigm, most terror attacks are authorized by regime affiliated persons to achieve a variety of goals, one of which is to provoke international sympathy and funding while diminishing donors’ demands for reform and greater counter-terror cooperation.

This viewpoint was expressed by Moneer al Mawari when he wrote in the Yemen Times, “But what has been proved authentic is that most of the terrorist operations in our homeland were launched by individuals whom the authority metamorphosed and transferred from the Qaeda terrorist Network to a government-controlled terrorist camp. Therefore, most of the terrorists available in Yemen…receive orders from officers in the Yemeni army and security institutions.” Al Mawari asserts that the regime maintains the pretense of al Qaeda as it maintains the pretense of democracy, and that the new “al-Qaeda in Yemen” is a deadly puppet created to fulfill Western expectations.

Mr. Abdullah al Asnag, former foreign minister of Yemen, is a well respected senior figure in Yemeni politics. He commented, “I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Mawari. Terrorist elements are not Al Qaida affiliated, but most of them are linked to jobs said to be connected with tribal chiefs and the ruling political party. It has been established beyond any doubt that the regime in Yemen led by Ali Abdullah Saleh and his junta has fueled the ongoing civil war in Somalia through illegal arms trafficking to parties in the conflict.”

Mr. Al Asnag also noted the use of state resources in facilitating criminal and terrorist activity, “Yemeni sources go as far as suggesting that senior government personnel are sponsoring the constantly ongoing processes of money laundering and the counterfeiting of US Dollars and Saudi Riyals. Arms, drugs, and child trafficking are daily incidents originating from Yemen and exported to neighboring countries namely Saudi Arabia, UAE, and the rest of the Gulf states. The flow of volunteers holding Yemeni passports to join different war groups in Iraq is evident. Only a few weeks ago the Syrian authorities extradited a number of Yemenis crossing the Syrian border from Iraq and alleged to have been linked to terrorists in Iraq. Such infiltration of individuals holding Yemeni passports into Iraq and back cannot happen without the consent of the Yemeni dictator and his men.” Mr,. Al Asnag noted, “(Yemeni president) Ali Abdullah Saleh cannot be counted upon as a partner to bring stability to Yemen, even in the short term. Financial and political support will only serve to open his appetite to carry out more and more atrocities.”

Another seasoned Yemeni political observer finds that Yemen’s current political instability and the spate of terror attacks are closely related but not in the way generally perceived in the West. “What is clear from recent developments whether in the security or economy of Yemen is that the regime is ailing and using its last few cards to remain in power,” he said, commenting for this article on condition of anonymity. “One of the most successful tactics has been to create a massive media blackout locally, regionally and internationally to hide the shady deals with al Qaeda elements and the massive protests and killings of citizens in the south of Yemen. However, the truth is coming out,” the analyst noted. “That truth is that, unlike what many may think, the collapse of Yemen as a regime and as a country is close, really close. And that’s the sad reality that we should be aware of,” he concluded.

Musid Ali, Director of the Yemeni American Anti-Terrorism Center, in commenting for this article said the Yemeni regime is responsible for the recent attacks, a serious charge as several foreign tourists were killed. The attacks, he said, “are a result of the good relationship between the regime and al Qaeda.” The purpose of the attacks is to “make the west in general and the US in particular believe that Yemen is an ally of the US against al-Qaeda, but what is clear to the Yemeni people is the strong relationship between al Qaeda and the regime.” As such, the counter-terror assistance provided by the US in terms of funding, training and equipment has been used “only against the Yemen people”. Mr. Ali went on to name several top members of Saleh’s administration who he says are affiliated with and facilitating al-Qaeda. These include Brigadier General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar, Ghalib al-Qamish, head of the Political Security Organization, General Yahya Mohammed Abdullah Saleh, chief of staff at the Central Security Organization, and Ali al Ansi, Chairman of the National Security Agency.

LWJ< Al-Sahwa, Marib Press

Unsteady Peace in War Torn North Yemen

Filed under: Janes Articles, Saada War, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:20 am on Friday, March 21, 2008

A three year war in Sa’ada, Yemen generated thousands of causalities, wide scale destruction, tens of thousands of internal refugees and cost upwards of a 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.

Violence flared at the Fakhra Central Prison in Sa’ada in early March. Sheik Salah Habra, the rebels’ representative, announced seven rebel prisoners were killed and others shot, beaten and tortured. The prisoners had been chanting anti-American slogans when the assault began.

The Sa’ada War began in 2003 when a Shia youth group, led by cleric and Member of Parliament Hussain al-Houthi, staged vocal demonstrations at the onset of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Sporadic clashes with security forces grew to armed conflict in 2004. Hussain al-Houthi was slain and his brother Abdelmalik assumed operational leadership of the rebellion.

The fighting intensified in 2005. A settlement mediated in 2006 failed in part because the security forces continued targeting the rebels after amnesty. The Houthi rebels retreated from their villages to the mountain tops. When the third round of warfare began in January 2007, the rebels were dug-in and well armed with heavy weapons. The regime declared all-out war.

The Yemeni government charged the rebels seek to reinstate the Imamate that established centuries of Hashemite rule over North Yemen until 1962‘s republican revolution. The government also alleged the rebels received funding from both Libya and Iran. Yemen routinely describes the conflict as a battle against terrorists. However the rebellion is a domestic and political conflict arising from the widespread public disenfranchisement associated with Yemen’s authoritarian system. The rebels do not target civilians.

As in the earlier campaigns, in 2007 the military blockaded food and medicine to the governorate of 700,000 people. The military bombed cities and villages with mortars, rockets and Katyusha missiles, damaging thousands of homes, mosques and schools. In April, land mines injured 60. The ICRC estimated a minimum of 50,000 civilians were displaced by the fighting in 2007, many without shelter. Journalists and humanitarian aid were prohibited due to security concerns, the regime stated, and tens of thousands of civilians remain beyond reach.

A province-wide survey sponsored by the UN Children’s Fund High had found that 92 per cent of sampled children witnessed armed conflict. Dozens of male children were subjected to arbitrary arrest and are imprisoned along with their relatives. Many detainees, including the children, were beaten. Shia teachers and other government workers were punitively fired.

The military inducted 8,000 Salafi tribesmen, some young teens, who were sent to the front lines. The Defense Ministry publicized a fatwa in early 2007 declaring the rebels apostates. Sectarian media incitement against the rebels began in 2004 and continues into 2008.

The Yemeni government also called on Sunni Islamic extremist groups including the Aden Abayan Islamic Army to support its military operations. The AAIA trained the tribal fighters and fought on behalf of the regime according to local reports. A least a thousand Yemeni soldiers were killed and several thousand were wounded in the last round of war. The rebel and civilian casualty figures are unclear.

Both sides now charge the terms of the July 2007 cease-fire agreement have not been fulfilled. Sheik Haba reported that a government list of 380 rebels recently released from jail were in fact unaffiliated civilians released in 2007. The blockade on food to the region has not been lifted. The agreement requires the rebels to give up their medium and heavy weapons and abandon in their mountain-top positions. They refuse to disarm and abandon their camps until military units withdraw from the rebels’ farms, homes and villages. Rebel leaders have not left Yemen for exile in Qatar as outlined in the peace deal.

As the process reached an impasse in March, the judiciary resumed the trials of alleged rebel “terror cells” although a general amnesty was another condition. Qatari mediation is ongoing. However the mediation team consists of several dignitaries, and no provisions have been made for a neutral peacekeeping force to supervise disengagement. The influence of powerful regime affiliated weapons merchants continues to have a negative effect on the peace process.


Internet Censorship in Yemen

Filed under: Janes Articles, Media, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:28 am on Thursday, March 6, 2008

(My article at the Yemen Times, number 44.)

The Internet has taken root in Yemen, functioning as it does everywhere, as a social network, as an electronic pamphleteer and as a purveyor of facts and ideas. The Yemeni government is intimidated by the public’s internet use and the resulting social and political progress. Consequently the Yemeni state dramatically increased internet censorship in the last months, as it is prone to do in times of crisis and negative publicity.

The regime is blocking both information and political content from the Yemeni web user. Yemen’s Internet Service Providers (ISP) denied access to Youtube videos of southern protests by defining the videos as pornography. At the time of this writing, the government is censoring at least 17 internet news and opinion sites. Most proxy services are inaccessible as well. The government, which monopolizes the broadcast media, also controls the country’s internet.

A standard WHOIS query to the blocked domains shows the output is filtered. The government ISP automatically denies internet requests from Yemeni users by using Websense and Antlabs to filter internet content. Websense enables the government to block websites by category and to define specific internet sites to block. Although the regime blocks news websites, fanatical Jihaddist websites remain available to the public. Internet censorship is a wall that serves the regime by isolating the Yemeni people from information and from each other. It also isolates Yemen from the world.

Yemen has long positioned itself as a democratizing, reforming regime. The verbiage of democracy underpins Yemen’s domestic and international legitimacy. Since Yemeni unity in 1990, citizens internalized and Yemenized democratic values and goals. In years past, the international community saw Yemen’s free press as a demonstrable indication of its commitment to democratization. However internet censorship, an embargo on Yemen’s new media, is occurring in conjunction with a broad, sustained governmental campaign against the traditional media. Journalists, editors, critics and oppositionists have been arrested, beaten, defamed, fined, threatened and kidnapped in increasing numbers. With the Yemen government waging war against information itself, international praise has turned to criticism.

Internet censorship in Yemen is a symptom of the regime’s inability to reconcile with its opponents. The regime habitually attempts to co-opt, crush or de-legitimize its opposition. Some have postulated the regime is engaging tribal behavior; however in a tribal construct, each tribe recognizes the right of other tribes to exist and justice is a mutually recognized goal. The ruling regime in Yemen has yet to accept the legitimacy of popular inclusion in the form of an authentic opposition competing for power. The repetitive wars in the north and ongoing civil unrest in the south arise from the ruling elite’s inability to accept former foes as partners in the political process, to say nothing of fostering new competitors for power. Internet censorship is method of excluding the public voice from the political system and thwarting meaningful transfer of power. Other methods of exclusion include takfirism and authoritarianism.

Yemen suffers from a phenomenon known as State Capture where large portions of the state are controlled by private interest groups. Resources of the state flow through patronage networks. Corruption is the defining characteristic of the administrative and state culture. As Professor Robert Burrowes wrote recently in the Yemen Times, “The degree of corruption, not just the fact of it, is key to an understanding of contemporary Yemen. Graft, bribery and other forms of thievery pervade the system at all levels of a steeply sided pyramid of patronage.” The state does not function for the public good but in the best interests of a small elite grouping.

To legitimize and empower competing groups, ideologies or methods would diminish the volume of cash flowing from governmental corruption and criminal activities. An informed Yemeni public would probably do the very thing that democratic people are supposed to do, hold their leaders accountable. Internet censorship allows the regime to hide the truth about Yemen from the Yemeni people and the world at large. In Yemen, as elsewhere, the companion of censorship is propaganda.

Internet censorship also works in favor of the regime by thwarting the development of a national identity. A free national media, by airing viewpoints and grievances, fosters cross cutting sympathies among social groups separated by distance, heritage or other affiliation. The regime, for which national unity is a red line, encourages the fragmentation of the Yemeni people by isolating them from each other, deploying internet censorship, propaganda and takfirism to achieve disunity.

Internet censorship also isolates the Yemeni people from the international community. It thwarts the transfer of information from Yemen to the world and from the world into Yemen. As a result the Yemeni economy suffers. The technological barrier between Yemen and the world is reminiscent of Yemen’s isolationism under the Imamate. Technological censorship is reinforced by the omnipresence of secret police in the internet cafes.

Social pressures denied the venue of civil expression have the tendency to explode and such an outcome is possible in Yemen where citizens are largely excluded from the political system. With internet censorship, they are denied their public voice. Traditional democratic processes yield little progress in altering the centralization of power. The 2006 elections in Yemen were unfair despite some improvement over prior years. Even peaceful protests are judicially and violently thwarted. Southern protesters have repeatedly encountered brutality by security forces, and 17 protesters have been killed since August. Hundreds have been wounded and arrested.

The Yemeni government has little domestic credibility. Public trust in government may be at an all time low. Internet censorship is one more source of increasing public frustration. To maintain stability, the Yemeni regime must cede power to the people, as is its stated goal. Tangible action is overdue, not another back room deal or bit of well orchestrated propaganda. One suggestion is opening the voter rolls to scrutiny and authentication.

Yemen’s donors must realize that Yemen’s economic development, counter-terror cooperation and governmental efficiency all hinge on the growth of Yemeni civil rights. Pluralism, the equal rights of each citizen before the law, is the key to averting the looming disaster in Yemen. Lastly, the Yemeni people must recognize their united power. Civil rights are never given, bestowed or awarded; rights are always taken. Many in Yemen have paid the price for freedom although Yemen is not yet free; these sacrifices cannot be in vain.

Jane Novak is an American journalist and political analyst specializing in Yemeni internal affairs. She welcomes comments at

Yemen’s Illogical Logic of Repression

Filed under: Janes Articles, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:37 am on Tuesday, February 12, 2008

“When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty,” Thomas Jefferson.

As Yemenis struggle toward freedom from tyranny, the Yemeni government uses all means at its disposal to thwart the growing democracy movement. The regime simultaneously creates a façade of reform for the benefit of the western donors, often with depressingly good results.

Any real public accountability, however, would displace the corrupt oligarchy that pillaged Yemen’s economy, environment and natural resources for decades. Over the years, the state has become adroit at creative persecution, deploying a variety of duplicitous tactics to punish those who demand or exercise their constitutional rights.

To follow is a short list of activists that the Yemeni state has in its crosshairs and the blatantly illogical logic that the regime uses to target them; however the actual number is in the thousands.

Ayman M. Nasser (Blaming the Victim)

As Yemeni security forces began shooting into a crowd protesting in Aden on January 13, 2008, several people recorded the ensuing chaos and later uploaded the videos to Youtube. Yemen’s Internet Provider (IP), the Yemeni government, blocked the bloody scenes from being viewed on the internet in Yemen, bouncing them as “pornography”. The protesters were demanding the equal rights denied to Southern Yemenis since the civil war in 1994.

ayman 1.JPG

Three southern demonstrators were killed at that protest, bringing to 17 the number of demonstrators shot dead since August 2007, indicating either a premeditated pattern of intimidation or severe lack of discipline by police. The security officers who killed the demonstrators were not held accountable for the deaths; the protest organizers were.

On January 29, Aden’s prosecutor charged Ayman M. Nasser, the Editor in Chief of Attariq Newspaper, with “transgressing the Republic’s independence, undermining security and social stability, exposing transportation to jeopardy, and damaging private properties.” These charges stem solely from Mr. Nasser’s role as the media coordinator for the protests. The charges carry the death penalty.

Walid al-Saqaf (Information Black-out)

After the January protest, Yemen’s IP blocked Yemeni citizens from viewing seven popular Yemen based news and information websites, including the news aggregator and the human rights site, The Yemen Portal is Yemen’s first dedicated news crawler. It was blocked after including in its aggregation the Youtube videos of security forces shooting protesters. However, Yemen’s government controlled IP allows access to jihaddist websites.

The Yemen Portal was designed as a Master’s Thesis by Walid al-Saqaf who was warned not to include articles critical of the regime on the portal. After the Yemen Portal was blocked, Al-Saqaf vowed a campaign of electronic resistance, opening new domain names for the portal as fast the government could block the last. “We expect the authorities to go on blocking the third domain, after which we will simply launch a fourth. This will go on for as long as it takes.” Al-Saqaf noted.

walid al-saqaf.jpg

Yemen Portal has taken the lead in a national campaign against internet censorship. In one initiative, Yemen Portal now publishes the full content of all the news and opinion websites blocked by authorities. It is the only site that allows Internet users in Yemen unfettered access to all Yemen news as well as a true diversity of opinion. This week, “unknown assailants” trashed an automobile belonging to Yemen Portal’s management.

Nayef Hassan (The Terrorism Card)

In November, Editor Nayef Hassan and two journalists at al-Share Weekly were indicted in Yemen’s State Security Penal Court, which is reserved for terrorism cases. (Media cases are required by the constitution to be heard by the Press and Publications Court.) Al-Share published articles documenting the regime’s use of tribal fighters in its northern war against Shiite Zaidi rebels.

The Ministry of Defense which brought the indictment demanded the execution of the three journalists for “threatening national security, demoralizing the military and divulging state secrets.” However, the Defense Ministry itself had announced the induction of five thousand tribal fighters into a pro-regime militia. The Ministry also publicized a fatwa legitimizing rebel deaths and that of their “supporters”, a designation left to the interpretation of the tribal paramilitary.

The al-Share article also noted the military used Islamic extremists from the Aden Abyan Islamic Army as fighters and to train the tribal paramilitary. A purported spokesman for al-Qaeda admitted in the an interview that the Yemeni government asked the group to fight in the war against the rebels. The terrorists are not facing terror charges; the journalists are.

Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani (False Charges)

A similar case was described to the US Senate’s Foreign Relation’s Committee by Joel Campagna, the Committee to Protect Journalists Middle East Program Director, as “one of the year’s most troubling press freedom incidents.”


Journalist Abdelkarim al-Khaiwani is also on trial in the Specialized Penal Court. “The government made a slew of unsubstantiated accusations, reinforcing the belief among Yemeni journalists and political observers that the editor’s arrest was an attempt to punish him for his unrelenting criticism of the government’s fight against anti-government rebels in northwestern Yemen, as well as his writing about government nepotism,” Campagna testified.

Campagna also noted al-Khaiwani’s prior imprisonment in 2004 for insulting the president, the cloning of his newspaper in 2005 and his abduction in 2007, when “the assailants threatened him, beat him, and tried to break his fingers. The gunmen also threatened to kill the journalist and his family if he wrote another word against the president or the country’s national unity.” An article about the President’s family triggered the death threat to al-Khaiwani’s family, and al-Khaiwani’s young daughter, Eeba, was slapped so hard during his arrest that she fell unconscious.

Ahmed Saif Hashid (Religious Incitement)

Ahmed Said Hasid is an editor, activist and Member of Yemeni Parliament. In a special televised session, eleven extremist members of Parliament labeled Mr. Hasid an apostate. He fears he may be killed by militants as a result.

In a telephone interview, Hashid told the Yemen Times, “I was considered a disbeliever due to some articles recently published in my newspaper, one of which reported a meeting with an insane person who said, ‘Allah was not fair to me.’ Another issue related to one of the ladies who inquired about a fatwa related to prayer and adultery.”

ahmed saif hashed.jpg

Mr. Hashid previously went public with testimony he collected from Yemeni prisoners who described torture by acid and electricity, arbitrary arrest, near starvation conditions, children jailed as hostages, political prisoners and tribal and private prisons. Hashid was named the Yemen Times “Person of the Year” in recognition of his humanitarian work.

The Yemeni Parliament however is in the process of revoking Hasid’s parliamentary immunity so he can be prosecuted. Parliament has taken no steps to rescue the children in jail, the victims of torture or persons illegally detained in tribal prisons. Instead, the man seeking to rescue the children and his fellow citizens from inhumane conditions has been called a disbeliever on national TV.


The three branches of Yemeni government are highly criminalized, corrupt, dysfunctional and non-accountable. Elements of the fourth branch, the non-governmental media, the part which maintains its independence, has been blinded, cursed, muzzled and jailed.

On December 14, 2006, the US State Department advanced an initiative, “Defending the Defenders of Democracy.” Yet, despite all its rhetoric, the US State Department continues to defend the dictators. The US willful blindness to atrocities, and its applause for puppet shows, is itself a form of appeasing terrorism and will have the predictable result.

Yemenis are denied the right to read and speak about events in Yemen. Protests against social injustice are discouraged by bullets. Individual activists are swatted like flies. The 2006 elections were unfair, and the 2008 elections will likely be little better. The courts are politicized. Political parties are neither representative nor inclusive.

There is no outlet for the popular voice, no safe and effective way for the average Yemeni citizen to hold the government accountable. However that circumstance did not stop these five from claiming their rights. And there are thousands more Yemenis with the same determination. Calling them killers, terrorists and traitors does not change the reality that they are in fact heroes.

Jane Novak ( is an American journalist, political analyst and an expert on Yemeni affairs.

CPJ Report on Yemen: They beat-up journalists and banned my blog

Filed under: Media, Yemen, mentions — by Jane Novak at 12:14 pm on Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The CPJ does such good work.

And yes, I am a critical blogger banned in Yemen. I have a tee shirt to prove it.

News Yemen

In its report “Attacks on Press in 2007 in Middle East and North Africa”, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)criticized the situation of press and violent actions by the government against journalists:

The Journalists covering a rebel insurgency and government corruption were subjected to a frightening array of violent attacks and politically motivated court cases. Threats against independent journalists continued at an alarming rate, taking on an almost routine air. Perpetrators, for the most part, went unpunished.

Since 2004, the government has been combating a regional insurgency led by tribal and religious figures in the northwestern Saada region. Until a tenuous cease-fire was reached in June, hundreds of civilians had been killed and thousands displaced during the three-year conflict. Yemeni authorities continued to respond aggressively toward journalists who tried to report independently on the fighting. Government forces prevented journalists from entering the region to cover the conflict, effectively imposing a media blackout.

At least one journalist became ensnared in the government’s attempt to stop coverage of the conflict. In June, in one of the year’s most troubling press freedom incidents, Yemeni authorities stormed the home of Abdel Karim al-Khaiwani, editor of an opposition news Web site and former editor of the online newspaper Al-Shoura. Al-Khaiwani was hauled before a State Security Court on vague terrorism charges that carried a possible death penalty.

In court, the government made a slew of unsubstantiated accusations, reinforcing the belief among Yemeni journalists and political observers that the editor’s
arrest was an attempt to punish him for his unrelenting criticism of the fight against rebels in Saada, as well as his writing about government nepotism. The preliminary evidence against al-Khaiwani consisted of photographs of the fighting in Saada, an interview and contact with a rebel leader, and news articles, including one written by al-Khaiwani that criticized President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Al-Khaiwani’s case took a dangerous twist in July when, following his release pending trial, several gunmen abducted him as he attempted to hail a taxi. The assailants threatened him, beat him, and tried to break his fingers, CPJ sources said. The gunmen also threatened to kill the journalist and his family if he wrote another word against the president or the country’s national unity, those sources said.

A spike in attacks against journalists corresponded with the independent media’s increasing assertiveness. During the last three years, opposition newspapers have smashed political taboos by criticizing rampant government corruption, the war in Saada, Saleh’s policies, and the president’s perceived plan to have his son Ahmed succeed him. Though small in circulation, these papers represent one the few avenues of dissent in Yemen, where political parties are weak and electronic media are firmly under the state’s control.

Editor-in-Chief Naif Hassan of the independent weekly Al-Sharaa told CPJ that, in August, several armed men in two army jeeps with military license plates stormed the paper’s offices and threatened to kill him. It was unclear what prompted the raid, although journalists at the paper suspect it was connected to a recent criminal complaint filed by the Yemeni Ministry of Defense over Al-Sharaa’s coverage of the conflict in Saada.

In March, armed men accosted freelance columnist Mohamed al-Maqaleh on a street in the capital, Sana’a, holding him at gunpoint and warning him against criticizing the government in his writings. On September 2, Omar Bin Fareed, a columnist for the Aden-based daily Al-Ayyam, was abducted by gunmen as he sat at a restaurant eating dinner; the assailants grabbed Fareed, shoved him into a waiting car, and beat him for several hours before dumping him in the desert in the early hours of the morning. Al-Ayyam reported that it traced one of the cars used in the assault to the office of a local military commander. Fareed said he believed the abduction was in reprisal for his writings about local officials.

The government has been under increasing domestic pressure, with a debilitated economy, a restive rural population, declining living standards, and high unemployment. Police attacked or barred journalists trying to report on the rising number of public protests. As in past years, Yemeni officials failed to issue public expressions of concern over these violent attacks against the press. On the contrary, it denied any problems existed.

Columnist al-Maqaleh, Abdullah al-Wazeer, editor-in-chief of the weekly Al-Balagh, and Saddam al-Ashmouri, a freelance reporter for the English-language weekly Yemen Times, were assaulted by security forces in October while covering an opposition rally in Sana’a. Al-Ayyam reported a spike in attacks on its journalists beginning in May, with several reporters beaten, detained, and threatened. Security forces seized cameras from its reporters and barred them from covering protests. In May, municipal security guards visited Al-Ayyam reporter Abdul Hafez Mugab at his office and threatened him over his coverage of alleged financial corruption in the local government.

Those who abducted and attacked journalists enjoyed widespread impunity for their actions, as they had in the past. In January, CPJ wrote to Saleh one year after his government pledged to a CPJ delegation visiting Sana’a that it would investigate the brutal assaults against the press. A year later, however, those responsible for the attacks continued to evade justice. Government investigations have been incomplete or not seriously pursued, CPJ research shows. In only two of the five cases that CPJ brought to the government’s attention did authorities identify suspects and initiate legal action. One of those cases was dismissed, and the other was pending in late year, with the suspects free.

Outspoken journalists continued to face the threat of judicial harassment in politically motivated court cases. Yemen’s judiciary—which is headed by the president—is not independent, and outspoken journalists are often at the mercy of politicized judges. Under Yemen’s harsh press law, penal code, and other statutes, journalists face prison terms, fines, and professional bans in connection with their published work. Coverage of corruption and nepotism frequently triggers judicial retaliation.

In an unusual move, one case was referred to the prosecutor’s office specializing in national security and terrorism cases. On July 7, the Ministry of Defense filed a complaint against the weekly Al-Sharaa after the paper published a controversial series on the conflict in Saada that alleged, among other things, that a known terrorist group was fighting alongside the Yemeni army and training tribal volunteers to fight in the conflict. An editor and two reporters faced several years in jail.

The government retained its firm grip over the influential broadcast media, which continued to strictly reflect government views. Cyberspace became a forum for independent news, but the government increasingly censored content. Authorities banned several news sites and chat forums during the year. According to the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate, authorities blocked access to the news sites Al-Shoura and Aleshteraki because of their reports on the conflict in Saada. The daily Al-Ayyam reported that access to its Web site was briefly blocked within Yemen on September 2.

Critical bloggers, including those based outside the country, were also censored. Access to U.S. journalist Jane Novak’s Web site, Armiesofliberation, which is frequently critical of the Yemeni government, was repeatedly blocked inside Yemen.

Yemen’s Intifada: English, Reprint

Filed under: Janes Articles, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:55 am on Saturday, January 12, 2008

I got this note via email: “Surprisingly, I read an article regarding you last Thursday Jan. 08, 2008 on the Al-Thawra official Newspaper pointing to your hypocrisy, unfounded intervention in the national affairs so as to disseminate wrong information that have negative impacts.”

Hmmm, could it be this little 900 word article (Yemen’s Intifada) dated January 02 that set the regime off? Let me print it again and I’ll look for the wrong information:

Saada war re-erupting: check
Protests through out the south: check
Yemeni people suffering and frustrated due to rising prices: check
Regime’s responds with increased repression and propaganda: check

No, sorry, I dont see an wrong information there, but if the Yemeni regime can point to any factual errors, I’d be happy to check again.

The Yemeni government still fails to understand 1) repressing the truth only creates more tension and unrest, and 2) they cannot censor free speech where ever it occurs in the world. They can only do that in Yemen. And I’m not in Yemen.

Yemen’s Intifada
Jane Novak, contributing editor, January 2, 2008

Yemen is facing instability unseen since its 1994 civil war. A war with Shiite rebels in the northern Saada province left over 50,000 internal refugees. The rebellion ended in June but threatens to reignite as neither side has fully implemented the cease-fire conditions. The political and economic marginalization of vast segments of society contributed to the rebellion as did endemic governmental corruption, lack of basic services, and draconian security measures. These factors are also the catalyst for widespread protests in southern Yemen, some of which attracted over 100,000 protesters. Ten protesters were killed, allegedly by security forces, and many were beaten and arrested.

Hegemony Not Integration
Unrest in southern Yemen has its roots in northern hegemony following the 1990 unification of North and South Yemen. The Yemeni Socialist Party, which formerly ruled the south, was marginalized following Yemen’s 1994 civil war. Dr. Aidroos Naser al-Naqeeb, head of the Y.S.P.’s parliamentary block, said, “The Y.S.P. Central Committee indicated that the South was treated as the spoils of war including land, people, companies, and wealth. The Y.S.P. also noted the violence against the current protesters reflects the type of politics which has dominated after the outcome of the war.”

Post-war reconciliation between North and South was thwarted by the corruption among the northern oligarchy and by the installation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s relatives in many top military and security posts. Successive constitutional amendments centralized power in the executive, leading to a de facto merger between the ruling party and the state, both headed by Saleh.

Since May, protests have spread across Aden, Dhalie, Lahj, Abyan, Shabwa, and Hadramout, organized by former southern military officers. They claim they were punitively discharged following the civil war at stipends well below sustenance level. Southern civil and military pensioners number over 100,000. Broader southern grievances include the appropriation and theft of commercial, residential, and public land by powerful northerners. State employment is an area of perceived systematic discrimination. Ubiquitous military camps and checkpoints are another sore spot.

Broad Discontent Finds Its Voice
Civil unrest in the South triggered a national outpouring of discontent. Thousands of protesters in Taiz held aloft water bottles and bread. In the oil producing Marib governorate, demonstrators demanded a share of oil revenue, jobs, and development funding. In Amran, north of the capital, 10,000 tribesmen demanded governmental reform. Teachers, students, doctors, pharmacists, trade unions, unemployed youth, journalists, and kidney patients have held individual and sometimes joint protests in the capital, Sanaa.

One common complaint among the various interest groups is rising prices. Inflation in the poverty-stricken nation was over 20 percent in 2006. Hoarding by the domestic wheat monopoly exacerbated international price increases on wheat in 2007, and higher priced loaves of bread shrank in size. Cooking gas cylinders increased in price from 400 Yemeni rials to 1,000 Yemeni rials.

Discontent also stems from the failure to implement in full the 2005 Wages Strategy, intended to buffer a reduction in oil subsidies. The reform dose was to be accompanied by corruption control and a reduction in governmental spending. However, a 278-billion-Yemeni-rial supplemental 2007 budget appropriation was pegged to the costs of the northern rebellion, continued oil subsidies, and the extra month salary promised to government workers during Saleh’s presidential campaign. The regime reinstated the draft to counter unemployment, although many citizens complain of being excluded from military service by domicile. Few top officials were prosecuted for misconduct although corruption takes 23 percent of the national budget.

Predictable Response
Despite the demands for relief and reform, Saleh’s regime is responding with the same tactics that spurred the unrest. Riot police fired live rounds and deployed tear gas and water cannons against protesters. Dozens of oppositionists were arrested including the Y.S.P.’s Hassan Ba-oom and the head of the military pensioners association, Gen. Nasser Al-Nawbah. Both were charged with treason and faced the death penalty, launching another round of protests. The pair was later released; however, 20 other political leaders were arrested. Hundreds remain in prison following the Saada War, including children.

The nongovernmental media is under assault. Journalist Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani faces the death penalty for publishing war news that “demoralized the military.” Security forces prevented Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya reporters from covering the southern protests. The Y.S.P.’s news Web site was blocked. Conversely, the regime uses the broadcast media to stir public sentiment, airing an Eid al-Fitr sermon that declared the protesting retirees no longer Muslims.

President Saleh is also attempting to manage public sentiment by promising reform and restitution; however, public trust is extremely low. Eight thousand southern officers were reinstated. Col. Naser Saleh Abdul Qawi reported that one condition of reinstatement was a pledge to foreswear peaceful political activity. Saleh proposed constitutional amendments to enhance local rule, but a recent electoral “reform” stacked the electoral commission in favor of the president’s omnipotent ruling party. In a Ramadan speech, Saleh downplayed the “fabricated crisis.” However, presidential advisor and former Prime Minister Abdel Bajammal threatened to revoke a weapons ban and rearm the northern citizenry to face the southern protesters.

Despite regional polarization, northern monopolization of military assets makes civil war unlikely. If oil production drops sharply, as predicted, nationwide discontent will increase. However, a disorganized, splintered citizenry decreases the risk of revolution. Yemen’s opposition parties have yet to establish an internal process of representation. Yemen’s 2009 parliamentary elections may unify the citizenry in rejection if the process is as unfair as the last presidential election. If instability increases, military commanders may move to protect their interests through a coup.

Jane Novak is a political analyst and expert on Yemeni affairs.

Yemen’s Intifada

Filed under: Janes Articles, Yemen, janes articles arabic — by Jane Novak at 1:04 am on Friday, January 11, 2008

Al-Wasat, Yemen’s Intifada الأربعاء 09 يناير 2008

يواجه اليمن عدم استقرار غير مرئي منذ الحرب الأهلية في 1994م زادت من حدته الحرب التي خاضتها الدولة مع الثوار الشيعة

في محافظة صعدة الواقعة شمال اليمن، حيث خلفت تلك الحرب أكثر من 50000 لاجئ داخلي، ورغم أن التمرد انتهى في يونيو/ حزيران الماضي إلا أن التهديد ما زال قابلا للاشتعال بسبب عدم تطبيق أي من الطرفين لشروط وقف إطلاق النار.

التهميش السياسي والاقتصادي لقطاع واسع من المجتمع ساهم في التمرد وبالتالي خلق فسادا حكوميا مستوطنا.. قلة الخدمات الأساسية والتدابير الأمنية المتشددة كانت من أهم العوامل المحفزة لاحتجاجات جنوب اليمن واسعة الانتشار والتي جذبت أكثر من 100.000 محتج والتي راح ضحيتها حتى الآن عشرة محتجين زعم أن قوات الأمن هي من قتلتهم بالإضافة إلى ضرب واعتقال الكثير منهم.

الهيمنة ليست تكاملا:

الاضطراب في جنوب اليمن ترجع أسبابه إلى الهيمنة الشمالية التي أعقبت إعلان الوحدة في العام 1990م بين الشمال والجنوب.

الحزب الاشتراكي اليمني الذي حكم اليمن الجنوبية سابقا همش بعد حرب 1994م الأهلية (وهو ما انعكس على كل الجنوب..) الدكتور/ عيدروس نصر النقيب رئيس كتلة الحزب الاشتراكي اليمني البرلمانية قال “أشارت لجنة الحزب الاشتراكي المركزية إلى أن الجنوب اعتبر غنيمة حرب بكل أرضه وناسه وشركاته وثرواته.. كما لاحظ الحزب أيضا أن العنف الممارس ضد ا لمحتجين يعكس نوع السياسة الممارسة عليهم كنتيجة للحرب”.

لقد أحبط الفساد وحكم القلة الشمالي وسيطرة أقرباء الرئيس صالح علي الكثير من وحدات الجيش ومراكز الأمن المصالحة بين الشمال والجنوب.. كما أن التعديلات الدستورية المتعاقبة مركزت القوة في يد السلطة ما أدى إلى اندماج واقعي بين الحزب الحاكم والسلطة وكلاهما برئاسة صالح.

منذ مايو الماضي عمت الاحتجاجات كلا من عدن – الضالع- لحج- أبين- شبوة- حضرموت بدعوة وتنظيم من قبل الضباط العسكريين الجنوبيين السابقين الذين يقولون إنهم قوعدوا قسريا بعد حرب 94م الاهلية وإن رواتبهم أقل بكثير مما تتطلبه الحياة المعيشية ويصل عدد المتقاعدين الجنوبيين العسكريين والمدنيين إلى أكثر من مائة ألف متقاعد، وتتركز الشكاوى الجنوبية في النهب الواسع للأراضي العامة والسكنية والتجارية من قبل الشماليين الأقوياء بالإضافة إلى التمييز الرسمي في التوظيف وانتشار المعسكرات ونقاط التفتيش بشكل كبير في كل مناطق الجنوب.

اتساع مساحة السخط:

هذا الاضطراب المدني في الجنوب سبب احتجاجا ساخطا وتظاهرا عارما لآلاف المحتجين في تعز حملوا خلاله قناني الماء وأرغفة الخبز كدلالة على غلاء الأسعار المرتفع.

في مارب إحدى المحافظات النفطية خرج متظاهرون يطالبون بمنح المحافظة حقها من عائدات النفط ودرجات التوظيف.

في عمران – شمال العاصمة – طالب عشرة آلاف من رجال القبائل بضرورة إجراء إصلاحات حكومية في الوقت الذي كان فيه معلمون، أطباء، صيادلة، واتحادات عمال، شباب عاطلون، مرضى كلى، صحافيون يواصلون احتجاجاتهم في العاصمة صنعاء.

شكوى عامة تتركز كلها في ارتفاع الأسعار وازدياد نسبة الفقر حيث كانت أعلى نسبة تضخم في الفقر في العام 2006م حيث وصلت إلى أكثر من 20% بالإضافة إلى احتكار تخزين القمح الذي أسهم بارتفاع الأسعار إضافة إلى تعاظم سعره العالمي كما زادت أسعار كل من الزيوت واسطوانات الغاز والذي وصل سعره أحيانا إلى 1000 ريال بدلا عن 400.

فشل تطبيق استراتيجية الأجور 2005م كانت أيضا أحد أسباب السخط بالإضافة إلى انخفاض عائدات النفط والجرع السعرية المصحوبة بسيطرة الفساد وتقليل صرفيات الحكومة ومع هذا أضيف مبلغ 228 بليون إلى ميزانية 2007م رصدت لتثبيت الأسعار وكتكلفة لحرب ثورة الشمال وانخفاض أسعار النفط والراتب الإضافي الذي منحه الرئيس لموظفي الدولة خلال حملته الانتخابية.

الرئيس كرر وعوده بالقضاء على البطالة بالرغم من أن كثيرا من المواطنين اشتكوا من أنهم أقصوا من أعمالهم خاصة العسكرية من خلال التسريح.

قلة من المسئولين من قدمت ضدهم دعوى إساءة التصرف رغم أن الفساد نهب من الميزانية أكثر من نسبة 23%.

الرد المتوقع:

وعلى الرغم من السقف العالي لمطالب الإصلاح فإن رد نظام صالح عليها كان بإطلاق الشرطة (مكافحة الشغب) الذخيرة الحية والغاز المسيل للدموع وخراطيم المياه ضد المحتجين وتم اعتقال العشرات منهم وبضمنهم حسن باعوم عضو مركزية الحزب الاشتراكي والعميد ناصر النوبة رئيس جمعية المتقاعدين العسكريين بتهم الخيانة التي عقوبتها الموت وإثر جولة أخرى من الاحتجاجات تم إطلاق سراحهما .. كما أن عشرون قائدا سياسيا اعتقلوا إثر جولة أخرى من الاحتجاجات.

الوسائل الإعلامية الغير حكومية هي الأخرى واقعة تحت هجوم السلطة.. حيث يواجه الصحفي عبد الكريم الخيواني عقوبة الموت لنشره أخبارا عن حرب صعدة (أضعفت معنويات الجيش) كما منعت قوات الأمن مراسلي الجزيرة والعربية من تغطية الاحتجاجات الجنوبية وكذلك موقع أخبار الحزب الاشتراكي. بالمقابل يحاول الرئيس صالح وأجهزة إعلامه التأثير على شعور الناس عبر وعود الإصلاحات والتعويض إلا أنه وعلى أية حال فإن الثقة منعدمة.. ثمانية آلاف ضابط جنوبي أعيدوا إلى مواقعهم وقد ذكر العقيد ناصر صالح بأن أحد شروط تلك العودة كان القسم بعدم ممارسة النشاط السياسي.. واقترح صالح التعديلات الدستورية لتحسين الحكم المحلي.. في رمضان الفائت قلل صالح في خطاب له من حدوث أزمة لكن مستشاره ورئيس وزرائه السابق عبد القادر باجمال هدد بإبطال العمل بقانون منع السلاح وبتسليح الشارع الشمالي لمواجهة احتجاجات الجنوب. وعلى الرغم من وجود محاولات استقطاب إقليمي إلا أنه من المستبعد حدوث حرب أهلية رغم ازدياد السخط الشعبي ..على أية حال أحزاب المعارضة لم تؤسس.

اليمن في 2009م سيخوض انتخابا برلمانيا قد يوجد المواطنين في الرفض إذا كانت العملية غير عادلة كالانتخابات الرئاسية الأخيرة وإذا سيزداد عدم الاستقرار، وقد يتحرك قادة عسكريون لحماية مصالحهم من خلال الانقلاب.

*كاتبة امريكية – خاص بالوسط

Is that what my name looks like in Arabic? Kewl!

CPJ Report on Press Freedom in Yemen

Filed under: Civil Rights, Media, Reform, Yemen, mentions — by Jane Novak at 6:13 pm on Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Yemen Observer

Journalists covering rebel insurgencies and government corruption were subject to a frightening array of violent attacks and politically-motivated court cases, said a new 2007 report issued by the Committee to Protect Journalists. “Threats against independent journalists continued at an alarming rate, taking on an almost routine air. Perpetrators, for the most part, went unpunished,” the report stated.

The report said that since 2004, the Yemeni government has been combating a regional insurgency led by tribal and religious figures in the northwestern Sa’ada region of the country. It added that until a tenuous cease-fire was reached in June, hundreds of civilians had been killed and thousands displaced during the three-year conflict.

“Yemeni authorities continued to respond aggressively toward journalists who tried to report independently on the fighting,” the report said. “Government forces prevented journalists from entering the region to cover the conflict, effectively imposing a media blackout.”

According to the CPJ report 2007, a spike in attacks against journalists corresponded with the independent media’s increasing assertiveness. During the last three years, opposition newspapers smashed political taboos by criticizing rampant government corruption, the war in Sa’ada, Saleh’s policies, and the president’s perceived plan to have his son Ahmed succeed him. “Though small in circulation, these papers represent one the few avenues of dissent in Yemen, where political parties are weak and electronic media are firmly under the state’s control,” said the report.

The report also mentioned some attacks on a number of journalists such as Abdul-Karim al-Khaiwani,

Yemeni journalist and editor-in-chief of the independent weekly Al-Sharaa, Naif Hassan.

The government has been under increasing domestic pressure, with a debilitated economy, a restive rural population, declining living standards and high unemployment, according to the CPJ report. “Police attacked or barred journalists trying to report on the rising number of public protests. As in past years, Yemeni officials failed to issue public expressions of concern over these violent attacks against the press. On the contrary, it denied any problems existed.”

Columnist al-Maqaleh, editor-in-chief of the weekly Al-Balagh, Abdullah al-Wazeer, and Saddam al-Ashmouri, a freelance reporter for the English-language weekly Yemen Times, were assaulted by security forces in October while covering an opposition rally in Sana’a.

In January, the report said that CPJ wrote to Saleh one year after his government pledged to a CPJ delegation visiting Sana’a that it would investigate the brutal assaults against the press.

A year later, however, those responsible for the attacks continued to evade justice. Government investigations have been incomplete or not seriously pursued, CPJ research shows. In only two of the five cases that CPJ brought to the government’s attention did authorities identify suspects and initiate legal action. One of those cases was dismissed, and the other was still pending in late in the year, with the suspects free.

Outspoken journalists continued to face the threat of judicial harassment in politically motivated court cases. Yemen’s judiciary—which is headed by the president—is not independent, and outspoken journalists are often at the mercy of politicized judges. Under Yemen’s harsh press law, penal code, and other statutes, journalists face prison terms, fines and professional bans in connection with their published work. Coverage of corruption and nepotism frequently triggers judicial retaliation.

Some of news websites are also blocked, according to the report. Critical bloggers, including those based outside the country, were also censored. Access to U.S. journalist Jane Novak’s website, Armiesofliberation, which is frequently critical of the Yemeni government, was repeatedly blocked inside Yemen.

Chief Coordinator of the International Committee to Protect Journalists, Joel Campagna, commented during a press conference in Cairo at which the report was released that 2007 could be considered the worst year for journalists in the last decade. About 65 journalists were killed last year, half of them in Iraq.

Campagna disclosed that for the fifth consecutive year Iraq is the worst and most dangerous area in which a journalist can work, and the worst in the history of modern journalism. “Journalism in Iraq remains one of the most dangerous professions in the world,” added the Executive Director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, Joel Simon.

Accusing Arab governments of seeking to stifle the independent press, and of the prosecution of independent journalists. Campagna disclosed that governments are using new methods to suppress freedom of opinion, including wires and roundabout ways. He showed that other parties have filed lawsuits to establish defamation issues, as well as journalists have been falsely charged with terrorism, as in the arrest of journalist Abdul Karim al-Khaiwani, allegedly belonging to a terrorist cell.

Saeed Thabet, deputy of head of the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate, stated that there has been a reduction in the arrest of journalists during the three past years, but added that “freedom issues witness all kinds of abuses such as the blocking of the news websites.” “

The CPJ report lists the violations and attacks that happened in Yemen,” Thabet said, adding that this was a good thing. “But the government attacks against journalists are still going on in the field of press freedom violations, and this is the worst.”

Yemeni Officials Profited from Land Confiscation in Aden: Report

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Interviews, Janes Articles, Parliament, Yemen, land disputes, photos/gifs, statements, theft: land other — by Jane Novak at 7:58 pm on Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A Yemeni Parliamentary committee issued a report in 2006 naming 26 persons who illegally profited from land confiscated in Aden following Yemen’s 1994 civil war. The list includes Members of Parliament and the Shoura Council, military and security force commanders, current and former judges and ministers. The Parliamentary committee recommended that the land owners receive compensation for their losses, however none has been paid.


The following is a translation of the document that includes a description of the individual’s position in brackets for the readers’ benefit:



(The brother of Yemeni Vice President, Abdo Rabo Mansour Hadi, and Agent of Political Security Forces of Aden,Lahj and Abyan governorates)
received 4.6 ACRES,

(Previous general manager of Interior Trading Company in south)
received 20 ACRES
SOLD TO Gamal Qasem 7 acres, Salem Balfaqeh 2 acres, Abdul baset 1 acre

received 3.0 ACRES

(General Manager of Sa’ada Security Forces, former GM of Aden Security.)
received 5.3 ACRES

received 4.8 ACRES

(Son of the former governor of Aden) Taha Ghanem

(Member of al-Shoura Council, formerly Minister of Legal Affairs)
received 8.3 ACRES

(Son of Hussain Naser Omayer )
received 2.1 ACRES

received 3.0 ACRES

received 2.8 ACRES

(Member of Parliament)
received 3.3 ACRES

(Member of al-Shoura Council, previously the Minister of Interior Affairs)
received 2.7 ACRES

(High ranking military commander)

(General Secretary of conference party in Aden governorate)
offered 1.0 ACRE SOAM + WALL

(Chief Justice of Sana’a Commercial Court, previously Chief Justice of Aden Commercial Court)

(Justice serving on the Republic High court, previously Chief Justice of Aden Appeal court, )
received 1.2 ACRES SOAM + WALL

(former judge in Aden Appeals Court)
received 1.1 ACRES SOAM + WALL

(former General Manager of Yemeni Port Authority)
received 0.9 ACRE WALL + VILLA

received 0.86 ACRE WHITE LAND

(Member of al-Shoura Council, previously Minister of Interior)
received 0.86 ACRE WHITE LAND

received 0.86 ACRE WHITE LAND

(Vice minister of trade)
received 0.86 ACRE WHITE LAND

(previous General Manager of Fish Wealth)
received 0.86 ACRE WHITE LAND

(General Manager of Taiz Education, previously General Manager of Aden Education)
received 0.86 ACRE WHITE LAND

(previous General Manager of Aden International Airport, dismissed)
received 0.86 ACRE WHITE LAND

received 0.86 ACRE WHITE LAND

received 2 ACRES WALL




Footnotes for CAC Report

Filed under: Yemen, mentions — by Jane Novak at 7:03 am on Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Freedom House Countires at the Crossroad notes 2007

1 “Yemen: Year in Brief 2005 – A Chronology of Democratic Developments,”, 10 January 2006,, accessed 27 June 2006.
2 “Election Guide” (Washington, D.C: and International Foundation for Election Systems [IFES]), and
3 “Yemen at a Glance,” Arab Political Systems: Baseline Information and Reform – Yemen (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for Peace, 2005), 19, 21, http://www.carnegie, accessed 28 June 2006.
4 “Preliminary Statement of the NDI International Election Observer Delegation to Yemen’s April 27 Legislative Elections” (Washington, D.C.: National Democratic Instiᆲtute for International Affairs [NDI], 29 April 2003), 4, library/1584_ye_election03.pdf, accessed 3 July 2006.
5 Interview with representatives from NDI and the IFES, Sanaa, 27 September 2003.
6 Ibid.
7 Interview with Ahmed Al-Sufi and Abdullah Sallam Al-Hakimi of the Yemen Institute for Development of Democracy (YIDD), Sanaa, 25 September 2003.
8 “Preliminary Statement of the NDI,” 1.
9 Ibid., 5.
10 Interview with Abdul Majed Al-Fahed, Executive Director of the Civic Democratic Iniᆲtiative Support Foundation (CDF), Sanaa, 26 September 2003.
11 “Yemen’s Constitutional Referendum and Local Elections” (New York: Human Rights Watch [HRW], February 2001).
12 Interview with Amat Al-Aleem Al-Soswa, Yemen’s Minister of Human Rights, Washᆲington, D.C., 10 September 2003.
13 Ziad Majed, et al., Building Democracy in Yemen: Women’s Political Participation, Political Party Life, and Democratic Elections (Stockholm: International Institute for Democᆲracy and Electoral Assistance [IDEA], 2005), 13.
14 “Review of the Annual Strategic Report: Yemen 2002-2003″ (Sanaa: General Center for Studies, Research, and Publishing, 2003).
15 Mujahed Al-Mussa’abi, “National Committee for Women: Challenges & Future,” Yemen Times, 18-24 November 2002.
16 Interview with Rashida Al-Hamdani, Chairperson of the Women’s National Committee, Sanaa, 28 September 2003.
17 “YEMEN: New System to Eliminate Thousands of “Ghost” Civil Servants,” (New York: UN Of?ce for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 12 Sepᆲtember 2005).
18 Joel Campagna, “Attacks, Censorship, and Dirty Tricks: In Yemen, the Press Climate is Deteriorating” (New York: Committee to Protect Journalists [CPJ], 9 March 2006), 1,, accessed 26 June 2006. (Read on …)

After Interview with Me, Yemen Revokes MP Hashid’s Immunity

Filed under: GPC, Interviews, Parliament, Targeting, Yemen, mentions, prisons — by Jane Novak at 10:37 am on Monday, December 10, 2007

The Yemen Times, SANA’A, Dec. 8 — Last week, the Yemeni Parliament agreed to rescind Parliament member (MP) Ahmed Saif Hashid’s immunity, claiming that Hashid paid visits to prisons and revealed illegal actions that go against the constitution, Yemeni laws and international conventions.

ahmed saif hashed.jpg

Previous activities made by Hashid resulted in his arrest in the political security prison, followed by imprisonment under the Immigration and Passports Authority. Hashid’s chauffeur was also killed in the street, with his camera and cell phone confiscated. Referring to these incidents, Hashid asked, “What kind of immunity are they talking about?”

Many MPs affiliated with the ruling party (GPC) demanded last week to rescind Hashid’s immunity. The parliament agreed to do so. Hashid considered the revoking of his immunity by Parliament an action targeting him and his human rights activities.

Jane Novak, an American researcher, interviewed Hashid, addressing issues related to human rights, freedom, prisons, and inmates in Yemen. The interview was downloaded onto many news websites, enraging a lot of people.

You would think Parliament would be enraged by the torture of Yemeni children in jail, not by the guy who is trying to save them.

The Banned in Yemen tee shirts say “Ali Saleh is Afraid of a Blog”, but really they are afraid of the truth.

Take a look at the category, Prisons. The offending interview is there, as well as a lot of other reports.

Freedom House 2007

Filed under: Civil Rights, Yemen, mentions — by Jane Novak at 6:01 am on Sunday, December 2, 2007

Freedom House 2007

1 “Yemen: Year in Brief 2005 – A Chronology of Democratic Developments,”, 10 January 2006,, accessed 27 June 2006.
2 “Election Guide” (Washington, D.C: and International Foundation for Election Systems [IFES]), and (Read on …)

One Killed, Four Wounded in Aden Protests

Filed under: Interviews, Janes Articles, Security Forces, South Yemen, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:32 pm on Thursday, November 29, 2007

***Exclusive Report***

November 29, Aden: One person was killed and several wounded when Yemeni soldiers prevented thousands of protesters from reaching the site of an anti-regime demonstration.


Scores of Central Security units and army battalions were deployed in the early morning hours Thursday, stopping pedestrian and vehicle traffic on the roads leading to the location of the sit-in. Some oppositionists estimate that well over 100,000 people were turned back.

Yemeni President Saleh was also in Aden and delivered an address in May 22 Stadium to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen’s independence from British occupation. One kilometer away from the President’s rally, tens of thousands of anti-regime protesters held their demonstration at al-Hashimi Station in Sheik Othman city.

The demonstrators criticized the discriminatory policies and practices of the regime in Sana’a, which was victorious after the 1994 civil war. The crowds also demanded that the ruling regime release all citizens arrested during the wave of sit-ins that rocked the southern governorates since May.


In field developments, one person was killed and four wounded at the “Dar-Saad” checkpoint when soldiers attempted to prevent the protesters from reaching Aden. Sources indicated the man who fell at the Dar-Saad checkpoint was killed by helicopter gunfire sprayed on the people below.

Update: Several witnesses report the security forces deployed tear gas on the demonstrators at three o’clock in the afternoon.

Yemen’s Intifada

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Janes Articles, South Yemen, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 12:41 pm on Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Yemen is facing instability unseen since its 1994 civil war. A war with Shiite rebels in the northern Sa’ada province left over 50,000 internal refugees. The rebellion ended in June but threatens to reignite as neither side has fully implemented the cease-fire conditions. The political and economic marginalization of vast segments of society contributed to the rebellion as did endemic governmental corruption, lack of basic services and draconian security measures. These factors are also the catalyst for widespread protests in southern Yemen, some of which attracted over 100,000 protesters. Ten protesters were killed, allegedly by security forces, and many were beaten and arrested.

Hegemony not integration

Unrest in southern Yemen has its roots in northern hegemony following unification. The Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP), which formerly ruled the south, was marginalized following the 1994 civil war. Dr. Aidroos Naser al-Naqeeb, head of the YSP’s Parliamentary block, said, “The YSP Central Committee indicated that the South was treated as the spoils of war including land, people, companies and wealth. The YSP also noted the violence against the current protesters reflects the type of politics which has dominated after the outcome of the war.”

Post-war reconciliation between North and South was thwarted by the corruption among the northern oligarchy and by the installation of President Saleh’s relatives in many top military and security posts. Successive constitutional amendments centralized power in the executive, leading to a de facto merger between the ruling party and the state, both headed by Saleh.

Since May, protests spread across Aden, Dhalie, Lahj, Abyan, Shabwa, and Hadramout, organized by former southern military officers. They claim they were punitively discharged following the civil war at stipends well below sustenance level. Civil and military southern pensioners number over 100,000. Broader southern grievances include the appropriation and theft of commercial, residential, and public land by powerful northerners. State employment is an area of perceived systematic discrimination. Ubiquitous military camps and checkpoints are another sore spot.

Broad discontent finds its voice

Civil unrest in the south triggered a national outpouring of discontent. Thousands of protesters in Taiz held aloft water bottles and bread. In the oil producing Marib governorate, demonstrators demanded a share of oil revenue, jobs and development funding. In Amran, north of the capital, ten thousand tribesmen demanded governmental reform. Teachers, students, doctors, pharmacists, trade unions, unemployed youth, journalists and kidney patients have held individual and sometimes joint protests in Sana’a.

One common complaint among the interest groups is rising prices. Inflation in the poverty stricken nation was over 20% in 2006. Hording by the domestic wheat monopoly exacerbated international price increases on wheat in 2007, and higher priced loaves of bread shrank in size. Gas cylinders increased in price from YR400 to YR1000.

Discontent also stems from the failure to fully implement the 2005 Wages Strategy, intended to buffer a reduction in oil subsidies. The reform dose was to be accompanied by corruption control and a reduction in governmental spending. However, an YR278 billion supplemental 2007 budget appropriation was pegged to the costs of the northern rebellion, continued oil subsidies and the extra month salary promised to government workers during President Saleh’s presidential campaign. The regime reinstated the draft to counter unemployment, although many citizens complain of being excluded from military service by domicile. Few top officials were prosecuted for misconduct although corruption takes 23% of the national budget.

Predictable Response, Predictable Result

Despite the high tenor of demands for relief and reform, Saleh’s regime is responding with the same tactics that spurred the unrest. Riot police fired live rounds and deployed tear gas and water cannons against protesters. Dozens of oppositionists were arrested including the YSP’s Hassan Ba-oom and head of the military pensioners association, General Nasser Al-Nawbah. Both were charged with treason and face the death penalty, launching another round of protests. Hundreds of Shiites also remain in prison following the Sa’ada War, including children.

The non-governmental media is under assault. Journalist Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani faces the death penalty for publishing war news that “demoralized the military”. Security forces prevented Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya reporters from covering the southern protests. The YSP’s news website was blocked. Conversely, the regime uses the broadcast media to stir public sentiment, airing an Eid sermon that declared the protesting retirees no longer Muslims.

President Saleh is also attempting to manage public sentiment by promising reform and restitution; however public trust is low. Eight thousand southern officers have been reinstated. Saleh proposed constitutional amendments to enhance local rule, but the issue of much needed electoral reform is in dispute. In a Ramadan speech, Saleh downplayed the “fabricated crisis”. However, presidential advisor and former Prime Minister, Abdel Bajammal threatened to revoke a weapons ban and re-arm the northern citizenry to face the southern protesters.

Forecast: Despite regional polarization, northern military strength makes civil war unlikely. As oil production decreases, nationwide discontent will increase. However, a disorganized, splintered citizenry decreases the risk of revolution. The protests will likely force regime concessions, lessening tensions. If instability increases, military commanders may move to protect their interests through a coup.

- Jane

Yemeni MP Ahmed Saif Hashid: “The security apparatuses practice torture”

Filed under: Civil Rights, Interviews, Janes Articles, Parliament, Security Forces, Yemen, prisons — by Jane Novak at 7:14 pm on Friday, November 9, 2007

Global Poltician

A member of Parliament’s Freedom and Human Rights Committee, Mr. Ahmed Saif Hashid is an independent MP who represents constituency number 70 including Lahj and Taiz. Mr. Hashed heads the “Al-ttageer” human rights organization. He also owns the “Al-Mostakela” newspaper.

ahmed saif hashed.jpg

Q: Mr. Hashid, thank you for granting this interview. Can you tell us generally about the condition of human rights in Yemen? Which areas in your opinion require urgent attention?

A: Man and human rights in Yemen are totally absent and his dignity is so cheap. The worst is that crimes are committed by those who have to be responsible for protecting the law and its application. Actually it pains me to find the security apparatuses practice torture, attacks and the worst kinds of mistreatments in the prisons and custody centers and also outside them. This happens under the weak control of the judgment which indulge in independence and under the unreal parliament that was produced by terrible corruption and it hasn’t even the minimum degree of responsibility. It intends to conspire upon human rights issues without shame. There many examples on this connection. It may be worthwhile to mention that this country supports the tribe with its ignorant traditions at the expense of the law. It stands against law, and uses its force over the victims and over the legal articles that protect the human rights.

Q: You have been very active in advocating for the humane treatment of prisoners. What are the conditions like for prisoners in Yemeni central prisons in terms of food, sanitary conditions, medical care and abuse?

A: The food served to the prisoners is so unpalatable and lacks hygienic conditions regarding its preparation. The most surprising is that the parliament committee of rights and freedom recommended increasing food allocations two years ago. Unfortunately the parliament has even decreased what had been allocated. The most painful tragedy is that dozens and hundreds of prisoners do not receive any (food) allocations at all. This, for instance, includes Sana’a Migrations and Passports Jail, some jails of the districts of AL.Houdadah governorate. The prisons there depend on charity and soldier’s food remains.

Some jails don’t have any infirmaries. Some others do have, but are in sore need for medicine and relevant equipments. It is found out that many prisoners are given prescriptions and they have to be able to purchase from the market, otherwise, die in the jail.

AIDS may be common among some jails, such as, Migration and Passports Jail. The infected are not kept separated from the others. In AL-Houdeidah central prison, dozens of the jailed are found, three years ago, to be suffering from this disease, as indicated by some documents. The committee of freedom and rights was so careful not to include this issue in its reports under the pretext that it may cause fear to spread and damage tourism. Skin diseases are also common in some jails and are not treated. Some women are found to be suffering from diseases including ’syphilis’ and other skin diseases considered to be so disgusting that they are rejected by hospitals and are not kept in separation as a preventive measure.

It was found that custody jails do not have even an ambulance, and any patient has to be taken by a taxi to hospital and he is responsible for the fee.

Regarding the sanitary conditions in the prisons and custody centers, they are in miserable situations. It was noticed at the corners of some prisons heaps of urine bottles and defecation plastic bags .The military police prison in Sana’a and AL-Sawadiah security prison in AL-Baida’a governorate are some of these prisons. Other prisons are ancient and dirty buildings. Some of them are built in the old “Imam” era, and were also found some jails do not have any good ventilation. This becomes worst during hot weather when temperature reaches 38, moisture increases and air becomes polluted. This is applicable for Al-Hodeida Central Prison and that of its districts. In fact, this situation lead to suffocation and spread of infectious diseases in some prisons, they use waste water due to the absence of drinkable water, on the one hand, and because of the fact that water pipes are in bad situations as a result of moisture, high temperature and daily stopping of water, on the other hand. The prisons in Yemen are over crowded with the number of prisoners exceeds, three times, its capacity. In fact, the place seems like a (Tuna Can).

It is unbelievable to find districts in Al-Houdeida governorate, which has no jails for women. In ‘Alzaidia ‘, female defendants are put in a house belonging to an old man. I visited this house and found fight female defendants aged between (10-15) accused of adultery who have neither food nor health care allocations, but rather they depend on charity . In another bad jail “BAIT Alfaqeeh”, built on charitable finances and is special for more than five districts, there is no prison for female; rather they are put in one of the neighbor’s houses.

Q: Is there a central authority that overseas all prisons? What kind of prisons exists in Yemen and how are they organized?

A: The central prisons and the custody centers in the governorates belong to the general prisons authority in Sana’a and authority of prisons stems from Ministry of Interior. Yet, it is noticed that security administrations influence greater on those prisons. Others prisons, holding dozens and hundreds, are controlled by their respective governmental security administrations and are not included into prisons department system. These prisons are prevented from official food and other allocations, as a result. They problem aggravate the situation.

Concerning the political security prisons, they are big, private and frightful ones, and it is impossible for anyone to visit them even if parliament members.

Other prisons include the”Harbi” prison, which holds hundreds of prisoners, mostly militants and a few are civilians. They are illegally arrested (based on Sheiks and other influentials’ orders).this prison is not covered in prisons that are allowed to be visited. Other custody contents, belonging to military intelligence are much difficult to visit. Other jails belong to economy Institution, works offices, police stations, Sheiks and influentials. In other words, Yemen can itself be said to be a prison for its nation.

Q: Can you explain the difference between tribal prisons, private prisons and central prisons?

A: Most of the sheiks in Yemen have their private prisons. These prisons are illegal. Among these illegally private prisons are the political security prisons in which there are horrible criminal acts against human dignity and rights. The exact bitterness lies on the weakness of judgment which has not eligibility on that’s prisons and often can not release any innocent prisoner. They are prisons in which you may spend years or a perfect age without fair and justice. Then you may be released without charge or arbiter or even excuse.

In its basements are horrible criminal acts and human indignities in such a manner that is unbelievable. It is a pity that the judgment can not control such places. A prisoner can stay until he is finally released without sentence, charge or even an excuse, while the law can not authorize anyone being arrested for more than 24 hours.

Q: The Children’s Parliament visited children in detention found them “in miserable conditions, beaten, malnourished, sexually exploited, held without trial and held for minor crimes.” A study by the Interior Ministry concluded that 77% of juveniles (15 and under) in jail had not been charged. Another report documented over 500 juveniles in adult jails. How young are the youngest children in jail? If Yemeni law prohibits imprisoning children without charge, why are so many in jail?

A: Sorrowfully, many acts and crimes are committed against children in Yemen. For example Al-Maflahi prison ,Yafi district, Lahj governorate, a fifteen-tear-old child was sexually abused by a police officer .The incident was proved by three forensic experts. In Ibb Jail of Investigation a female child ,named Samra Mohamad Mansour ,does not exceed 13, was tortured by the investigators . The story was published in many local newspapers. In Al Baida Security Prison, child hostages, one of them aged below 11, were also found.

Adult parliament control becomes a sorrowful story because the court becomes unbelievably weak .Yemen Authority of Justice does not make regular jail searching .however, law force them to do that.

In Al Houdaida Central Prison, a lot of children were found arrested by the political security. Some of them do not exceed 12. They live with the adults in the same prison and are prevented from being visited, as Political Security orders. Those children are free of any charges .In fact, they are innocent. Some of them are taken from their schools. Others were arrested at roads while going or coming back from schools some were also captured at their houses. All this happen while the court is shamefully disabled to release any one of them even if he has been innocently in prison for more than four months.

Nabil Mohammed Saleh, aged 12, Hussain Ali Saleh AlKuait ,13,Magid Yahya Ahmed AlDoubi,12,Abdu alghaliq Mufreh GHarsan ,11,Salah Ahmed Salah Afara,12, Mohamad Yahia Saleh AL-Kuait ,14, Yahia Mohamad Qassem,14, Ado Alrahim Waeel Abdo Allah,14, Zakaria Hassen Ahmed, 14, Hammed Abdullah Gar Allah,14, are among the children I met in ALhodiedah.

In Ga’ar prison, Abian governorate, two child hostages were among the children who have been met. They are Ali Yaslam Ahmed, aged 14, who has been innocently in prison for seven months and prevented from schooling at the end of primary. The security forces say that the child was arrested in place of his brother, who had been sentenced to 10 years in jai, seven of which were without any return. The child, Ali Yaslam, was finally freed after great efforts.

The other child was Basher Muhsin, aged 16. He was taken as a hostage in Ga’ar prison four months ago. A summary of his tragedy was narrated as follows: “My father is an old and sick man. He was taken as a hostage to bring his son under the pretext that he guaranteed but this was not proved. I am here in his place based on an order by Shaik hamoud, the governorate security director” Similar situations were also found out in Rada’a and AL-Beida’a prisons. This is some of Yemen tragedies and his rules’ criminal acts towards childhood and homeland.

Q: Are there many adults in prison who have never been charged as well?

A: This is very common in Yemen. Through our field visits, we find many prisoners without charges, dozens of hostages in Rada’a and Al-Baida prisons who have been there for months and some of them for years without any acts ascribed to them. Rather they were jailed on the basis of crimes committed by their relatives or tribal members. Many also were found guilty of civilian rather than murder-based issues. In fact, wrongdoings are widely-spread in Yemen and no one is willing to prevent these prisoners from being victimized.

Hundreds of prisoners were found innocently jailed in Al-Houdeida and Dammar central prisons and in Al-Naseria prison situated in Hagga .Some of these prisoners have been for more than a year without any charge except their serial affiliation to the Hashemite House. This arrest is sometimes attributed to what they called ‘ precautionary action ‘ which may last for one year or even more .Many names can mentioned here to substantiate this matter, but it may not be suitable , At any rate they are available.

Q: Many Zaidis have been imprisoned since the outbreak of the Sa’ada war in 2004. Can you tell us how many were imprisoned in total and how many remain in jail?

A: There no clear statistics on the number of the arrests on the grounds of Sa’ada War. The government once confessed existence of three thousands. Yet, the number is much more than this, we think. Such a matter can not be ascertained in Yemen and how can a parliament member know the real figure if he is prevented from visiting anyone at political security prison. I have a list of hundreds of the arrests on the basis of Sada’a War. They are still in prisons so far. A greater number is not known about, on the other hand, there are names of hundreds of losts who are likely to be sent to governmental private jails.

Q: Are there many political prisoners?

A: Yes, there political prisoners. For instance, Nasser Al-Nawba, the chairman of the retired associations coordination counsel, Hassan Ba Awm, a member of the political office of the Yemen Socialist Party .Hundreds of the arrests of the southern governorates were jailed and released on grounds of peaceful sit-ins in southern and some northern governorates during past short period.

In the central prison, Baggash Mohamad AL-Agbary, director of the former minister of defense ‘Haitham Taher’. This senior official was confiscated and illegally dismissed .He has been in prison since 1995 until now. He was sentenced to capital punishment by the primary court then, the sentence was reduced to twenty years imprisonment as a suspect of affiliation to Mawg (a political movement established in exile after 94Summer Civil War).Baggash was among a total of fourteen persons who were sentenced to unfair political penalties varying from capital punishment to imprisonment for long periods.

Once again, many prisoners were arrested on grounds of Sada’a War and many of them were taken for
As the political authorities think, however, without any charges.

Q: Many cases of brutal torture have reported in the media. One such case is that of Shaif Al-Haimi who says he was tortured by the National Security Agency, chained, severely beaten and scalded with boiling water. For 16 days he was hung from the ceiling. Investigators forced him to dance. Prisoners in Hajja jail said they were tortured by policemen in charge of the jail and affiliated with the Criminal Investigation Bureau. How prevalent is torture in Yemeni jails?

A: Not only torture and methods of forcibly extraction of confession are common in private political security apparatuses prisons, but also prevalent in murder-investigation departments and Ministry of Interior’s police’ station. When I visited the murder-investigation prison, as a member of the Parliament Freedom and Human Rights Committee, I saw, with my eyes, remains of stick-beats and heavy boots-kicks, which are still apparent on the bodies of two persons. A report was made on this incident and the committee report included this complaint. However, the counsel of parliament did little. The murder-investigation director is still in position without being questioned by any official authority. I also noticed other prisoners in police stations who were subject to torture and beats. Some of these acts were really covered in forensic examiners’ reports.

Among the victims is Abdulqader Mohammed “a Somali national, who has been in Yemen for six years. He was subjected to heavy beating a few months ago, by five of the members of the Sana’a –based Al-wahda police station. Remains of this attack were proved by forensic examiners report.

Such acts happen daily in many police stations while Ministry of Interior does not stop or even reduce them, which indicate its partnership. It also does not consider them and send the criminals to the concerned authorities.

During one last visit to Al-Hodeida central prison on May 2005, we found out that many children, adults and disabled were complaining of torture, violence and isolated imprisonment by political security. These persons are jailed just on the grounds of Sa’ada War.

In Rada’a central prison, I noticed remains over the body of Mohammed Saleh, who demanded a forensic expert to testify them. He complains that they are remains of torture by Acid and electricity; I took photos of these remains, recommending their being investigated by the court of law.

Ahmed bin Ahmed Mahdy also complained about being tortured with live cigarettes by the security. I also took photos of the remains which are still apparent. Ali and Yousif Mohammed Nassir also complained about being tortured in the Dammar-based murder-investigation prison with the aim at extracting confesses forcibly. However, the charges against them are not considerable.

Some prisoners complained about other means of torture, including hanging by hands or legs, beating by wires or cables, making hungry or thirsty, forcible long standing, prevention from sleeping for more than tow days, psychological torturing, using Acid and boiling water, pincers and others.

Q: Are you able to visit jails under the control of the Political Security Organization? What kind of prisoners are there?

A: No, we are not allowed to visit such jails. Since establishment of the parliament, its committee of rights and freedom did not pay even a single visit. An attempt made by the committee, to visit the Hadramout-based Political Security Prison, but was unsuccessful. I, personally, tried to visit some political security jails, but was not allowed. More than thirty parliament members, including me, demanded visiting Sana’a Political Security Prisons a few months ago, yet the council presidency represented by Yahiya Ali AL.raee, rejected to respond to this request or even being discussed.

Not all prisoners are charged with political crimes, rather some of them are charged with murder-based ones, and others are innocent. For example, Mohammed Ali Muhsen, from Aden, has been in the basements of the political security for one year and a half, on the basis of a letter he wrote to the president of the Republic, mentioning the bad situations and corruption in the political security system. He was arrested in Aden and sent to Sana’a political basements. The political security has been rejecting orders of the general director for being released or even prosecuted, which, as usual, indicates superiority of the political security.

Q: The Ministry of Human Rights issued a report disclosing 100 hostages in five Yemeni prisons. What are hostages and how long are they held? Is this practice decreasing?

A: The real situation says that number of hostages exceed this figure greatly. While this figure was being stated by the Minister of human rights, I was visiting department of jails and found in official statistics dated 28 May 2007 that the number of hostages in Yemen reaches (545).

I have already visited AL-Baidah governorate, and found more than 70 hostages. The worst is that they include children. In the governorate security quarter prison, we found Abdurrahman Nasser Ahmed Ismail, below 10, Hussein Nasser Ahmed, aged 13. They are sons of the defendant Nasser Ahmed, whom the police could not arrest. Among them was the hostage Abdu-Alsalam Ali Ahmed, aged 15. He is a nephew of Nasser and a brother of the hostage, Abdraboo Ahmed Mohammed at the same time. In fact, they were released upon our visit.

We found Khalid Ahmed Abdu Hashem below 15, in Rada’a prison, while he was coming to bring bed-needs to his imprisoned uncle; he was arrested by security guards and spent more than four months among killers and thieves. We also found the hostages Mohammed Nasser khasem and Abdulalem Ali Mohammed, who were taken on the basis of the Mayor’s orders and they have been imprisoned for more than four months. These hostages are mostly taken by security apparatuses while the court is unable to search prisons or release prisoners. These hostages are mostly either some relatives of the escaping defendants or from their tribal members. In fact, crime involves only one, according to abiding law, and no one should be punished or jailed except on the basis of law.

There are many unbearable shortcomings and defects that really kill innocents. Sorrowfully we have never witnessed any positive and effective actions to reduce such a phenomenon.

Q: On June 26, 2006, Mr. Hashed, you visited the Authority of Passports and Migration in Sana’a to conduct a field visit to the prison there. You intended to assess the condition of prisoners there after an Eritrean prisoner died under ambiguous circumstances. You report you were beaten and kicked by prison officials, arbitrarily detained and threatened with death. Mr. Hashed, why were you treated this way?

A: This happens in order that their crimes can’t recognize by the public opinion. Consequently, all the camera contents, which I had, were cancelled. These contents comprise a lot of scenes that unveil to how extent this authority is ugly. If a legal activist pays a sudden visit to these jails, this will scandalize the political system which pretends democracy and protection of rights and freedom. So, my being attacked could be a successful means for any legal activist who may ever think in a sudden visit to these places.

Q: I understand that Parliament refused to hear some evidence about this incident. Why do you think they refused the evidence and where does the case stand now?

A: This issue was refered to the committee of defense and security, which was heavily, biased towards the security apparatuses. The issue was initially rejected for being biased and untruthful. This committee is the same one which had been entrusted to investigate the murdering of my driver who is a relative of mine, Adel saleh and also the same committee entrusted with visiting the Political security Prison and investigating my arrest at the political security apparatus headquarters on the basis of my participation in a peaceful sit-in, protesting against Ali Aldailami’s arrest by the political security. AL.dailami was a legal activist and a chairman of the Yemen Association of defending rights and freedom. Instead of conducting investigation, the committee forced me to accept a tribal solution about my driver’s assassination and refused to investigate or visit the political security prison for solving the second issue (about my arrest) and it did nothing.

The committee really intended to get rid of the passports and migration issue and not to investigate. This is indicated by their refusal of being a companion to them. In fact, my intention was to direct them to the jailed who witness the crime. The committee refused to stop the jail-keeper till investigation ends. It shamefully changed the facts, refused investigating prisoners situations and was biased in all the proceedings, which is unveiled by the report it has made. Instead of discussing these facts, besides, my explanation of the report of the committee, the parliament authorized another committee to friendly solve my problems with the security committee which was formed for investigation.

It is in such a manner that the issue of prisoners’ situations was neglected, which was the stimulant of my visit to prisons, resulting to negligence of the attack I was subject to. It is in such a way that many issues of human rights discussed at the parliament are tackled. This is an aspect of a tragedy we experience and pay its cost every day.

Q. What are the other situations of these prisoners. How do the concerned Authorities treat them, what are the most repeated complaints?

A: Most prisoners complain that judgment apparatuses do not abide by law mainly concerning the dates fixed legal periods of reference and imprisonment and prolonged proceedings. Some prisoners complain of being let in without trial or investigation of negligence in following implementation of decrees and in release of prisoners after ending period of punishment. Judge and prosecution members do complain of procrastination, ascribing some of the above-mentioned defects to the fact that the number judgment cadres is limited, the judge appointed may be responsible for more than six or seven districts or his districts may be over-populated. This occurs at the expense of the prisoner’s freedom.

Other issues embodied by prisoners mixing with each other, wither children or adults. They are not specified on the basis of age, kind of crime, stage of proceedings. Others have completed their period of punishment and still imprisoned because of their poverty or inability to pay the costs even if these costs are little. They may stay for along time, wanting for their legal decrees to be issued. Other says they don’t know about contents of these decrees because they don’t receive copies of the original. Some of them say they are prevented, by the judge, to defend their selves, mal-treated during investigation and before they are sent to the public prosecution.

As for the foreigners who are arrested due to their illegal entrance to the country, they spend long periods in Yemen prison, waiting for years being freed; this subject motivated us to make a special page on “AL-Mostakela” to tackle problems of refuges in Yemen.

Yemen’s Truce with Al-Qaeda

Filed under: Janes Articles, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:13 pm on Thursday, November 1, 2007

Weekly Standard

Yemen’s Truce with Al-Qaeda

THE AMERICAN ATTEMPTS to rehabilitate the Yemeni regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh have not succeeded. Yemeni authorities recently pardoned Jamal Al-Badawi, convicted mastermind of the 2000 USS Cole bombing. Almost all the terrorists who bombed the American warship and killed 17 American sailors are free, except those dead or in U.S. custody.

Jamal Al-Badawi was originally sentenced to death in 2004 as the lead planner of the USS Cole bombing. The sentence was reduced to 15 years. He escaped twice, the last time in February 2006. He has been on the loose since. He spent less than three years physically inside a jail, where, by the way, he was very well treated. One of the FBI’s top ten most wanted terrorists; he is currently at home receiving well wishers.

Yemeni President Saleh says openly that he has a truce with al Qaeda. However, it’s more than a truce; it’s a mutual support pact. That pact is long standing, mutually beneficial, and responsible for much of the carnage around the world, including the deaths of U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

The first al Qaeda attack was a 1992 hotel bombing in Aden, Yemen. The bombing targeted US troops heading for Somalia. The Yemeni regime’s relationship with al Qaeda was already well established by that point.

Presidential half brother General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar recruited fighters for bin Laden in the 1980’s and set up training camps in Yemen. After the withdrawal of the Soviet Union from Afghanistan, the Yemeni regime welcomed thousands of both Yemeni and non-Yemeni “Afghan Arabs” back to Yemen.

Yemeni President Saleh uses these al Qaeda operatives as a domestic paramilitary. The Afghan Arabs fought for Saleh in Yemen’s 1994 civil war. The war was framed as a jihad against Southern socialist “infidels.” Some of these bin Laden loyalists who fought for Saleh in 1994 are now high ranking members of the Yemeni military and security forces, governors, ambassadors and other appointed officials. Consequently, covert administrative support for al Qaeda is substantial in total, varied in nature, and appears on multiple levels.

Through the 1990’s, Osama bin Laden and Aiman Zawaheri regularly visited Yemen, meeting religious leaders and other prominent persons. Bin Laden delivered sermons in Yemeni mosques and purportedly held a six hour meeting with al-Ahmar in Sana’a airport in 1996.

In 1999, bin Laden bargained for the release of al Qaeda operative Tawfiq (Khallad) bin Attash who was arrested in Yemen. The Yemeni regime released Attash and promised not to confront al Qaeda. In exchange, bin Laden pledged not to attack Yemen. These terms mirror the current agreement which led to the release of al-Badawi. American aid, pressure, military training, and other coaxing have done little to alter the fundamental relationship between Saleh and al Qaeda.

In January of 2000, Attash, along with Yemeni Fahd al-Quso, attended a high level al Qaeda meeting in Malaysia at which the attacks on the USS Cole and the World Trade Center were discussed and planned. Both were later found guilty of organizing the Cole attack. Al Qaeda operatives participated in the Sa’ada wars (2004-2007) when the state fought a Shiite rebel group in northern Yemen. Terrorists trained and indoctrinated Salafi tribesmen using the state’s military camps. The military determined the prolonged bombing of Shiite cities was necessary, as was the withholding of food, medicine and cooking oil to the entire region. Historic Shiite mosques were “accidentally” shelled. General al-Ahmar led the military assault.

What does al Qaeda gain? First of all, releases of operatives. Yemen’s revolving door for terrorists is accomplished by biased show trials, repetitive escapes, “rehabilitation,” and direct negotiation. The level of duplicity is astounding. For example, convicted Limburg bomber Abu Bakr al-Raibi was never actually in jail despite a ten year sentence. He was transported from his house to court in prison clothes, his father said. And apparently the United States fell for it.

Twenty-three al Qaeda operatives escaped from a high security Yemeni jail in February 2006, using a spoon to break through a concrete floor. Those who later surrendered received a pardon for a pledge. The pardoned include Abdullah al-Raimi, mastermind of the Riyadh bombings in 2003. Other al Qaeda operatives served limited jail time, like al Qaeda number two, Mohammed Hamdi al-Ahdal, who was never charged in the Cole bombing. Instead, al-Ahdal was convicted of handling substantial funds for al Qaeda, sentenced to three years time served and released.

The export of Yemeni al Qaeda operatives is another benefit for bin Laden. Yemeni terrorists are found in nearly every jihad: Lebanon, Chechnya, Somalia, and Iraq. A Yemeni newspaper documented 1,861 individual Yemenis who traveled to Iraq to engage in Jihad. The Islamic Courts Union’s jihad against Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government drew hundreds of Yemeni jihadists as well.

Jihadists are made, not born. The process that transforms a nice Yemeni boy into a suicide bomber shredded in the street is aided by “influential people.” State resources are present from indoctrination, to training, to documentation, to transport. Yemen’s near complete failure to thwart terror financing comes as no surprise. Neither does the release of al-Badawi, who presents a clear danger to the American homeland.

The threat to the United States posed by the reconstituted Cole bombing cell is high. The group has support from the tribal regions, access to state resources, operational experience, international connections, and ideological motivation. The risk is enhanced by the lack of a counter-terrorism environment in Yemen; the state is actively appeasing them. And considering they already blew up an American warship, target selection would tend toward the spectacular if they became operational.

However, the most immediate target of these al Qaeda operatives is likely Southern demonstrators. The regions of the former South Yemen have experienced widespread civil unrest since May. The growing protests threaten to fracture Yemen, thereby disrupting President Saleh’s cash flow from a variety of illegal enterprises. If the quid pro quo holds, these poor souls on the streets of Aden holding signs demanding democracy and justice will be the next victims of Saleh’s truce with al Qaeda. A fatwa was issued several weeks ago.

Jane Novak is a political analyst and expert on Yemeni affairs. She maintains the website Published by the Weekly Standard.

New Jersey Woman Shakes Up Yemen Media Scene

Filed under: Janes Articles, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 3:40 pm on Thursday, November 1, 2007

from Hamsa

Watchdog: New Jersey Woman Shakes Up Yemen Media Scene
Jane Novak’s New Jersey home hardly seems the ideal spot for leading a civil rights revolution. Yet Novak, a journalist, political analyst and mother of two, has become a household name for Yemeni activists simply by writing at her computer. Her blog, Armies of Liberation (blocked inside Yemen), chronicles Yemen in areas related to press freedom, women’s issues, and torture by security forces.

Novak’s interest in Yemen began with the imprisonment of journalist Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani in 2004. Moved by an article about al-Khaiwani’s children missing their father, Novak decided to publicize his case in the West. She wrote five articles in three months and circulated them worldwide. Her articles caught the attention of American bloggers as well as a young journalist who translated them into Arabic and published them in Yemen.

Novak then launched a petition calling for al-Khaiwani’s release, which soon garnered 1,000 signatures. Shortly thereafter, al-Khaiwani was granted amnesty. “In the process, I learned about the enormous challenges Yemeni journalists face,” Novak told The CRIME Report. “I came to deeply respect them as modern heroes.”

Thanks to Novak’s dedication, struggles halfway around the world have become international incidents. “The people with rights have an obligation to work for the people who don’t,” she explained. “Other people can become informed and bring pressure on the American government to live up to its founding ideals.” Jane Novak is looking for a few good men and women.

That’s nice, and accurate. But for the record, I am not leading the revolution. I am documenting it.

Bloody Protests in Yemen

Filed under: Janes Articles, South Yemen, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:05 am on Sunday, October 28, 2007

Since May, Yemen has witnessed widespread civil unrest in the southern governorates including Aden and Marib. Three protesters were killed during demonstrations in Mukallah, and two more were killed in Dhalie. On October 13, five people were shot dead at a sit-in in Radfan, Lahj when security forces opened fire on the crowd. Witnesses reported a dozen wounded. Over fifty thousand people gathered the next day in Radfan for a previously scheduled demonstration despite these brutal security practices.

Several Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP) leaders were charged with liability for the Radfan deaths because they organized the demonstration. No one in the security forces has been held responsible for any of the protesters deaths or beatings. Another large demonstration is scheduled for November, and the situation remains tense.

“We want equal rights,” retired Brigadier General Ali Moqbel told the Arab American News. General Moqbel leads the Retired Military Consultation Association (MCRA). After the 1994 civil war between the YSP and President Saleh’s northern forces, over one hundred thousand southerners were forcibly retired on below sustenance pensions. This disenfranchised group, known as “the stay-at- home party”, has taken to the streets.

“The goal of the MCRA,” Muqbel said, “is to return all southerners to their previous employment in the same positions, both civilians and soldiers, who were referred to retirement after the war in 1994.”

The current instability is rooted in the past. The 1990 unity of North and South Yemen brought northern hegemony, leading to civil war in 1994. Afterward, the unified country’s democratic and pluralistic foundations were undermined by successive constitutional amendments that centralized power in the executive. The YSP, which had ruled South Yemen, was marginalized.

Post war reconciliation was stymied by practices of the northern elite that economically subjugated the south. Dr. Abdullah Al-Faqih, Political Science Professor at Sana’a University explained, “The economic system became something resembling a colonial economy where the purchasing power and the economic benefits follow one direction—from the south to the north.”

Professor Bob Burrowes of the University of Washington invented the word “kleptocracy” to describe Yemen. He defines it as “government by and for thieves”. Corruption and nepotism assured Yemeni President Saleh’s post civil war domination, a Yemeni editor explained to the Arab American News, “To preserve the loyalty of tribal leaders and senior military commanders, Saleh kept on ignoring many of their ill practices. Saleh has been busy pleasing his cronies with the country’s wealth and senior positions just to remain in power for as long as possible.”

Dr. Aidroos Nasr Naser Al-Naqeeb who heads the YSP block in Parliament noted, “The YSP Central Committee indicated that the South was treated as the spoils of war including land, people, companies and wealth. The current violence against the protesters reflects the type of politics which has dominated after the outcome of the war.”

A high ranking official of President Saleh’s ruling party, the General People’s Congress (GPC), disputed that influential northerners stole southern lands, calling it “a lie”. Dr. Aidroos countered, “Land theft is an undeniable fact. The land stolen includes agricultural lands, land of the former government in south, lands of corporations and wide areas suitable for building and investment trading. This occurred in all southern governorates.”

Dr. Aidroos has little confidence in a governmental committee recently established to solve land issues. “While I don’t doubt in the committee’s fairness or in their desire to do some thing better, there are influential people stronger than all these committees,” he said. “They are big military leaders and officials in the ruling party that have substantial authority and the power to destroy any person that damages their benefits.”

However, Dr. Aidroos pointed out, “There is a long line (of people) in the GPC that have a strong desire to institute many reforms in Yemen. Their inability to speak bluntly or even to hint comes from the fear of the consequences or official procedures. These consequences occur against anyone with an outspoken position that crosses the ‘red lines’ established by powerful people. GPC members in Parliament claim they have orders from high up which are against their own inclination and which obstruct the work of parliament to do any reforms.”

In addition to forming the land committee, the government has tried to mitigate growing civil unrest by reinstating seven thousand former military officers. President Saleh also proposed several constitutional amendments including a quota system for women, the empowerment of local councils with tax and expenditure authority, and broadening the number of officials selected by the electoral process. The plan designates a Presidential system, contrary to the opposition’s proposal for a Parliamentary system.

After years of broken promises, Saleh’s reform platform has been met with skepticism by some who call it another show for western observers. For example, prior to the 2006 local elections President Saleh repeatedly promised that the GPC would institute a quota system for women . It didn’t happen. Consequently, women occupy less than one per cent of GPC seats on the local level. President Saleh has not appointed any women governors and only two as cabinet ministers. Saleh already has the authority to empower Yemeni women, and he doesn’t.

“The regime has no actual desire for any administrative, financial, political, or legal reforms,” Dr. Aidross finds. “The recent initiative of President Saleh in practice will further consolidate power in the central authority, and all the posts will be derived from presidential authority. The presidential initiative will hinder the emergence of democracy in Yemen.” Dr. Aidroos says that Saleh’s initiative is designed to “protect the status quo under the guise of the protection of national unity.”

In a typical Saleh slight of hand, the plan establishes more elected positions, but the GPC has ruled out the more fundamental step of electoral reform. The commission overseeing future elections will be appointed by the president and his appointees, Saleh announced. In discussing Yemen’s presidential election in 2006, Dr Aidross describes Yemen’s voters as “terrorized and bribed” and the process as “subverted by extensive forgery.” The result does not reflect the will of the voters, he says.

In Yemen, half of all five year olds are physically stunted by chronic hunger and three quarters of women are illiterate. Yemen’s oil and water are depleting rapidly. Unemployment and inflation are high. Governmental corruption is rampant. Military spending is among the highest in the world and health spending among the lowest. The situation is so critical that Professor Al-Faqih believes, “Only profound reforms can save Yemen from descending into a total chaos similar to that experienced by Somalia and Lebanon before that.”

Some individual cabinet ministers have implemented significant measures to combat corruption and increase government efficiency. However the entrenched power of “influential people” limits the capacity of even the most earnest patriot.

The opposition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) sees “the need to transform to a parliamentary system.” Dr. Aidroos explained. “We as a country face civil unrest, economic stagnation and social difficulties. There is no remedy without increased Parliamentary authority, the separation of authority between the executive branch and the Parliament, and the ability of the Parliament to act as a check on executive power.”

President Saleh has long used the courts, the government media and security forces to squelch dissent. Responding to the southern protests with bullets and propaganda may trigger a civil war if the public loses hope in gaining equality through peaceful means. In order to gain the public’s trust, Saleh needs to take action. A government interested in reform, modernization and pluralism does not kidnap, beat and imprison journalists. The release of Editor Abdulkarim Al-Khaiwani from jail with an apology would be a good first step for President Saleh in demonstrating his newly found sincerity.

The writer is a political analyst and expert on Yemeni affairs. She maintains the website and can be reached at

The USS Cole Bombing: What We Know Today

Filed under: Janes Articles, USS Cole, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:19 am on Friday, October 12, 2007

Seven Years Ago Today

On October 12, 2000 two Yemeni suicide bombers rammed an explosives-laden dingy into an American destroyer, the USS Cole. Seventeen US service members were killed and forty-nine injured. The destroyer had been invited by the Yemeni government to refuel in the port of Aden.

USS Cole.jpg

In the light of historical perspective, several facts have become clear. Intelligence warnings generated prior to the attack were never forwarded to the commander of the Cole. The investigation afterwards was marred by turf wars within the US government, leaving links between the Cole bombing and the attacks of 9/11 unexplored. The Yemeni government worked diligently to limit the scope of the US investigation. Almost all the Yemenis involved in the Cole bombing are free today. The involvement of some Yemeni officials in the bombing is documented; however, the scope of that involvement is not.
(Read on …)

Yemen on the brink of civil war?

Filed under: Janes Articles, South Yemen, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:44 pm on Thursday, September 20, 2007

Yemen on the Brink of Civil War?

Tensions simmering since the Yemeni civil war in 1994 have flared into violence that may engulf the nation.

“We want equal rights,” retired Brigadier General Ali Moqbel stated. The simple declaration expressed the sentiment of tens of thousands of Yemenis who have repeatedly clashed with security forces in Aden, Makallah, Dahlie and other towns in southern Yemen since the spring.

General Moqbel organized and leads the Yemeni Retired Military Consultive Association (MCRA), an association of “retired” former Southern military officers. “The goal of the MCRA,” Muqbel said, “is to return all southerners to their previous employment in the same positions, both civilians and soldiers, who were referred to retirement after the war in 1994,”

The northern Yemeni Arab Republic (YAR) and southern People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY) unified in 1990 to form the Republic of Yemen. After southern forces were vanquished in Yemen’s civil war in 1994, the ruling northern elite treated the south as the spoils of war. The following decade perceived by many Southerners as occupation not unity, and characterized by institutionalized discrimination, engineered poverty, widespread looting and political exclusion.

A Decade of Inequality?

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s victorious northern regime discharged well over 100,000 southern military and civil workers after the civil war. The southern protesters charge it was an illegal and punitive measure. Regime officials termed it as bureaucratic streamlining. The pensioners allege their pensions are lower than their northern counterparts, below a sustenance level and contravene national law.

“All of our achievements in the South were lost upon unity which was announced May 22, 1990. We demand compensation for all persons without exception who sustained material losses at the hands of the state during these years,” Moqbel explained

The MCRA began peaceful demonstrations in Aden last May. The movement spread to Makallah, Dhalie and other cities. In August, security forces arrested several hundred protesters in Aden, prompting more demonstrations, which were countered with live fire. Three people were killed, scores were injured and rioting ensued. Protesters blockaded roads and sympathetic tribesmen seized governmental oil tankers.

Twenty of the protesters will be charged with treason, a death penalty offense, the Defense Ministry announced. Movement leader Brigadier General Naser al-Noba and the head of the Nasserite Unionist Party in Hadrmout have both been arrested. Protests are ongoing throughout the southern governorates.

Dr. Abdullah Al-faqih, Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department of Sana’a University traced the unrest to the south’s political and social exclusion after the civil war. He noted that because of the former PDRY’s Marxist economic system, “Southern Yemenis were totally dependent on the state. The situation continued up to 1995 when economic reforms in the unified Republic of Yemen began,” Dr.Al-faqih explained.

“While the northerners accustomed to the dynamics of a free market economy were able to survive to some extent, the southerners found themselves living on the margins of the national economy. In fact, the economic system became something resembling a colonial economy where the purchasing power and the economic benefits follow one direction—from the south to the north.”

Heated Rhetoric

The exploitation of the PDRY after the civil war was a “red line” for years in Yemen, a known but unspeakable truth. However, some of the protesters are openly calling for the succession. In response, the head of Saleh’s dominant General People’s Congress Party, Abdel Kader Bajammal, said, “I will arm the people to face them (secessionists). For the sake of the state and its unity we will re-introduce weapons to confront those corrupt people,” to the Emirati paper Al-Khaleej. Yemeni governmental media have described the 1994 war as an “apostate” war.

Responding to the protests, President Saleh formed a committee which returned hundreds of former soldiers to their posts; however tens of thousands were not. Instead the government announced it will reinstate the draft. Saleh recently called the protests, “a tempest in a teapot.”

Yemeni officials have blamed the opposition parties for exploiting the pensioners issue for partisan ends. Yemen’s next parliamentary election is scheduled for 2009. Regime official have also warmed that external forces are encouraging the unres,t a charge not without merit. The Yemeni Southern Democratic Conference (TAJ), an opposition group in the UK, declared “(TAJ) is determined to confront these bloody crimes with further escalation of struggle towards the full civil disobedience until we inflict the overwhelming defeat to the criminal dictator and assassin, the Yemeni president Saleh.”

National Challenges

Perched at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen is one of the world’s oldest continuous civilizations. Mountains, beaches, historical sites and unique architecture make Yemen one of the most world’s beautiful nations. It is also one the world’s poorest, outside of sub-Saharan Africa. Unemployment is high. Medical and educational facilities, where available, are largely dilapidated. Only half the nation receives intermittent electricity. Half have access to clean water.

Yemen is one of the most water scarce nations in the world, another trigger for instability. The two million residents of Taiz city get public water every forty days. Other days, residents pay for their drinking water from private vendors. An August protest against high prices and governmental corruption in Taiz drew ten thousand who held aloft water bottles and bread.

Oil revenues account for 70% of governmental funds. However, Yemen’s oil is expected to deplete within a decade and production is down 42% in 2007 from 2006 levels. Much of the government budget is dedicated to military spending. A significant portion is lost to corruption.

The word “kleptocracy” was invented to describe Yemen and is aptly defined as “government by, for and of thieves”. Yemen is firmly in the grip of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. His relatives lead the military and security forces, another trigger for instability. Giant posters of Saleh adorn the streets and shops of Yemen’s cities. Also omnipresent is a network of regime informants and security thugs who are believed to regularly target regime critics, activists and journalists.

A Yemeni editor described the key to Saleh’s longevity. “To preserve the loyalty of tribal leaders and senior military commanders, Saleh kept on ignoring many of their ill practices. Saleh has been busy pleasing his cronies with the country’s wealth and senior positions just to remain in power for as long as possible.”

The future of Yemen

Yemen’s use of using the courts, the media and the security forces to repress its citizens may trigger a civil war as the public loses hope in gaining equality through peaceful means. One Southern columnist wrote in the Yemen Times, “The use of force against protestors in Aden was not for the sake of protecting the National Unity. Instead, the force was used to protect and harbor the acts of lootings that have been so far exercised by influential persons in the southern governorates since the 1994 Civil War… Searching (for) rule of the law, the protestors faced rule of the tank standing in their way to claim their legal rights.”

At one extreme, President Saleh may declare a state of emergency and largely suspend civil rights. At the other is reform. “Only profound reforms can save Yemen from descending into a total chaos similar to that experienced by Somalia and Lebanon before that,” Dr. Al-faqih remarked. And several cabinet ministers and their staffs have undertaken authentic measures to combat corruption and increase government efficiency. However the lack of intra-governmental cooperation and the counter-veiling weight of the powerful corrupt limit the ability of even the earnest patriot.

Moreover, reform in Yemen is often a show of style over substance. An electoral reform measure decreed that the electoral commission overseeing elections would henceforth be selected by President Saleh; previously commission members were nominated by the parties to the election. Like other measures, the “reform” further concentrates authority in the executive and ruling party.

President Saleh recently announced that governors, whom he currently appoints, will in the future be elected by the (GPC dominated) local councils. However direct gubernatorial elections, with strict two year term limits, could go a long way in reducing tensions in Yemen, by enhancing political pluralism and enfranchising a vast portion of the Yemeni public who currently have little way to impact their political system and hold government officials accountable for their actions and inactions.

A related concern is the decentralization of security forces. Likewise direct control of local budgets and increased fiscal transparency would likely bring tangible benefits to each governorate. The Yemeni public has participated in numerous Parliamentary, Presidential and local elections, garnering praise from international and local observers for their political maturity. There is little reason to withhold direct gubernatorial elections, beyond fear of the results they may bring.

Disband the GPC

Filed under: Janes Articles, Yemen, janes articles arabic — by Jane Novak at 8:04 am on Sunday, August 26, 2007

تواجه اليمن حالة من عدم الاستقرار في عدة مجالات منذ الانتخابات الرئاسية الماضية، وتشمل جوانب الأزمة عودة حرب صعدة في شمال اليمن للمرة الرابعة، والاحتجاجات الشعبية في المحافظات الجنوبية سابقاً،والتحالف القبلي المواجه،وعودة الهجمات الإرهابية التي تستهدف الدولة.

كل تلك النزاعات لها عامل مشترك ومسبب واحد يتمثل في تأسيس حالة من عدم المساواة أو العنصرية الرسمية حالة هذه هي أيضاً متجذرة بفساد هائل يدمر اليمن ،ومع وجود نخب النافذين المتجذرة وتفشي الفساد، يبقى الإصلاح المؤسسي مستحلاً تقريباً، ربما يكون هناك حل واحد ، هو حل الآليات التي تعمل على إطالة أمد حالة عدم المساواة وتمكين الفساد،بدءا بحل الحزب الحاكم.

الآمال التي تولدت قبل الانتخابات الرئاسية التي شهدتها اليمن في سبتمبر/أيلول2006،ضربت في بدايتها، خيبت آمال المعارضين بما مثلته الانتخابات من مسرحية صامته لديمقراطية انحازت فيها مصادر الدولة الهائلة لمساندة الرئيس علي عبد الله صالح، الفائز في الانتخابات والمحافظ على كرسي الرئاسة طيلة 28عاماً، خابت آمال مؤيدي الرئيس صالح لما قدمه برنامجه الانتخابي الكبير من نتائج ملموسة ضئيلة ترتبت على إعادة انتخابه..حقيقة،ساءت أوضاع اليمنيين بما شهدته الساحة من ارتفاع للأسعار..

إثر الانتخابات خاض الجيش اليمني حرباً ضاربة مع المتمردين الشيعة في صعده الواقعة أقصى شمال اليمن، تشير التقديرات إلى أن الحرب كلفت اليمن أكثر من مليار دولار منذ يناير،قتل وجرح في الحرب ألاف الجنود والمتمردين والمدنيين ،تعرضت المدن والقرى للدمار،ويقدر عدد اللاجئين الداخلين بأكثر من 50,000لاجئ .

أشارت اللجنة الدولية للصليب الأحمر على أن التموين الغذائي في المنطقة في وضع حرج للغاية ويعاني السكان المحليون من نقص حاد في المعدات والمستلزمات الطبية منذ استهلال الحرب،واجهت الدولة المتمردين3مرات منذ عام2004م،وفي كل مرة كانت الوساطة تؤدي إلى وقف لإطلاق النار،لا يلبث أن يتم اختراقه من كلا الجانبين.

تجدد التوترات بين التجمعات القبلية الشمالية كان نتيجة متوقعة لـقبيلة حرب صعدة، إذ انخرط في صفوف الجيش ألاف المتطوعين من قبيلة حاشد، وتحدثت تقارير عن ظهور أعمال نهب وعنف عشوائية، وقد أصدر كبار مشايخ بكيل بيانات تحذر من إمكانية توسيع الصراع أو استمراره لسنوات بسبب حروب وثارات انتقامية بين القبائل .

أعلن في يوليو الماضي عن أنشاء مجلس التضامن الوطني، ويضم قرابة ألف من شيوخ ووجاهات قبائل حاشد بصفة أساسية ، على عجلة تم أنشاء تجمع أخر من زعماء قبائل بكيل أعلنوا معارضتهم لمجلس التضامن الوطني في أغسطس،واتهموه بوجود نية مبيتة لإثارة النزاعات وتلقي الدعم من ليبيا .

ومع خمود الحرب في الشمال توترات ظلت مكبوتة لفترة طويلة،فالاحتجاجات الشعبية تبرز شكاوي عشرات الآلاف من الضباط العسكريين الجنوبيين الذين تم إقصاؤهم بشكل تأديبي إثر حرب عام 1994م الأهلية، ورغم ضمانات المصالحة التي تقدم بها النظام ،ظل الضباط الجنوبيون عاطلين ، ويعتمدون في معيشتهم على رواتب تقاعدية منخفضة لأكثر من عقد من الزمان.

وفي أغسطس /آب،منعت قوات الأمن اليمنية مظاهرات غير مصرحة انطلقت في عدن بعد سلسلة مسيرات احتجاجية كبيرة ومتزايدة كانت قد بدأت في شهر مايو، واعتقل إثر ذلك مئات المتظاهرين ، تعرض آخرون للضرب في الشارع ، وتوفي شخص واحد جراء ذلك .

شملت جهود النظام الحثيثة لقمع الحركة الترويج لمنظمة متقاعدين مستنسخة تضم حوالي 600 من الضباط السابقين ،ووعدت بزيادة رواتب المتقاعدين إلى المستويات المكفولة قانونياً.

كل تلك النزاعات لها جذورها من عدم المساواة المعتمد. فالوحدة بين جنوب اليمن-سابقاً- وشماله والتي تمت عام 1991، أفسدت بهيمنة حزب المؤتمر الشعبي العام –الذي حكم الشمال قبل الوحدة –على السلطة.

في الجنوب تظهر أشكال التمييز الرسمي في نهب الأرض الهائلة ، وموجة التفقير، ومنع التوظيف والحرمان من الفرص التعليمية التمييز المناطقي بات أمراً مألوف ، فحرمان تعز من الماء يعد تمييزاً ضد المدينة ،والاعتقال المسيس للصحفي عبد الكريم الخيواني يعد تمييزاً ضد الأشخاص ،الحرب في صعدة هي تمييز سياسي بالدرجة الأولى، يضاف إليها التمييز الطائفي الذي تمثل باستهداف الزيديين بالهوية فالاعتقال الجماعي للعلماء والطلاب الزيديين والقرويين يعد تمييزاً رسمياً، كما الحال أيضاً في منع الغذاء والدواء عن المنطقة.

تكتسب قبيلة الرئيس صالح(حاشد) أهميتها من خلال صلتها بأدوات الدولة فالوصول إلى المنافع الاقتصادية يستند على الانتساب القبلي ،كما أن حصانة قبيلة حاشد من السلطة القضائية تؤسس حالة عدم المساواة .

إن غياب المساواة بين المجموعات(الطائفية والعشائرية، والمناطقية، والسياسية) مدعوم بتحريض من وسائل إعلام الدولة.

في مواجهة جوانب عدم الاستقرار والعنف يتعامل النظام وأحزاب المعارضة بما هو متوقع منهم بتكرار بذات الطرق التي بدأت بها الصراعات أولياً فالحكومة ردت بالإجبار والرعاية والدعاية دون معالجة أي من المسببات الأساسية كالإقصاء السياسي،فالحوثيون يظلون”أنصار الملكية والجنوبيين”انفصاليين ” طبقاً لوسائل الإعلام الرسمية،و فيما يعمل النظام على استقطاب قادة المعارضة ويدفع لهم الأموال والمساكن، يتم إهمال المواطنين ويجري استهدافهم بوحشية من قبل الأمن والجيش.

المعارضة اليمنية تلوم وتنتقد المؤتمر الشعبي العام رغم ذلك تعد تلك الأحزاب نخبوية بحد ذاتها، فبعض قادة المعارضة تابعون للمؤتمر الشعبي العام ويعملون لتحقيق أفضل المكاسب للحزب الحاكم، وليس من أجل المعارضة أو الناس.

اللقاء المشترك، تحالف المعارضة، يتمنى سحب بساط السلطة بعيداً عن الحزب الحاكم القوي، في الانتخابات النيابية المرتقبة عام2009.

تعمل أحزاب اللقاء المشترك في فضاء سياسي محدود والتهديد بالعنف ليس بعيداً عنهم، غير أن الضغوط المفروضة على أحزاب المشترك لم تمنعها من أن تواصل نشاطاتها بطريقة ديمقراطية .

على إيه حال، تفتقر أحزاب المشترك للالتزام في تحقيق المساواة، فتداول السلطة، والشفافية وحرية التعبير تقوض من مصداقيتها، فمن أجل الثقة بوعود المشترك للعمل بشكل صحيح، يحتاج التحالف المعارض إن يبرهن قدرته على إصلاح نفسه وتطبيق الممارسات الديمقراطية في إطار كل حزب.

تواجه اليمن أوضاعاً عصيبة تتطلب حلولا جدية حازمة، وهناك طريق واحد لتفكيك مفاصل الفساد وتشجع السلطة المستندة على الاستحقاق، ويتمثل في حل الحزب الحاكم.

فالمؤتمر الشعبي العام يعمل بطريقة شبيهة بحزب البعث السوري ،وحزب البعث العراقي السابق، في طريقة الوصول والتأثير والرعاية ،فهو مندمج بالمؤسسات والبيروقراطيات الرسمية التي أصبحت مسيسة،فالحزب يعمل في إطار اهتماماته الخاصة ونشأ مسيطراً على الفضاء العام.

ومن هذا المنطلق فإن حل المؤتمر الشعبي العام سيتيح فضاء الإصلاح حقيقي بإزالة التركيبة التي تحدد التضمين والاستثناء.

فالمؤتمر الشعبي العام يعد آلية أساسية للتمييز الذي يمارس ضد كل اليمنيين بالهوية ن وبذلك تتعزز الانقسامات الاجتماعية، فالانتساب للحزب يعتبر معياراً في التعليم ،والتوظيف ،والأحكام القضائية والخدمات الحكومية أينما وجدت، ومن خلال سيطرة المؤتمر الشعبي العام على المؤسسات،تمتص الأقلية الحاكمة هبات المانحين والمصادر الطبيعية ،بينما يبقى الماء النظيف،والكهرباء،والوسائل التربوية والطبية غير متوفرة بشكل كبير لمعظم اليمنيين.

النخبة الحكمة في اليمن تتقاسم مؤسسات الدولة بما فيها الأمن والسلطة القضائية ،وفق مصالح شخصية،وتستخدمها جاهدة لإسكات المعارضة والنقد والجهود نحو الإصلاح بإمكان بعض أولى الحكمة والشجاعة من أعضاء المؤتمر الشعبي العام أن يمارسوا الضغط من اجل إصلاح حقيقي يمكن أن يهدد مصالح نخبة المؤتمر.

ثمة حل آخر يتمثل في أنشاء حزب جديد يؤسس للمساواة وبالتالي الديمقراطية، حزب ملتزم بمبادئ عادلة، حزب بإمكانه أن ينتقد بنظامه ولوائحه الخاصة. ويتعامل بشفافية مالية ،ويتبنى انتخابات داخلية عادلة، ويجعل المناصب القيادية متاحة لجميع الأفراد، ويحتكم لإرادة غالبية الأعضاء.

حتى الآن لم تر اليمن حزباً تتمثل فيه تلك الخصائص بشكل موحد،ومثل هكذا حزب يحتاج للوجود لتمكين المواطنين العاديين من الوصول السياسي، ويبعث الأمل في 10ملايين من شباب اليمن. فالديمقراطية هي خيار الشعب اليمني، وأيضا المساواة تبعاً لذلك..والدولة أو الحزب الذي يمارس التمييز بالهوية غير ديمقراطي أصلاً.

نقلا عن أسبوعية “الشارع”

Reform in Yemen: Progress and Obstacles

Filed under: Janes Articles, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:01 am on Thursday, July 26, 2007

Yemen is a country facing substantial problems. It is one of the most undeveloped, poverty stricken countries globally. Basic services are scarce, and corruption is rampant. Half of Yemen’s 20 million citizens are under 15. High fertility rates and early marriage mean the population will double within decades. Oil, a mainstay of the economy, is rapidly depleting. Both illiteracy and unemployment are high. International donors and many within the Yemeni administration recognize the urgency of the issues facing the nation. However some governmental strategies are undermined from within the regime itself. Both water management and corruption mitigation efforts have been limited by the failure of ministries to coordinate among themselves.

Yemen is among the most water scarce nations globally. In rural areas where most Yemenis live, only 37% have access to clean water, and women often spend several hours daily procuring water. Potable water is available in 58% of urban areas, but supplies are erratic. Public water is piped into Taiz and some other urban centers once every forty days. Citizens pay for water from private wells, a burden considering the average annual income in Yemen is about only $500,

Water scarcity takes an enormous human toll. One in ten Yemeni children dies before their fifth birthday. Water borne diseases (diarrhea, typhoid and malaria) are the cause of half of those deaths. A 2005 Parliamentary report stated 75 percent of all Yemenis face health risks from dirty water. Water is also a flashpoint for violence. Taiz residents held street protests demanding water which resulted in clashes with security forces in 2006. A 2006 study by the Civic Democratic Initiatives Support Foundation found water related issues are a contributing factor in 80% of tribal disputes that result in violence.

As tragic as these figures are, the harsh reality is that water availability is diminishing at an exponential rate. Underground water levels are dropping by several meters each year. Contamination of ground water and haphazard well digging exacerbate the crisis. Water usage significantly exceeds replenishment of aquifers. Yemen may run out of water within decades. Urgent action is needed, and Yemen has devised an excellent water strategy. At a cost of $300 million dollars per year, donors include The World Bank, Germany and the Netherlands. However, the legislation has not been implemented since it was devised in 2005. Donors may withdraw financial support unless tangible results are forth coming.

One problem is the lack of coordination among governmental authorities. The seven percent of water used by households is controlled by the Water Ministry. 93% of all water is used for agriculture and its usage falls within the domain of the Ministry of Agriculture. In an interview with the Yemen Times, Yemen’s Minister of Water, Abdulrahman Alaryani, noted that the Ministry of Agriculture’s Investment Program for Public Management of Irrigation runs counter to the National Water Strategy, “They are still focusing on agricultural expansion and demand in land dependant on underground water and on building small dams whose economic potential is limited. Their concern with the rational usage of scarce water resources is rudimentary at best.” There are 80,000 artesian wells in Yemen, and the inability to effectively police the random digging of wells in Yemen was another issue Alaryani addressed.

Another urgent issue facing Yemen is rampant corruption. The Yemeni government has taken some important steps to combat corruption like signing on to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative as well as issuing a new law controlling government tenders. A cabinet reshuffle in 2006 was a good step in establishing discipline within some ministries. However, the Civil Service Ministry, like the Water Ministry, is unable to fully implement a progressive plan without intergovernmental cooperation.

The Civil Service Ministry identified thirty thousand civil servants who receive more than one government salary. It devised a matrix of structural and organizational reforms to eliminate these “double dippers” as well as “ghost workers”. Once payroll lists have been cleaned up, the Ministry will authorize overdue pay raises. Doctors are threatening to strike if the raises are not forthcoming immediately. The Health Ministry has said the reforms are complete. However, an audit found that the doctors’ payroll list still contains the names of dead people, retired people, and some who are out of the country. Doctors’ frustration is growing as the raises are well past due; however the obstacle to the raises is the Health Ministry’s lack of compliance with the reform measures.

Irrational and contradictory policies arising from weak institutions and fragmented authority limit the effectiveness of administrative reform in Yemen. Programs that have been instituted to work in the long term interests of the Yemeni public will necessarily undermine centers of profiteering that are often associated with public power derived from the ruling party, tribal authority, security forces, and the military. A counter-weight in favor of reform has been achieved through the collaborative effort of those reformers within the administration, civil society, parliament, political parties, the media, public, local bodies and donor community. These progressives have already harnessed sufficient momentum to enact some authentic reform initiatives. However overcoming resistance to reform in Yemen remains a daily and urgent challenge.


Filed under: GPC, Janes Articles, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:34 am on Thursday, July 26, 2007

Yemen’s ruling party subverts democracy
By: Jane Novak, The Arab American News

Since Yemen’s presidential election, the nation is experiencing several areas of instability. Crisis areas include the fourth recurrence of the Sa’ada war in North Yemen, popular protests in the former South Yemen, hostile tribal posturing, and the resurgence of terror attacks directed at the state. One causal factor common to all these conflicts is institutionalized inequality or state discrimination. This inequality is also the foundation of massive corruption that is destroying Yemen. With elitism so engrained and corruption so pervasive, structural reform is nearly impossible. One solution may be to dissolve the national mechanisms that function to perpetuate inequality and enable corruption, starting with Yemen’s ruling party.

Hopes generated before Yemen’s September presidential election were dashed in its wake. Oppositionists were disappointed that the election was a pantomime of democracy with state resources overwhelmingly supporting President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the victor and incumbent of 28 years. Saleh’s supporters were disappointed when his expansive election platform produced few tangible results upon his re-election. In fact the situation worsened for the average Yemeni with prices rocketing higher.

After the election, Yemen’s military fought an intense war with Shi’a rebels in Yemen’s northernmost Sa’ada region. Estimates are the war cost over a billion dollars since January. Thousands of soldiers, rebels and civilians have been killed and wounded. Cities and villages have been laid to waste. Internal refugees number over 50,000. The ICRC has noted that food in the region is in critically short supply and the local population has been without medical facilities since the inception of the war. Yemen has fought the insurgents three times since 2004. Each time, mediation led to a cease fire which was then broken by both sides.

Renewal of tensions between Yemen’s major northern tribal confederations was a predictable result of the tribalization of the Sa’ada war. The military inducted thousands of Hashid tribesmen, and reports of looting and indiscriminate violence emerged. Senior Bakil sheiks issued statements warning of the potential for the broadening of the conflict or years of localized retaliatory tribal warfare. The National Solidarity Council was announced in July and consists of 1000 tribal sheiks and dignitaries primarily from the Hashid confederation. A hastily formed grouping of Bakil tribal leaders announced their opposition to the National Solidarity Council in August, accusing it of intending to foster conflicts and Libyan support.

With war tapering off in the north, in the south long suppressed tensions have come to the surface. Popular protests are expressing the grievances of tens of thousands of southern military officers who were punitively discharged after Yemen’s 1994 civil war. Despite regime assurances of reconciliation, the southern officers remained unemployed and living on below sustenance pensions for over a decade. In August, Yemeni security forces banned “unauthorized” demonstrations in Aden after a series of increasingly large protest marches began in May. Hundreds of demonstrators were arrested. Others were beaten on the street. One died. Regime efforts to quell the movement included promoting about 600 former officers, creating a clone of the pensioners’ organization and promising to increase the pensions to legally required levels.

Each of these conflicts has its roots in intentional inequality. The 1990 unity between the former South Yemen and North Yemen was subverted by the dominance of the northern GPC party. In the south, state discrimination takes the form of massive land theft, targeted impoverishment, and the withholding of employment and educational opportunities. Geographic discrimination is not unusual. The withholding of water to Taiz is discrimination against a city. The politicized arrest of Editor Abdulkarim Al-Khaiwani is discrimination against a person. The war in Sa’ada, primarily a political one, gained sectarian overtones when security forces began to target Zaidis by identity. The mass arrest of Zaidi preachers, students and villagers is state discrimination, as is the withholding of food and medicine to the region. The primacy of president Saleh’s Hashid tribe is derived from its association with the tools of the state. The access to economic benefits based on tribal affiliation as well as the immunity of the Hashid from the judiciary is institutionalized inequality. The inequality among groups (political, regional, tribal, sectarian) is reinforced by state media incitement.

In response to these recurring areas of instability and violence, the regime and the opposition parties are reacting predictably and in the ways that fostered the conflicts initially. The government has responded with coercion, patronage and propaganda without addressing any of the underlying factors such as political exclusion. The Houthis remain “monarchists” and the southerners “separatists” according to the official media. Movement leaders are plied with funds and accommodations while the bulk of Yemenis face brutal security forces and a well armed military.

The Yemeni opposition blames and criticizes the GPC, however it is just as elitist. Some opposition leaders have also been co-opted by the GPC and work toward the best interest of the ruling party, not the opposition or the people. The opposition coalition, the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), hopes to wrest control away from the powerful ruling party in Yemen’s 2009 parliamentary elections. The JMP operates in a limited political space with the threat of violence never far away. The constraints on the JMP do not preclude it from operating democratically. However, the JMP’s lack of commitment in practice to equality, transition of power, transparency and free speech work to limit its credibility. For the JMP’s promises to ring true, the coalition would need to demonstrate the ability to reform itself and engage in internal democratic practices.

Yemen is facing dramatic times which require new and dramatic solutions. One way to disentangle corrupt relationships and encourage a merit based hierarchy is to dissolve the ruling party. The General People’s Congress party functions similarly to the Syrian Ba’ath party and the former Iraqi Ba’ath party, as a party of access, influence and patronage. The party merged with state institutions and bureaucracies which have become politicized. The party operates in its own self interest and has grown to dominate public space.

Dissolving the GPC would enable space for authentic reform by removing the structure which determines inclusion and exclusion. The GPC is a primary mechanism of discrimination. It discriminates against all Yemenis but does so by identity, thereby reinforcing social divisions. Party affiliation is a factor in education, employment, judicial rulings and public services where they exist. Through GPC control of the bureaucracy, the oligarchy absorbs the benefits of donor aid and natural resources while clean water, electricity, educational and medical facilities are largely unavailable to the bulk of Yemenis. Yemen’s elite routinely deploy state institutions including security forces and the judiciary for personal ends as well as to stifle dissent, criticism and efforts toward reform. Those within the GPC with the foresight and courage to press for real reform can only go so far before the interests of “influential people” are threatened.

Another solution may be to create a new party that models equality and therefore democracy. A party committed to egalitarian principles would abide by its own charter, model financial transparency, hold fair internal elections, make leadership positions available to all members, and follow the expressed will of the majority. Yemen has yet to see a party that uniformly follows those prescriptions. And such a party needs to exist, to give political access to ordinary citizens and hope to its ten million youth. Democracy is the choice of the Yemeni people and therefore so is equality. A state or a party that discriminates by identity is inherently undemocratic.

Article on al-Khaiwani

Filed under: Janes Articles, Media, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:02 am on Wednesday, July 4, 2007

I really thought I was done with these, but no:

This is the front page of al-Thoury newspaper in Yemen. Thats me, thats my article about Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani and in the flag in the upper right, thats al-Khaiwani’s picture.

For the English version, see World Press:

Leading Yemeni Journalist Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani Arrested
Jane Novak, contributing editor, July 4, 2007

Al-Khaiwani during an appeals court session in Sanaa in 2005, having been jailed in 2004. (Photo: – / AFP-Getty Images)

In 2004, prominent Yemeni journalist Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani wrote from jail, “I believe in democracy, freedom, equality and rights and am willing to suffer for their sake simply because I do not wish my children to suffer dictatorship and I will strive to provide them a better future.”

Al-Khaiwani was released after seven months in jail. He continued to write about topics important to Yemen including corruption, nepotism and civil rights. He faced down a series of governmental harassments, censorship, threats and defamation only to be arrested last week on fabricated terrorism charges.

The politicized arrest of al-Khaiwani, one of Yemen’s most respected activists, is part of a broader governmental campaign to clamp down not only on dissent, but also on information. The government’s increased repression of the media comes in response to growing instability. A five-month rebellion in the North spawned a humanitarian crisis as up to 100,000 civilians in Saada governorate are internal refugees. In the South, protests and demonstrations that began in May are increasing in size and intensity. As hot spots flare across Yemen, the government blocked news Web sites, banned text message news alerts, and refused to grant new newspaper licenses or allow private ownership of broadcast media. Al-Khaiwani’s arrest occurred during the sixth week of a sit-in by journalists demanding media freedom.

The arrest of the internationally renowned reformist sent shock waves through Yemen and the international community. On the day of his arrest, the Committee to Protect Journalists expressed concern that “al-Khaiwani is being punished for his outspokenness.” Reporters Without Borders urged the Yemeni government to release the journalist.

Both the fact and manner of the arrest are shocking. Al-Khaiwani was taken into custody by counter-terrorism forces who posed as electrical workers to gain entry to his home. They were authorized to use deadly force if he resisted arrest. Once inside his home, they struck al-Khaiwani’s seven-year-old daughter so hard that she fell into unconsciousness. The officers beat the journalist bloody with the butts of their guns. He was transported to jail bleeding and less than fully clothed, a humiliation considering the very conservative nature of Yemeni society.

Once in jail, al-Khaiwani was denied medical treatment for the multiple injuries he sustained during the arrest. He was denied access to his lawyer. Although a crowd of colleagues and supporters immediately gathered outside the jail, al-Khaiwani is denied visitors, reportedly on orders of Interior Minister Rashad al-Alimi. His wife was allowed to visit, authorities said; however, there is no female security guard available to search her, so that visit was denied as well. Al-Khaiwani has not seen a judge, and no charges have been brought. However, the Penal Court determined that he would be imprisoned for a month while authorities consider charges.

The governmental media launched a smear campaign against the activist, reporting that al-Khaiwani “supports terrorism,” the evidence of which reportedly consists of CD’s containing data about civilian deaths in the northern rebellion and other public information. It is widely understood that al-Khaiwani’s arrest is retaliation for his writings, the latest of which was to be an article titled “The Goat That Became a Pharaoh.”

Al-Khaiwani is a modern hero for enduring the abuse leveled at him by the Yemeni government. In May 2004, al-Khaiwani, then editor of Al-Shoura weekly newspaper, discussed death threats he had received after publishing a series of articles on corruption and dynastic political succession in Yemen. “We will continue our fight against corrupt crooks at the power center who are annoyed by the reports that have touched their interests,” he told the Yemen Times.

Later in 2004, when al-Khaiwani was imprisoned for insulting the president, he refused to purchase his freedom with a promise to stop writing. He was sentenced to a year in jail in a highly irregular judicial procedure related to nine opinion articles published by Al-Shoura, which lost it license for six months.

During the seven months al-Khaiwani spent in jail as a prisoner of opinion, he was beaten. He had his jaw broken. He wrote, “Democracy and freedom are not granted by a leader or a regime, it is a world wide human achievement of all the free people on earth.” He was pardoned by President Ali Abdullah Saleh in March 2005. When Al-Shoura was allowed to resume publishing in April, “In an unexpected move, the paper tackled a number of issues, including Saada events, and the country’s dynastic rule,” the opposition Al-Shawa remarked.

In May 2005, in response to al-Khaiwani’s unbowed editorial tone, armed men stormed the offices of Al-Shoura and began to publish the paper with a pro-government line in a tactic known as “cloning.” A statement by the Civil Society Coalition noted the “atmosphere of terror and violence dominating this political period against the opposition and opinions.” That atmosphere only became more repressive as documented by the Yemeni organization Women Journalists Without Chains, (previously known as Female Journalists Without Borders until a regime clone began operating with the same name). The report detailed over 200 violations of press freedom in 2006.

Throughout 2005 and into 2006, al-Khaiwani continued to publish an authentic version of Al-Shoura electronically. The Web site’s “popularity skyrocketed due to his outspoken opinion articles and investigative reports unveiling corruption at very high levels in the regime, involving both current and previous officials,” according to the Yemen Times.

The Al-Shoura Web site, among others, was blocked preceding Yemen’s September presidential elections. In November 2006, al-Khaiwani was prohibited from leaving Yemen to attend an International Red Cross conference in Morocco. In December 2006, he wrote to the United Nations about the conditions of journalists in Yemen. “The State hunts us, abuses our rights, and restrict our freedom of expressions,” he said in a letter co-authored with other leading journalists. “We were subjected to abduction, forcible disappearance, and illegal and unconstitutional arrests. We are deprived of our livelihood sources because we criticize corruption and the military regime that has been grasping power for 28 years.” The United Nations failed to respond.

In February 2007, al-Khaiwani was forcibly brought to court on a matter related to a published article. “I wished the court showed a similar zest in Anisah Al-Shuabi’s case or doing justice to Raash villagers,” he noted, referring to a rape victim and an entire village that was displaced at the whim of a sheik.

With the Saada war raging, Al-Shoura’s Web site was again blocked in February. Al-Khaiwani issued a statement that said the Yemeni government was targeting Al-Shoura, “because we are criticizing corruption, the prejudices of rights and freedoms, and our continuing need for political and cultural reforms and good governance.” It is a bizarre irony that the latest victim in the war on terror is this dedicated democracy activist in Yemen who has fought for freedom for years. That war can never be won until the United States begins to live up to its rhetoric and stated policy of supporting reform and the many courageous reformers in the Middle East.

Jane Novak is an American journalist and political analyst.

Ceasefire in Yemen

Filed under: Janes Articles, Saada War, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:07 am on Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Sa’ada war in northern Yemen may be coming to a close. The Yemeni government announced on June 15 that a cease-fire had been negotiated through the good offices of the Emir of Qatar. Shiite rebels agreed to lay down their arms after nearly three years of fighting. Hopes are high that an end to hostilities will allow immediate assistance to over a half a million Yemenis in Sa’ada province adversely affected by the fighting.

The rebellion began in 2004 led by cleric Hussain al-Houthi. According to government officials, the rebels aimed to re-institute the Shiite theocracy overthrown by North Yemen’s republican revolution in 1962. After Hussain was killed in 2004, leadership of the movement transferred to his brother, Abdelmalik al-Houthi. The rebels, known as the Houthis, say they oppose Yemen’s alliance with the U.S. and regime corruption.

Yemeni officials repeatedly accused both Libya and Iran of funding the rebellion situated on the Yemeni-Saudi border. The Houthis received millions of dollars from an African country, an informed source disclosed. Monetary transfers intended for the rebels began in the summer of 2006 and continued into 2007, the source reported. This and other foreign meddling raised the specter of the bloody rebellion spiraling into a proxy war between regional heavyweights with hundreds of thousands of Yemeni civilians caught in the middle.

HUMANITARIAN DISASTER: In January 2007, the Yemeni military declared “all out war” on the Houthis. The military’s subsequent bombing campaign was countered by the rebels who were well armed with medium and heavy weapons. Thousands have been killed or injured in the fighting. Cities and villages have been ravaged. Nearly 50,000 civilians, mostly women and children, are internal refugees.

Assisting and resettling these internally displaced persons is the most urgent requirement facing concerned parties. Diseases including cholera are spreading throughout Sa’ada as medical facilities and supplies were largely unavailable to civilians during the war. The military sealed off Sa’ada province, home to about 700,000 Yemenis, in January citing security concerns. As a result, food and other basic necessities are in critically short supply. Yemen’s opposition parties charged that the regime deliberately hampered aid deliveries to displaced persons. An information embargo is also in place with all communication cut off including land lines, and cell phone and internet connections. Journalists are prohibiting from reporting from the region.

With human suffering mounting to catastrophic proportions, in early June the Yemeni government declared a humanitarian disaster in Sa’ada and called for international aid. With the cease-fire agreement concluded, the Yemeni regime is expected to end the blockade and immediately open the province to international aid organizations, local media, Qatari observers, and Yemeni civil welfare organizations.

THE BASIS OF PEACE: Rebel forces remain heavily armed and co-mingled with civilians in some urban areas. Local sources report intense fighting is continuing despite official announcements to the contrary. The cease-fire agreement reached between rebel leaders and regime officials does not include all the parties to the conflict. Some powerful military commanders are opposed to the settlement for financial or ideological reasons and have not halted offensive operations.

Yemeni military commanders beyond central control have hampered peace efforts before. A governmental fact finding committee found that the military at times failed to abide by a prior 2006 amnesty agreement and contributed to the resumption of hostilities. Well connected weapons dealers and sheiks on both sides likewise have profited from the war and may not be eager to see it end. In light of several failures to achieve a lasting peace, the successful and enduring disengagement of forces may require a sustained Qatari presence or that of UN observers.

The cease-fire agreement outlines the aftermath of disengagement but not the tactical methods to accomplish a cessation of hostilities. According to its terms, Abdelmalik al-Houthi and other rebel leaders will live in Qatar and refrain from political activity and public statements. Their followers will return to their homes, surrender their medium weapons and commit to “the republican system, the constitution and the laws of the country” according to a statement issued by al-Houthi.

The Yemeni government has declared that in exchange, it will reconstruct damaged private and public property, will respect “freedom of opinion and expression,” will release uncharged detainees, and will allow the rebels to establish a political party. The regime will extend its authority to Sa’ada governorate.

THE CONTEXT OF INJUSTICE: Although the rebels’ philosophy has little popular support, the regime’s concessions to the rebels may have a broader appeal. The sad reality is that the entire nation of Yemen would benefit from having these rights and benefits extended to them as well.

For the central authority to extend itself to Sa’ada requires much more than soldiers. The 700,000 residents of Sa’ada are serviced by one dilapidated hospital. Like in most of rural Yemen, a functional judiciary is absent from Sa’ada. Also absent are clean water, medical facilities, an electrical grid, schools that teach and security forces that protect. Qatar offered USD 500 million in development assistance to Yemen. However the rebellion itself is an indication of the massive amounts of domestic and donor development funds that have been lost to graft, corruption and mismanagement nationally.

That the rebels will be afforded “freedom of opinion and expression” is rather difficult to envision as the Yemeni government is increasingly hostile to free expression. Last week, a teacher and headmaster in Taiz were imprisoned after asking students to write about corruption and price hikes on their exams. In recent months, the government blocked established news websites, prohibited the founding of new newspapers, and criminalized SMS mobile news alerts for all but the official media.

The release of imprisoned, uncharged suspected Houthi loyalists will be a welcome development for the judicial system. However hundreds if not thousands of Yemenis are languishing in jail without trial, some as hostages of the Yemeni government. A recent parliamentary report disclosed over 100 official hostages, some held for over a dozen years. Other Yemenis are jailed in the unregulated tribal prisons prevalent throughout Yemen. Torture is common in Yemeni jails.

The rebels will be allowed to form a political party. However, Yemen’s opposition parties are a décor of democracy which face vast institutional inequities when competing with the hegemonic ruling party. One opposition party was recently disbanded and other mainstream parties may meet a similar fate. The inability of political parties and other institutions to advance the public interest has lead to instability. Tribesmen have kidnapped foreign tourists in order to force the regime to release adolescent family members held hostage. Disgruntled taxi drivers left the head of a bull on the steps of parliament after their sit-in was ignored for months. Demonstrations are currently flaring throughout southern Yemen after legitimate grievances were left unaddressed for years.

Exporting the leaders of an unpopular uprising will do little to decrease the state’s vulnerability to rebellion without addressing the context that spawned the violence. The elite’s hollow poetry about reform, its election theatre and empty democratic institutions will not diminish increasing frustration as prices rise, water runs dry, oil reserves deplete and children starve. For peace to be enduring, lessons need to be learned from failure, without rancor. Nothing was achieved in the Sa’ada war that was worth the blood shed.

The writer is a political analyst and expert on Yemeni affairs. She maintains the website and can be reached at

A Communication from Southern Yemeni Military Officers: Negotiations failed.

Filed under: Janes Articles, Military, Political Opposition, South Yemen, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:18 am on Sunday, June 10, 2007

For an explanation of the issues surrounding the uprising in Southern Yemen, see here. In an effort to avert a crisis, the southern officers are calling for international mediation.

Its important to note that the leadership of Yemeni military currently is in the hands of northern loyalists, primarily President Saleh’s close relatives, and military positions are often awarded by loyalist Sheiks as patronage to villagers. Thus the Yemeni military is an effective means of plundering the state budget but not a very effective fighting force. The southern military officers on the other hand, gained their positions through merit.

The Yemeni southern opposition in exile, Tajaden, (which insists South Yemen is an occupied country) provides this context to the communique: “The case of the Southern retired officers has been escalated to a top level after a failure of a meeting, which was to be held yesterday 09th June between the Yemeni occupiers’ representative in Aden (Al-Kahlani) and the Coordination Council of the southern Retired Military and Security Officers’ Association…The association held last week a big strike in Aden at the Freedom Square on 4th June 2007 and dispatched a letter to both the representatives of the UN and EU in Yemen.”

To follow is the letter the military officers dispatched from Aden:

Your Excellency the representative of the United Nations- Sana’a
Your Excellency the representative of the European Union- Sana’a


We the officers of the military and the security of what was known as a government of the People’s Republic Democratic of Yemen would like at the beginning to extend our sincere greetings and best wishes to you and to brief you about our cause as we have been exposed to exclusion and discrimination since the war of the summer of 19994.

Most of us have been moved to a compulsory retirement before reaching the retirement’s age that is stipulated in the Yemeni valid laws, the others were enforced to leave their jobs and stay at home without any legal procedures or reasonable justifications, whereas our colleagues from what was known as a Yemen Arab Republic have not received the same treatment, which make it clear to us that Sana’a’s government has only aimed at those from the south.

Despite that the fact that many of us were carrying a high ranking in what was known the army of the South and a number of associations of the retired military and security officers have been established in many governorates, held several peaceful strikes before the mayors’ offices calling the authorities to give us our pension and many newspapers have written about our cause, it is a very regretful that the government has given no attention to all our demands and peaceful protests. This illegal and maltreatment in depriving us of our pension has brought many of us with our families and children to a state of misery, poverty and unbearable suffer.

The government exclusion and maltreatment to us is unacceptable behaviour even in human terms, not to mention that such treatment is a violation of the Yemeni constitution and valid legislations in addition to the UN Security Council’s resolutions on the issue of the South. It is also a clear breach of the international charters, which were signed by Yemen first and foremost of a human rights convention and all articles branched out it, which denies and criminalizes such acts.

We have so any promises and agreements to resolve our problem and give us our rights, but nothing has ever true. So we are determined by all peaceful means to keep our case life until we get all our constitutional and legal rights.

Your Excellency UN/EU representative we believe that you are the one who might support us and maintain the international law and conventions, so we appeal to you in your capacity and power to pressurize the Yemeni authorities and to convince it into giving us our legal rights rather than discriminating us.

At the end, we hope you understand our cause and consider our inhuman case, which is a result of the government’s illegal and oppressive practice.

Please accept my sincere thanks and sincere appreciation.

Sincerely yours
Brigadier / Nasser Al-Nnuba
Head of the Retired Military and civilian Association- Aden-
Head of the Coordination Council of Retired Military and Civilians Associations in the southern governorates
4th June 2007

Tensions Flare in Southern Yemen

Filed under: Janes Articles, South Yemen, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:43 am on Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Tensions flare in southern Yemen
By: Jane Novak / The Arab American News (971 words)
Demonstrations and armed conflict in southern Yemen are heightening fears of growing instability in the impoverished nation, already battling an insurgency in the North.
Yemen has experienced marked instability since September’s 2006 presidential election.
In the northern Sa’ada province, about 60,000 soldiers have been embroiled in a guerrilla war with about 2000 Zaidi Shi’a rebels since January. Tens of thousands of civilians have fled the fighting and military bombing, and many are without shelter, food, water, and medical care.
On May 22, Yemen marked the 17th anniversary of the 1990 unification of the Arab Republic (YAR, North Yemen) and the People’s Democratic Republic (PDRY, South Yemen). In the south of Yemen, the day was greeted by public demonstrations demanding negotiations between north and south under the auspices of the U.N. Protesters marched in Lahj, Aden and Abyan raising black flags. A large rally held in Mukalla drew participants from neighboring cities.
Security forces detained the leader of a protest in Shabwa and opened fire over the heads of the marchers in Dhalie.
Protests have been ongoing as thousands of demonstrators in al-Dhalie returned to the streets on June 3 and, “denounced the repeated violations and abuse practiced against citizens in the province,” the opposition weekly “al-Sahwa” reported. On June 4th, forcibly retired southern soldiers held a demonstration in Aden.
Armed conflict broke out in al-Mahfed as hundreds of forcibly retired soldiers blockaded a main highway between Shabwa and Abyan governorates. Yemeni security forces have been unable to regain control of the area, and fighting, although sporadic, has been ongoing. The prospect of continuing unrest and growing violence looms as the underlying grievances of southerners, dating back to the civil war, have been unaddressed for years.
The 1990 unification of Yemen brought together 2 million southerners with 12 million northerners in a democratically structured power sharing arrangement. However, since Yemen’s 1994 civil war, the country is ruled by a cabal of northern military and tribal elite that deploys the terminology of “democracy” while excluding authentic popular political participation.
With corruption rampant and overt, the government has been dubbed “a kleptocracy.” As northern hegemony took hold, the south was ravaged. Assets, land, jobs and natural resources were illegally appropriated and state resources withheld.
After the 1994 civil war, several hundred thousand southern and eastern military and civil employees were illegally discharged from their positions. Their pensions are at less than a sustenance level. Poverty in all of Yemen is pervasive; however some southerners believe that poverty in the south is by design. The pensioners, sometimes called the “stay at home party,”
have through the years sought to address their grievances through demonstrations, sit-ins and judicial remedies, to no avail.
Rather uniformly, regime officials and the state controlled media have denounced those addressing the inequitable outcome of unity as “separatists” seeking to undermine the state. In May the defense minister accused protesting pensioners of seeking secession. Another common official response to southern grievances is to wield the term “apostates” as the former PDRY was a socialist state. Excluding the pensioners and southerners from the political system and denying them political redress for legitimate grievances has only served to heighten tensions.
Beyond the pensioners’ specific concerns, southern residents have denounced other regime practices, only to be rebuffed by authorities. Among the foremost of these is the consistent, widespread and blatant land theft by northern elites, targeting both public and private properties. Homes, parks, and even a cemetery have been overtaken by armed gangs supported by “influential persons.” Another irritant is the substantial intrusive military presence and network of checkpoints in the south. Areas of perceived systematic discrimination include withholding employment and educational opportunities, exclusion from effective political participation and a lack of basic services. The history of the PDRY has been erased, some oppositionists claim. The exiled southern opposition group, Tajaden, claims U.N. Security Council resolutions 931 and 924 issued during the civil war have been violated, and thus, south Yemen is under illegal occupation by the north.
Unlike the northern Zaidi rebels, the southern protesters are expressing grievances quite familiar beyond the south. In recent months, unexplained prices hikes have hit basic commodities. With half of Yemenis living in poverty, higher prices translate into persistent daily hunger for a substantial number of citizens. President Saleh’s electoral campaign promises of economic reform and political inclusion have not materialized as any such reform would undermine the ruling elite. Popular concern throughout Yemen is focused on wide scale poverty, unemployment and illiteracy, the growing influence of fundamentalists, and the lack of clean water, electricity and health care.
The Yemeni government manipulates the terminology, processes and institutions of democracy in order to prolong and legitimize an authoritarian rule. Democratic institutions and practices provide a method of preventing pluralism by managing opposition, criticism and discontent. However, once any group gains sufficient traction to demand actual power sharing, the democratic practices fall to the wayside.
In response to burgeoning national frustration, a war in the north and protests in the south, the Yemeni government further restricted civil rights. In recent months the regime has narrowed the limits of free speech; opposition websites are blocked, mobile text news services have been suspended, journalists beaten and arrested, and new newspaper licenses denied. Opposition political activity and activists have been stifled by assaults and threats. One political party was disbanded and others may meet a similar fate.
The protests in south Yemen and the regime’s dismissive and violent response indicate that the text and intention of Yemen’s unity agreement between north and south Yemen have been breached to the detriment of southerners and the benefit of a corrupt oligarchy. However, in failing to consider, include or support the general population during governmental policy making, the state has also breeched the more fundamental premise of “democracy” that underpins the overall legitimacy of the state.
The writer is a political analyst and expert on Yemeni affairs. She maintains the website and can be reached at

Political Tribalism in al-Ja’ashen, Yemen

Filed under: GPC, Janes Articles, Presidency, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:47 am on Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The winds of change may be sweeping across Yemen. President Ali Abdullah Saleh recently appointed Dr. Ali Mohammed Mujawar as Prime Minister. Formerly the Minister of Electricity, Mujawar comes to the post with a strong reputation as an academic and a technocrat. This change in leadership was followed by a cabinet shuffle in April that brought eleven new ministers on board. The enthusiasm of the new government is palpable. However, the Cabinet’s ability to act decisively is limited by countervailing authority seated outside governmental institutions. (Read on …)

Training Day, Arabic

Filed under: Janes Articles, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:35 am on Monday, April 9, 2007

Update: Im so confused. There could be two different articles at the same time. I can only tell by the position of the numbers in the articles. Lets check:

Mareb Press: this is the Weekly Standard DS article, I know becasue they linked it. Nice.

This at Al-Eshteraki appears to be the same one. Also with a summary, maybe the statistics are new in Yemen.

News Yemen, also seems to be the same one. OK never mind. But I’m starting to get the idea I crossed one of those red lines again. Woops.

Update: Front Page Mag ran it from the Weekly Standard. Sweet.

يوم تدريب
كيف يساعد اليمن ويحرض المتمردين العراقيين ؟
جين نوفاك
كاتبة ومحللة سياسية أمريكية
خبيرة في شؤون اليمن
5 أبريل 2007
ترجمة : حميد يحيى القطابري

يعمل اليمن بشكل كبير كداعم للإرهاب الدولي تحت مظلة الشراكة مع الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية في الحرب على الإرهاب ؛ حيث ركز كل من المسؤولين اليمنيين والأمريكيين على هذه الشراكة علنيا.
سفارة الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية في صنعاء وصفت هروب عناصر القاعدة الثلاثة والعشرين في فبراير من العام 2006 من سجن الأمن السياسي مُبررًا بطريقة ما ، معتبرةً الفساد المستشري في اليمن وضعف المؤسسات وعدم أهلية الحكومة. ( الهاربون يتضمنون عددا من مفجري المدمرة الأمريكية كول وأمريكيا مرتبطا بخلية اللاك أوانا الإرهابية في نيويورك)
كما وصف المساعد الرئاسي الأمريكي فرانسيس تاونسند النظام اليمني بأنه شريك غير منسجم في الحرب على الإرهاب . ومن جهتها اليمن لا زالت مستمرة إلى حد بعيد في التعاون وتقديم التسهيلات للقاعدة وللمجموعات الجهادية ، وكنتيجة لذلك لعبت دورا هاما في عدم استقرار العراق .
الجهاديون اليمنيون موجودون في الصومال والشيشان وأفغانستان ولبنان ، كما يشكلون واحدًا من أكبر تجمعات المقاتلين الأجانب في العراق ، ووفقا لصحيفة التجمع الأسبوعية اليمنيه فقد ذهب حوالي 1289 يمنيا إلى العراق حتى قبل منتصف العام 2006 قُتل منهم 153. وكما تشير تقارير أخرى أن عددهم وصل إلى 1800 معظمهم من المراهقين الذين ذهبوا العراق خلال العام 2006 معطين بذلك مؤشرا لزيادة تدفق الجهاديين اليمنيين إلى العراق . وكما أفاد مصدر رسمي أمريكي أن اليمنيين والشمال أفريقيين هم الذين يقومون بمعظم التفجيرات الانتحارية في العراق.
اليمنيان خلدون الحكيمي وصالح مانع هربا من سجن بعدن في العام 2003 بعد أن ثبتت علاقتهما بتفجير المدمرة الأمريكية يو. إس. إس. كول ، وبعدها ثبت أنهما قاما بهجوم انتحاري في بغداد في شهر يوليو من العام 2005 . كما اعتُقِد بتورط يمني آخر في قتل دبلوماسيين روسيين في العراق وتم اعتقاله في عدن بمساعدة الاستخبارات الروسية. كذلك قام أعضاء في الجيش اليمني بتسهيل عمليات التدريب والتأهيل لعديد من الإرهابيين الذين وجدوا طريقهم فيما بعد إلى العراق.

التواطؤ بين الجيش اليمني والسلفيين الجهاديين في اليمن موثق جيدا، فالرئيس صالح استخدم الجهاديين من العرب الأفغان كقوة مساندة للجيش في الحرب الأهلية عام 1994 ضد القوى الاشتراكية في اليمن الجنوبي – سابقا، وهو اليوم يقوم بتجنيد السلفيين الجهاديين الذين يضمون في أوساطهم أعضاء من جيش عدن- أبين الإسلامي ضد مجموعة من المتمردين الشيعة في محافظة صعدة شمال اليمن. وفي فبراير من العام 2007 قامت وزارة الدفاع اليمنية بتعميم فتوى دينية تجعل من قتل المتمردين ومؤيديهم واجبا إسلاميا.

إنه شارع ولكن بطريقين ، فالإرهابيون اليمنيون يقاتلون بدلا عن الجيش والجيش يقوم بتدريبهم . وقد ذكرت بعض من أسر الانتحاريين في تقارير لصحيفة التجمع الأسبوعي اليمنية أن أبناءهم وأخوانهم دُرِّبوا بمعرفة مسؤولي الأمن ودعم لوجستي من أشخاص ذوي مراتب عالية في الجيش اليمني. مصادر أخرى ذكرت أن عددا من المنازل الآمنة أُعِدَّت في العاصمة صنعاء لتسكين الجهاديين الجدد حتى يتم استكمال الإجراءات اللازمة لسفرهم إلى العراق ، وعادةً ما تتضمن تلك الإجراءات تزوير وثائق سفر وتأمين السفر عن طريق الجو إلى سوريا.

وفي مايو 2005 صرّح مسؤول حكومي يمني بأن عناصر من الاستخبارات اليمنية قد أسّست معسكرات تدريب للبعثيين العراقيين اللاجئين في اليمن والراغبين في قتال قوات الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية في العراق. وقد ذكرت عدد من المصادر أن اليمن استخدمت غاز الكلور المحظور دوليا ضد المتمردين الشيعة في صعده عام 2005 ، ويأتي ذلك قبل تبني المقاتلين الأجانب في العراق لنفس التكتيك بسنة كاملة.
وفي يوليو 2006 أثناء الحملة الإعلامية لوقف تدفق المقاتلين إلى العراق قام النظام اليمني بإصدار قانون يمنع الرجال تحت سن الخامسة والثلاثين من السفر جوا إلى سوريا والأردن بدون تصريح ، ولكن بعد تطبيق هذا القانون نشر موقع نيوز يمن الإخباري أن اليمني عبد الباسط على أحمد با شعيبه سافر إلى الموصل وقام بتفجير نفسه في هجوم انتحاري بسيارة، كما أشار الموقع إلى أنه يذكر أن اليمنيين في المقاومة العراقية مدعومون من قوى ذوي نفوذ في اليمن، وتلك القوى تعمل على تجهيز هؤلاء الشباب من خلال تدريبهم على العمليات القتالية واستخدام المتفجرات وقيادة السيارات.
المحاكم اليمنية لها باع طويل أيضا في التعاون مع الجهاديين ؛ حيث أن محكمة يمنية في شهر يوليو الماضي لم تُجَرِّم القتال مع القوى الإرهابية في العراق و حكمت بالبراءة لتسعة عشر متهما بالارتباط بخلية الزرقاوي المرتبطة بالقاعدة ستة منهم متهمون بتزوير وثائق رسمية، هذا بالرغم من اعتراف محاميي الدفاع بأن المتهمين قاتلوا مع المقاومة العراقية وبالرغم من ذلك فإن المحكمة اعتبرت أن الانضمام إلى التمرد في العراق لا يتعارض مع القانون اليمني الذي يسمح بالقتال ضد المحتلين كما في الشريعة الإسلامية- حسب تعبير المحكمة. وذكرت صحيفة محلية أنه تم اعتقال مسؤول من جمعية الحكمة اليمانية الخيرية لضلوعه في تسهيل سفر الجهاديين إلى العراق ، لكنه تم إطلاق صراحه بعد تدخل قادة أمنيين كبار.
مفهوم الجهاديين يظهر في أماكن عدة وطرق مختلفة، وعلى المستوى الأوسع لدى القيادات العامة -ومن ضمنها الرئيس صالح – التي تقوم بتشجيع الثقافة التي تجيز الأنشطة الإرهابية خارج اليمن، إذ يقوم صالح بتشجيع ومدح المقاومة ضد الاحتلال علنيا. وفي سياق الحرب الراهنة في صعدة تقوم السلطة اليمنية بإعطاء التعليمات للخطباء السلفيين لزيادة خطابهم الطائفي ضد الشيعة. أفلام القتل المرعبة تباع في الأسواق حاملة بعض العناوين كـ ” ذبح الجنود الأمريكان في العراق”، و” انتصارات القاعدة في الفلوجة” ، و” قتل الخونة في أفغانستان” ، وغيرها.
داعمو الإرهاب لهم الحرية الكاملة للتحدث مع الشباب اليمني حيث تحدث الشيخ المنفي حارث الضاري رئيس جمعية علماء المسلمين السنة في العراق عن فضائل ومآثر المقاومة العراقية في جامعة صنعاء وذلك أثناء ندوة أقامتها اللجنة اليمنية العامة لدعم المقاومة في فلسطين ولبنان والعراق وبرعاية وتمويل يحيى محمد عبد الله صالح ابن أخي الرئيس اليمني صالح ورئيس اللجنة ورئيس قوى الأمن المركزي اليمني ورئيس وحدات مكافحة الإرهاب الذي أثنى على المقاومة العراقية وقدرتها على تسديد الضربات ضد قوات الاحتلال.

وما هو أبعد من الدعم المادي والنفسي هو إيواء اليمن لعدد من الإرهابيين المطلوبين للعدالة ؛ حيث قوات التمرد العراقي لديها قاعدة عملياتية في اليمن ، ويقدر عدد العراقيين الموجودين في اليمن منذ عام 2003 بـ 26000 عراقي ، ومنهم عزت الدوري نائب الرئيس العراقي السابق . وفي يناير ، قال الرئيس العراقي جلال طالباني إن الاستخبارات العسكرية العراقية قد بدأت بمتابعة الدوري في اليمن. وفي نوفمبر 2005 طالب مسؤولون عراقيون اليمن من خلال الانتربول الدولي بتسليم عمر سبعاوي إبراهيم حسن التكريتي ابن أخت صدام حسين وذلك بعد اتهامه بإدارة وتمويل منظمات إرهابية تعمل في شمال العراق لكن النظام اليمني لم يحدد مكان التكريتي. وفي فبراير 2007 طلبت الحكومة العراقية من اليمن تسليم المتبقين من النظام البعثي في اليمن مهددة النظام اليمني بالمطالبة بالديون التي عليه للعراق أثناء حكم صدام في حالة رفضه تسليمهم.
لقد كان واضحا للعيان مدى تبعية النظام في اليمن للعقلية الجهادية وذلك في أكتوبر 2000 ؛ إذ تم تفجير المدمرة الأمريكية يو. إس. إس. كول في ميناء عدن وذلك بمساعدة مسؤولين يمنيين على مستوى عالٍ ، وقد منعت الحكومة اليمنية ممثلي الإف بي آي من التحقيق في ذلك ، ولكن النظام اليمني بعد أحداث الحادي عشر من سبتمبر وقَّع على مضض اتفاقية مكافحة الإرهاب مع الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية ، غير أن عددا من العناصر المعتقد تورطها في تفجير المدمرة كول تم إطلاق صراحهم أو حكم عليهم بأحكام مخففة أو استطاعوا الهروب مرات متعددة. وبينما اليمن على حافة الانهيار ومع ضغوط الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية على اليمن من أجل عملية الإصلاح الإداري القليل جداً وربما المتأخر جداً يتم تعيين ما يشبه عصابة المافيا من أصحاب المطامع الشخصية.

النظام اليمني بارع في إنتاج إشاعات وأكاذيب صممت للاستهلاك الغربي ، فالرئيس صالح يُفهَم غالبا من خلال محاولته إدخال مليشية متطرفة إلى النظام السياسي لكي يخفف من حدة ميولهم الراديكالية، ولكن علاقة النظام الودية والمستمرة مع تنظيم القاعدة واضحة ؛ إذ أن تدفق الجهاديين اليمنيين إلى العراق يعطينا استفهاما عن مدى توغل المتطرفين في الإدارة اليمنية ، وهذا يعني سيطرتهم على أدوات الدولة اليمنية . بينما المؤسسات السياسية الرسمية في اليمن تنحدر بسرعة يبدو أن اليمن ربما قد أصبح دولة تحت سيطرة القاعدة.

Yemen Aiding Iraqi Terrorists

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Iraq, Janes Articles, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:12 am on Thursday, April 5, 2007

Training Day
How Yemen aids and abets Iraqi insurgents.

by Jane Novak
04/05/2007 12:00:00 AM

YEMEN OPERATES LARGELY under the radar as a supporter of the global jihad. Both Yemeni and U.S. officials publicly tout Yemen’s partnership with the United States in the war on terror. The U.S. embassy in Sana’a described the February 2006 escape of 23 al Qaeda operatives from a maximum security jail as “understandable in a way,” considering Yemen’s rampant corruption, weak institutions, and bureaucratic incompetence. (The escapees included several Cole bombers and an American associated with the Lackawanna, New York terror cell.) Presidential assistant Frances Townsend has described the Yemeni regime as an “inconsistent” partner in the war on terror, but Yemen has been quite consistent in its appeasement and facilitation of al Qaeda and related jihadi groups, and, as a result, has played a significant role in the destabilization of Iraq. (Read on …)

Another Cabinet Reshuffle in Yemen?

Filed under: GPC, Janes Articles, Presidency, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:01 am on Saturday, March 31, 2007

SANAA (Reuters) – Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Saturday asked the country’s electricity minister to form a new government, as international pressure builds on Yemen to introduce reforms, a government official said.

Saleh who issued a presidential decree asking Ali Mohammed Megawar to form a new cabinet, was re-elected in September.

“We expect new faces in the new cabinet,” an official told Reuters. “I do not think it would be announced before one week.”

It was not clear if the oil minister will remain in his post.

Analysts in Yemen said Saleh took this step to show the donors such as the World Bank that he was serious about political and economic reforms.

Yemen is a country facing substantial problems. It is one of the most undeveloped, poverty stricken countries globally. Basic services are scarce, and corruption is rampant. Half of Yemen’s 20 million citizens are under 15. High fertility rates and early marriage mean the population will double within decades. Oil, a mainstay of the economy, is rapidly depleting. Both illiteracy and unemployment are high. International donors and many within the Yemeni administration recognize the urgency of the issues facing the nation. However some governmental strategies are undermined from within the regime itself. Both water management and corruption mitigation efforts have been limited by the failure of ministries to coordinate among themselves.

Yemen is among the most water scarce nations globally. In rural areas where most Yemenis live, only 37% have access to clean water, and women often spend several hours daily procuring water. Potable water is available in 58% of urban areas, but supplies are erratic. Public water is piped into Taiz and some other urban centers once every forty days. Citizens pay for water from private wells, a burden considering the average annual income in Yemen is about only $500,

Water scarcity takes an enormous human toll. One in ten Yemeni children dies before their fifth birthday. Water borne diseases (diarrhea, typhoid and malaria) are the cause of half of those deaths. A 2005 Parliamentary report stated 75 percent of all Yemenis face health risks from dirty water. Water is also a flashpoint for violence. Taiz residents held street protests demanding water which resulted in clashes with security forces in 2006. A 2006 study by the Civic Democratic Initiatives Support Foundation found water related issues are a contributing factor in 80% of tribal disputes that result in violence.

As tragic as these figures are, the harsh reality is that water availability is diminishing at an exponential rate. Underground water levels are dropping by several meters each year. Contamination of ground water and haphazard well digging exacerbate the crisis. Water usage significantly exceeds replenishment of aquifers. Yemen may run out of water within decades. Urgent action is needed, and Yemen has devised an excellent water strategy. At a cost of $300 million dollars per year, donors include The World Bank, Germany and the Netherlands. However, the legislation has not been implemented since it was devised in 2005. Donors may withdraw financial support unless tangible results are forth coming.

One problem is the lack of coordination among governmental authorities. The seven percent of water used by households is controlled by the Water Ministry. 93% of all water is used for agriculture and its usage falls within the domain of the Ministry of Agriculture. In an interview with the Yemen Times, Yemen’s Minister of Water, Abdulrahman Alaryani, noted that the Ministry of Agriculture’s Investment Program for Public Management of Irrigation runs counter to the National Water Strategy, “They are still focusing on agricultural expansion and demand in land dependant on underground water and on building small dams whose economic potential is limited. Their concern with the rational usage of scarce water resources is rudimentary at best.” There are 80,000 artesian wells in Yemen, and the inability to effectively police the random digging of wells in Yemen was another issue Alaryani addressed.

Another urgent issue facing Yemen is rampant corruption. The Yemeni government has taken some important steps to combat corruption like signing on to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative as well as issuing a new law controlling government tenders. A cabinet reshuffle in 2006 was a good step in establishing discipline within some ministries. However, the Civil Service Ministry, like the Water Ministry, is unable to fully implement a progressive plan without intergovernmental cooperation.

The Civil Service Ministry identified thirty thousand civil servants who receive more than one government salary. It devised a matrix of structural and organizational reforms to eliminate these “double dippers” as well as “ghost workers”. Once payroll lists have been cleaned up, the Ministry will authorize overdue pay raises. Doctors are threatening to strike if the raises are not forthcoming immediately. The Health Ministry has said the reforms are complete. However, an audit found that the doctors’ payroll list still contains the names of dead people, retired people, and some who are out of the country. Doctors’ frustration is growing as the raises are well past due; however the obstacle to the raises is the Health Ministry’s lack of compliance with the reform measures.

Irrational and contradictory policies arising from weak institutions and fragmented authority limit the effectiveness of administrative reform in Yemen. Programs that have been instituted to work in the long term interests of the Yemeni public will necessarily undermine centers of profiteering that are often associated with public power derived from the ruling party, tribal authority, security forces, and the military. A counter-weight in favor of reform has been achieved through the collaborative effort of those reformers within the administration, civil society, parliament, political parties, the media, public, local bodies and donor community. These progressives have already harnessed sufficient momentum to enact some authentic reform initiatives. However overcoming resistance to reform in Yemen remains a daily and urgent challenge.

Yemen, from Nepotism to Internal Jihad

Filed under: Janes Articles, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:37 am on Saturday, March 17, 2007

The upper levels of the Yemeni military, judiciary and intelligence services are inculcated with hard core Salafism, and many aspects of Yemeni state institutions support jihaddist campaigns all over the world, including Iraq. It is in this context that the Yemeni Ministry of Defense recently published a fatwa on its website authorizing and obligating the use of deadly force against the Believing Youth, a small band of Shiite Zaidi rebels that has been battling the government on and off since 2004. Essentially Yemen’s military leadership declared a jihad on the group.

Yemeni President Saleh’s nephews, relatives and tribesmen make up the leadership of Yemen’s military and security forces. Presidential relative General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar is leading the assault on the Shiite rebels. Al-Ahmar is the powerful commander of Yemen’s North West military region and a reputed Salafi who recruited fighters for Osama bin Laden in the 1980’s.

In the current round of fighting, the Yemeni military has augmented its ranks with child soldiers, tribesmen and Jihaddists. Several induction centers have been opened and local media report children as young as 15 have been given weapons and sent to the front with no training. Tribesmen from President Saleh’s tribe, the Hashid Confederation have also volunteered and been inducted for service in the thousands. As the Believing Youth are from the Bakil Tribal Confederation, military deployment of tribal irregulars has increased the threat of all out tribal warfare.

Yemeni Jihaddists, unlike Yemen’s child soldiers, are extremely well trained. Many are veterans of prior conflicts in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Bosnia and other Jihaddist campaigns. Some currently receive terrorist training in Yemen, reportedly with the aid of some high level military commanders. Saleh’s use of Salafist proxies dates back at least to Yemen’s 1994 civil war when Jihaddists targeted Southern Socialist forces that had been labeled as apostates.

In 2007, a variety of Salafi Jihaddists joined Yemen’s military efforts against the rebels even before the Defense Ministry published the fatwa. These included members of the Abyan Aden Islamic Army and its leader Khalidabdul Nabi according to local reports. (In 2003, the Yemeni government reported to the U.S. that Nabi was dead when he was in fact released from custody.)

In February, Yahya al-Houthi, exiled Member of Parliament for the Sa’ada region and brother of rebel leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi, reported that “foreign gangs that escaped Egypt, Jordan, Syria, (and) Somalia” were also fighting against the Believing Youth. Clearly President Saleh and General al-Ahmar have sacrificed significant command and control capacity by unleashing roving bands of Salafi Jihaddists in the region populated by Shiite civilians. The potential for indiscriminate targeting of civilians remains high.

Some of Saddam’s former henchmen are also alongside the Yemeni military in Sa’ada. Numerous Iraq generals were recruited into the Yemeni military in 2003 from among the nearly thirty thousand Iraqi’s who fled to Yemen including high level Baathists. The Iraqi insurgency is thought to maintain a significant base in Yemen, and Yemenis comprise one of the largest contingents of foreign fighters in Iraq. Yemeni law does not criminalize violent acts committed beyond its borders as long as they occur in a country deemed “Muslim” and “occupied” and can be classified as Jihad.

In Yemen’s fractured authoritarianism, some power centers are co-opted by Salafists and others are not, leading to an often irrational, contradictory governmental policy. For example, the regime granted amnesty to the Believing Youth in 2005 and then itself violated the terms, a governmental committee found. Security forces systematically continued to arrest and imprison them after the amnesty, the rebels reported. Military members occupied rebel homes. Soldiers’ physically and sometimes intimately inspected Zaidi women in markets. The rebels turned to the Governor of Sa’ada for help, and when none was forthcoming, they sought refuge in the mountains. (The Yemeni government subsequently disbanded the committee, accusing it of bias.)

As military causalities rise to the dismay of Yemenis, public sympathy is also focused on the civilians in Sa’ada. The military has targeted the rebels with notoriously imprecise weaponry, including Katuysha missiles, destroying civilian homes and property. Currently the Yemeni regime, as it did in 2005, is blocking shipments of food, oil and medicine to the region. It has cut all telecommunications. Over 10,000 citizens are estimated to be internal refugees and without shelter. Wounded civilians have little medical care as the hospitals are overwhelmed with military casualties. Food is in critically short supply. The siege of Sa’ada, while intended to weaken the rebel logistics, can also be seen as a policy of collective punishment.

Since fighting began in 2004, the totality of Zaidism has been under attack. The Yemeni regime has prohibited some mainstream Zaidi religious literature, replaced Zaidi preachers with Salafis at gunpoint, banned some Zaidi religious festivals, and those in civil society charged with supporting the rebellion receive harsh sentencing as contrasted with al-Qaeda elements which routinely receive short sentences, amnesty or manage to escape multiple times.

Zaidi and other schools have been closed as “extremist” but Wahabbi ones are flourishing. Jihaddists making their way to Iraq seem to have little difficulty hopping a Yemenia flight to Damascus; however several journalists and opposition politicians have been prohibited at the airport from leaving the country. With the recent outbreak of clashes in Sa’ada, the regime cracked down on journalists reporting the Sa’ada events. The military’s website accused prominent editor Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani, among others, of supporting the rebellion, which in the context of the fatwa legitimizes his murder. Some Salafi mosque preachers recently increased their rhetoric against Zaidis in general, reportedly on orders from the regime.

The repetitive wars in Sa’ada and the broader actions of the state targeting Zaidism can be seen as part of a systematic effort to eliminate the only effective barrier to the full domination of Salafism in Yemen, in both the religious and political arenas. However sectarian tensions have been imposed on Yemenis rather than rising spontaneously from Yemeni society. While Salafism is gaining in popularity and is entrenched in the overt and covert power centers in Yemen, Shafi Sunnis comprise about 60% of Yemenis. Zaidi Shia (who make up 30% of Yemenis) and Shafi Sunnis are both moderate denominations which historically have had excellent relations. However the growing influence of dedicated Salafists in the military, judiciary and the intelligence services has had a chilling effect on the previously open sense of religious pluralism in Yemen.

All states have the right to a monopoly on the use of force and President Saleh, declaring no prospect of further negotiations, has vowed to crush the rebel group. What remains to be seen is if Sa’ada’s Zaidi population and Zaidism in Yemen will be crushed as well.

Yemen Times Wins Free Media Award

Filed under: Yemen, mentions — by Jane Novak at 9:40 pm on Monday, February 12, 2007



Yemen’s most widely-read English-language newspaper is to be honoured with a press freedom prize at the International Press Institute’s (IPI) congress in Edinburgh, Scotland on 30 May 2006. The “Yemen Times” has been named the winner of the 2006 Free Media Pioneer Award.

Founded in 1990 by Professor Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf, a prominent economist and human rights activist who died in 1999, the “Yemen Times” has provided accurate and timely news and information on Yemen and the region, and actively participates in efforts to support press freedom, human rights and democracy, says IPI.

The independent paper operates in a country whose government is known for its harsh restrictions on the media. Self-censorship is common and violent attacks against journalists are on the rise, IPI notes.

Created in 1996, the Free Media Pioneer Award honours individuals or organisations that fight against great odds to ensure freer and more independent media in their country or region. The award is co-sponsored by Freedom Forum.

Visit these links:
- IPI:
- Yemen Times:
- IFEX Alerts on Yemen:
- Freedom House Backgrounder on Yemen:
- Censorship in Yemen:

Yemen 31

Filed under: Janes Articles, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:26 am on Thursday, November 2, 2006

What a long strange trip its been. Its about two years since I wrote the first of six articles about Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani’s case, Yemen 5 – 10. I am assuming this is my new article, number 31, because it has my email. Also of course at al-Khaiwani’s Al-Shoura and in English. Also at Al-Sahwa newspaper, as well as the website which also ran an analysis. How nice. Okay also at Mareb Press which also wrote something about it in the beginning of the paper. And Al-Thawry, the YSP’s paper.

ترجمة : سامي نعمان، الشورى نت:

تحصل اليمن على الكثير من المساعدات من الدول الغربية، وبشكل خاص الولايات المتحدة، وذلك مقابل تعاونها في الجهود العالمية في الحرب على الإرهاب.
وعلى نفس المنوال فإن جهود اليمن في (الدّمَقْرَطَة)، خصوصاً الاندفاع المتقدم في الذي شهدته في انتخابات سبتمبر/أيلول الرئاسية، ستفضي إلى زيادة مساعدات المانحين التي تعتبر اليمن في أشد الحاجة إليها.
ولكن، إثر الانتخابات، دشن النظام اليمني حملات تشويه السمعة، واعتقالات ومضايقات لزعماء المعارضة والناشطين والناخبين على السواء. في إحدى القضايا الغريبة، زعم النظام أن أحد ناشطي حقوق الإنسان مرتبط بالقاعدة، وهو أمر يثير الشكوك حول مدى إخلاص النظام في كلا الأمرين: تطوير الديمقراطية، والحرب على الإرهاب.

الإنتخابات: إحصاء بعض الأصوات
اعتُبرت الانتخابات اليمنية الأخيرة خطوة متميزة من قبل الكثيرين. الرئيس الأميركي بوش هنأ الرئيس اليمني علي عبد الله صالح بانطلاق عامه التاسع والعشرين في الحكم، ذاكراً أن التصويت بحد ذاته مثل نصراً لليمن «لأنها كانت انتخابات وصفها المراقبون الدوليون بالحرة والنزيهة وأنها ستكون نموذجا للمنطقة”.
في الحقيقة، طبقاً للتقرير الأولي لبعثة الاتحاد الأوروبي للرقابة على الانتخابات، فإن الانتخابات مثلت «تنافسا حراً ونزيهاً (… ) وتطوراً إيجابيا في عملية دَمَقْرَطَة اليمن.»
كانت الميزة الفريدة على المستوى الاقليمي في الانتخابات الرئاسية هي أنها تضمنت مرشحا حقيقيا للمعارضة، هو فيصل بن شملان الذي حصد ربع أصوات الناخبين تقريباً.
في حدث آخر مثل خروجاً عن المألوف، غطى التلفزيون اليمني الذي تسيطر عليه الحكومة كل مهرجانات المرشحين. وطيلة ثلاثين نهاراً هي فترة الإنتخابات، كان هناك جدلاً شعبياً حيوياً حول كثير من القضايا.. وكان هناك نقدا مفتوحاً لبعض السياسات الحكومية.
أظهر الناخبون نضجاً سياسياً غير متوقعاً بالنسبة للبعض خصوصاً أن هذه الانتخابات هي الرئاسية المباشرة الثانية في تاريخ اليمن، وكان يوم التصويت سلمي نسبياً وخال من العنف. ورغم هذه «التطورات الإيجابية،» فإن بعض مظاهر الإنتخابات لم تكن حرة ولا نزيهة.
زار مراقبو الإتحاد الأوربي حوالي 20 % من مراكز الاقتراع وقيموا إجراءات التصويت بأنها جيدة أو جيدة جداً في 82% من تلك المراكز. ومع ذلك، فقد ذكر المراقبون أيضاً أنواعاً من الاختلالات التي لا تحدث في أي ديمقراطية متطورة.
تورط المؤتمر الشعبي العام، حزب الرئيس صالح، وهو الحزب الحاكم المسيطر على السلطة، في حملة غير شرعية في قرابة ثلث مراكز الإنتخاب التي شملتها الرقابة. لاحظت بعثة الاتحاد الأوروبي أيضاً انتهاكا لسرية التصويت في 19 % من مراكز الاقتراع، من بين عديد إنتهاكات أخرى.
اعترف الرئيس صالح ببعض الأخطاء المرتكبة. قدر موقع «المؤتمر نت» مجموع الأصوات التي حصل عليها مرشح المعارضة بن شملان بأنها ليست اكثر من عشرة بالمائة من أصوات الناخبين.
زُكّي بن شملان من قبل حزب التجمع اليمني للإصلاح (الإسلامي)، والتنظيم الوحودي الناصري، وإتحاد القوى الشعبية، وحزب الحق، بالاضافة إلى الحزب الاشتراكي اليمني الذي حكم جنوب اليمن سابقاً. ومع ذلك فقد قاطع بعض الجنوبيين الإنتخابات، احتجاجا على ما يصفونه بالهيمنة الشمالية العدوانية التي يعود تاريخها إلى حرب عام 1994 الأهلية، وكذلك العديد من الممارسات المستمرة كمصادرة الأراضي، والتمييز، وعسكرة الجنوب اليمني السابق.
عام 2004 في مقابلة مع صحيفة «يمن تايمز» صرح الدكتور محمد مسدوس، عضو الأمانة العامة للحزب الاشتراكي اليمني، أنه في العقد الذي تلا الحرب الأهلية، واجه الجنوبيون تمييزا وظيفيا، ومضايقات، وتسريحا كبيرا من الأعمال، وتم إستثناؤهم من منظمات المجتمع المدني والمشاركة في السلطة السياسية.
مسدوس تحدث عن «محو» التاريخ والهوية الجنوبية, والإحتكار الشمالي للثروة والقوة، والخوف الناتج والفاقة والإذلال للجنوبيين.
واجه المواطنون الذين شاركوا في العملية الإنتخابية صعوبات في مرحلة ما بعد الانتخابات والتي لوحظت من قبل المراقبين الدوليين.
عملية تسجيل الناخبين للإنتخابات الرئاسية 2006 كان معيبا على نحو خطير.
تشير الإحصائيات إلى مئات الآلاف من الناخبين من الذكور الذين يزيد عددهم عن عدد من بلغوا سن التصويت في اليمن. وذكر المركز الدولي لتبادل حرية التعبير أنه تم حجب بعض الأخبار ومواقع الإنترنت السياسية.
يشترط القانون أن يكون عدد المسجلين في الدوائر الانتخابية ضمن انحراف يقدر بخمسة بالمائة؛ إلا أن الحجم يتراوح بين 25,000 إلى 50,000، في كثير منها.
تعرض ناشطو المعارضة للمضايقات وتم اختطاف سبعة وأربعون شخصا منهم من قبل قوات الأمن؛ فيما لا يزال العديد منهم مسجونون دون تهمة.
اتهمت قيادة المعارضة الحكومة بمصادرة المراكز الإنتخابية، وشراء الأصوات، وطرد ممثلي مرشحي المعارضة، وتكسير وسرقة صناديق الإقتراع.
حميد الأحمر, الشيخ الشاب التقدمي الذي كان من ابرز المؤيدين لبن شملان، قال بأن أجهزة الأمن والجيش، والمخابرات، وأجهزة الإعلام والمسؤولين الحكوميين تحولوا إلى «غرف عمليات» تعمل لصالح المؤتمر الشعبي العام.
ذكر المعارض المنفي السيد أحمد الحسني في تلفزيون المستقلة -ومقره لندن- ان النظام اليمني تلقى شحنة مزيل الأحبار لتوزيعها على الجيش قبل الإنتخابات كي يسهل عليهم تكرار التصويت.
ومع ذلك، يعتبر المراقبون الدوليون أن حساب الأصوات التقريبي جيد بما فيه الكفاية. بول سالم، من هبة كارينجي للسلام العالمي قال، «الشي غير اللائق أن الإنتخابات الحرة والعادلة بشكل كبير يمكن أن تكون قد شُوّهت بمقدار الشكوك حول النسبة المئوية أو الإتهامات بالتزوير، خصوصاً وقد توافقت جميع الأحزاب عملياً بأن النتيجة الأساسية كانت فوز صالح وحزبه.»
دعمت إمكانيات الدولة والمال العام الرئيس صالح بشكل كبير. فقبيل الإنتخابات، وعد الرئيس الموظفين الحكوميين بتسليمهم راتب شهر إضافي بعد الإنتخاب، في بلاد يعاني سكانها من الفقر المدقع.
وخلافاً لشركات النفط الأخرى العاملة في اليمن، رفضت شركة كنديان نكسن دفع العلاوة، وأسمتها «فسادا» و«رشوة.»
وبالرغم من أن محاولة إخافة الناخبين من نتائج الانتخابات لا يعد إخلالاً إنتخابياً، فقد رفع الرئيس صالح الستار إلى أعلى المستويات ليتنبأ (أو ربما بالوعد) بحرب أهلية إذا انتُخب مرشح المعارضة. دُعم صالح من قبل الجماعة السلفية في اليمن، وأصدر أحد علماء السلفيين فتوى (في مهرجان انتخابي، وهو يقف جنبا إلى جنب مع صالح ونُقل ذلك في التلفزيون اليمني) أعلن أن التصويت ضد الرئيس صالح هو تصويت ضد مبادئ الإسلام. صالح بنفسه كان كثيراً ما يشير إلى المعارضة بأنهم مرتدون. وتوازيا مع ورقة الدين، لعب صالح بورقة الإرهاب أيضاً.

فيلم الإرهاب
يحظى نظام الرئيس صالح بتاريخ في استغلال قضية الإرهاب للكسب السياسي، ولم يكن الموسم الانتخابي ببعيد عن ذلك.
فبعد الحدثين الذين وصفهما المسؤولون اليمنيون بالهجومين الارهابيين (المحبَطَين) على منشآت نفطية، اتهم الرئيس صالح منافسه بن شملان بالتحريض على الهجمات من خلال خطاباته ضد الفساد في قطاع النفط.
عشية الإنتخابات، ذهب الرئيس صالح أبعد من ذلك، إذ ربط بشكل مباشر بين الهجمات وبين منافسه بن شملان.
ومن خلال التلفزيون اليمني، زعم صالح أن أحد حراس بن شملان، حسين الذرحاني، إرهابي ذو صلة بالقاعدة وأنه العقل المدبر للتفجير الإنتحارية الفاشلة. ولوح صالح للمراسلين بصورة للذرحاني واقفاً خلف بن شملان في مهرجانه الانتخابي. وأبرز موقع المؤتمر نت الخبر بعنوان بارز، «صالح: المشترك متورط في الهجمات الارهابية».
غير ان المعارضة أشارت بسرعة أن الذرحاني طرد بعد أسبوع بسبب الشكوك من كونه عنصرا مندسا وتابعاً لمخابرات النظام ولأنه كذلك متزوج من أحد أقرباء الرئيس.
البعض في المعارضة ذهبوا أبعد من ذلك، إذ ألمحوا ان الهجمات الإرهابية (الفاشلة) ربما كانت إخراجاً مسرحياً. فقد اتهم سلطان العتواني الأمين العام للتنظيم الناصري الحزب الحاكم بفبركة هذه العمليات «بهدف اتهام أحزاب المعارضة بالوقوف وراء هذه الأعمال الإرهابية»، من جهته قال عبد الوهاب الآنسي، الأمين العام المساعد لحزب الاصلاح «لا يوجد لدي شهادة مكتملة حول ما ذكره العتواني، لكن الطريقة التي استثمر بها النظام هذه الأعمال تثير الشكوك حول مصداقيتهم ، خصوصاً أن المؤتمر الشعبي العام قد اتهم المعارضة بالوقوف وراء العملية.»
في الحقيقة، نظام الرئيس صالح متميز جداً في ابتكار الوسائل الدعائية، وبعض خطوات تعاونه في مكافحة الإرهاب مع الولايات المتحدة مجرد تعاون شكلي وليس جوهري.
على سبيل المثال، ذكر يحيى الربيعي –والد أبوبكر المدان بتهمة الارهاب- في مقابلة أجرتها صحيفة «يمن أوبزرفر» مؤخراً أن ابنه الذي تلقى حكما بالسجن لعشر سنوات لم يقض يوما واحدا في السجن، رغم أن المسؤولين الأميركيين يعتقدون ذلك. وقال الرعبي «تقوم قوات الأمن بأخذه فقط من المنزل من أجل الظهور في المحكمة، وبعدها يعيدونه إلى البيت بعد الجلسة».

استهداف المعارضة
استمر النظام اليمني في استخدام ورقة الإرهاب بعد الانتخابات لاستهداف المعارضين السياسيين. فقد أشار حزب اتحاد القوى الشعبية إلى اعتقال عضو الأمانة العامة في الحزب علي حسين الديلمي مدير المنظمة اليمنية للدفاع عن الحقوق والحريات العامة. غير أن وزارة الدفاع اليمنية أعلنت في موقعها على شبكة الانترنت(26 سبتمبر) أن الديلمي مشتبه بصلته بخلايا إرهابية.
عدد من أحزاب المعارضة اليمنية ومنظمات المجتمع المدني وجماعات حقوق الانسان بما فيها منظمة العفو الدولية شجبت عملية الاعتقال. ونظم ائتلاف منظمات المجتمع المدني اعتصاماً تضامنيا مع الديلمي، فيما وصف منتدى الشقائق العربي لحقوق الانسان احتجاز الديلمي بأنه غير شرعي.
التهم الملفقة وبتكتيك مرتبط استخدمت أيضا ضد البرلماني المعارض حميد الأحمر الذي اتهم في تقرير منشور بتوظيف أحد أقرباء الذرحاني في شركة الاتصالات التابعة له «سبأفون».
الأحمر، الذي صرح في مايو الماضي أنه أصبح من الصعب على الشعب أن يتحمل النظام الاستبدادي وسياساته الفاشلة، يواجه في أكتوبر صعوبات كبيرة في إدخال معدات خاصة بشركة «سبأفون».
لم يكن هذا هو الشيء الوحيد الذي يؤرق الأحمر. فالمؤتمر الشعبي العام يدعم طلبا من وزارة العدل لسحب الحصانة من حميد تمهيداً لمحاكمته تحت يافطة حماية الصحفيين.
وإلى جانب المعارضين الآخرين، يواجه الأحمر حملة شتم وتشويه سمعة شرسة من قبل الاعلام الرسمي، وهذا هو الشيء المعتاد في اليمن.
نشرت صحيفة وزارة الدفاع اليمنية «26 سبتمبر» قصيدة إزدرائية تنال الأحمر بالاهانة. وفي المقابل اتصل الأحمر بالعميد الشاطر، رئيس تحرير الصحيفة، الذي يذكر أنه يمتلك سجنا خاصاً به. زعم العميد الشاطر أن الأحمر أطلق تهديدات ضده خلال الاتصال. وفي سياق التوظيف السياسي للجهاز القضائي، تم إحالة القضية إلى النائب العام.
سجل العام 2005 قرابة 50 عملية اعتداء ضد الصحفيين غير الحكوميين في اليمن. هؤلاء الصحفيون تعرضوا للمضايقات، والاختطاف، والضرب، والطعن، وإطلاق النار، وكذلك التهديد.
ذكرت لجنة حماية الصحفيين أن الحكومة اليمنية فشلت في إدارة تحقيقات جادة أو تقديم الجناة والمتهمين إلى العدالة. وبصورة جلية فشلت قياداتها في شجب تلك الاعتداءات.
الشهود والأدلة جميعهم يشيرون إلى تورط قوات حكومية وجهات محسوبة على السلطة في عدد من تلك الاعتداءات.
وفي ضوء العجز السابق للنظام في مقاضاة الجناة على هجمات جسدية تعرض لها الصحفيون، يبدو أن التوجه الحالي لمقاضاة الأحمر مرتبط بتوجهاته السياسية وليس لمكالمته الهاتفية.
وتواصلا مع تبعات الانتخابات، تشير الأخبار إلى نقل عدد من المدرسين من مقار أعمالهم إلى أماكن بعيدة، وهو ما يؤمنون أنه عقوبة لقاء دعمهم لمرشح المعارضة.
الوظيفة العامة في اليمن مسيسة، وقد تحمل المعلمون في اليمن مضايقات مدعومة حكوميا قبل ذلك.
ففي مواجهة الإضراب الذي نفذه المعلمون في شهر مارس الماضي للمطالبة بالتعويض المستحق لهم بموجب قانون إستراتيجية الأجور رقم 43 للعام 2005، تعرض المعلمون وقادة الاتحادات النقابية للاعتقال، والملاحقات الأمنية وتم توقيفهم و خصم مرتباتهم.
ورد في إصدار شهر ابريل من تحليل الشؤون الإسلامية الصادر عن مجموعة جينز للمعلومات اقتباس لنقيب المعلمين اليمنيين أحمد الرباحي «المعلمون تعرضوا للشتم والاهانات والتوقيف واتهموا بالانفصالية والإرهاب والعمالة للولايات المتحدة.»
وأضاف: «معلمونا هددوا في كل المحافظات، قالوا بأننا نعمل وفقا لأجندة مرسومة من أحزاب المعارضة. أصبحت التعددية السياسية خنجرا يطعن به كل من يطالب بحقوقه» .

استبداد الأغلبية
يواصل نظام التعددية الحزبية طعن أولئك الذين يتحدّون سلطة الحزب الحاكم. يجب الإشادة بالمعارضة اليمنية لشجاعتها في التنافس الانتخابي، بالإضافة إلى الاستهداف الذي كان متوقعاً.
أحزاب المعارضة اليمنية تغلبت على العقبات الهائلة وخلقت نموذجاً سياسياً إقليمياً جديداً. توحدوا رغم تباين أيديولوجياتهم وضغوط النظام الحادة ضدهم.
ومن خلال تلك الوحدة، أجبروا النظام على بعض التنازلات وعبأوا عدداً هاما من الناخبين بعد سنوات من الحكم الإستبدادي.
ومع ذلك، فإن بعضاً من أحزاب المعارضة اليمنية لا تمارس الديمقراطية التي يدعون لها على المستوى الوطني، وهكذا تتم إعاقة تطوير جيل جديد من القادة السياسيين.
مناخ المساواة لم يخرج بالكامل. فالمعروف في اليمن ان القادة هم من يطلعون القواعد على مهامهم واجندتهم المستقبلية، ولا يحدث العكس.
عملت الانتخابات القليل على صعيد التركيز الأساسي للسلطة في يد الرئيس.
العديد من الإصلاحات التي شرع بها الرئيس صالح عملت القليل في الواقع لتخويل السلطة للمعارضة أو الناس.
يحظى الحزب الحاكم بأغلبية ساحقة في المجالس المحلية المنتخبة مؤخراً. وقد أعلن الرئيس صالح انتخاب محافظي المحافظات من قبل المجالس المحلية، تاركاً أملاً ضعيفاً لإنتخابهم من المعارضة أو المستقلين.
هو وجه بإنشاء قناة فضائية ثانية بإشراف وزارة الإعلام، الشهيرة تاريخيا بأنها كانت مؤسسة قمعية.
وبالرغم من أن صالح استبدل نفسه بقاض آخر معين من قبله كرئيس لمجلس القضاء الأعلى، الذي يحظى باستقلال قضائي ضعيف من السلطة التنفيذية.
أنشأ الرئيس صالح اللجنة الوطنية لمكافحة الفساد وعين موالين للنظام في قيادتها. وعلى ما يبدو فإن هذه الهيئة ستكون على الأرجح أداة لإستهداف أحزاب المعارضة وقادتها.
البنية الديمقراطية متوفرة في اليمن، بدون أساسها. الشيء الأساسي لمبدأ قاعدة حكم الأغلبية هو الأمن وحماية الأقلية. وهكذا فإن أحدى مؤشرات محدودية التزام صالح بالديمقراطية هو طريقة تعامله مع معارضته السياسية بعد الإنتخابات. وإضفاء الصبغة الإرهابية على قادة المعارضة ليس أكثر من ذريعة دعائية مصممة للاستهلاك الغربي ليس أكثر.

* جين نوفاك: صحفية ومحللة سياسية أميركية.

استعرض موقعها باللغة الانجليزية

A few more place where the article is:

Yemen: Democracy Without Minority Rights

Filed under: Janes Articles, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:39 am on Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Yemen extracts benefits from the West, notably the US, in return for its cooperation in global anti-terror efforts. Likewise Yemen’s efforts at democratization, especially the improved conduct of September’s presidential election, should result in an increase in badly needed donor funds. However, in the aftermath of the election, the Yemeni regime has begun discrediting, arresting and harassing opposition leaders, activists and voters. In one bizarre case, the regime has alleged a human rights activist is linked to al-Qaeda, casting doubt on the sincerity of both Yemen’s democracy promotion and its efforts against terrorism. (Read on …)

Yemen LNG

Filed under: Janes Articles, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:13 pm on Monday, August 14, 2006

Yemen’s Natural Gas: Who Benefits?
Jane Novak, contributing editor, August 4, 2006

One way Yemen’s “resource curse” syndrome can be avoided, economists suggest, is to distribute the profits from the sales of natural resources directly to every citizen. (Photo: Khaled Fazaa / AFP-Getty Images)

Freedom House recently noted Yemen as among the world’s most corrupt developing nations. With the personal interests of the ruling elite taking priority over national development, nearly half of Yemeni children are malnourished and out of school. Unemployment is high and medical services scarce. A looming water crisis threatens to destabilize the country. Claims of development are little more than government propaganda with the gap between the extremely rich and the extremely poor widening and infant mortality remaining high year after year.

Atop the existing national crisis, experts predict Yemen’s oil reserves, which provide nearly 70 percent of governmental revenue, will substantially deplete within a decade. A natural gas project is under development. Yemen LNG (YLNG), the company responsible for producing and marketing Yemen’s natural gas, will produce 6.7 million tons of natural gas annually for 20 years. Although the gas liquefaction plant and pipeline is 23 percent complete, concerns exist about sales prices, domestic allocation, and the project’s local impact.

Sales Prices
France’s energy giant, Total SA is the major shareholder in YLNG with 39.6 percent and is in the lead on the project. Total SA has touted YLNG as “a giant gas project” and noted that it is a main component of Total SA’s future growth.

Yemen owns 21.73 percent of YLNG, which estimates Yemen’s profits to be $10 billion to $20 billion over the 20-year span. U.S. based Hunt Oil has a 17.22 percent ownership stake in YLNG. Assorted South Korean companies own 21.43 percent of YLNG.

Total SA had the concession to develop and market Yemen’s gas since 1997 but was unable to find any customers for nearly a decade. In 2005, with worldwide demand for YLNG surging, Total Gas and Power purchased two million tons of natural gas per year for 20 years, about a third of proven reserves.

Korean Gas Company (Kogas) purchased a 6 percent share of YLNG for $104 million in a transaction negotiated by Yemen’s Oil Ministry. Currently Kogas owns 8.88 percent of YLNG. Kogas (like Total Gas) is also a customer, buying between 1.3 million and 2 million tons a year. The remaining third of export production (2.5 million tons) was sold to Suez. Deliveries begin in 2008.

Yemeni parliamentarians have voiced concerns that the sales prices were under market levels. Joel Fort, the general manager of YLNG, dismissed those claims as “a legend.” Fort, at a press conference, said Suez and Total Gas purchased the gas in accordance with international prices and the gas is intended for distribution in the U.S. market.

Fears of collusion by YLNG, Total SA, its subsidiary Total Gas, and the Yemeni regime are not unfounded in light of the high level of regime corruption and Total SA’s involvement in Iraq’s massive “oil for food” scandal. Activists have charged that Total SA uses forced labor in Burma and has wrought environmental devastation in the construction of Burma’s Yadana pipeline.

Total SA’s corporate policy considers financial transparency “an absolutely fundamental issue” in developing countries. In keeping with this policy, Total SA notes on its Web site, “We disclose information on our activities in different countries.” Yet Total SA has not addressed the conflict of interest created by YLNG’s sale to Total Gas nor has it disclosed the purchase price.

Another entity withholding information is the Yemeni government, which did not fully inform Parliament of the terms of the transactions. One member of the Parliaments Committee on Oil and Minerals said in a media statement that parliamentary members of President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s ruling party, the General People’s Congress, were pressured to vote in support of the YLNG sales without having full knowledge of the terms.

In a 2005 interview, Ali Ashal, a Member of Parliament on the Oil and Minerals Committee, told the Yemen Times, “Total did not find us the best possible markets and prices as it is supposed to …

“It is said also that Total has bought also a share of our gas. How can it be a buyer and marketer at the same time? The Oil and Development Committee in Parliament has written to the Oil Ministry warning of the consequences of reaching any decisions regarding the gas project without Parliament being acquainted with the details,” he said.

While the sales to Total Gas and Suez are shrouded in mystery, Kogas has been much more transparent. International media have reported the purchase price to be just above $3 per million BTU ex-ship. The price for natural gas in the U.S. is around $11 per million BTU for delivery in January 2008. Current spot prices are near $7 per million BTU according to the Henry Hub Index.

The South Korean Ministry for Commerce, Trade, and Energy noted “the contract is 35-40 percent lower than existing contracts,” with pricing at $197 to $218 per ton, while current Korean contracts averaged $322 per ton. Members of Parliament have also raised concerns about whether the contract’s adjustments for exchange rate fluctuations are adequate.

While a few other YLNG producers have sold their product at similar levels, Total Gas’s market strategy, prepared for stockholders in April 2006, predicts that demand for gas will increase at a rate of more than 2 percent a year through 2030. In fact, global demand for YLNG rose 9 percent in 2005. Total Gas’s report predicts “a sharp increase in gas prices,” noting “average spot gas prices multiplied by 3 since 2000.” With Total Gas predicting higher prices through two decades, YLNG’s low price to Kogas is, at a minimum, poor marketing.

The government of Malta posted an article on its Web site calling the transaction “extremely favorable” to Kogas. The article noted that the deal was struck at a time when oil prices were rising and Kogas’s price was less than 30 percent indexed to the price of oil. Historically, the price of natural gas has been strictly indexed to the price of oil. It is a sorry state of affairs when the government of Malta has more details about the sale of Yemeni gas than the Yemeni Parliament or public.

Domestic Consumption
Much of the gas being exported is needed for local consumption. Yemen’s electric generating and distribution capacity is currently vastly deficient in meeting the public’s electrical needs. Less than one-third of households in Yemen have access to electricity from the national power grid. In rural areas, only 13 percent of the population does. Most cities have regular rolling blackouts. Yemen’s electricity shortage, in addition to impacting quality of life, has a negative impact on economic development, and foreign investment. Yemen’s electrical requirements will grow substantially as Yemen’s population of 20 million is expected to double in less than 25 years.

The Yemeni government estimated gas reserves were over 16 trillion cubic feet (t.c.f.) and this figure has been widely reported. Yemen’s proven reserves, as produced by Hunt Oil during oil production in oil block 18 at Marib, are 10.3 t.c.f. In 2005, the Yemeni government failed to renew Hunt’s agreements on block 18, and Hunt subsequently charged Yemen with expropriation. Block 18 is now operated by a state run concern. Of the 10.3 t.c.f. of certified proven reserves, 9.1 t.c.f. have been sold and 1 t.c.f. has been allocated for the local market.

However, the nation requires three times that amount to satisfy its needs for electricity through 2020. According to the Ministry of Electricity and Water, 1,650 megawatts of new electricity generating capacity are needed to satisfy demand by 2020. This would require 3 t.c.f. of natural gas. Other estimates, which include energy needed for desalination of water, have placed Yemen’s gas needs through 2020 at 5 t.c.f. With the regime selling 90 percent of its proven natural gas reserves, Yemen will have to buy energy internationally for domestic consumption. Prime Minster Bajammal had assured Parliament that sufficient reserves remained after the export sales to satisfy local needs.

Local Impact
YLNG’s “Yemenization” program will create only about 600 permanent jobs for Yemenis over 20 years. Some temporary jobs will be available during the two years of pipeline construction. Media reports have stated that the YLNG project will create 10,000 jobs to 15,000 jobs for Yemenis while YLNG uses the term “several thousand” on its Web site. Joel Fort, in an interview with the Yemen Times, said that “many” jobs would be created during the pipeline construction period and “several hundred” permanent positions were available for Yemeni citizens. YLNG has selected 650 trainees from 16,000 applicants and less than 200 are in training currently.

The Balhaf plant and pipeline will be large by international standards and may result in the destruction of some archeological sites. YLNG has begun constructing a new 320-kilometer pipeline that runs from the processing centers in Marib to the liquefaction plant at Balhaf harbor. A pipeline already exists, but according to YLNG, using the existing pipeline would require “expanding the security zone.” The route of the new pipeline runs through 171 sites of archeological importance, most of them dating back to the Bronze Age. YLNG’s experts have deemed two sites “scientifically significant.” YLNG may divert the pipeline around the two sites but if that is not practical, the two sites have been surveyed and photographed in the event they are damaged or destroyed by the pipeline construction.

Local fishermen who harvested large quantities of fish in Balhaf harbor will be displaced by the liquefaction plant. YLNG is providing some compensation to both residents and fishermen who will be impacted by construction, although there is some confusion. YLNG’s Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (E.S.I.A.) notes, “All of the data obtained to date on livelihoods in the project affected regions is difficult to reconcile.” Balhaf was selected in part because a substantial corral reef eliminated the need for a breakwater, and YLNG is building a breakwater in another location for the displaced fishermen.

The long-term effects on the marine ecosystem and Yemen’s fishing industry are unclear. The E.S.I.A. classified the large corral reef as “regionally significant” and “endangered.” The E.S.I.A. noted Balhaf’s corral reef is a nursery for commercial fish. YLNG has stated that “a small amount” of corral will be destroyed during construction but has not provided estimates. The harbor and pipeline have been designed to run through “less sensitive” corral areas. The E.S.I.A. noted the presence of sea turtles in Balhaf harbor but did not observe any turtle eggs. The plant will discharge heated water into the sea but the E.S.I.A. maintains that it will not have a “significant” impact on water temperature in the highly sensitive Balhaf region. A proposed Coastal Zone Management Plan included part of Balhaf as protected marine zone. The E.S.I.A. noted that in discussions with YLNG, the Environmental Protection Agency has indicated that Balhaf will be designated a general use zone.

YLNG plans to make a financial contribution toward the implementation of the Coast Zone Management Plan. It says it plans to implement some much needed community development programs, but the extent to which YLNG will put some real muscle into working with the local communities remains to be seen.

Yemen’s natural gas project is central to Yemen’s economic development, but only if strict corruption controls are implemented and transactions are made with transparency and in the best interest of the Yemeni people.

The Yemeni regime repetitively under reports the projected revenue of oil sales in the annual budgets, often by 30 percent or more. The actual revenue is not publicly known and there is no end of year reconciliation. The differential is allocated to a “special account” and effectively vanishes. The past 20 years of oil production in Yemen have done little to raise the standard of living for the Yemeni people. The coming 20 years of gas production may do little more.

Like some developing resource-rich countries, the Yemeni regime maintains authority through bribery and military might, rather than through growth-oriented economic policies. Typical of this “resource curse” syndrome, Yemen has high corruption and low investment in education. Economic diversification is stunted by governmental neglect, other industries are largely uncompetitive, and the regime is content with its dependency on the export of natural resources. One way economists suggest the syndrome can be avoided is to distribute the profits from the sales of natural resources directly to every citizen, which — beyond being inherently just — would assist in developing private enterprise and diversifying the economy. With regard to Yemen’s natural gas reserves, it remains to be seen if President Saleh’s regime is operating in the best interests of the Yemeni people or based on the personal interests of regime key players. Early indications are not good.

Jane Novak is an American journalist and political analyst.

(Y24) The Impossible is Possible in Yemen

Filed under: Janes Articles, Yemen, Yemen-Democracy — by Jane Novak at 2:42 pm on Sunday, March 26, 2006

Motorcyclists denied their right to work in Yemen engaged in a symbolic funeral procession for the main Yemeni political parties. It may have been an apt analogy: the multi-party system may be dead. The democratic institutions established over fifteen years ago in Yemen may shrivel up and blow away without anyone noticing. The country may sink further into chaos as it slowly implodes and the oil runs out.

But do not place your bets just yet. Nationalism in Yemen is alive and well. In a region widely lacking habits of regular transition of executive authority, Yemen may become among the first to achieve popular empowerment through democratic processes. There’s a Presidential election coming in September.

The nature, character and history of Yemen make it the most likely Middle Eastern nation to evolve politically without external stressors. The last chaotic fifty years of Yemeni history were defined by people committed to the nation. Yemen, in existence since pre-Islamic times, has already been a leader in the new age of participatory legitimacy in the Middle East if only by absorbing the rhetoric and forms of democracy. With the unity of North and South Yemen in 1990, the Yemeni people came to a consensus for democracy and since have internalized the legitimacy of its underlying premises.

The failure of democracy to thrive in Yemen has been attributed to political tribalism. The Yemeni political system operates from the top down whereby elites from nearly all important power centers are co-opted by the regime, trading patronage for loyalty. As a result, many local and national leaders do not advance local and national interests as defined by the population but rather advance regime interests onto their constituencies. Much dissatisfaction in Yemen comes from the failure of the government to implement and follow its own laws. The new Yemeni revolutionaries are those who seek to advance the rule of law, the equality of citizens, and the duty of representatives and constituencies to operate in the national interest.

The Yemeni opposition has turned from negotiating with the regime to negotiating with the people. The days of trading editors for buildings have apparently passed. The opposition is demanding a fair election, starting with a non-biased electoral commission, a linchpin of the process. At worst, the opposition by contesting the election may force important incremental changes on the political process. At best, they’ll win.

In the 2003 parliamentary elections the opposition parties received nearly half the votes (but only a quarter of the seats). The main hurtle for an opposition candidate in the current presidential election may be having enough time to inspire the trust of the nation and develop a bond with the voters. Moving itself beyond criticism, the opposition has advanced a reasonable reform platform which advocates centering more authority within Parliament to decentralize executive power, enabling badly needed political and economic reforms. Parliament refused to empower itself.

Dominated by the ruling party, over two thirds of the members of the Yemeni parliament are Sheiks, Sheiks in business, or the sons of Sheiks. It is this parliament that must approve the candidacy of the opposition candidate. Reformers within the GPC are continually stymied by their own party and are threatened when they speak out.

Like the regime, some Yemeni political parties are tribal in nature, undemocratic in practice, and operate from a top down authority system. At the last GPC conference, the forms of democracy were in abundance as delegates voted for predetermined candidates, except for those who were appointed. The GPC said at that time that it will nominate president Saleh as its candidate although President Saleh has repeated stated he will not nominate himself.

If President Saleh stands by his pledge to step down from the presidency after 28 years, he would empower Yemeni citizens and all Arab peoples through out the Middle East. His action would mark a defining moment in modern history. It would be a source of pride for the Yemeni people and would define Saleh forever as a great statesman who deferred power to progress and modernity.

But even that would not be enough. Additionally