Armies of Liberation

Jane Novak's blog about Yemen

First US airstrike in Saada, Yemen at Wadi Abu Jubarah

Filed under: Air strike, Saudi Arabia, USA, abu jubarah, obits, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 11:53 am on Sunday, October 28, 2012

The 2011 AQAP eulogy of Ammar al Waeli said, “His father was a leader in the mujahadin in Yemen who was appointed by (bin Laden) to open a training camp in the area of Saada.” The long established Abu Jubarah training camp is discussed in my 2010 article, Large al Qaeda camp in North Yemen dims peace prospects, politician says or see my category Saada, Abu Jubarah.

Air strike kills three al-Qaeda suspects in Sa’ada: Sa’ada Governor
Sunday 28 October 2012 / 26 September Net

26 September Net – Air strikes killed three Al-Qaeda militants on Sunday in the northern Yemeni province of Sa’ada, Sa’ada governor told “26 September Net”.

“Three Al-Qaeda suspects were killed in the air strike targeted the suspects on Sunday in Wadi Aal Jubara, Sa’ada province” Sa’ada governor said, adding two of those killed were Saudi nationals and the third one is a Yemeni.

One of al-Qaeda chief called Omar Batais was injured in the strike.

It is believed the Saudis possessed money for financing al-Qaeda operations in some provinces, the governor went on to say.

He revealed the terrorists had been trying (ed- and succeeding) for more than five years to turn Wadi Abu Junbara a station for crossing to Mare, al-Jawf, Shabwa and Abyan provinces.

US drone and foreign fighters:

Brach Net – said a government official in the province of Saada, preferring anonymity in an exclusive authorized ¯ “politics”, said the plane that carried out the air strike on the area of Wadi Al Abu Jabara Directorate كتاف yesterday is an American drone.
And confirmed the existence of at least 70 militants of the leaders and elements of the organization in the Valley of the Abu Jabara, where “they have a training camp and allied by with the Salafists in fighting the Houthis in the past period and killed them more than 150 people at the hands of Houthis, including foreigners of different nationalities Saudi and Egyptian.”

Pres Hadi on US drones: more precise than the Yemeni Air Force

Filed under: Counter-terror, Sana'a, Saudi Arabia, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 5:04 pm on Saturday, September 29, 2012

Drone strikes are an improvement from aging and imprecise Soviet aircraft in the Yemeni air force, said Hadi, and that’s indisputable. (Why Saleh poured millions on the decrepit MIGs is another story.) Hadi, like Obama, personally approves all strikes in advance.

President Hadi was the only foreign leader that Obama actually had a meeting with, and the US considers him much more reliable than Saleh, not a high threshold to beat. Hadi said there are more controls that should reduce or hopefully eliminate errors and civilian casualties which are the primary concern among Yemenis and others. With 33 airstrikes this year, and 10 last year, the ratio of the death of innocents has dropped substantially, if we use the US metric that every male over 16 killed in a drone strike is assumed a terrorist and legitimate target.

Those in Yemen like HOOD who continually decry a loss of Yemeni sovereignty over its airspace should be reassured, but probably won’t be, by Hadi’s comments that he retains control. Those who see the air strikes as the harbinger of an impending US invasion are disconnected from reality and/or engaging in incitement and wouldn’t be swayed by any facts or adjustments to the program. The Houthis consider the Youtube trailer for the 2002 movie Rules of Engagement to be an CIA blueprint of some sort, really. Its a phrase to be avoided.

NYT: President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, elected in a one-candidate election in February, said at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars that the precision afforded by drones gave them a marked advantage over the aging Soviet aircraft in the Yemeni Air Force.

“They pinpoint the target and have zero margin of error, if you know what target you’re aiming at,” said Mr. Hadi, a former army officer and the successor to Ali Abdullah Saleh, who stepped down after protests against his three-decade rule.

The United States “helped with their drones because the Yemeni Air Force cannot carry out missions at night,” he said. “The electronic brain’s precision is unmatched by the human brain.” —

On Tuesday, President Obama underscored America’s gratitude to Mr. Hadi by dropping by as the Yemeni president met in New York with John O. Brennan, Mr. Obama’s counterterrorism adviser. While Mr. Obama spoke briefly with several heads of state at a reception during the United Nations General Assembly meeting, Mr. Hadi was the only one singled out for a meeting.

CT center in Sanaa includes Oman, SA, US and Yemeni reps

WAPO: Yemen’s president said Saturday that he personally approves every U.S. drone strike in his country and described the remotely piloted aircraft as a technical marvel that has helped reverse al-Qaeda’s gains.

President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi also provided new details about the monitoring of counterterrorism missions from a joint operations center in Yemen that he said is staffed by military and intelligence personnel from the United States, Saudi Arabia and Oman…

Hadi’s comments mark the first time he has publicly acknowledged his direct role in a campaign of strikes by U.S. drones and conventional aircraft targeting an al-Qaeda franchise that is seen as the most potent terrorist threat to the United States.

“Every operation, before taking place, they take permission from the president,” Hadi said in an interview with reporters and editors from The Washington Post. Praising the accuracy of the remotely operated aircraft, he added, “The drone technologically is more advanced than the human brain.”

Hadi’s enthusiasm helps to explain how, since taking office in February after a popular revolt ended President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 33-year rule, he has come to be regarded by Obama administration officials as one of the United States’ staunchest counterterrorism allies.

In a sign of Hadi’s standing, he was greeted by President Obama during meetings at the United Nations in New York last week and has met with a parade of top administration officials in Washington, including Vice President Biden, White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

The pace of U.S. drone strikes in Yemen has surged during the past year, as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula gained territory in the southern part of the country and continued to mount attacks against the United States, according to U.S. officials who said they disrupted an airline bomb plot earlier this year that originated in Yemen.

The U.S. Joint Special Operations Command and the CIA have carried out 33 airstrikes in Yemen this year, compared to 10 in 2011, according to the Long War Journal Web site, which tracks drone attacks.

In the interview, Hadi alluded to civilian casualties and errant strikes earlier in the campaign, which began in December 2009, but he said that the United States and Yemen have taken “multiple measures to avoid mistakes of the past.”

He also described a joint operations facility near Sanaa, the capital, that serves as an intelligence nerve center for operations against AQAP, as the terrorist group’s Yemeni affiliate is known. “You go to the operations center and see operations taking place step by step,” Hadi said.

U.S. Special Operations drones patrol Yemen from a base in Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa. The CIA aircraft are flown from a separate facility on the Arabian Peninsula whose location has not been publicly disclosed.

AQAP and/or Houthis to Syria? Buzz

Filed under: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen, terror financing — by Jane Novak at 10:36 am on Sunday, September 23, 2012

Last week’s local buzz. Using al Qaeda as internationally supported mercenaries against Assad is an ominous concept. Hopefully no one on the planet thinks thats a good idea. Oh wait, that’s what happened in Libya. The Houthis lining up fighters behind Iran and Hezbollah is not impossible, but I’ve never seen them export fighters before, unlike al Qaeda, and they are not lock-step with Iran. It would be new.

Yemen Observer: Former al-Qaeda leader Tareq al-Fadhli said that Ansar al-Sharia militants affiliated to al-Qaeda organization have withdrawn recently from Zinjubar and Ja’ar cities of Abyan province as a matter of partaking in the war against the Syrian regime, local media reported. (Read on …)

Houthis cleaned up drug trade, blame Ali Mohsen for Midi hashish smuggling: report

Filed under: Biographies, Hajjah, Military, Ports, Saudi Arabia, drugs, smuggling — by Jane Novak at 10:09 am on Sunday, September 23, 2012

This below is not from the official Houthi media but it is from a Houthi supporter if not an unofficial outlet. As with all posts presented here and explaining various Yemeni viewpoints, I am posting it to demonstrate the narrative and not as an endorsement of its authenticity. However it is well known the 1st Armoured Division did facilitate smuggling into Saudia during Saada War 1-5, and Ali Mohsen was a major figure in the black market international weapons trade as well as fuel smuggling with Faris Manna and Tawfiq Abdel Rahman respectively. As Amb Krajeski correctly noted in a Wikileaks cable:

“Ali Mohsen’s questionable dealings with terrorists and extremists, however, would make his accession unwelcome to the US and others in the international community,” Krajeski wrote.

“He is known to have Salafi leanings and to support a more radical Islamic political agenda than Saleh. He has powerful Wahhabi supporters in Saudi Arabia and has reportedly aided the [Saudis] in establishing Wahhabi institutions in northern Yemen.

He is also believed to have been behind the formation of the Aden-Abyan army, and is a close associate of noted arms dealer Faris Manna.

For years, he acted as Saleh’s iron fist, building a reputation at home that lies somewhere between fear and revulsion,” reported Krajeski.

Googlish below regarding the latest bust : (Read on …)

Saudis give 2.2 bill in oil products to Yemen

Filed under: Donors, UN, Oil, Saudi Arabia, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:43 am on Monday, September 10, 2012

Is Saleh’s partner Tawfiq Abdel Rahman still the sole distributor of oil products in Yemen?

Saudis give $2.2 billion in oil products to Yemen at donor conference
Tuesday 04 September 2012 162012000000Tue, 04 Sep 2012 16:12:24 +0300 04 PM / 26 September Net

Saudi Arabia has provided Yemen with fuel and other oil products valued at $2.2 billion to relief its domestic demand, deputy minister for external financial affairs said at donors’ conference in Riyadh on Tuesday. (Read on …)

Hashish bust at Midi port, Hajjah Yemen

Filed under: Hajjah, Hodeidah, Islands, Saudi Arabia, drugs, smuggling — by Jane Novak at 7:56 am on Monday, September 10, 2012

300 kilos (660 lbs) hash, conservatively and roughly valued at $ 2000 per kg is worth over a half million dollars. That’s a lot of money, I’m wondering about a typo. Here’s another report at FNA saying its cannabis.

Yemen Post

The border guard in western Yemen seized on Saturday 300 kg of hashish that smugglers had planned to sell in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the interior ministry reported.

The stash was seized on the Thu Hirab island in the Midi district, it said, pointing out that the hashish quantities were concealed inside 6 bags.

Two Ethiopian smugglers were arrested, it said, adding that the two and the hashish were given to the army battalion in the Luhaya district as a prelude to hand them over to the police in Hodeida province, the ministry added.

In recent years, Yemen has been as a transit hub to smuggle drugs coming from other countries including Pakistan and Iran to Gulf countries.

Earlier this year, the authorities destroyed tonnes of drugs worth millions of US dollars that were seized last year.
In the past few years, tens of smugglers including Yemenis, Africans, Iranians and Pakistanis were arrested in some Yemeni cities while trading in and smuggling drugs.

Related: “The (US) Coast Guard has determined that the Republic of Yemen is not maintaining effective anti-terrorism measures in some of its ports…(with the exception of Ash Shihr Terminal – YEASR-0001; Balhaf LNG Terminal – IMO number not listed; and Port of Hodeidah – YEHOD-0001)”

For earlier happenings on Midi Island include weapons and drug smuggling and many instances of exploding boats.

Related: Revolutionary Guard ‘running Iran drug trade’

Also see my 2008 article: Yemeni Arms Fuels Instability in Somalia, keeping in mind UN sanctioned major weapons dealer Faris Manna (who worked in conjunction with the Saleh regime and Saleh personally for years) is now recognized as governor of Saada.

2012 Donors Conference on Yemen

Filed under: Donors, UN, Saudi Arabia, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 12:19 pm on Thursday, September 6, 2012

Just saving some references:
Yemen Post

Donor countries and organizations pledged to provide $6.4 billion in aid to Yemen during the transitional period 2012-2014, the Yemeni official agency Saba reported on Tuesday.
Other countries and organizations said they will announce their pledges the Friends of Yemen meeting which will be held on September 27 in New York, the agency said.
Yemen is undergoing the two-year transitional period under the power-transfer deal which was brokered by the GCC countries and backed by the West after the 2011 turmoil.
It is seeking about $11 billion to bridge the financial gap based on the transitional program for stabilization and development 2012-2014 as the country is reeling from the unrest that has deepened its woes.
In May, Friends of Yemen held a meeting in Riyadh and pledged $4.24 billion in aid to Yemen but that will be officially given in the New York meeting later this month.
Prime Minister, Muhammad Salim Basindwa, said the Yemeni government will take special measures to use the external aid including the establishment of an international fund to channel and oversee the spending aid on investments and development.
On the margins of the conference, Yemen and Saudi Arabia signed three accords including one under which the Saudi Fund for Development will deposit $1 billion in the Central Bank of Yemen to stabilize the national currency and help the government cope with economic challenges.
The two other agreements were for giving $26 million from the Saudi kingdom, $20 million to help Yemen build a 60-megawatts power plant in Taiz province and $6 million as contribution to the Yemeni health sector.
At a news conference after the first day of the 4-5 September conference, Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf said the pledges should be released soon to help the country overcome all challenges at the moment, according to Saba.

al Sahwa

A Yemeni economist, Dr. Mohammad al-Afandi, has expected that the Yemeni government will succeed in absorbing donor’s financial pledges to be provided to Yemen during the donor meeting held on Tuesday in Riyadh.

He affirmed that the government has good program, pointing out that aids presented to Yemen will help implement the political settlement.

He warned that the delay of supporting Yemen will lead to worsening economic problems and impediment of the settlement.

Saudi Arabia had pledged US$3.25bn in aid at a meeting of Friends of Yemen held in Riyadh in May during which a total of $4bn were pledged.

Yemen’s Planning and International Cooperation Minister, Mohammed Al Saadi, said last week that his country needs $11bn in foreign aid.

Obama admin leaking intl for political payoff?

Filed under: Counter-terror, Saudi Arabia, TI: External, UK, USA, Yemen, airliner — by Jane Novak at 6:17 am on Sunday, May 27, 2012

Examiner.com but not me:

An alleged intelligence leak regarding a covert operation that thwarted an “underwear bomb” plot last week is now creating distrust and ill feelings within the U.S. intelligence community and has led to increased talk about intelligence leaks at the highest levels of government, according to terrorism experts on Friday. (Read on …)

Naif al Kahtani killed again in Yemen

Filed under: Air strike, Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, obits — by Jane Novak at 12:21 am on Saturday, November 19, 2011

YT: SANAA, Nov. 13 — At least six Al-Qaeda members were killed in an aerial raid on Saturday in Zinjibar, Abyan, a southern governorate and a stronghold of the terrorist group.

Naif Al-Qahtani of Saudi Arabia was named as one of the six killed in the raid by the Yemeni army in the north of Zinjibar.

Three other Al-Qaeda members were killed in an ambush by armed tribesmen allying the Yemeni army in the north east of Al-Taria in Zinjibar.

Official sources claimed that Al-Qaeda members have been coming from the Horn of Africa and east Asia, according to the UPL news website.

Despite the fact that news outlets have been talking about the “seizing of Zinjibar” by Islamists since May, Al-Qaeda experts in Yemen said that state soldiers withdrew on purpose to give militants a chance to settle in the area.

According to an Al-Qaeda expert who preferred not to be named, “the whole Al-Qaeda story has no reality and it is only made up by the government”.

The aerial shelling by the Yemeni government and the US, coupled with the conflict between militants and tribesmen in Zinjibar has caused more than 30,000 citizens to flee their home to live in Aden’s schools and other places.

Other critics accused President Ali Abdullah Saleh of allowing the militants to take over districts in the south such as Zinjibar in Abyan to support the view that without him, Yemen would become a stronghold of Al-Qaeda.

Saudi Crown Prince Nayef: anti al Qaeda, pro-Wahabbi

Filed under: Saudi Arabia, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:03 am on Thursday, November 3, 2011

Following the death of Saudi Crown Prince Sultan on Oct 22, King Abdullah appointed Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, Interior Minister since 1975, as Crown Prince and next in line to the throne.

Prince Nayef is best known in the US for spearheading the crackdown on al Qaeda that drove many terrorists to find refuge in Yemen. The ramped up Saudi CT posture after 2003 included mass arrests (including torture and detention without trial, a multi-pronged jihaddi rehabilitation program, and increased security measures including a border fence with Yemen. A media campaign designed to shame al Qaeda included televised condemnations from the terrorists’ families that increased social pressure.

Nayef’s successes against AQ prompted Yemen’s AQAP to target him for assassination during a feigned surrender in Aug 09. Nayef suffered only light injuries from a PETN bomb designed by Ibrahim al Asiri (still at large in Yemen), whose brother was the suicide bomber.

Nayef is also known as a “conservative,” and in Saudi Arabia that means thwarting popular efforts toward civil rights and governmental accountability. Nayef is a strong supporter of the supremacist, takfiri Wahabbi doctrine and infrastructure. Domestically he undercut efforts at incremental reforms, including women driving or voting, as well as the continued repression of Saudi Shia’s demands for equal rights.

Nayef served as the de facto head of Saudi Arabia when both the King and Prince Sultan faced medical issues over the last years. Nayef signed off on the deployment of the Saudi military to Bahrain to augment the violent crack down on Bahrain’s Arab Spring (and its Shia majority.)

In Yemen, Saudi Arabia overtly committed substantial war crimes during the Saada War, which was fought near the Yemen/Saudi border. The kingdom provided billions of dollars to President Saleh, and Saudi fighter jets conducted months of air strikes in Yemen, aimed at the annihilation of the Shia Houthi rebels.

These well documented of Saudi violations of international law include indiscriminately bombing villages and civilian infrastructure, denying border passage for humanitarian aid and returning Yemeni refugees to the war zone (refouling). Wikileaks cables reveals that the Saudis were well aware that Saudi airstrikes in Yemen caused substantial civilian fatalities, and successfully leveraged the bombing of a Yemeni hospital and other mistakes to obtain satellite imagery from the US. The Saudi’s aggressive posture toward the Houthis was largely fueled by fear of its own repressed Shia minority.

Earlier this year, Nayef and his son assumed control over Saudi Arabia’s patronage network in Yemen, through which the kingdom distributes billions in direct payments to Yemeni Sheikhs, clerics and politicians as well as Wahabbi institutes and organizations.

TFE: Saudi Arabian King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud has appointed Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud as the new crown prince, the Royal Court said in a statement issued last Friday, signaling an orderly process of future succession in the world’s largest oil exporter.

The selection of 78-year-old Prince Nayef to succeed Prince Sultan as the new crown prince of Saudi Arabia ushers in the beginning of what promises to be a season of big changes at the top of the royal family and cabinet, all set in the midst of the Arab awakening. Newly appointed Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud has been minister of the interior since 1975…

Earlier this year Nayef publicly admonished a member of the mainly consultative Shura Council who had called for a review of the ban on women driving.

“This means less for Saudi Arabia’s external relations than it does internally because a lot of people there, especially women, are apprehensive that Nayef will close back down some of the space that Abdullah has opened up around individual citizens,” said Thomas Lippman, a Saudi Arabia specialist at the Middle East Institute in Washington…

Nayef has strong support among Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi clerics. But he is said to have little sympathy for political Islamist groups, like the Muslim Brotherhood, which he views as a threat to the ruling family’s grip on power…In the run-up to Saudi Arabia’s 2005 municipal elections, it was Nayef who decided that women should not be allowed to vote. Scholars say he may pursue policies that expand his base of support within security services and Islamist groups.

Drone strike gets bomb maker al Asiri too; Update: No?

Filed under: Air strike, Saudi Arabia, TI: External, UPS bombs, Yemen, fahd, prince — by Jane Novak at 4:06 am on Saturday, October 1, 2011

Update: Yemen Officials report he was not killed.

Original: Nice! The death of Ibrahim al Asiri is huge and should quell any whining doubting the threat from Anwar, who in reality was fully operational, focused on the US and associated with numerous plots. Al Asiri was responsible for the bomb in the assassination plot on Saudi Prince Naif, the Nigerian’s underwear bomb, the toner cartridges on the UPS plane, and they were experimenting with poisons including the poison perfume plot and there was the warning about riacin and the castor beans. Bad news dudes all around.

The fact that the Saudi bomb maker al Asiri was in the car with two American al Qaeda jihaddists shows in itself what they were up to. The drone strike likely saved the lives of untold thousands and whether Yemenis believe it or not, saved a lot of misery for the Yemeni people. Also the strike was executed perfectly in that there were no civilians anywhere around.

There has been some confusion that the location of Awlaki’s death (al Jawf en route to Marib) means he wasn’t involved in AQAP (??!! really I read that today) or their occupation of Zinjibar; however, earlier reports indicated the terrorists brought items looted from Abyan residents to Marib to be divided up there, causing tension along regional lines.

Now that they are dead, lets get back to the war of ideas and support representative democracy, equal rights and freedom of the press.

There’s less much grumbling about the strike in Yemen than there is in the US, beyond the expected statement by HOOD. Actually many Yemenis are happy to be free of the burden of Anwar and all are cursing AQAP because of the atrocities the fanatics are committing in Abyan, including executing a suspected witch and another man after a dispute ( link to vid here) and cutting off a teen’s arm for stealing. The boy later died. Over 100,000 fled al Qaeda when they took control of, and looted, the provincial capital Zinjibar and the families are living in schools in Aden since May.

Yesterday’s anti-government protests by millions around Yemen was themed in unity with and support of the Syrian people’s struggle against Assad. A secondary theme was in rejection of the fatwa, requested by President Saleh and delivered by 500 state clerics, that finds public demonstrations against the state and for regime change are illegitimate under Islam. I am quite concerned by the fatwa; through the years, Saleh fatwa’d his opposition before attacking them. Nonetheless I am trying to convince the Yemeni protesters to adopt AC/DC’s Highway to Hell as a theme song.

Saleh continues to dissemble, as he will unto infinity, saying that the protests have to end before the VP can sign the GCC initiative: He pointed out that signing of the Vice President to the initiate depends on the readiness of the other side, adding that the Gulf initiative states to remove the causes of tension as tension elements are known to all and power can not be transferred without implementing this item. Saleh also says General Ali Mohsen and Hamid al Ahmar should leave Yemen before he does. The only bright spot is that Sec. Clinton appears to have moved off the GCC plan to an agreement of principles; nonetheless Saleh has never been motivated to any action by what is in the best interests of the Yemeni people. He only operates in self-interest although not in a rational manner.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two US officials say the drone strike in Yemen that killed Anward al-Awlaki appears to have also killed al-Qaida’s top Saudi bomb-maker.

Officials say intelligence indicates Ibrahim al-Asiri also died in the attack. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the death has not been officially confirmed.

Al-Asiri is the bomb-maker believed to have made the explosives used in the foiled Christmas Day airline attack in 2009 and last year’s attempted cargo plane bombing.

Al-Asiri’s death would make the attack perhaps the most successful single drone strike ever.

(HT: Weasel Zippers)

Saudis approved and facilitated Saleh’s return?

Filed under: Post Saleh, Saudi Arabia, Transition, Yemen, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 3:05 pm on Friday, September 30, 2011

I’m starting to think that claim of three weeks of surveillance is likely propaganda. It would be a typical Saleh move.

CNN: Saleh returns to Yemen as al-Awlaki was killed

But several analysts consulted by CNN said the Saudis were concerned that the growing unrest in Yemen could morph into outright civil war — in a country that shares a long and porous desert border with the kingdom.

The rationale in Riyadh, according to these analysts, was that only Saleh had the guile and stature to pull his country back from the brink, despite his injuries and his array of enemies. And at the same time, Saleh would be best placed to turn up the heat on al Qaeda, now established in at least two eastern provinces and in parts of southern Yemen.

Diplomatic sources in the Gulf say that far from being surprised by Saleh’s return, the Saudi authorities sanctioned and assisted in it, providing a jet that flew him to the southern city of Aden in the early hours of Friday last week. They say Saleh did not fly directly to Sanaa, the capital, because the airport and the route into the city are not reliably under government control. In fact, the capital is now a patchwork of pro- and anti-Saleh enclaves.

A helicopter was waiting at the Aden airport to fly Saleh 200 miles to the presidential palace in Sanaa before dawn. Again, arriving by air was probably preferable to negotiating the chaotic streets of the capital.

Saleh tricked Saudis and escaped, US unhappy: US diplo

Filed under: Presidency, Saudi Arabia, Transition, USA, Yemen, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 8:06 am on Wednesday, September 28, 2011

There is a reason I call him “The lunatic dictator of Yemen,” and “The king of spin”.

Its a difficult story to swallow, and neither the US or SA has a good track record of credibility. Sad to say, there’s just too many times Saleh lied and the Obama administration swore to it.

FT: Yemen’s president appears to have tricked his Saudi hosts when he unexpectedly returned home last week, exacerbating the stand-off between his regime and the country’s pro-democracy protest movement.

According to a senior US official, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who had been undergoing medical treatment in Saudi Arabia, “bolted the kingdom under the pretence of going to the airport for something else”.

Neither the US nor the Saudis were aware of his planned departure, said the official, calling it a “clever, canny” trick by the president. “We are not happy at all.” he added.

Other western officials have also expressed frustration at Mr Saleh’s return to Yemen, with two different versions of his flight circulating in diplomatic circles. One says he told the Saudis he had decided to move to Ethiopia; the other suggests he went to the airport on the pretence of seeing off other Yemeni officials. Saudi officials could not be reached for comment. They have previously described Mr Saleh as a “guest” whose movements were not restricted. A Yemeni government official strongly denied that Mr Saleh had evaded the Saudis at the airport, describing the claim as “baseless”.

The Saudi Arab News: Saleh is the problem

Filed under: Presidency, Saudi Arabia, Transition, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:43 pm on Monday, September 26, 2011

whoa, thats it. it would be lovely if this is an official position as well

President should know he can no longer be part of the solution to the problem

Yemen is burning all over again. Protesters in Sanaa are preparing for a long, messy revolt. Opposition held mass protests yesterday, escalating demands for the immediate departure of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Earlier, a general was killed and 30 other troops loyal to Saleh were taken hostage when tribesmen overnight attacked their base north of Sanaa.

The world community, Arabs in particular, expected Saleh to learn from his mistakes and make a fresh start to bring peace and stability to his wounded and long-suffering nation. Clearly though the Yemeni leader seems to have learned no lessons from his own experience or the developments in the neighborhood. All attempts and appeals by the Arab and GCC leadership to make him see reason have so far fallen on deaf ears. Addicted to unlimited power of the past four decades and hubris that comes with it, he remains singularly blind to the havoc his intransigence has wreaked on Yemen and its people. He says his future should be determined at the ballot box.

When Saleh left Yemen after being grievously injured in an attack on the presidential palace in June, people had burst out on the streets in spontaneous jubilations celebrating his departure. Alas, their rejoicing proved premature. They are stuck with someone who genuinely seems to believe he’s indispensable. Nobody expected Saleh to return to Yemen after those unprecedented celebrations on the day of his departure. If he had any love for his people, Yemen wouldn’t be in the mess it finds itself in today. And now with this military crackdown led by his son and use of mortar and heavy weaponry against peaceful protesters, he has crossed all limits. Totally unarmed civilians including women and children are getting killed by their own troops. Not even young people squatting in the Change Square and singing national anthem are spared.

What will it take to persuade a ruler that his time is up? How many innocents have to die before the world community decides enough is enough? Today, the demand for Saleh’s departure is no longer the demand of the Yemeni people alone. All Arab, Muslim and Western countries have been urging him to leave immediately. The Gulf Cooperation Council has come up with at least three initiatives to resolve the crisis. In fact, a peace accord brokered by Gulf states offering him a dignified exit and a fresh start for Yemen has been ready for months. Saleh twice came close to inking it but opted out at the last minute. He simply refuses to see that he cannot be part of a solution. He is the problem.

Clearly, the world community needs to take some bold and effective steps — and fast — to break this impasse in Yemen and bring the much-needed reprieve to its people. The silence and inaction of the international community only emboldens the discredited regime in Sanaa. The United States must stop treating Saleh with kid gloves. Unfortunately, it has been more concerned with the “war on terror,” building its military bases and expanding drone attacks and military campaign against Al-Qaeda. But the longer the world remains silent over the brutality of regimes like that of Yemen and Syria, the more innocents are killed. Silence kills — literally.

Saleh the mass murderer returns to Yemen from Saudi Arabia: state media

Filed under: Presidency, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 12:55 am on Friday, September 23, 2011

He is like a sickness, a disease that has plagued Yemen for 30 years and is killing it now. He is a walking disaster. How could the Saudis let him leave? There’s going to be a lot of blood shed before he goes again. We are going on five straight days of violence already. Saleh paid AQAP to take over Zinjibar, there is no doubt. When is there going to be a US policy in Yemen that is forward looking and matches the realities on the ground?

SANAA, Yemen — Yemeni state television and radio say President Ali Abdullah Saleh has returned to the country from Saudi Arabia after an absence of more than three months following a rocket attack on his compound.

The media say Saleh arrived in Sanaa by private plane at dawn on Friday, as heavy fighting raged in the Yemeni capital. There were no other details.

Saleh left Yemen for Saudi Arabia in June, after he was seriously injured in an attack on his presidential compound.

Yemen’s turmoil began in February as the unrest spreading through the Arab world set off largely peaceful protests in the deeply impoverished and unstable country.

Maybe Saleh took Obama’s UN speech (defining the enemy of the Yemeni people as a corrupt system and the solution as early elections) as a green light: “In Yemen, men, women and children gather by the thousands in towns and city squares every day with the hope that their determination and spilled blood will prevail over a corrupt system. America supports those aspirations. We must work with Yemen’s neighbors and our partners around the world to seek a path that allows for a peaceful transition of power from President Saleh, and a movement to free and fair elections as soon as possible.” ( Politico)

Conversely, maybe the US’s giddy statements last week (Brennan, Nuland) anticipating the VP’s signing the GCC accord on Monday irked him.

US, SA continue push for immunity as death toll mounts

Filed under: Protest Fatalities, Saudi Arabia, USA — by Jane Novak at 4:41 am on Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Its just unbelievable that the US keeps re-upping the immunity deal as people are being slaughtered in the streets. It shows the lack of value the US places on Yemeni lives. Its a free pass to murder. The drone campaign shows a similar callousness. Are Yemenis less than human or just not quite as human as Americans? The US position is all the worse considering the complicity of the Saleh regime in creating the AQAP threat to the US and Yemen.

Yemen: Protester Killings Show Perils of Immunity Deal
Rights Council Should Call for UN Monitors

(New York, September 20, 2011) – Yemeni security forces used excessive force when they opened fire on anti-government protesters in Sanaa on September 18, 2011, and in Taizz on September 19, killing at least 27 and wounding hundreds, Human Rights Watch said today. Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that security forces in Sanaa first sprayed demonstrators with sewage, and then, after protesters responded by throwing rocks, fired directly on them without warning, using rocket-propelled grenades as well as assault rifles and heavy machine guns.

The attacks began six days after President Ali Abdullah Saleh authorized his vice president to resume negotiations on a Gulf Cooperation Council-brokered accord, backed by the United States and the European Union, under which the president would resign in exchange for immunity from prosecution for any crime. The immunity deal would extend to Saleh’s relatives, who control key security forces, including Central Security. Negotiators should ensure that a resignation deal does not include immunity from international crimes, including crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch said, especially in light of the continuing, unjustified lethal attacks by security forces on largely peaceful anti-government protesters. (Read on …)

Republican Guard flees base, Saleh meets king

Filed under: Protest Fatalities, Sana'a, Saudi Arabia, Security Forces, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 3:41 am on Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Saleh meets Saudi king for the first time since June, as reports emerge of Saudi weapons and vehicle shipment to Yemen.

M&C: Cairo/Sana’a – Thousands of opposition protesters backed by military defectors late Monday seized a base of the elite Republican Guards who are loyal to President Ali Abdallah Saleh in the capital, Arab media reported.

Just hours after 32 protesters were killed by Yemeni troops, the protesters and ex-soldiers stormed the base without firing a single shot, Al Arabiya quoted witnesses as saying. The Republican guards fled the base, leaving their weapons behind, the channel said.

Ahram: Forces of Yemen’s embattled president Ali Abdullah Salih fired on unarmed demonstrators elsewhere in the capital, killing scores, wounding hundreds and sparking international condemnation.

The protesters, joined by soldiers from the renegade 1st Armored Division, stormed the base Monday without firing a single shot, according to witnesses and security officials.

Some carried sticks and rocks. They used sandbags to erect barricades to protect their comrades from the possibility of weapons fire from inside the base, but none came and the Republican Guards eventually fled, leaving their weapons behind.

Although the base was not particularly large _ the Republican Guards have bigger ones in the capital and elsewhere in Yemen _ its capture buoyed the protesters’ spirits and signaled what could be the start of the collapse of President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 33-year-old regime.

Saudi al Qaeda Qahtani surrenders from Yemen

Filed under: Counter-terror, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, obits, surrenders — by Jane Novak at 4:19 am on Monday, September 19, 2011

also two wanted Saudis killed in Zinjibar, see SG

Al Arabyia: An alleged al-Qaeda member who is one of 47 on an Interpol wanted list has said he will turn himself in, the Saudi interior ministry said on Sunday.

“The wanted man Mujab Mohammed Jamal al-Qahtani has called his family telling them of his decision and asking them for help to return home and hand himself over,” said a ministry spokesman in comments carried by state news agency SPA.

“Security services have arranged for his arrival and for reuniting him with his family upon his return,” the spokesman said in the statement, which gave no details on Qahtani’s current whereabouts or when he will return.

He will be dealt with “according to the procedures followed in similar cases, and his initiative will be taken into consideration when looking into his case,” the spokesman said.

Saudis funded Islahis in al Jawf for battles against Houthis

Filed under: Dammaj, Islah, Media, Sa'ada, Saudi Arabia, al Jawf — by Jane Novak at 12:34 pm on Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The following interview with the manager of Saada Radio gives a glimpse into Saada and al Jawf including the recent clashes between the Houthis and local Islahis:

Yemen Times
Q: But, some locals in Sa’ada told us that the Houthis do not allow anyone to air an opinion against them, for instance, describing them as Twelver Shiites.

A: First of all it is misleading to say that the Houthis are Twelver Shiites. They are not. They are Zaydis.

Are you a Houthi?

No I’m not Houthi, I’m a state-employee at Sa’ada Radio. We used to be against the Houthis. I’m Zaydi and over 99 percent of the population in Sa’ada is Zaydi, but there is no group here called Twelver Shiites.

And it is not true that the Houthis prohibit others from expressing their opinions. If this were true, they would prevent the Salafists from practicing their traditions such as Taraweeh prayer [a prayer done at night during Ramadan after the Al-Esha festival], which does not exist in the Zaydi school.

But if you went to Sa’ada today, you would find the religious traditions of both Zaydis and Salafists performed in their mosques with no problems. They are not going to bring their prayers out of the mosque and argue that our Zaydi School approves of this religious practice. And not only Salafists, but Islahis practice there as well.

There is also hard-core group of Salafists called Muqbil group. They are extremists and they have their school in Damaj, Sa’ada. They carry out their traditions in complete freedom. (Read on …)

Saudi most wanted terrorsts in Zinjibar, Abyan, Yemen

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, Islamic Imirate, Saudi Arabia, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:32 am on Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Throwing all Saudi related AQAP news here: (Read on …)

UN fails to issue war crimes indictment for Saleh, issues statement about Al Qaeda

Filed under: Donors, UN, Saudi Arabia, UK, USA, Yemen, protest statements, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 6:55 pm on Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Unbelievable!! UN Envoy Jamal Benomar was in Yemen twice, for weeks, supposedly to conduct an investigation. He issued his report today, and apparently failed to recommend a war crimes trial for Saleh or even freezing his assets. Instead the UN SC issues a statement deploring the humanitarian situation and expressing concerns about al Qaeda. One of the opposition politicians called Benomar “Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UN,” and I see why.

“All parties” cannot form “an inclusive government,” because Saleh and his regime have been excluded by the Yemeni people, who have a right to determine their own government. “Saleh’s followers” are his western-armed family and paid operatives. Saleh and his family are the problem and not part of the solution. The UN SC supports the GCC plan which is never going to happen without the consent of the governed, and they don’t consent. And after Saleh rejected it three times, the US, UN, UK are just looking foolish for acting as if there’s some shred of credibility to anything Saleh says. There’s not and has never been. What a total failure international efforts have been; well if their goal is slowing and delaying the transition then I guess they’ve worked as planned so far.

Al-Qaeda threat in Yemen: UN


August 10, 2011 –
: The UN Security Council says al-Qaeda could exploit the power vacuum in Yemen to gain an even greater foothold in the country.

The 15-nation council urged followers of ailing president Ali Abdullah Saleh and the opposition to quickly settle Yemen’s fate because of the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in the country.

The UN body gave strong support to efforts by the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council to end the Yemen crisis. (Read on …)

Yemen’s Saleh released from hospital, stays in Saudi

Filed under: Post Saleh, Presidency, Saudi Arabia, Transition, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:48 am on Sunday, August 7, 2011

Its ironic that the racist Saleh, who laughingly called southerners “Somalis” as an insult, is several shades darker now. Its funny that jurists are arguing if he has been incompetent for 60 days, which constitutionally triggers new elections, when Saleh has been incompetent for decades. Its pathetic that the shriveled up old megalomaniac thinks he and his family can still rule.

Related post by News of the Yemeni Revolution, a great site for hourly updates from across Yemen in English on FB: “Deputy Secretary-General of the Preparatory Committee for National Dialogue, Sakhr Alwajeeh, denied what was confirmed by the US ambassador in Sana’a on undisclosed negotiations between the ruling party and the opposition. Alwajeeh confirmed that there are no negotiations at all for the transfer of power between the opposition parties (JMP) and the ruling party (GCP).”

NYR later notes the mythical negotiations got stuck when the GPC insisted Saleh will transfer his power as head of the ruling party, which was rejected by the JMP who require Saleh transfer his presidential powers. Saleh’s side has never negotiated in good faith and will never carry out an agreement in good faith. The JMP has never been an effective mechanism of representation It was the failure of the entire political system, the JMP and GPC, that brought about the revolution. Negotiations between these two sides is not the solution–the solution as the youth said from day one is for Saleh and his family to go.

8/6 RIYADH AFP — Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh left hospital Saturday, more than two months after he was wounded in a bombing at his Sanaa residence, but he will remain in Riyadh, a Saudi official told AFP.

“The Yemeni president left the military hospital this evening at 9:00 pm (1800 GMT) after receiving the necessary treatment and was taken to a temporary residence for a recovery period,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

He did not say how long Saleh would stay, as an uprising continues in Yemen against his government.

Saleh was admitted to the Saudi military hospital the day after the June 3 attack on his official residence. He appeared on television on July 7 for the first time since the bombing, covered in bandages.

Three days later, he was shown on television receiving John Brennan, US President Barack Obama’s top counter-terrorism adviser. Saleh was in better shape than in his earlier appearance, although burns on his face were still visible.

The White House said Brennan had called on Saleh during the meeting to sign a transition plan sponsored by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that would see him cede power within 30 days in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

Since Saleh’s departure to Saudi Arabia, Yemeni Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi has assumed power but has not been designated the de facto head of state.

The opposition, meanwhile, has called for the creation of an interim council, to prevent Saleh’s return.

Saudi al Qaeda surrenders

Filed under: Saudi Arabia, TI: External, Yemen, other jihaddists, prince, surrenders — by Jane Novak at 5:38 pm on Thursday, August 4, 2011

Excellent lets hop ehe brought back a substantial amount of inside information on AQAP. Maybe all their questionable practices like dressing up like women,

Riyadh, 4 Aug. (AKI) – A Saudi fugitive accused of being a member Al-Qaeda and hiding in neighbouring Yemen recently turned himself in to police in Saudi Arabia, according to newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat. (Read on …)

Aden, Yemen bomber identified as Saudi al Qaeda Turki al Sharani

Filed under: Islamic Imirate, Saudi Arabia, obits, security timeline, suicide attacks — by Jane Novak at 9:54 am on Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Odd the explosives expert would kill himself, normally these cowards send brainwashed teenagers to do the dirty work. We have al Shahrani showing up several times on the lists of the Saudi Most Wanted. Yemen is becoming the proxy location for the conflict between the Saudi royals and the Saudi fanatics. Related: Wahishi pledges AQAP loyalty to Zawaheri, a tad late no? Jealous or under pressure maybe. Wahishi notes both the government and the opposition support the drone campaign.

Yemen Post: The Yemeni authorities identified the bomber who rammed an explosive-laden car into a military convoy on Monday in Aden as Turki Saad Muhammad Qulais Al-Shahrani. (Read on …)

Obama policies drive Yemeni protesters to boycott

Filed under: Counter-terror, Post Saleh, Saudi Arabia, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:32 am on Tuesday, July 26, 2011

boycott3.jpg

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

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

US intransience is thought to be linked to efforts to salvage hundreds of millions of dollars spent to train and equip Yemeni counter terror forces under the direction of Saleh’s relatives, known as The Four Thugs.

Protesters charge the US trained counter-terror forces have perpetrated many of the many fatal attacks on the civilian population. US military officials have said they have seen no direct evidence. The US has seen very little return on its investment as the security forces are riddled with al Qaeda supporters.

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

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

By Jane Novak, Yemen Headlines Examiner

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