Armies of Liberation

Jane Novak's blog about Yemen

Good luck to Yemeni President Hadi!

Filed under: Donors, UN, Investment, Pres Hadi, UK, USA — by Jane Novak at 8:47 am on Sunday, September 23, 2012

President Hadi arrived today in the UK, its his first stop due to the two nations’ long historic ties. The Yemeni interim president is facing monumental challenges and hopefully the trip will garner real support for a civil state in Yemen and cement a self-development strategy beneficial to all Yemenis.

SANAA, Sept. 22 — Yemen’s President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi will head to the United States next week, as the first trip to the U.S. since taking power in February, a Yemeni government official said on Saturday. (Read on …)

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 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 …)

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 …)

PR firm Bell Pottinger confirms work for Yemen government

Filed under: Transition, UK, USA, Yemen's Lies — by Jane Novak at 10:44 pm on Thursday, July 28, 2011

From War and Peace in the ME: “Bell Pottinger, the British public relations firm, is working for the government of Yemen, the company’s chairman Lord Bell confirmed to Robert Booth.” While they are not working directly for Saleh, but some new mystery division of the Yemeni government, the stated goal is to obtain a favorable transition including immunity for Saleh’s many war crimes both before and after the revolution began. How do you spin bombing a refugee camp? And then bombing a hospital? Denying food to tens of thousands and then openly stating that its a tactic to pressure the residents to expel rebels? Saada War 6 is enough to convict Saleh not to mention 1-5, the violence against southerners, thousands of isolated crimes and the hundreds of deaths since February.

The PR firm is carrying out communications work for an unnamed special entity that has been created within the Yemen government to ensure a transition to newly elected government.

It is unclear which part of the government the firm, but the goal of the communications campaign appears to be in line with a proposal by the Saudi-led Gulf Co-operation Council for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to stand down in return immunity from prosecution. (Read on …)

Yemen’s butcher, Ali Saleh hires PR firm Bell Pottinger (& Qorvis) amid murder of journo and protesters

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Media, Targeting, UK, USA, Yemen, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 12:39 pm on Sunday, July 24, 2011

In tandem with attacking the media to prevent the real news from escaping Yemen, Field Marshal Saleh hired a PR firm notorious for white washing dictators. One standard tactic is to plant positive op-eds and TV guests. We’ll have to track who gets bought off.

Saleh’s ongoing murder of over 500 protesters since the start of the revolution is exceeded by his war crimes prior (bombing refugee camps etc.) Saleh’s family’s coordination with al Qaeda is well documented as are his criminal networks and looting of the budget. Rebranding Saleh is like rebranding Saddam.

Over 450 serious attacks on journalists have been recorded in the last six months. Fire destroyed the building housing HOOD the leading Human Rights organization, and all its archives on July 18. The deliberate and often random murder of Yemeni citizens is a near daily occurrence over the last months. Security forces containing the CT units under Saleh’s son and nephews have bombed, shot, beaten and burned people alive, including children.

“President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s regime has hired British PR firm Bell Pottinger , through a subcontract from US PR firm Qorvis to promote a better image for the regime in the US and Europe. Bell Pottinger has hired a big suite inside the Sheba Hotel. The company is received about US 2 million per month from Saleh’s family for publishing articles in international newspapers to improve Saleh’s image and employing its relations with US congressmen in favour of the regime. This is part of Saleh’s regime’s better utilisation the country resources and assistance. I am wondering if these companies can prove the image of Yemeni People as terrorists.” More here (ar).

Yemen Post Over the last week, one journalist killed, another escaped an assassination attempt, two were attacked, and the biggest law firm defending journalist rights in Yemen was burnt to ashes….More than 60 newspapers have shut down in three months after security forces confiscate and burn thousands its of newspaper copies. Al-Neda newspaper office was attacked by gunmen and property was damaged…This comes as government spokesperson Abdu Ganadi accused journalists in Yemen are serving foreign agendas.

Second car bombing this week in Aden Yemen, a frequent AQAP tactic

Filed under: Aden, Counter-terror, Military, UK, security timeline, suicide attacks — by Jane Novak at 11:52 am on Sunday, July 24, 2011

Wednesday a British worker was killed when his car exploded in a terror attack and today, Sunday, a car bomb rammed a military convoy, killing 8. There were many messages of outrage and condolences posted by Yemenis regarding the murder of the British national. Car bombings are a hallmark of the so called AQAP: the tactic was used in the attacks on two oil facilities in September 2006, on tourists in Marib were killed in July 2007, in the bombing at the Sayoun police station in July 2008. The September US embassy attack also included car bombs, as did the suicide attack on a Zaidi religious procession organized by the Houthis in November 2010 which killed 17. That’s off the top of my head. (Yemen released those murderers responsible for training the driver who carried out the 2007 car bombing which killed two Spanish tourists in Marib after two years in jail, if they even served that much time.)

On Wednesday, a car bomb killed David Tom, David Mockett who worked as a marine surveyer through his office in Al-Mualla St, detonated when he left his office. It was followed by an attack today on a military convoy.

Yemen Post An explosive-laden car was rammed into a military convoy on Sunday morning in Yemen’s business capital Aden killing at least six people including soldiers and the attacker, eyewitnesses were quoted as saying.

Almost twenty others were injured, the website said, quoting medical sources as saying that the death toll is likely to rise.

The suicide attack took place near an air force camp in Al-Mansoura district while it was heading to Abyan province, where the army has been fighting Islamists for almost two months, it quoted military sources as saying.

Brits just as loco as US regarding Yemen

Filed under: UK, UK amb, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:55 am on Sunday, July 24, 2011

Wow, a Yemen Times interview with the new British ambassador (Wilks) demonstrates the inane talking points of the US/UK position:

1- he urges the opposition not to engage in violence, fails to note all the violence has been perpetrated or initiated by the state forces

2- he says if the Saleh family refuses to engage in dialog, the UK will urge them some more (how’s that working for you?)

3- he urges youth to hold elections for representatives, when the state has been unable since 2006. Parliamentary elections slated for 2009 had to be postponed for two years and there wasn’t even a revolution then. Gee, maybe something like a council might work in this situation.

4- he urges elections but wont recognize the leaders if elected unless it is according to the UK’s plan

5- the UK’s plan is to support inclusive dialog, the magic potion, with no plan B, and here it is six months later and there’s still no plan B.

6- he says Yemen prone to chaos but no chaos by the protesters occurred since protests began; its Saleh’s regime that is prone to chaos.

7- he says the politicians have all the power to resolve the crisis, and over looks the support of the people who are to be governed by them-ie, the UK is urging Yemenis to replace one illegitimate govt with another.

8- he is annoyed by blame on the international community ??!! for not sorting out the problems. Wow, just wow, I think just shut up and stop supporting and legitimizing the failed regime is all anybody wants.

9- He is waiting for a basic agreement? theres been one since Feb but Saleh and Obama rejected it, its been written and presented time and time again. The protesters want a transitional council. Oh, does he mean Saleh should agree to be overthrown? Its a strawman position. (The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person’s actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position.)

10- “The political process in Yemen should not just be about seats in government, it should be about dealing with the fundamental economic crisis in the country.” Is it an economic crisis or a glut of corruption that bankrupted the country? Q) Why is there an economic crisis? A) No reform, no diversification, subsidies, poor education, no spending on basic services and elite capture of all resources. The structures of patronage and corruption must be shattered for any hope of an economic recovery. There can be no economic reform without political reform and there’s no hope of political reform without regime change: the last decade has demonstrated the immutability of that truth.

11- The ambassador’s experience of getting kidnapped/besieged by an angry mob of regime thugs was no problem, he smoked and ate and went home. That’s just a great attitude. When Iran captures your ship again, we’ll know its not a problem. I guess the two “al-Qaeda” attacks on Amb. Torlott were no biggie either, when we all know who sent those brainwashed teenagers to bounce off the motorcade, twice.

12- he says freezing assets requires reviewing the UN report on human rights to see its conclusions; so the UK doesn’t know right now whether Saleh’s regime has engaged in human rights violations against the protesters? Uh, there’s over 500 dead, there’s video, eyewitness accounts and reports by HRW.

I had to stop when I got to “no evidence” of UK trained CT forces violating human rights, its both comical and infuriating. Now I know why my British friends are also sputtering. Its a load of propaganda. The entire population of Yemen knows it; they should include the UK in their impending boycott and demand Wilk’s expulsion when they demand Feierstein’s. Full text of the interview below for posterity’s sake:


Armed with his M.Phil in International Relations from St. Antony’s College, Oxford University, and around 22 years of diplomatic experience since joining the British Diplomatic Service in 1989, Ambassador Jon Wilks presents as a capable person who can understand Yemen and all its complexities. He speaks fluent Arabic which he mastered in the early nineties in Cairo, a skill that has come very handy in Yemeni qat chewing sessions with officials, diplomats, activists and Yemeni leaders. (Read on …)

EU condemns and deplores yesterdays events in Yemen

Filed under: Diplomacy, Transition, UK, political violence, protest statements — by Jane Novak at 7:32 am on Monday, May 23, 2011

I wonder if Saleh understands that jeopardizing the lives of the diplomats is a worse breech than not signing?

YP: Council adopted the following conclusions:
“The European Union is following events in Yemen with extreme concern. (Read on …)

Yemen frees convicted terrorists after two years in jail for murdering Spanish tourists

Filed under: Counter-terror, UK, Yemen, Yemen's Lies, arrests, suicide attacks — by Jane Novak at 8:19 am on Saturday, May 14, 2011

Its unbelievable. These are the guys who were initially repeatedly proclaimed to be going on trial for the pedestrian suicide attack on then UK ambassador Tim Torlott’s convoy. (The attack was widely thought to be a false flag attack by the Yemeni government using its terrorist connections and some clueless teenager to send a message to the UK regarding support for the south.) But the defendants were eventually charged with a hodgepodge of crimes in Marib (which may or may not include the July 2007 car bomb that killed eight Spanish tourists). They were tried in a group that included Badr al Hassani who stated that he was paid by the PSO to train terrorists in Marib in hand to hand combat. The court ordered the Marib Deputy Chief of the PSO to appear in court and then the whole thing just faded away, as it often does in Yemen. Earlier reporting here .

SANA’A, May 13 (Saba) – The Specialized Criminal Division in the capital Sana’a is to start on Sunday its first hearing to consider the appeal of two al-Qaeda suspects convicted of carrying out terrorist acts.

On March 15, the Specialized Penal Court in the capital Sana’a sentenced each of Saddam Hussein al-Rimi and Rami Hermel Hans (German nationality) two years from the date of their arrest.

The court ordered them to be put under police surveillance and prevented them from traveling to any province after their release for two years, after they were convicted of committing terrorist attacks on foreign tourists, facilities and interests in Marib province during (2008-2010).

So they got a two year sentence for murdering foreign tourists, which included time served. Now they are free but not allowed to leave the country.

For more see, Yemeni al Qaeda leader: State conducts terror attacks dtd 12/3/08:

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.

Fast forward to today and we have the US government fighting tooth and nail to keep this lying, double dealing, murderous dirtbag in his post despite the fact that the US trained Yemeni counter terror forces are shooting unarmed teenagers in the head because they are demanding democracy. It is thought a more representative Yemeni government would be less liberal in granting CT permissions to the US.

GCC and Brits meet protesters representatives

Filed under: UK, Yemen, protests — by Jane Novak at 12:35 pm on Friday, April 8, 2011

Saleh trashes the GCC proposal, feels somewhat insulted by the language. He’s never going to get a better deal. He has to exit the country immediately. He’s murdering citizens right and left. Saleh has no legitimacy anymore. He’s got to go.

AJE: Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen’s embattled president, has rejected a plan for his exit offered by Gulf states trying to broker an end to bloody protests, in a speech broadcast on state television.

“We were born free, and we have free will, and they have to respect our wishes. We reject any coup against democracy, the constitution and our freedom,” he told supporters on Friday. (Read on …)

Awlaki sought airliner info from BA employee

Filed under: TI: External, UK, UPS bombs, US jihaddis, anwar — by Jane Novak at 10:10 am on Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Awlaki expressed a strong preference for US targets. See also Critical Threats’ overview of Awlaki, with 104 endnotes.

London (CNN) — Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki tried get information from a British Airways worker for use in a plot to blow up planes, preferably in the United States, prosecutors in London said Tuesday at the trial of the BA employee.

Rajib Karim, 31, exchanged e-mails with the militant cleric — who’s believed to have close ties with al Qaeda — in which al-Awlaki asked him for “limitations and cracks in present airport security systems” with an eye to targeting the United States, prosecutors said. (Read on …)

The Rise of North Yemeni Islamism in Birmingham, U.K.

Filed under: Education, Religious, South Yemen, UK, Yemen, other jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 1:03 pm on Monday, January 10, 2011

Nu’man Abd al-Wahid: The Rise of North Yemeni Islamism in Birmingham, U.K.
Published by Diane Warth on 30 November 2010

by Nu’man Abd al-Wahid

One of the reasons generally given for the rise of extreme Islamism is the Arab defeat at the hands of Israel in 1967 in the six day war.

It is theorised that, from this defeat (or Naksa as the Arabs refer to it), loomed the beginning of the end of Arab Nationalism and other, largely secular ideologies, which had hitherto led the struggle to liberate the Middle East from western domination and zionist colonialism. This defeat created the vacuum political Islamism has supposedly filled since. (Read on …)

New Yemeni Ambassador in the UK

Filed under: Ministries, Presidency, UK — by Jane Novak at 8:19 pm on Thursday, December 9, 2010

When will they change the UN and US ambassadors, both Saleh’s brother-in-laws from various of his four wives who have been ensconced for ages and ages?

LONDON, Dec.09 (Saba) – Queen Elizabeth II received at her Buckingham Palace in London credentials of the new Yemeni ambassador to the United Kingdom Abdullah Ali Al-Redhi.

The ambassador conveyed greetings of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his wishes for the queen, her family and people of the United Kingdom all success and progress…For her part, Queen Elizabeth II hailed the bilateral relations between the friendly countries and the level which has been achieved ,welcoming and hoping him all success in his tenure.

Three al Qaeda listed by Interior Ministry in attack on UK Ambassador, Update 100K reward for 8

Filed under: Counter-terror, Marib, UK, UK amb, Yemen, shabwa — by Jane Novak at 10:55 am on Saturday, December 4, 2010

Just adding the names to the database in case they show up three years from now on the local council. The three are wanted in the second pedestrian suicide attack on the UK ambassador. The six on trial including Badr al Hassani were initially touted as the perpetrators but were charged with vague crimes. That trial may just evaporate before the the PSO deputy director in Marib is called to testify about his payments to Hassani. Also below the fold various rewards offered for the capture of AQAP operatives.

Interior circulate the names of 3 of the al-Qaeda targeted the British Ambassador
الخميس, 02-ديسمبر-2010 – 11:05:58 Thursday, 2002 – December -2010 – 11:05:58
نبأ نيوز- صنعاء – Naba News – Sana’a -

وذكر مركز الإعلام الأمني أن المطلوبين الثلاثة الذين عممت عنهم قيادة الوزارة هم: The Center for Information Security that the three wanted persons who circulated them the leadership of the ministry are:
1. محمد صالح محمد علي المطري 1. Mohammed Saleh Mohammed Ali Matari
2. محمد عبد الرحيم عبد الله الشميري 2. Mohammad Abdul Rahim Abdullah Shamiri
3. عثمان سراج عبد الله. 3. Uthman Siraj Abdullah.
ورجحت المعلومات إن يكون المطلوبين أمنياً متواجدين الآن في محافظتي شبوة ومأرب. And information likely to be online now wanted security in the provinces of Shabwa and Marib.

More data storage (Read on …)

Yemeni Walid al Saqaf, “a hero of the web changing the world”

Filed under: Media, Targeting, UK — by Jane Novak at 10:37 am on Sunday, November 28, 2010

That’s damned straight, and I love the Guardian’s headline: The internet’s cyber radicals: heroes of the web changing the world The article profiles Walid al Saqqaf, former editor of the Yemen Times and the creator of Yemen Portal, a site which bypasses the government’s internet censorship in Yemen, aggregates news stories on Yemen, has a feature to automatically translate Arabic articles to English and publishes the full content of the websites blocked in Yemen. Then for kicks he invented Al Kasir “the circumventor,” a downloadable application which works globally to bypass censorship. Nice. Maybe that makes him a cyber radical but without queston, Walid al Saqqaf is a hero who changed the world for the better.

A generation of political activists have been transformed by new tools developed on the internet. Here, a leading net commentator profiles seven young radicals from around the world….


The 37-year old Yemeni activist is the creator of Yemen Portal and of software used to circumvent firewalls.

What is Yemen Portal? (Read on …)

Abu Hamza still a Brit

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, UK, USA, hostages, security timeline — by Jane Novak at 12:04 pm on Sunday, November 7, 2010

Like the USS Cole bombers, all the surviving member of the Aden Abyan Islamic Army who kidnapped 16 western tourists in 1998 were ultimately released. The US is trying to get Abu Hamza to the US to stand trial.

NY Times: A British government ruling stripping the Egyptian-born Muslim cleric known as Abu Hamza al-Masri of his British citizenship was struck down Friday by a special immigration court. But government officials said the court’s action would not affect the government’s plan to extradite the cleric to the United States, where he is wanted on terrorism charges. (Read on …)

UPS Cargo Plot: Or the tip came from Afghanistan and goal was Lockerbie 2, Updated: Saudis say al Fayfi flipped

Filed under: Counter-terror, Saudi Arabia, UK, UPS bombs, USA — by Jane Novak at 9:33 pm on Saturday, October 30, 2010

Updated: Saudi sources indicate Al Fayfi flipped entirely after his surrender to the Saudis and was the source for the info on the parcel plot: Shaharah Saudi sources said that Alfaifi which occupies the number (20) in the wanted list of the most dangerous to the Kingdom of the Queen has revealed all information related to the transaction in exchange for not punishing him for trial and to ensure his release after the remand prison in the center of care and counseling.

Original: This Express article has an entirely different origin for the intel tip that began the search for the UPS packages–Afghanistan, where a bunch of intel dudes in a converted shipping container managed to save the world from Lockerbie 2. The significance of this scenario if true is that it would pin the attack back to Afghanistan/ Pakistan border area. The most significant global terror event prior to the UPS plot was the al Qaeda summit in Wazeristan that brought together Saif al Adel, Saed bin Laden, a variety of characters including Brits and Germans and our Yemen representative, the potentially former Fahd al Quso.

And this would make sense to the extent that AQAP learned to handle PETN from a Pakistani bomb expert, and there was another Pakistani who trained them on poison gasses, according to the governor of Abyan in an interview last year. The operational ties between the two organizations are significant.

Express: AL Qaeda bomb plotters hoped to stage a Lockerbie-style outrage over Britain.

Explosives found inside a modified printer ink cartridge on board a cargo plane at East Midlands ­Airport were primed to detonate in mid-air. The device was active when counter-terror police swooped on the aircraft early on Friday. Yemen-based terrorists had built the bomb to go off in British air space, just like the Lockerbie atrocity of 1988 which killed 270 people.

Home Secretary Theresa May yesterday said: “I can confirm that the device was viable and could have ­exploded. The target may have been an aircraft and had it it detonated, the aircraft could have been brought down.” ——– The alert was triggered by intelligence from a unit of GCHQ surveillance experts stationed in Afghanistan, the Sunday Express can reveal. Operating from a converted shipping container in Helmand, the team picked up the words “A wedding gift is being delivered”.

The phrase is an Al Qaeda code meaning a bomb is in transit. With the help of Saudi agents, GCHQ alerted MI6, which raised the alarm in London and Washington.

And investigators are taking a second look at the recent UPS cargo plane crash in Dubai on 9/3/10. Update: the packages were on two prior to arriving in the UAE and Inspire contained the words “cargo planes.”

WASHINGTON – Al Qaeda’s franchise in Yemen offered a hint only a week ago for why they would target U.S.-bound cargo planes, the Daily News can reveal. That’s the type of American aircraft that delivered one of its Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s “commanders” to prison in Guantanamo Bay after the 9/11 attacks. AQAP leader Uthman al-Ghamidi wrote in the new issue of the online “Inspire” magazine that he was flown “onboard a cargo plane for a long journey” in 2002 from Afghanistan to the U.S. naval base in Cuba. Read more: NYDN

WSJ Officials said the two packages intercepted on Friday appeared to contain as much as four to six times the amount of PETN as AQAP used in the Christmas Day plot. Investigators believe both of the packages were shipped by individuals with possible links to the Yemen American Institute for Languages-Computer-Management, known as YAI, or the American Center for Training and Development, or ACT, officials said.

New UK Ambassador to Yemen

Filed under: Diplomacy, UK, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:01 pm on Thursday, September 30, 2010

Resisting all snarky comments, Yemen Post

The United Kingdom has appointed a new ambassador to Yemen to succeed the current envoy Tim Torlot who would be transferred to another appointment, the UK embassy in Sana’a reported on Wednesday.

Jonathan Wilks, 52, will start his new position in October. Wilks is a specialist in the Middle East and North Africa affairs. He has held posts in Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

This month, Gerald M. Feierstein delivered his credentials as the new U.S. ambassador to Yemen. Prior to his appointment, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Friends of Yemen Pledges Political Support, UK Warns of Massive Dangers

Filed under: Diplomacy, Donors, UN, GCC, UK, USA — by Jane Novak at 7:30 am on Saturday, September 25, 2010

The only solution for Yemen is a caretaker government, as I have previously written. There must be a transition of power or things will continue to decline. If the US wants to address the root causes of terrorism in Yemen, sooner or later they are going to have to own up to the Saleh issue.

VOA British Minister of State for International Development Alan Duncan said after Friday’s meeting that Yemen’s stability is one of the most pressing international issues right now. (Read on …)

Plotters of the pedestrian suicide attack on UK Amb Torlot to trial

Filed under: TI: Internal, UK, UK amb, arrests — by Jane Novak at 12:16 pm on Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The same failed AQAP strategy that they employed in the attack on South Korean convoy.

SANAA (Yemen) – THE trial of a German, a Syrian and two Yemenis allegedly linked to a failed suicide attack on Britain’s ambassador in Yemen will begin next week, a judicial source said on Tuesday.

‘On Monday, four Al-Qaeda militants, among them a German and a Syrian, suspected of attempting to assassinate the British ambassador, will appear in court,’ a judicial source told AFP. (Read on …)

Saudi War Crimes in Sa’ada, Yemen Used UK Planes

Filed under: Saada War, Saudi Arabia, UK, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:53 pm on Thursday, September 2, 2010

Yes, Saudi Arabia was indiscriminately bombing residential areas in Yemen for months. UK Press

Tornado fighter-bombers supplied by the UK to Saudi Arabia are “extremely likely” to have been used in attacks on civilians in Yemen, human rights campaigners have said.

Amnesty International UK called for the Government to suspend all arms supplies to Saudi Arabia pending a full investigation.

The UK must ensure that any support it has provided for the jet fighters “did not facilitate violations of international humanitarian law, including possible war crimes, by the Saudi Arabian air force,” it said. (Read on …)

Yemeni President Saleh in the UK

Filed under: Presidency, UK — by Jane Novak at 12:54 pm on Wednesday, August 11, 2010

hip hip cheerio

LONDON, Aug. 11 (Saba) – President Ali Abdullah Saleh arrived on Wednesday in Britain’s capital, London, on a visit during which he is meeting Prime Minister David Cameron and other senior UK officials. The talks will focus on the bilateral relationship and ways to boost cooperation in all areas. (Read on …)

American among foreigners rounded up in Yemen including Australian woman

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Judicial, TI: External, UK, USA, airliner, anwar, arrests — by Jane Novak at 7:25 pm on Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Several other foreigners were arrested in Yemen including Americans, Brits, French, Asians and Africans, at the behest of foreign intelligence agencies. Yemeni security said the group was linked to the Nigerian’s airliner terror plot and Anwar Awlaki who repeatedly announces how proud he is to have been Abdulmattalab’s “teacher.”

An Australian woman, Shyloh Giddins, was arrested in Yemen May 15. Her two children are under house arrest alone, with a neighbor tending to them twice a day. Giddens was associated with some Bengali citizens who were later deported from Yemen. ”

Yemen holds Americans, others in al-Qaida probe

SAN’A, Yemen — Yemeni authorities have detained several foreigners, including Americans, Britons and an Australian woman, in connection with an investigation into al-Qaida’s increased activity in the country, security officials said Wednesday.

The arrests were made after foreign intelligence agencies provided lists of names of people they wanted detained or put under surveillance, the two security officials said. (Read on …)

Updated: British Ambassador’s Would be Murderer Studied in the UK? No, in Jail.

Filed under: UK, UK amb — by Jane Novak at 10:28 am on Tuesday, April 27, 2010

(Update: its his brother at university in the UK.)The, a Web site linked to Yemen’s military and security service, identified the suicide bomber in Monday’s attack on a convoy carrying the British Ambassador as Othman Ali al-Selwi, a 22-year-old student from the southern city of Taiz.

(Head of Central Security and presidential nephew) Yahya Saleh’s newspaper, Naba News reports the suicide bomber studied in Britain for nearly two years on a scholarship awarded by the British embassy and returned to Yemen a few months ago. He had no overt extremist leanings his family said. Naba’s sources theorize that he was radicalized in the UK or else the bombing was a reaction to a personal issue with the Embassy related to his studies.

Other sources say the 22-year old al Selwi was imprisoned in Sana’a and he paid regular visits to the National Security’s headquarters in Sana’a upon his release. News Yemen reports that al Selwi attended a technical institute in Marib after he graduated high school and was jailed for two years in a PSO jail on charges of belonging to al Qaeda.

This, though, is a ridiculous suggestion: WaPo: A statement by the Yemeni Embassy in Washington suggested that the attack may have been in retaliation for a Yemeni operation that killed two suspected al-Qaeda operatives in the western city of Hodeida on April 18.

If we recall, the two “al Qaeda operatives” killed were carrying IDs from the National Security and one was an agent of the Central Security.

An earlier attack on an official convoy targeted South Korean investigators in March 2009. They were in Yemen following the murder of three South Korean tourists. The route of the motorcade was disseminated to the so called al Qaeda by subverted elements within Yemen’s security forces, Parliamentarians charged.

Update: Yemen rounds up usual suspects, father confirms the bomber was recently released from jail:

Reuters, WaPo; Yemeni police arrested dozens of al Qaeda suspects in sweeps a day after a suicide bomber tried to kill Britain’s ambassador to Yemen, security officials said Tuesday.

At the 22-year-old bomber’s home near Sanaa, his father told Reuters that he condemned his son’s actions and that he had tried to get him to marry and find a job, before the young man went missing around six weeks ago.

Othman Ali al-Sulwi, who wore an explosive belt when he threw himself at a convoy taking Ambassador Tim Torlot to work Monday, had spent two years in prison before being released at the start of this year, his father said.

Naba sent the “He studied in the UK” story out as an email alert. Maybe mistaken identity. Update: yes, its his brother.

Update: The Interior Ministry denies the Reuters report of seven arrests in connection to the attack.

Small Explosion or Suicide Bomber Near UK Amb Car

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Sana'a, TI: Internal, UK, UK amb, Yemen, attacks — by Jane Novak at 5:58 am on Monday, April 26, 2010

No injuries except to the bomber. Some reports said it was a suicide bomber but the Brits say small bomb. The state news agency SABA says the device was a suicide vest and the bombers head was found three houses away. News Yemen identifies the attacker as 22 year old Othman Ali al-Selwi, who was trained in Mareb province. The attack on a convoy is not the first. In March 2009, al Qaeda attacked the motorcade of South Korean officials who were in Sana’a to investigate a lethal suicide attack on South Koran tourists days earlier.

(CNN) — The British ambassador to Yemen survived an attack on his convoy in the capital, Sanaa, Monday morning, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said.

“There was [a] small explosion beside the British Ambassador’s car. He was unhurt. No other Embassy staff or British Nationals were injured,” a statement said. Initial reports said two Yemenis — a man and a woman — were injured in the attack and taken to a nearby hospital. The convoy carrying Tim Torlot, 52, was near Berlin park and a short distance from the British embassy at the time of the blast.

Nearly related: The Debka spin is Saleh used US counter-terror funds to bribe al Qaeda to leave for Somalia: Failing to eradicate the al Qaeda presence by force, Salah summoned the tribal chiefs harboring al Qaeda centers and through them offered to pay the Islamists to leave the country. The bribe of an estimated $15-20 million was accepted and on April 7, 12 al Qaeda leaders, presenting themselves to the Somali Al-Shebab Islamist rebels as emissaries of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), turned up in Somalia to scout suitable areas under rebel control for new bases, their pockets well lined with US dollars to pay for their lease.

American al Qaeda Terrorist in Yemen has shootout and kills guard

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, TI: External, UK, USA — by Jane Novak at 11:00 pm on Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It just never ends. A nice boy from New Jersey is an Qaeda suspect in custody in Yemen who was a) planning an attack b) wounded somehow and hospitalized last week and c) tried to bust out of the hospital Sunday in Yemen and killed a guard. His friends are shocked. I’m shocked too, I thought the shooter was supposed to be a German citizen of Somali origin. Fox also reports he is a a dual citizen, Yemeni-American.

NBC: Federal sources have confirmed that a man from Buena is in custody in the Middle East, and they say he’s believed to be an Al-Qaeda militant who’s accused of going on a deadly rampage.

“We don’t know nothing, we’re trying to hear something,” said Charles Mobley. Those were the only words he would share on camera about his son, 26 year-old Sharif Mobley. Federal sources have confirmed the 2002 Buena Regional High School graduate is currently in custody in the Middle East, suspected of being an Al-Qaeda militant. (Read on …)

Updated: Final Statement, Draft Statement of the London Conference

Filed under: Donors, UN, UK, USA — by Jane Novak at 10:37 am on Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Reuters: Following is the final statement from the talks, as released by the British foreign ministry.

Yemen, its friends and partners have today met in London to discuss the many urgent problems which the people of Yemen face.

The meeting reiterated support for a unified Yemen, respect for its sovereignty and independence, and commitment to non-interference in Yemen’s internal affairs. It was clear that economic and social reform by the government of Yemen was key to long term stability and prosperity. It was agreed that a comprehensive approach was needed, with strong support from the international community. (Read on …)

Huge Protest in Dhalie Today

Filed under: Donors, UN, South Yemen, UK, USA — by Jane Novak at 9:47 am on Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Slideshow, click here.

Yemeni Southern Opposition Leader al Nuba Writes the Brits

Filed under: South Yemen, UK — by Jane Novak at 11:01 am on Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mr. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown … Esquire
Mr. Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki mon … Esquire
Mr. Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Amr Moussa, … Esquire
Gentlemen, participants at the London Conference …

Honorable Greetings …

In the beginning, allow us to extend our thanks and appreciation to the international community to pay attention to issues in Yemen and in the forefront of those issues is the people of the south (the people of the Republic of Yemen People’s Democratic Republic earlier) that the people who introduced authoritarian rule and his socialist alone is not equal and is not a referendum with the Republic of This culminated in the Yemen Arab occupation of the entire module of the South by force after the summer war in 1994. (Read on …)

UK Suspends Direct Flights from Yemen

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, TI: External, Transportation, UK — by Jane Novak at 9:17 am on Wednesday, January 20, 2010

WaPo LONDON — Britain suspended direct flights with Yemen on Wednesday and the prime minister said the U.K. will introduce new no-fly lists as it seeks to tighten airport security following the failed Detroit airliner attack.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown told the House of Commons the measures are in response to a growing threat from al-Qaida affiliated terrorists based in Yemen.

The “LONDON CONFERENCE” Expected to Last Two Hours

Filed under: UK — by Jane Novak at 2:48 pm on Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Such an important topic, so little time…

Etiawan: Britain’s government says international talks on terrorism in Yemen will likely be squeezed into a two-hour session. (Read on …)

Saleh Threatens to Declare Jihad on US

Filed under: Presidency, Religious, UK, USA — by Jane Novak at 9:15 am on Thursday, January 14, 2010

Yemeni President Saleh is quite adroit at playing the terror card. Today he warns the US that he will declare jihad if the US attempts any military action against al Qaeda in Yemen, in a statement from Yemen’s Council of Clerics. Its Saleh talking. There’s no way they would issue that without Presidental approval.

The message is simple: Just. Give. Me. The. Money.

Saleh has various mouthpieces: the government media, officials, GONGOs (governmental non-govermental organizations) some “experts” and Sheik Abdulmagid al Zindani (oh! scary!), who is classified by the UN’s 1267 committee as a terrorist financier. Al Zindani endorsed President Saleh’s 2006 “re-election” bid, and Saleh made his first speech of the electoral season from al Zindani’s al Iman University. The Minister of Endowments is Judge Hamoud al Hittar, who ran the now defunct dialog program that released hundreds of al Qaeda. (He never dialoged with the Houthi rebels though.)

Al Hittar is often an intermediary between the regime and al Qaeda. For example in 2003 al Qaeda offered Yemen a truce, and al Hittar was in charge of negotiations. At the time he said some demands were non-starters, meaning perhaps others were workable. That marked the beginning of what al Qaeda calls the (quite productive) “quietness period” from 2003-2006 when the group provided logistical support and thousands of jihaddists to various hotspots around the world, especially Iraq.

To follow is the clerics’ statement. Also below the fold is Foreign Minister al Qirby’s nearly identical statement that US counter-terror aid must be unconditional. The upcoming London Conference on Yemen should not attempt to deal with internal affairs like civil rights, political reforms, press freedom, corruption or economic transparency, he said, repeatedly.

Update: Alert Net: Yemen, facing a daunting array of security and economic problems, needs about $2 billion a year in aid to stay afloat and double that to turn its economy around, Foreign Minister Abubakr al-Qirbi said on Thursday…”I am not an economist, but I think one is talking about probably $4 billion a year,” Qirbi told Reuters when asked how much aid was required to rescue an economy struggling with a sharply rising population and falling oil revenues. (Read on …)

20 More Bombers Trained in Yemen?

Filed under: Dammaj, TI: External, UK, USA, airliner, anwar — by Jane Novak at 4:03 pm on Saturday, January 9, 2010

WASHINGTON: Twenty other young Muslim radicals have been trained to blow up planes by al-Qaida in Yemen, a young Nigerian charged with trying to blow up a US airliner has told FBI.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, has told FBI that close to 20 other young Muslim men were being prepared in Yemen to use the same technique to blow up airliners, CBS said in an exclusive investigative report.

US surprised by AQAP’s links to Pakistan? Say it aint so…

Newsweek: U.S. officials have been surprised by what they’ve discovered about the resurgence of Al Qaeda in Yemen in the aftermath of the Christmas Day bombing attempt by a Nigerian student who says he was trained and equipped there. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), as this offshoot is called, is linked directly to the “core” group in Pakistan and it is now “one of the most lethal” affiliates, White House counterterrorism coordinator John Brennan said at a news conference.

Times Online:

Yemeni security sources believe that of the 15-20 Britons recently recruited by Al-Qaeda, most have undergone training in camps in Rafad, a mountainous region in the southeast. It lies in the province where Abdulmutallab is thought to have met Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical cleric who is viewed as a big influence in luring foreign recruits to Al-Qaeda.

One institution popular with British Muslims is Dar alHadith in Dammaj, northern Yemen. US defence officials have described the institute as a “known terrorist training centre”. This has always been denied by the institute.

Students can access weapons there, and teachings have traditionally been anti-western. Students are told that democracy is an enemy of Islam and locals are reported to refer to America as “the great Satan”.

Abu Muaz, head of the Salafi Youth Movement in the UK, said about 50 Britons had gone to study at Dar al-Hadith. “Most want to learn about Islam, but there are some jihadi supporters who decide to take up arms,” he said.

UK to Establish Intl Fund for Counter-Terror Funding in Yemen

Filed under: Counter-terror, TI: External, UK — by Jane Novak at 8:31 pm on Friday, January 1, 2010

The Brits want to coordinate the counter-terror funding about to be funneled into Yemen, and offer Yemenis an alternative to al Qaeda. What Yemenis need is an alternative to President Saleh. Even the State Department notes that Yemenis are unable to impact the governance of their county, change it or hold it accountable. Could we start there? Or rather, let Yemenis start there?

Yemen was pledged 4.6 billion (yes thats a B) dollars in development funds at the 2006 donors conference. It didn’t do much good. What the western donors should be convening is a war crimes tribunal or, at a minimum, a major crimes tribunal like the one Ms. Clinton suggested for Afghanistan to help rid it of top level corrupt officials. Offer the Saleh family amnesty, and let them leave. All the al Qaeda problems will clear up much more quickly because without Saleh, al Qaeda will flee Yemen.

Times Online: Gordon Brown is to host an emergency summit this month on the terror threat posed by Yemen after the attempt to blow up a transatlantic airliner on Christmas Day.

The Prime Minister and Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, will seek agreement on an international fund to help the Yemeni Government to drive al-Qaeda out of the country. (Read on …)

25 Brits Training in Yemen for Suicide Missions

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, TI: External, UK, airliner — by Jane Novak at 9:17 am on Monday, December 28, 2009

How many of the “secret training camps” are actually “abandoned military bases” like the one found in Sa’ada when the Germans were doing a fly-over searching for the children? Or have been built with the assistance of subverted aspects of the security forces, and thats a generous description, like the one in the mountains near Ja’ar?

The Sun COPS fear that 25 British-born Muslims are plotting to bomb Western airliners. The fanatics, in five groups, are now training at secret terror camps in Yemen. (Read on …)

Bribe, Threaten or Blackmail is the Standard Op for Westerners

Filed under: UK — by Jane Novak at 11:06 pm on Friday, November 20, 2009

No, sorry. Its not just extremely tacky; its a security risk. The Yemeni gov’t was crowing when she came to the YO as a pro-government female American journalist. I recall it quite well and the older stories of another high level western official caught up in a complicated and highly nasty plot. True or not true isn’t the issue, possibly true is good enough to demonstrate the vulnerability. The UK needs a new ambassador to Yemen, pronto. He’s a lovely guy according to all accounts, but thats not good enough in the modern world.

One explains: ‘Because she wasn’t registered, she wasn’t security checked for several months — this was a foreign journalist, with close contacts among pro-government Yemeni journalists, living in the Ambassadorial residence. Daily Mail

Nurses Kidnapped in Yemen Tortured, Extensive Mutilation

Filed under: 9 hostages, Al-Qaeda, Security Forces, TI: External, UK, Yemen, security timeline — by Jane Novak at 6:07 am on Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The kidnapping and murders may be the work of the group of the foreign (Arab and non-Arab) al Qaeda that began arriving in Sa’ada in April, as we reported here at the time and I think its in one of the articles. It was a substantial number and independently reported by multiple outlets.

If so, it would account for the deviation from the pattern of terror attacks established previously by the indigenous al Qaeda group, which has been to murder foreign tourists by suicide bombing or in one case, by strafing them with gunfire. Kidnapping foreign female aid workers is a standard and current tactic of terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq. The arrival and amassing of foreign terror operatives in Sa’ada was certainly not a haphazard occurrance, and this may be not either.

The drug dealers story also seem a reasonable explanation, and it has a lot of resonance on the ground, but it wouldn’t account for the torture and mutilation. The story is that a large shipment of drugs was confiscated by security, who refused to release the drugs back to the dealers after negotiations. The kidnapping was a method of leveraging the talks. The kidnapping of nine persons is certainly the work of a group with prepared logistics, not a temporarily insane person overcome with jihaddist fervor and armed with a jambia.

If the back story relates to negotiations over confiscated drugs, it would account for the Yemeni government’s early and conflicting announcements of the kidnappng itself and the rush to blame the Houthis. As we know, many drug smuggling rings have some association with and support of regime affiliated individuals. The concerns of the Yemeni mafia often run counter to standard governmental administration and violently conflict with other aspects of the regime (like the Coast Guard). There’s big money involved in drug smuggling in Yemen; one shipment of hashish confiscated after an external intel tip had a street value of USD 20 million.

Then of course, as with all terror attacks in Yemen, there is the false flag theory- where some element of the Yemeni security has involvement. This thinking shakes out into two forms- 1) subverted security directs and/or provides logistical assistance to al Qaeda and 2) deliberate acts by the Yemeni government under the guise of al Qaeda (or in this case the Houthi rebels) to manipulate Western sentiment and analysis. In the current scenario, the regime by blaming the rebels for the kidnapping ultimately legitimizes the resumption of the Sa’ada war and gains recognition of the rebels as “terrorists”, something the international community has not done. It also would serve, as it has, to take oxygen away from the growing southern protests and calls for dissolution of the unified Yemeni state. The “false flag” conceptualization as an overall theory of Yemeni government practice has been advanced in Yemen by persons ranging from al Qaeda operatives themselves to mainstream opposition leaders and the former president of South Yemen Ali Salem Beidh.

Independent: The bodies of three women hostages found in Yemen are believed to show signs of torture and extensive mutilation, it emerged yesterday as security officials investigated whether the reasons for the killings were religious rather than purely political.

Two of the murdered women belonged to a Bible school in Germany and had links with a Baptist charity operating in Yemen. The third victim was a Korean who worked for an aid organisation with religious affiliations.

Diplomatic sources said that the savage way the murders were committed did not conform to hostage-taking scenarios associated with a local Shia group, the Houthis, who the Yemeni authorities are blaming, or al-Qa’ida and their associates, who the Americans say have been infiltrating the country.

Female Nurses Shot and Stabbed to Death in Yemen

Filed under: 9 hostages, Al-Qaeda, Other Countries, Saada War, UK, Yemen, hostages — by Jane Novak at 3:03 pm on Monday, June 15, 2009

The status of the other six has been confirmed as “alive” by the state media but their where abouts are unclear.

Earth Times

Sana’a, Yemen – Yemeni kidnappers shot dead three foreign female aid workers on Monday, three days after nine foreigners, including seven Germans, were abducted in north-western Yemen, provincial officials said. They said two German girls out of the group were found alive after police found the bodies of two German nurses and a South Korean female teacher in the district of Akwan of the of Wadi Nushur area east of Saada. (Read on …)

London Bombed

Filed under: General, UK — by Jane Novak at 6:37 am on Thursday, July 7, 2005

Half a dozen explosions rocked the London subway and tore open a packed double-decker bus during the morning rush hour Thursday.

“Whatever they do, it is our determination that they will never succeed in destroying what we hold dear in this country and in other civilized nations throughout the world,” Blair said a day after London was awarded the 2012 Olympics.


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