Armies of Liberation

Jane Novak's blog about Yemen

Possible Al Nashiri facilitator mediates compensation for civilian drone victims in Yemen

Filed under: Air strike, USS Cole, al nashiri, al-Bayda — by Jane Novak at 1:13 pm on Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Title 2: Why I can’t blog too much anymore

Al Masdar reports Yemen’s former Interior Minister, Hussain Arab, is one of the dignitaries who negotiated on behalf of the Yemeni government with civilian victims and their families following US drone strikes over the week-end. The agreement reached is for 30 Kalashnikovs and 12M Yemeni riyals, about USD 55K, which was paid on Monday 4/21. The strikes targeted one vehicle containing known al Qaeda, killing ten, as well as a workmen’s car that unexpectedly appeared.

“Regrettably, three civilians were also killed during the attack and five were injured when their pickup truck unexpectedly appeared[18][19] next to the targeted vehicle,” the (Yemeni government) statement said. Quote via Just Security.

At least the Yemeni government didn’t try to smear the victims as al Qaeda, like they did in Hadramout,. Quickly taking responsibility, expressing regret and paying compensation is a step in the right direction.

At the time of the USS Cole bombing, Hussain Arab was Yemen’s Interior Minister. He resigned in April 2001. Defense evidence introduced in Yemeni court in the 2004 Cole trial included “ a letter to al-Qaeda commander Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri instructing Yemeni authorities to give safe passage to al-Nashiri and three bodyguards without being searched or intercepted. The letter states that, ‘All security forces are instructed to cooperate with him and facilitate his mission.’ ” His mission was a terror attack on a US warship.

Mr. Arab has held other official positions since his resignation including recently on the consensus committee of the National Dialog Committee.

The trial of Al Nashiri aka Billal, al Harazi etc., is proceeding in court in Guantanamo Bay today where lawyers are arguing whether two witnesses can be interviewed by the defense in France without submitting the questions first to the prosecution.

The original Arabic article from al Masdar is below the fold.

Related: Sami Dayan (Dhayan) was convicted of the murder of the effective General Qatan in Abyan. General Qatan had recently given interviews noting a state faction’s complicity in arming and facilitating al Qaeda. Sami is the reason I had to make up a category called State Jihaddists in 2009. He was overtly working for Ali Mohsen in Jaar at that time. I think Abdulkarim al Nabi gave in interview that discussed Sami Dayan as well as his own situation. Both could be termed local jihaddists and occasional mercenaries, but they are not the al Qaeda of Wahishi and certainly not AQAP leaders. Dayan was sentenced to 15 years, and will probably be released in two, if he doesn’t escape first.

(Read on …)

Washington’s retrograde policy in Yemen

Filed under: USA — by Jane Novak at 8:52 am on Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Sheila Carapico at Muftah on Yemen is just too awesome to abridge:

Update: another must must read is also at Muftah Hadhramaut : Rebellion, Federalism or Independence in Yemen? So good it may get a permalink.

Carapicio: Of Transitology and Counter-Terror Targeting in Yemen

Far from the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf, tucked at the underside of the Arabian Peninsula where the Red Sea meets the Indian Ocean, Yemen is at the periphery of Middle East studies and beyond the attention span of mainstream American media. It is a counter-terror target.

It is as if this country of some 25 million citizens is not a real place, as much as it is an outer space or a basket case. According to various journalistic tropes, Yemen is a ‘terrorist haven,’ the ‘ancestral homeland of Usama Bin Ladin,’ an untamed frontier where presumably the only choice for the United States is to shoot first and ask questions later. (Read on …)

Fostering and countering terrorism in Yemen

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, Diplomacy, Military, USA — by Jane Novak at 7:48 am on Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The US CT industry in Yemen is sketched out in the following excerpts from Inside Yemen’s Shadow War Asenal at Foreign Policy BY GORDON LUBOLD, NOAH SHACHTMAN

Since November of 2011, the United States has pledged nearly $600 million to Yemen for everything from spy drones to opinion polls to pickup trucks as part of a shadow war to fight terrorism there. But how much Washington is getting for its money is an open question, even within U.S. government circles…

Only a portion of the $600 million committed since late 2011 goes directly to fight terrorism — about $250 million, according to State Department officials. The rest goes towards “helping to strengthen governance and institutions on which Yemen’s long-term progress depends,” as then-White House counterterrorism czar (and unofficial envoy to Yemen) John Brennan explained last year. That includes cash to “empower women,” “combat corruption,” and provide “food vouchers, safe drinking water, and basic health services,” Brennan added.

But even that non-military aid can sometimes come with a hard edge. Last year, the State Department paid out $2.2 million to Griffin Security, a Yemeni contractor specializing in “close protection,” “surveillance systems,” and “maritime security services,” according to the company’s website. On June 26, Foggy Bottom sent another $3.1 million to Advanced C4 Solutions, a Tampa-based business with strong military and intelligence community ties, for an unspecified “administrative management” contract. Six days later, the State Department executed a second, $1.3 million deal with the same firm — which publicly declares itself a specialist in computer network attacks — for “translation and interpretation services.”

(JN-The US Air Force suspended Advanced C4 in 2011 for shoddy and unfinished work, and the firm was nearly excluded from any more work for the US gov’t.)

Overt security assistance was put on hold for about a year when former President Ali Abdullah Saleh brutally cracked down on his people. But that ban has been lifted, and the spigot is once again open. The Pentagon is outfitting the Yemenis with weapons, short takeoff and landing spy planes, night vision goggles, and even Raven drones to help Yemeni security forces to strengthen their effectiveness against internal threats and extremist activity, according to defense officials…

“We need to remember that we have done at least as badly in planning and managing aid as the worst recipient country has done in using it,” said Tony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Nonetheless, a variety of programs aim to directly achieve American security objectives in Yemen. During 2012, for instance, the Pentagon spent about $14 million on a single U.S. Special Operations Forces counterterrorism enhancement program in which a limited number of American military personnel provided training and equipment — from small arms and ammo to radios to rigid hull inflatable boats to night vision goggles to navigational systems — to Yemen’s counterterrorists. Another program, referred to in Pentagon briefing papers as the “Fixed-Wing Capability Program,” spends about $23 million “by providing equipment and training to improve the operational reach and reaction time of Yemen’s CT forces,” including two short take-off and landing aircraft. The United States spends another $75 million on building the counterterrorism unit of Yemen’s Central Security Forces.

During 2013, the Pentagon spent nearly $50 million on what’s called an “integrated border and maritime security” program to help the Yemenis be more effective with aerial surveillance and ground mobility, according to a defense official. That helped the Yemenis build up the capacity to monitor threats along the country’s nearly 1,200 mile coastline. The program includes 12 short take-off and landing aircraft, each with intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities, as well as flight and maintenance crews.

The United States has spent other money on Yemen, including $24 million the Coast Guard spent to build two 87-foot coastal patrol boats, and another $11 million for about 340 F-350 Ford pickup trucks, according to publicly-available contracting data. Another $27 million was spent for a contract with Bell Helicopter for four Huey II helicopters within the last three years.

Two years ago, the polling firm Gallup, Inc. was paid more than $280,000 for a “Yemen Assessment Survey.” Around the same time, Yemen was part of a major contract to provide crew-served weapons, gun mounts, and stands for .50 caliber weapons. Last year, the Army paid $3 million to Harris Corporation for radios for the Yemenis, and the Navy paid $5.4 million for aircraft engines and spare parts for CASA 235 transport planes. Also last year, the Army paid $1.9 million for tactical UAVs in both Kenya and in Yemen.

Ties into my 2012 article State Dep’t ends Yemen arms embargo

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.”

The Link: Will Abu Hamza’s trial implicate Ali Mohsen and al Zindani in terrorist acts?

Filed under: 9 hostages, Abyan, Military, USS Cole — by Jane Novak at 5:24 pm on Friday, October 19, 2012

The kidnappers called General Ali Mohsen as verified by one of the hostages and Mohsen who said they called to negotiate. The following article (manually translated) says that both Mohsen and al Zindani are worried about what information may be exposed during the trial of Abu Hamza al Masiri.

The 2006 book Imperial Grunts by Robert Kaplan talks about the CIA paying “bad guy” General Ali Mohsen earlier in the decade as the cost of doing business in Yemen. Mohsen officially handled “the jihaddist file” for former president Saleh until his defection to the revolution in March 2011. From 2006-2010, Ali Mohsen commanded military forces and jihaddists in Saada against the Houthis in a manner thought to comprise war crimes. State tactics, like the denial of food to the region and mass arrests, were also labeled collective punishment by international rights groups. The pipeline of Yemeni and foreign jihaddists and suicide bombers to Iraq 2004-2007 ran through Mohsen’s camps and safe houses, with Ali Saleh’s full knowledge and approval. Not to mention the USS Cole bombing.

The US is long overdue in recognizing that “some officers hands are stained with the blood of our soldiers”, instead of continually placating and bribing both Saleh and Mohsen, two of the biggest terrorist facilitators in the region. But its a long shot in the absence of a rational US policy on Yemen.

Article below notes Dajalul was appointed a government position in Amran after his release in 2004.

The Link: Trial of Abu Hamza al-Masri, in America, is it going to finish with the request of trial ” Ali Mohsen” and ” al-Zindani ” ?
Recently Britain handed Abu Hamza al-Masri to America for trial in America on terrorism-related offenses, and actually Abu Hamza’s trial began in America .trial will address issues related with Abu Hamza al-Masri , especially those relating to the kidnapping of 16 British and an Australian hostages. it took place in Abyan carried out in 98 and the ( Aden-Abyan ) Army in the province of Abyan , Which claimed the lives of a number of kidnapped when freed. The issue then was about a close relationship with Abu Hamza, according to the confessions of the accused during their trial in Yemen. So Yemeni authorities call on Britain to hand over Abu Hamza for trial, and accused him of officially being behind terrorist operations, and terrorist groups in Yemen.

On the other hand Ali Mohsen was a close relationship with the Army of Aden, and behind the same process , according to the results of trial Abulhassan Almihdhar,the main culprit of the process., Who sentenced to death and executed, he said,” we had informed the commander Ali Mohsen of the process but it is he who instructed us to do to put pressure on the authority to release our detainees” .He added” after kidnapping told him we have got sixteen cartons”, means kidnappers. And he was in contact with us and follow the process , and then reported information said that Abu Hamza al-Masri was on full coordination with the kidnappers side with Ali Mohsen in his activities and relationships in Yemen on the other, in real Ali Mohsen was direct contact with Abu Hamza al-Masri, in Britain, in particular coordination on some financial matters.

Things do not stop at this point, but extends to the bombing, which spilled over to the British Embassy, which was carried out by the time Abu Bakr close Djajul of Mohsen , who appointed him as an officer, and was appointed director of one of the districts of Amran governorate released after the end of 2004.
And who has appointed .

And timely trial revealed elements of the Army (Aden / Abyan) that the army was formed in the (Al-eyman University ) by confessions Abu Huraira Altunisi , also Abu Hassan Mehdar revealed that he was one of the guards ” Sheikh Zindani”, who in turn had a relationship with Abu Hamza, who was sending him students Muslims of Britain and Europe to study at (Al-Eyman University ) Which founded by Zindani and includes a large group of students from different nationalities.

Informed sources said that Mohsen follow Abu Hamza trial with deep concern , and his worried increased after last meeting with U.S. Ambassador to Guard commander, and reportedly that ” U.S. National Security Advisor” said to President Hadi, ” some of your officers their hands stained with the blood of our soldiers “, and benefit information that Mohsen and Zindani formed a team of lawyers those close to them to study and monitor the trial of, in America step by steps, fearing of surprises not agreed with him. and they had told him some specific messages before being handed over to America during his trial in Britain.

due to the relationship between “Ali Mohsen” and ” al-Zindani” with Abu Hamza al-Masri, there is likely to be tried both of them , in the case they discovery that there is a link between ” ali mohsen ” and ” the bombing of the USS Cole ” and other issues related which Abu Hamza al-Masri trial about it currently in America

Original Arabic below: (Read on …)

Al Beidh urges postponing Southern Yemen Conference, Feierstein says al Beidh paid by Iran (true)

Filed under: Abyan, Aden, Civil Unrest, Interviews, Iran, South Yemen, USA, Yemen, al Dhalie — by Jane Novak at 9:34 am on Thursday, September 27, 2012

Al Beidh never did anything good for southerners since 2007. As teen age boys died on the streets holding his photo and were jailed by the hundreds by the Saleh War Mafia, he did nothing, not even one English statement or raising a case with the UN or documenting the crimes of a decade. Now al Beidh-for his own reasons- is impeding long overdue efforts to organize a southern conference, establish representatives and develop a consensus that enables southerners to work together to secure rights, aid and progress. (Even consistent electricity would be a great step in Aden, but its very important to get a fair share of the donor funds distributed directly to the families literally starving in the south as elsewhere.)

Below is an interview with US Amb Feierstein about Iran funneling money to Al Beidh in Lebanon, and thats true–the money flows both directly and indirectly. Also the al Faroush have made significant gains in infiltrating Hirak.

Ahmed Al Hobaishi is printing al Beidh’s photos, so broadly the GPC is cloning Hirak, but specifically it leads to the question of the linkage between the Saleh forces and Iran in the south as well as Saada.

We know that Saleh long has had good relations with Iranian intelligence, the al Quds force, so maybe the issue boils down again to Saleh, in this case bringing in the Iranian meddlers to aid in his counter-revolution by bolstering al Beidh and elements of the Houthis. Certainly Iran like AQAP would prefer Saleh back in his seat. The only question is why does the US appear to agree.

The youth and residents of South Yemen might do well to start practicing the democracy and self determination they demand from the UN instead of relying on the self interested al Beidh. Al Beidh has not confronted the southern public with the reality that the UN totally and clearly abandoned the southern cause ( including UN SC res 924 and 931) in the latest UN SC resolutions 2014 and 2051. I received the following al Beidh statement from the same source that has been sending me al Beidh’s statements for years, so its authentic. Googlish below:

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الاخ المناضل حسن احمد باعوم رئيس المجلس الاعلى للحراك السلمي لتحرير
واستقلال الجنوب المحترم
الاخوة المناضلين من نواب الرئيس المحترمين
الاخ الأمين العام للمجلس المحترمين والأخ مستشار رئيس المجلس الأعلى
الاخوة المناضلين رؤساء المحافظات ونوابهم المحترمون
تحية نضالية وبعد (Read on …)

Obama’s UN speech

Filed under: USA — by Jane Novak at 2:49 pm on Tuesday, September 25, 2012

As much as I’m critical of the Obama administration’s Yemen policy, I thought it was very good speech Obama gave yesterday at the UN. He explained the US government is prohibited from restricting free speech or meddling in religious affairs and why the First Amendment is so essential to the US. Also he highlighted the US’s religious diversity and said that the same rabid intolerance directed towards the US is more often directed toward diverse groups internally and is the antithesis of equal rights. And he said that we as a people believe the way to answer hateful speech is with not violence but better speech, which is self evident here but obviously is not abroad.

OBAMA: Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, fellow delegates, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to begin today by telling you about an American named Chris Stevens. Chris was born in a town called Grass Valley, California, the son of a lawyer and a musician.

As a young man, Chris joined the Peace Corps and taught English in Morocco, and he came to love and respect the people of North Africa and the Middle East. He would carry that commitment throughout his life.

As a diplomat, he worked from Egypt to Syria, from Saudi Arabia to Libya. He was known for walking the streets of the cities where he worked, tasting the local food, meeting as many people as he could, speaking Arabic, listening with a broad smile.

Chris went to Benghazi in the early days of the Libyan revolution, arriving on a cargo ship. As America’s representative, he helped the Libyan people as they coped with violent conflict, cared for the wounded, and crafted a vision for the future in which the rights of all Libyans would be respected.

And after the revolution, he supported the birth of a new democracy, as Libyans held elections, and built new institutions, and began to move forward after decades of dictatorship.

Chris Stevens loved his work. He took pride in the country he served, and he saw dignity in the people that he met.

Two weeks ago, he travelled to Benghazi to review plans to establish a new cultural center and modernize a hospital. That’s when America’s compound came under attack. Along with three of his colleagues, Chris was killed in the city that he helped to save. He was 52 years old.

I tell you this story because Chris Stevens embodied the best of America. Like his fellow Foreign Service officers, he built bridges across oceans and cultures, and was deeply invested in the international cooperation that the United Nations represents.

He acted with humility, but he also stood up for a set of principles: a belief that individuals should be free to determine their own destiny, and live with liberty, dignity, justice and opportunity.

The attacks on the civilians in Benghazi were attacks on America. We are grateful for the assistance we received from the Libyan government and from the Libyan people.

There should be no doubt that we will be relentless in tracking down the killers and bringing them to justice.

And I also appreciate that in recent days the leaders of other countries in the region — including Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen — have taken steps to secure our diplomatic facilities and called for calm, and so have religious authorities around the globe.

But understand, the attacks of the last two weeks are not simply an assault on America. They’re also an assault on the very ideals upon which the United Nations was founded: the notion that people can resolve their differences peacefully, that diplomacy can take the place of war, that in an interdependent world all of us have a stake in working towards greater opportunity and security for our citizens.

If we are serious about upholding these ideals, it will not be enough to put more guards in front of an embassy or to put out statements of regret and wait for the outrage to pass. If we are serious about these ideals, we must speak honestly about the deeper causes of the crisis, because we face a choice between the forces that would drive us apart and the hopes that we hold in common.

Today we must reaffirm that our future will be determined by people like Chris Stevens, and not by his killers. Today we must declare that this violence and intolerance has no place among our united nations. (Read on …)

Saleh’s office says no US visa in order to continue USS Cole cover-up

Filed under: USS Cole, deposed pres — by Jane Novak at 7:53 am on Monday, September 24, 2012

Its not wise to believe whats in any of the Yemeni partisan papers without a strong dose of skepticism, but the articles are usually half true if not more, and always well spun. The challenge is figuring out which half is fact and which half is fiction and spin.

The following article in the Yemen Observer is quoting an article in the pro-Saleh Yemen Today reporting that Saleh’s office said the US denied him a visa to protect him from questioning related to the 2000 al Qaeda attack on the USS Cole which the US would find embarrassing. Saleh’s office also says President Hadi was concerned for his health and asked Saleh to go to the US for treatment.

So either: 1) the US denied the visa for other reasons and Saleh is lying and trying to appear under the protection of the US, or 2) the embassy denied the visa for their own reasons and told Saleh they were protecting themselves or 3) the embassy denied the visa to save the US from embarrassment as he said. And what a disaster the timeline of the Cole attack is, from well before the attack up to 9/11, from President Clinton through the two Bush terms to the current Obama/Clinton stewardship.

If Saleh is being protected by the US in order to keep his mouth shut, as repugnant as that would be, it would explain the entire US Yemen policy from the beginning of the 2011 revolution until today which otherwise makes little sense. The immunity clause for Saleh and his government is unheard of in international law, yet the US strong armed all the parties into accepting it and Saleh’s continued presence in Yemen. No one in their right mind would ever expect Saleh to give up power quietly and fade away. His disrupting the transition was the sure bet.

There’s more secrets beyond the Cole like the disappearing CT funds, weapons and equipment, and the diversion of US trained CT units to Saada and against unarmed protesters. There’s also the head of the CT unit’s multi-million dollar condos in DC, referring of course to Ahmed Saleh, deposed president Ali Saleh’s son. So even freezing Saleh’s assets might be embarrassing. Returning Saleh’s funds to the Yemeni treasury remains a top demand of the protesters and it would have been the logic first step in dis-empowering him.

Saleh would not leave Yemen for any reason Yemen Observer, Written By: Nasser Arrabyee, Article Date: Sep 23, 2012

The Yemeni former President Ali Abdullah Saleh would not leave Yemen now, nor in the future, said sources in his office on Friday.

“The former President Ali Abdullah Saleh has not any desire to leave his homeland for any reason whatsoever,” said Yemen Today daily, quoted the sources as saying. Yemen Today is one of Saleh’s party newspapers.

“Yemen needs Saleh in such circumstances, so he should not leave now nor in the future,” the paper said.

Earlier in the week,the US ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstien said that the American embassy delayed a visa request for Saleh and a number of his companions. Mr Feierstein said in a press conference earlier this week in Sanaa, that the time was not appropriate for Saleh to visit US for further treatments.

The Saleh ’s office told the paper,however, that Feierstein justified the delay of Saleh’s visa by saying the time of the visit would coincide with the trial of the Yemeni Guantanamo detainee Abdul Rahim Al Nashiri who is accused of bombing the USS Cole in Aden Harbor in 2000 in which 19 American sailors were killed. The American court may recall Saleh for testimony over the Cole issue, Feierstein justified according to the paper.

Saleh’s testimony would cause embarrassment to the US Administration, the paper said.

Earlier this year, the American court asked Saleh, when he was in a treatment trip in US, and wax still in power, to attend for testimony over the Cole issue, but he refused.

Saleh’s office also said that Saleh had never asked for the visa, but Mr Feierstein and President Hadi insisted on him to go to United States for further treatments. Respecting that insistence for his health, Saleh handed his passport and passports of his companions for visa process.

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 …)

US Amb at Yemen National Dialog prep meeting prompts Houthis withdrawal, Updated: Southerners to withdraw over replacements

Filed under: National Dialog Committee, Sa'ada, Saada War, USA, War Crimes — by Jane Novak at 9:45 am on Monday, September 17, 2012

9/22: FNA: Following disputes last week between members of the Technical Preparatory Committee for National Dialogue, first over Presidential Decree of 17 September and then over the presence of the US ambassador during an ordinary meeting with the Group of 10, the ordinary meeting for Saturday 22 September was suspended Friday evening.

A member of the Committee indicated other matters added to the reasons given to suspend the ordinary meeting. One reason was the failure to secure a meeting with President Hadi prior to his departure for London this week. Ms. Basha also indicated due to some members boycotting Committee meetings since last week the Saturday meeting would have lacked quorum.

Update 1: the replacement of the southern representative with Abdullah Hassan has or will prompt withdrawal of the southern delegation. More broadly, many southerners believe that north/south discussions is distinct, and dialog among northerners doesn’t concern them. I think if they came as a unified group who had the interests of southern citizens at the forefront, they could accomplish a lot of good, but there is the perpetual political posturing some of which is a holdover from the 1980’s.

Update 2: Wow, Feierstein tries public diplomacy for once and remarks on the arrival of the Marines; its a protection team for the embassy with a limited deployment in time and space, below.

Original: Today especially, when the entire Middle East is protesting the US, Feierstein decides he’s going to ride roughshod on the Houthis, in person. He could have at least asked before barging into the room. Its obvious his presence would prompt a response from the Houthis who marched against him yesterday from Change Square to Hadi’s house, and avoided the US embassy altogether. The main thing its to get the Houthis enfranchised and make the dialog happen, not to exert US hegemony over every step.

Things will be a lot less tense once Feierstien completes his term, and an extension would be a very bad idea. Also its a good idea to get a set of fresh eyes in the embassy, because Feierstein is factually wrong in certain areas and one driver of the disastrous US policy in Yemen.

Just a point, the Clinton State Department was extremely laid back when Saleh-paid thugs besieged several ambassadors including Gerald Feierstein for four hours in the UAE’s embassy where they gathered prior to signing the GCC agreement in May 2010. Finally they were flown out by helicopter, and Feierstein laughed and joked about it the same day. It was likely the same type of paid thugs who stormed and looted the US embassy this week.

Related: YT, Parliament rejects additional US Marines at embassy. At some points, diplomacy is actually called for. I think the position went to his head.

FNA: #Yemen – - Houthis withdraw from Technical Committee meeting FNA 17.09.2012 – Houthis withdrew from a meeting held by the Technical Committee, charged of preparing Yemen’s National Dialogue, in Sana’a this Monday morning, after U.S. ambassador to Yemen, Gerald Feierstein enter the room; arguing the diplomat was “overstepping national sovereignty boundaries.” Sharaf al Din and Mohammed al Bokhaiti – both representatives of Houthis on the Committee – expressed concerns over other factions’ lenience regarding the admission “of a foreign entity” at a meeting where “national security issues” were being discussed.

السفير الأمريكي بصنعاء جيرالد فايرستاين:
- أود أن أُعرب عن تقديري العميق للشعب اليمني لدعمهم السخي ورفضهم الواسع للعنف الذي وُجه ضد السفارة الأمريكية بصنعاء يوم الخميس الموافق 13 سبتمبر.
- بعد إجراء مشاورات وثيقة بين الولايات المتحدة والسلطات اليمنية، سيعمل عدد قليل من القوات الأمنية الإضافية وبشكلٍ مؤقت على المساعدة في جهود الأمن وإعادة الترتيب في السفارة. وتقتصر مهمة هؤلاء الأفراد على تقديم المساعدة في مرافقنا الدبلوماسية وحماية الدبلوماسيين الأمريكيين من العنف، ويعدُ التكليف المؤقت للقوات الإضافية لمساعدة البعثات الدبلوماسية الأمريكية التي تواجه تحديات أمنية شيئاً طبيعياً.
- تُكلف مثل هذه المجموعة على مدى قصير وبعد مشاورات وثيقة مع الحكومات المضيفة، كما أنها تعمل وفقاً للقانون الدولي.
-تم إتخاذ قرار إستخدام هذه المجموعة الصغيرة عقب مشاورات وثيقة أُجريت بين الولايات المتحدة والسلطات اليمنية.
- سنبقى صامدين، ليس فقط بالتزامنا في مساعدة الشعب اليمني، بل أيضاً في التزامنا بالصداقة الدائمة التي تطورت بين بلدينا وشعبينا. ومعاً، سنستمر في البناء على ذلك الأساس الذي وضعه أولئك الذين ضحوا كثيراً من أجل تحقيق تحولٍ سياسي سلمي ويمنٍ أكثر أمناً وديمقراطيةً وازدهاراً في المستقبل.

Polish intel warning to CIA on USS Cole attack was ignored: top Polish spy

Filed under: USS Cole, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 12:48 pm on Thursday, September 6, 2012

More weird stuff to go with all the other weird stuff regarding US govt actions and policy prior to and after the USS Cole bombing. The story here is that starting in 1999 Polish intel gave the CIA information for nearly a year on an impending al Qaeda attack on a US warship. The CIA investigated and didn’t find any corroborating evidence, and downplayed the likelihood of an attack to the Poles. Then al Qaeda blew up the USS Cole in the port of Aden. So what happened, the CIA missed it, despite the Polish intel and NSA’s constant surveillance of the Yemen hub? And then in the aftermath, the CIA withheld info on the suspects including two in the US who turned out to be 9/11 highjackers. The more you look at the Cole, the less it makes sense.

Makowski—who spent 20 years in the Polish espionage service and rose to the rank of colonel—also blames the CIA for the suicide bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000, which claimed the lives of 17 American sailors.

“Beginning in 1999, for almost a year, we started giving information that bin Laden had made a decision to prepare an operation to attack U.S. warships in the Gulf,” Makowski told McClatchy. “There was a 27-person team… We told them who its leader was, his passport number [and] his Dubai identity card.”

About three months before the attack, according to Makowski, the CIA said they thought “such an attack is impossible.”

Gutman notes that Makowski’s former colleague Gromoslaw Czempinski—a legend at the CIA for leading the rescue of six U.S. intelligence officers from Iraq in 1990—vouched for his story.

Read more: Business Insider

(Read on …)

MEPC lists US’s drone policy in Yemen blowback potential

Filed under: Abyan, Air strike, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:44 am on Tuesday, August 28, 2012

In a seven page article, the Middle East Policy Council questions whether signature strikes in particular result in creating a population more prone to accepting an Emirate. I have some quibbles, for example state authority didn’t disappear- it never existed- and much of the local population in Abyan saw Ansar al Sharia as an occupation not a welcome vehicle of lawfulness. But its an interesting report in that the authors extrapolate six distinct negative patters of drone blowback as indicated by earlier events in the FATA region:

Executive Executions and Signature Strikes

Currently, the United States engages in two types of drone strikes, and neither is the surgical excision of HVTs on which the American public’s enthusiasm for drones depends. Until early 2012, the United States only conducted “personality strikes,” in Yemen. These are authorized by the president in a form of executive execution. The targets have not been indicted for a crime, let alone convicted, and have been identified as enemy combatants through an opaque process. A significant percentage of the targets and victims of this type of strike in Yemen have been U.S. citizens (Ahmed Hijazi, Anwar al-Awlaki, Samir Khan and Abdul Rahman al-Awlaki). Their families have recently brought a civil suit in U.S. courts that will help clarify the obscure de facto parameters for executive executions.18

While there have been successful HVT strikes on non-U.S. citizens in Yemen, they probably follow the Pakistani pattern, alienating parts of the local population and increasing the insecurity that often fosters organizational recruitment. In fact, Yemen may provide a more significant example of this effect than FATA because of its complex internal situation, noted above. According to our calculations, only four HVTs have been killed out of 230-270 total deaths. This is roughly a 1:60 ratio of HVT to total deaths, comparable to the ratio in FATA under the Bush administration (before the proliferation of signature strikes).

In early 2012, the White House authorized the use of “signature strikes” in Yemen. This type of targeting allows for wider parameters, quicker response and authorization at a lower command level. Signature strikes have also been used in FATA. They are based on categories of possible target groups and patterns of movement rather than on identified individuals. For example, a group of militant-age men carrying weapons and moving towards a known militant area can be targeted under this practice. As some reports from Yemen note, the populace is not opposed to the use of drones when they target and hit known AQAP members.19 However, the introduction of signature strikes will likely change this dynamic, as it has in FATA. With signature strikes, accuracy in targeting will likely decrease, and more Yemenis unconnected to AQAP will be killed. (Read on …)

CIA bungled Yemen 2000/2001, leading up to 9/11: Soufan

Filed under: USS Cole, al nashiri, fahd — by Jane Novak at 11:52 am on Friday, August 24, 2012

Duh! Bungled is the charitable explanation.

Its a fact that the CIA knew that two individuals that Soufan was seeking (in connection with the al Qaeda attack on the USS Cole) were in the US, and its a fact that the CIA withheld the info from Soufan and the FBI until 9/12 when the pair were identified as two of the 19 highjackers.

But what about the CIA and NSA failing to act or share information before the USS Cole attack, considering the Yemen hub was wired since 1998? There was a satellite trained on the front door 24/7. It strains credulity that neither agency had any inkling of the plot, considering they were recording every phone call and the Cole bombing was coordinated in and via that house and that phone. The best explanation is what, incompetence? They didn’t want to blow their surveillance?

And what about the CIA withholding information (including photos of Fahd al Quso and Walid bin Attash) about the al Qaeda summit in Malaysia in January 2000 where both the Cole and 9/11 were planned?

The facts Soufan reported in his excellent and heavily redacted book (which apparently just went on sale in the UK) are entirely separate from the egregious chain of events detailed by Lt. Col. Anthony Shaeffer, ie- that Able Danger’s urgent warnings of an impending terror attack in Port Aden were shut down and never forwarded to the Cole. Not to mention Kie Fallis, the DIA analyst who independently and strenuously tried to raise a red flag with an official warning. But Commander Lippold never got that message either.

Despite NSA’s constant electronic and satellite surveillance, CIA’s physical surveillance and other intel, Able Danger’s data mining and the DIA analyst who also picked it up, al Qaeda blew up a US warship in Port Aden, Ocotober 2000, killing 17 US service members. Many of the same core group of terrorists and their associates were later involved in 9/11.

While Soufan gives a fascinating and detailed first hand account of his investigation, the CIA’s “huge mistakes with devastating consequences” were already well documented open source. For the most coherent treatment, see the 9/11 Timeline at History Commons.

The CIA withholding info about the Cole attack and associated terrorists (before and after the bombing) was obviously a contributing factor in the US being caught flat footed as planes started crashing into buildings. They should issue a mea culpa and stop hassling Soufan. It would be refreshing.

Former FBI Agent Says The CIA Failed To Act Before 9/11 Terrorist Attack

Former FBI agent Ali Soufan sat down with the BBC last year to talk about his belief the CIA failed to pass along critical information about two of the 9/11 hijackers before the attacks.

Soufan was working for the FBI in Yemen at the time of the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. He was looking for two of the hijackers in the Middle East but they were already in America, something Soufan claims the CIA knew and failed to report.

And now, Soufan says the government is trying to keep him quiet.

“They are trying to stop me and others from telling the world what really happened over there,” he told the BBC.

But the CIA is calling his allegations “baseless,” adding that Soufan’s suggestions the agency is censoring him is “ridiculous.”

Watch Soufan’s full interview with the BBC:

Another interesting facet of the USS Cole story is that top officials in the Saleh regime and family knew of, directed and otherwise abetted the terrorist plot. Nashiri’s defense team made the point that most of the good information the US got immediately following the bombing came from Saleh personally. A few years later, Saleh released all the convicted Cole bombers from jail early and gave them money.

For example, Fahd al Quso was released from jail in May 2007 and killed by a drone in 2012. In the intervening years, he was instrumental in preparing new plots to mass murder Americans including the Nigerian’s underwear bomb and the toner cartridge bomb among others.

That the US was tied at the hip to an al Qaeda appeasing war criminal is most often explained away by hard minded people as the easiest and most effective policy for the US, and one that arises from a lack of alternatives. Others find US policy in Yemen (currently and over the last decade) illogical, dangerous and short sighted. Either way, the US’s long support of Saleh, kowtowing to him during the revolution and protecting him after, becomes more comprehensible in the light of the aforementioned relationships and events.

(Read on …)

Assorted Yemen links

Filed under: Abyan, GCC, USA, terror financing — by Jane Novak at 8:44 am on Friday, July 27, 2012

Influx of Gulf money to al-Qaeda in Yemen (supporters of Sharia) Thursday, July 26, 2012 (ar)

360 cities panoramic photos of Yemen

Abyani Tribes and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen, Critical Threats, good overview

Official Blind Eyes Thwart Yemen’s Attempts to Rehabilitate Al-Qa’ida Terrorists
Published Wednesday, July 25, 2012, The Media Line on PSO releases of AQAP. Now they are going to Jaar; before the rev they went to Saada.

Tawakkol Karman: I can’t believe that (the U.S.) didn’t know of Saleh’s connection with al Qaeda

Asharq Al-Awsat interview: US Envoy to Yemen Gerald M. Feierstein 08/07/2012, the one where he uses the royal we.

GAO: Uncertain Political and Security Situation Challenges U.S. Efforts to Implement a Comprehensive Strategy in Yemen: 2/29/12 Since fiscal year 2007, U.S. agencies have allocated more than $642 million in security2 and civilian assistance to Yemen. …..However, both State and DOD officials expressed some concerns about future security assistance activities, including identifying who will be the key U.S. partners in the Yemeni security forces. Until 2011, the United States trained and equipped specialized security forces focused on counterterrorism that members of the Saleh family led. While the implementing mechanism for the Gulf Cooperation Council political transition agreement calls for the reorganization of the armed services, it is unclear how or when the military will be reorganized and who will lead it. (ed- the US is apparently still hoping to keep nephew Yahya and son Ahmed which would be a tremendous error.)

Another 20 sitting in drafts were back dated and posted.

and via email, Ali Mohsen and Ahmed Saleh have to go: Karman

Tawakkol Karman: Iran wants to militarily overthrow Yemen. The Houthi should admit into the political process and leave the option of the violence. Tawakkol Karman appreciates Ali Mohsen’s stance with the revolution; the president Hadi should dismiss him, along with Ahmed Ali before turning the Republican Guards into the Revolutionary Guards. (Read on …)

Open letter from Yemen specialists urge change in US policy focus

Filed under: USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 5:09 am on Friday, July 20, 2012

The gaggle of western experts think there is a better US policy available and consider the current policy to be detrimental to US national security interests. Their underlying assumption is that the US is under-informed and misguided but sincere in its intentions. However by this point its clear the US wants a pliable dictatorship that is more efficient in delivering services and will do whatever it takes to cement US stewardship and cover up prior US complicity.

The Cable

The letter, spearheaded by the Yemen Policy Initiative, a dialogue organized by the Atlantic Council and the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED), outlines several diplomatic, political, economic, humanitarian, and security policy recommendations that include increasing assistance to democracy-building institutions, working with the international community to immediately address Yemen’s “food security needs,” sending Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the Yemeni capital Sanaa, and rethinking the strategy of drone strikes, which the signatories argue “could strengthen the appeal of extremist groups.”

“The real essence [of the letter] was that we have a new government in Yemen, and what we need to do is recalibrate or rebalance the relationship to make it clear to both the Yemenis and to the American people that our interests and the focus of our efforts there are not solely AQAP,” former U.S. ambassador to Yemen Barbara Bodine told The Cable. “Al Qaeda is a short-term, immediate issue … we need to took to the medium-term and long-term.”

Stephen McInerney, executive director of POMED, argues that while U.S. policy in Yemen is “shortsighted” and “too narrow,” AQAP is still a real threat.

the letter

June 26, 2012: ACUS: While intensified engagement may be a necessary step toward stabilizing Yemen, as individuals who care deeply about the United States and the future of Yemen, we believe the current US strategy jeopardizes our long-term national security goals. A broader approach that places emphasis on the underlying economic and political problems will better serve the stability of Yemen and, accordingly, our national security interests, rather than a primary focus on counterterrorism efforts and direct military involvement.

The US has a fundamental strategic interest in Yemen to address several key objectives: combating AQAP and other armed groups; ensuring Red Sea stability for oil transport and shipping routes; and preserving regional security while minimizing tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran. In each of these areas, Yemen’s stability is critical to achieving the United States’ core strategic interests. In turn, Yemen’s trajectory depends on achieving a successful democratic transition that

Obama claims drone targets are on list

Filed under: Air strike, Counter-terror, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 5:30 am on Monday, June 18, 2012

Maybe in Pakistan but in Yemen they dont know the names or have a clear idea of identity, are hitting the lower levels and apparently upped the threshold for acceptable incidental civilian casualties.

YOL, 09/07/2012 (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 …)

Lacking intel on AQAP, Obama admin broadens drone targeting guidelines

Filed under: Air strike, Al-Qaeda, USA — by Jane Novak at 9:03 am on Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Obama admin has approved droning Yemenis deemed a threat to the US even if their identities are not known. The US is currently relying heavily on aerial surveillance for intel on AQAP, following a decade of exclusively relying on half bogus intel from the subverted Saleh regime. And its likely the CIA/DOD has identified individuals regularly seen in the company of known al Qaeda leaders. However, sentencing random, unknown Yemenis to death based on tenuous associations or physical proximity is exactly the same rationale Al Qaeda used in justifying the murder of pedestrians passing the US Embassy in 2008. On a practical level, one more uniquely bad hit could create blowback that overwhelms any progress. Human intel may be difficult to obtain in Yemen, but some reporting has detailed over 3000 informants including some who aren’t aware the end user is the US. But draining the swamp can go a long way. The Obama admin appears to still be on a quest for shortcuts, easy fixes and stability through institutionalized injustice. Inexplicably, the US politically empowered religious hardliners and negated the impact of authentic democracy advocates and their quite logical and productive demands.

WSJ: The Obama administration has given the Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. military greater leeway to target suspected al Qaeda militants in Yemen with drones, responding to worries a new haven is being established from which to mount attacks on the West.

The policy shift, as described by senior U.S. officials, includes targeting fighters whose names aren’t known but who are deemed to be high-value terrorism targets or threats to the U.S. The White House stopped short of authorizing attacks on groups of lower-level foot soldiers who are battling the Yemeni government, the officials said.

Al Qaeda plans to hit US Embassy, other Sanaa targets, after diversionary strike in Mukallah, report; Update: drones in al Baydah & Jaar, Ethiopians in Abyan

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Hadramout, Sana'a, USA, attacks — by Jane Novak at 7:05 am on Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sounds bad, kind of a vehicular Mumbai style swarm. There’s no way the US embassy doesn’t know this already though right? The article was published last night at 9pm. Also note there’s sources and there’s security sources. This is but one reason why freedom of the press is so important in Yemen–open source AQAP reporting. There’s history and links to news articles on Ibrahim al Banaa below.

Related: Yes they are apparently all over it. US drones strikes kill 25 in Yemen overnight:

US drones raided several hideouts of the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda wing in the southeast restive province of Al-Baydha on Friday night. At least 25 AQAP militants were killed, including senior figures, with several other militants being wounded in an air strike conducted by the United States forces according to local website news…Moreover recent news that al-Shaba’a, the Ethiopian al-Qaeda wing had sent hundreds of Jihadists over to Abyan to join in Ansar al-Sharia, has been the cause of great concerns for both the government and the civilian population, as they feel their land could become the ground of a mighty war.

Ethiopians? al Shaba’a? 1) Maybe these are the nine mystery ships that everyone is talking about arriving before last Sunday’s attack on the military base in Abyan that killed nearly 200 Yemeni soldiers and 2) How weak is AQAP that they need to import fighters?

There’s also reports of drone strikes in Jaar, Abyan that destroyed the military equipment AQAP captured from the army last week-end. Update: The al Baydah airstrikes hit the AQAP training camp and targeted local al-Qaeda leader Abdulwahhab al-Homaiqani, the BBC reports. Its always good when there are no immediate reports of civilian casualties, I would have heard by now.

The Yemeni soldiers captured (who weren’t beheaded or otherwise mutilated) were paraded around Jaar, forced to train the terrorists on how to operate the tanks, and now are threatened with execution if the govt doesn’t release AQ prisoners.

The YO article regarding reports of an impending attack follows: Yemen Observer:

Yemen based al-Qaeda plans strikes on Sana’a and Mukala Reliable sources have said that al-Qaeda has been preparing for its largest operations yet in the capital city of Sana’a, operations aimed at strategic sites including military and security installments and embassies.

Sources said that al-Qaeda cells in the areas of Zindan and Arhab have trained for operations involving the storming of fortified sites, attacking fixed and mobile targets while aboard vehicles and motorbikes, and that al-Qaeda militants have entered Sana’a in preparation for carrying out their attacks in the coming few days.

The sources expect that al-Qaeda’s potential targets include the Airbase in Sana’a, the Interior Ministry, Republican Guard units and a number of embassies, including the American embassy.

The sources confirmed information regarding intentions by al-Qaeda to attack Mukala to divert attention its plans in Sana’a.

Security sources said that over 400 al-Qaeda militants are currently in Shabwa’s Azan Directorate, with three al-Qaeda leaders in charge (Ibrahim al-Bana, an Egyptian, Qasem al-Rimi and Shaker Hamel) of plans to attack vital installations, security sites, and important government facilities as part of a plan to expand their so-called Azan Islamic state to Mukala. (Read on …)

US Attorney General Holder affirms “lawful” use of drones (no attacks targeting civilians)

Filed under: Air strike, Counter-terror, Diplomacy, South Yemen, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:59 am on Thursday, March 8, 2012

In a speech this week, the US Attorney General Eric Holder laid out the Obama administration’s legal criteria for drone use and in particular for assassinating American al Qaeda members abroad. The criteria is summarized below by the Lawfare blog. More importantly than the targeting of Anwar Awlaki and Samir Khan for me, and for the residents of Abyan, Marib, Shabwa, etc., AG Holder reaffirmed the Obama administration’s firm commitment to act within the “international rules of war.”

With the recent uptick in AQAP activity and growing territorial occupation, people too poor to flee al Qaeda are terrified of both AQ and drone attacks. Hopefully this statement by AG Holder represents a real and ongoing commitment by the Obama administration to the principle of civilian immunity and US respect for the value of Yemeni lives.

AQAP does not follow the rules of war, and uses human shields, sheltering in civilian populated areas. The US has been targeting vehicle convoys, not towns. The shelling in Zinibar was from the Yemeni military, not US drones.

After grave US errors like al Mahfad (and the utterly shameful US statement that nearby Bedouins and their children were guilty of material support for selling vegetables, although the villagers had appealed to local authorities to expel the terrorists) and Saleh’s murder of his political enemy Sheik al Shabwani via US drone, visible US drones make parents very concerned. At the same time, the drones have been visible in Marib and many other locations since 2010, and I would think they are collecting surveillance photos.

I think/hope/pray the US understands that these are unwillingly occupied towns, that intel from the Saleh family is entirely unreliable, the CT units have been partially subverted by AQ and that in all cases, children under 14 cannot be terrorists.

The attitude of Yemenis is that al Qaeda should be captured, given a fair trial and imprisoned if there is actual evidence of crimes. They do not oppose counter-terror operations per se but summary execution without trial, just like many Americans who raised objections over Awlaki and Khan.

Boston Herald: Speaking at Northwestern University law school, Holder gave the most complete explanation to date of the Obama administration’s legal rationale for killing people like U.S.-born Anwar al-Awlaki, who was targeted in an airstrike in Yemen last year.

Such killings can be ordered “in full accordance with the Constitution” but require “at least” an imminent threat in a situation where capture is not feasible, and when the strike is “conducted in a manner consistent” with the rules of war, Holder said.

The lawfare summary brings up another issue though, “a senior operational role,” which presupposes that the US knows who it is droning. While the criteria Holder outlined is for deliberate targeting of US citizens, it would be nice to think that the US has some clue as to the names of its Yemeni targets and doesn’t just look for random gatherings of bearded men. In Yemen, the most accurate fatality listing of US drone strikes comes from al Qaeda itself, and the Yemeni government announced Qasim al Reimi was dead four times.

While I imagine there are vast challenges to intelligence gathering on AQAP, it is this imprecision that can lead to collateral damage or more accurately, dead children. I still haven’t gotten over the photos of the crucifixion of the “spies,” but logically a modicum of respect for southerners as southerners in general would go a long way. The language of SD spox Victoria Nuland’s Press Briefing 3/5/12 blew southerners minds, and she probably had no clue how very poorly and furiously it would be received.

via Lawfare’s summary: That is, the speech asserts that Due Process permits targeting of a citizen at least when the target is:

(i) located abroad rather than in the United States,

(ii) has a senior operational role

(iii) with al Qaeda or an al Qaeda-associated force,

(iv) is involved in plotting focused on the death of Americans in particular,

(v) that threat is “imminent” in the sense that this is the last clear window of opportunity to strike,

(vi) there is no feasible option for capture without undue risk, and

(vii) the strike will comply with the IHL principles of necessity, distinction, proportionality, and humanity.

What is the acceptable metric of civilian causality per each suspected al Qaeda targeted? Much, much lower than Afghanistan I hope. Its a very volatile situation.

US to resume military training in Yemen prior to restructing military

Filed under: Counter-terror, Diplomacy, Donors, UN, Military, Security Forces, USA, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 11:25 am on Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hows that going to work? Clearly the Yemeni forces are not up to the challenge without support considering yesterday’s bloodbath. But how to offset the AQAP subversion, root out the corrupt and purge the murderers while training is ongoing, (it didn’t work so well in the past), al Qaeda is attacking and restructure the Yemeni military simultaneously. Southerners, Houthis and other excluded groups have to be integrated into the new military for balance. Meanwhile its been AQAP’s goal to draw in US military forces.

US officials’ statements alienating southerners en masse (al Qaeda’s unwilling captive and nearby communities) isn’t helping overall efforts.

US and Yemeni officials have agreed to restart a controversial military-training program to help the new president tackle Al Qaeda militants as part of planned enhanced counter-terrorism relationship.

While President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi has openly turned to Washington as he attempts to get the upper hand over the terrorist group, his policy may have a key drawback — upsetting the delicate political balance of power in the country and complicating the sensitive task of overhauling the nation’s fractured security forces.

Dozens of US special operations forces already on the ground are set to resume training of counterterrorism forces after a lull last year amid a wave of new sophisticated assaults by the Yemeni branch of the terrorist group and loosely linked jihadi groups. FOX

Anthony Shaffer: Awlaki a US double agent before 9/11

Filed under: US jihaddis, USS Cole, anwar, fahd — by Jane Novak at 10:18 am on Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, former DIA analyst in the Able Danger data mining operation, says in a current interview that Anwar Al Awlaki was a US double or triple agent before 9/11.

That may account for the US closing its investigation of Anwar’s connections to the “blind sheik” Omar Abdel Rahman in 1999. Once Awlaki’s many ties to the 9/11 highjackers became clear, a JTTF San Diego investigation was reopened. But in 2002, US Attorney Gaouette rescinded an arrest warrant against Anwar for passport fraud, a day before he re-entered the US.

Anwar as a double agent for and a triple agent against the US might explain the utter communication breakdown between JTTF’s DC and San Diego offices on Awlaki’s email correspondence with the soon to be jihaddist murderer Nidal Hassan.

It might also explain why Awlaki was never charged with anything–not incitement, not conspiracy to murder, even after the Nigerian Abdumutallab said he met with Awlaki regarding the Dec 2009 airplane bombing plot hatched in Yemen. On the other hand, it could all be a string of incompetence and bad luck. I don’t know which would be worse.

News Rescue “In video, Lt.Col. Anthony Shaffer describes how Anwar al-Awlaki Was a triple agent, and an FBI Asset Before 9/11 on infowars. Anthony Shaffer is a U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel who gained fame for his claims about mishandled intelligence before the September 11 attacks and for the censoring of his book, Operation Dark Heart.

Shaffer and the Able Danger team also uncovered intelligence of an impending al Qaeda terror plot in the Gulf of Aden in the weeks immediately prior to the bombing of the USS Cole on Oct 12, 2000 in Yemen. Able Danger tried strenuously to issue a warning that, like DIA analyst Kye Fallis’ was thwarted.

Despite the NSA’s constant and years long monitoring of the Yemen hub and the CIA’s surveillance of the 2000 Malaysia meeting where both the Cole attack and 9/11 were planned, no intelligence warning on the Cole bombing was generated or forwarded from those agencies either. (The CIA later withheld info on the Malaysia meeting from the FBI as it was investigating the Cole, leaving connections to the impending 9/11 attack unexplored.)

Lt. Shaffer was black balled by DIA after he went public with the 9/11 Commission’s failure to include his testimony regarding the presence of Atta in the US. Commander Lippold was essentially forced to retire by DOD. Fallis quit DIA on the day of the Cole bombing.

The Malaysia meeting was attended by current AQAP leader Fahd al Quso and top AQ operatives from several nations. As I’ve been saying for nearly a decade, al Quso’s unique threat level comes from his operational experience (blowing up a warship) coupled with his international connections and credibility.

Al Quso was indicted on over 50 counts of terrorism in NY’s Southern District in 2003 following his 2002 escape from Aden jail. The Sanaa regime secretly released al Quso in May 2007 despite a ten year sentence handed down after his 2004 “recapture,” the Washington Post reported. Al Quso finally made it to the MWT list in Nov 2009 and was designated Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the US State Department in Dec 2010.

The US began its drone campaign in Yemen with strikes in Dec 2009, where Awlaki and other AQAP leaders were supposedly meeting at Fahd al Quso’s farm. Al Quso gave several media interviews recently, noting how lovely things are in the AQ occupied towns in Yemen, when they are not crucifying spies, beheading soldiers, looting banks and dehanding teen-agers. Yesterday, AG Holder, the bastion of flex-fit jurisprudence, gave the Obama administration’s rationale for targeting US citizens with drones.

Update: Gah! Must be something in the air. Fox: Mueller grilled on FBI’s release of al-Awlaki in 2002 (3/7/12)

The warrant was pulled by a judge in Colorado, after the cleric entered the U.S. A U.S. attorney in Colorado who oversaw the warrant and the Justice Department claimed the cleric’s earlier lies to the Social Security Administration, the basis of the charge, had been corrected. But new documents obtained by Fox News through the Freedom of Information Act show otherwise.

After al-Awlaki re-entered the U.S. in the fall of 2002 with the FBI’s help, the cleric then appeared in a high-profile investigation, in which Agent Ammerman was a lead investigator. The FBI has not made the agent available to Fox News to interview, nor has the Department of Justice made the U.S. attorney on the case available. Former FBI agents say Ammerman would have needed permission from higher up in the bureau to let al-Awlaki go.

The House Homeland Security Committee launched an official investigation into the cleric and his 9/11 connections last year, but sources tell Fox News that committee staffers have been frustrated by the FBI’s resistance to providing documents and witnesses, citing “ongoing investigations.”

Wolf urged the FBI director to brief other lawmakers, including the head of the house intelligence committee, so that a similar scenario “never happens again.”

Fox News confirmed that the October 2002 incident and the arrest warrant for al-Awlaki was never disclosed to the 9/11 Commission or to Congress.

Former FBI agents, familiar with al-Awlaki’s re-entry in October 2002, say only two scenarios seem to explain what happened. The FBI was tracking the cleric for intelligence or the FBI was working with the cleric and saw him as a “friendly contact.”

Good luck to soon to be new Yemeni President Hadi!

Filed under: Biographies, Transition, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:40 am on Monday, February 20, 2012

Bios below. Hadi’s not a “southerner” in that he defected to Saleh in 1986 and fought against the south in 1994. Hopefully he will rise to the occasion, sometimes people do that. We’ll have to see. Its going to be lovely though to see Saleh out of office after all these years.

SANA’A — Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi used to be known as a silent man who never objected to, let alone disobeyed, any of Ali Abdullah Saleh’s orders.

This manner of managing the country resulted in the peaceful youth revolution, which began in February of 2011 and which led to Hadi becoming Yemen’s new president.

Hadi departed from the south with Ali Naser Mohamed after the January 1986 war between leaders of the Aden’s Socialist Party. He and Mohamed left for Sana’a after they suffered defeat in Aden.

In the 1994 war, Hadi sided with Saleh against the secession movement which surfaced in the same year and which, by year’s end, was aligned with Saleh. During the outgoing president’s 33-year rule, Hadi received the respect of all parties, due largely to a perception that he kept his hands clean of political and moral corruption.
(Read on …)

The US its own worst enemy in Yemen

Filed under: Air strike, Counter-terror, USA — by Jane Novak at 5:00 pm on Thursday, February 16, 2012

A very good article by Jeremy Scahill examines US policy in Yemen in Washington’s War in Yemen Backfires and highlights some of the contradictions (mule headedness?) that are heightening tensions and increasing risks to national security.

I agree that the “US has always gotten it wrong in Yemen.” Its not just Obama, but rather a deep and fundamental misunderstanding of Yemen that stems back through the Krajeski era. There was never a good baseline and the echo chamber effect compounded errors as uninformed or misinformed analysis led to wrong conclusions and outcomes time after time. Perhaps it was the total isolation of the embassy personnel as their reality was shaped by the Saleh propaganda machine and prior misconceptions. In an interview regarding the piece at Democracy Now:

Scahill reports that U.S. drone strikes, civilian drone casualties and deepening poverty in Yemen have all contributed to the cause of an Islamist uprising and how the U.S. has always “gotten it wrong” in Yemen.

In the interview, Scahill says that, “The arrogance of the U.S. was always thinking that whatever U.S. official was sent to Yemen was smarter than Ali Abdullah Saleh. … [Saleh] was a master chess player and he milked counter-terrorism as his cash cow. [U.S.-supplied] forces have almost never been used to actually battle anyone determined to be terrorists. They’ve existed primarily for the defense of the Saleh regime.”

He goes on to highlight the difference in perspectives between the U.S. and the actual Yemeni people, “One tribal leader who said very clearly,’al-Qaeda’s a terrorist organization. Yes these guys want to destroy America’…’you consider them terrorists. We consider the drones terrorism.’”

Watch it here:

State dept runs interference for Saleh in USS Cole case

Filed under: USS Cole, Yemen, gitmo — by Jane Novak at 4:35 pm on Thursday, February 16, 2012

The military tribunal at Gitmo ruled today that Saleh cannot be compelled to testify as a witness in the al Nashiri case. I am shocked that Obama’s friend and vital US partner in the WOT wouldn’t voluntarily want to aid the US judicial system. Apparently Saleh was the one who supplied much of the information directly to the US about al Nashiri, as well as giving him sanctuary after the attack. But it begs the question: when did Saleh learn of the plot. It must have been “after” because the US wouldn’t have spent the last decade supporting a dictator while knowing he was complicit in a terror attack against the US military.

Boston Herald: MIAMI — Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh is in the United States with full diplomatic immunity, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s legal adviser has written the Pentagon, and should not be compelled to provide sworn testimony for the Guantanamo war court. (Read on …)

Feierstein punishes Houthis for boycott

Filed under: Elections, Saada War, Transition, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 3:44 pm on Thursday, February 16, 2012

There seems to be the distinct impression the UN and the US ambassador said that anyone who causes trouble during the election will be designated as a terrorist organization. They are really sinking to Saleh’s level by playing the terror card and using the implied threat of drones. The Houthis have said they will not participate but will not stop anyone who wants to “vote.”

One link: Alsahwah.netUN Envoy Jamal Benomar has affirmed to the leader of Houthi group Abdul-Malki Al-Houthi that his group must take part in the presidential elections, otherwise it would be included in the list of terrorist groups, AFP quoted sources close to Benomar .

Some southerners will boycott peacefully as they think voting will reaffirm unity. The Beidh allied faction said they will violently prohibit voting, and there was more violence in the south today. I am starting to understand the earlier Nuba statement waring about Iranian influence in the south.

From Nasser Arrabyee today: This violent group is refused by the majority of the separatists and it is loyal to the German-based former president of the south, Ali Salem Al Beidh, who is reportedly receiving support from Iran. Al Beidh said a several times over the years that he would turn to Iran if he did not get western support. I couldn’t imagine he was that stupid. Maybe I should have.

Hassan Zaid said in an interview that there was an explicit threat from the western nations that if they did not sign the GCC deal, the protest squares would become a blood bath like Syria. It was not a prediction, an analysis or an implication; Zaid says it was an overt threat. The ambassador has said many shocking, aggressive and undiplomatic statements, so the benefit of the doubt is gone. Its also pretty ironic the US ambassador is lamenting foreign intervention after imposing the GCC deal despite public objections and while leaning on the wrong faction.

al Sahwa: The US Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein has expressed sorrow at foreign intervention in Yemen, pointing out to the Iranian support to the Houthi group.

“We would be so worried about any foreign interventions in Yemen that aim at raising security or political troubles,” he said In an interview with a Yemeni state-run TV.” We are so concerned about the Iranian attempts to undermine stability and security in Yemen.”

He had renewed the attitudes of his country toward the power transfer and the efforts of the political settlement under the GCC-deal and working with all political parties to sustain the interim government.

This is really nauseating and indicates the whole thing is a total sham. The US hanging on to Saleh’s relatives and Saleh himself: Saba (Feierstein) criticized the protests within the government institutions, in particular military units, affirming the legal actions against any government leaders accused of corruption must be taken. “The accused should have the opportunity to defend themselves”, he underlined.

Regarding the President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s political activity, Feierstein said the US does not have any reservation about the President’s political activities after ending his current presidential term, via leading the General People Congress Party.

Nigerian says Anwar al Awlaki gave him airline plot, introduced bomb maker

Filed under: USA, Yemen, airliner, anwar — by Jane Novak at 9:33 pm on Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Abdulmutallab was found guilty and sentenced to death for trying to murder all the people on the airliner. I’m sure he’ll appeal.

USA Today: According to court documents, Abdulmutallab spent months pursuing American-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, where the two men eventually met and hatched out a plan to blow up an American airliner over U.S. soil on Christmas Day 2009. In the weeks leading up to the bombing attempt, the two men texted each other, spoke briefly on the phone and ended up spending three days together at al-Awlaki’s house planning the attack, the government wrote in court documents. (Read on …)

One year later, UN, GCC, EU & US writes the Yemeni people

Filed under: Donors, UN, GCC, Transition, USA, Yemen, protest statements — by Jane Novak at 10:04 am on Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Yemen Post: We the Ambassadors of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the European Union (EU), wish to reiterate to the people of Yemen our full commitment to the political transition process taking place on the basis of the November 2011 GCC Agreement and in the framework of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2014 (2011). The 21 February Interim Presidential Elections are an important step. We call upon all the political parties, military authorities, tribal and regional leaders, youth and non-governmental civil society actors to work together to ensure that the elections are as inclusive as possible and take place without violence and in a constructive spirit of cooperation.

We look to all parties to work for improved security conditions throughout the country, the protection of civilians and the national infrastructure such as pipelines and electricity supplies, respect for human rights, the release of all political detainees, justice for all those affected by the crisis of the last year, national reconciliation and a unified effort to address the growing humanitarian crisis.

We share the aspiration of Yemeni citizens who seek a more stable and prosperous Yemen and a government that provides all the services citizens can rightly expect. The next two years of continuing transition will be vital to achieve this. We stand ready to support in every way possible this process.

a) Kindly publish the GCC Agreement in full as signed in Arabic and English, no one has seen the full text of the controlling document.

b) The lack of security, stability or services may have instigated the rev and the solution according to Yemenis is democracy. self-determination and an entire regime change. No one is seeking a better dictatorship except the UN.

c) Reiterate is the wrong word as it implies there was any attempt to communicate directly with the Yemeni people previously, and there was not.

d) Lovely the way they lump civilians in with pipelines and infrastructure in the same sentence as items to be protected.

e) Seeking justice for those harmed over the last year will not bring stability, Saleh’s victims prior to 2011 are substantially aggrieved. What kind of justice can the victims in 2011 expect and why are the thousands of prior victims excluded from this justice?

f) What kind of transition is it if Saleh is coming back to vote, many in the GPC retain power and Ahmed is expected to run in two years? The unity government not only freezes out the protesters, Houthis and Southerners but also the GPC officials who had the decency to resign after the March massacre. We are left the same exact players who were in a political deadlock from 2006-2011, with the exception of a few sincere individuals trying to hold back the GPC counter-revolution.

Although the Yemeni Constitution requires two candidates, the UN dictated single candidate election is a foregone conclusion, and I don’t think anybody should waste their time and energy boycotting (although many groups are). The National Reconciliation Conference however is an opportunity for the excluded elements of the Yemeni public to bring forth their demands while the international community is paying attention. It may be a rare chance to force some changes. Most groups and individuals in Yemen already agree on 1) a proportional electoral system that will eventually undermine the larger parties and allow a more representative political process and 2) transparent budget and fair allocation of resources.

It may be wise for all groups to agree to start with these two (or any other) consensual demands and see if the process is actually going to work. The opening goals should be ones that benefit every Yemeni regardless of identity. But what I think is gong to happen is that they are all going to come to the table with a full list of divergent demands and conditions. For example, many southerners remain fully committed to an independent state (as an opening statement), despite the argument for unwinding things slowly or joining the unity government to ensure a fair allocation of aid and resources for now.

Like I said before, if the presidential “election” had a meaningful referendum attached to it, like lets say on the proportional system of elections, more people might vote because their votes would have meaning and give them a voice and a decision. The outcome of this single candidate “election” was determined by the UN last year. Its an absurd proposition that that the UN is seeking the legitimacy of the popular will on an decidedly undemocratic, unconstitutional and unpopular process. Yemenis are not cattle or children, and a strongly worded statement won’t make them behave in a manner convenient to the UN. The letter doesn’t even have a nice or respectful tone. But at the end of the day, the final end to the nightmare of Saleh’s reign will be a positive event, as long as its actually the end and not more propaganda.

Also maybe somebody should explain to the southerners that participation in the elections doesn’t mean acceptance of the unified state or negate their rights and claims but maybe its a step to present those claims and affirm those rights in the coming national reconciliation conference. There are plans for protests against the elections in the near future in certain locations.

New York protesters throw shoe at Yemeni war criminal Ali Abdullah Saleh

Filed under: Post Saleh, Transition, USA — by Jane Novak at 6:02 pm on Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Yemeni Americans are protesting the fact that Saleh is in the New York Ritz Carlton Hotel enjoying an immunity deal that grants a pardon for 33 years of crimes and that “his” funds have not been frozen, or any punitive actions taken at all. He is supposedly here for urgent medical treatment only available in the US but he looks fine to me.

Washington Post: NYC protest against Yemeni president gets heated when he appears as shoe is thrown

NEW YORK — A protest of the embattled president of Yemen outside the New York hotel where he’s staying got heated when demonstrators saw him leave the building.

The dozen protesters had been kept across the street from the Ritz-Carlton hotel Sunday afternoon. They had been waving flags and yelling in opposition to President Ali Abdullah Saleh. He is visiting the United States for medical treatment.

Saleh exited the hotel and waved and smiled sardonically toward the protesters. One of them attempted to charge across the street, but was restrained by authorities. Someone also threw a shoe in Saleh’s direction.

Saleh got into his car. His motorcade then left.

New US backed Yemen Unity government hopes to negotiate with AQAP

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, USA, Yemen, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 6:01 pm on Sunday, February 5, 2012

Update: Just to be clear, Saleh et al overtly and covertly negotiated with al Qaeda for years. Officials often defended the policy as rehabilitation and CT policy. Following the 2006 escape of 23 AQ operatives, Saleh said he was in touch with them all by phone, including presumably Wahishi, current AQAP leader. After releasing Jamal al Badawi in 2007, Saleh said he was going to use him as an informant. The earlier negotiation between Saleh and Abu al Fida on behalf of the jihaddis who were supposedly under security supervision resulted in looser requirements and an AQ promise to not attack within Yemen which held for about two years until the attack on the US embassy. And then there was that meeting in 09 between Saleh and the southern contingent of jihaddists that included a transfer of cash, we see where that got us.

Original: Spectacular. I was concerned that negotiations with the Taliban would be followed by negotiations with AQAP but it seemed too extreme to be possible, even for Obama. First the GCC deal freezes out (in bulk) all the philosophical forces opposed to the narrow, violent, supremacist al Qaeda worldview (including the protesters, women, southerners, Houthis, civil government advocates and everyone who defected from the GPC on principle) and then the (US endorsed) GCC deal re-empowers the calcified and dysfunctional ruling structure, paving the way for al Qaeda to impose its rigid political agenda on the rest of the nation through legitimate political avenues. While it is possible for hardened jihaddists to mature, the group has to change before they can come engage in the political process including renouncing violence and taqfirism, and endorsing equal rights and protections for all denominations and all Yemeni citizens. They are not there yet.

CNN via Yemen Online: 5/2/2012, Yemen’s highest military authority Sunday announced its willingness to open channels of dialogue with al Qaeda in hopes of reaching a long-term cease-fire agreement.

The military committee was formed as part of the power transfer deal in November. Spokesman Ali Saeed Obaid told CNN that the new Yemeni military leadership is opening its hands and will seek new solutions with al Qaeda fighters.

Al Qaeda currently controls large areas in the southern Abyan and Shabwa provinces of Yemen.

“We are offering al Qaeda a chance to be involved in the political decisions in the country through politics, rather than forcing their views with the use of arms,” Obaid said.

Vice President Abdurabu Hadi is chairman of the committee, which is responsible for rebuilding the Yemeni military.

“The committee is hoping that al Qaeda lays down its arms and participates in seeking change democratically, like the millions in Yemen,” Obaid said, adding that al Qaeda would in return handover all territories under its control to the military and evacuate government posts.

Al Qaeda has not yet responded to the offer, the committee said.

Yemen’s government is in the midst of a transfer of power in which President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a longtime United States ally in the war on terrorism, has agreed to step down after more than 33 years of rule.

Islamist militants seized control of Abyan last May after government positions were suddenly emptied. The province was announced an Islamic emirate a week later, resulting in hundreds of fighters joining their lines.

Hundreds of troops and fighters have been killed daily as part of their efforts to rid the province of the fighters.

More than 100,000 residents of Abyan evacuated the province when clashes intensified last July. They are currently living in shelters in the neighboring provinces of Aden and Lahj.

Last month, a committee formed by Hadi persuaded al Qaeda fighters in Radda, in the nearby province of al-Baitha, to evacuate the area two weeks after they took it over.

Suspected al Qaeda fighters left the town after five days of tense negotiations in exchange for the release of three prisoners, Hadi’s office said at the time. CNN

Related, a Lebanese paper questions whether Tariq al Dhahab is an operative of AQAP or the National Security (but these are not mutually exclusive) and if the take over of Radda was another false flag maneuver. The Abbad report below has al Wahishi physically in Raada with al Dhahab, but Wahishi and the National Security have had easy, if not good, relations for a long time

Before leaving Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh had opened the game of al-Qaeda again. This time occurred from Radda Area where al-Qaeda does not exist. Despite the fact that there is convention that led fundamentalist group to leave the town after occupying it for 4 weeks and the authority undertook to implement some of the armed group’s demands, subsequent developments say that this scenario will be repeated in other parts of Yemen.

It seems that Ali Abdullah Saleh even two weeks before heading for U. S. for treatment had not got bored from using al-Qaeda card, however, he signed (GCC) Imitative which turned him an honorary president with no power. He is still insisting on lifting up the slogan of “Me or al-Qaeda”. He did it in Abyan Province, south Yemen, at the middle of May when he directed security troops to leave the gates of the town opened and showed no resistance in front of attack of hundreds of armed men. Later, the regime said they belong to al-Qaeda.

Now, he is implementing it again but in a way improperly directed. Tribal Sheik from Radda Town called Tariq al-Dhahab, has tribal broad influence and belongs to famous tribe distinguished by its strength and the wide-spread of weapon among its elements in al-Baidha Province south Yemen along with hundreds of armed men, entered the area and faced no resistance from Central Security or Republican Guards present in the area. Nothing stopped Dhahab and his men, they entered the town as if they were going on a picnic or fishing trip not to occupy an entire town, and later declared an Islamic emirate.

After entering, they headed for the main Ameriya Mosque in the town where they prayed Maghreb (Sunset Prayers) and Isha (Evening Paryers). Between the two prayers, Tariq al-Dhahab delivered preach in which he pledged of allegiance to the leader of al-Qaeda in Arab Peninsula Nasr al-Waheshi and to the leader of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan Ayman al-Zawahiri. He announced a set of procedures in the town including forcing owners of petrol station to sell fuel with former price before the outbreak of the Youth Revolution in Yemen.

It is a step through which he aimed at gaining people’s sympathy. After that, they headed for ancient Ameriya Castle overlooking the town. They did not stop but they kept on dominating the rest of the town within the next two days. They, moreover, went to the Central Prison and released all inmates. Deputy Minister of Information Ministry Abdu Janadi commented on this conduct and said they did so in order to increase their number and arm those who want to join them. This was denied by Tariq al-Dhahab as saying he only had released two inmates of his followers. Dhahab later announced through recorded video saying, “Islamic caliphate is coming even if we sacrifice our souls and skulls for that,” He, moreover, threatened to free the Arabian Peninsula after applying Islamic law in Yemen, meeting the need of people.

Simultaneously, the Military Committee, formed in order to demilitarize Yemeni cities in accordance with (GCC) plan, continued holding meetings in the capital Sana’a to search the last results of the removal of barricades and military vehicles from the streets of the cities of Sana’a and Taiz. It issued a statement in which it praised these operations without forgetting to say that it would form investigation committee regarding what happened in Radda Town. It appeared that the Committee was in a side and Radda sheiks of tribes in the other. The sheiks were trying to rectify the deteriorating situation under an overt absence of security showing no resistance towards Dhahab’s elements occupying the town.

Consequently, tribe sheiks announced to hold meeting to discuss the serious situation especially as people there resorted to use their guns and to stand in front of their shops and houses to protect them. More serious than that, the large number of those released prisoners who were detained against a backdrop of revenge issues and crimes such as rape, stealing and murder including approximately 165 prisoners had sentenced to death.

How did the large number of fighters enter the town and how did they pass through all military checkpoints located along the main highways connecting the governorates of Yemen. Local source, who preferred to be in the state of anonymity, said they did not enter the town as rumored but they were gathered from inside the town. He explained to “al-Akhbar” that a number of sheiks repeatedly appealed to the authority the growing presence of strange militants from the town, but their calls faced no response. The sheiks, furthermore, appealed to militants to leave the town, otherwise they would use force to take militants out of the town and they offered them 3 days before Tariq al-Dhahab demanded to extend the deadline in order to discuss with senior sheiks of the tribe to reach to a solution that satisfies everybody without resorting to the strength of weapon. At the end, this resulted to make militants leave the town after the authority accepted some demands of Dhahab to release his younger brother from Political Security’s prison in Sana’a.

Khalid al-Dhahab shocked everybody when he said in statement to the press that his brother Tariq fully coordinated with National Security and with the former Interior Minister, the matter which puts questions regarding the reality of Tariq al-Dhahab link to Qaeda or is he a part of a security apparatus implementing specific task?

“The town of Radda was far from any mentioning of the presence of al-Qaeda inside and it did not happen that its name was linked to al-Qaeda,” said Managing Editor of “Masdar” independent newspaper, Abdul-Hakeem Helal, pointing out that we could never ignore the real presence of al-Qaeda in Yemen unlike what the opposition says through repeatable deny and that al-Qaeda is only a card played by Saleh.

For his part, media source in General People’s Congress (GPC), who did not want to mention his name, said to “al-Akhbar” that these acts done by Ali Abdullah Saleh before leaving Yemen were in the context of his attempts to bring chaos in spite of adopting immunity law which granted Saleh immunity from prosecution for his 33 year reign.

Simultaneously, elements belong to (GPC), headed by Saleh, notably were armed especially in Taiz and Dhale’ south Yemen. Informed sources said that their main goal in the next phase is to hinder early presidential election scheduled on February 21st, so Yemen would return to square number one.

Source: Lebanese al-Akhbar Newspaper

US cannot increase drone use in Yemen without providing shelter for civilians

Filed under: Abyan, Aden, Air strike, Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, Diplomacy, GCC, South Yemen, USA, Yemen, shabwa — by Jane Novak at 6:43 pm on Thursday, February 2, 2012

Yemenis are fleeing (not joining) al Qaeda where ever they appear. However the vast majority of civilians lack the funds to rent an apartment or to buy food once they leave their farms and possessions behind to be looted by AQAP. But if they stay, they are subject to both al Qaeda dictatorship and US drones. The US may label those who don’t flee as collateral damage or as providing material support (as the Bedouins were in the Dec 2009 US strike in Abyan that killed 43 women and children when General Patraeus implied they were acceptable deaths because they selling vegetable to AQAP, despite the fact the villagers had appealed twice to local authorities to expel the group.)

Certainly AQAP bears the responsibility for sheltering in populated areas in the first place but people in the al Qaeda occupied territories of Yemen want to know where the refugee camps are. Seriously, where are they supposed to go? And it is a US problem when an al Qaeda presence means the potential of US drone strikes. The 120,000 who fled Zinjibar last May are still in the schools of Aden. I know Yemenis’ rights are very low on Obama’s priority list, but there must be a part of the plan to increase US drone use that will deal with the public panic and mass displacement that will occur as US drones follow AQ from province to province threatening people’s lives and homes. Over 15,000 fled Raada within days of Tariq al Dhahab’s (and al Wahishi’s) appearance. They were escaping both the al Qaeda fanaticism and the threat of US drones.

While the Obama administration may try to maintain the myth in the US that they know exactly who they are hitting, and its always a precise targeting, the non-lethal impact on civilians must be considered as well. The US is playing right into al Qaedas hands with nearly every policy from the re-imposition of a dictatorship through the GCC deal to Saleh’s visit to increased drones. The US is focused on vulnerable land when it should be focused on vulnerable people.

Basically, the US is going to bomb Yemen in order to pull off an uncontested election that nobody wants (except the US, the GPC and Islah elites) in the interest of “stability.” If the expired parliament gave Saleh immunity, it can appoint Hadi. The bogus show election isn’t worth more Yemeni lives or the displacement of tens of thousands, and it certainly wont confer legitimacy when there’s only one candidate that was selected by the US. The most politically disenfranchised are going to boycott anyway: civil minded protesters, southerners and Houthis.

The National: Yemen will increasingly rely on US drone strikes to target Islamist militants threatening to disrupt a transfer of power this month, Yemeni government officials said.

The president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, is meant to hand over power to his vice president, Abdurabu Mansur Hadi, on February 22.

The run up to the transfer is being overshadowed by growing protests, including within the military, which have grounded Yemen’s air force across much of the country.

Two aides in Mr Hadi’s office said they expected a rise in drone attacks against Al Qaeda militants.

The strikes will be intensified only if necessary, to ensure that militant groups do not expand in vulnerable areas, said one of the aides. Both asked to remain anonymous. (Read on …)

Yemen strike and Obama on drones

Filed under: Air strike, Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, USA, Yemen, obits — by Jane Novak at 7:43 am on Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Is Abdul Munim al Fathani, a relative of Saad al Fathani, killed in a Christmas eve drone strike in 2009?

Its absurd that US officials are using al Fathani’s connection to the USS Cole bombing as justification for the drone attack when Fahd al Quso and Jamal al Badawi walked out of Yemeni prison in 2007, pardoned by Saleh after less than three years in jail, and the US knew where they were- at home. In 2009, Al Quso was put on the Most Wanted Terrorist list.

BBC: However, tribal leaders told the AFP news agency that a control post and a school hosting a midnight meeting of local al-Qaeda chiefs and fighters were targeted in four overnight raids.

Abdul Munim al-Fathani, who was reportedly wanted by the US for alleged links to the attacks on the USS Cole in 2000 and a French oil tanker in 2002, was among the dead, they said.

“We think they were carried out by American planes,” one tribal source told AFP, on condition of anonymity and without elaborating.

al Shawa: US drones killed on Monday night nine Al-Qaeda suspects in the southern city of Abyan.

The sources said that two drones shelled several positions in Loder and Al-Wodaia districts of Abyan.

Three of the raids targeted a school in which Al Qaeda fighters and chiefs of a local militant network were meeting around midnight.

Among the people killed was regional Al Qaeda leader Abdul Monem al Fahtani, who has long been sought by the Yemeni authorities, and other local chiefs.

Obama tries to pretend they know who they are targeting. How careful can you be when you rely on the thoroughly compromised Yemeni CT intel? Have the strikes really killed more terrorists than civilians in Yemen? We’d have to start with the 43 civilians killed in Abyan 2009 and count from there, but the US doesn’t know exactly who they are targeting and killing, for example Sheikh Shabwani in May.

USA Today: President Obama is defending his use of unmanned drone attacks in Pakistan and elsewhere, saying they have been used to kill more terrorists than civilians.

“I want to make sure that people understand actually drones have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties,” Obama said during a forum with YouTube and Google-plus. “For the most part, they have been very precise, precision strikes against al- Qaeda and their affiliates. And we are very careful in terms of how it’s been applied.” (Read on …)

Yemen’s parliament’s term expired in 2011, so how did they grant Saleh immunity in 2012?

Filed under: GCC, Parliament, Post Saleh, Protest Fatalities, Trials, USA — by Jane Novak at 11:14 am on Tuesday, January 24, 2012

There are many moves afoot within Yemen and internationally that dispute the unprecedented immunity deal for 33 years of Saleh’s crimes as well as that of his cohorts. However, the Yemeni parliament, that has been sitting since 2003, when it was elected to a four year term, was scheduled for elections in 2009 and voted itself a two year extension into 2011. I am checking but I can’t find anyone who recalls a new law being issued where they voted themselves another term extension.

(Update: the 2009 law grants a two year extension until they elect a new parliament in 2011, ambiguous language at best.

Update 2: a handy link from Yemen Parliament Watch that indicates parliament is operating outside the scope of the law: “The report indicated that the constitutional period of the parliament ended in February 2011 where the parliament had finished its six years stipulated constitution as well as the additional two years.”

Update 3: there is also a stipulation in the constitution that parliament can be extended when facing war, natural disaster or unrest, but I’m assuming that had to have been done formally, and within the scope of the term, not by some GPC mind meld.

Update 4: the amnesty was issued while Parliament was legally on vacation or in recess.)

Original post continues: A political deadlock ensued following the 2006 presidential election wherein the GPC thwarted the implementation of a proportional representation system (as opposed to a “winner takes all” single district method) and other electoral reforms, prompting the opposition JMP to boycott parliament altogether. Without the implementation of the previously agreed upon reforms, the parliament voted itself a two year extension and rescheduled elections for 2011. (In order to thwart elections in 2011, the SCER also disqualified the voter rolls en mass.) There was no new parliamentary election in 2011 and no official law passed rescheduling the election and extending their terms as far as I know. Therefore there is no legitimate Yemeni parliament, just a bunch of old men stuck to their chairs for a decade.

So where is the legal foundation of this expired parliament’s vote to give the Sanaa regime immunity? More fundamentally, the people withdrew legitimacy from the Parliament, the Sanaa regime and dysfunctional political party system through a year of mass nationwide protests.

However, while many are working on the issue of Saleh’s immunity, I am much more concerned with the implementation of the proportional representative system in order to undermine the hegemony of both the GPC and Islah who were both artificially empowered by the GCC plan. Proportional representation will allow for the growth of new parties, minority representation and probably more women in political office. It appears that the only way to get the task done is through a public referendum, as the same illegitimate GPC dominated parliament that stalled on the issue for five years will likely continue to block it.

The proportional system has a national consensus, and it has been repeatedly been endorsed by a variety of Yemeni groups from the JMP in 2005 to the tribally based National Dialog Committee in 2009 to the Yemeni Youth Revolution that took to the streets in 2011.

Had the PR system been enacted as agreed upon in 2006, allowing for authentic political growth and representative parties to compete in 2009, the revolution might not have been necessary. So its important not to allow history to repeat itself, especially with this crucial and long overdue element of the overall package of electoral reform.

There is more on the other illegalities of the unprecedented and illegal amnesty plan below from Human Rights Watch and the YCTJ:

Press Release
By The Yemeni Center for Transitional Justice Concerning the Approval of the House of Representatives of the Immunity Law

The Yemeni Center for Transitional Justice reviewed the law approved by the House of Representatives (Parliament) of the Republic of Yemen concerning the award of immunity to the President of the Regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh and his supporters. As YCTJ confirms its previous position with respect to this law, that the law lacks the minimum principles of human justice, and is openly in violation of honorable Islamic Jurisprudence, international laws, and is in breach of the international human rights conventions/agreements to which Yemen is signatory, YCTJ now also calls for the application of real true transitional justice without any selectivity, forgery or deliquescent.
(Read on …)

Yemen’s Saleh leaves for Oman, en route to US

Filed under: Post Saleh, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:23 pm on Sunday, January 22, 2012

What an abhorrent and indefensible US policy, counter-productive as well as contrary to international law. Saleh must be blackmailing the US, there’s no other reasonable explanation. Beyond giving him total immunity while not barring him from future political participation, the US is not confiscating all the money Saleh and his family stole to return to the Yemeni treasury, and the whole GCC transition plan re-empowers the Saleh’s ruling GPC party and elevates Islah, which by itself is causing a lot of consternation in Yemen. Its really a shame.

Beeb: Yemen’s veteran President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, has left the country to travel to the US for medical treatment, Yemeni officials say. (Read on …)

US State Department pushes for immunity for Saleh and thus al Qaeda in Yemen

Filed under: Donors, UN, GCC, Post Saleh, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:47 pm on Monday, January 9, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yemeni activists have long asserted that the state uses al Qaeda to attack its enemies and threaten the international community.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Probable war crimes committed during the Saada war (2005-2010) include the “Scorched Earth” campaign during the sixth round of war, 2009-201o, when the Yemeni air force repeatedly bombed civilian villages, refugee camps, and infrastructure. Saudi air support was responsible for bombing a Yemeni hospital, which Saudi authorities called “a mistake” in conversations to US officials, according to a Wikileaks document. The deliberate denial of humanitarian aid and a pattern of mass nationwide arrests are also thought to have contravened international law.

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

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

The Wall Street Journal revealed last week that Mr. Brennan was “pissed” when it became apparent that President Saleh had orchestrated a hit on a political rival via US drone by feeding the US false intelligence.

The US drone strike in May 2010 killed the deputy governor of Marib , Jabir Shabwani. Observers questioned Mr. Brennan’s gullibility considering Saleh’s long and extensive history of duping the US on counter-terror issues.

Yemenis have held several protests calling for the expulsion of US Ambassador Feierstein after he disparaged a peaceful 170 mile march from Taiz to Sana’a, held to underscore public rejection of the amnesty deal.

Ambassador Feierstein said the marchers were trying to provoke chaos and thus not inherently peaceful. When state forces killed 11 marchers later in the day, Yemenis charged that the US had given the Saleh regime the green light to murder as well as provided the amnesty afterward.

Over several months, US diplomats have pushed hard for the immunity deal as a way to ease Saleh out of office; however Saleh has outplayed the US at every turn during the 11 month popular uprising. He shows no real intention of giving up power and continues to operate on the political scene through proxies within the unity government.

- Jane

Not to mention that they really have to give immunity to the corrupt opposition now as well or the immunized criminals will have an advantage.

Yemen Observer: The Yemeni cabinet has approved a draft law of amnesty that will give President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his aides immunity from prosecution. (Read on …)

Yemenis protest US ambassador, demand explusion

Filed under: Protest Fatalities, Taiz, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 2:08 pm on Friday, December 30, 2011

Today, #Yemeni protesters held banners calling for US ambassa... on Twitpic

Today, Yemeni protesters held banners calling for US ambassador to be expelled. Even an apology is no longer enough.

Yemeni protesters calls for US Ambassador’s dismissal

Filed under: Diplomacy, Protest Fatalities, Taiz, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 4:37 pm on Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The CCYRC issued a letter reminding the US President that the Yemeni protesters oppose and are not a signatory to the GCC deal. the group calls for an official apology from the US as they say Ambassador Feierstein uniformly rude, disrespectful and insulting to the Yemeni people and has acted as the Saleh regime’s advocate and protector and with flagerant disregard for democratic principles. In particular the CCYRC condemn Feierstein’s most recent inflammatory statement wherein the Ambassador said the Life March was not a inherently peaceful as it was designed to provoke violence. Within hours, state forces killed 12 marchers.

The ambassador’s statement is below and I was waiting for an English transcript issued by the embassy but there doesn’t appear to be one coming. I find it unbelievable that the US Ambassador would demand political passivity from the Yemeni public. He blamed the peaceful marchers for any violence and chaos that the march triggers, which is akin to calling Dr. Martin Luther King an instigator of chaos and implying that the US civil rights marchers should have stayed home or that Medger Evans was responsible for his own murder because of his activism.

Al-Ariky Al-Mohammed By: توكل كرمان Tawakkol Karman
// translated from Arabic

The U.S. Ambassador in Sana’a is a devil’s advocate and friend of the criminal thugs!!
Online social and news networks lately have been talking about the comments made by the U.S ambassador in Yemen on the violence that accompanied the march of life that came from the city of Taiz on foot which led to the killing of more than thirteen and injuring hundreds. The U.S ambassador said that the march of life « was not peaceful »; He added “the protester had no intention of a peaceful march and they intended to reach Sana’a and cause trouble which would provoke and lead the security forces to respond with violence”. (Read on …)

Saleh to US

Filed under: Post Saleh, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 12:46 pm on Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Path Is Cleared for Yemeni Leader to Get Care in U.S.

HONOLULU — The Obama administration has decided in principle to allow the embattled president of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to enter the United States for medical treatment, subject to certain assurances, two administration officials said Monday.

But those conditions — including a proposed itinerary — have not yet been submitted to the American Embassy in Yemen, these officials said, and no visa has yet been issued to Mr. Saleh.

The decision of whether to admit Yemen’s longtime leader has stirred a vigorous debate within the administration, with some officials fearing sharp criticism for appearing to provide a safe haven for a reviled Arab figure accused of responsibility for the death of hundreds of antigovernment protesters.

The complex negotiations over Mr. Saleh’s visa request attest to the high stakes for the administration, which urgently wants to secure room for political progress in Yemen but does not want to allow Mr. Saleh to use a medical visit as a way to shore up his political position. Nor do they want to play into Mr. Saleh’s penchant for keeping people off kilter.

If allowed to enter, Mr. Saleh would be the first Arab leader to request, and to be granted, an extended stay in the United States since political unrest began convulsing the region a year ago.

One administration official said that there was no further “impediment” to issuing Mr. Saleh a visa, and that he could arrive at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital as soon as the end of this week for additional treatment of medical problems stemming from a near-fatal bomb blast in June at the mosque in his presidential complex.

Though the administration had been concerned that approval would anger the many Yemenis eager to see Mr. Saleh prosecuted for the killing of protesters by his security forces, some believe that giving him a way out of Yemen, even temporarily, could help smooth the way to elections next year and perhaps end a political crisis that has brought the government of the impoverished nation to the brink of collapse.

US ambassador to Yemen justified violence against Life March

Filed under: Taiz, USA, Yemen, protests — by Jane Novak at 12:19 pm on Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wow he’s lost control of his faculties apparently. This makes no sense.

: With the imminent arrival of the life march to its goal of Sanaa, moments before their exposure to lead and tear gas, the U.S. Ambassador Gerald Firestein expresses an explicit position opposed to the march, noting that the international community is waiting for the issuance and activation of the law of immunity under the initiative Gulf.

The American ambassador at a press conference mini-attended three media including “source online” (al masdar) at the US embassy in Sanaa on Saturday that the march of life «is not peaceful,» and added «seem to have the intention not to carry out a peaceful march, but access to Sana’a in order to generate chaos and provoke a violent response by the security ».

He Gerald Firestein this «is not legal .. Thus, the government has the right to maintain law ». And «If people said they want to reach the presidential palace and parliament to Mhasrthma, this is not a legitimate»

The march of life that started from Taiz last Tuesday (Dec. 20) and reached the outskirts of Sana’a this day, has been exposed to the central security forces which launched by the bullets and tear gas, and caused the killing of at least seven people and wounded dozen, as stated by Online source earlier.

The capital, Sana’a during the last few hours is the busiest in the great altar of St. sixty and awaiting the arrival of the march of life, which has received wide coverage by the various means of local and international media.

The ambassador said in response to a question by the source of online in this regard «the peace is not only to not take up arms. if 2000 people decided, for example, to demonstration at the White House, we do not consider it a peaceful and will not allow it». (ed-Liar.! Tens of thousands surrounded White House 11/7/11, the first of thousands of results for large protest at White House.)

The US ambassador said the provocations could lead to further reaction and violence, this does not benefit the country and the new government initiative and the implementation of the Gulf and operational mechanism.

Lacking intel, US drones unidentitified groups of suspected terrorists

Filed under: Air strike, Counter-terror, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:43 am on Wednesday, November 9, 2011

This article from the Air Force Times deals with the Horn of Africa and uses examples from 2004 but applies to present day Yemen as well.


Despite leading a six-person human intelligence team with responsibility for the Horn of Africa — and with Ethiopia a priority — (Marine Capt. Rye Barcott) Barcott had no idea what the man was talking about…
The conversation ended quickly, but Barcott’s interpreter wasn’t ready to let the matter lie. “Afterwards he’s like, ‘Listen, the Dergue was the communist regime that ran this place. … Everybody knows the Dergue. Come on, these are very basic things.’ ”

The exchange in Gode happened in 2004. The chastened Barcott had run head first into one of the major problems that plagued U.S. operations in the Horn of Africa in the years after 9/11: the lack of a basic understanding of the region among the personnel charged with operating there.

“At that time, DoD had f—- all in terms of HUMINT in the Horn,” said an intelligence source with long experience in the region.

“At a very fundamental level, we simply lacked that baseline that we needed,” said a military targeting official. “We didn’t understand the culture, we didn’t understand the people … in a real sense we didn’t understand the players and how they related in the various organizations inside the various cities in the Horn.” — (Read on …)

Yemen gov’t aided Gimto detainee al Nashiri before the USS Cole attack, sheltered him after

Filed under: Aden, USA, USS Cole, Yemen, al nashiri, gitmo — by Jane Novak at 9:16 pm on Friday, November 4, 2011

2014 update: this is the correct link for the 2011 CRS report

And other oddities:

The latest news on Gitmo detainee Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, in US custody since 2002, is that the Military Commission can not confirmthat he will be released if found not guilty. Its not in the Military Commission’s jurisdiction to make those kind of pledges. Considering Nashiri was water boarded, its questionable if any of his statements will be allowed at trial, but prosecutors are confident that there is enough other evidence for a conviction.

Al Nashiri is charged with aiding the al Qaeda attack on the USS Cole in Aden port in 2000. The bombing killed 17 US service members and severely wounded dozens more. Al Nashiri selected the targets, the timing and coordinated the operatives. However, unexplored for a decade is the level of complicity by top Yemeni government officials and the failure of US intelligence to get a warning to the ship.

Prior to the attack on the USS Cole, Yemen’s then Interior Minister Hussain Arab issued al Nashiri a travel pass that enabled him to pass Yemen’s many internal checkpoints without search or question in the months preceding the terror attack. Al Nashiri also had a weapons permit issued by the Interior Ministry. These official documents were presented in Yemeni court during the 2005 trials of other conspirators.

In an interesting coincidence, Yemeni President Saleh ordered several top officials, including Interior Minister Arab, to travel from the capital Sana’a to Aden the night before the USS Cole was bombed there.

Saleh denied that Yemen was notified of the impending arrival of the warship. According to Centcom commander, General Zinni, in Congressional testimony, US naval officials followed the standard procedures for refueling including a two week advance notification to the host port.

It was also around two weeks prior to the attack that the military data mining group Able Danger and separately DOD analyst Kie Fallis picked up intel streams about an impending attack. Both made several attempts to obtain authorization to issue official warnings to no avail.

Kie Fallis quit the day of the Cole bombing. Able Danger’s Anthony Shaffer’s information never made it into the 9/11 report, although he tried. DOD later revoked Shaffer’s health insurance and forced him out over a “stolen” pen that he reported taking as a souvenir as a teen.

The NSA had the “Yemen hub” (a phone line in Yemen used by al Qaeda operatives for calls to and from bin Laden and others) under heavy surveillance for over a year prior to the Cole bombing, and for about a year after. There was a satellite trained on the house in Sanaa 24/7. Oddly, the NSA never learned of or reported on the USS Cole plot.

The CIA withheld information from the FBI about an al Qaeda summit, a high level meeting in Malaysia in January 2000, at which both the Cole and 9/11 were discussed. (See former federal investigator Ali Soufan’s excellent book, The Black Banners for more.)

Yemeni officials failed to cooperate with Soufan and other FBI agents in Yemen investigating the bombing. Some like the head of Yemen’s Political Security Organization in Aden, Hussain al Ansi, engaged in active misdirection and stonewalling.

Ten terrorists awaiting trial for the Cole attack escaped Yemeni prison in 2002 and after surrendering, their trials resulted in sentences of five to ten years. Most of escaped prison again in 2006. By 2008, all those convicted in the attack had their sentences commuted and were free. Al Nashiri, in US custody, was sentenced to death in Yemen in absencia in 2005.

The Jurist reports the Yemeni government sheltered (and lied for) al Nashiri after the bombing. The Congressional Research Service details the Cole bombers’ releases and notes that, according to the Washington Post, Al Nashiri had spent several months before his capture under “high-level protection” by the Yemeni government.

After the USS Cole attack, Interior Minister Arab was transferred, appointed by Yemeni President Saleh to the Shura Council. Arab resigned and joined the Pro-Revolutionary Military Council in March 2011.

Previous: (2007) The USS Cole Bombing in Yemen: What We Know Today

Related: Defense argues US was not at war in 2000, thus the Military Commission does not have jurisdiction.

Fox News only reports al Qaeda activity in Yemen while millions march in child’s funeral

Filed under: 3 security, Media, Protest Fatalities, Sana'a, USA, Yemen, attacks, protests — by Jane Novak at 11:52 am on Thursday, November 3, 2011

The western media black-out continues:

Clearly for FOX News, news worthiness depends on who is doing the killing; one person killed by al Qaeda vastly outweighs the hundred killed by the Yemeni government in the last week. For a day, CNN ran the headline: Yemeni women burn veils, wow, interesting, at least they mentioned “Yemen,” as the state was simultaneously pounding residences in Taiz with artillery and shelling villages in Arhab with missiles.

And neither one can find for five seconds for this from today, (if its not working try this direct link.)

Fox News: Car Bomb Kills Anti-Terror Chief in South Yemen.


- Airstrikes on Arhab leave 120 civilians killed, 340 wounded

- Nationwide slaughter since UN SC council resolution 2014

- One million demand regime change

- Yemen Post: Several Million of Yemeni gathered nationwide in the streets of Yemen yesterday, demanding the fall of the regime and Ali Abdullah Saleh’s trial as they say the president is continuing to murder his people.

Protesters had spell out “butcher” across their chest in red ink in denunciation of president Saleh’s many crimes. “He’s using snipers to gun down women and children, Sana’a and Taiz are under shelling attacks everyday…Saleh is killing Yemeni and the World stands silent…We will not,” said Mohamed Hassan Said a defected officer.

In Sana’a, the capital, a funeral march was organized to bury the bodies of the victims of the revolution amongst whom was 4 year-old little Waffa. While carrying the coffins the crowd was chorusing anti-regime slogan, asking the international community to bear witness of the crimes committed against peaceful Yemeni people. (Read on …)

US demands immediate transfer of power in Yemen

Filed under: Post Saleh, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:32 am on Saturday, October 22, 2011

Everyone seems to forget Saleh ignored two UN SC resolutions in 1994 (924 and 931) calling for an immediate ceasefire while he was shelling Aden, and he got away with it.

RFE: The United States has followed a UN condemnation of violence in Yemen with its own call for a transfer of power to begin “immediately” in the restive republic.

The UN Security Council on October 21 approved a resolution condemning the violence in Yemen, where President Ali Abdullah Saleh has resisted persistent protests and armed insurrection, and urged Saleh to step down without further delay. (Read on …)

Open season on Yemenis: UN backs GCC plan, doesnt call for Saleh to go, no sanctions

Filed under: Diplomacy, Donors, UN, GCC, Transition, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 5:54 pm on Friday, October 21, 2011

The protesters want a transitional council leading to a parliamentary system. The UN is backing the GCC plan which contains an immunity clause for Saleh and his cronies and re-entrenches the regime in under three months. Its astounding. With the ambiguity of neither endorsing or explicitly rejecting the immunity clause, and neither backing Saleh or calling for his departure, its a meaningless, toothless statement. And not only did Saleh renege on the GCC deal four times already, he ignored two UN SC resolutions in 1994. Speaking of which, the southerners are going to be so utterly disappointed that they were entirely overlooked as well.

CBS: The resolution was the first adopted by the U.N.’s most powerful body since the Arab Spring uprising in Yemen began eight months ago. It was clearly aimed at stepping up international pressure on Saleh, who was president of North Yemen from 1978 until 1990 when he became the first president of a unified Yemen….Philippe Bolopion, U.N. director for Human Rights Watch, said the organization welcomed “the long overdue condemnation of Yemeni government abuses,” but believed the council should have distanced itself from the council’s impunity deal.

“By signaling that there would be no consequence for the killing of Yemenis, the immunity deal has contributed to prolonging the bloodshed,” he said.

The White House said in a statement that the deal sends “a united and unambiguous signal to President Saleh that he must respond to the aspirations of the Yemeni people by transferring power immediately.”

The resolution calls for Saleh, or those authorized to act on his behalf, to immediately sign the Gulf Cooperation Council deal “to achieve a peaceful political transition of power … without further delay.”

Although the deal would give Saleh immunity, the resolution also underlines the need for an independent investigation into alleged human rights abuses “with a view to avoiding impunity.” — Unlike the resolution on Syria that was vetoed by Russia and China on Oct. 4, the Yemen resolution makes no mention of sanctions or any other measures.

With fighting intensifying, there are concerns that a civil war would significantly hurt efforts by the United States and Saudi Arabia to fight Yemen’s dangerous al Qaeda branch, and could turn the mountainous nation into a global haven for militants a short distance away from the vast oil fields of the Gulf and the key shipping lanes in the Arabian and Red seas.

Text below:

Security Council Condemns Human Rights Violations by Yemeni Authorities Abuses by ‘Other Actors’, after Months of Political Strife

Resolution 2014 (2011), Adopted Unanimously, Calls for End to Violence,

Acceptance of Gulf Cooperation Council Peace Plan, with Orderly Transfer of Power

Strongly condemning what it called human rights violations by authorities, and abuses by other actors, in Yemen following months of political strife, the Security Council this afternoon demanded that all sides immediately reject violence, and called on them to commit to a peaceful transition of power based on proposals by the major regional organization of the Arabian Gulf. (Read on …)

Yemeni CT chief Ahmed Saleh’s $5 million dollar condo in DC

Filed under: Biographies, Counter-terror, Diplomacy, USA, Yemen's Lies — by Jane Novak at 10:24 am on Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Luxury Condo, For Saleh or Rent



Shortly after being named one of the three winners of the Nobel Peace
Prize this month, Yemeni activist Tawakkul Karman said that if embattled
President Ali Abdullah Saleh is driven from power, investigators should
immediately begin searching for assets held abroad by members of his
government. The money “plundered” by the regime, she said, should be
“brought back to the Yemeni people,” according to an account on an
opposition website. (Read on …)

Al Qaeda terror group hiding in Yemen confirms death of Awlaki

Filed under: Air strike, US jihaddis, anwar, obits — by Jane Novak at 9:51 am on Monday, October 10, 2011

AQAP issues message confirming death of Anwar al-Awlaki: Site Intel

Safe copy at Jihadology has link to original post: al-Malāḥim Media presents new statement from al-Qā’idah in the Arabian Peninsula: “Blood of the Martyr, Light and Fire: Statement on the Martyrdom of Shaykh Anwar al-’Awlaqī and his Colleagues”

No mention of al Assiri per @Inteltweet but Sami confirmed dead as well.

“The blood of the sheik (al-Awlaki) and his brothers will not go in vain; there are heroes behind him who do not sleep under oppression, and they will retaliate soon,” the group said. “We and the Americans are at war: we get them and they get us, and the end is for those who are patient – they are the ones who will be victorious.” FOX

The full statement at Flashpoint here has a little different translation; also includes AQAP’s trashing the Yemeni opposition parties.

Taiz doctor writes President Obama: its the Yemeni people verses a despot

Filed under: Taiz, USA, War Crimes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 2:15 pm on Thursday, October 6, 2011

To; Mr. Barak Obama,
The president of the U.S.A,
The White House, Washington D.C,
From: Dr. Abdulkader Alguneid, MD,
Taiz, Yemen.

Dear Mr. President,
You know that Saleh, has been president of The Yemen for 33yrs and I’m sure that you would agree that this is gross. You, Know that economy and standards of living are deteriorating, regularly and progressively. So, none can claim that Saleh, is, still, presiding, because of his competence. Saleh, has overstayed his welcome, for 33yrs, because of his monopoly on the military, security, Finance, Resources, Media, and Wisdom.

We, utterly, were disgusted with him and enduring his era is an evidence of Yemen people patience and stamina. Putting up with his failures, gaffes and farce acts was a source of great pain to us. (Read on …)

US only interested in al Qaeda seeking to attack US, not all Yemeni militants

Filed under: Counter-terror, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:00 am on Thursday, October 6, 2011

Good! Anybody with a beard is not a good criteria, and US refusal to accept Yemen’s claims that they need Saleh because the entire popular opposition in Yemen is AQAP or pre-AQAP is a smart move by the Obama administration. Apparently the US significantly cut military aid as attacks on protesters grew. The WaPo reports the US remains primarily focused on de-throning Saleh and effecting a political transition. And officials appear to be watching the US trained units closely, also good.

Shifting US policy, especially when there are so many vested interests, is like moving a mountain and sometimes takes as long. But if what I’m seeing is correct, then the US turned a corner in the debate and has a more realistic view of what can be accomplished and what should be accomplished, which will in the mid-term certainly enhance US national security. And Saleh’s departure will, in the longer term, undoubtedly improve the quality of life in Yemen.

Regarding the reports of the $35 million in military aid slated in the US annual budget, if they don’t pass it now, they can’t go back and request the funds once Saleh is gone. But they can withhold it once its approved. If one of the revolution’s goals is restructuring the military and security forces, then the US needs to have some cash on hand for that purpose.

I am actually pleased, shockingly enough. They just really need to keep a very, very good eye on Ammar, as the US will discover soon that he is as bad as the rest of them. Maybe they know it already and are just short on options.

WaPo: U.S. officials, in turn, express little interest in the insurgency in Yemen and say their counterterrorism efforts are limited to what they describe as a minority within al-Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate that is focused on U.S. attacks. The officials say they are determined to resist efforts by the government of embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh to enlist American forces and firepower in a domestic counterinsurgency and draw the United States into Yemen’s internal chaos. (Read on …)

Revolutionaries are children and thieves: Yahya Saleh

Filed under: Air strike, Biographies, Counter-terror, Post Saleh, Security Forces, USA, War Crimes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:50 pm on Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Yahya Saleh while saying an entirely different thing in Arabic tells Reuters the ruling family is entirely committed to peace: AlertNet:

* Says cash for training and equipment cut, intelligence aid same,

* Says civil war unlikely despite “revolution of children and thieves”

* Calls potential U.N. resolution on transfer plan foreign interference

By Erika Solomon

SANAA, Oct 5 (Reuters) – The United States and other Western donors have cut counter-terrorism aid to Yemen’s army during eight months of mass protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh, his nephew and leader of a key paramilitary unit said on Wednesday, in effect supporting anti-Saleh groups. (Read on …)

After Awlaki hit, US wants Saleh out and military to military operations

Filed under: Air strike, Biographies, Counter-terror, Military, USA, Yemen, anwar — by Jane Novak at 2:06 pm on Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mil to mil cooperation going forward is fine, necessary and productive as long as it does not include Saleh’s son Ahmed (Republican Guard) , or three nephews Yahya (Central Security), Tariq (Presidential Guards) and Ammar (National Security) or his half brother Mohammed Saleh Ammar (head of the Air Force). Everything after that is smooth sailing.


A senior American official made it clear on Saturday that Mr. Saleh’s immediate departure remained a goal of American policy, and that Yemen’s government was under no “significant illusion” that the United States had changed its position.

“Sustaining military to military cooperation is in our best interest,” the official added, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We don’t want to undermine that cooperation.”

A Yemeni government spokesman, however, said Mr. Saleh deserved credit for helping the Americans.

“After this big victory in catching Awlaki, the White House calls on the president to leave power immediately?” Deputy Information Minister Abdu al-Janadi said to Reuters. “The Americans don’t even respect those who cooperate with them.”

The spokesman for Yemen’s opposition coalition, Mohammed Qahtan, rejected the idea that Mr. Awlaki’s killing cast the government in a favorable light. Instead, it shows “the regime’s failure and weakness to perform its duty to arrest and try Awlaki in accordance with the Constitution,” Mr. Qahtan said. “And it’s that that forced America to go after him using their own means.”

Anwar al Awlaki killed in al Jawf?

Filed under: Air strike, US jihaddis, Yemen, anwar — by Jane Novak at 6:22 am on Friday, September 30, 2011

This is an interesting article by Steve Emmerson at Investigative Project.

Original: White House and many US officials confirming. I wonder if Samir Khan was with him? If its true, can the US withdraw support for the Sanaa regime now? Who else do we need before we can go to a normal posture toward the country?

Marib Press says witnesses confirm. And “Tribal sources said told AFP that Awlaki was killed early Friday in an air strike on two cars in the province of Marib, east of the country, a stronghold of Al Qaeda in Yemen.” Also News Yemen has independent tribal sources on the scene saying Anwar escaped wounded in the first strike and hit again by a second, the third strike took out the second car and there was another American (Samir). The tribe in the area does not support al Qaeda, and buried the bodies. They found four rifles but are unsure of the number of fatlities. al Masdar A local witness confirms a car was hit and no reports at all of any random civilians, another good thing. But the bodies are so burnt etc that its impossible to identify the remains.

Local (AQ?) sources in Shabwa tell al Watan Awlaki is dead and was turned in by the defected pro-rev general Ali Mohsen al Ahmar who historically is close to al Qaeda to prove to the US that he is strong on CT: al Watan. Obama confirms he’s dead. Awlaki. was seen prior to his death with seven companions.

Update No. Just no.: SANAA, Sep. 30 (Xinhua) –The most-wanted U.S.-born Yemeni al- Qaida cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, is alive and was not in the targeted convoy hit by a unmanned U.S. drone Friday, one of his brothers told Xinhua by phone. Also Nass Mobile in Yemen just said that Awlaqi was injured but not killed.

Update 2: Report of a report by Yemeni defense ministry Samir Khan was also killed.

Update 3: US reports they were working on a poison gas attack, there were the earlier reports of the poison perfume plot on Saudis and the accumulation of castor beans.

the National: A tribal leader who requested anonymity gave an account of the strike based on information from Khamis Arfaaj, the owner of the house in which Al Awlaki was staying. Mr Khamis, who gave a higher death toll than official sources, said Al Awlaki and six others took their breakfast and moved about 600 metres away from the house. (Read on …)

Did US taxpayers buy Ammar Saleh of Yemen’s National Security a $3.4 million house?

Filed under: Security Forces, Tribes, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:15 pm on Thursday, September 29, 2011

So we all know that, in between slaughtering protesters, being chief of Yemen’s brutal National Security (this is the organization that perpetrated most attacks on journalists) and his counter-terror duties, Ammar Saleh recently bought a new palatial home in Sanaa and paid cash. As head of the National Security, he is also the recipient of 3.4 million dollars of tribal engagement funds. Did US tax payers buy the murderer a house? Its mind boggling. Since Knights and Sharp are already discussing the tribal engagement fund, I thought I’d throw that out there.

Footnote 12 of Yemen: Background and U.S. Relations prepared by the Congressional Research Service 6/8/11: According to one recent report, the NSB was established to “provide Western intelligence agencies with a more palatable local partner than the Political Security Organization (PSO). The NSB is now responsible for dispensing $3.4 million of U.S.-provided tribal engagement funds to support the campaign against AQAP. See, Michael Knights.

Related: A minor Saleh family tree from the Washington Institute

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”.

Cross Talk: Yemen’s Limbo

Filed under: USA, Yemen, photos/gifs, protests — by Jane Novak at 7:58 am on Saturday, September 24, 2011

Taped just prior to Saleh’s return but covers many issues well.

Houthis incapable of not chanting against the US

Filed under: Sa'ada, Saada War, USA, Yemen, protests — by Jane Novak at 10:11 pm on Friday, September 23, 2011

Houthis statement – Saada 23/09/2011 Tazahria mass demonstration was the morning of this day, Friday, 24 / October / 1432 e roamed the streets (Saada), attended by tens of thousands of people of the province who have flocked to it since early morning. In the march chanted the masses (you rebel you are free, America, behind the scenes) (Say to the silent or Nam, will participate in crime) (whatever is spilled or kill, any initiative would not accept) (forward ahead of the change, and God is our best advocate) (Felthna spirit of the martyr , he lived the life of the new). Presented during the demonstration a number of rhetorical words and paragraphs of poetry and Message Board.

Over 50 dead in two days of state attacks in Yemen, updated: 77 killed

Filed under: Protest Fatalities, Sana'a, Taiz, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 5:52 am on Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The last time Saleh was pushed to sign an agreement to transfer power, he locked down the diplomats with an armed mob of regime supporters at the UAE embassy for six hours. The US ambassador later laughed it off. Both Brennan and the State Dept issued statements last week that they expected the power sharing agreement to be concluded this week. Monday’s violence occurred with the UN envoy Jamal bin Omar and GCC Secretary General Abdul Latif al Zayani in Sanaa to oversee the signing. The last time UN officials were in Sanaa, the state turned the lights back on. Astoundingly the US blames the victims by urging all parties not to provoke violence.

Update: Sahwa Net- Yemen security forces killed during last three days 77protesters and wounded 780 others in Sana’a as they used live bullets and other middle weapons against peaceful protesters, medical sources at the field hospital affirmed. Director of the field hospital Tariq Noaman expected that the number of the killed would double several times as a result of critical injures, pointing out that dozens of protesters were still in intensive care units

Update 2: .Saleh loyalists still shelling protesters in Sanaa, violence continues in Taiz.

CNN:Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) — Officials from the United Nations and the Gulf Cooperation Council were in Sanaa, Yemen, on Monday, hoping to help organize a peaceful transfer of power as witnesses reported violence in the streets.

Thirty-one people were killed Monday in clashes in Yemen — 28 in Sanaa and three in Taiz, according to medical officials.

On Sunday, at least 26 protesters were killed and more than 550 were wounded — hundreds of them by gunshots — when security forces fired live bullets and tear gas at a massive demonstration in the city, a medic said. The death toll was expected to rise because some were in critical condition, witnesses said.

The U.S. Embassy in Yemen issued a statement saying the United States “regrets the deaths and injuries of many people” in the protests Sunday. “In this tense situation, we call upon all parties to exercise restraint. In particular, we call on the parties to refrain from actions that provoke further violence.” (Read on …)

The new drone base is in Seychelles, not Yemen; Brennan redefines imminent and other drone related articles

Filed under: Air strike, Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, USA — by Jane Novak at 4:57 am on Wednesday, September 21, 2011

WASHINGTON—The U.S. military is deploying a new force of armed drones to eastern Africa in an escalation of its campaign to strike militant targets in the region and expand intelligence on extremists, officials said.
(Read on …)

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 …)

US endorses agreement to election by years end

Filed under: USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 4:05 am on Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Looks really stupid in hindsight doesn’t it?

US Department of State: Press Statement. Victoria Nuland, Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson, Washington, DC, September 15, 2011

The United States has seen encouraging signs in recent days from the government and the opposition in Yemen suggesting a renewed willingness to implement a political transition, to include the Vice President signing the GCC-brokered agreement on behalf of President Saleh. The United States believes that three elements that have been agreed by the parties are critical to the successful implementation of the GCC Initiative: 1) Formation of a Government of National Unity; 2) Agreement to hold early Presidential elections by the end of calendar year 2011; and 3) Creation of a High Committee to oversee the country’s security and military affairs during the period leading to early elections. The United States believes that these remaining tasks can and should be accomplished quickly and it hopes that an agreement is reached and the signing of the GCC Initiative takes place within one week.

The United States continues to support a peaceful and orderly transition that is responsive to the Yemeni people’s aspirations for peace, prosperity, and security. We remain concerned about reports of continued violence. We call on the Yemeni government to protect peaceful protestors, refrain from violence, and bring those responsible for violence to justice.

How sickening, the US keeps the regime alive and then issues BS statements after each massacre. What kind of investigation does one need when the Saleh loyalists were shooting machine guns and RPGs at the unarmed protesters. The statement itself absolves Saleh by raising a question as to who is responsible.

Sahwa Net – The United States urged on Monday to carry out a prompt and impartial investigation into the events that led to violence against peaceful protesters in Yemen. It further extends its deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives during recent protests in Sana’a.

“We have long condemned the use of violence during this period of upheaval and reject any actions that undermine productive efforts underway to achieve a peaceful political resolution to the current crisis in Yemen” It added in a statement.

Terrorist mercenary Fahd al Quso strongly denies relationship with Saleh regime

Filed under: Abyan, Islamic Imirate, Presidency, USS Cole, fahd — by Jane Novak at 4:02 am on Wednesday, September 21, 2011

There was a deal from the time of the Cole bombing that is relatively unbroken until today. Fahd had to deny that he is Saleh’s stooge because the public perception is that they are nothing but guns for hire.

Memri: Indicted USS Cole Bomber Fahd Al-Quso Strongly Denies Association with Yemeni Regime

The September 19, 2011 issue of the London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi featured an interview with Fahed Al-Quso, a senior operative of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), wanted by the US for involvement in the bombing of the USS Cole. Al-Quso discusses the situation in Yemen, as well as the ongoing clashes in the south of the country between government forces and a previously unknown jihad group called “Ansar Al-Shari’a,” supposedly linked to Al-Qaeda.

Houthis nix anti al Qaeda protest in Yemen

Filed under: Saada War, USA, protest statements, protests — by Jane Novak at 5:32 am on Friday, September 16, 2011

Marib press reports the Houthis’ objection and anti-American paranoia caused the protests’ change from condemning al Qaeda. This from the group that chanted Death to America for six years and was fatwa’d as apostates and bombed by al Qaeda during al Tagheer Day last year. The march in Saada was themed “against the US conspiracy” whereas in the rest of Yemen it was the “Friday of Sincere Promise.” And a delegation from the southern independence movement was there in appreciation of the Houthis continued support of their situation.

al Tagheer: Tens of thousands province of Saada in northern Yemen on Friday, a protest to express their rejection of foreign intervention in the course of the revolution and U.S. intervention, which they said it was seeking to control the decision-making positions under the pretext of fighting terrorism.

And warned Houthis who control the province of Saada, which they called a U.S. plot aimed at a revolution of the Yemeni people. (Read on …)

Zinjibar-separating fact from fiction

Filed under: Abyan, Air strike, Counter-terror, Islamic Imirate, Military, South Yemen, USA, Yemen's Lies, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 11:13 am on Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Separating fact from fiction is always quite difficult in Yemen. As predictable both the state’s military forces and the pro-revolutionary military forces claimed credit for freeing Zinjibar, although the extent to which it has been freed is questionable. Certainly some jihaddists fled, because people saw them withdrawing. Some moved to the mountains (Hattat) and some to Jaar, maybe Shabwa, and it is unclear if the split in the al Qaeda forces between northern and southern jihaddists is reflected in the divergent destinations. However residents are currently reporting that Zinjibar has not been liberated, only some sections of it, and fighting continues. The Yemen Times had an article, Who freed Zinjibar? but the paper is entirely off line at the moment. Tribal mediation has thus far failed to bring about a compete withdrawal. It was only with US help that the three month siege 25th Mechanized was broken.

Residents are without water, electricity, food and medical services since the Razi hospital was closed and many have fled to Aden and Lahj where there is no housing or aid waiting. The state announced that it will be moving the internal refugees out of the schools in Aden, but it is unclear where the IDPs will be going next.

Some links: (Ali Mohsen’s news paper): In that context sources familiar with the situation said to “Today’s News” that Secretary of Defense may send a tribal delegation to negotiate with the insurgents and persuade Jalal Blaidy and insurgents that they need to withdraw from the city of Zanzibar, noting that the tribal delegation failed in his mission to persuade the gunmen to withdraw from the Zanzibar and that the insurgents said that they would step up their operations against the army.

News Yemen Local residents: we saw the insurgents moving into Jaar
Army restores Zanzibar and frees 25 Major Mika
10/09/2011 NewsYemen:

Local residents said city of Zanzibar, in Abyan province to NewsYemen that the forces of the army freed today by members of the Brigade 25 Mika besieged by al-Qaeda members in more than four months, and Zanzibar has cleared of insurgents. (Read on …)

Potential blowback to CIA drones in Yemen: radicalizing a democratizing population

Filed under: A-analysis, Air strike, Counter-terror, USA — by Jane Novak at 9:18 am on Friday, September 9, 2011

This is a good article and Phillips has a lot of insight into Yemen:

CIA action may backfire in Yemen: A DECADE after the epochal attacks of September 11, and three months after the killing of Osama bin Laden, America’s shadow war against terrorism appears to be slowly revealing a new front. (Read on …)

AQAP taking on characteristics of an insurgency: Brennan

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:42 pm on Thursday, September 8, 2011

To say cooperation is better than its been in years is not saying much in Yemen’s case. The Saleh regime has been a two-timing, double dealing “partner” for a decade. The examples of overt duplicity are numerous. The problem is the duplicitous regime split in two, and the protesters, who are quite sincere, are in denial or uninformed and have little tradition of democratic action and organizing.

Yahoo; Brennan said the United States has observed some alarming trends by al Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). American analysts believe the Yemeni affiliate rivals al Qaeda’s base in Pakistan’s tribal areas as the chief terrorist threat to the United States.

AQAP “is now taking on more the characteristics of an insurgency, it has held ground in the south [of Yemen], which is not consistent with its terrorist background, which is more ‘hit and run,’” Brennan said. Meantime, he noted, the Yemeni government’s ability to fight AQAP is hampered by continuing domestic unrest and a power vacuum.Yemen’s president Ali Abdullah Saleh has been recovering in Saudi Arabia since a June attack on his presidential palace.

Brennan, who went in July to Saudi Arabia to meet with Saleh, said the United States continues to urge him to agree to a plan put forward by neighboring Persian Gulf states to transfer power.

“The Yemenis know our position,” on urging Saleh to step down, Brennan said. In the interim, however, he noted, “counterterrorism cooperation with Yemen is better than it’s been in years.”

Bell Pottinger, PR firm, working for Tariq Saleh, gets 30,000/month

Filed under: Diplomacy, Donors, UN, Media, USA — by Jane Novak at 8:46 am on Wednesday, September 7, 2011

They place pro-Saleh opeds in western papers.

Bell Pottinger acted for controversial Yemen organization
September 1st, 2011 | by Melanie Newman Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Bell Pottinger, the London-based public relations firm, has been working for a little-known organization in Yemen with apparent strong links to the country’s president, the Bureau can reveal. (Read on …)

Brennan: Republican Guard distracted by rev

Filed under: Counter-terror, USA, Yemen, protest statements — by Jane Novak at 11:01 am on Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Brennan said the protests were causing the re-positioning of CT forces in defense of the regime, implying if there was no internal pressure, that Ahmed and Yahya robustly engage AQAP, which is a total joke: previously President Bush said the Saada War was distracting Saleh from al Qaeda. Then the Obama admin said it was the Southern Movement that was distracting Saleh. Brennan also says its not in Yemen’s or the USA’s interests for Saleh to return and that the US air dropped supplies to the 25th Mechanized, maybe the supplies that blew over to AQAP per the forums. Brennan admits the CT units are deployed as regime protection, while the US military denies the CT forces are involved in the counter-revolution.

Brennan said the uprising in Yemen, however, had kept Yemeni forces engaged in a fight for political survival, and had slowed down the fight against arguably the most dangerous bin Laden affiliate, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. AQAP, as the affiliate is known, has worked with the rebel tribes to grab large swaths of territory in the south. (Read on …)

US State Department Country Report on Terrorism: Yemen

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, US jihaddis, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 3:07 pm on Thursday, August 18, 2011

We’ll know the US has turned the corner when it utters the words “False flag attack” or “State affiliated jihaddists” or “State officials facilitated attacks.”

YEMEN: Overview: In 2010, resource limitations and unstable security conditions in several parts of the country impeded the Yemeni government’s ability to eliminate potential safe havens in Yemen. In addition, counterterrorism efforts were impeded by a lack of legislation. Yemen’s vulnerability along it long and weakly protected borders has allowed al-Qa’ida associates to find safe haven in Yemen. Nonetheless, the Government of Yemen continued to build its counterterrorism capacity and deployed its security forces against terrorist threats. The Yemeni government security forces killed or captured numerous suspected al-Qa`ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants, and received assistance in the form of equipment and training from the United States. The Yemeni government’s response to the terrorist threat included large-scale kinetic operations against suspected AQAP members in the south. In turn, AQAP attacks against foreign interests, Yemeni government targets, and the Shia Houthi movement in the north increased dramatically in 2010. (Read on …)

C-130’s, with wrong coordinates, re-supply AQAP?

Filed under: Abyan, Counter-terror, Military, USA, Yemen's Lies, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 2:49 pm on Thursday, August 18, 2011

Only the US militatry Saudi military will know if this is true but there have been several instances of duplicity by the Saleh regime regarding coordinates: directing the Saudi Air Force to bomb Ali Mohsen’s camp during the Saada War, the awful miss in December 2009, the errant bombing of Sheikh al Shabawni in May 2010, the “near misses” on Awlaki and al Quso, and the state’s own bombing of the tribal force fighting al Qaeda which killed dozens in July. Update: the Jihaddi forums are saying they were Saudi planes and the supplies “blew” over to them, via Critical Threats. Frankly I was hoping it was all anti-Saleh propaganda but now we know AQAP is well stocked.

al Wahdawi: Southern Military Command deliberately gives the wrong coordinates to foreign aircraft that was providing hardware and supplies to the 25th Mechanized Brigade

Confirmed local sources in the city of Zanzibar that four foreign aircraft were carrying supplies to the Brigade 25 Mechanized that is besieged in the capital of Abyan province for two months ago, but instead al Qaeda robbed the load of food, fuel, and other things that was dropped in the area under the control of members of al-Qaeda by the low flying aircraft.

The sources, who declined to reveal their identity and the identity of foreign aircraft said four aircraft type (C-130) were flew to the city of Zanzibar on the evening of 8 August. They were carrying food enough for the military camp for several months, but the Southern Command, led by Maj.Gen. Mahdi Maqualah, Supreme Commander of South Division, gave the aircraft the wrong coordinates to make the cargo delivered into the hands of militants from the al-Qaeda. (Read on …)

NY AQAP suspect Hanafi trial motions to exclude statements

Filed under: TI: External, US jihaddis, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 5:42 pm on Sunday, August 14, 2011

Note to self: If giving a gift to someone in Yemen, make sure its not a Casio watch. Hanafi’s lawyers are claiming he was coerced in to making statements by an implied threat of remaining on the no-fly list without an interview, and the statements should be excluded from the trial

MSNBC: But Manhattan federal prosecutors, in a court filing on Friday, said any statements Brooklyn-born Wesam El-Hanafi, 36, might have made were voluntary and not coerced.

Hanafi was arrested in April last year and charged with conspiracy to provide material support to al Qaeda militants. Prosecutors have said Hanafi bought seven digital Casio watches through Internet seller Amazon to send to militants in Yemen, home to a resurgent al Qaeda wing, and that the alarms in the watches could be used as triggers for a bomb. (Read on …)

“C.I.A. Is Disputed on Civilian Toll in Drone Strikes”

Filed under: Air strike, Counter-terror, US jihaddis, USA, USS Cole, Yemen's Lies — by Jane Novak at 10:48 am on Friday, August 12, 2011

God help us, Obama taught them all to lie. At best, he condones and encourages it. Apparently US foreign policy is determined only through the prism of Al Qaeda, CT ops and drones. The entire mid-term “war of ideas” kind of strategy to protect US interests is not present anywhere. And moral considerations are tertiary. Its no wonder Obama has not spoken the word “Yemen” since he called Saleh “a friend” and never once addressed the millions of Yemeni protesters; thirty murderous religious fanatics outweigh all other US concerns. The GCC plan and the earlier US re-branding of Saleh as a good partner in the WOT are efforts to retain as much of the existing US created CT structure as possible. Its a policy doomed to fail and fail big in both countries. Here’s a good article about the Yemeni Air Force bombing the tribes fighting al Qaeda and other developments in Abyan.

Here Brennan lies about civilian casualties in Pakistan but also in Yemen: TN: C.I.A. Is Disputed on Civilian Toll in Drone Strikes, “Fortunately, for more than a year, due to our discretion and precision, the U.S. government has not found credible evidence of collateral deaths resulting from U.S. counterterrorism operations outside of Afghanistan or Iraq, and we will continue to do our best to keep it that way,” Mr. Brennan said.

Its the same type of bold mis-characterization as when General Patraeus, now the head of the CIA, said with a straight face there were no civilians casualties in the ‘09 airstrike in Abyan, because the women and children were related to the terrorists or had sold them vegetables, making them guilty of providing material support. The fact that the poor dead villagers had appealed to local authorities for help in expelling al Qaeda weeks before has no impact on their “lawful enemy” status.

Now certainly these fanatics should be thoroughly condemned for bringing their children to training camps and sheltering among civilians. But no six year old is a terrorist.

And this repugnant spin is similar to US Department of Defense statements that the US found no irrefutable evidence that the US trained counter-terror forces have committed any atrocities in Yemen. Its the other members of the Republican Guard and other divisions that receive US funds I guess who shot all the protesters.

Ammar Saleh, head of the National Security, just bought a three million dollar palace in Sanaa–with cash. I guess he found the money on the street or in a taxi. Your tax dollars at work, worse yet, beyond the scope of congressional oversight.

As an aside and to save the link, some lefty site is carrying Richard Clark’s uncorroborated accusation that the top level of the CIA withheld info on al Midhar and al Hamzi’s presence in the US from the rest of the gov’t. The CIA insists it was only a few low level analysts who knew they were here. The article fails to address the issue of the Yemen Hub, a phone line monitored by the NSA for the CIA since 1996, ie-prior to and after both the 1998 embassy attacks and the USS Cole bombing. The USS Cole bombers called the hub several times in planning the attack; Midhar and Hamzi called the monitored number several times from the US as well. The number was under such heavy surveillance that there was a satellite dedicated to recording visitors to the house.

HCG: As outlined in the Yemen Hub category, the number was under heavy surveillance by the US. It was al-Qaeda’s operations centre and had been integral in the embassy bombings, when it received calls from both the bombers in Africa and bin Laden in Afghanistan. Intercepts of the calls enabled the FBI to map al-Qaeda’s global network (except the 9/11 hijackers in the US, whose location the NSA failed to communicate). According to a US investigator, the hub number was used by the bombers to “put everything together” before the Cole bombing.

There are two simple questions: If the NSA was listening in on the bombers putting everything together before the Cole attack, why was it not prevented? Second, why was the hub not shut down after the Cole attack? The policy of allowing the hub to operate to map al-Qaeda was proved to be a failure by the Cole bombing, as no amount of intelligence was worth the lives of the dead sailors, so the people who ran the hub should have been arrested, as were some of the other Cole bombers in Yemen, like Fahad al-Quso.

Fahd al Quso, who was ultimately given a ten year sentence, was released by Saleh’s govt in May 2007, after three years. The release was met by weak protestations from the USG and outrage by the sailors’ families. By 2010 al Quso, had released an AQAP vid threatening the US, and was placed on the Freds MWT list. Several drone strikes have targeted al Quso since 2009.

Meanwhile the US holds Yemen’s democratic process hostage by insisting on the GCC plan, rejected by Salah, the GPC, the JMP and the demonstrators, in order to implement cosmetic changes to a deeply dysfunctional system:

Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, said democratic processes in Yemen shouldn’t be “held hostage” while the president weighs his options.

“Our view is that Yemen needs to move in a democratic direction along the lines of the GCC report,” she said. “How that happens is up to the Yemeni people but it’s got to happen.” Officials in Saleh’s ruling General People’s Congress maintain he is the legitimate leader until the country has presidential elections. ( UPI)

Massive protests on the streets today. Check News of the Yemen Revolution to get the Youtube URLs: and Yemen Rights Monitor for all the recent updates, military conflicts and political statements: The day is themed, “Victorious God Willing” Friday and nation-wide protests reject Saleh and GCC plan, and call for the quick announcement of a national council. The protests condemn crimes in Taiz, Arhab, and Abyan.

These vids are from yesterday: (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 …)

After Obama exempts Yemen from child soldier funding restrictions, regime recruits more child soliders

Filed under: Children, Military, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 5:03 pm on Monday, August 8, 2011

Military recruiting up including among children

FPB: the Defense Minister decided a few months ago to reopen the door of its training camps, hoping that the promises of a steady income and a state pension would encourage many Yemenis to sign up. Officers close to defected General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar are saying that al-Islah and the 1st Armored Division are also following suit, trying to enroll more men to their cause, promising them a resemblance of financial security.
In a country where over 40% of the population is out of work, finding a government job is pretty much what everyone is after. Although the salaries are no more than 25,000 YER, about $110, many are attracted by the guarantee of a lifetime income.

And if this tactic is pretty much “old school” when it comes to the military, a worrying trend is starting to emerge, as many of the new recruits are actually children.

Blast from the past: 10/25/10 Obama decides US National Security requires us to overlook the large percentage of child soldiers in the Yemeni military so we can keep funding the Saleh regime which months later recruits more child soldiers and commits overt massacres.

White By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, pursuant to section 404(c) of the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 (CSPA), title IV of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (Public Law 110 457), I hereby determine that it is in the national interest of the United States to waive the application to Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and Yemen of the prohibition in section 404(a) of the CSPA.

US Asst Sec Def in Sanaa, Yemen

Filed under: Counter-terror, Military, USA, War Crimes, Yemen's Lies — by Jane Novak at 7:35 pm on Thursday, August 4, 2011

I hope Panetta’s message to the Saleh regime was: if you keep bombing civilians, we’re going to take out the air force, including the Hueys.

US official in Yemen for military talks
Friday, 05-August-2011, Saba – Sana’a-Chief of General Staff, Major General Ahmed Ali al-Ashwal met on Thursday US Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael G. Vickers.

During the meeting, al-Ashwal and Vickers discussed aspects of mutual relations and military cooperation between the two friendly countries’ armies and ways of boosting them, particularly their cooperation in the fight against terrorism and the areas of training and rehabilitation.

The US official praised the efforts made by Yemen in the fight against terrorism. He expressed his country’s position in support of Yemen’s unity, security and stability.

Obama outlines US response to mass atrocities, serious HR violations

Filed under: Civil Rights, Protest Fatalities, USA — by Jane Novak at 4:51 pm on Thursday, August 4, 2011

Excellent, now lets see some consequences for the Salehs and all their murders. Is there going to be an Atrocities Czar to go along with the Atrocities Prevention Board? Well its something, but what happens when the war criminals are also our supposed allies against AQ? Then they are not labeled as war criminals.

Related Update: “The Organizational Committee of the People’s Youth Revolution condemns the resumption of U.S. military support for the remnants of the (Saleh) family regime and the use of U.S. weapons in the killing of peaceful civilians and puts a big question mark attached to the U.S. contradictory positions.”

FACT SHEET: President Obama Directs New Steps to Prevent Mass Atrocities and Impose Consequences on Serious Human Rights Violators

“The United States is committed to working with our allies, and to strengthening our own internal capabilities, in order to ensure that the United States and the international community are proactively engaged in a strategic effort to prevent mass atrocities and genocide. In the event that prevention fails, the United States will work both multilaterally and bilaterally to mobilize diplomatic, humanitarian, financial, and—in certain instances—military means to prevent and respond to genocide and mass atrocities.”

–National Security Strategy of the United States, May 2010

President Obama is committed to strengthening the United States Government’s ability to prevent mass atrocities and serious human rights violations. In 2010, he created the first-ever White House position dedicated to preventing and responding to mass atrocities and war crimes. And in Kyrgyzstan, Cote d’Ivoire, Libya, Sudan, and elsewhere, this Administration has prioritized the protection of civilians and the prevention of mass atrocity and serious human rights violations, and employed a wide range of economic, diplomatic, and other tools in service of those ends.

Today, President Obama is directing a comprehensive review to strengthen the United States’ ability to prevent mass atrocities. The President’s directive creates an important new tool in this effort, establishing a standing interagency Atrocities Prevention Board with the authority to develop prevention strategies and to ensure that concerns are elevated for senior decision-making so that we are better able to work with our allies and partners to be responsive to early warning signs and prevent potential atrocities. Today he is also issuing a proclamation that, for the first time, explicitly bars entry into the United States of persons who organize or participate in war crimes, crimes against humanity, and serious violations of human rights. (Read on …)

Yemeni oppositionist calls for No-Fly Zone over Yemen after many atrocities

Filed under: Donors, UN, USA — by Jane Novak at 10:57 am on Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Obama would have to un-friend Saleh first.

Related: My article at Examiner: Yemen’s counter-terror chief accused of atrocities. The reason for the uptick in tension, threats against the airport and the new tribal coalition was not only the bombing of villages (and Ahmed got quite good at that during Saada 6) but the murder of tribal prisoners and the mutilation of their bodies.

Advocates: Yemen regime committed 27 crimes against humanity

2/8/2011 – Sahwa Net- : Professor of international law at Sana’a University, Mohammad Noaman, has revealed that the Yemeni regime committed 27 crimes against humanity under the Statute of the International Criminal Court and all domestic and international laws. (Read on …)

Will the U.S Support the Southern Movement to Combat Terrorism?

Filed under: Counter-terror, South Yemen, USA, guest posts — by Jane Novak at 9:13 pm on Friday, July 29, 2011

Guest post: Will the U.S Support the Southern Movement to Combat Terrorism? written by Ayad al-Shaibi

Talks about “terrorism and Al Qaeda” in Yemen or what has become known as “Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” is still closely linked with the regime of the Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, from the perspective of many observers, analysts and Arab and Western intelligence departments. This link is not reinforced by the “loose” concept promoted by the media of the exhausted Yemeni regime’s forces under the banner of “fighting terrorism.” (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 …)

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


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

US trained Counter-Terror forces attack Yemen civilians, again

Filed under: Air strike, Counter-terror, Protest Fatalities, USA, War Crimes — by Jane Novak at 1:47 pm on Sunday, July 24, 2011

This BS from DOD that there’s no proof that US trained, equipped and funded Yemeni CT units have been diverted to regime protection is just that: total BS. The Republican Guard is involved in nearly every massacre and the CT forces certainly aren’t countering al Qaeda. Current US policy of “hear no evil, see no evil” is seriously endangering the US as well as encouraging the slaughter of unarmed Yemeni citizens standing for equal rights. The US policy of giving the Saleh immunity for murder is the worst of all possible strategies in terms of US national security, and I don’t say that lightly or because I’m rooting for the protesters. When coupled with US drone strikes which frequently have “collateral damage,” the policy also demonstrates a blatant disregard for Yemeni life.

al Sahwa: Sahwa Net- A US-trained Yemeni counterterrorism unit has been dispatched to fight tribesmen in Arhab , outskirt of the Yemeni capital , Sana’a, military sources said.

Forces of the Republican Guards have killed more than 40 tribesmen, wounded dozens and displaced thousands of civilians in Arhab.

The Yemeni regime had used US-trained counter-terrorism units in fighting against the followers of a tribal leader in Sana’a which continued for two weeks lately of May.

Many Yemeni politicians raise questions about the use US-trained forces participation in combating tribesmen and not engagement in the war against Al-Qaeda terrorist in Abyan.

Update: a campaign was launched to boycott US and Saudi products, and for the first time in six month, US flags burnt in Taiz-due to the Obama administration’s weak approach to Saleh’s brutality and the US’s unwillingness to support the protesters, their goal (regime change) and their right to life.

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.

Tribesmen break siege of 25 Mech in Abyan, Yemen;commander alleges conspiracy to empower al Qaeda in Zinjibar

Filed under: Abyan, USA, Yemen, attacks, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 2:54 pm on Friday, July 22, 2011

al Sahwa: Yemen’s defected army in collaboration with tribesmen could halt on Friday ba convey of militants heading the southern town of Zinjibar where government troops.

The defected army supported by General Ali Mohsin Al-Ahmar could defeat al-Qaeda in many areas in Abyan and cleansed several districts from militants who had grasped areas in Abyan after the Yemeni regime help them control the governorate, local sources affirmed.

Local sources said the defected army along with some tribes had secured the road from Shabwa province to Shaqra in Abyan, a main highway leading to Zinjibar which is still controlled by the militants.

Yemen defected generals had accused President Ali Abdullah Saleh of of letting his forces ease their grip around areas suspected of hosting militants, in order to convince foreign governments that only he stands in the way of a militant takeover.

al Masdar reports a senior commander of the 25th mechanized unit alleges a conspiracy by the Southern Military Command and the Ministry of Defense because a) the 25th was twice ordered to surrender to AQAP, hand over weapons and withdraw, b) they have been besieged for weeks without any support, food or resupply of equipment c) the Defense Ministry refused the US demand two weeks ago to supply weapons and food by helicopter (there’s 4 new Hueys, why not use those?) With the support of Yemeni tribesmen he says, they were able to break the siege and make progress.

Yemen and Somalia al Qaeda

Filed under: Counter-terror, TI: External, US jihaddis, Yemen, pirates — by Jane Novak at 2:50 pm on Monday, July 18, 2011


Reporting from Washington— Al Qaeda’s powerful branch in Yemen has provided weapons, fighters and training with explosives over the last year to a militant Islamic group battling for power in Somalia, according to newly developed American intelligence, raising concerns of a widening alliance of terrorist groups.

Leaders of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen also have urged members of the hard-line Shabab militia to attack targets outside Africa for the first time, said U.S. officials who were briefed on the intelligence.

The information, they said, comes in part from a Somali militant who was captured en route from Yemen to Somalia and interrogated aboard a U.S. warship before being arraigned in New York on terrorism charges this month. Further intelligence was gleaned from detailed digital files found at Osama bin Laden’s hide-out in Pakistan after he was killed in May. (Read on …)

Nashiri’s defense motion opposing the death penalty should include Yemen’s govt’s culpability in the USS Cole attack

Filed under: Presidency, USS Cole, Yemen, al nashiri — by Jane Novak at 3:09 pm on Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Miami Herald reports on Nashiri’s legal teams’ motion to take the death penalty off the table. Beyond challenging the legality of the death penalty on the basis of torture, delay and jurisdiction, the lawyers should assert the Nuremberg defense: Nashiri was just following government orders.

The (pdf) motion makes the point that Nashiri’s lawyers are unable to travel to Yemen to investigate exculpatory evidence and mitigating circumstances.

There is a strong circumstantial case that the Saleh regime, or top elements of it, had foreknowledge of the attack and furthermore, facilitated the murder of 17 US service members.

Saleh’s Interior Minister Hussain Arab issued the travel documents that afforded Nashiri free passage prior to and after the attack, as well as weapons permits. (Arab was later appointed to the Shura Council and remained a Major General in the army until he resigned a few months ago.) Saleh sent several top Yemeni officials to Port Aden the evening prior to the terror attack. The Saleh regime obstructed the US investigation. Nashiri was sheltered in Yemen immediately after the bombing with the knowledge of government officials. All those tried and convicted in Yemen for the terror attack were released years early, including al Quso and al Badawi, per a deal with Saleh. There are also witnesses in Yemen who say Nashiri is “wearing a shirt to big,” and culprits (in the government) were never charged.

Its not news. Why Bush (and DOD) gave Saleh a pass on the USS Cole attack, and why Obama called him “a friend” a few months ago, is beyond me. Saleh is no friend to the US. For more on the miscarriage of justice, for the victims not their murderers, see my friend Gary Swenchonis Sr.

Civilians killed by Yemeni gov’t as AQAP uses citizens as sheilds

Filed under: Abyan, Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, Diplomacy, Donors, UN, TI: Internal, Transition, USA, Yemen, attacks, photos/gifs — by Jane Novak at 8:43 pm on Friday, July 15, 2011

The article doesn’t make note of the enhanced US role in the conflict, directly and indirectly. But its undeniable that the Yemeni regime is currently committing war crimes, and has committed mass violations and mass murder for years in the Saada War, in the south as well across the nation.

HRW 7/9/11, (Aden) – Yemeni forces may have killed dozens of civilians in unlawful attacks while fighting an Islamist armed group in southern Abyan province since May 2011, Human Rights Watch said today. The militants in Abyan, called Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law), may have unlawfully placed civilians at risk by deploying in densely populated areas and engaged in looting and other abuses, Human Rights Watch said. (Read on …)

Awlaki, al Qaeda’s pimp to Somalia; Warsame arrested; other AQAP updates

Filed under: Counter-terror, Somalia, TI: External, USA, Yemen, anwar, arrests, pirates — by Jane Novak at 8:29 pm on Friday, July 15, 2011

A bunch of overdue AQAP links and articles: First, business as usual: Sadiq al Ahmar said 16 of the recent al Qaeda escapees are living in villas in Sanaa, and other al Qaeda members are in the counter-terror forces, Republican Guard and Central Security. Its typical; we listed names of some of the AQ in the CT forces some years ago. Its well documented that other al Qaeda terrorists receive no-show salaries from the army or intelligence forces. The regime spun it as “rehabilitation,” until they needed a deniable proxy. The US dismissed them as “militants” but now the US is droning “militants” with no clear affiliation to al Qaeda or any transnational terror organization.

Yesterday, in an interview with Al Sheba, about what promoted the power of “the existence of al-Qaeda in Yemen”, Shekh Sadiq al Ahmar stressed that the so-called al-Qaeda elements are out of the house of the presidency and they exist in an anti-terrorist forces and the Republican Guard and the Central Security, noting that 16 members of Al Qaeda leaders who fled from the prison of Al-Mukalla month the past, “present in the villas in the capital alone to them the system in it.” He added, “The system uses the al-Qaeda bogeyman to extort from the Gulf, and promoted himself to America.”

Second, Shabab fighter Ahmed Warsame, arrested in the Gulf, was brought to the US for trial. Warsame has ties to both AQAP and al Shabab and met Anwar. Awlaki has been pimping al Qaeda to the Somalis since (at least) 2006 when the eight westerners were arrested trying to smuggle weapons to Somalia from Yemen. The enmeshment between al Qaeda in Yemen and al Shabab was politically inconvenient prior to the rev and is an expedient sound bite now.

NYT 7/10: In his remarks on his plane, Mr. Panetta said there were greater dangers to the United States in Yemen. “There’s no question when you look at what constitutes the biggest threat in terms of attacks on the United States right now, more of that comes from Yemen and people like Awlaki,” he said. He added that in Yemen, “There are a number of operations that are being conducted not only by the Defense Department, but by my former agency to try to focus on going after those targets. I would say that’s one of our top priorities right now.”

Fox News: The Somali terror suspect transferred this week to a New York City federal court spent “significant time” with American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, a U.S. official told Fox News. (Read on …)

“We did not expect Obama to be so weak”

Filed under: GPC, Islah, JMP, USA, VP, Yemen, protest statements — by Jane Novak at 5:48 pm on Friday, July 15, 2011

This weeks compendium of ridiculous US statements about Yemen, including during the Brennan visits to Saleh in SA and with Prince Ahmed and the JMP in Sanaa, comes on the same day the US and the international community recognized the Libyan rebels as the legitimate authority in Libya. In Yemen though the US continues to blame the protesters for the uptick in al Qaeda activity, instead of the illogical and unprincipled US policy fostering the stalemate. The Obama administration also threatened the JMP that the international community would not to recognize a transitional council, should one be formed as the protesters have been demanding. Such a transitional council would be “meaningless” said another western diplo because of the presence of a parliament, VP and government. The reality is that the current parliament’s term expired two years ago and prior to that, it functioned as a rubber stamp for Saleh and an instrument of grand corruption. The parliament is another rigged institution of GPC hegemony, comprised of loyalist Sheikhs, businessmen and active duty generals. Most of the reformists within the GPC resigned in March.

In Saudi Arabia Brennan asked Saleh “to fulfill expeditiously his pledge to sign the GCC-brokered agreement for peaceful and constitutional political transition in Yemen,” according to a White House statement. How could Brennan even say it with a straight face? The US is just stalling.

Al Masdar 7/6/11: JMP opposition leader Yahya Abu-Osbu’a.spoke of threats from some Arab and foreign countries not to recognize the Transitional Council, which the opposition intends to form to manage the affairs of the country which is living under a vacuum for a month. Abu Osuba at a political forum Monday evening in Change Square that the countries that had threatened to do so are Saudi Arabia and the United States and European Union countries. (Read on …)

Rejecting guardianship and foreign interference Friday in Yemen

Filed under: Saudi Arabia, USA, protests — by Jane Novak at 10:20 am on Friday, July 8, 2011

Huge nationwide demonstrations today in nearly every governorate in Yemen against foreign interference (US and Saudi Arabia) thwarting the rev, vids at al Masdar US policy continues to alienate and frustrate millions in Yemen.

Yemeni protesters demand President Obama recognize their goal of a civil, democratic government

Filed under: Post Saleh, USA, protest statements — by Jane Novak at 6:02 pm on Wednesday, July 6, 2011

H. E. Barak H. Obama, President of the United States
The White House
Washington DC
4 July 2011

Dear Mr. President

On the occasion of the most important holiday of the United States of America, please allow us to send to Your Excellency and to the great American people our greetings and congratulations on the Anniversary of the 4th of July, the date of the Declaration of Independence of the United States.

We consider the 4th of July to be not just a landmark date in the history of the people of the United States of America, but one of great significance for all freedom loving people of the world. The American Revolution has taught the lovers of freedom and human rights that indeed freedom and liberty are the most basic and fundamental legitimate aspirations of all human beings and are indeed worth all the sacrifices that must be made to make such aspirations and hopes attainable and accepted tenets of the Social Contract that regulates relations between the citizens and their respective governments.

We are proud to say that the Yemeni Revolution, now ongoing for five months, also aspires to attain for the Yemeni people the very same foundation of governance upon which the United States was established: “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”, as the 16th President of the United States rightfully declared in the Gettysburg Address over a hundred and fifty years ago. For months, the Yemeni people have come out by the millions, sometimes reaching 5 million people on some days all demanding for a democratic government of institutions that operates on the principles of justice and application of law on an equal basis for all citizens, without any special privileges or status for any citizens notwithstanding their ethnic, tribal, sectarian and regional affiliation, or their relationship to any Government official. (Read on …)

Back to square one: Saleh calls for dialog, will leave after election

Filed under: Donors, UN, GCC, USA, Yemen, protest statements, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 9:36 am on Monday, July 4, 2011

A new UN plan also calls for dialog. As NATO continues bombing Libya, and Turkey recognized the Libyan rebels as the legitimate authority, the international community continues to assert that Saleh retains legitimacy in Yemen, despite five months of protests and the wholesale slaughter of innocent civilians. Saleh and the ruling GPC party do not have to agree to the revolution overthrowing them; its an absurd proposition. The months of international intervention, dialog, negotiation and getting played by Saleh over and over and over again have not brought about any positive outcome whatsoever but instead brought Yemen to the brink of a humanitarian crisis and thwarted the inevitable transition.

The US, UN, EU should all immediately endorse the protesters plan for an interim ruling council that was first proposed in February.

Yemeni President Saleh calls for dialogue but keeps his grip on power Hakim Almasmari (Foreign Correspondent) Jul 2, 2011

SANA’A // The Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, wants a return to dialogue and not a transfer of power before elections, his vice president said, adding that the UN has begun working on a plan to move the process forward.

Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, the acting president, said Mr Saleh would not step down from power until a new president is elected. Instead Mr Saleh has called for a return to dialogue, a move that appeared to send the Yemen’s political crisis back to square one.

“Saleh still has three million supporters in Yemen and that is why he remains Yemen’s president. Saleh is ready to conduct early elections to rid the country from more crises,” Mr Hadi said. (Read on …)

US’s new CT strategy

Filed under: Counter-terror, US jihaddis, USA, USS Cole, Yemen, gitmo — by Jane Novak at 5:36 pm on Friday, July 1, 2011


confronting both challenges, we will look chiefly to our partners in the region—Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Yemen, and others—to take the lead, with U.S. support and assistance. Our CT efforts in the Arabian Peninsula are part of our overall strategy for the region that includes other objectives such as promoting responsive governance and respect for the rights of citizens, which will reduce al-Qa‘ida’s resonance and relevancy. (Read on …)

Organized jihaddists in Zinjibar, Yemen

Filed under: Abyan, Diplomacy, Post Saleh, USA, Yemen, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 10:14 am on Friday, July 1, 2011

Al Qaeda showing more respect for locals than the US is bad; there should be no comparison. Beyond the drones, Ambassador Feierstein continues meeting with regime officials including military intelligence while ignoring the protesters and their demands. The protest movement nation wide is discussing demanding the US Ambassador’s expulsion from Yemen as a person non grata. This NY Times article accurately covers the Saleh induced developments in Zinjibar.

June 26, 2011
Chaos in Yemen Creates Opening for Islamist Gangs
ADEN, Yemen — The ancient port city of Aden is now virtually surrounded by roving gangs of Islamist militia fighters — some linked to Al Qaeda — who have captured at least two towns, stormed prisons and looted banks and military depots in southern Yemen.

Yet the Yemeni government, still busy fighting unarmed protesters farther north, has done little to stop these jihadists. Members of the military, the police and local officials have fled their posts across much of southern Yemen. The country’s American-trained counterterrorism unit has not been deployed. It is no surprise that many Yemenis believe the president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, intended it all to happen. (Read on …)

CIA drones to augment military drones

Filed under: Air strike, Counter-terror, Diplomacy, TI: External, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:45 pm on Saturday, June 25, 2011

LAT: Reporting from Washington— The CIA is planning a campaign of targeted killings by drone aircraft against Al Qaeda militants in Yemen modeled after a similar program in Pakistan, U.S. officials say.

CIA attacks from Predator drones will augment a clandestine effort by U.S. special operations forces, which have been conducting manned airstrikes, drone strikes and small raids in Yemen, the officials said Tuesday.
(Read on …)

Political developments and impasse in Yemen

Filed under: JMP, Post Saleh, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 2:29 pm on Wednesday, June 22, 2011

President Saleh is alternately returning to Yemen within days or is negotiating for asylum in Germany or another European countries after the UAE refused the request.

At Asharq, a good profile of the al Ahmars.

The Yemen Post reports on a new broader opposition coalition: Opposition parties in Yemen announced that they would soon create a strong national coalition involving all the factions in the Yemen political arena. Mohammed Mutawakil, secretary general of the Popular Front party said that the new coalition will involve the Joint Meeting Parties, youth leaders, Houthis, Yemeni leaders in exile, and the Justice and Building party. “The coalition will soon be announced and it is now in its final stages of preparation,” said Mutawakil.

Feltman in Sanaa, still pushing the GCC deal.

News of the YR reports on more diversion of CT assets for use against the protesters: The communications system granted to the Coast Guard to combat terrorism was transferred to Sana’a and used by the family of Ali Saleh against the peaceful revolution.

A petition by over 100 tribal leaders and clerics including al Zindani calls on Saleh to step down and for new elections within two months

A US non-governmental contractor finds an advanced missile responsible for the palace attack: Aloula newspaper quoted a Yemeni official as saying that the missile an advanced Russian rocket. “The guided missile held a Russian name, FOGAZ,” the paper said.

Gates envisions a post-Saleh world:

Arab News 6/16:Gates also sounded a cautiously optimistic note about developments in Yemen, where the government and opposition tribes have engaged in armed clashes, pushing the country toward civil war. He said things have calmed down a bit since President Ali Abdullah Saleh left for neighboring Saudi Arabia on June 5 for medical treatment of wounds he suffered in an attack on his compound in Yemen.

“I don’t think you’ll see a full-blown war there,” Gates said. “With Saleh being in Saudi Arabia, maybe something can be worked out to bring this to a close” by finding an accommodation among Saleh’s family, the opposition tribes and the military.

Ja’ar residents protest infiltration of “Al Qaeda”; 18 US drone strikes mostly miss

Filed under: Abyan, Air strike, Counter-terror, South Yemen, USA, Yemen, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 9:37 am on Sunday, June 19, 2011

From the Yemen Post:

A US drone attack took place in Jaar, Abyan, on Saturday injuring six civilians. Eyewitnesses said the attack was expected to be targeting senior Jihadists in the area. No al-Qaeda members were hurt in the attack.Most of the attacks in Abyan have resulted in injuring wrong targets this month. At least 18 US drone attacks have taken place in June, in the highest foreign attack toll on Yemen lands in recent history.

The US is bombing and missing although there is supposed to be a better intelligence stream. In 2009, General Patraeus said the Bedouin locals killed in Abyan by a US missile strike were providing material support to al Qaeda by selling them food, implying the 42 civilians killed weren’t really civilians, and overlooking they had complained about the AQ infiltration to local authorities. What is one supposed to do when al Qaeda moves in? In this case, the residents are actively protesting.

Dawn ADEN, Yemen: Hundreds of residents of a southern Yemeni town in which al Qaeda has embedded itself called on Friday for the departure of the Islamic militants from their neighbourhood, an official said.

“Hundreds of residents of Jaar gathered in front of the town’s mosque to show their opposition to armed groups with links to al Qaeda,” Mohsen Salem Said, a member of the municipal council, told AFP.

He said residents “demanded that these armed men leave Jaar, so it does not befallen the same fate as Zinjibar,” a neighbouring town in Abyan province.

Hundreds of men presumed to be connected to al Qaeda on May 29 took control of Zinjibar after battles with the Yemeni army in which 140 people died, including about 80 soldiers. (Read on …)

Ghamdi sanctioned by US as AQAP fundraiser, two other Ghamdis in SA

Filed under: Counter-terror, Saudi Arabia, USA, Yemen, terror financing — by Jane Novak at 7:51 pm on Saturday, June 18, 2011

YOL Former Guantanamo detainee in Yemen named to US terrorist list 18/6/2011

The State Department Thursday added a freed Guantanamo detainee to its list of government-sanctioned terrorists, saying the Saudi Arabian soldier is now a fundraiser for the Yemeni offshoot al-Qaida of the Arabian Peninsula. (Read on …)

10% of Americans follow news of Yemen revolution

Filed under: Demographics, USA, Yemen, protests — by Jane Novak at 9:43 pm on Wednesday, June 15, 2011

PPO: About one-in-ten (9%) say they followed news about the anti-government unrest and violence in Yemen very closely. This was the top story for 2%. News about Libya and Yemen each accounted for 3% of coverage.

About a quarter of the public (23%) says the economy was their top story of the week, according to the latest News Interest Index survey conducted June 9-12 among 1,002 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. By comparison, 13% say they most closely followed news about Weiner’s admission that he sent sexually suggestive photos and messages to several women online.

Zinjibar: a would-be Islamist state

Filed under: Abyan, Al-Qaeda, USA, attacks — by Jane Novak at 7:48 pm on Sunday, June 12, 2011

WaPo: SANAA, Yemen — Islamist extremists, many suspected of links to al-Qaeda, are engaged in an intensifying struggle against government forces for control of southern Yemen, taking advantage of a growing power vacuum to create a stronghold near vital oil-shipping lanes, said residents and Yemeni and U.S. officials.

Over the past few weeks, the militants have swiftly taken over two towns, including Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan province, and surrounding areas and appear to be pushing farther south, said Yemeni security officials and residents. Increasingly, it appears as if al-Qaeda’s regional affiliate is seeking for the first time to grab and hold large swaths of territory, adding a dangerous dimension to Yemen’s crisis. (Read on …)

US CT ops continue in Yemen; 2006 “Zarchawi cell” leader targeted (al Harithy Jr)

Filed under: Air strike, Al-Qaeda, Iraq, TI: External, Trials, USA, Yemen, security timeline — by Jane Novak at 8:20 am on Thursday, June 9, 2011

a) Drone attacks with civilian casualties could trigger a civil war if the previously unarmed Southern Movement believes it is being arbitrarily attacked by Saleh’s forces or Mohsen’s. Vid of some aircraft bomber in South Yemen is widely assumed to be Saleh’s air force and is provoking panic at the thought of a new bombing campaign like the one that occurred in Saada. (Update: Vid likely not US, has the wrong contrail, vid recorded yesterday and supposedly hit Abyan City. Whereas US air strike was in Shabwa and days earlier.) (Local reporting on Shibuya.)

Update: CNN reports Abu al Harithy Jr. was in Shabwa and the Yemeni government is taking credit on TV.

A U.S. military official with knowledge of the Yemen campaign told CNN that U.S. military-led air operations recently resumed after a pause of some months. He also said the United States believes it likely killed al-Harithi in an airstrike in southern Yemen in recent days. But he cautioned its “very difficult” to confirm the killing.

The official said the pause was due to the fact the United States “didn’t have faith in the information available,” to conduct targeting against individuals in Yemen during that time frame. He could not say what led to the improved intelligence picture, but the Yemeni government has been absorbed with the anti-government demonstrations raging in big cities and fighting tribal forces.

The US also pledged $26 mil in humanitarian aid today.

b) The embedded links in this section lead to contemporaneous posts on the 2006 trial of the 19 member Zarchawi cell headed by Ali Abdullah Naji Al-Harithi, nicknamed Abu Ali Al-Harithi junior. This is the cell that won its appeal to reduced charges by arguing successfully that its legal under Yemeni law to commit murder abroad in the name of jihad. They admitted traveling to Iraq as well as establishing training camps in Yemen. The cell made explosive belts because John Kerry mentioned something about Yemen during a presidential candidates’ debate, but then when he didn’t win, they claimed at trial they gave the belts to the intelligence services. Al Hairthy was killed in a recent US air strike (Friday 6/3) in Yemen per the NYTimes report below.

c) Another thing I will never understand about US CT policy is why Yemen got a total pass from 2004-2007 when literally thousands of jihaddists, Yemeni and non-Yemeni, were being trained in Yemen to kill US troops in Iraq. There is an incorrect concept that there was little AQ activity in Yemen during that time frame, however Yemen was buzzing with activity, receiving and exporting jihaddists. They would leave by the plane load openly. Its reasonable to say half of US military deaths and injuries in Iraq were perpetrated by individuals who in some way were connected with the Yemeni pipe line. That’s a mind boggling statement when Bush was always whining about Syria letting them into Iraq but never once publicly about Saleh letting them out of Yemen. Overview of Yemenis in suicide ops in Iraq as well as coordination with Baathists in Yemen here. Saddams nephew never located as far as I know.

NYT: June 8, 2011
U.S. Is Intensifying a Secret Campaign of Yemen Airstrikes, By MARK MAZZETTI

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has intensified the American covert war in Yemen, exploiting a growing power vacuum in the country to strike at militant suspects with armed drones and fighter jets, according to American officials.

The acceleration of the American campaign in recent weeks comes amid a violent conflict in Yemen that has left the government in Sana, a United States ally, struggling to cling to power. Yemeni troops that had been battling militants linked to Al Qaeda in the south have been pulled back to the capital, and American officials see the strikes as one of the few options to keep the militants from consolidating power.

On Friday, American jets killed Abu Ali al-Harithi, a midlevel Qaeda operative, and several other militant suspects in a strike in southern Yemen. According to witnesses, four civilians were also killed in the airstrike. Weeks earlier, drone aircraft fired missiles aimed at Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical American-born cleric who the United States government has tried to kill for more than a year. Mr. Awlaki survived. (Read on …)

Son of the Central Security chief (al Taiyeb) arrested for drugs and concealed weapon in US

Filed under: Security Forces, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:14 am on Wednesday, June 8, 2011

MOHAMMED ABDULMALIK ALTAIYEB was arrested 5/5/11 in Maryland and charged with possession of illegal drugs (prescription pills without a prescription), marijuana, some other non-marijuana drugs and a concealed weapon (update: not a gun, could be anything from a knife to numchucks ). He is the son of the head of Yemeni Central Security Abdulmalik al Taiyeb who is in charge of anti terror activity, receives millions of dollars from US and in theory is Yahya Saleh’s boss, but its a technicality. However I lost interest in this story entirely when I discovered it wasn’t a gun in his possession. Case documents (Read on …)

US: Saleh injuries include burns, internal bleeding, Pentagon stops CT training for Yemeni forces

Filed under: Counter-terror, Presidency, Transition, USA, Yemen, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 1:03 pm on Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Today they stopped training? Not in February when dozens of protesters in Aden were slaughtered with live fire, shooing into houses and at medical workers. Not in March when apparently well trained snipers killed 58 largely by head shots and not in May when the Republican Guard set the protesters camp ablaze, killing well over 100. I had thought when we cut the funding we cut the training. I hope its clear to all that Tariq, Yahya and Ahmed can and will have no part in the security forces after the restructuring. Furthermore the MAZ Corp. (Yahya) has to be dismembered and the other corrupt financial deals exposed regardless of where it leads.

AP: WASHINGTON – Obama administration officials said Tuesday that Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh was more badly injured than thought in a blast at his compound last week, complicating the U.S. response to increased instability in a key battleground in the war against al-Qaida. (Read on …)

Witnesses, documents confirm US trained CT units slaughtering protesters in Yemen: al Asnag

Filed under: Protest Fatalities, Security Forces, USA, Yemen, protest statements — by Jane Novak at 11:09 am on Saturday, June 4, 2011

June 4th, 2011

This is a statement by Mr. Abdullah Alasnag, Ex – Minister of Foreign Affairs in Yemen who is roving several Arabian Gulf States to discuss the crisis in Yemen.

Yemen in Despair

It has become readily apparent that the Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh is losing the battle for the capital Sana’a, in a culmination of events over the past 4 months which have witnessed continuous protests calling for his removal.

Multiple reports by eye witnesses on Wednesday 1st of June 2011 confirmed that the beleaguered president is using the American trained and equipped Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) in the ongoing street fighting currently taking place in Sana’a between the dictator’s forces and armed tribesmen loyal to tribal sheikh Sadeq Al-Ahmer.

Back in 1999, former American Ambassador to Yemen Barbara Bodine refused Saleh’s requests for American military aid to establish a “counter terror unit/elite strike force” on fears that it would be used to crush political opponents, a fear that has since been proven correct time and time again.

Witnesses and media reports confirmed that the CTU was used by Saleh in an attempt to regain control over government buildings his forces lost to the tribesmen and were unable to regain them by force. In this connection, witnesses specifically recounted street battles in which the CTU was involved during attempts to regain both the Local Governments’ Ministry building as well as the Hasaba District Police station. The CTU lost both battles and suffered heavy losses in terms of both lives and equipment.

These reports confirm earlier reports that Saleh used the CTU to carry out criminal activities and gross human rights violations including the March 18th massacre he committed against peaceful protestors in Sana’a during which 57 demonstrators were killed and hundreds were injured. Following the incident, protestors found ID cards belonging to members of the CTU at a location used by snipers in their targeting of the protesters.

Moreover, Saleh has routinely used the CTU to target his political opponents including the 5th of January 2010 attack on Al-Ayyam Newspaper headquarters in Aden where snipers and night vision goggles were used in the attack. In a similar occurrence in 2010, the American administration was furious when it was made aware that the CTU was used in the Government’s local war with the Houthi rebellion in the northern governorate of Saada.

The disappearance and likely exit of the untrustworthy tyrant following last night’s rebel rocket attack on the Presidential palace in which it was reported that he had suffered minor injuries, presents a small window of opportunity to enable any replacing authority to lead Yemen on the path of stability and into a phase of sound economic development.

In this regard, a return to sole tribal control over the nation’s fate can no longer be considered as the best possible alternative. It is equally uncertain that a youth movement may constitute a better solution in view of failing political parties which also do not propose themselves as a trustworthy replacement.

Regional government follow-up of events in Yemen should therefore work out a comprehensive solution which accommodates Yemeni parties including prominent political leaders in exile. Such awareness could help in avoiding a total collapse of the state structure and fragmentation thereof.

Post script by Jane: In light of yesterdays statement by the Pentagon, perhaps Col. Lapan should contact Mr. al Asnag for the copies of the ID cards, contact with the witnesses and other proof.

Reuters: We’re watching closely the violence that’s occurring in Yemen,” Colonel David Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, said as violence raged in the Yemeni capital, where protesters are demanding an end to Saleh’s nearly 33 years in power.

“Right now we have no evidence that any of the counter-terrorism forces that we have trained are being used against protesters. We have seen reports that they have been engaged with armed forces and are looking for more information on that,” Lapan told reporters.”

US investment in Yemen’s CTUs have yielded little results. AQAP’s leadership is entirely intact and ever more well entrenched. This failure is due in large part to the double dealing of the bifurcated Saleh regime itself. Saleh’s re-deployment of US trained forces against its domestic opposition and as assassins, as al Asnag notes, was predictable, repetitive and is ongoing. The facts cannot be erased by Pentagon and State Department double talk.

Is it a turf war between the Pentagon and the CIA over the UAV’s and the CT budget on Yemen or knowledge of complicity in prior atrocities that is prompting cover for Saleh? Both the opposition parties and the protesters issued multiple statements that the new regime will allow and enable US CT ops to continue. There has to be a line somewhere that the US doesn’t cross as a matter of principle, and I thought we should have hit it in 2005 but we certainly have today. (Unless of course we did lob the bomb to the palace, but that’s just ridiculous as off-Toner said.)

Obama condemns in strongest terms attack on Yemen president

Filed under: Presidency, Protest Fatalities, Sana'a, USA, protest statements — by Jane Novak at 3:26 pm on Friday, June 3, 2011

After Saleh’s forces killed hundreds in Taiz including some who were burned alive, The U.S. Embassy in Sana’a announced it “condemns the unprovoked and unjustified attack on peaceful demonstrators in Taiz on the evening of May 29th, in which several demonstrators were killed and many more wounded.” Contrast that with today’s stronger statement after a mortar on the presidential palace, likely from inside the palace:

Statement by the Press Secretary (of President Obama) on Violence in Yemen: The United States condemns in the strongest terms the senseless acts of violence today in Yemen, including the attack against the Presidential Palace compound in Sana’a as well as other attacks in Sana’a and throughout the country. We call on all sides to cease hostilities immediately and to pursue an orderly and peaceful process of transferring political power as called for in the GCC-brokered agreement. Violence cannot resolve the issues that confront Yemen, and today’s events cannot be a justification for a new round of fighting. We urge all sides to heed the wishes of the Yemeni people, whose aspirations include peace, reform, and prosperity.

In meetings held June 1-3 in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Assistant to the President for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security John Brennan and his Saudi and Emirati counterparts expressed deep concern at the deteriorating situation throughout Yemen. Mr. Brennan said that the United States would continue to coordinate closely with both governments on developments in Yemen in an effort to help bring an end to the violence.

The US is bombing Libya but condemns an attack on Saleh? What? The US policy on Yemen is both illogical and immoral. There’s no organized political opposition in Libya at all, and rival tribes; what is the double standard all about? Despite the Pentagon’s re-branding of Saleh, he is not now and never was a good partner against al Qaeda. If I don’t understand US policy even slightly, you can imagine what Yemenis are thinking.

Update: here’s an article by the president of the American Institute for Yemeni Studies who thinks Saleh can outwit the protesters by provoking a tribal war, and that the March massacre in Sanaa was perpetrated by regime irregulars who took it upon themselves to open fire. It shows the sorry state of some analysis that is premised off Saleh’s propaganda and out of touch with the Yemeni rank and file and the tribesmen themselves. The Taiz massacre was plotted at the highest levels, as is likely of the Sanaa massacre as well.

Update: Spin baby spin and then do it faster.

Reuters:The Pentagon said on Friday it had no evidence that Yemeni counter-terrorism forces trained by the United States have been used against protesters demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

“We’re watching closely the violence that’s occurring in Yemen,” Colonel David Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, said as violence raged in the Yemeni capital, where protesters are demanding an end to Saleh’s nearly 33 years in power.

“Right now we have no evidence that any of the counter-terrorism forces that we have trained are being used against protesters. We have seen reports that they have been engaged with armed forces and are looking for more information on that,” Lapan told reporters.

Its clearly the Central Security and Republican Guard that are shooting unarmed protesters. What armed forces are the CT units within the CT and RG fighting, the al Ahmars, the Nehm tribesmen? What the Pentagon will accept as “proof” in this situation is unclear. The US mil needs to come to grips with the reality that it is going to lose the thousands of man hours as well as the millions of dollars invested in Saleh’s family. If anything, some of the equipment can be saved. But if the US wants to establish good CT relations with the next government of Yemen, it really needs to stop issuing idiotic statements providing Saleh with cover. Saleh’s forces killed over 100 in Taiz including dozens burned alive and 500 are still missing. It was planned at the highest levels. This is Obama’s friend who we are going to trust on al Qaeda? US policy in Yemen is a disaster of the highest magnitude.

Update: It couldn’t get more bizarre, but thats business as usual for Saleh who also accused the US of bombing the USS Cole as recently as 2006. Saleh’s spokesman accuses the US of assassination attempt and US responds the US is focused on cooperating with the Yemeni government: (Read on …)

250 killed in Yemen this week, Clinton trying to dislodge Saleh

Filed under: Protest Fatalities, Sana'a, Taiz, USA, protest statements — by Jane Novak at 9:11 am on Thursday, June 2, 2011

The 110 listed are in Sanaa only, well over 100 were killed in Taiz when Saleh set fire to the protesters camp and in the days since.

Clinton: US working to remove Yemeni president, Thu May 26, 9:40 am ET

PARIS – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the United States is troubled by political intransigence in Yemen amid ongoing violence there.
Clinton says Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has repeatedly “reneged” on promises to step down, and she says the U.S. and other countries are trying hard to get him out. The U.S. had backed Saleh in exchange for cooperation against a branch of al-Qaida headquartered in Yemen, but Washington withdrew its support as Saleh pressed a violent crackdown on protesters this spring.
Intense battles spread across Yemen’s capital Thursday. At least 28 people were killed as the four-day death toll neared 110.
The State Department on Wednesday ordered nonessential U.S. diplomats to depart Yemen and urged all Americans there to leave as security conditions deteriorated.

Still pushing the GCC initiative:

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama has dispatched a top aide to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to discuss the deteriorating situation in Yemen, the White House said on Wednesday. (Read on …)

US condemns attack on protesters in Taiz, urges Saleh to move immediately to transfer power

Filed under: Protest Fatalities, Taiz, USA — by Jane Novak at 1:51 pm on Monday, May 30, 2011

The US says a nice word about the protesters and says they should be included in discussions.

U.S. Condemns Attack on Peaceful Protesters in Taiz
May 30, 2011

The U.S. Embassy in Sana’a condemns the unprovoked and unjustified attack on peaceful demonstrators in Taiz on the evening of May 29th, in which several demonstrators were killed and many more wounded. We commend the youth protesters who have shown both resolve and restraint and have made their viewpoint known through non-violent means.
We reiterate President Obama’s recent call for President Saleh “to move immediately on his commitment to transfer power,” and we emphasize that the way forward is not through violence. Parties must work together with one another and with the youth, who are the future of Yemen, to build a more peaceful, prosperous and secure nation.

In other statements today the JMP “condemned strongly condemns the kidnapping of three French nationals working in humanitarian relief in Hadramout Governorate…the abduction incident, which came just days after the the Government of France showed a strong and supportive position to the demands of the Yemeni people and the peaceful revolution, put question marks on the timing and the identity of the perpetrators and their goals.” I also question the timing.

UK Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt also condemns the violence in Taiz, issues a threat, “The reach of international justice is long, and the regime should note this” but then urges Saleh sign the GCC agreement, which gives him another two months and immunity from the massacre yesterday. What are they waiting for? He’s not leaving voluntarily and there’s no reason not to start international proceedings now.

For a cold splash of reality, See Don’t Believe Yemen’s Mythical Civil War at the Trench: (Read on …)

A call for concrete action, a letter to President Obama from Yemeni American activists

Filed under: USA, protest statements — by Jane Novak at 8:40 am on Monday, May 30, 2011

Yemeni Americans submit concrete proposals to President Obama including a no-fly zone, freezing Saleh’s financial assets, no immunity from prosecution, the inclusion of representatives of the revolution in relevant discussions at the UN, and an end to international support, especially from Saudi Arabia, for the regime

H. E. Barak H. Obama, President of the United States
The White House Washington DC 16 May 2011 Dear Mr. President,

As the real people behind the ongoing peaceful Yemeni Revolution. we are at a loss to finding a reasonable explanation for the rather callous attitude of the international community towards the legitimate call of the Yemeni people for immediate and unconditional change of regime. (Read on …)

US finds more excuses to stall: fear of “tribal rivalries”

Filed under: Transition, Tribes, USA, Yemen, protest statements — by Jane Novak at 2:03 pm on Sunday, May 29, 2011

Saleh will never agree to an orderly transition of power. Al Ahmar is not exploiting the situation by firing back when Saleh’s forces attacked.

Today 1) snipers firing on protesters in Taiz and artillery, 2) bombing al Habiylan, Lahj 3) bombing Zanzibar, Abyan after handing it over to militants 4) the bombing in Nehm, Sanaa yesterday destroyed dozens of homes. 5) bombing in Arhab, Sanaa today.

Youth Rev Organizing Com: Delay in discussing Saleh’s crimes at the UN Security Council gives him more time to commit massacres against Yemeni people

Reuters: “We are very concerned that the unsettled situation in Yemen is bringing longstanding tribal rivalries to the surface, which is further complicating the process of reaching an agreement on an orderly transfer of power,” one senior official said, offering the U.S. position on condition of anonymity.

“Tribal as well as extremist elements are attempting to exploit the current instability in order to advance their own parochial interests.”

While U.S. support for Saleh has eroded, Washington also has serious misgivings about the wealthy and powerful Ahmar clan and considers it unlikely to help bring about sweeping reform should it gain further clout,

Sweeping reform?? The US is now seeking sweeping reform but but the GCC plan that the US is married to guarantees no reforms at all.

Hussain Arab, former Interior Minister who gave al Nashiri the travel pass for the bombing of the USS Cole, says Saleh supports Al Qaeda

Filed under: Abyan, Al-Qaeda, USS Cole, Yemen, Yemen's Lies, protest statements, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 10:47 am on Sunday, May 29, 2011

Somebody find this guy, former Interior Minister Hussain Arab, and tell him I would like him to interview him to confirm that Saleh had foreknowledge of the USS Cole bombing. Saleh knew in advance and helped plan it. I, here on the US East Coast, know that Saleh knew. It is very likely the US Military (and intelligence) also knows Saleh helped al Qaeda killed those 17 sailors. Whether Sec Def Gates support of Saleh is related to protecting his budget or the last years’substantial investment in the CT forces, its a very sad day for the US when it comes to this.

Not to mention all our soldiers killed in Iraq as a result of the well managed pipeline that starts in Yemen. All the US whining about Syria rings hollow when there was little pressure on Saleh to close the spigot. The years of quietness in Yemen (2002-2007) was not a result of US CT successes, as some have postulated, but rather the result of an explicit agreement between al Qaeda and Saleh. Furthermore, Saleh continues to prove safe harbor. US policy in Yemen is overtly endangering US security and American (and Yemeni) lives.

In this interview, Arab says Saleh handed over Zanzibar to al Qaeda, sacrificing low level Yemeni troops to the theatrics on the international stage. The US is pretending to fall for the AQ threat that Saleh is producing because its convenient.

Al Masdar: For his part, accused the former Yemeni Interior Minister Hussein Mohammed Arab regime of President Ali Abdullah Saleh to “support Al-Qaeda” cross “handed over” a number of cities in Abyan, which led to the control of the organization in control in Zanzibar.

The Arabs said to Agence France Presse that Al-Qaeda “did not launch any attack on Zanzibar and all what happened was carried out by the process of handing over security leaders in Zanzibar to armed groups, leaving scores of poor soldiers to their fate.”

He added that “President Saleh’s regime wants to dump the southern provinces in the mess by allowing the armed groups that claim affiliation to al Qaeda,” and called the sons of the southern provinces to “confront the armed groups that claim to follow the rule is valid.

Also al Fahdli dishes on Saleh and Abyan via al Jazeera. A summary kindly provided by a viewer: (Read on …)

Abdulelah Haider Shaea

Filed under: Judicial, Media, Sana'a, US jihaddis, Yemen, aq statements, arrests — by Jane Novak at 9:35 pm on Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Al Jazeera

The kidnapping

Kamal was with Abdelillah when he was first kidnapped in July 2010. Two cars pulled up and eight men in civilian clothes carrying guns violently forced him out of the car.

“You crossed red lines in your statements on satellite television and if you don’t listen to what we say and understand the message we will destroy your life,” they told him.
(Read on …)

Why Can’t Obama Speak about Yemen???

Filed under: USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:58 pm on Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Do not ask Saleh to leave. Interrupt programing, get yourself on TV Mr. President and say:

“The United States supports the popular revolution in Yemen and the protesters’ goal of self determination. We admire your courage and your peacefulness. As a nation we will be here to support you when you have won. As a people we are praying for you now. Thank you and God Bless the United States and the people of Yemen.”

Delay is only making it worse, as it has thus far. Saleh will not survive. The people have won already. Join the team. Please.

Saleh locked down US Ambassador Feierstein and the other international mediators on Sunday with armed men. He killed his own mediators today. There’s going to be a battle. Each protester knew that when they took to the streets. Saleh the lunatic will not go peacefully, there is no solution, but he will go. This is Yemeni politics.

Saleh has a substantial coalition lining up against him that will try to avoid civilian causalities. Ali Abdullah Saleh, our friend and partner against al Qaeda, slaughters his citizens without conscience regularly. In the last days, he will cause civilian casualties, as he has thus far. They are all still there. Lets get the US on the winning side. Its late.

Update: This is a good beginning, “We call upon President Saleh to move immediately on his commitment to transfer power,” Obama said, in a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron in London.

Clinton statement on Yemen: outraged

Filed under: Diplomacy, USA, protest statements — by Jane Novak at 5:45 am on Monday, May 23, 2011

Sickening: MR. TONER: Sure. I mean, I don’t want to get into specifics yet, but I think I said yesterday that there’s a number of options in front of us as the situation continues to fester, and we’re looking at all options. But what’s important, really, now is that President Saleh has an agreement in front of him. He needs to sign it and put Yemen on a positive path so that they can resolve the current situation.

QUESTION: The GCC, it says they were walking away from that deal, it’s no longer on the table. Is it your understanding that it is still on the table?

MR. TONER: Our understanding is that it remains on the table. That he just needs to sign it.

Update: The road to the US embassy still blocked 24 hours later and apparently the tents are still up. The embassy closed its doors. Saleh is continuing to play with fire and misreading the US badly on this one. Obama, when he acts, can be shockingly aggressive in foreign policy. Saleh should tell these thugs to pack their tents and go play with the Al Ahmar boys immediately. Yemenis have a joke: “If the US wants al Qaeda, they should bomb the presidential palace.” I always found it rather amusing.

Oh he called the UAE?? Did he call President Obama? WAM: President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan received a phone call from Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in which he offered his apology for the incident in which the diplomats were detained in the UAE Embassy in the Yemeni Capital, Sana’a, yesterday. Actually it seems like Obama has a temper, maybe waiting a day is a good strategy.

Update: This is a much better and realistic view of the remarks by Clinton.

Original: I was rather outraged myself when President Obama’s friend, Ali Abdullah Saleh, besieged the US Ambassador to Yemen with gun toting, club wielding GPC members, trapping him in an foreign embassy for six hours. No one was surprised Saleh wormed his way out of signing though. I thought he might bow to the demands of a chanting, weeping crowd as opposed to locking down the mediators. The United States is deeply disappointed by President Saleh’s continued refusal to sign the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative. He is turning his back on his commitments and disregarding the legitimate aspirations of the Yemeni people.

The concerted efforts of the international community, led by the GCC, have been tireless and all sides have agreed — on multiple occasions — to sign the GCC initiative. President Saleh is now the only party that refuses to match actions to words. We urge him to immediately follow through on his repeated commitments to peacefully and orderly transfer power and ensure the legitimate will of the Yemeni people is addressed. The time for action is now.

We are also outraged to learn that earlier today factions loyal to President Saleh encircled the UAE embassy in Sana’a. They refused to allow U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein, ambassadors from the United Kingdom the European Union and GCC states, the GCC Secretary General and other foreign diplomats to leave the embassy. We condemn this action and call on President Saleh to meet his international obligations to ensure the safety and security of all foreign diplomats and their staffs working in Yemen.

In diplospeak, I think the tiers are layered from concerned to dismayed to outraged, so its a tough and appropriate word from the US’s top diplomat.

Saleh planned clashes to thwart transition: leak

Filed under: Diplomacy, GCC, GPC, Security Forces, Transition, USA, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 3:05 pm on Sunday, May 22, 2011

There’s so many leaks coming out of Yemen lately, documents and verbal. The following published by Marib Press is another. I wasn’t there so I can’t say its true, only that it’s less likely to be propaganda than the lies that come out of SABA on a daily basis. The only other people who will know absolutely if its true are the US officials, if they indeed called Saleh several times last night.

Saleh agreeing to the transition with the US while planning for a street uprising to derail it is entirely in character, as we saw from the ease of his lies as revealed in Wikileaks and from the years and years of lies before. This is the way he operates, these are the types of schemes he comes up with to juggle expectations and perceptions and blame. So I’m tired, I’m cranky, he besieged my ambassador and went back on his promise, so I’m publishing an unverified leak that has no document.

Mareb Press: On Saturday evening in Sana’a, the General Committee of the General People’s Congress (GPC) and parties of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Yemen held a meeting chaired by President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Chairman of the GPC. Below is some leaks from this meeting’s conversations between Saleh and GPC members loyal to him.

· About the GCC brokered initiative , Saleh said that he had received yesterday evening seven calls from the U.S. administration to urge him to sign the GCC initiative, saying “I will sign the initiative, I do not want to be a stumbling block before the international community, but I’m going to sign, and you guys, you have to fail it, take into the streets. (Read on …)

Saleh loyalist gunmen besiege UAE embassy, surround US embassy

Filed under: Diplomacy, Donors, UN, GCC, Presidency, Sana'a, Transition, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:35 am on Sunday, May 22, 2011

Final Update: Diplomats rescued by helicopter, Yemen Post reports. It was a six hour siege. Afterward when Saleh never signed, the the GCC withdrew the proposal.

Previous: Does anybody on earth still believe Saleh has the capacity or the will to carry out a 2 month transition plan? Yes apparently. More fuzzy reports that Saleh refused the latest offer to sign the deal after the diplomats were released. The international community is afraid if they don’t get an agreement from Saleh, the pro-regime mobs today could all be armed and shooting tomorrow. Saleh is on TV threatening a war if the opposition doesn’t come to the palace to sign, so its not dead yet. Or it is and Ahmed is the GPC’s new candidate according to another report. The whole circus could have been a ploy to avoid signing and blame it on the JMP.

Original post: Well we knew he wasn’t going to sign, either rejecting it outright or, as occurred, the loyalists would “spontaneously” prevent it. But this is off the wall. If Saleh knows whats good for him, he better call off the mobs at the embassy. He’s really playing with fire. Armed ruling party members are not a deniable proxy. We all know where they came from. This idiot should smarten up and get the hell out of Dodge while the getting is good.

State Dept calls siege “a government organized” event.”
Revolutionary Youth Coalition condemns siege and calls it a new ploy.
GCC is meeting shortly to discuss the situation.
Helicopters to the rescue?

Updates: GPC crowd growing, tent up and road blocked at US embassy, NewsYemen: Eyewitnesses told “NewsYemen” The supporters of the ruling party have erected a tent in front of the U.S. embassy in Sana’a and cut the road in front of citizens. With still gunmen from the ruling party surrounding the UAE embassy in Sanaa, where resides the Secretary General of Gulf Cooperation Council Abdul Latif Al Zayani and a number of ambassadors of EU and U.S. Ambassador in Sanaa.

The ruling party (GPC) spokesman Sultan al Barakani confirms that Saleh won’t sign the deal even after the international mediator is released from captivity. What a thug regime.

Gunfight on 70th street. No action (water cannons, tear gas) by security to disburse the mobs at the embassies like they use on the anti-regime protesters.

AJE Gunmen claiming to be loyal to President Ali Abdallah Saleh of Yemen laid siege Sunday afternoon to the embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Sana’a, trapping the ambassadors of the United States and of the six members states of the Gulf Cooperation Council. (Read on …)

Clinton statement on Unity Day

Filed under: Transition, USA, protest statements — by Jane Novak at 5:01 am on Sunday, May 22, 2011

Politico: “President Saleh needs to follow through on his commitment to transfer power. The government of Yemen must address the legitimate will of the people.”

“The United States will continue to support the Yemeni people as you work toward a unified, stable, democratic, and prosperous Yemen. We continue to call for a peaceful transition of power so that the citizens of Yemen may one day realize your aspirations.

“Our two nations have shared a strong friendship for many years based on mutual respect and mutual interests. On this national day, know that the United States continues to be a partner and friend to all those who strive for a better future for Yemen.”

Clinton’s Unity Day message to Saleh is beyond the pale. For years the US’s only alliance was with the mafia of a government while Saleh openly slaughtered, tortured and starved his own citizens. Since the protests began, the US overtly belittled the protesters and froze them out of the negotiations as their demands will displace the entire regime, not just the war criminal Saleh. The southern movement was also frozen out and is a little cranky about it. Even if Saleh signs, there’s still a month to wriggle out of it. And the agreement itself, if implemented, retards political development rather than fosters it. Its a deal designed to retain as much of the corrupt, incompetent structure as possible. Nobody wants an actual democracy but the protesters. Its a recipe for disaster.

Hull: US public diplomacy in Yemen needs improvement

Filed under: Counter-terror, USA — by Jane Novak at 1:37 pm on Friday, May 20, 2011

Ya think?

Voice of America: While U.S. President Barack Obama has announced his broad vision for American policy in the Middle East, questions remain on his strategy for one country still wracked by political uncertainty, Yemen.

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has been a consistent U.S. partner in the fight against a major al-Qaida group based in his country. But he faces a fight for his very survival as he refuses the demands of anti-government activists and fellow Arab states to transfer power. Some analysts say Washington now must convince the people of Yemen that the United States is not pursuing just its own goals in their country as it works with an unpopular ruler to fight militants.

On Thursday, U.S. President Barack Obama urged his Yemeni counterpart, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to comply with demands to transfer power. But at the same time, Obama acknowledged that Saleh is a “friend” of America.

Without President Saleh’s support over the years, analysts say Washington would have had a tough time going after members of the Yemeni-based group al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula…For many Yemenis, their biggest concern is poverty, not terrorists bent on attacking the West. Detractors of Saleh have seized on this issue, saying the president overstates the terror threat and his role in fighting it in order to keep the backing of his foreign allies.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Edmund Hull says that the United States must appease the Yemeni public’s concerns in order to successfully fight al-Qaida there.

“The whole public diplomacy of counterterrorism is extremely important – how what we do is not seen purely as serving U.S. interests, but serving broader interests,” said Hull. “You have to get that right if you’re going to have long-term success. And I think those are areas for improvement and areas that we need to be working on.”

U.S. officials say Washington’s total assistance to Yemen was more than $300 million in 2010’s fiscal year. And while Ambassador Hull says this investment is significant, he believes Washington needs to staff more highly trained civilian workers in the country to complement the counterterrorism military side.

New lies from the world’s biggest liar

Filed under: Elections, Presidency, USA, protest statements — by Jane Novak at 7:12 am on Friday, May 20, 2011

Saleh the mass murderer says he want to avoid bloodshed.

(Reuters) – Yemen’s entrenched President Ali Abdullah Saleh called for early presidential elections in a speech to a pro-government rally Friday, though he gave no details on when or how the election would take place.

“We call for an early presidential election to prevent bloodshed … in a smooth and democratic way,” Saleh told a cheering crowd of supporters.

There’s a billion dollar counter-terrorism industry that is less profitable because bin Laden is dead. Many well paid bin Laden contractors need an enemy and a new money machine. Unfortunately, its that idiot Awlaki and AQAP. Maybe the whole thing really is about money. Obama certainly has no principles if he didn’t acknowledge the millions of Yemeni protesters and the hundreds who died for democracy, murdered by his friend Saleh. Beyond being stupid and counter-productive, ignoring the protesters is just rude.

US policy in Yemen is so bad that it appears they are deliberately trying to trigger a war. Maybe the CIA is laundering money through Saleh and directing some of the arms shipments. Maybe the US military knows that Saleh was involved in the USS Cole bombing and ordered some of the terror attacks on tourists, and kept working with him anyway. Maybe the State Department knew in 2005 that Saleh was diverting US CT aid to his jihad in Sa’ada, using chemical weapons and employing al Qaeda. Bush didn’t mention Yemen for eight years. Whatever is making Gates, Obama and Clinton crawl up Saleh’s ass now, its not the threat of AQAP, which US policy is heightening, and its not well intentioned concern for the fate of Yemen or the stability of the region. There’s a significant risk of a blood bath on Sunday, Unity Day, by the (US trained, funded and equipped) security forces, or by proxy, now that Saleh has the green light.

Obama gives Saleh green light to slaughter protesters

Filed under: Presidency, USA, USS Cole, protest statements, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 11:54 am on Thursday, May 19, 2011

Obama hearts Ali and threw the protesters under the bus, again.

There’s really not much else to say. Obama’s only reference to Yemen in the big speech was to call Saleh a friend and urge he carries out the transfer of power deal which Saleh rejected yesterday. One sentence on Yemen in a one hour speech, thats it.

What a slap in the face to the millions of Yemeni protesters. The speech was also badly structured in that it set up expectations. Obama started out praising the Tunisians lavishly, then the Egyptians, and then promised Tunisia and Egypt oodles of money, then the Palestinians got half of Israel. But when it was Yemen’s turn, Obama didn’t even acknowledge the Yemeni protesters at all, no moral support, not even the slightest nod. Maybe the brain surgeons at the State Department and military think they can demoralize the protest movement into giving up. Its not going to happen. (Read on …)

Brennan calls Yemen’s Saleh

Filed under: Presidency, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 4:34 pm on Wednesday, May 18, 2011

He urged him to accept the GCC plan for the sake of the Yemeni people. That’s not an approach that’s going to work considering Saleh is a mass murderer who stole and looted every material asset of the nation. The 100 days just gave him time to hide his assets and redeploy the troops. Update: Wow a really good post, indeed a must read, at the Trench, click here. Readout of John Brennan’s Phone Call with President of Yemen

Assistant to the President John Brennan called President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen this morning to urge Saleh to sign and implement the Gulf Cooperation Council-brokered agreement so that Yemen is able to move forward immediately with its political transition. Brennan noted that this transfer of power represents the best path forward for Yemen to become a more secure, unified, and prosperous nation and for the Yemeni people to realize their aspirations for peace and political reform. He affirmed the commitment of the United States to stand with the Yemeni government and people as they implement this historic agreement, foster economic development, and combat the security threat from al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula. Brennan also reiterated that all parties must refrain from violence and proceed with the transition in a peaceful and orderly manner.

The US standing with the government must mean that the US will run interference on any potential prosecutions.

CCYRC writes President Obama again

Filed under: USA, protest statements — by Jane Novak at 2:55 pm on Tuesday, May 17, 2011

It would be so nice if President Obama acknowledged the Yemeni protesters existence during the speech on Thursday. He could really undo a lot of the damage and increase the level of confidence between millions of Yemenis and the US government. A short statement would go a long way to explain that the US is seeking a way to avoid a bloodbath.

His Excellency Mr. Barak Obama
President of the United States of America
Office of the President
The White House
Washington D.C.
Date: May 17, 2011

Subject: Yemeni Youth Revolution: Yemenis Have a Dream

Mr. President, Today, President Saleh is ignoring the voices of millions of Yemenis who are calling for a civil state that respects democratic values, human rights and public freedoms. We dream of a state that provides every Yemen with fair and equal opportunities to live and prosper in a secure homeland. Yemenis youth in and outside the country aspire to build a civil and peaceful society. Yemenis are counting on the U.S. to take a more active position to this end. The Gulf Cooperation Council’s initiative failed right after President Saleh refused to sign it. He has rather shown more brutality, promotion of corruption, suppression and failure to provide the basic economic and personal security for the average Yemeni.

Your Excellency, This is a unique opportunity for your administration to endorse the struggle of the people in Yemen against the dictatorship of Mr. Saleh. This conflict is between a ruler and millions of people who can no longer tolerate his reign, corruption and insecurity he’s brought. This is not a political conflict rather it’s a human struggle of a people who want to decide their own fate and end Family rule in Yemen.

We are calling for your leadership to support our movement that seeks to build a new Yemen and prosperous society which can become a true partner in combating terrorism with the global community. We build on your administration’s wisdom to stand by and support the freedom seekers and the youth who represent more than 70 percent of the society, instead of supporting an ailing and already falling regime.

Mr. President, America’s democracy inspires us, and our people deserve no less than what decent human beings are entitled to. America’s standing and leadership in promoting the values of democracy and freedom is at stake. We trust in your humanity and leadership to know that our plight and struggle will be a priority for you in the coming days.

Please, don’t let us down. Thank you for your inspiration and support for freedom and democracy in Yemen and across the globe.

May God bless the people of Yemen and the United States of America.

The Coordinating Council of the Youth Revolution for Change
Issued May 17, 2011

HOOD publishes documents re US shipment of weapons 1/17/11 for CT

Filed under: Counter-terror, Military, Security Forces, USA, Yemen, Yemen's Lies — by Jane Novak at 1:14 pm on Sunday, May 15, 2011

Yemen has its own wikileaks type of thing going on with numerous documents from the interior ministry and other officials published recently. This is another that outlines a shipment of weapons for CT when its known to the US government that Yemen has repeatedly and systematically diverted weapons and US trained units to use against its domestic enemies, whether in Saada or the south. In February, the US suspended the first installment of new mil aid after the state began murdering its own citizens.
Hood’s website is

al Masdar And distributed the National Organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms “HOOD” documents reveal the existence of a modern security cooperation relationship between the U.S. and Yemeni security is believed to be linked to the suppression of protests, which calls for ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

جاء ذلك في مؤتمر صحفي عقدته صباح اليوم الأحد في ساحة التغيير بصنعاء. This came at a press conference Sunday morning in the courtyard of the change in Sanaa. ونصت إحدى الوثائق المنسوبة إلى ويليام موني (عقيد في الجيش الأمريكي، وأعلى مسئول عسكري أمريكي في اليمن، والملحق الأمريكي بالسفارة في صنعاء) بتاريخ 17يناير 2011م، وتحمل رقم 252 موجهة إلى وزير الداخلية اليمني مطهر رشاد المصري “بأن طائرة عسكرية أمريكية سوف تصل إلى اليمن حيث ستنقل هذه الطائرة معدات لقوات العمليات الخاصة اليمنية وقوات الأمن المركزي – وحدة مكافحة الإرهاب”. And provided one of the documents attributed to William Mooney (a colonel in the U.S. Army, and the top U.S. military official in Yemen, and supplement the U.S. embassy in Sanaa) on January 17, 2011, carrying 252 addressed to the Yemeni Interior Minister Mutahar Rashad al-Masri, “that a U.S. military plane will arrive to Yemen where the plane will carry the equipment for special operations forces of Yemen and the Central Security Forces – and counter-terrorism unit. ” ومن المفترض أنها وصلت إلى مطار صنعاء الدولي في 19يناير 2011م It is assumed that they arrived at Sana’a International Airport in January 19, 2011

وتتألف الشحنة من آر بي جي7 وقاذفات لقوات العمليات الخاصة ومؤشرات الخطر وذخائر دخانية وحزم أسلحة خفيفة وصمام أمان لقوات الأمن المركزي – وحدات مكافحة الإرهاب. The shipment consists of RPG-7 launchers and special operations forces and indicators of risk and ammunition, smoke and light weapons and packs a safety valve for the Central Security Forces – and anti-terrorism units. بحسبما جاء في رسالة الضابط الأمريكي. As they have stated in the message the American officer.

ويقول العقيد ويليام في رسالته للواء المصري إن “كل هذا المعدات سيتم شحنها جوا مباشرة إلى مطار صنعاء الدولي وعلى ممثلي قوات الأمن المركزي وقوات العمليات الخاصة استلام تلك المعدات”. According to Colonel William in his letter to the Egyptian brigade “All this equipment will be shipped by air directly to the Sana’a International Airport and to the representatives of the Central Security Forces and Special Operations Forces to receive such equipment.”

ah a translation

U.S. Embassy
Office of Military Cooperation
Sana’a – Yemen
January 17, 2011
(Read on …)

Two protesters killed in Al Baydah, 16 killed yesterday

Filed under: Sana'a, Taiz, USA, War Crimes, Yemen, al-Bayda, protests, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 10:03 am on Thursday, May 12, 2011

According to the protesters, 16 were killed around the country yesterday and 300 injured. Another three were killed in Taiz. The WaPo is reporting two dead in al Baydah and the takeover of the Oil Ministry in Taiz. Its just so depressing.

SANAA, Yemen — Yemeni police trying to disperse thousands of anti-government protesters in two cities Thursday killed two and wounded at least 47, some by gunfire, according to witnesses. In one of the cities, protesters overran a government building.

Gunmen fired at protesters in the central city of Bayda from the roof of a building belonging to the ruling party, killing two people and injuring seven, activist Ghazi al-Amiri said. In the southern city of Taiz, police fired live ammunition and rubber bullets to disperse demonstrators there, injuring 40 people, said field doctor Sadeq al-Shujah…Taiz has been a hotbed of anti-government protests. Activist Nouh al-Wafi said crowds seized control of the Oil Ministry building and hung a banner over the entrance on Thursday that said “Closed until further notice by order of the youth revolution.”

And some typical meaningless statement from the State Department that few in Yemen are even aware was issued. Saleh is intent on retaining power and the violence will continue. Nothing has changed since day one except people stopped hoping on Obama or believing the US has any commitment to democratic values.

On Thursday the U.S. State Department offered its support for the deal and demanded that in the meantime, Yemen’s government stop firing on protesters.

“We call on the Yemeni security forces to exercise maximum restraint, refrain from violence and respect the rights of the Yemeni people to freely and peacefully assemble and express their views,” spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement.

“We call on the parties to sign and implement the terms of the (GCC) agreement now to ensure an orderly, peaceful transition of power,” Toner said. “This transition must begin immediately.”

Yemen protesters intent on marching to palace, give up on US

Filed under: Presidency, USA, Yemen, protests, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 9:56 am on Thursday, May 12, 2011

In the last three months, the US actively thwarted and slowed the Yemeni revolution and supported Saleh at every turn, bringing us to the current disastrous predicament. Promising immunity to a dictator who is actively slaughtering his own citizens doesn’t engender confidence in the US’s commitment to human rights, democracy and justice. There may be a bloodbath if the protesters march to the palace, but with the international community including the GCC lined up behind Saleh, the protesters are running out of options to force a transition. The long term impact for the US is the palpable hardening of sentiments. Awlaki is indeed a dangerous demagogue intent on mass murder and his death cult has set its sites on the US, as Wahishi made clear yesterday, but trading off 22 million people and the future of a nation for narrow counter-terror concerns doesn’t make much sense in the long run. There really should be a way to accomplish both goals, especially since its the US trained CT units that are slaughtering the protesters.

The escalation plan is available at

In case of killings, we through big part of the blame to the international leaders and organizations who kept silent towards our peaceful revolution. We blame GCC neighboring countries for not supporting the people of Yemen but supporting saleh.

We came to a conclusion that our beloved country Yemen has no Oil and is not threatening Israel, therefore, our problem with Saleh shall be dealt with internally and payed by our bloods. We came to a conclusion also that the pro-democracy governments are only pro oil and interest supporters.

Pending bill authorizes force in Yemen

Filed under: Counter-terror, Security Forces, USA, Yemen, protests — by Jane Novak at 7:24 am on Thursday, May 12, 2011

The bill is not passed yet.

Human rights first: House Armed Services Committee Authorizes Costly New Wars in Yemen and Nations in Africa to Expand Fight Against Terrorism

For Immediate Release: May 12, 2011

Bill would continue suspension of other counterterrorism tools

Washington, D.C. — New legislation–approved by the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee early this morning– raises a number of red flags which should be thoroughly considered by Congress, a leading rights group said today. Human Rights First criticizes several provisions included in the bill, which aim to expand the use of military force to fight terrorism in Yemen, nations in Africa and beyond. (Read on …)

AQAP’s Wahishi threatens US

Filed under: US jihaddis, Yemen, personalities — by Jane Novak at 1:53 pm on Wednesday, May 11, 2011

ABC: A leader of the al Qaeda offshoot that U.S. officials have called the greatest threat to the U.S. vowed in a message posted on Islamist websites Wednesday to take revenge against the U.S. for the death of Osama bin Laden, saying that jihad would only intensify and that Americans would come to “wish for the days of Osama.” (Read on …)

Drone strike in Abyan 4/24 missed, 5/5 drone targeted Awlaki

Filed under: Abyan, Counter-terror, USA, Yemen, anwar, shabwa — by Jane Novak at 9:55 am on Friday, May 6, 2011

Update: The drone strike in Shabwa around midnight was launched by the US military and targeted Anwar al Awlaki, CNN is reporting. The two killed were Awlaki associates and the intel was not from the several computers seized at UBL compound.

Original: I really did mean to post this at the time. The drone strike yesterday in Shabwa that killed two AQ siblings was preceded by miss in Abyan on 4/24. One predator didn’t explode and the other hit a road. The April strike occured near Amfryad in Mudiyah where in December 2010 US missiles killed 49 civilians along with a few al Qaeda (as a parliamentary inquiry found). The last use of armed unmanned drones was in 2002 and resulted in the killing of al Harithy and US citizen Kamal Darwish, Lackawanna recruiter.

Yemen Times: ABYAN, Apr. 26th – US airstrikes in Abyan governorate are still threatening the lives of citizens. The Al-Ma’jala strike – which took place on 17 December 2009 and killed 55 people, including 14 women, 21 children and 14 alleged Al-Qaeda members – still looms large in the region’s collective memory.

According to Abyan’s security chief, Colonel Abdullah Ali Saeed, a new airstrike hit the small village of Amfryad in Mudiyah district on 24 April 2011. The attack involved two cruise missiles being launched by a US Predator drone.

The Predator was pursuing a pickup truck allegedly belonging to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) jihadists. (Read on …)

US urges Yemeni protesters not to provoke regime

Filed under: USA, Yemen, protest statements — by Jane Novak at 10:37 am on Saturday, April 30, 2011

Are they out of their cotton-picking minds? On a practical level, there is no valid voter registry, so how could there be a presidential election within two months? It appears the US is trying to retain as much of the existing structure as possible. Saleh has to be blackmailing the US, there’s no other explanation. On an overt level, immunity for Saleh is also immunity for the US and Saudi Arabia. What the US and international community should be pushing for is a representative structure among the protesters instead of making repeated deliberate efforts to exclude them. This cringe inducing, obnoxious statement is blaming the protesters for their own deaths. The US is urging the protesters to welcome the foundation of a new tyranny. The GCC proposal (yesterday it was a deal, tomorrow it will be suggestion) has had the effect of divorcing the protesters and the public from the dysfunctional political structure and corrupted opposition parties, which is good. And in the end, the GPC is going to reject Saleh’s resignation, just like they rejected his proposal not to run again in 2006 and 1999.,
PRESS RELEASES, US Embassy Statement on April 27 Events

The U.S. Embassy is distressed by the violence, April 27, that killed and injured hundreds of Yemeni citizens. It is especially disturbing that the violence took place on the eve of signing an historic agreement between the Government and the Joint Meeting Parties that will achieve through peaceful, democratic, and Constitutional means a transition of authority leading to new Presidential elections in July 2011.

The Embassy urges Yemeni citizens to demonstrate their commitment to this peaceful transition by avoiding all provocative demonstrations, marches, and speeches in the coming days and to welcome this opportunity to lay the foundation of a strong, peaceful, prosperous Yemen for the future. We also urge government security forces to refrain from using violence against demonstrators.

Saleh afraid of coup if he leaves Yemen to sign agreement

Filed under: GCC, GPC, JMP, Presidency, Saudi Arabia, USA, protests — by Jane Novak at 10:22 am on Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saleh was never going to honor the GCC plan anyway, and his balking at leaving the country is reasonable (there very well could be a coup) and another tactic to encourage yet more concessions and reset the clock.

CNN: Yemen’s president says he won’t leave the country to sign a hard-fought political deal because he fears his departure could spark a coup, a senior ruling party official told CNN on Saturday.

The stance threatens to collapse an agreement brokered by the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council to end the violent political standoff across Yemen, still reeling this week from one of the deadliest days in months of protests that have pitted demonstrators against President Ali Abdullah Saleh. (Read on …)

Elections in two months in Yemen a recipe for disaster

Filed under: Elections, GCC, Islah, Post Saleh, USA, Yemen, protests — by Jane Novak at 2:38 pm on Friday, April 29, 2011

The voter rolls were disqualified a few months ago.

The official opposition is willing to provide immunity to Saleh and his gang, and give him a month to tie up loose ends. Most protesters continue to demand that Saleh leave immediately, while others think Sharia will solve everything, reports Nasser Arrabyee

Ahram: Yemen’s official opposition and President Ali Abdullah Saleh have agreed on a US-backed, Saudi-led, Gulf Cooperation Council plan to see Saleh step down in one month from signing. Wednesday was the date set by the GCC officials for the Yemeni conflicting parties to sign the plan in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

Sources from both sides confirmed to Al-Ahram Weekly on Tuesday they would sign the agreement in Riyadh on Wednesday or Saturday at the latest. Earlier in the week, the Islamist-led opposition coalition, which includes socialists and Nasserites (Arab Nationalists), had refused to form a unity government with the ruling party before Saleh steps down, as called for in the plan. American Ambassador to Yemen Gerlad Feierstein convinced the opposition to agree on the plan as a whole. (Read on …)

Hueys, mil aid and US support to Yemen

Filed under: Counter-terror, Military, Security Forces, USA, Yemen, protests, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 2:31 pm on Friday, April 29, 2011

US Hueys over Yemen
By Nick Turse
Asia Times In recent weeks, Yemeni protesters calling for an immediate end to the 32-year reign of United States-backed President Ali Abdullah Saleh have been met with increasing violence at the hands of state security forces. A recent pledge by Saleh to step down, one of many that has not met demonstrators’ demands, has yet to halt the protests or violence by the troops backing his regime. (Read on …)

Al Nashiri to trial supposedly again maybe

Filed under: Counter-terror, USS Cole, Yemen, fahd — by Jane Novak at 12:22 pm on Thursday, April 21, 2011

Its a circus. The DOJ is seeking the death penalty on someone they didn’t care enough to bring to trial for years, an individual complicit in the murder of 17 US service members. Al Nashiri has been in US custody since 2002. He says his confessions were gained by torture, and the US admits water boarding him along with a mock execution and brandishing a power drill. Nashiri was charged by the Military Commissions at Gitmo in Dec. 2008. Charges were dropped in Feb 2009 when charges against all detainees were dropped pending review. In August 2010 the Obama administration said there were no charges pending or contemplated against al Nashiri. Now, as the election season approaches, they want him dead; at the same time the status of Khalid Sheik Mohammed is back in limbo. While Gitmo and the MCs raise complicated issues, all the dithering, back sliding and stalling at the highest levels raises the question whether any of these decisions were based on the demand for justice for the dead sailors, or if is it all just political expediency and maneuvering.

WAPO: Capital charges brought against Guantanamo detainee Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri in USS Cole attack

U.S. military prosecutors on Wednesday charged one of the most prominent detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in a death penalty case that could prove to be a major test of the nation’s revised system of military commissions. (Read on …)

US, EU give Yemen’s Saleh 30 days to create a new crisis

Filed under: Donors, UN, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:51 pm on Saturday, April 16, 2011

Now, he should go now. Saleh will never keep his word or leave peacefully. A month is just enough time to cook up a major crisis like a seeming terror attack or something equally horrific.

Good: Ahmed, Yahya, Ammar and Ali Mohsen all to be exiled as well. Bad: Saleh names his successor and escapes his crimes. What about the financial accounting and returning the billions he stole? Can a head of state really be exempted from war crimes and crimes against humanity? If its even possible, its a decision for the Yemeni people not the GCC, which is itself comprised of corrupt, non-democratic states.

This article is from a few days ago. In the interim, the JMP’s representatives went to Saudia for talks with the GCC and returned without any progress. Some have indicated the protesters’ demand for Saleh’s immediate departure is unsophisticated and untenable, but it is exactly the remedy. Saleh doesn’t have to agree to go. He is in the process of being deposed; why does he have a platform to set his own terms? US efforts, GCC efforts and UN efforts produced zero from the ever deft Saleh a/k/a the King of Spin whose goal is to remain in power, keep his money and secure his relatives. This is the same guy who amply demonstrated his willingness to kill Yemeni citizens well before the Jasmine Revolution.

Yemen Post The U.S. and the EU have suggested a timeframe for Yemen’s President Saleh to transfer power to his deputy in 30 days in the light of a recent GCC proposal for tackling the Yemeni crisis, sources familiar with the matter said on Saturday. (Read on …)

Ali Mohsens’s Child Soldiers, HRW

Filed under: Children, Civil Rights, Diplomacy, Donors, UN, Military, Post Saleh, USA, Yemen, political violence, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 9:28 pm on Friday, April 15, 2011

The Saada Wars were fought by children and the state’s policies of collective punishment targeted children. The kids interviewed had been fighting for years already. The age of maturity in Yemen is 15– by that age many are married, armed, working and chewing qat.

The Obama admin exempted Yemen from legal repercussions for the use of child soldiers.

Yemen: Stop Using Children in Armed Forces
HRW: Child Soldiers Recruited by Army Now Deployed by Opposition

(New York) – Child soldiers recruited by the Yemeni army are now being used by a breakaway unit to protect anti-government protesters, Human Rights Watch said today. The United States and other governments should call for an immediate end to the use of children as soldiers or in other security forces, whether for the Yemeni government or the opposition. (Read on …)

Wikileaks reveals US military considers Yemeni intel (PSO) as al Qaeda supporter; Nashiri the early day

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, USS Cole, Yemen, al nashiri, gitmo, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 9:02 pm on Friday, April 15, 2011

Yes Nashiri did first meet bin Laden in 1996.

Chicago Tribune: According to the allegations against Nashiri, he met Osama bin Laden in 1996 and joined Al Qaeda two years later. In the fall of 2000, he allegedly recruited others to pilot a small boat filled with bombs into the Cole, setting off an explosion in a Yemeni port, killing 17 U.S. sailors and leaving a 40-foot hole in the ship.

Nashiri, a Saudi, was captured more than a year later, and “admitted he assisted with the plot,” according to the government allegations. He was taken to Guantanamo Bay, one of 779 captives who have been detained there at one time or another. (Read on …)

Yemen’s Youth Revolution Asks US to Freeze Funds

Filed under: USA, Yemen, protest statements — by Jane Novak at 6:57 am on Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Coordinating Council of the Youth Revolution of Change

A Pledge to the United States of America and European Union

Under the alarming circumstance in Yemen, we are awfully concerned about the human rights violation taking place in Yemen, due to the recent violent acts of Ali Saleh and his regime, upon the citizens of Yemen, we urge you to take immediate and urgent measure to put an end to the abuse of power by Ali Saleh and his regime in Yemen.

Clinging to power has made Saleh take irrational measures to employ the resources of our national economy to his personal pleasure.

Three months into the peaceful revolution, over 400 killed, and thousands wounded, and other many young people prisoned for voicing their rights for freedom. We make this pledge to the United States of America and European Union to freeze all accounts and assets of Ali Saleh, his relatives abroad.

Foreign currency is extremely limited in our central bank and other government banks, due to the exploitation of our national resources to serve Ali Saleh and his ruling party.

Exploitation of public servants and forcing them to pro Saleh demonstrations is weighing heavily on our public sector performance and the budgets of the governments various institutions.

On behalf of all the peaceful youth movements under the Coordinating Counsel of the Revolution of Change, we make this pledge and we anticipate your urgent response towards our peaceful and pressing demands.

International Initiatives Echo in Yemen’s Change Square

Filed under: GCC, USA, Yemen, protests — by Jane Novak at 10:41 am on Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) offered to mediate President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s departure from Yemen. (He wants immunity from prosecution, to keep a lot of money and summers in France.) Saleh was insulted by the interference in internal affairs and withdrew Yemen’s ambassador to Qatar. Friday and Saturday saw continued state violence against the protesters with several deaths and injuries.

The units that have been shooting unarmed protesters around the country, killing almost 200, are the Republican Guards, headed by Ahmad Ali Abdullah Saleh, son of President Saleh, and Central Security Forces, headed by Yahya Mohammad Abdullah Saleh, President Saleh’s nephew. These are the two men the US is scrambling to keep on as these units contain the US trained counter-terror units. However, the Youth Coordinating Council (YCC) is determined that all elements of the Saleh regime must go, including all his relatives. The YCC also rejects any offer of amnesty to President Saleh, who was guilty of war crimes before the protests ever broke out.

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US froze aid package after protests broke out in Feb

Filed under: Counter-terror, Protest Fatalities, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 12:33 pm on Friday, April 8, 2011

Every now and then, rarely, Obama makes a decision that I agree with. This is one:

Khaleej Times: 8 April 2011, 10:47 AM
WASHINGTON – The United States froze its largest aid package for Yemen in February after popular protests broke out against the Yemeni president, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

“The first instalment of the aid package, worth a potential $1 billion or more over several years, was set to be rolled out in February, marking the White House’s largest bid at securing President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s allegiance in its battle against Al Qaeda in Yemen,” it said. (Read on …)

US HR report on Yemen 2010

Filed under: Civil Rights, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 12:32 pm on Friday, April 8, 2011 The main government human rights abuses included severe limitations on citizens’ ability to change their government due to, among other factors, corruption, fraudulent voter registration, administrative weakness, and close political-military relationships at high levels. Arbitrary and unlawful killings, politically motivated disappearances, and reports of torture and other physical abuse accompanied the use of excessive force against civilians in internal conflict. Prisons and detention centers were in poor condition, and some private, largely tribal, ones operated without legal authorization or control. Arbitrary arrest and detention, sometimes incommunicado, and denial of fair public trial were widespread. Official impunity was common. The government restricted civil liberties, including freedoms of speech and of the press, including access to the Internet, peaceful assembly, and religious freedom. The judiciary was weak, corrupt, and lacked independence. Official corruption and lack of government transparency were severe problems. International humanitarian groups estimated more than 300,000 persons were internally displaced as a result of the Saada conflict. Pervasive discrimination against women continued, as did early marriage, child labor, and child trafficking. Discrimination on the basis of religion, sect, and ethnicity was common. Workers’ rights were restricted.

US ignored multiple warnings on Saleh

Filed under: Presidency, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 12:31 pm on Friday, April 8, 2011

This cable names names where others are largely redacted, WaPo

Hamid al-Ahmar, an opposition party leader and a prominent businessman, vowed to trigger the revolt if Saleh did not guarantee the fairness of parliamentary elections scheduled for 2011, according to a classified U.S. diplomatic cable summarizing the meeting. The sheik said he would organize massive demonstrations modeled on protests that toppled Indonesia’s President Suharto a decade earlier. (Read on …)

US, China, Russia & the GCC

Filed under: China, Donors, UN, GCC, Russia, Saudi Arabia, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:48 am on Thursday, April 7, 2011

Update: Saleh refuses GCC initiative to mediate a peaceful exit, says its unconstitutional, this coming from a war criminal who hasn’t obeyed a law in…ever.

The GCC Saudi Initiative

1) President Saleh to announce to step down and transfer his powers to his deputy.

2) emphasis on ensuring safety and the lack of any prosecution of him and all his relatives and the Elements of the system.

3) to form a government of national unity to have the mission operation and running of the country for a limited period and to prepare for a referendum on the constitution and parliamentary and presidential elections and may also form committees as it deems necessary.

4) If this initiative to be approved by all parties then all are invited to Riyadh to sign it and begin its implementation immediately.

In the same context, the GCC sources said that the GCC mediation recognizes and understands the importance of the need to contain the aspirations of the initiative of all parties of Yemen, led by young people, which Saleh leave/Departure is their main demands.
(Read on …)

JMP issues statements re cooperation and calling for international community to restrain Saleh

Filed under: Hodeidah, Ibb, JMP, National Dialog Committee, Taiz, USA, protests — by Jane Novak at 5:01 pm on Monday, April 4, 2011

There seems to be a few fake announcements coming out of the south. But the following JMP statement is real enough, a tad late, not issued in English and lacks a contact number etc. Below the fold, JMP calls for international community to take action to stop the blood shed and the US takes a less than clear position.

Yemen Post: Any government after the current regime in Yemen will be a strong ally of the international community in the war against terrorism and Al-Qaeda, spokesmen for the Joint Meeting Parties, the opposition coalition, said on Monday. The statement comes amid U.S. warnings of Al-Qaeda in Yemen amid the escalating unrest, but as the U.S. is now suggesting that Saleh stand down.

Muhammad Qahtan said the coming regime will be better than the Saleh regime which exploited the issue of Al-Qaeda and the war against terrorism to deceive the world and use the anti-terror funds for personal interests.

” Meanwhile, we welcome the interest of the GCC countries in Yemen’s stability and security as well as their support to the choice of the Yemeni people, who have been staging protests and sit-ins to call for the ouster of President Saleh. The efforts of the U.S and EU envoys to Yemen to prevent further deterioration of the country amid the current crisis are also welcome,” he said. (Read on …)

US shifting position, seeks peaceful exit for Saleh

Filed under: USA, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 7:33 am on Monday, April 4, 2011

This shift by the US, and the eventual departure of Saleh, is not just good for Yemen and Yemenis and the entire region but for the US and interests of US national security as well.

New York Times: The United States, which long supported Yemen’s president, even in the face of recent widespread protests, has now quietly shifted positions and has concluded that he is unlikely to bring about the required reforms and must be eased out of office, according to American and Yemeni officials…That position began to shift in the past week, administration officials said. While American officials have not publicly pressed Mr. Saleh to go, they have told allies that they now view his hold on office as untenable, and they believe he should leave.

A Yemeni official said that the American position changed when the negotiations with Mr. Saleh on the terms of his potential departure began a little over a week ago.

“The Americans have been pushing for transfer of power since the beginning” of those negotiations, the official said, but have not said so publicly because “they still were involved in the negotiations.”

Those negotiations now center on a proposal for Mr. Saleh to hand over power to a provisional government led by his vice president until new elections are held. That principle “is not in dispute,” the Yemeni official said, only the timing and mechanism for how he would depart.

It does remain in dispute among the student-led protesters, however, who have rejected any proposal that would give power to a leading official of the Saleh government.

US continues unrelenting support for Saleh the illegitimate dictator

Filed under: Presidency, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:19 pm on Friday, April 1, 2011

Feierstein trying to divert attention from the protests to the economic problems is rather ironic when Yemen’s economic disaster is largely a product of the Saleh regime’s corruption, embezzlement and mismanagement. The economic challenges are important and add more weight to the argument that Saleh must go now. No reforms are possible with Saleh (and his relatives) at the helm. Its rather hypocritical of the Obama administration to discuss Libya in idealist terms and then flat-out deny the Yemeni people a chance for self-determination.

What about dissolving Safer Oil company last week? Was that good economic policy or the attempt to white wash years of corruption, smuggling and embezzlement? What about emptying the banks to pay the pro-regime protesters? What about looting international aid? Yes lets chat about economic issues.

United States supports Yemen’s unity, stability, security
[30/March/2011] SANA’A, March 30 (Saba) – The United States of America confirmed on Wednesday its support for Yemen’s unity, security and stability as well as its democratic approach. The statement made by the American ambassador to Yemen Gerald M. Feierstein in a meeting that brought together with the Secretary-General of the General People’s congress (GPC) Sultan al-Barakani. (Read on …)

US support of Yemeni dictator considered green light for atrocities

Filed under: Presidency, USA, Yemen, protests — by Jane Novak at 7:19 pm on Thursday, March 31, 2011

What was it Colin Powell said, “You break it, you own it.” The US effectively shut down the democratic transition in Yemen, and every future casualty that Saleh induces, directly or through proxy, will be laid at Gates’ feet. So far there’s 150 burned to death in Abyan in a Saleh ploy. I have never seen Yemenis so angry and disillusioned with the US, even after US airstrikes wiped out a village of mostly women and children. One of the USG talking points on Yemen is that its politically fragmented, but the wrongheaded US policy of unconditional support for the madman Saleh has had a unifying effect. Unfortunately the longer the stalemate goes on, the stronger the hardliners narrative among the opposition becomes. The US is actively undermining faith in democracy and in the good will of the international community. The US is shutting itself out of the next government by clinging to this one.

If the US was trying to create an environment conducive to al Qaeda by proving all its allegations, this would be the policy: backing a strongman over the best interests of the nation, overlooking coldblooded massacres, condoning and rewarding corruption, and demonstrating that US interests in Yemen outweigh by far the rights of Yemeni citizens to the rule of law. US officials have justified the position in terms of cooperation on counter-terror, but a more preposterous claim is not possible. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why they chose this course without conjuring up blackmail or corporate financial interests or maybe Saleh implanted a double agent. It makes no sense. Even considering the massive disconnect between the USG and everyone outside the elite circle, its obvious that Saleh has been a duplicitous al Qaeda appeaser and facilitator for a long time. Its thoroughly illogical that Obama is trading a nation’s chance at a decent future to ensure US CT units can roam Yemen with bad intel and dubious thresholds under the guidance of Saleh’s son and nephews who also head criminal networks.

Yemeni protesters slam remarks of U.S. Defence Secretary al Sahwa31/3/2011 – Sahwa Net

Sahwa Net- Yemen’s peaceful protesters have slammed comments of the US Defence Secretary, Ropert Gates, considering his remarks a green light for Saleh to commit further crimes against the peaceful protests.

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that their primary concern with Yemen’s uprising is the vacuum it may create for groups like AQAP to gain power.

The protesters expressed their determinstion to overthrow Saleh’s regime and create a democratic and civil country that would stand against radicalization, violence and despotism.

They urge the International community to understand Saleh’s regime which use terrorism as a card to get assistance, stressing that Saleh’s stay in power would pose a threat for regional and international security and stability.

They further called friendly states to stand by the Yemeni people and protect Yemen from falling into chaos and division, pointing out that Saleh is currently doing best to make Yemen unstable and a haven Al-Qaeda and terrorism.

US CT ops in Yemen explained

Filed under: Counter-terror, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 3:32 pm on Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Dangerous US Game in Yemen by Jeremy Scahill has a thorough overview of US CT ops in Yemen.

Basically the US operatives have a lot of latitude, and they don’t know anyone in the opposition, so 24 million Yemenis are condemned to life under the dirtbag Saleh as the ambassador sneers at the transition plans and Gates hearts Saleh.

Meanwhile they are getting played right and left, maybe it is time to meet some new people.

Yemenis accuse US of collusion with Saleh

Filed under: Presidency, USA, USS Cole, protests — by Jane Novak at 1:17 pm on Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The US has been working with Ali Abdullah Saleh, the war criminal, regional mafia kingpin and al Qaeda facilitator for decades as a matter of necessity, but now Saleh is on his way out. Sooner or later, he’s going. The US military leadership (Gates, Mullin) appears unwilling to contemplate the departure of Saleh and dragged him back from the brink of the abyss. Saleh was leaving Thursday until the US got involved in the negotiations. A Yemeni opposition MP, Mohammed Sabri, said: “The US defence minister’s exaggeration of Al-Qaeda has encouraged the regime.” On Sunday, Secretary Gates reiterated how good of a partner Saleh is in counter-terror, but its not true. If it was, we’d have Awlaki a long time ago and the Cole bombers wouldn’t have escaped twice and then been freed.

It can’t be that the US military bought the ‘09 reformation theory. Are they are afraid of chaos and/or Zindani? General Ali Mohsen is promising to resign and leave the country, taking care of one concern. The US investment in time and money on the CT units over the last year doesn’t have to go down the drain; someone besides Prince Ahmed and Duke Yahya can run them, so why the heavy lobbying efforts? Gates squaring off against the Yemeni people is not in the US national interest. The longer the transition takes, the higher the risk of political violence. “Al Qaeda” declared an Islamic Emirate in Ja’ar and is preventing women from the streets. Saleh’s plan is violence and chaos. The longer he sits in his chair, the more violence and chaos there will be.

Saleh is arming al Qaeda and releasing them from prison (approx 30 and approx March 8). At the same time, the Yemeni government arrested 87 and disappeared 25 citizens for protesting. There’s “no planning” for Saleh’s departure even though the Saleh regime is clearly unsustainable. Did the US embassy sit in on the negotiations for transition in Tunisia and Egypt? I can understand why some Yemenis are spinning wild theories (like the US is seeking a stronger al Qaeda in order to occupy Socotra, as an example) to explain the US position, because there’s no logical answer why the US would support the obviously guilty, dirtbag Saleh. Meanwhile the US spent $550 million in bombing Libya out of our commitment to humanitarian and democratic ideals…

Another theory, “The Yemeni opposition gave the US Embassy a full program for post-Saleh Yemen including the anti-terrorism plan. However, the US is still supporting Saleh. The matter has two possible reasons; whether Saleh gives the US many confidential privileges or Al-Qaeda is an American game and Saleh is just a player of the team.”

Another accusation: Official spokesman of the Preparatory Committee for National Dialogue, Mohammad al-Sabri said the U.S. Department of Defense has complicity of the benefit scheme to meet the people’s peaceful revolution. He considers Saleh’s spreading chaos and killings in Yemen including the death of 120 people after an explosion of a munitions factory to be the tip of the iceberg.

Another question: “The Revolutionary Youth Movement rejects any reconciliation with Saleh and calls on the international community to take a clear stance regarding his alliance with violent movements including al Qaeda.” Its a confusion that the US brought on itself by justifying support of Saleh in terms of al Qaeda. And an article News Yemen publishes a letter to Obama that brings up US corporations in Yemen (calling for a boycott) and the fact that there was no transitional plan in Egypt when the US began calling for Mubarek to go, and laments the contempt and hatred that the Obama administration is generating with its continued support of Saleh.

Also, Marib Press: Citizens in Hadramout thwart state plan to target foreign workers with IED. (Read on …)

US blunder of a decade keeps on going

Filed under: Presidency, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 12:37 pm on Sunday, March 27, 2011

Its a disaster for the US and Yemen. The protesters are not going to give up until Saleh is gone. And the longer it goes on, the harder it is to mitigate Islah with moderates.

Yemen’s Saleh warns of ‘chaos,’ US keeps lifeline: President Ali Abdullah Saleh has warned of Somalia-like “chaos” in Yemen if he steps down without an agreed successor as Washington said on Sunday his fall could endanger its fight against Al-Qaeda.

Highlighting the multiple challenges facing any ruler of Yemen, suspected Al-Qaeda militants seized control of Jaar, a town in the restive southern province of Abyan, security officials told AFP.

Comment by a person not me: “It is very clear that the authorities intentionally pulled out of Abyan and Saadah and triggered violence (at least in Abyan) to say that Al-Qaeda has already been preparing to take over parts of south Yemen. They are trying to create something similar in Shabwa so they would create the illusion that the south is now seeking independence and create a sense of chaos and blaming it on the youth and opposition. Will the US and world take the bait again? From experience, they don’t seem to have a high IQ when it comes to Saleh’s maneuvers and lies. Very nasty and dirty games indeed, all to remain in power with any price!”

Taiz: “Protesters reject any initiative that does not provide for the departure of the system and the handover of power to a transitional council and make preparations to mobilize two million on Monday to demand the departure of the system.”

Sanaa: In reaction to the president’s speech, protesters are now demanding his trial as well as his departure.

Saleh draining the banks to pay off the pro-regime protesters.

US’s first, last and only concern in Yemen is AQAP

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:29 am on Sunday, March 27, 2011

The US position has the potential to radicalize the protesters, legitimize the AQAP narrative and undermine any US future narrative about good governance. The US military-intelligence-diplomatic establishment in Yemen has formed its position after a decade of nearly exclusive contacts and information from Saleh relatives and loyalists. The AQAP threat is real, and their only concern. Its important for the Yemeni protesters to understand that the US will thwart any transition of power on that basis alone, however counter-productive it is in reality. The US is creating the monster it fears and playing into al Qaeda’s hands. Diminished US security in months and years to come will be a function of today’s wrong headed assessments. The only hope is for the protesters to give the US some concrete CT guarantees. That the US ambassador is an active participant in the negotiations, lobbying for the retention of Ahmed and Yahya, shows how distorted the situation has become. I don’t know if the US will ever understand the reality in Yemen, and its clear that it doesn’t at the moment or the implications of its actions. I’m really stunned the US policy is so far off from what is in the best interests of US security.

AFP: Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s eventual fall or his replacement by a weaker leader would pose “a real problem” for US counter-terrorism work, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday. (Read on …)

AQAP close to launching terror plot on US

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, TI: External, US jihaddis, protests — by Jane Novak at 8:05 am on Saturday, March 26, 2011

Counter-terror operations have been disrupted by mass protests, the article says. Are they getting the intel from the same presidential relatives/Yemeni counter-terror units that will be displaced? Or is someone on the US side just writing up the same intel with a new spin? On the third hand, it could very well be true. Two facts have been quite clear for some time 1) AQAP’s goal is a catastrophic attack in the US, 2) the Saleh regime is unsustainable. The US can’t be as flat footed in the face of this reality as they are claiming. There’s no reason someone else cant take over the CT ops, like the former southern generals or a lower level officer in the CT units.

JGN: Terror plot feared brewing in Yemen, Greg Miller | Washington Post

WASHINGTON – U.S. spy agencies have gathered new intelligence indicating that al-Qaida’s affiliate in Yemen may be close to launching a terrorist strike, according to U.S. officials who said the development adds urgency to concerns about the turmoil in the region.

The officials said the agencies have assembled only fragmentary information on the plot and do not have enough detail to issue a public warning or to take specific measures to counter the threat. But officials said the intelligence is credible, creating a scenario that has worried U.S. counterterrorism officials since the crisis in the Middle East began.

The threat comes as counterterrorism operations in Yemen are disrupted by mass protests that threaten the 32-year rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

On Friday, Saleh told tens of thousands of supporters that he’s ready to step down but only if he can leave the country in “safe hands,” while anti-government protesters massed for a rival rally.

The new information goes beyond the routine level of terrorism chatter monitored by U.S. spy agencies tracking al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, as the Yemen-based offshoot is known. A U.S. official described the recent intelligence as pointing to “a current and concerning threat.”

“We’re always at a very high level of alert and have been for some time with AQAP,” said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an intelligence matter. But the new information points to “more than that they are bent on attacking the West and continuing to plot.”

The information has been communicated to senior officials and lawmakers in briefings, and circulated within the U.S. intelligence community, in recent days. A prominent concern, officials said, is that efforts to unravel the plot could be complicated by the political upheaval sweeping much of the Middle East.

How can the US be so shortsighted in Yemen?

Filed under: US jihaddis, USA, USS Cole, gitmo — by Jane Novak at 5:38 am on Saturday, March 26, 2011

1- Is it the Booz Hamiltons of the world that are feeding the US wrong information because they are so heavily invested in the ruling structure?

2- Is the US afraid that when President Saleh comes to trial for war crimes in Saada that the extent of the US knowledge and support of the civilian slaughter will be clear?

3- Is the US afraid of what the accounting of the government budget will show?

4- Is there a fundamental racism that is impacting US policy?

5- Is it that the US was well aware of President Saleh’s false flag operations targeting foreign tourists and officials etc?

6- Is it that the US knew for years, for sure, that the Saleh regime was complicit in the USS Cole bombing and still continued to work with him?

7- Are they just so unimaginative that they can’t figure out what to do when Saleh and all his relatives leave?

8- Too busy with Libya? If AQAP is the leading threat to the US, how can there be no post-Saleh planning? Or was that just a deliberate slap in the face to the protesters?

9- I’m sure the securocrats are all cranky because their personal efforts over the last year, and the investment of time and money in the counter-terror units, will be wiped out. But the US’s absolute rejection of an authentic transition of power in Yemen can’t simply be bureaucratic inertia when the US got over it in Egypt. (But then again the military assumed power in Egypt, whereas in Yemen, the demand is for a civilian regime.) Over the last two months, the US belittled democratic efforts, overlooked civilian massacres and overtly supported Saleh at every opportunity and in every statement. Now the US is actively obstructing the people’s will by lobbying for retention of aspects of the ruling family (Yahya and Prince Ahmed).

To make a blunder this big for this long, there has to be something more to it than simply that the US experts are out of touch or misguided. It is crystal clear that the US policy and attitude will consolidate, entrench and empower al Qaeda in Yemen for years to come. The blowback is going to be a bitch for the US. I’m not even factoring in the impact of the US stance on the lives and future of 23 million Yemenis, that’s a whole other topic. At this point, the pooch is so screwed that its dead. The US is in the process of radicalizing the protest movement.

US says escalation of violence in Yemen unacceptable, urges political solution to create new govt

Filed under: USA — by Jane Novak at 9:59 am on Tuesday, March 22, 2011

“Saleh needs to take more steps” and there should be “genuine participation” of all groups.

Washington, Mar 22 (PTI) Calling for a political solution to the current unrest in Yemen, US has said that there is need to have a government that is responsive and representative.

“We continue to underscore that a political solution that leads to a government that is more responsive to the Yemeni people is going to have to be the way through this situation, not violence,” Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes, said. (Read on …)

US fears new Yemen government would reject all cooperation on counter-terror

Filed under: US jihaddis, USA, protests — by Jane Novak at 8:59 am on Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The answer is to recall the southern army but no one in the protest movement is talking about the south. Everything will be dealt with once Saleh is gone, but the day after Saleh comes in 24 hours.

WASHINGTON – For two years, the Obama administration has had a relationship of convenience with Yemen: The U.S. kept the Yemeni government armed and flush with cash. In return, Yemen’s leaders helped fight al-Qaida or, as often, looked the other way while the U.S. did.

That relationship is about to get a lot less convenient.

Of all the uprisings and protests that have swept the Middle East this year, none is more likely than Yemen to have immediate damaging effects on U.S. counterterrorism efforts. Yemen is home to al-Qaida’s most active franchise, and as President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s government crumbles, so does Washington’s influence there… (Read on …)

Security chief transferred from Aden attacks protesters in Taiz, scores wounded and other Thursday updates

Filed under: Aden, Hodeidah, Sa'ada, Sana'a, Taiz, USA, al Dhalie, protests — by Jane Novak at 11:00 am on Thursday, March 17, 2011

Well over 100 protesters were injured in Taiz today, ambushed shot and gassed under the stewardship of the newly transferred Gen Qairan. US Ambassador Feierstein said on Sunday that General Qairan’s removal from Aden would be a sign of good faith from Saleh regime* and chided the Yemeni public for having no faith in Saleh’s recent round of promises. I wonder how long it is going to take for him to come to the inescapable conclusion that Saleh is a compulsive liar and not reformable. The US wanted Qiran out of Aden, so Saleh sent him to attack civilians in Taiz. Is that some kind of sick joke? There’s 140 in the field hospital in Taiz, gassed and shot, including 16 girls who tried to stand their ground. This is video of the school girls talking about getting kicked out of school for joining the protests.

*The exact quote from Feierstein was, “We think that it would be useful to remove some of the senior security officials who have been involved in some of these violent or forced confrontations with demonstrators, particularly in Aden.”

In other news, the new governor in Aden promised not to use bullets in countering protesters: The security forces in Aden will not use live bullets in demonstrations following four protesters were killed in clashes with police, the newly appointed governor of Aden Ahmed al-Qa’tabi said on Wednesday in a news conference. “We have agreed with the security committee not to use live bullets…. after four persons were killed last Saturday in clashes happened in Dar Saad district of Aden”, he added.

Clashes at Marib check point kill three AQ Nasser Arrabyee reports and:

Meanwhile, two Al Qaeda operatives were arrested in a check point in the central province of Taiz where big anti-regime protests started about 40 days ago. The two men were identified by the security officials in a statement, as Khalid Saeed Ba Tarfi, alias Abu Mekdad Al Kanadi, and Ahmed Omar Abdul Jalil, alias, Al Lahji. They were described as dangerous operatives.

Ba Tarfi was known as one of the spokesmen of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular (AQAP) and he is the local Emir of AQAP in the southern province of Abyan. Ba Tarfi succeeded Jamil Al Ambari, who was killed in an air strike on March 14th, 2010, in Mudiyah of Abyan province.

Alternate spelling from al Motamar: “Khalid Saeed Batarfi surnamed Abu Miqdad and called Emir of Abyan, and the second terrorist is Ahmed Omar Abdul Jalil al-Khadhmi with a surname of Amer Obel.” This could be a real capture or something for the benefit of the US, that latter more likely statistically.

In Sanaa, police opened fire and used tear gas against protesters, wounding four. Estimates are 150 people were wounded on Wednesday when security forces tried to break up a demo in Hodeidah.

Saleh released southern prisoner al Ghabari after 16 years in prison in Sanaa.

Now that the foreign journos are gone, heat ratchets up on the locals: “Journalist Fouad Rashid of the YJS Hadramout branch called on the International Federation of Journalists, the Organization of the international press and the Arab Journalists Union to intervene to stop the regime’s orders compelling broke into his house and arrest and terrorize his family, noting that it is in the public square city of Mukalla, which would not leave under any reason.”

Short vid of Saudis unloading military equipment in Aden.

“Saleh does not [need] to dialogue with anyone to start applying the rule of law.” Truly excellent analysis of overall picture from Abdulghani al Iryani, very well worth a full read: “This current regime chose to host every violent extremist that came down the road from the period since the early 1980s onwards. And so we are paying the price. Al-Iman University, a major ideological centre for violent extremists, is being supported by the regime. And it just started new branches in Omran and Hadramout with government support.”

Good write up of Zindani’s double game includes Zindani’s early history and current deals with Saleh.

Captured Brit in Libya says he is member of LIFG, “Speaking through an interpreter, Mr Aboaoba said he moved from Yemen to Britain in 2005 and travelled to Libya late last year.”
Gaddaffi using for propaganda purposes.

World Threats: Mohammad al-Zawahiri, the brother of al-Qaeda’s second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was released Thursday from Egyptian prison after more than ten years of incarceration. Extradited from the Yemen in 1999, he had been held on charges of conspiring against the government in relation to the assassination of former Egypt’s former President Anwar Sadat.

In Dhalie, al Masdar reports the usual Thursday marches for the prisoners and an independent state. Although the former presidents and southern officials abroad announced a joining to the protest movement, from what I have seen and learned, there are very few in the south of Yemen whose position (the demand for an independent state) has changed since the outbreak of protests in Sanaa and Taiz. Its a major issue in that northerners are widely unaware on the depth of the southerners sentiment, their sense of separate identity, and determination to continue their struggle. Northerners who discuss it, often do it with derision.

Thousands of supporters of the movement in the southern regions of Dali and Lahj and Shabwa southern Yemen on Thursday and called on the detainee, which falls on Thursday of each week.

The demonstrators chanted slogans calling for disengagement and re-southern part independent state on what it was before 1990. Photos and raise thousands of former Yemeni Vice President Ali Salem al-Beidh, and photographs of detainees at the disposal of the southern movement and the flag of the south earlier.

The leaders of the southern movement announced its accession to the protests in Yemen to demand the toppling of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, but other militant leaders refused, saying that her case is the issue of “occupation” of the South.

vid Crater Aden, for the freedom of Baoum and a separate state:

US Amb to Yemen media roundtable

Filed under: USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:08 am on Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Amb Feierstein says no they really didn’t mean that Iran is actually involved in the Yemeni protests in any meaningful was, among other interesting things. Yemen Observer :

US ambassador: What’s the next step for Yemen?

American ambassador Gerald Feierstein held an interview with media outlets in Yemen on Saturday. This is a full transcript of the interview, courtesy of the American embassy in Yemen, to shed light on his country’s position regarding the current political situation. (Read on …)

Interview with US ambassador Gerald Feierstein to Yemen

Filed under: Diplomacy, USA, protest statements — by Jane Novak at 9:15 pm on Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Interview with US ambassador Gerald Feierstein to Yemen
By Lutfi Noaman

SANA’A, March 12 (Saba)-
Lutfi Noaman: The interview is for both Saba News Agency and for al-Syasiah newspaper. The question deals with the recent travel warnings that the U.S. administration issued to Americans, not to visit Yemen and for those that are already here, for them to leave. Diplomacy actually makes a big difference in the lives of people, so how can that take place- how can you provide more security for both countries through diplomacy. This is what you said in Taiz University. (Read on …)

M. Qatan: Nerve gas home cooked by Special Forces w/ Iraq experts help

Filed under: Iraq, Medical, Proliferation, USA, protests — by Jane Novak at 9:19 am on Monday, March 14, 2011

Update: At the Hague, Yemen says they were internationally approved CS and CN types of riot control gasses and, “Despite of the results of this report which refutes the use of toxic gases , the Yemeni government has made a formal request to the World Health Organization to send experts from the organization to examine the cases.” That would be good. via SABA

Original: That makes sense, anybody remember the lab that was found in oh 2009 in Sanaa. The Saddamists in Sanaa have always been a negative influence, including in Saaada, where co-incidentally there were also reports of chemical weapon use. I can’t believe the international community hasn’t rushed in there to test it at the first report and that the US embassy came out with some mealy mouth statement that the US does not have the capacity to determine the ingredients and can’t help in any way on the issue. Imagine the response if it was Iran? If its homecooked, the US really should get some testing going otherwise it is going to be widely perceived as of US origin. And you would think the US would want to know if anyone in Yemen is cooking their own nerve gas for many reasons. Mohammed Qatan is a leading reformist member of Islah. France24 has more doctors disputing the possibility that tear gas caused the symptoms of some protesters.

al Baida News: The protesters called for allowing ambulances to transport the injured, and demanded from the Yemeni army forces to protect them from the special forces, security and ruling party militants, according to one of the protesters.

Medical sources said that the U.S. made gas as it is written on it in bottles

To that revealed to Muhammad Qahtan spokesman for the joint opposition bloc that “they have information that the gas in which they are beating the protesters are prepared in private rooms in the special forces led by the son of Yemeni President Ali Ahmed and Dean are being prepared by Iraqi experts.”

US counter-terror aid to Yemen comes back to bite in a humanitarian and PR disaster

Filed under: Counter-terror, Security Forces, USA, Yemen, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 4:03 pm on Saturday, March 12, 2011

Who is the brain surgeon who couldn’t predict that Saleh would use US counter-terror equipment on civilians well before he used it against al Qaeda? Its really very simple. How often has Saleh attacked and killed civilians over the last five years? Hundreds if not thousands of times. How many times did he attack al Qaeda with the same authentic gusto? Never.

Look at all this lovely stuff shot at the protesters this morning. Photos at al Madsar shows all US made canisters. Security source says some are specially made gasses for CT raids meant to immediately and thoroughly disable and incapacitate during a dangerous raid on a “terrorists nest” and arrived last year in a large shipment meant for the counter-terror forces.

Did somebody peer into Saleh’s eyes and really believe he had reformed from a war criminal into a partner against al Qaeda? Wikileaks is very clear that the US knew that US trained forces were sent to Saada to fight the Houthis well before the decision was made to bump military aid. US military equipment has been diverted all along, and the US knows it, and Congress knows it. Shipping this type of military aid is entirely irresponsible. The statements from the Ambassador, the Embassy and Johan Brennan just inflamed sentiments and hostility by trying to pressure the JMP and others to negotiate with Saleh when everyone knows he won’t keep any promises and he just gassed them. Its a total disaster.

Update: You have got to be kidding me. They need a fully formed, pre-approved functioning government before the US can shift any support from Saleh. And he just dodging the question on the gas by saying the US doesnt have the expertise to determine what was used. If we can make it, and give it to them, we can figure out which one it was and give some advice to the doctors.

The US ambassador to Yemen said Saturday unrest in the Arabian Peninsula country had reached a “dangerous” phase and called for dialogue, as three more people died in anti-regime protests. (Read on …)

US Embassy in Yemen issues statement, finally

Filed under: USA, Yemen, protest statements — by Jane Novak at 9:55 am on Saturday, March 12, 2011

This is total crap and so disappointing. They are reacting to the public allegations not the violence. They know everything and are still spinning because the overwhelming concern is AQAP and they prefer Saleh to stay. The statement is defensive, late and weak. But then again its in character considering the US (and EU) overlooked war crimes in the Saada Wars and the atrocities in the south–shooting hundreds of unarmed protesters since 2007. Dialog with a compulsive liar like Saleh only produces more lies. And they know everything, we learned that from Wikileaks, including the substantial penetration of Al Qaeda into the ruling structure. Its illogical, as well as immoral, to trade a nation for a family of crooks and thieves.

Violence Against Peaceful Demonstrations US Embassy
March 12, 2011
The Embassy is dismayed by reports of deaths and injuries at demonstrations in Sanaa, Aden, Taiz, and Mukulla in the past week. The U.S. Government is strongly on record as defending the rights of citizens to demonstrate peacefully. We urge the Yemeni government to investigate these incidents and take all necessary steps to protect the rights of all Yemeni citizens, in accordance with President’s Saleh’s commitments.
The Embassy also rejects any allegation that the U.S. Government has somehow condoned the use of violence by any side. Our position has been clear that the only solution to the current political impasse is for all concerned parties to engage in a process of negotiation and dialogue. As the White House said in its statement of March 11, we call for a commitment by all sides to participate in an open and transparent process that addresses the legitimate concerns of the Yemeni people and provides an orderly path to a stronger and more prosperous nation. We believe that this is the single best approach to advance the interests of the Yemeni people.

US policy on Yemen loses all touch with reality

Filed under: USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:59 pm on Friday, March 11, 2011


Its impossible to explain what a demonstrated compulsive liar Saleh is, and the US should know it already. And if Yemen is a central US concern because of al Qaeda, the US is on the wrong side of that equation as well. How can the US in good conscience urge negotiations with a war criminal and a murderer?

US welcomes Yemeni political reforms
(AFP) : WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama’s top anti-terror advisor John Brennan on Friday called Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh to welcome his pledge to devolve power and urged the opposition to support the plan.

The call, the latest of a series of contacts between the White House and key anti-terror ally Yemen since a popular revolt erupted, followed a major concession by Saleh designed to end the political crisis.

“Brennan reiterated that representatives of all sectors of the Yemeni opposition should respond constructively to President Saleh?s call to engage in a serious dialogue to end the current impasse,” the White House said in a statement. (Read on …)

US Diplomatic immunity for President Saleh’s sons and Yahya Saleh’s son

Filed under: Diplomacy, USA — by Jane Novak at 8:41 am on Friday, March 11, 2011

They were on the Fall 2010 Diplomatic list and the pdf of the Diplomatic list Winter 2011 shows they continue to have diplomatic immunity in the US by being attached to the Yemeni embassy in DC. I knew already that Yemen’s US and UN ambassador’s were relative but I didn’t know the sons were attached to the Yemeni embassy in the US. These are the recognized diplomats and their wives:







Comments (3)

USS Cole bomber al Nashiri to be first of renewed trials at Gitmo

Filed under: USS Cole, Yemen, arrests, attacks, gitmo, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 11:51 am on Thursday, March 10, 2011

WASHINGTON — The first captive at the U.S. Naval Base on Guantanamo Bay to be charged in a military tribunal during the Obama presidency is expected to be one of the prison’s most notorious inmates — Abd al-Rahim Al-Nashiri, the alleged mastermind of the 2000 USS Cole bombing that killed 17 sailors. (Read on …)

Hillary Clinton goes nuts, says Iran “very much involved” in Yemen protests

Filed under: USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:24 am on Saturday, March 5, 2011

This has to be deliberate spin because she’s not that stupid. The idea that Iran is influencing the Yemeni protests in any substantial way is absolutely incorrect. Its disheartening that a) the US cannot recognize the hand in front of its face or b) Hillary is trying to demonize the Yemeni protesters, and winds up sounding as lucid as Gadaffi, (She had received many positive assessments from Yemenis on the street for her previous statements.) and c) even at this late date, the US is not laying any ground work for the day after Saleh. Its insulting to those that were killed by police and those who came back to protest again the next day. The US State Department according to Wikileaks never even found any evidence of direct Iranian involvement in the Houthi uprising. So who are they influencing now, the students in Sanaa, protesters in Taiz, the shoeless boys in Aden? Iran has an “active foreign policy outreach,” but it doesn’t mean that anyone in Yemen is suckered in to calling for the hidden Madi. Iran’s strenuous efforts only make it more unfortunate the US does not have an active outreach of its own. The fact that the US put all its CT eggs in the basket of the war criminal Ali Abdullah Saleh doesn’t reflect on the protesters although the SD is apparently trying to spin congress that way.

Iran trying to influence Mideast uprisings: Clinton
ABC AU Thu Mar 3, 2011

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton says Iran is communicating with opposition groups in Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen in a bid to shape events in the strife-torn Middle East.

“They are doing everything they can to influence the outcomes in these places,” Ms Clinton told the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“We know that they are reaching out to the opposition in Bahrain, we know that the Iranians are very much involved in the opposition movements in Yemen.

“They are using Hezbollah … to communicate with counterparts … in Hamas who then in turn communicate with counterparts in Egypt.

“So either directly or through proxies, they are constantly trying to influence events. They have a very active diplomatic foreign policy outreach,” she added.

US entirely dependent on Saleh in Yemen: former ambassador Krajeski

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, TI: External, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:26 am on Friday, March 4, 2011

How depressing! But as I’ve written about extensively since 2004, the US is allied with a man and a family, not a nation or a people, and seemingly has done everything possible to dig that hole deeper at every opportunity. Now they would “hate to have to start over again,” so they’re still digging. Al Ahram

“What are his chances for survival?” asks Thomas Krajeski, who served as US ambassador to Yemen from 2004 to 2007.

“I’d give him about a fifty-fifty right now. And I don’t think that’s being generous. A lot of folks are inclined to give him less,” he told an audience of foreign policy specialists in Washington. (Read on …)

Yemen: 2nd highest rate of child stunting globally

Filed under: Aden, Children, Donors, UN, Ibb, Rayma, Sana'a, USA, Women's Issues, al-Bayda, poverty/ hunger — by Jane Novak at 8:17 pm on Tuesday, February 22, 2011

These figures are up slightly since 2005. The good news is that one million poor Yemeni women and children who never had access to health services in their lives will now receive some support from the international community. Less than half of Yemenis have access to medical services. Clean water, sanitation, electricity, and other basic services are similarly lacking. This World Bank press release contains the appalling medical current stats. Update: Neonatal tetanus kills 30,000 new born Yemeni babies a year. Pampers SA is chipping in for some vaccines, but over three million doses are needed. (Read on …)

The dominos are falling

Filed under: Other Countries, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:11 pm on Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Its the seizing of assets that has people nervous.

Yemen Activist Ms Samia al Ghabari badly beaten, tased by security thugs during Sanaa protest, hospitalized

Filed under: Hodeidah, Sana'a, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:57 am on Sunday, February 13, 2011


first message: soldiers beating demonstrators from civil society activists and students of the University of Sana’a
Loss of connectivity Tawakkol Kerman (head of WYWC)
Samia Aghbari get transported to the hospital
Loss of contact with the lawyer, Khaled al-Ansi (HOOD)
MP Ahmed Saif Hashed beaten, electrocuted and burned some of his clothes

more: I heard from some witnesses that Samia al-Aghbari, a journalist and a human rights activist, has been seriously injured and put to hospiatal. (####) told me that he saw the security beating her.

Update: She was surrounded by a crowd of thugs (security in plain clothes) and beaten until she fell and her head hit the floor. That’s what I’m getting. It also appears the Yemeni security forces are TASERING activists, bastards. Khaled has been released. Samia is still in the hospital 11:20 am EST. The constant challenge over the last six years that I’ve been covering Yemen has always been not cursing.

Update: They took CNN’s videos, bad move. And Saleh canceled his trip to the US.

Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) – Hundreds of anti-government protesters marched toward a presidential palace in Yemen on Sunday, calling for regime change in the Middle Eastern country.

Some of them chanted, “First Mubarak, now Ali,” referring to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and Hosni Mubarak, who recently resigned as president of Egypt after nearly 30 years in power.

Security forces put up a barbed wire barricade and blocked the protesters’ path about two miles from the palace. At that point, the situation intensified as protesters turned away and attempted to reach the palace through side streets.

Clashes between protesters and police were reported by witnesses.

According to Tawakkol Karman, a prominent Yemeni rights activist and president of Women Journalists Without Chains, anti-riot police then “went into the crowd of protesters with batons and tasers,” attempting to disperse them. Karman said she and other protesters were hit with sticks and that at least 12 people were arrested.

One of those arrested, human rights lawyer Khaled Al-Anesi, has since been released.

The CNN crew at the scene was surrounded by security officers, who seized the journalists’ videotapes. (Read on …)

Anwar Awllaki’s internet training center in Yemen

Filed under: A-INFRASTRUCTURE, Counter-terror, Media, Saudi Arabia, US jihaddis, Yemen, anwar — by Jane Novak at 2:26 pm on Tuesday, February 8, 2011


An Arab intelligence agent has told the ABC’s Foreign Correspondent program that Australian citizens have been seen in Al Qaeda terrorist training camps in Yemen.

Yemen is fast earning a reputation as a launching pad for Jihadi-inspired terrorism.

The Arabian Peninsula nation is also the refuge of American-born radical cleric Anwar Al Awlaki, who recently became the first US citizen to be placed on the CIA’s official assassination list.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) has listed 20 Australian citizens as persons of interest because they seem to have disappeared from the radar after travelling to Yemen.

Now there is new evidence young Australian men have indeed been recruited to Al Qaeda training camps.

For several months Foreign Correspondent has been in touch with an Arab intelligence agent who says he visited Al Qaeda camps and observed several Australians there.

“They have all kinds [of training]. They have Islamic studies; they have training in weapons; they have training in explosives,” he said.

“They also have a classroom with computers for training on the internet.”

The intelligence operative claims the camps are directed by Anwar Al Awlaki, a man whose other devotees have included the so-called underpants bomber – a young Al Qaeda-trained Nigerian man who tried to blow up an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009.

“Their leader is Anwar Al Awlaki; he is their spiritual guiding father; he is second only to Osama bin Laden,” he said.

“He knows that the internet is more powerful than the gun.”

In a desperately poor country with little oil or water, Al Qaeda has taken root in small desert villages in Yemen’s south.

There are sporadic clashes with government troops, but in some places Al Qaeda is the law. Its fighters have the run of communities.

US drone crashes in Lauder, Yemen

Filed under: Abyan, Counter-terror, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 2:21 pm on Tuesday, February 8, 2011

al Masdar

According to police sources and witnesses said Tuesday that the spy plane without a pilot, believed to be an American crashed south of the city Lauder South Yemen, which is a stronghold of al-Qaeda activists in the organization succeeded in seizing the plane’s wreckage.

وذكر مصدر من الشرطة ان سكانا محليين في لودر التابعة لمحافظة ابين الجنوبية عثروا الثلاثاء “على بقايا طائرة تجسس يعتقد انها اميركية كانت تعمل على رصد تحركات عناصر تنظيم القاعدة”، الذين يتواجدون بكثرة في المدينة. According to a police source said locals in the Lauder of southern Abyan province found Tuesday, “the remains of a plane believed to be an American spy had been working to monitor the movements of al-Qaeda”, who are present in abundance in the city.

واضاف المصدر ان الطائرة هي “طائرة تجسس من نوع “بريداتور” التي تستخدم في أعمال التجسس والمراقبة” وقد سقطت بالقرب من قرية جحين جنوب لودر. The source added that the aircraft is “type of spy plane” Predator “which is used in the work of espionage and surveillance” has landed near the village of South Jehin Lauder.

واكد احد سكان القرية سماع صوت ارتطام الطائرة بالارض على مسافة قريبة من منزله فجر الثلاثاء، كما ذكر شهود عيان ان عناصر الشرطة جاؤوا الى المكان واخذوا حطام الطائرة الا ان عناصر القاعدة تمكنوا من الاستيلاء عليها بالقوة في منطقة العين جنوب غرب المدينة. But one of the villagers heard the plane crash land a short distance from his home at dawn on Tuesday, and witnesses said police came to the scene and took the plane’s wreckage, but the al-Qaeda members were able to seize by force in the eye area southwest of the city.
واكد الشهود انهم لاحظوا في الفترة الاخيرة تحليق طائرات من دون طيار فوق مدينتي مودية ولودر اللتين شهدتا معارك ضارية مع القاعدة. Witnesses said they noticed in the recent flight of unmanned aircraft over towns and claiming Lauder, which witnessed fierce battles with al Qaeda.

US Embassy urges dialog in Yemen, chastises JMP

Filed under: USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:00 pm on Saturday, February 5, 2011


SANAA (Reuters) – The U.S. embassy in Yemen called on opposition groups on Saturday to refrain from “provocative action” and talk to the government following large street protests in the impoverished Arab country. (Read on …)

US delivers 4 Huey helicopters to Yemen’s Counter-Terror Unit

Filed under: Counter-terror, Security Forces, US jihaddis, USA — by Jane Novak at 11:34 am on Friday, February 4, 2011

With the known diversion of US equipment and US trained units to counter domestic unrest, the odds of the helicopters being used against “uprisings” or, worse yet, civilians is high. Yemen strafed civilians from helicopter gunships during the Saada Wars (2004-2010). Yemen has a rough terrain, and the Al Qaeda cowards hide in the inaccessible areas, but there has to be close monitoring which has been sorely lacking up to this point.

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 (UPI) — The U.S. military has delivered four Bell Helicopter utility aircraft to the Yemeni air force under its 1206 program…The Defense Department said delivery of this package happened exactly 110 days after the U.S. government signed a $27 million contract with Yemen for four helicopters, training, spare parts, tools, support and transportation.

Read more: UPI

Readout of Obama’s call to Yemen’s Saleh: security forces should refrain from violence

Filed under: Elections, Media, USA, aq statements, protests — by Jane Novak at 9:57 am on Friday, February 4, 2011

Normally I cant tell what the heck the US statements mean or what the real message is, but this seems pretty clear: don’t open fire on the protesters tomorrow and the promise to reform is nothing without action.

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
February 03, 2011
Readout of President’s Call with President Saleh of Yemen

President Obama called President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen on February 2 to welcome the significant reform measures that President Saleh had announced earlier that day, and to stress that President Saleh now needs to follow-up his pledge with concrete actions. President Obama asked that Yemeni security forces show restraint and refrain from violence against Yemeni demonstrators who are exercising their right to free association, assembly, and speech. The President also told President Saleh that it is imperative that Yemen take forceful action against Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to protect innocent lives in Yemen as well as abroad. Finally, President Obama expressed concern over the release of Abd-Ilah al-Shai, who had been sentenced to five years in prison for his association with AQAP. President Saleh thanked the President for U.S. support and committed to continuing and strengthening relations with the United States.

Saleh’s version from DOD website

26 Sept: In his phone call to President Saleh, Obama praised the initiative President Saleh announced today that included several positive steps, mainly wise and significant reforms. (Read on …)

Bakersfield man not guilty of smuggling weapons

Filed under: Security Forces, USA, Yemen, state jihaddists, terror financing — by Jane Novak at 2:28 pm on Wednesday, February 2, 2011


A Bakersfield man accused of transporting U.S. military equipment to Yemen has been found not guilty four years after he was indicted.

Ibrahim A. Omer had faced 15 years in prison if found guilty. Defense attorney Michael Evan Mitchell said Omer just wants to get on with his life and put this ordeal behind him.

“Oh man, we’re just so excited about (the verdict),” Mitchell said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stanley Boone said he respects the jury’s verdict, which was delivered Monday.

“It’s the best system we have,” Boone said.

Omer and others were indicted in 2006 for allegedly sending secret defense documents obtained from an undercover agent to an individual in Yemen and also trying to sell stolen items such as night-vision goggles, satellite phones and chemical protective suits.

Omer, who owned a shipping business, was accused of transporting the items. Mitchell said Omer was just shipping containers on behalf of a customer.

“I think the big thing was that the jury saw there was no knowledge on his part that he knew what was in the containers he was shipping,” Mitchell said.

Omer is a Sudanese-born, naturalized citizen.

Another defendant in the case, Amen Ahmed Ali, was sentenced in January to five years in prison after pleading no contest to charges including acting as a foreign agent.

An investigation was launched in 2003 after a U.S. Customs officer discovered boxes addressed to Yemen containing bulletproof vests, chemical protective suits and night-vision technology, according to prosecutors. The boxes were being shipped from Long Beach to Yemen.

Ali, a Yemen-born, naturalized U.S. citizen, had lived in Bakersfield for more than 30 years.

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 …)

Tariq al Fahdli disses exiled southern leaders and burns US, PDRY and Yemeni flags

Filed under: Abyan, Diplomacy, South Yemen, USA, Yemen, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 11:20 am on Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tariq al Fahdli striving for relevance again. Update: an interview here at Yemen Today, and he really does sound sick of everybody, calling the exiled southern leaders idols and dinosaurs.

Yemeni former Jihadist burns US flag and ‘dinosaurs’ pictures
By Nasser Arrabyee/20/01/2011
: A controversial Yemeni politician from the south set fire on Wednesday to the American and Yemeni flags and picture of President Saleh, and pictures of the exiled socialist leaders, accusing all those of conspiring against the south.

The feudal lord, and former Jihadist with Osama bin Laden, Sheikh Tarek Al Fadhli said he would lead a revolution to liberate the south from the communists who ruled before unity and also from the “occupiers” of the north as call them. (Read on …)

Clinton talks to Yemenis at town hall meeting

Filed under: Diplomacy, USA — by Jane Novak at 12:26 pm on Tuesday, January 11, 2011

She also met with leaders of the JMP privately. Its certainly an encouraging development, the trip, the meetings, and the tone.

Washington wants Change in Yemeni Regime, JMP leader: Yemen Post Staff

Hasan Zaid, the general secretary for the opposition Haq Party said that from the discussions JMP leaders had with Mrs. Clinton, he came to understand that Washington wants change and supports it.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Joint Meeting Parties leaders in a closed door meeting which continued more than two hours. According to Zaid, opposition was given great importance by the visiting American delegation, and this will help the reform strategy in the country. (Read on …)

Taiz, Yemen: US Ambassador visits and a pro-regime rally

Filed under: Elections, GPC, Taiz, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 4:27 pm on Sunday, January 9, 2011

The ambassador escaped the embassy again, this time to Taiz where he said something about the importance of consensus. I have no idea of whether the earlier statement urging negotiations was empty posturing or an actual policy statement. (After Ambassador Seche’s visit with al Ayyam in 2009, the paper was raided, shot up and Mr. Bashraheel locked up for months.) The GPC disregarded and condemned the earlier US statement that urged negotiation with the JMP instead of unilateral action. Instead they held a pro-regime rally in Taiz, after state employees were bussed in and threatened if they failed to attend. I’m sure some of the attendees were heartily pro-GPC.

US Ambassador: We will support fair and credible elections Sahwa Net – The Untied States ambassador to Sana’a Gerald Feierstein has affirmed that US support in Yemen is aimed at those provinces affected by terror and radicalization, and that they were trying to expand relief programs in order to address the state problems. (Read on …)

Amen Ahmed Ali sentenced as Yemeni spy in US

Filed under: Diplomacy, Military, US jihaddis, USA, Yemen, Yemen's Lies — by Jane Novak at 5:35 pm on Saturday, January 8, 2011

One down, dozens to go.

Sacramento FBI: California Man Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Conspiracy to Act as a Foreign Agent, Export Military Equipment, and Possess Stolen Property

FRESNO, CA—Amen Ahmed Ali, 60, aka Ali Amin Alrowhani or Ameen Alrohany, of Bakersfield, California, was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill to five years in prison to be followed by three years’ supervised release for conspiring to act as an illegal agent of a foreign government, to unlawfully export defense materials, and to possess stolen government property, announced U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner and David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security. (Read on …)

Bogus bills flood Yemen

Filed under: Saudi Arabia, USA, Yemen, banking, counterfeiting — by Jane Novak at 9:56 am on Thursday, January 6, 2011

Several years ago the Central Bank began stamping the bills as counterfeit to prevent General Ali Mohsen from putting them back in circulation, as told by a bank employees present at the time. As often occurs, the counterfeiting rings are often simultaneously engaged in other criminal activity such as drug smuggling etc.

Counterfeit Saudi riyals sees upsurge in Yemen, ARAB NEWS Published: Jan 5, 2011

SANAA: Yemen has seen a recent upsurge in the number of currency counterfeit crimes and police reports show that the scale of the problem in the country is grave. A day hardly goes by without a new case involving fake currencies being disclosed. (Read on …)

AQAP leader Wahishi killed in Pakistan?

Filed under: AfPak, Air strike, USA, obits, personalities — by Jane Novak at 8:49 am on Monday, January 3, 2011

Color me skeptical. PK officials previously said Fahd al Quso was killed in September, a statement he denied in his recent interview in Yemen.

Islamabad:: Nasir al-Wahishi, a top al-Qaeda commander, who reportedly served as an aide of Osama bin Laden, was killed in a US drone attack in northwestern Pakistan on December 28.

Al-Wahishi, 32, a Yemeni national, who presided over the January 2009 merger of Saudi Arabian and Yemeni splinters of al-Qaeda, was killed in the year end.

Wahishi was killed when two missiles were fired on a militant camp at the Ghulam Khan sub-district of North Waziristan, Kyodo reported quoting Pakistani officials…The officials claimed Wahishi had served as secretary of bin Laden until 2003. He was arrested in Iran and extradited to Yemen in 2003. The al-Qaeda commander was among 23 Yemeni captives who made a dramatic escape from maximum security prison in Sana’a, in 2006 and was at large since then.

Yemeni President Saleh snubs the US State Department’s Feltman

Filed under: Presidency, USA, Yemen, enviornmental 2 — by Jane Novak at 10:26 am on Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Yemen: President Saleh refuses to meet US official after Wikileaks cables
20/12/2010 News Yemen: President Ali Abdullah Saleh refused to receive the US Assistant Secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, in protest to Wikileaks cables on Yemen, al-Ahaly independent weekly quoted special sources as saying. (Read on …)

US Embassy staff bombed on pizza run in Yemen, no injuries, Updated: CIA agents

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, TI: Internal, USA, embassy — by Jane Novak at 11:11 am on Thursday, December 16, 2010

Its such a dangerous post. Update: M&C, the embassy issued another warning to US citizens in Yemen to be vigilant. Update 2: Again AQAP has an inside track. A U.S. official confirms the four Americans who narrowly escaped a attack on their vehicle in Yemen’s capital worked for the CIA…The official said there was “no indication that the perpetrators knew specifically who they were targeting.” Its important to recall that two UK convoys and one ferrying South Korean officials were previously targeted.

People’s Daily: According to the Yemeni Interior Ministry, the arrested Arab resident (ed-Jordanian according to other reports), identified as 40-year-old M. M. Alia, served as a car mechanic. He allegedly carried out the attack outside a Beirut restaurant in Hadda street in Sanaa frequented by Westerners late Wednesday.

According to reports coming out of Yemen, there was an attack last night on U.S. Embassy personnel at a restaurant frequented by foreign nationals.

There are no reports of injuries, but the vehicle they were travelling in was damaged. The police have captured a 28-year-old Jordanian suspected of being a member of Al Qaeda. (Read on …)

Yemenis arrested in North Carolina

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, US jihaddis, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:57 pm on Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Feds bust suspected Yemeni terror ring in N.C.
Convenience stores, mosque raided in alleged al-Qaida finance scheme
Posted: December 15, 2010
11:06 am Eastern WorldNetDaily

Federal agents have raided several convenience stores and a mosque in tiny Henderson, N.C., while arresting at least two Muslim men in connection with the raid.

Authorities suspect the stores were operating a so-called hawala money-transfer network supporting terrorist activities in Yemen, including al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, WND has learned. (Read on …)

“Muslims must speak up more about radical terrorism”

Filed under: Somalia, USA, guest posts — by Jane Novak at 1:45 pm on Saturday, December 11, 2010

The following article is a guest post by Fathia Mohamed Absie*

It seems as though, every month if not every other week, there is a terror plot that gets disrupted somewhere in the U.S. These plots are in most cases carried out by some so called Muslim jihadist. Every time I hear news of something bad happening somewhere in the U.S, my heart skips a beat and I start to pray that it is not a Muslim person at the helm of it.

The Corvallis, Oregon plot have shocked me even further because the young man who attempted to carry out the crime is from my home land, Somalia. Like me, Mohamed Osman Mohamud is a naturalized American citizen who came to this country as a baby. After listening to stories of friends of the family, I thought the kid was almost born here. He is from a middle class family. His father is an engineer and his mother a stay at home mother who was never absent from his life. Young Osman had everything going for him, a smart young man who was a college student at OSU with a bright future. He had the potential to become anything he set his mind on unlike the many young Somalis that are stuck in Somalia trying to survive flying bullets or those who have no choice but to live in an overcrowded refugee camps with no foreseeable bright future.
(Read on …)

Where’s Fahd al Quso?

Filed under: AfPak, Air strike, USA, USS Cole, aq statements, fahd, photos, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 1:40 pm on Saturday, December 11, 2010


Maybe he’s in Aden at his mum’s house building a bomb in the kitchen, (just random speculation). Fahd was convicted in the USS Cole bombing and granted early release in 2007.

Yemen Observer: Al-Quso is believed to be hiding in the al-Said district of Shabwa, close to the Abyan province border according to Major Mansoor Hadi, security director of the Mayfa district of Shabwa. However, the major was unsure if this location was accurate.

Ahmed Salim abdul Salam, one of ‘Al al-Abdullah bin Dahah Sheikhs in Wadi Rafadh, al-Quso’s hometown, was unaware of his whereabouts.

“He’s not here. They released news about his death and we’re not sure whether he is alive or dead,” said the Sheikh. He also stated that al-Quso, along with Qasim al-Raymi, Nasser al-Wuhayshi, and Said al-Shihri lived in Wadi Rafadh for a period of time following al-Quso’s release in 2007.

“American drones flew over us yesterday and earlier today,” said the Sheikh when asked if he believed that US forces were actively engaged in searching for al-Quso.

Break my heart. He was supposed to be dead in Pakistan. What was that all about?

Feierstein, the one who left the embassy

Filed under: USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:45 am on Thursday, December 9, 2010

I’m on my fourth ambassador already, and I was also surprised by the new US ambassador’s trip to Amran and the meeting with Islah. The embassy’s immediate and forceful response to the Houthis’ accusation is also new and was well recieved. (Yemen is a country with a centuries long tradition of antagonistic and often humorous public poetry between opposing groups, and the tribe with the better poem scores points in the overall battle for public opinion. That tradition has continued in the colorful Yemeni press.) The following article discusses Ambassador Feierstein’s “courageous approach” to the sensitive issues in Yemen, in that he acknowledged their existence to civil society and publicly recognizes the various actors in the internal affairs of Yemen.

Fire Stein and diplomatic spaces shortcut
الاثنين, 01-نوفمبر-2010 Monday, 2001 – November -2010
( الوطن ) – عزيز محمد – (Home) – Mohammed Aziz -

خلافاًَ لسلفه ستيفن سيش أظهر سفير واشنطن الجديد في اليمن جيرالد فاير ستاين وجهاً جديداً للدبلوماسية الأمريكية التي ظلت تتعامل مع ملف اليمن السياسي عن طريق طرف ثالث تمثل بمجموعة الاتحاد الأوروبي والمؤسسات المعنية بالشأن الديمقراطي كالمعهد الديمقراطي وغيره في حين كانت الوفود القادمة من واشنطن هي المعنية بالجانب الامني. Unlike his predecessor Stephen Seche, Gerald Fire Stein, Washington’s new ambassador in Yemen, showed the new face of American diplomacy, (Read on …)

USS Cole bomber Fahd al Quso listed as Global Terrorist

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, USS Cole, personalities — by Jane Novak at 4:48 pm on Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Apparently Fahd al Quso is not dead if the SD just listed him, and is likely still in Yemen, bummer. Fahd could be the most dangerous terrorist in Yemen and is among the most dangerous in the world.

State Dept: Today the Secretary of State announced the designation of al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) operative Fahd al-Quso as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism. (Read on …)

Wikileaks snooze alert: Yemen

Filed under: Air strike, USA, enviornmental 2, photos/gifs — by Jane Novak at 1:45 pm on Sunday, December 5, 2010

Wow, more stuff we all knew already:
- The drone downed in March 2007 was US not Iranian.
- President Saleh met and released escaped USS Cole bomber Jamal al Badawi shortly before Frances Townsend’s Oct 2007 visit.
- Saleh haggled on the Gitmo detainees, bargaining for money.
(Read on …)

US to help establish airport protocals in Yemen

Filed under: Counter-terror, Transportation, USA, Yemen, airliner — by Jane Novak at 11:28 am on Saturday, December 4, 2010

Control of the airports was transferred from the Political Security to the National Security several years ago when many jihaddists were overtly traveling to Iraq to target American troops. Since then the National Security has done a great job in prohibiting activists, journalists and opposition politicians from leaving the country.

SCD: The US Government is committed to improving airport security at home and abroad. The Transportation Security Administration announced today that a new security program will be established in Yemen, where an Al-Qaeda affiliate is believed to be based. The affiliate, which goes by the name, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has claimed responsibility for a cargo bomb plot in October, which deployed printer cartridges rigged as bombs. (Read on …)

The Houthis view of al Qaeda in Yemen (AQAP): a beneficial clone

Filed under: 9 hostages, Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, Saada War, Saudi Arabia, Security Forces, UK amb, USA, Yemen, Yemen's Lies, suicide attacks — by Jane Novak at 12:04 pm on Wednesday, December 1, 2010

This is not a statement from Abdelmalik al Houthi directly but the analysis does give a good overview of the Houthis world view regarding al Qaeda in Yemen verses the real al Qaeda, and its relation to Saudi Arabia, the Saleh regime and the bombings last week. The thinking is much more sophisticated than “Al Qaeda is an American creation.” What they say is that the al Qaeda in Yemen is distinct from the al Qaeda of bin Laden because the genesis of the organization in Yemen was guided and exploited by both the Saleh regime and the Saudis. The continued presence of al Qaeda operatives and Afghan Arabs in the Yemeni military, intelligence, security forces and mosques and their participation in the Saada War demonstrates that it is a distinct and artificial organism. Other operatives, mercenaries, receive salaries from the state and even health insurance, the author states, and this cloned al Qaeda has carried out numerous plots (from the assassinations of the socialist leaders in the 1990’s to the 2009 kidnapping of the Germans) designed to relieve pressure from Saleh and bolster Saudi Arabia, and it paves the way for US intervention in Yemen. Much of this is historically correct and not a view unique to the Houthis, it overlaps in many places with the southerners and other Yemeni observers’ conceptualization of AQAP in what I call the Anti al-Qaeda narrative. Unfortunately I got the article in Arabic, and the following is a google translation, the original below:

Some still believe the existence of the so-called al-Qaeda in Yemen, as an organization sub-base I’m not den that is hostile to the intervention of the Americans and their allies in the region, and this is an illusion refuted by the reality of this organization and the reality of its operations, and ratings of his enemies, and the source of funding, and the goals established in Yemen for it,

That there is no confusion in Afghanistan organization called al Qaeda linked to bin Laden and Zawahiri, regardless of connections and its role and functions assigned to it hidden a lot of observers, including the relationship between the Americans and older since the wars in Afghanistan and the Soviet Union,

In Yemen, Al-Qaida real it can not be established here, (Read on …)

No big surprises from Wikileaks on Yemen

Filed under: Air strike, Counter-terror, Presidency, Saudi Arabia, USA, Yemen, Yemen's Lies, enviornmental 2 — by Jane Novak at 10:15 am on Monday, November 29, 2010

Another non-surprise, the Yemeni Foreign Ministry denies the cables are accurate:

Yemen’s stances obvious, WikiLeaks memos do not concern it-Yemen FM
Wednesday, 01-December-2010 – An official source at the Yemeni Foreign Ministry has commented on the documents leaked by WikiLeaks site and what it publishes in a number of newspapers about Yemen by saying that what came in those documents on what was discussed between Yemeni officials and the American side was not considered accurate and true reporting of what had actually been exchanged in those meetings. (Read on …)

Houthis accuse Feierstein of murder, US “Dismayed” Denies

Filed under: Donors, UN, Sa'ada, Saada War, USA, War Crimes, Yemen, al Jawf, suicide attacks — by Jane Novak at 6:10 pm on Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Houthis are doing their own investigation of the suicide attacks which they say points to sheiks in Amran, recently visited and paid by the new US Ambassador. It shows how isolated and out of touch the Houthis are–many have never been out of Saada, much less Yemen. They are out of touch with reality as well as the broader world.After years of chanting “Death to America,” the movement seems more immature, paranoid and conspiracy minded than ever, not ready for prime time at all. Its thoroughly reckless to charge the US Ambassador with paying tribal sheiks to murder worshipers and mourners. “Dismayed” is one of those words the US State Department uses when it is really bothered.

The U.S. embassy in Yemen on Sunday denied allegations that the U.S. government was behind last week’s twin bomb attacks on the Houthi-led Shiite rebel followers in north Yemen, which left dozens of people killed and injured.

“The Houthi media office claimed that the U.S. government planned one or both of these events, which took place on Nov. 24 and 26,” the embassy said in a press release posted Sunday on its website.

“The U.S. embassy was dismayed to learn that the Houthi media office made such ridiculous and baseless allegations. These claims dishonor the families in north Yemen who lost their family members and friends in the twin suicide bomber attacks,” it said. (Read on …)

Feierstein: Awlaki aided airliner plot targeting US

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, TI: External, UPS bombs, US jihaddis, USA, Yemen, airliner, anwar, shabwa — by Jane Novak at 1:30 pm on Friday, November 26, 2010

Awlaki is a bit more than a propaganda threat it seems. I would assume that Feierstein knows more facts than the rest of us. In addition to Awlaki’s role in the cargo plane plot, numerous persons admitted to being “inspired” to murderous violence by Awlaki who has urged and provided a (flawed yet comprehensive) basis for the murder of any American, indeed all Americans. Awlaki has engaged operationally with al Qaeda for years, well before Fort Hood and the Nigerian but he avoided public linkage with al Qaeda and sought protection under the guise of a normal cleric, which the Yemeni government provided.

Xinhuanet — U.S. ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein accused the U.S.-born Yemeni preacher Anwar al-Awlaki of being behind the detected parcel bombs mailed from Yemen to the U.S. late October, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya news website reported Wednesday.

Feierstein confirmed in an interview with Al Arabiya that “al- Awlaki was behind the two al-Qaida-made package bombs shipped through cargo planes bound for the United States late October, a plot that was foiled at the airports of Dubai and London following tip-offs from Saudi intelligence officials.”

Feierstein also said the Washington administration will not grant Yemen with Predator drones, but it will do the job from the Yemeni skies by itself while continuing supporting and training the Yemeni ground troops to combat terrorist militants, including al-Awlaki, who poses threats to Yemen, U.S. and Europe.

AQAP’s Inspire #3: Operation Hemorrhoid

Filed under: UPS bombs, US jihaddis, Yemen, aq statements — by Jane Novak at 12:59 pm on Sunday, November 21, 2010

Al Qaeda in Yemen released their third English “magazine”, Inspire, a month early, eager to explain the UPS plot “Operation Hemorrhage.” I think all the talk about small targets, cheep plots and lone wolves could be a diversion for a substantial plot by another Yemeni cell. Either way, according to their own statements, AQAP clearly has no regard whatsoever for the negative impact of their actions on Yemenis. They talk about disrupting the western economy, but they also destroyed Yemen’s economy without apology. They also continue to insist random murder (of Yemenis and Westerners) is correct according to Islam: “Obama stood in front of the world with a terrified face announcing that his nation is being threatened by terrorism (i.e. real Islam)…” That’s how they said it, terrorism is the real Islam.

Related: Samir under Anwar, not a pretty visual: (Read on …)

Difficulty in gaining intel in Yemen

Filed under: Air strike, Counter-terror, TI: Internal, USA, Yemen, Yemen's Lies, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 12:25 pm on Sunday, November 21, 2010

Beware the triple agent, that’s all I have to say.

WSJ: Limited U.S. intelligence experience in Yemen has created “a window of vulnerability” that the U.S. government is “working fast to address,” a senior Obama administration official said. (Read on …)

Why can’t Jaber Elbaneh be the translator for Sharif Mobley?

Filed under: US jihaddis, arrests — by Jane Novak at 11:06 am on Sunday, November 21, 2010

That would work out, no? They are both Americans, Jaber Elbaneh of the Lackawanna Seven cell from Buffalo. Sharif Mobley’s trial was delayed again due to the lack of a translator, again. See Yemen Post. Also as much as Mobley’s lawyer is insisting that he is not an al Qaeda operative, and he is only charged with the murder of the guard in the hospital, the brothers are making Dua for him, along with a variety of other al Qaeda prisoners globally, in the latest issue of Inspire. Where is Elbaneh anyway? Still home in Ibb?

France, not US, gave Saudis intel on Houthis

Filed under: Donors, UN, Saada War, Saudi Arabia, USA, War Crimes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 12:44 pm on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I am glad to see the US State Dept recognizes there are substantial war crimes committed by the Yemeni government in its conduct of the Saada War, and the UK recognizes that as well apparently. These crimes really need to be factored into the overall equation going forward.

MTP: A year ago, Saudi Arabia was fighting a nasty border war against the Houthi rebels across its frontier with Yemen. The Saudis began bombing Houthi targets inside Yemen on Nov. 5, 2009, but the airstrikes were inaccurate, and there were reports of civilian casualties.
(Read on …)

Zawaheri in Yemen (1990’s) and Nuclear Terror

Filed under: Counter-terror, Religious, TI: External, USA, USS Cole, Yemen, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 11:31 am on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Zawaheri spent a lot of time in Yemen in the 1990’s, many of these relationships remain intact. Osama bin Laden was also a frequent visitor. One strong line of thinking in the ME puts bin Laden behind the murder of Azzam. Also we cannot assess AQAP as a new entity that sprung fully formed from the womb of the PSO prison in 2006, without taking into account the context of the prior three decades, and the global inter-relation among various jihaddis and groups, that would be stupid.

Al Qaeda’s Religious Justification of Nuclear Weapons NFB: “This vanguard constitutes the solid base [qaeda in Arabic] for the hoped-for society … We shall continue the jihad no matter how long the way, until the last breath and the last beat of the pulse–or until we see the Islamic state established.”[1] Abdullah Azzam

When legendary jihadist Abdullah Azzam was assassinated under mysterious circumstances in November 1989, suspects in his murder included Osama bin Laden and Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. (Read on …)

New US aid strategy in Yemen, Quick Impact

Filed under: Counter-terror, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:25 am on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Its a decent short term strategy but the challenge will be getting the funds and aid to the designated population. The issue of the institutionalized political injustice remains the focal point. USAToday:

WASHINGTON — The United States is sharply increasing the amount of development and other civilian aid it is sending to Yemen and has changed the way it is administered, a move that some experts say may still not be enough to counter al-Qaeda’s growing presence there. (Read on …)

Houthis think the low budget film, “Rules of Engagement,” from 2000 portends a giant plot against Yemen in 2010

Filed under: Saada War, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:12 pm on Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I wrote them back yesterday to ask if the movie King Kong means a giant ape is en route to climb a building in New York or if space aliens are coming to earth like the movie Alien. But apparently they are so into this conspiracy theory (the US has a plan for them, AQAP is CIA and the war on al Qaeda is just a guise for the war on the Houthis) that everything they see becomes part of their paranoia. There may be some plans by great powers for Yemen, but the idea that this ten year old movie is part of it is ridiculous. This is about the fifth time I received this in the last two days. Its also posted on the the Ansar al Allah website:

Heed the yarns American conspiracy to Yemen
‫ alerted to the plot threads of America Yemen

Site Ansar Allah | | Special – Abdul Rauf Aldhiani

The American conspiracy to Yemen, are part of the reality of the conspiracy against the Islamic nation in general under the name of (the New Middle East)!?

The plot threads started in the U.S. to Yemen since 2000 almost, with the production of “Hollywood” film entitled (Rules of Engagement Rules of Engagement), the film tells the events of the entry of U.S. forces to Yemen. The film is a writer and former U.S. Secretary of the Navy, “James Web.”

After that, I made the facts of the events of the destroyer “Cole” in 2001, and its impact on the plot began to practice, where he laid the foundation stone for the suit and the presence of terrorists in Yemen. (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 …)

Saif al Adel ties to Iranian Revolutionary Guards and UPS bomb plot

Filed under: AfPak, Al-Qaeda, Iran, TI: External, UPS bombs, USA, Yemen, other jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 11:45 am on Sunday, November 7, 2010

One stream of reporting had Iran substantially contributing to the AQAP attack on the US Embassy in Sanna in Sept 2008. (But the brainwashed al Qaeda dilettantes can’t imagine their leadership is cooperating with Iran.) Saif, Saud and Fahd all in the same locale is bad news indeed. WSJ below the fold details links between AQAP and AQ Central.


A key suspect in the Yemen mail bombs plot has had close relationships with the Iranian regime’s Revolutionary Guards, United Press International reported on Wednesday.

Saif al-Adel, a former Egyptian army Special Forces colonel and onetime al-Qaida military chief, was reported in October to be in the North Waziristan region of Pakistan near the Afghanistan border, the news agency said. (Read on …)

The invisible hunt for al Asiri, Local security directors: nothing happening here

Filed under: Marib, Security Forces, UPS bombs, USA, Yemen, Yemen's Lies — by Jane Novak at 12:36 pm on Thursday, November 4, 2010

I have little confidence in President Saleh’s alleged reformation. Yemen Observer

The hunt for 28-year-old Ibrahim al-Asiri was launched in the provinces of Marib and Shabwa on Tuesday, a security official told the Reuters news agency.

“Asiri is believed to be hiding and moving with senior al-Qaeda elements such as Nasser al-Wahayshi [the Yemen al-Qaeda leader]. Security intelligence forces are still tracking them down to exactly identify their whereabouts,” the official said to Reuters.

However, Ahmed al-Magdash, the security director of Shabwa, Ahmed Sheikh, the security director of Attaq city, Mohammad al-Gadrab, the security director of Marib, and Nati al-Bogaish, the security director of Hareeb city all denied that there were any new operations being carried out against AQAP currently in an effort to track down Ibrahim al-Asiri. Citizens in Marib and Shabwa also stated that they were unaware of any new military operations in the area.

Fareed Abu Bakr, Sheikh of the al-Saeda district of Shabwa, said to the Yemen observer that there have been no new efforts to track down al-Qaeda but the campaign of tribal cooperation with Yemeni troops to hunt down AQAP affiliates is still ongoing.

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