Armies of Liberation

Jane Novak's blog about Yemen

Hadi appoints new head of National Security following assassination attempt on Defense Minister

Filed under: Biographies, Counter-terror, Oil, Presidency, Sana'a, al Jawf, al-Bayda, assassination, security timeline, shabwa — by Jane Novak at 8:08 am on Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ali al Ansi finally deposed, thats a good move, full list new appts below:

Hadi Fires Senior Security Chiefs, Picks New Governors, Presidency Officials

Yemen’s President Abdrabu Mansour Hadi sacked senior security chiefs and picked new governors and presidency officials on Tuesday night after the defense minister escaped a car bombing at the cabinet HQ in downtown the capital Sanaa.
Among the fired chiefs were heads of the national security system and intelligence systems who have been seen as very close to the former president Saleh.
Previous governor of Shabwa, Ali Al-Ahmadi, became the new chief of the national security and ,Hassan Al-Yafe, a former defense ministry officer, the new chief of the intelligence system.
Hadi also named new ministers for oil and higher education and five new governors for Sanaa, Jawf, Amran, Shabwa and Baidha.
Furthermore, he appointed Nasr Taha Mustafa, the former head of Saba agency, the new manager for the president’s office and ,Mansour bin Safaa, as the secretary general at the office.
The appointments came shortly after the defense minister, Muhammad Nasser Ahmed, survived a deadly car bombing while leaving the cabinet’s weekly meeting.
12 people including 7 of the minister’s bodyguards were killed and 12 others injured, some seriously, in the attack.
In the meantime, the Yemeni people plan to stage a massive demonstration to condemn terrorist attacks and violence and to announce their support to the decisions and efforts of Hadi.


President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi issued the following decrees:

1. Engineer Hesham Sharaf, appointed Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research (Mr. Hesham was the Former Minister of Oil and he replaced Dr. Yahya Al-shoebi who resigned from his post).

2. Engineer Ahmed Abdullah Dares prompted from the post of a Vice to the Minister of Oil and Minerals.
(Read on …)

Tensions Houthis/Dammaj students in Saada, Yemen (Updated)

Filed under: Dammaj, Religious, Sa'ada, Yemen, abu jubarah, al Jawf — by Jane Novak at 6:24 pm on Friday, November 4, 2011

Update 3: vid

Update 2: More from the Yemen Post:

One Salafi student was killed in clashes between the Shia Houthi Movement and the extreme Sunni Salafi movement in the northern Yemen Sa’ada province.

The escalations between both groups started when Houthis claimed that Salafis are entering weapons inside their educational institutions in the town of Dammaj, and demanded that all military posts are emptied.
(Read on …)

Houthis vs. Islah in al Jawf

Filed under: Islah, Local gov, Saada War, Tribes, al Jawf, political violence — by Jane Novak at 7:10 am on Monday, October 3, 2011

The YT has a good write up of the conflict in al Jawf and comes to the conclusion the Houthis are expansionist.

Yemen Times: Sunni-Shiites war in Al-Jawf

War broke out five months ago between Houthi rebels – who are Shiite Muslims – and the locals of Al-Jawf governorate – themselves Sunni Muslims – 143 km northwest of the capital city of Sana’a.

Around 470 Houthis were killed and over 85 of Al-Jawf’ s citizens lost their lives in this four-month-long war, Sheikh Arfj Bin Hadban, a local tribal leader in Al-Jawf, told the Yemen Times. (Read on …)

Saudis funded Islahis in al Jawf for battles against Houthis

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

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

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

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

Are you a Houthi?

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

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

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

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

Houthis accuse US of suicide car bombing in Al Jawf, Yemen

Filed under: Protest Fatalities, Saada War, Yemen, al Jawf, protest statements, suicide attacks — by Jane Novak at 10:14 am on Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Its al Qaeda and/or the Saleh regime that uses a remote control device to blow somebody up and/or convinces some hapless teen to become cannon fodder and/or puts a dead body in the car, and the Yemeni DNA lab that comes up with the positive ID in half an hour. As much as the Houthis are rabidly paranoid, its clear to them I’m sure that the long string of suicide bombings in Yemen would point to the AQAP murderers as the culprits in this one, either independently or as mercenaries. Maybe the Houthis are trying to de-escalate the situation by blaming the US because in no conceivable parallel universe did the US stage or execute a suicide bombing against the Houthis.

AQAP previously declared jihad on the Houthis and killed Badr al Din al Houthi (along with 14 others) in a suicide car bombing November 2010, also in al Jawf. Its this kind of irresponsible rhetoric which the Saleh regime uses to manipulate the public that the Houthis have condemned for years.

The national: SANAA // Rebel forces yesterday accused US intelligence agencies of plotting the car-bomb attack that killed two people and injured one in Al Matamma, north-east of Sanaa, on Sunday.

Al Houthi rebels said in a statement that the blast targeted a government complex in which their leaders were meeting.

“This is clearly a US intelligence-style criminal act,” the rebels said, while offering no evidence supporting their claim.

The blast came two days after the Al Houthi rebels and the Islamist Islah party agreed to a truce to end the fighting that had flared intermittently since March when Al Jawf province, in which Al Matamma is located, fell to the anti-government tribes.

The Al Houthis said the attack was intended to “provoke sectarian divisions between Yemenis”, adding that the attack was aimed to “help maintain the unjust regime” of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been facing six months of protests calling for him to relinquish power.

Bomb in Sanaa, assassination in Amran, truce and car bomb in al Jawf, double dealing in Abyan

Pop quiz: Q: What was the characteristic response of the Saleh regime to power sharing demands following unity in 1990 that precipitated the 1994 civil war? A: Assassinations. Hundreds of southern political leaders were assassinated, often by veterans of the Afghan jihad who were allied with Saleh.

Five protesters wounded in Sanaa by an explosive device thrown from a car with police plates.

War planes bomb Arhab, five dead. Three houses, a mosque and many farms damaged. Clashes in Nehm, 20 km south of Arhab, eight wounded.

The Yemen Post reports Hamid Al-Qushaibi of the 310th escaped a car-bomb assassination attempt in Amran province but al Sahwa reports Major Ismail al-Ghurbani, commander of the 310th Armored Brigade of the 1st Armored Division was shot dead in an assassination in Amran

A truce between Islah and the Houthis in al Jawf will go into effect 8/17 when the JMP declares the national council; Fares Manna, UN sanctioned weapons dealer and long time associate of Saleh, will be replaced as governor by Sheikh Hussein Al-Thaneen from the Islah Party.

One person was killed and three wounded Sunday evening when a suicide car bomber detonated at a gathering of Houthis near the health center in al Jawf, News Yemen reported. The Houthis blamed the US, saying “The process shows the intense action and malicious plots by the Americans and the targeting of Yemen in general and the northern areas in particular.” Mareb Press reports dozens of injuries. Interior Ministery says 14 dead and the hallmarks of al Qaeda.

16 suspected al Qaeda were killed Sunday as clashes in the province take place in seven areas. The tribesmen (like the commander of the 25th Mechanized) say that the government is arming the al Qaeda militants and providing other support.

Yemen Post: Local tribesmen in Abyan province, fighting with government against militants, are accusing the government of helping al-Qaeda fighters stay strong by attacking tribal posts and arming the militants.

According to tribal sources in Abyan, at least 19 tribesmen have been killed by government attacks.

A senior Yemeni Defense Ministry official denies that the toll is that high, but did not deny that government raids did kill tribal fighters in accidental attacks.

Over the last month, tribes have succeeded to retake more than 60 percent of the province from the hands of suspected al-Qaeda militants after the government failed to show progress in its fight against the militants since May.

At least 1600 tribesmen are fighting al-Qaeda militants in the province.

More than 15 al-Qaeda fighters were arrested on Thursday by the tribesmen as their push to cleanse the province from the militants nears the final steps.

Update: Sultan al Barakani says Hamid al Ahmar is the prime suspect in the bombing on the presidential palace because the sims cards used in mobile phones belonged to SabaFone.

Truce in al Jawf, robbery in Hodeidah, lies in the media

Filed under: Hodeidah, Islah, Saada War, Yemen, al Jawf — by Jane Novak at 8:07 am on Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The former governor of Ibb mediated a truce to the four months of clashes between the Houthis and tribes loyal to Islah. News Yemen Ah, an English article at the Yemen Post:

Clashes in the northern Jawf province ended on yesterday after Sheikh Ali Qaisi, a prominent Yemeni tribal leader, succeeded in reaching a ceasefire agreement between the Houthi fighters and Islah Islamist party fighters.

At least 110 people were killed over the last month in Jawf clashes. Islah party still controls the majority of the areas in Jawf provinces, while Houthis are trying to expand in the province. The fighting in Jawf started in late May and was non-stop until this week.

Islah party supporters control the military bases the government left behind after being pressured by pro revolution youth to leave the province.

Al-Hudaidah, an armed group broke into Hais post office and rob 16 Million Yemeni Ryals: NYR

US Embassy in Sana’a Disappointed at Fabrications in Governmental Media: Ting Wu, the economic officer at the US embassy in Sana’a expressed the embassy’s disappointment at governmental media outlets for sending fabricated news sourcing the US embassy in Sana’a as saying that the United States believes that President Saleh must return to Yemen in order for Yemen to resolve the political and economic crisis. YP

Yemen Wed June 8, updates: Proxy War in Abyan

Late update: Saleh: late night in Sanaa and Taiz, over two hours of heavy gunfire so far from pro-Saleh forces shooting in air at news of his return or good health. Simultaneous in Dhamar, Hadramout. In Aden, govt cars seen shooting live rounds (more celebration?) Over 20 wounded in Sanaa arrive at the field hospital. According to friends in Saudi Arabia, theres no report airing about Saleh’s good health and return, and Mareb Press just retracted the report that Saleh wanted to return in 24 hours. However “celebratory” gunfire continuing for hours already. The RG is going to be cranky tomorrow.

Sanaa: Ali Mohsen meets US, EU ambassadors; forces intercept two attacks on Acting President Hadi’s compound. Reports also disbursed protesters demanding a transition council, near Hadis compound, dozens injured. Vid, al Khaiwani arguing with Askar Zoail, Ali Mohsen’s extremist office manager who incited soldiers with sermons on jihad against the Houthis at a mosque in the fifth Saada war. Al Khaiwani was later nearly kidnapped. Later video indicates Zoali’s forces shooting into the air. See below for Mohsen’s role in Abyan fighting.

JMP: did not meet with Hadi, expect to meet within two days; seek Hadi’s formal declaration that Saleh’s reign is over, threaten to unilaterally create transitional council with protesters.

Protesters: demand transitional council immediately in mass demo, “In Sana’a, a spokesman for the youth-led protesters in the change square outside Sana’a University said, after thousands of people marched Street 60th, they had given a 24-hour deadline for the concerned political parties to form a transitional council otherwise the revolutionaries will do that.”

Taiz: still tense, sporadic clashes on the outskirts of town. The Al Qaeda district is the name of the suburb, not a AQAP hideout. Three killed Maweah and Thikra

Ibb : YP: Government forces clashed with armed tribesmen in Qaeda district, Ibb province, 30 miles off Taiz province. According to the tribesmen, the goal of the tribes is to get rid of all government forces attacking the people. “Security forces are now using this lawless time in the country to loot and attack civilians. We will not allow our people to be attacked and will ensure that they are safe from any attacks from pro govt thugs,” said a tribal fighter.

Hodiedah: roads leading in blocked by pro-Saleh thugs.

Saudi Arabia, “Yemen’s neighbor and the biggest GCC country, said after a June 6 Cabinet meeting chaired by King Abdullah that the proposal is still viable, and called on Saleh to accept it. Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude exporter, will also send Yemen 3 million barrels of oil to alleviate fuel shortages, Yemen’s state news agency Saba reported yesterday.” ( SFgate)

Saada: Mass protests in favor of the end of the regime and against all plots on the rev.

UNICEF: Yemen facing humanitarian disaster.

State Department briefing; must read

AQAP: a decent analysis at Foreign Affairs of relation between tribes and AQAP and prospect in the post-rev phase.

Zinjibar: reduced to “hell” with fighting among unclear sides: < <"There is a cat-and-mouse game going on in the streets now between the army and armed men. I can't tell who's who among them any more,"... The fighting has reduced Zinjibar, once home to more than 50,000 people, to a ghost town without power or running water.>> Most residents of Zinjibar fled to Aden where many are sheltering in public buildings. The Central Security forces of Yahya are attacking the refugees as they flee.

The armed parties appear to be the national military, local tribesmen, local militants (both Saleh’s and Mohsen’s) and the defected army but I’m checking. Update: Gah!!! Armed members of the southern movement also maintaining security on some roads, and for sure they would be described by the regime as al Qaeda. If this is true, southerners carrying arms and creating their own security checkpoints outside local villages in various governorates, its new. (I deleted the areas where they are deployed or the regime will start bombing them.) It needs to be double checked. But being rebuffed after asking to coordinate security with the international community leaves few options. However as security fails, its likely the Southern Movement will reject new deployments by either Saleh’s forces or Mohsen’s forces. The only possibility is Aliwi who has a better reputation in the south than Hadi (as unlike Hadi he didnt attack civilians in the 1986 civil war, according to local lore.) And Mohsen is Mohsen.

Abyan: Local direct reports indicate military airplanes dropped two bombs today recently. Vid here of warplanes that bombed Abyan City, per local sources.

Another says the attack was on tribesmen who took up arms in the face of military assaults. “Ms. Novak – Greetings – I would like to clarify what is happening today in the province of pilgrimage in southern Yemen as a witness elders – the army is firing different weapons on the housing Almutnyen and Batalli tribes touched by the bombing respond and of these forces and drops dead from both sides.” Still no names on the militants leaders, but likely remnants of the localized jihaddist group AAIA operating under another new name. Upon asking, it seems that most discussions on southern forums regarding Zinjibar are operating on the assumption (as am I) that Khaledabul Nabi* is leading the jihaddists in Abyan but no eye witness confirmation. Ja’ar and Zinjibar are close enough. In 2009, Nabi was fighting on the side of Saleh in the battle of Ja’ar, another jihaddist proxy war.

Update, Southern Yemen: Ali Mohsen’s forces are in Abyan, see YT article Rebel soldiers engage militants, but are described below as “gunmen” so these could be the jihaddists as well. Majority of Mohsen’s soldiers are either graduates of Iman Univ or loyal to Zindani, per local buzz. The defected military issued a statement though that they were going to intervene in Abyan as military, and that may be what is triggering an armed (defensive) response by the southern movement if there is indeed an armed response. When the article below talks about forces loyal to Islah, it sounds like they mean armed militants loyal to Mohsen and Zindani. Maybe this is what Nuba meant by an invasion of Zindanis forces.

So Abyan could be a proxy war between Saleh and Mohsen with both sides using militants and military men and equipment. and the southerners who take defensive positions attacked by both. Now I really have a headache. Saada source comments, “That’s exactly whats happening with al Jawf,” and likely why the Houthis are fighting there, as a defensive measure.

Al Jawf/ Marib: Battles reported and continue over last months between Houthis and “Islahis” in conjunction with Mohsen’s forces, with back up from pro-Saleh forces according to news and local sources. Explains positioning of large amounts of troops there. Both the Mohsen forces and Saleh forces, militants and military, are fighting the Houthis in rotation. These developments bring into question both Mohsen’s alleged reformation and his commitment to the youth rev goals. Maybe he is just out to finally wipe out the Houthis and the Southerners. Clarification: There’s no troops on the al jawf/Saada border. Troops and militias of both Saleh (Republican Guards and militias) and Mohsen’s army and militias are on the border of Aljawf/Mareb and also inside both Aljawf and Mareb. There’s quite a number of troops in Saada but they are non-combative.

Yaf3press: Lapin: genocide and the destruction of cities, “Zanzibar and Jaar .. and forces loyal to the Reform Party (ed-Islah) and Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar involved in control of southern Yemen. (Read on …)

20 killed in al Jawf in battle between Houthis and tribal/mil forces

Filed under: Military, Saada War, al Jawf — by Jane Novak at 8:27 am on Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Yemen Post

At least twenty people were killed and others injured in clashes in Yemen’s northern province of Al-Jawf between Yemeni troops and their tribal allies and Houthi group.

The fighting was over the control of a strategic military installation at the entrance to the northern province of Al-Jawf, which the rebels, also known as Houthis, have taken over.

At the end of battle in which has continued for two days , Houthis were able to gain complete control of the site, which had two tanks and a number of military vehicles

New governors sworn in five provinces

Filed under: Abyan, Aden, Hadramout, Hodeidah, Yemen, al Jawf — by Jane Novak at 12:02 pm on Saturday, March 5, 2011

the old governors were reassigned to the Shura council.

New governors swear constitutional oath
[05/مارس/2011]
SANA’A,March 05(Saba) – The newly appointed governors and the Shura Council’s member took on Saturday the constitutional oath before President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The newly appointed governors are Aden Governor Ahmed Mohamed Qatabi, Hodeidah Governor Akram Abdullah Atyah, Abyan Governor Saleh Hussein al-Zawari, Hadramout Governor Khalid Saeed al-Deni and Jawf Govenror Yahya Mohamed Ghobar.

Furthermore, the newly appointed member of the Shoura Council Salem al-Khanbashi also sworn the constitutional oath before the President.

President Saleh held a meeting with the new governors and urged them to double their efforts in this posts, directing them to work to address the citizens’ problems and issues in their

Saada, Amran, al Jawf organization affirms solidarity in move to overthrow Saleh

Filed under: Amran, Sa'ada, al Jawf, protests — by Jane Novak at 10:49 am on Friday, March 4, 2011

statement via email

To all the free sons of the Yemeni people to everyone eager himself to freedom, pride and dignity: We emphasize that we are sons of the province of Saada, Amran, Al Jawf both as an integral part of this people We affirm our support and solidarity with members of the Yemeni people to overthrow the corrupt regime, and we stress the following:

* Moved that this move is within the broad popular marches and this is the cohesion and harmony with the position of people in all governorates of Yemen. (Read on …)

Marib and al Jawf tribes denouce violence toward protesters

Filed under: Abyan, Aden, Amran, Hadramout, Ibb, Sana'a, al Jawf, al-Bayda — by Jane Novak at 5:43 pm on Thursday, February 17, 2011

Council of the Alliance of Marib and Al-Jawf tribes denounces the massacre of Aden and salutes Tai’z youth, the station of change and train engine of freedom: Mareb Press.

To recap, both Saleh’s allies and opposition are experiencing fractures. The pillars of the regime are peeling away and causing some polarization of the public. Hussain al Ahmar from Amran is promising Hasid tribal protection for the protesters in Sanaa. The tribes in Marib and al Jawf are throwing in with the democracy movement. al Zindani is calling for replacing the regime with a national unity government and for the people to go peacefully to the streets. Two youth different groups were calling for nationwide protests on the 24th and 25th, but I think its going to happen tomorrow whether they are ready or not. The JMP however has not revised its position to advocate the fall of the Saleh regime, only change and reform. (Read on …)

AQAP declares war on Yemen’s Houthi movement over Sunni displacement when 300,000 Zaidis fled state bombing

Filed under: Amran, Presidency, Religious, Sa'ada, Saada War, al Jawf, aq statements — by Jane Novak at 10:17 am on Saturday, January 29, 2011

There’s over 300,000 displaced in Sa’ada by the Yemeni military’s (and Saudi) attacks and bombing, and AQAP is declaring war because the Houthis forced people to move??? Is al Qaeda’s Saed Shihri trying to be stupid or does it just come naturally? Like many, AQAP is out of touch with the moment.

Well thats convenient timing for Saleh. a) The Yemeni military cant re-start the war at the moment but the terrorists can, b) It certainly shows the international community that they neeeeeeeeed Saleh, c) Nothing like a good crisis to distract the people’s hostility toward the state, d) With the Houthis in control of large swaths of those areas, the officially facilitated smuggling operations into Saudi are impacted and profits diminished, e) How can you buy weapons (and resell them on the black market) for a war that’s over? f) Saudi funds rise and fall in relation to perceived threats.

SANAA, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) — Leader of al-Qaida militants in Yemen declared “holy war” against the Houthi-led northern Shiite rebels, in an audio message posted on the internet by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) on Friday.

“To our Sunni fellows in northern Yemeni provinces of Saada, Al- Jouf and Amran, we (AQAP) announced jihad (holy war) against Iranian-backed Houthi Shiite advocates,” Saeed Ali al-Shihri, deputy leader of the Yemen-based AQAP.

“The jihad against northern Shiites has been declared since the implementation of the AQAP’s twin martyred car bombing attacks against convoys of the Shiite rebels’ followers in northern provinces of Al-Jouf and Saada on Nov. 24 and Nov. 26 of the last year,” he said.

In the 17-minute audiotape, the Saudi fugitive al-Shihri justified his group’s war against the Shiite rebels by claiming that the sectarian-motivated Houthi rebels attacked and displaced many Sunni families in the north.

Last December, the Sunni-devoted AQAP claimed responsibility for twin suicide car bombings against convoys of the Shiite rebels ‘ followers in northern provinces of Al-Jouf and Saada on Nov. 24 and Nov. 26, 2010, which left over than 90 Shiite followers dead, including the group’s Shiite spiritual leader Bader al-Deen al- Houthi.

OK maybe they are just idiots:

Opinions: An Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader warned Sunni Muslims of a rising “Christian-Shiite alliance” against them in an audio message released on jihadist forums late on Friday.

Abu Sufyan al-Azdi called the participation of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Iran’s former foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki at a conference on terrorism in Yemen “is the biggest proof of the Christian-Shiite alliance.”

“America and Iran became one alliance against the Sunni people in the area,” added the Saudi AQAP leader, who was formerly imprisoned for six years at the US detention centre inGuantanamo, in a 16-minute audio message.

Azdi was referring to the annual Manama Dialogue, held in December by the London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies and billed as the “most important regional security meeting in the Middle East.”

The AQAP chief also warned Sunnis in Yemen that they risked being massacred at the hands of northern Shiite Zaidi rebels, also known as Huthis, and urged them not to be caught unprepared.

“Sunnis, be careful from the massacres… that happened in Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen to happen to you while you are unarmed… prepare yourselves before it is too late… buy weapons… protect your religion, your lives and your honour.”

Houthis set up checkpoints for al Qaeda, Updated 15

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Amran, Sa'ada, Saada War, al Jawf, suicide attacks — by Jane Novak at 3:20 pm on Tuesday, November 30, 2010

There’s a lot of related material below, including a statement by Abdelmalik and videos from Badr al Din al Houthi’s funeral. The rebel-manned check points in northern Yemen were established with the advent of the Saada Wars in 2004. Check points in al Jawf and Amran were in place well before the Houthis began their investigations into the two bombings. (Its still unclear if those attacks were suicide bombers or remotely controlled.) Even dignitaries were checked into the region and often escorted since the ceasefire. They caught Hussain al Tais last August at a checkpoint if I recall correctly.

The Houthis area of control is growing, a result of alliances with some tribal leaders including Shaifis and other Sunni sects as recently noted. In addition to mediating and resolving some long standing tribal disputes, they forbid women from shopping alone in the markets, arrested some homosexuals and banned smoking among the ranks. The explicit focus on capturing al Qaeda operatives is new, and following the deadly al Qaeda attacks, logical and necessary. The Houthis turn their prisoners over to state’s security forces at the same time that they forbid residents from cooperating with the state.

According to the Mareb Press article below, Abdelmalik is blaming the US for the deadly attacks last week as a plot against Muslims. Their counter-terror efforts are not a a “tribal awakening” ala Iraq, but an independent uptick in security procedures for the benefit of the residents that converges with US interests. We are under attack by the same enemy, but the Houthis don’t see it that way.

The Yemeni government committed substantial war crimes against the Houthis and more importantly, the civilian population in Saada, since 2005. US acquiescence was interpreted as control. Well over 200,000 remain displaced and starving to death, mostly women and children. The Houthis, like many Yemenis, believe al Qaeda is a US creation and Anwar al Awlaki is a US stooge. The Houthis are going to entirely expel Al Qaeda from their region and find and punish those responsible for the two attacks. But they think the attacks were a part of a US plot for controlled chaos.

The Houthis’ chant is Death to America, and has been since the outbreak of the Iraq War in 2003. They insist it is a nuanced political statement. I have always had an issue with the ability of children and teenagers to discern that difference. At the same time, the evolved Zaidi theology of the Houthis (some say regressive but we can say, revivalist) retains the strong prohibitions against targeting civilians and is generally as counter-takfirist as the various sects of mainstream Zaidi theology.

IRIN Checkpoints: Houthi supporters have set up checkpoints on roads connecting the three governorates (ed-Al Jawf, Saada and Amran) and arrested people suspected of being linked to AQAP. The local independent news website al-tagheer.net reported that in retaliation for the suicide attacks, Houthi followers arrested several Sunni scholars in Al-Hamati village, Majaz District, Saada Governorate. The village’s population is known to be affiliated with Salafism, a puritanical creed within Sunni Islam. (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.

CRI
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 …)

The common denominator of the two suicide al Qaeda attacks in Yemen, Updated

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Marib, Sa'ada, Saada War, TI: Internal, War Crimes, Yemen, al Jawf, attacks — by Jane Novak at 6:37 pm on Friday, November 26, 2010

Mareb Press reports that a Marib Sheik, Mubarack Saleh Al-Mashan, was at the scene of both al Qaeda suicide car bombings (the al Ghadeer day procession from Marib to Saada and the convoy going to pay respects in Dhayan, Sa’ada to the al Houthi family). The Sheik survived both attacks. Al Mashan is also an adviser to the Ministry of the Interior and recently became a supporter of the Houthis.

Update: Al Mashan blames the US in an interview with Ansar al Allah: after the incident and met with Sheikh Almcn and we had a brief conversation with him which he said…Regarding the incident, the car bomb which we were today, he is a U.S. plan unveiled aimed at the disintegration of Yemen using pretexts and flimsy so-called al Qaeda, and that the beneficiary of and behind this are the Jews, and that the purpose behind all these criminal acts is to turn Yemen into the case like Iraq and Afghanistan. And it didn’t occur to him that he may have been the target? The list of potential puppet masters of the attacks is long.

Update 2: Below is an earlier interview with al Mashan explains why he chose to join the Houthis.

(Read on …)

Bumped: Suicide car bomb targets al Ghadeer procession in al Jawf, Yemen killing 17, Update: Houthis blame US

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Religious, Saada War, TI: Internal, al Jawf, attacks, state jihaddists, suicide attacks — by Jane Novak at 8:40 am on Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The post was bumped because the suicide attack today may be in retaliation for the Houthis capture of Ali Hussain al Tais and other al Qaeda operatives in Saada, which prompted the al Qaeda kidnapping of Sa’ada PSO deputy Ali Abdul Hosam. Maybe. (The regime’s counter-spin was that al Tais, a former Gitmo detainee surrendered.) What it feels like is the bombing of the al Salman mosque which precipitated the fifth Sa’ada war and the kidnapping of the western medical workers, which precipitated the sixth.

Original: In an overt al Qaeda attack on Yemeni civilians, a suicide car bomb targeted an al Ghadeer procession in al Jawf, Yemen. Fatalities are estimated at 24 including two children and a Sheik in his 80’s. The Saada Wars began in 2004 between the al Qaeda infested Yemeni military and a small group of Shia rebels. The sixth war ended in a truce early this year. Hundreds of thousands of Saada residents are still displaced by the fighting, and many are in al Jawf. Al Ghadeer day, a mainstream Shia holiday, was outlawed in Yemen from 2005 through 2008 and many were arrested for their religious observances. Last year some boys lighting firecrackers (a traditional means of celebrating) were arrested in Sana’a. This year Abdelmalik al Houthi issued a statement urging worshipers to take part in celebrations and to conserve their bullets, and not fire into the air.

I’m curious if this bomb matches any other al Qaeda car bombs including the September 2006 twin attacks on the oil installations, the July 2007 al Qaeda attack on the tourists in Marib, the August 2008 car bombing in Sayoun and the September 2008 attack on the US embassy.

An outbreak of intense clashes near the Saudi border between the Houthis and “pro-government tribes” was already straining the truce. While all of al Qaeda’s tactics are deplorable, targeting people who are going to pray is particularly repugnant. This is the first time there has been an open al Qaeda attack on the Houthis, normally they pretend to be soldiers or tribal volunteers. In this case it may be the inverse, soldiers pretending to be al Qaeda. All the lines become blurred in Sa’ada. Unfortunately there are plenty of brainwashed teen-agers to deploy as suicide bombers.

Update: the Houthis blame the US for the crime, seriously. See statement and article below. In another statement to the WaPo, they suspect al Qaeda, but the Houthis think that al Qaeda is a CIA proxy so the statements are not contradictory.

Update 2, 24 dead including two children, CNN: Almasmari said he had spoken to government officials who blamed al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as the Yemeni wing of the network calls itself. The officials declined to be named, he said, saying they were not authorized to speak to the media. Almasmari said AQAP recently said the procession was a legitimate target for attack.

Update 3: In retaliation for the Houthis capturing several of the al Tais in August. The Houthis turned them over to the security forces. Al Qaeda then captured the deputy PSO chief in Sa’ada and issued a 48 hour deadline in September. Since then nothing.

YemenOnline.Nov24,2010 – No one claimed immediate responsibility but a tribal leader told Yemen media that Al Qaeda carried out the attack as retaliation against the Houthis for detaining five Al Qaeda operatives earlier this year.The explosion -– believed to have been detonated by a suicide bomber in a car -– targeted Shiite tribesmen on their way to a holy festival, known as Ghadeer, in Jawf province south of the Saudi border. As many as 30 people were injured….Local sources said Islamic militants were likely behind the attack: “Al Qaeda affiliates believe that celebration of Al Ghadeer is not Islamic. The sources said Al Qaeda repeatedly issued fatwas that Al Ghadeer is ‘Bedah’, not (a) truly Islamic occasion to celebrate.”

(Read on …)

the Metamorphasis of the Houthis

Filed under: Saada War, Yemen, al Jawf — by Jane Novak at 12:12 pm on Sunday, November 21, 2010

Woops, this was in draft since October… An article in Mareb Press “penetrates the secrets of the Houthis” and their success in Yemen. And apparently like many other Islamic movements, the Houthis picked up the slack for the state.

For context, an excellent three part series in SABA on al Jawf notes the utter lack of the state in the governorate, including the fact that only 4% of the governorate has electricity. The articles can be accessed here for part one and here for parts 2 and 3.

One interesting point in the RAND report, Regime and Periphery in Northern Yemen, The Huthi Phenomenon, was the continuing evolution of insurgencies. While the Houthis can’t be classified as a typical insurgency, they certainly are fighting the state. Now we get to see what happens, after six years, when they stop fighting and start to rule. In an article discussing their new deal in al Jawf, the author states they restored law and order that has been missing, the article says, for 40 years and broke the bones of the bandits who were wrecking havoc (a figurative expression perhaps.)

They began the penetration of the governorate by sending teachers and assuming other functions normally assigned to the state which is entirely absent. They restored order to the market including prohibiting women from shopping alone in the market, and started hassling the gays. Several were taken into custody and turned over to the security where they are “until this moment still languishing.” They prohibited smoking among the ranks (sounds like Mayor Bloomberg.) While noting the state encouraged tribal wars, the article below notes that many revenge wars have been ended by the Houthis.

Yemen Today: One of the elders of Al-Jouf Yemen’s claim: – Houthis prepared to intervene by force to end the vendetta between Hamedan and Shoulan (Read on …)

Deputy PSO Chief Captured by Al Qaeda in Saada, to exchange for their leader Hussain al Tais captured in al Jawf by the Houthis

Filed under: 9 hostages, Sa'ada, Saada War, Yemen, al Jawf, personalities, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 1:42 pm on Monday, September 20, 2010

At the time of the Germans’ kidnapping, in Sa’ada in June 09, myself and others published reports of Hussain al Tais’s (and the al Tais al Qaeda gang in Sa’ada’s) possible involvement. (Actually for five years I have documenting the al Qaeda in Sa’ada including al Nabi who fought there in 2005 and is now commissioned to fight in the south.) So recently, the Houthis captured Hussain al Tais in al Jawf, handed him over to the PSO in Sa’ada, and then al Qaeda kidnapped the deputy PSO to bargain for al Tais’s exchange. The AQAP statement on al Tais also proves that they are in Sa’ada. Its a very important base for them. But maybe someone should ask al Qaeda to return the other four European hostages, (two German parents, their infant son, and a Brit) before they give him up. But clearly al Tais can’t remain in custody- because he actually knows something. The Yemeni government will release him or kill him. Link at Marib Press. But the one at al Masdar Online translates better:

Source Online – Special
Al Qaeda in Yemen (Base of Jihad in the Arabian Peninsula) claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of Colonel Ali Hussam Mohammed Salah, deputy director of Political Security in the province of Saada.

And demanded that al-Qaeda in a statement in this regard, published positions on the Web site, the government release two members of the al-Qaeda said, “they captured in a point belonging to the Alhouthein in al-Jawf province, after that, the Houthis Shiites surrender them to the Director of the Political Security Saada Yahya Almrani according to confessions deputy director of political security prisoner to us. ” The statement said.

And the granting of the statement of organization, dated today, Monday, 11 October 1431 the government 48 hours to release (Hussein goat and famous VMA) in return for disclosing the fate of the alleged “spy” Deputy Director of Political Security kidnapped al-Qaeda. (Read on …)

(Updated) Yemen (Saleh) negotiates passivity agreement with al Jawf al Qaeda leader Safian

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, al Jawf, personalities, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 3:49 pm on Saturday, August 21, 2010

Update: Authorities admit Safain surrendered but no indication he’s in jail. I thought the Tays group had a lot of positions in the military, honey businesses, conduct smuggling to SA and were active in the Sa’ada war against the Houthis.

Yemen Post: Ali Husayn Abdullah Al-Tays was member of Al-Qaeda and ex-detainee in Guantanamo gave up to Yemen’s security authorities and showed readiness to cooperate with the government, according to the same sources.

Earlier this month, another Al-Qaeda operative, Jomaan Safian, surrendered to authorities in Al-Jawf province. Safian reportedly harbored dozens of foreign Al-Qaeda operatives and provided financial l support to the organization.

Begin original:
The president of Yemen, Field Marshal Ali Abdullah Saleh, met with the leader of Al Qaeda in al Jawf, Jomaan Safian, Mareb Press reports. The Emir of al Qaeda in al Jawf, Safia turned himself in to the security services, wasn’t arrested but met with President Saleh. In exchange for medical treatment for his father abroad, YR 1 million and some jobs for his family, Safian assured the president that he rejected al Qaeda and that the rest of the cell in al Jawf would be under control (until of course Saleh needs them for something.) Safian was released after few hours of meeting. Unfortunately, few of Saleh’s deals with al Qaeda figures have worked for as long as planned or as necessary.

Marib Press: أكد مصدر قبلي وقريب عائليا من أمير القاعدة في محافظة الجوف الواقعة شمال شرق العاصمة صنعاء أن أمير القاعدة في محافظة الجوف جمعان صافيان، الذي قالت أجهزة الأمن اليمنية أنه سلم نفسه لها قد التقى بالرئيس علي عبد الله صالح وتم الإفراج عنه بعد ساعات من اللقاء الذي جمعهما. A source with me and close family of the prince of al Qaeda in al-Jawf province, located northeast of the capital Sanaa, the Emir of al-Qaeda in al-Jawf province Jamaan Savian, who said the Yemeni security services he turned himself in her had met with President Ali Abdullah Saleh was released hours after the reunion was .

ونقلت صحيفة الدار الكويتية عن مصدر قبلي ” أن الرئيس اليمني قام بصرف مليون ريال يمني كمكافأة شخصية لصافيان على موقفه وقناعاته الجديدة. Dar was quoted by the Kuwaiti source of me, “that the Yemeni President regardless million Yemeni riyals a reward personal Savian to his position and the new convictions. (Read on …)

“Al Qaeda Leader Surrenders” Juman Safain Sheltering Sauidis

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, Yemen, al Jawf — by Jane Novak at 9:07 pm on Monday, August 16, 2010

VOA News

Security officials in Yemen say an al-Qaida leader in the country’s north has surrendered to authorities. The officials said Juman Safian turned himself in on Saturday in the province of al-Jouf. They did not release additional details.

Yemen recently intensified its campaign against the group’s local branch, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, following a series of deadly attacks on government targets.

Earlier this month, al-Qaida threatened to target anyone who supports Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh or what it called the “crusader campaign” by the United States.

(Read on …)

UN: acute malnutrition, diarrhoea and anaemia rising in Hajjah

Filed under: Amran, Hajjah, Sa'ada, Sana'a, al Jawf — by Jane Novak at 9:09 pm on Thursday, July 22, 2010

UN

22 July 2010 – The United Nations is expressing concern about the humanitarian situation in northern Yemen, where the needs of the local population displaced by ongoing fighting vastly outstrip the funds provided so far by donors.

Less than $70 million, or 36 per cent, of the $187 million sought this year by aid agencies for assistance in Yemen has been received, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported today.

UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been providing relief to civilians in Yemen’s north, where Government forces have engaged rebels in sporadic armed conflict in recent years. (Read on …)

Houthis trash al Qaeda as US stooge

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Sa'ada, Yemen, al Jawf — by Jane Novak at 9:17 pm on Saturday, July 10, 2010

Yemen Observer: The Information Office of the rebel leader, Abdulmalik al-Houthi, launched an awareness campaign and educational activities in the areas of Sa’adah province, Sufyan district, and al-Jawf province last week about the dangers of “al-Qaeda,” according to al-Houthi and local sources in Sa’adah province. Al-Houthis described al-Qaeda as the “U.S. intelligence tool used by Washington to occupy any Arab or Islamic country under the pretext of combating terrorism.” (Read on …)

UN Unable to Reach Refugees in Amran, al Jawf and Outside Sa’ada City

Filed under: Amran, Sa'ada, Saada War, Yemen, al Jawf — by Jane Novak at 6:34 pm on Saturday, March 27, 2010

UN re-opening office in Sa’ada City.

Reuters: “Now the situation is better we are just planning to send the staff back again as soon as next week,” he said, adding that life is back to normal in Saada city. The office houses various U.N. relief agencies.

Humanitarian access is needed to other areas in Saada as well as al-Jawf and Amran governorates, where continued insecurity and land mines have hampered or delayed aid distribution, a U.N. statement said Friday.

“Security is the same as it was before the war … Outside Saada city we still don’t know because we have not been there.”

Adios al Reimi? Air strike in Yemen

Filed under: Air strike, Counter-terror, Security Forces, USA, al Jawf, personalities — by Jane Novak at 12:11 pm on Friday, January 15, 2010

That’s some good targeting right there, if it turns out to be true. Two cars, no civilians, direct hit. Ammar Al Waeli? Fascinating. Update: They are “almost certain” al Reimi was killed. Also: Mr. Ayman was an Egyptian jihadist who had arranged many suicide bombings in Afghanistan, the official said. He had moved in and out of Yemen recently, and has been on Yemen’s most-wanted list for years… Another man targeted in the raid was known to have escaped, the official said: Ammar al-Waeli, an important arms dealer for Al Qaeda.

Update 2: Almotamar.net The ministry said the killed terrorists are Qassim al-Raimy, Ammar Abadah al-Waili, Saleh al-Tais, Ayedh Jaber al-Shabwani and Ibrahim Mohammed Saleh al-Banaa.
(Read on …)

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