Armies of Liberation

Jane Novak's blog about Yemen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HRW: “The (Yemeni) Central Security Forces’ failure to stop the shooting suggests either gross negligence or complicity with the gunmen”

Filed under: Mahweet, Protest Fatalities, Sana'a, Security Forces, political violence — by Jane Novak at 10:03 am on Thursday, September 27, 2012

This is a thorough summary of the March 18, 2011 massacre in Yemen including the literal firewall that kept protesters in the square after the snipers opened fire and the role of Yahya Saleh, head of one of the US supported CT units. The US desire to retain Yahya and Ahmed Ali in their roles as heads of the CT forces is one of the main obstacles to a peaceful transition of power so maybe Obama should sanction himself.

The March 18 massacre was so egregious and barbaric that half the corrupted regime defected to the side of the protesters. The US however withheld from calling for Saleh’s removal. In fact, US Def Sec Gates announced days later that the US had done no post-Saleh planning and, “We’ve had a good working relationship with President Saleh. He’s been an important ally in the counter-terrorism arena.”

BTW the son of the governor of Mahweet from post, Yemen: Son of governor escapes justice after massacre:

mahweetgovson.jpg

And yes, the US/SA/UN granted immunity for the Saleh regime does tend to complicate matters.

Yemen: Massacre Investigation Badly Flawed
Conduct New Probe Into 2011 Killings of 45 Protesters

(Sanaa, September 27, 2012) – The previous Yemeni government’s investigation into the so-called Friday of Dignity massacre on March 18, 2011, in Yemen’s capital is marred throughout by flaws and political interference, Human Rights Watch said today.

The Yemeni authorities should order a new inquiry into the attack, the deadliest by pro-government gunmen on protesters during the 2011 uprising, Human Rights Watch said. The attack in Sanaa killed 45 people and wounded up to 200 others, and became a symbol of resistance to then-president Ali Abdullah Saleh. The criminal trial of 78 defendants in the case is scheduled to begin on September 29, 2012.

“The previous government’s investigation of the Friday of Dignity killings was deeply flawed and may have been a brazen attempt to shield government officials from prosecution,” said Letta Tayler, senior Yemen researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Yemen’s new government should demonstrate its commitment to justice for serious rights abuses by carrying out a new inquiry.” (Read on …)

Protests in Sanaa against terrorism, demand prosecution of former president Saleh

Filed under: Sana'a, Transition, protests — by Jane Novak at 12:51 pm on Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Yemen Fox: Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets of the capital Sana’a on Tuesday in a mass march called “Millionaire for trial” to call on Former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and his aides to be stripped of immunity.
Protesters raised Yemeni flags and banners which confirms their determination to continue calling for reorganizing army, releasing detainees, and stripping former regime figures of immunity and to be prosecuted.
The march went off from Zubery street amid Capital Sana’a, reached Kentaki roundabout and finally returned to change square near Sana’a university.
Eyewitnesses told Yemen Fox that former president Ali Abdullah Saleh brought dozens of loyal gunmen who sounded all streets leading to his house, which pushed protesters to change their direction to avoid confrontations with Saleh’s armed men.
General People’s Congress (GPC) has warned, hours before the march, of the protest which demanded stripping Saleh form immunity granted to him in accordance with the GCC Initiative and its operational mechanism.

Google translated, but you can get the idea (photos here)

Elaph: SANAA: Tens of thousands of people in Sanaa on Wednesday against “terrorism” and to demand the lifting of the immunity of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, whom they accuse of supporting al-Qaeda.

The demonstration came a day after a similar demonstration witnessed Sanaa, and in the wake of a failed attempt to assassinate Defence Minister traveled killed 12 people. (Read on …)

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 …)

US protected war criminal Ali Saleh gives speech, spurs new protests in Yemen

Filed under: Oil, Post Saleh, Sana'a, Transition, protests — by Jane Novak at 12:42 pm on Thursday, September 6, 2012

Some Saleh stuff:

Yemen Post Staff
Thousands of Yemeni people led by youths took to the streets in some cities on Tuesday to demand lifting the immunity given to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh under a power-transfer deal that was reached after the 2011 turmoil.

The demonstrations came to protest the appearance of Saleh who delivered a speech on the anniversary of the General People’s Congress on Monday attacking the government and some countries which brokered the power-transfer deal.

The demonstrators demanded to lift the immunity given to Saleh because he insists on exercising politics though the popular uprising, which erupted in early 2011, forced him to resign. Some of them argued Saleh should be tried because the immunity was given on condition Saleh leave the political career, but he continues to appear and organize political events.

They also affirmed the revolution will continue until all its goals were met.

Mass protests erupted last year that forced Saleh to sign the power-transfer deal in return for full immunity from prosecution. His aides were given immunity but not covering terrorist acts.

In his speech on Monday, Saleh, the founder and president of the General People’s Congress, said the power-sharing government has failed to live up to its responsibilities and that Qatar supported the Yemeni people in an improper way.

Meanwhile, Saleh and his relatives including senior military and security commanders have been criticized for obstructing the deal and resisting orders and decisions to restructure the armed forces.

More on the protests at Xinhuanet

Alsahwah.net- Prime Minister Mohammad Salem Basindwa has said that the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh is behind Yemen’s instability, pointing out that he violates the GCC-power transfer deal.

He indicated that Saleh and his family still control some the state institutions, stressing the importance of reconstructing the security and military services in order to implement the GCC deal and move forward.

In an interview with the Saudi Al-Sharq newspaper, that some political sides supported al-Qaeda and armed groups with the aim of breaking down the political settlement.

He cited that Iran intervenes in Yemen’s affairs, singling out that Iran violates rules of international relations.

Yemen Times: For the first time, the General People’s Congress (GPC) celebrated the anniversary of its establishment in a state of extensive security procedures and the absence of coverage by government media outlets.

The celebration came following the popular 2011 revolution that resulted in the ouster of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who remains the head of the GPC. After the revolution, Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, the former vice president, was elected Yemen’s newest leader. Hadi is now the president of the country and the deputy head of the GPC.

Saleh was an active voice during the celebration, lashing out at the reconciliation government, saying, “What have you realized thus far? Have you controlled the electricity saboteurs or those bombing the oil pipes? Or do you hold others responsible for your failure?”

Saleh questioned the reconciliation government, asking, “Why have you not captured the bandits and the electricity towers’ attackers? Why do they not stand a trial? Where have you been in the course of the last eight months?”

He displayed his resentment toward declarations that hold the former regime responsible for the difficulties Yemen currently faces.

“If a tornado occurs in America, they will say the former regime is the reason,” he said.

A hard number

More than 5,000 people, including leading party figures, attended the celebration. Tareq Al-Shami, a spokesman for the GPC, said the gathering intended to send a powerful message to people that the party is still a strong, hard number in the political arena that none can surpass. It is a political party that holds an honorable national history, he said.

“Another message is the GPC has an evolving thought.”

However, Al-Shami did add that the party remains a partner of the coalition parties; it embodies itself strongly in front of society. The party is keen to adopt the concerns of people and to resolve their problems; thus, the party rejects any unlawful actions such as banditry and assaulting government facilities, Al-Shami said.

Although Hadi belongs to the GPC, he was not in attendance. Al-Shami said the party planned ahead and was fully aware that the president would be unable to attend the event.

Al-Shami said the GPC now strives to prepare for the eighth conference, during which new leadership will be elected for all branches nationwide, in addition to electing the party’s Permanent Commission.

Futility and chaos

By contrast, some political analysts affiliated with opposition groups deemed this celebration as futile and a means to squander the resources of the nation.

Saleh Al-Soreimi, editor-in-chief of Al-Sahafa newspaper, said Saleh spent his own money on this celebration, and most of the attendees came for the sake of material gains, not to represent the party.

He said Saleh’s goal for the celebration was to let Yemen and other countries know that he is still a player in the political arena; he is able to move his party anytime he wants and in any way he chooses.

Al-Soreimi said the GPC is not an organized party; it simply attempts to attract people by means of money and by taking advantage of its power when it is at the helm of the country. He called for the GPC to adopt another more valid strategy than just collecting money.

With regard to Hadi’s absence from the celebration, Al-Soreimi said Hadi wants to prove himself as the only president of Yemen; he doesn’t want Saleh to be perceived as his boss in the GPC.

The former president, on his last stand, thought the celebration would make him a future because he has nothing of what he did in the past, Ali Al-Sirari, the political advisor of the prime minister, said.

“It is supposed that Saleh quit politics based on the immunity given by the Gulf Initiative. Otherwise, the immunity should be lifted and he ought to stand trial, for he still continues misusing the nation and standing against the will of the Yemeni people.”

Yemen Post Staff
Head of the Joint Meeting Parties Sultan Al-Atwani has accused the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and his aides of blowing up oil and gas pipelines, referring that Saleh uses tribesmen to attack government facilities.
In an interview with the Yemen Times Radio, Al-Atwani demanded to form an independent aid unbiased panel to investigate attacks against interior and defense ministers and other events.
He revealed that some Yemeni officials still receive orders from Saleh, not from Hadi or the interim government.
According to the JMP leader, some security and intelligence services loyal to Saleh still hold protesters who took part in demonstrations that led to the ouster of Saleh, singling out that the JMP do its best to discover the places in which protesters are held.
He reaffirmed that the JMP refuses to extend the interim stage, making reference that the military and security services must be reconstructed to end Yemen’s divisions.
Yemeni politicians repeatedly called Saleh to leave Yemen and give up politics, asserting that he operates to provoke internal divisions and disputes.
They cautioned that the GCC-mediated power transfer deal could be broken down, if Saleh continued in playing political roles.
Saleh was given immunity from prosecution under the GCC-mediated power transfer deal. However he still exploits the immunity to stir up troubles, a senior leader of the JMP Ali Al-Sarari said.
Al-Sarari called to promptly reconstruct the military and security services and put an end to maneuvers of Saleh, warning that his behaviors could undermine the political settlement in Yemen.

Yemen Times: SANA’A, Sept. 3 — Three people were injured in Sana’a’s Change Square on Monday in an attack by armed men on tents located on Al-Ribat Street.

Fathi A-Shaibani, head of the Peaceful Youth Coalition’s Organizing Department, said approximately 35 people, armed and carrying sticks, attacked ten tents Monday and blocked the street.

He said the perpetrators demolished five tents and looted everything inside the Media Center, located in a tent on the street.

Al-Shaibani said a welder summoned people to attack the tents. They burned them, looting everything inside. This raised anger among the youth, who made an attempt to fight back against those attacking them.

Ahmed Nashwan, an owner of a destroyed tent, accused the welder and an owner of a food store for the attack.

He said the attack happened at 10 p.m. Monday, and he said these attempts won’t discourage the independent youth from continuing their revolution until all their aims are achieved.

This incident came hours after former President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s speech—delivered before his loyalists on the thirtieth anniversary of establishment of the General People’s Congress. Consequently, the youth accused Saleh loyalists for being behind the attack.

Yemen Online: Yemen: Tens of thousands march demanding prosecution of ousted president
07/09/2012

Tens of thousands of Yemenis took to the streets after Friday prayers in the capital Sanaa demanding the prosecution of Ali Abdullah Saleh, the longtime autocratic leader who stepped down in February after a year-long uprising.

Protesters raised banners reading, “The trial is coming.” Witnesses say demonstrators marched in other Yemeni cities as well.

Saleh signed a power transfer deal that gave him immunity from prosecution in return for leaving office.

However, his public appearance earlier this week in a celebration at the headquarters of his ruling party, which he still heads, sparked public anger and renewed calls for his prosecution over the deaths of protesters and over corruption.

Saleh continues to exert considerable influence through family members in key positions in the security forces. Yemen’s new President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has tried since assuming office to purge Saleh associates from key positions, but critics of the ousted president say he is still using his allies to stir unrest.

“The revolutionary (crowds in the) squares will not permit a continued political role of the ousted president or a return of the old regime,” said Abdel-Hadi al-Azazi, a leading youth activist.

Meanwhile, the military is engaged in a broad offensive against al-Qaida in the south of the country, retaking in the summer several towns that had been captured by the militant movement during last year’s unrest.

The Defense Ministry said in a statement that security forces arrested on Friday four al-Qaida militants in the capital in connection to assassination of a Yemeni intelligence general last week.

A security official said that anti-terrorism special forces raided houses in Sanaa and exchanged gunfire with suspected militants during a security sweep. He spoke anonymously according to regulations.

The United States considers al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the terror network’s offshoot in Yemen, to be its most dangerous branch.

“Al Qaeda reiterates the September 11 tragedy in Yemen”

Filed under: Counter-terror, Islamic Imirate, Sana'a, Tribes, attacks — by Jane Novak at 5:24 pm on Saturday, July 28, 2012

A tragic essay published by Hour News, the original Arabic below, outlines many of the disasters that Al Qaeda has wrought on Yemen, directly and indirectly. I believe the article is in response to the awful and deliberate murder of a 12 year old boy with a package bomb, that sad article is also below:

Newspapers and magazines — “This report for publication”

Al Qaeda in Yemen declares war on the citizens, and reiterates the September 11 tragedy in Yemen, “the report”

Abdul Karim Hazmi

Al Qaeda in Yemen war on Yemeni citizens in general as well as its war against the government for the establishment of an Islamic state as they called them.

It is noticeable in this war-Qaeda in Yemen that the only loser is the people of Yemen, a victim, a target of this war, economically and militarily.

Since the takeover in the province of Abyan war killed tens of innocent victims of the citizens and the displacement of thousands of them in order to establish the rule of the Islamic state in the nation, forgetting that they are all Muslims and citizens united to God is not a partner, was the victim of most of them innocent civilians. (Read on …)

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