Armies of Liberation

Jane Novak's blog about Yemen

UN envoy announces dead end in Yemen talks

Filed under: Donors, UN, GCC, Transition, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:30 am on Saturday, October 1, 2011

translation via NYR | MasdarOnline | Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations said that the political process seeking to resolve the crisis in Yemen reached a “dead end” but he expressed optimism that Yemenis will find out a solution that guarantee entry in the transitional stage and transfer of power in the country. (Read on …)

Saudis approved and facilitated Saleh’s return?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saleh tricked Saudis and escaped, US unhappy: US diplo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saleh’s baaaack and the BS snowball starts rolling

Filed under: Presidency, Transition, Yemen, Yemen's Lies, protest statements — by Jane Novak at 10:35 am on Tuesday, September 27, 2011

“Comprehensive Agreement” Within Reach says VP Hadi The next phase of stall tactics begins.

President calls for presidential, parliamentary and local elections Its nearly funny, but lives are at stake. The GPC stalled on the electoral reforms they agreed to after the not free or fair election in 2006, delaying the parliamentary elections scheduled for 2009. The voter rolls are a mess, and Obama’s statement at the UN calling for quick elections is either uniquely uninformed or just plain duplicitous.

King of Peace resumes shelling Arhab villages.

Protesters Committee CCYRC Daily Report 9/26, protesters reject all deals with Saleh, and demand his trial, as is their right since they are his vicitms.

Lie #32,836,

Yemen Post: Only a day after his surprise return to the capital, president Saleh announced through the state news agency that he had ordered his troops to retreat from the streets of the capital, as well as the dismantlement of the many military manned checkpoints. ….Despite the government claims that it had sent out the withdrawal orders, nothing has changed. If anything, there are more Central Security forces out of on the streets, machine guns at the ready.”This is typical Saleh, he says one thing and does the opposite” said a resident in Beit Buss, a popular district of the capital. “In Yemen, nothing is as it seems” he added.

The “dove of peace” line, as soldiers opened fire on the protesters, really should be enough for anyone to catch on.

Mr Democracy can’t stand free speech; its been an ongoing problem:

Yemen: The freedom of opinion and expression still under security attack
ANHRI condemns blocking “Yemen Nation” news website, Cairo, 26 September 2011

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemned today the publicly ongoing repression of the Yemeni authorities against the Freedoms of press and media. Yemeni security forces blocked the independent news website “Yemen Nation” yesterday, without providing any reasons or justifications for this repressive behavior.

It is worth noting that this is the second time for “Yemen Nation” website to be blocked, the first time being last March following the massacre of “Friday of Dignity” in Al-Taghyeer square, in front of San’a University.

Freedom of expression in Yemen is seriously deteriorating since the public protests and demonstrations began last February, demanding ousting the regime of president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been dominating the country for over 33 years. However, all border chick points changed into a machine for confiscating newspapers and preventing its distribution. Simultaneously, news websites are not in a better condition, for many of these websites were blocked and hacked.

“The repressive practices of the Yemeni authorities such as: confiscation, blocking, targeting journalist and media professionals will lead to nowhere and will not kill the dream of freedom of the Yemeni people” said ANHRI

“The Yemeni regime is still not aware that it is facing a public movement and is still behaving the same old way which is based on repression, suppression and confiscation of freedoms” ANHRI added

Saleh meets with Salafi clerics and asks for fatwa against protesters. Lately official TV channels have aired a number of shows with Salafi clerics who are asking people to side with Saleh. Yemen Tribune. YAATC: Saleh said in at the “scientific conference of the Association of Yemen, “opponents have conduct inconsistent with our religion of the Islamic Sharia, which has made ​​the sanctity of Muslim blood, more privacy and provided to ward off evil to bring the interests and there is no evil greater than the payment the country into civil war, destroy crops and cattle and eat everything and everybody.”

Its an Orwellian nightmare

UNITED NATIONS—Yemen’s foreign minister says the opposition movement’s refusal to accept the results of the 2006 presidential elections are to blame for the country’s current crisis—one that could escalate into a civil war.
Abu Bakr al-Qirbi also told the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday that President Ali Abdullah Saleh is committed to a U.S.-backed Gulf Cooperation Council initiative as a means to ending the crisis in the beleaguered nation that has left hundreds dead.

Al-Qirbi says Saleh’s government is committed to democracy and reform, but the opposition has co-opted the youth-driven protests as a way of trying to oust Saleh after he won a resounding victory in the 2006 elections.

A bright spot, women protest

The Saudi Arab News: Saleh is the problem

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lessons learned as Saleh returns to Yemen

Filed under: Presidency, Transition, Yemen, protest statements, protests — by Jane Novak at 10:55 am on Friday, September 23, 2011

What are the lessons learned since June when Saleh left until today when he returned to Sanaa, and how can those lessons lead to a new and more effective strategy? These must be the question of the day, as opposed to: What the hell just happened? Saleh’s return may trigger either violent confrontations or appeasement. His return may ultimately have a positive effect but its going to be tense.

The Youth Revolution:

1- Democracy is not about free speech; it is about designating representatives, not leaders, and holding them accountable.

2- Strength results from organization not numbers, or maybe, numbers are strengthened by organization

3- Statements in Arabic will neverr be translated into English and published by the western media; they have to be issued in English.The US MSM will reprint wire stories, never investigating or disputing basic assumptions.

4- Western nations’ first and overwhelming concern in Yemen is al Qaeda; whether or not you believe al Qaeda exists independently of Saleh, they do.

5- The Southern Movement is not just going to fade away

6- Unity within the revolution arises from accepting diversity and endorsing full equal rights for the weakest; authoritarian muscle tactics are what triggered the rev in the first place

7- Protest marches are a step but not the only step; the Southern Movement marched from May 2007 through January 2011 when protests began in the capital without a broader strategy

The US

1- Saleh will never willingly resign but will pretend to agree time and time again

2- Saleh will play the al Qaeda card and mobilize his jihaddist minions when challenged

3- Saleh will never act in the best interests of the nation, only in his own and the regime’s interest

4- Saleh is as batsheet crazy as Qaddafi and similarly believes in his own lies and majesty

5- Saleh is mercurial, and whatever his position today, it will change tomorrow, accompanied by an entirely contradictory propaganda package.

While the Yemeni youth can be excused their learning curve after 30 years of dictatorship, the US should have know all this from day one.

Protesters reject Saleh’s latest stall tactic (empowering Hadi)

Filed under: Transition, VP, protests — by Jane Novak at 8:14 am on Wednesday, September 14, 2011

As clear from day one, negotiations with a liar only produces more lies. Anyone who gives any credibility to Saleh’s sincerity is sorely misguided. After agreeing and reneging three times to transfer power, Saleh’s empowering the VP to negotiate is a ridiculous and overt stall tactic. For several years, negotiations between the JMP and the GPC were unable to reach any consensus on implementing the electoral reforms that were agreed to in 2006 because the parties never began talks; the GPC threw up road block after road block, which led to the postponement of parliamentary elections scheduled for 2009. Even if the GPC, Saleh, Prince Ahmed et al had an ounce of sincerity, the protesters won’t stand for it, and they won’t be corralled into an Egypt-type outcome where the intelligence chief rises to VP. The following is a comprehensive summary of latest developments in Yemen:

(AP) SANAA, Yemen — Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets across Yemen on Tuesday to protest the latest attempt by the country’s president to evade pressure to step down, as the U.N. called for an inquiry into the government’s use of lethal force against protesters earlier this year. (Read on …)

Former Yemeni PM Mujawar returns to Sanaa

Filed under: Ministries, Sana'a, Transition, Yemen, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 5:59 pm on Tuesday, August 23, 2011

CNN: Yemeni Prime Minister Ali Mujawar was back in Sanaa Tuesday for the first time since he was seriously injured in the presidential palace bombing last June, according to sources at the airport in the capital.

Thousands of pro-government supporters welcomed him back.

Mujawar was being treated in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He’s the first senior official to come back to Sanaa from Riyadh since more than 35 senior officials were taken to the Saudi capital for medical treatment more than two months ago.

Saleh objects to restructuring the military prior to the early elections, Updated after Riyadh retro speech

Filed under: GCC, JMP, Military, Post Saleh, Transition, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 11:05 am on Monday, August 15, 2011

Update: SABA provided a translation of Saleh’s speech to the tribal leaders which indicates that he is back to square one, elections in 2013. Same old rhetoric applied to the new oppositionists: he trashes the youth as Marxists, Royalists seeking to restore the Imamate, and the Taliban. How many times have we heard it before? He accuses the tribal elements of stealing the rev from the youth and says, without a trace of irony, he is committed to a transition of power.

SABA:

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate,

Let me first congratulate you on the occasion of the blessed month of Ramadan. I salute you and pay tribute of respect to you for convening such a conference and I hope that it will conclude with effective decisions and recommendations. I have here with me my brothers parliament speaker Yahya al-Ra’i and prime minister Ali Mohammad Mujawar. They also salute you and salute your conference, which is being held amid dangerous and important circumstances.

We must discuss all the available data, all the events in Yemen, and how to get our country out of the crisis – the crisis which was fabricated by some political forces to reach power. We welcome the opposition and tell them that “you can reach power through ballot boxes, not through coups, statements, denunciation, insults, or irresponsible speeches.” (Read on …)

But does he object as president or head of the ruling party?

Filed under: Presidency, Transition, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 4:20 pm on Thursday, August 11, 2011

Saleh objects to some parts of the GCC deal. How could anyone believe he would implement anything correctly Well maybe they don’t and its all a big game. After Saleh went on TV, 17 of 21 provinces held mass protest marches, drawing together millions of Yemenis in outrage.

WaPo:

A Yemeni official says the country’s embattled president objects to key issues of a U.S.-backed deal that has him transferring power to the country’s opposition in return for immunity from prosecution.

The official says Ali Abdullah Saleh spoke during a meeting with his top party officials in the Saudi capital Riyadh, where he is recuperating from severe burns sustained in a June attack on his compound in Sanaa.

The official says Saleh objects to the mechanism of implementing the deal…Yemen’s state TV aired a brief footage of the meeting, showing Saleh with medical gloves covering his burnt hands.

Yemen’s Saleh released from hospital, stays in Saudi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 …)

Road map for Yemen

Filed under: Political Parties, Transition, protest statements — by Jane Novak at 6:54 am on Monday, July 25, 2011

The US has vetoed any plan that doesn’t leave most of Saleh’s regime in tact. The protesters from the beginning wanted a complete regime change and a transitional council. Thus the six month delay. The opposition parties said today there will be no dialog before a power transfer. The ruling GPC is talking about elections, and Saleh is planning on coming back in August.

Yemen Post: The first road map to end the Yemen political crisis was announced and pro-democracy youth were not forgotten.

The opposition Justice and Building party called for the formation of a 345 member national council to lead the country for one year while youth were given 40 percent of seats in the council.

The road map calls for the involvement of all political factions equally and a presidential council of 11 people. (Read on …)

July 17 2011 marks 33 years since Saleh took power in Yemen

Filed under: Presidency, Taiz, Transition — by Jane Novak at 11:43 am on Sunday, July 17, 2011

First Saleh took the presidency, then he took everything else. Taiz City marks the anniversary with a massive protest demanding self-government:

Its a “day of rage” all over Yemen, 33 years can do that. ( Video here of aftermath of RG bombing in Taiz that killed four at random. Water cannons in Hodeidah. Gunfire heard in Sanaa as supporters fire in the air.) Thanks to the incompetence of the Obama administration, the US is (correctly) seen as extending the longevity of the regime by siding with a few corrupt elites over 22 million citizens. So many people in Yemen were joyous when Obama was sworn in and believed the Hope ‘n Change propaganda that was the essence of Obama’s platform.

There’s some shrill and shallow analysis (I’ll try to find the link again) that asserts the battle for hearts and minds in Yemen was lost a decade ago–and the proof is the USS Cole bombing. Bizarre. In reality, the Cole bombing is proof that the elite have been double crossing the US for a decade. The diverse Yemeni people aspired to and formed a unified consensus for the democracy that was supposed to underpin 1990’s unity. Yemen is the only country with national protests against political Islam, against al Qaeda and in favor of a civil government. The tribes are battling al Qaeda because the government isn’t doing a very good job of it. But when the securocrats assert Yemen is a lost cause, and that the drone campaign is taking place in a vacuum, then animosity toward the US becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

US policy seems designed to strengthen the al Qaeda narrative and sphere of influence. The hypocrisy of US statements about democracy is staggering when the US is overtly thwarting the mass effort to reform a brutal tyranny. The US’s push for immunity for Saleh and his relatives, while the slaughter continues daily, may be related to US complicity in Yemeni war crimes for a decade. It may be the US is implementing the Saudi agenda. It may have to do with trying to salvage something from the US investment in Yemen’s CT forces. But the Obama administration is demonstrating, at every opportunity, that the taking of Yemeni lives is an inconsequential act, whether by Saleh’s guns or US planes.

Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) — Fighting flared in Yemen’s volatile south Saturday, as security forces — backed by armed tribesmen — battled Islamic militants in the region, eyewitnesses said.

Hundreds of tribesmen joined the fight in the town of Zinjibar, vowing to stand strong until Islamic militants leave Abyan province.

“We will not stop until the terrorists leave the province. We will fight and have nothing to lose,” said Masood Mansoor, one of the fighters. “This land is ours and we will not allow it to be a safe haven from outlaws.”

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 …)

Republican Guards open fire on bus in Taiz, teen killed

Filed under: Business, Security Forces, South Yemen, Taiz, Transition, Trials — by Jane Novak at 12:28 pm on Thursday, June 23, 2011

Yemen Post: Republican guards killed a 14-year old boy in Yemen’s Taiz province on Wednesday, where a massive demonstration was held coinciding with protests in other cities to urge the youth-led protesters to finish their revolution and to refuse external mandate or interventions.

Locals at Street 60th at the city’s entrance said republican guards fired at passengers inside a bus killing the teen and injuring others. The incident took place amid insecurity in Taiz, which saw deadly clashes between the army and armed tribesmen in the past weeks.

In other Taiz related news, Haykel Saed Corp is negotiating between the families of the protesters killed by forces under the supervision of lunatic security chief (transferred from Aden after several bloodbaths) Abdullah Qiran. There’s no resolution yet as the families are demanding a trial. Qiran was also charged with the murder of Ahmed Darwish tortured to death in Aden jail. One major outstanding protesters’ demand is the purge and reformation of the security forces.

“Ruling Party: No Dialogue Until Saleh is Back”

Filed under: GPC, Presidency, Transition — by Jane Novak at 7:58 am on Friday, June 10, 2011

Ruling Party: No Dialogue Until Saleh is Back, Yemen Post:

The ruling General People Congress party insists that no negotiations can take place in the absence of President Saleh. “The ruling party will wait until its leader, President Saleh, is back to Yemen. He will be back soon and it will not harm the opposition to wait a couple of days,” said Abdu Ganadi, the deputy minister of information.

The youth organizing committee said that protesters will not sit and watch as both government and opposition stall the revolution and negotiate. “Our steps will be quick and vital. The revolution will succeed and anyone standing in front of the youth will be held accountable,” said Ridwan Masood, a member of the committee.

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 …)

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 …)

Yemen protesters demand interim council and power transition, Updated: lists floating, Update 2: lists pulled

Filed under: Transition, Yemen, protest statements, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 11:42 am on Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ah everybody getting on the same page. It is the same demand (or close) of the international community since Saleh’s incapacitation. The JMP and GCC already signed the GCC agreement. Saleh reneged three times and is no longer relevant except for the specter of his return, which should be quashed by the Saudis ASAP. A revolution by its definition deposes the existing regime.

Update: I saw a workable list for the 20 person interim council but I’m not going to publish it for fear of turning it into a hit list. But things are moving. Excellent. Update 2: Lists pulled, meaning taken down.

Sahwa Net- A million-strong demonstration is to be held on Tuesday afternoon in Sana’a to demand forming an interim council and prevent Saleh from the return to Yemen.

The demonstration which to is head to the residency of the Vice President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi would call for forming an interim council in 24 hours, otherwise the protesters, as they warned, would form the council.

Waseem Al-Qirishi, a spokesman for the Organizing Committee of Revolution, affirmed to AFP that the youths of the revolution decided to escalate their activities after they heard that Saleh would return to Yemen in the upcoming days.

Saleh no longer needed to sign GCC plan after GPC and JMP signed

Filed under: GCC, Transition, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:48 am on Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Saleh will never agree to hand over power but he doesn’t have to. The JMP signed the GCC plan on Saturday and the GPC signed on Sunday. Since he didn’t sign, his assets abroad (stolen from the Yemeni people) can be seized and the billions used for the new government to aid the people. Forget Saleh and seeking his approval, implement the plan. The Saudis though have to make some statement that Saleh will be remaining as a guest for quite some time in order to end the lingering uncertainty and let the country move forward. One of the protesters primary objections to the plan was Saleh’s inclusion, no longer an issue. They want a transitional council, the plan calls for something like that. Hadi is a figurehead and under Ahmed’s gun. What he needs is the support of the protesters, JMP and GCC to take the first steps that will enable him to back out slowly. Once the country is moving forward, the youth revolution can and will give its input on how the new political and governing structures should be shaped.

US presses Saleh to hand over power in Yemen, Al Arabiya: The White House called late Monday for an “immediate transition” of power in Yemen, where the United States fears Al Qaeda could exploit political turmoil and strengthen its presence, as Britain confirmed the deployment of military assets near the embattled nation. (Read on …)

Republican Guard refuses to stand down, Updated

Filed under: Security Forces, Transition, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:35 am on Monday, June 6, 2011

Attacking citizens Intra-brigade clashes in Taiz despite the cease fire. Battle in al Habylean, Lahj. RG reinforcements en route to Taiz halted on Ibb road by locals. Snipers kill 3 of al Ahmar’s men in Sanaa. Nine soldiers killed in the south by “gunmen.” Prince Ahmed and the four horsemen of the Apocalypse have to stand down, as well as Mohsen’s men and the defected military. Sadiq al Ahmar pledged to honor the cease fire as long as the Saleh forces do. GCC, EU, US all urge restraint. The enmity and rivalry between Ahmed and Ali Mohsen has deep roots. Ahmed moved into the palace, not Hadi, and more from Comment Middle East:

The position of state television remains the same, indicating that the regime is still in tact, even if it has been decapitated. More worrying for the protesters is Hadi’s reported statement that Saleh will return in the next few days. Even if this is not feasible due to Saleh’s apparent condition, it is clear that those who back him are still clinging on, and still maintain some sort of influence over Hadi.

This should not take away from the sense of joy and achievement being felt in Sana’a and the rest of the country. Although there are still sporadic bouts of violence, especially in the second city Taiz, the sound of explosions has been replaced by that of fireworks, and people have been flocking to the protest squares around the country to celebrate. If anything, a large presence in the protest squares would indicate to those still unsure that the regime is done for.

The protesters have also indicated that, although they welcome the departure of Saleh, it is only the first of their demands, and that they will not leave their tent cities until all their demands are met. In the focus on the al-Ahmar – Saleh rivalry many analysts have overlooked the power of the youth movement, which is huge in a country where the average age is 17.

As per usual in Yemen things are being done unusually….

Abdul-Ghani al-Iryani has an optimistic view that Saleh is not returning, the political process will take hold and describes lingering skirmishes as expected and diminishing.

There’s a Bill of Rights floating around, pdf. Hadi chairs meeting security council.Otherwise quiet but tense. Military prepares to storm Zinjibar.

Update: late night explosions and/or clashes around the Presidential palace in Taiz.

Yemen: Presidential power transfers to VP al Hadi, Saleh exits Yemen

Filed under: Presidency, Transition, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 5:30 pm on Saturday, June 4, 2011

After an entire day of contradictory reports on Saleh’s health and whereabouts, the Deputy Minister of Info announced on al Hurra that Saleh and 24 family members are in Saudi Arabia for medical treatment, and presidential power has been transferred to VP al Hadi. I’m assuming the GPC and the four horsemen (may be three now if Tariq is really killed) consider this as a temporary arrangement; where as the protesters see it as the beginning of the end. I’m in shock.

Updates, unofficial and official:

Ali Mohsen submits his resignation to Hadi

NEW JOKEs: SALIH REFUSE TO SIGN FOR SURGERY WITHOUT PRESENCE OF THE OPPOSITION

THEY SAID, ELECTRICITY SHUT OFF IMMEDIATELY IN SAUDI ARABIA AT THE ARRIVAL OF SALIH

Royal Court of KSA issues official communique that Saleh is in SA for medical treatment while some Yemeni officials insist he’s still in Yemen. Bin Ali said to be at Saleh’s reception at the airport.

Alarabyia correspondent reports seeing Saleh walking from the plane, which means not badly injured and odd if he had surgery earlier today

BaFadhl on AJA: Ali AlAnesi, head of Nat Sec, announced formation of an (unconstitutional) military council to cover for Saleh

Taiz under full control of the rev and celebrating with fireworks.

Hadi also in command of the armed forces.

Al Jazeera back in Yemen.

Several reports indicate that the explosion was caused by a bomb planted in the mosque by a RG commander but there’s still many varying accounts.

Celebrations in Sanaa with people chanting, “The people finally overthrew the regime.” Some explosions despite cease-fire.

Southern secessionists ask “Can anybody hear us, facing threat of a new system of al Zindani or al Qaeda seizure? Where is the UN as we seek to create a system of stability and security in the provinces? Is there anybody supporting us against al Qaeda?

Former ambassador Hull: time to bring Yemen to the UN SC

Filed under: Donors, UN, Transition, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 12:36 pm on Friday, June 3, 2011

Any kind of coherent multi-pronged approach from the US would be better than continually parroting pleas to accept the GCC offer–which the opposition and GCC have withdrawn their acceptance of, and the Yemeni protesters rejected from day one. This sounds about right:

Foreign Policy It is time to bring the U.N. Security Council into the picture, building on and supporting the efforts of the GCC and the Yemenis themselves. It should not lay a foundation for outside armed intervention as in Libya — that would be a disaster in mountainous, heavily armed Yemen — but rather chart a clearly nonviolent approach.

The pillars of that approach could be: a demand for Saleh to hand over power immediately to a caretaker government; targeted sanctions aimed at promoting further defections from the president’s power base and denying the president economic resources to sustain his rule; endorsement of early elections — Sept. 20, 2011, will mark five years since the last one — with international assistance in the significant effort required to prepare and monitor such elections; and early attention to Yemen’s burgeoning humanitarian needs, not as a substitute for a political settlement, but as a necessary support for one.

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.

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