Armies of Liberation

Jane Novak's blog about Yemen

Hardamout Tribal Confederacy rejects any corrupt deal with Nexen to settle environmental damage case

Filed under: Enviornmental, Hadramout, Oil, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 1:54 pm on Sunday, September 7, 2014

Update: also read this older news report (Ar) on the toxic lake in Shabwa

HTC statement: An Important Statement for Public Opinion: a Nasty Deal against Hadramout Made by RoY and Nexen Oil Company Regarding a Pollution Case.

Our reliable sources have revealed that there is a nasty compromising deal against Hadramout between the Republic of Yemen (RoY), represented by the Ministry of Oil and Minerals, and Canadian Nexen Company, the former operator of sector 14 in Gail Bin Yamain (Masila). The deal is to settle the issue of environmental pollution caused by Nexen in Gail Bin Yamain and its surroundings as a result of a case brought to the International Court in France for nearly two years by a group of Hadrami engineers and experts in the field of oil and the environment who raised and followed up this issue and formed a pressure on the RoY till a case was submitted to this International Court. The RoY has hired Clyde, a law firm, to plead on behalf of RoY.

A tender has been developed for specialized companies in the detection, examination and assessing the status of Oil wells (Audit) if they are in good conditions. Two companies have applied to this tender and they are 1- Intytech Inc. and 2- United Safety. The second firm was technically unqualified therefore it was excluded, and Intytech Inc. was chosen. But it seems that this choice was disliked and rejected by the Oil Mafia in Sanaa which canceled the subject of examination and assessing the status of Oil wells (Audit) permanently fearing of accusing Canadian Nexen Company which is their partner in plundering the wealth of Hadramout and causing pollution in the region.

In last Ramadan, Clyde, the law firm, has sent an expert in the field of pollution at its own expenses accompanied by a female lawyer of Clyde to Hadramout. This expert submitted a report and confirmed to the people who are interested in the case that the pleadings in the case will start in the month of August of 2014. Due to all of this momentum, Canadian Nexen felt the danger of this case and rushed, through its agents represented by Oil Mafia in Sanaa, to push towards an agreement on an illegal deal to close this case.

Unfortunately, Deputy Minister of Oil and Minerals, Dr. Ahmed Basireeh (Hadrami) has been sent to the French capital Paris on 30/08/2014 to settle this issue. This was published as an officially news (government delegation heading to France to resolve disputed issues with Canadian Nexen the former operator of sector 14 and the delegation was headed by Deputy Oil Minister Dr. Ahmad Basireeh). The delegation team included the Ministry of Oil and Minerals and Petromasila Company, the current operator of the sector 14. The strange thing is that Petromasila sent a person who is not a Hadrami and was not one of the engineers or specialists in the oil fields, and he is a Warehouse Manger in the company!!

If this deal is compromised, people of Hadramout are in deep troubles after the things are revealed to everyone as the local proverb explains it: The Guard is the Thief. They have to act as quickly as possible to condemn this disregard of their lives and their environment and to reject any settlement in this case.

We are in Hadramout Tribes Confederacy (HTC) definitely reject any settlement of this issue with Canadian Nexen, and any other issues pertaining to Hadramout only with the knowledge of all Hadrami’s. We are calling upon all of Hadrami’s- scientists, politicians, academicians, engineers, journalists, writers and civil society organizations and all the people of Hadramout to quickly move and stop what is going on and reject it and form a strong pressure on all levels.

We also warn the Canadian Nexen company to stop being manipulative in the case which condemns it and cannot escape it. We also reject its illegal agreements with the Oil Mafia and we consider these agreements invalid and we will prosecute them on these crimes committed against Hadramout. We call on Brother President Hadi to quickly stop the manipulation of what is happening to Hadramout and its human issues. We will let the entire world know what is happening in Hadramout from suppression and killing of its most important issues.

Issued By

Hadramout Tribes Confederacy (HTC).

6th of September 2014.

Update: Government responds , says not settling case: Tuesday, 09-September -2014

Sana’a / Sheba
An official source at the Ministry of Oil and Minerals, the issue of environmental pollution with Canadian Nexen in front of international justice and there is no negotiation.
source explained in a statement (SABA) that the issue of environmental pollution resulting from the activity of the operator’s former sector 14 (Nexen) has been referred to eliminate before more than two years of arbitration in which after the rejection of Nexen reached to compensate for environmental impacts resulting from the activity of the company at that time and the arbitration proceedings ongoing and there is no negotiation in this regard between the ministry and the company and the issue raised before the judiciary.
confirmed that the Ministry of Oil and Minerals and the government will not give up its legitimate rights to compensation project under consideration before the international justice now.
said Source: The ministerial delegation, including the people of the province and the sons of the National Company (Petromcilh) will not be in any day against the interest of the people of the region, but work very hard to protect the rights and interests of the people of the concession area and the nation are year and are optimistic about the integrity of the international court to rule in favor of Yemen in the case of interest to all citizens. ”
and pointed out that the visit of the delegation of the Ministry of Oil and Minerals to Paris come in order to complete financial settlements existing and pending with Canadian Nexen Petroleum Yemen Ltd. operator former Sector 14 in Petromcilh and not to negotiate in the case of environmental pollution.
source explained that the delegation under the supervision of chartered accountant firm Deloitte & Touche task was to complete the financial settlement of the matters pending with Nexen in the field of customs data outstanding tax returns non-updated and cost recoveries and not in the case of pollution Albei..lavta that this chore is with the oil companies after reviewing their records through the legal references.
called source media and websites to the need to investigate the credibility and to seek information from their sources before publishing incorrect information ..mbdia his willingness to meet with people in the region for further clarification about the course of the case.

Hadramout Tribes Statement #2, regarding impending civil insurrection, dtd 12/15/13

Filed under: Hadramout, Oil, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 6:49 am on Monday, December 16, 2013

The statement in sum rejects the legitimacy of the central government and takes on self-rule. The Hadramouti Popular Movement (HPM) derives its legitimacy from the assent of the people as expressed through their tribal representatives.

The statement calls for Hadramoutis to boycott of central government jobs. It announces the launch of the Hadramouti Popular Movement on 12/20, and its structure. The HPM’s goal is to retain local control of “land and wealth.” Corruption in the oil industry has far reaching impacts across Yemen. Both the central government and international community lack the political will, and perhaps capacity, to undermine the upper echelon of the black economy.

The tipping point was the death of Sheikh bin Harish and six tribesmen during a confrontation with soldiers at a checkpoint on December 2. The tribes’ statement number was posted here earlier.

The HPM will establish semi-autonomous governance structures including security entity to protect residents and foreigners. The statement calls for all southerners to participate in his or her own area of Hadramout, ie-instead of overtly folding itself into the southern movement, the statement calls on southern activists to incorporate themselves into the HPM.

The statement also appeals for material support from abroad, a specific technical phrase in English laden with meaning (and legal ramifications in the west), which may be the result of the linguistic sophistication of the translator. There are many Hadramoutis involved in business and commerce across the world, a legacy of the Silk Road.

Update: Wow. The tribal uprising in Hadramout is invigorating, unifying and mobilizing the entire Southern Movement. One unifying grievance, oil corruption. The (expression of broad support) through out the south is scheduled for December 20. Maybe Hadi’s efforts (see below) will short circuit the momentum.

Press Release by the Alliance of Hadramout Tribes
Representatives of Hadrami tribes, headed by the Alliance of Hadramout
Tribes, have met in the Wadi Nahib in Gail Bin Yamin on Sunday 15 /
December / 2013. The meeting was held to discuss how to work on the
implementation and success of the comprehensive Popular Movement,
which was agreed on at Alliance of Hadramout Tribes last meeting that
took place in the Wadi of Nahib in Gail Bin Yamin on Tuesday, 10 /
December / 2013, for all Hadhrami in the countryside and the urban.
It was agreed by representatives of Hadramout tribes in this meeting
on the formation of the presidency of the Alliance by representatives
of all the tribes and to be headed by Al Homoom representative; and
specialized committees have been formed as the following:

1 – Security Committee.

2 – Coordination and communication Committee.

3 – Media committee.

4 – Finance Committee.

And agreed on the following appeals:

1 – All Hadrami have to be united and unite their word to launch
Popular Movement which will be covering all of Hadramout at the same
time, and everyone in his/her own area, which will be launched
according to its agreed schedule on Friday 20/ December/2013 to enable
the people of Hadramout to control over their land and wealth.

2 – It was agreed that Alliance of Hadramout Tribes is the primary
reference for all the people of Hadramout including employees in
government departments and that applies as well to oil companies
operating in Hadramout.

3 – A call for all political and civil society organizations in the
cities to organize the Popular Movement and to form Popular Escorts to
maintain security and to maintain public, private properties, and
maintain various services of citizens.

4 – A call for religious scholars and imams of mosques to direct their
messages to support the Popular Movement.

5 – A call for all people of Hadramout who work in the top level of
the government, the House of Representatives, the Shura Council, the
members of the National Dialogue Conference, military leaders as well
as members of Local Councils in Hadramout to suspend their work
starting from the Popular Movement.

6 – Alliance of Hadramout Tribes reassures all foreign experts and
foreign workers in the various oil companies and other firms in
Hadramout that they are our guests and they are not targeted by us; as
well as residents in Hadramout .

7 – We highly appreciate the positions of all Southerns, and we want
them to participate actively in the comprehensive Popular Movement,
everyone in his/her area as in Hadramout.

8 – Appeal to the regional and international communities, human rights
organizations, and international organizations to positively interact
to support our just cause.

9 – Appeal to the people of Hadramout at home and abroad to provide
material and moral support for the success of this just cause.

This is what has been agreed upon and God grant us success.

Issued by:
Presidency meeting of Alliance of Hadramout Tribes
Wadi of Nahib in Gail Bin Yamin
on Sunday 15 / December / 2013

Update 2: Mediation begins in standard fashion

News of the Yemeni Revolution

NYR | The Yemeni Government started a tribal mediation process with the families of Radaa, whom there relatives have been killed on Thursday in a drone strike.

The Government paid the amount of 30 million Yemeni Rials (Around 150 Thousand USD), and put a 100 AKs to start a mediation process – which is a tribal tradition done in Yemen to start a mediation that usually ends up by issuing a public apology and paying compensation money.

The tribes of Qaifah blocked the main road of Radaa yesterday, protesting the drone strike on their village.

The Military committee formed to investigate the incident said that there were AQ members amongst the wedding convey, while the mediation said that the Government acknowledges it was a mistake, probably done due to wrong intelligence.

Update 3: YafaNews: President Abdrabo Mansoor responds to the Hadramout tribes ultimatum by offering an independent federal state which will practically mean dividing South Yemen into two federal states (Eastern and Western) and latest official statement (ar) Hadramout demands here

Hadramout tribes issue statement upon the killing of Sheikh Harish

Filed under: Hadramout, Local gov, Security Forces, Tribes, statements — by Jane Novak at 8:23 am on Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Report on the outcome of the tribal gathering in response to the killing of Sheik Harish demands a reckoning and addresses long standing issues of contention including security checkpoints and the distribution of oil jobs and revenue.

Huge crowds of Hadrami head of tribes, tribes, representative of
political Hadrami groups, Hadrami social figures, and others have
gathered on 10/12/2013 at “Wadi Nahib” in “Gail Ben Yamin” directorate
in Hadramout governorate to discuss actions to be taken after the
assassination of Sheikh Sa’ad Ben Habreesh of Al Homoom tribe. The
crowd agreed on the following:

1- The killing of Sheikh Sa’ad Bin Ahmed Bin Habreeh Al Homoomi is
considered a crime within several crimes committed by the Yemeni
regime in the governorate of Hadramout, demanding the local
authorities to hand over the killers of the Sheikh Al Homoomi and
those who supported them to get their fair punishment.

2- The cancellation of all military points from all over the
governorate of Hadramout in the coast and in the valley; and handover
all security issues of the governorate, i.e. Hadramout, to the people
of Hadramout.

3- Handover the Oil Companies Protection Forces in the governorate of
Hadramout to the Hadrami people.

4- The gathering have called for an endless escalation and popular
movement starting from 20/12/2013, if the regime doesn’t respond to
the above requests, until a full control of the governorate of
Hadramout by Hadrami people.

5- The funeral of the martyr Sa’ad Bin Habreeh is on the coming Friday
after the Aser prayer at directorate of “Gail Ben Yamin”.

Many ways to go on this depending on where you start from:
1- Necessity of training security forces, establishing command and control, localization
2- Importance of establishing accountability and conflict resolution mechanisms (Whoops, everybody still has immunity.)
3- Demonstrates the difficulty of carrying out ground CT ops in Yemen
4- Demonstrates Defense Ministry’s continuing knee jerk propensity toward calling all opposition, especially dead opposition, “AQAP”. (See YT below.) The Defense Ministry retracted the accusation, not because it was untrue and it was untrue, but because the errant label would have further inflamed the tribesmen; however the entire western media and half of US intel would have bought it hook, link and sinker. And to be fair, it is the US’s formal policy to classify all Yemeni men 16 or older killed in drone strikes as “suspected AQ” and count it as a win.
5- Importance of tribal ties and identity when the state (and its basic services) are absent
6- In the absence of a trusted, or even a rudimentary, judicial system, the importance of tribal negotiations and their ability to defuse volatile situations
7- The nearness of Yemeni tribal norms to democratic norms of self rule, consensus as demonstrated by the meeting itself
8- In the absence of democracy, the ability of the citizen to pressure the state to remedy injustices through the tribe
9- Continuing sense of deep injustice over natural resources (stemming from vast corruption) and a sense of arbitrary punitive state interventions
10- Jobs, everybody needs jobs
11- This is how Yemeni movements are made, a spark in the tinder of burning resentment


SANA’A, Dec. 4—New reports of armed clashes between state forces and alleged Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) emerged Wednesday morning in the Ghail Bawzeer district in Hadramout, according to officials. There were no reported deaths or injuries.

There are security personnel stationed all over the governorate, the Interior Ministry previously told the Yemen Times.

In Ghail Bawzeer, residents have been warned not to go out at night, said Mohammed Bawzeer, the editor-in-chief of the local Shibam Public Newspaper.

“Residents are dissatisfied with the presence of armed men and security forces. There is panic because of repetitive clashes and shootings,” he said.

“The entirety of Hadramout is tense,” said Colonel Hussein Hashim, the security manager of Sayoun in Hadramout.

A security analyst, Mohammed Al-Khalid, said efforts toward an ongoing security campaign in Hadramout will not be successful because it’s not comprehensive. He says those targeted by it—mostly AQAP affiliates—will continue to jump from one area to the next.

Elsewhere in the governorate, in the aftermath of a security campaign in Al-Shehr city that began two weeks ago, dozens of houses were destroyed. The city remains under a 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. curfew.

Markets close at 7:00 p.m., Mohammed Al-Qahoom, a local resident said. Everyone is doing their shopping in the morning, he added.

On Monday in Sayoun, another believed AQAP stronghold in Hadramout (ed- Sayoun as AQAP stronghold hotly disputed by some), Sheikh Sad Bin Harish, the head of Hadramout’s tribal federation in Sayoun, was killed by state forces at a checkpoint right outside the city.

According to local officials, Harish, who was travelling with bodyguards refused to hand over weapons his convoy was carrying at the checkpoint. Officials say Harish’s men fired first and a gun battle ensued. Seven, including Harish, were killed in the clashes and four injured, according to Hashim.

The Defense Ministry’s website published a statement immediately following the incident, saying that Habrish was a member of Al-Qaeda. Later, the ministry retracted the statement and apologized to tribes in Hadramout.

But as many predicted it seems Habrish’s fellow tribesmen may seek revenge against the state for his death.

Hashim said the situation in the city remains tense and that security forces are expecting armed men in the area to mobilize.

Sabri Masoud, the head of Haq Organization for Human Rights in Seyon, said security forces have withdrawn from four security checkpoints to avoid clashes. Hashim did not confirm this. But, Masoud says tribesmen are coming from districts outside of Sayoun to avenge the sheikh’s death.

“They are coming to Seyon to agree on how to respond to Habrish’s murder,” he said.

More here SadaAden and here AdenLife (Ar). Some southerners are characterizing the statement as pro-secessionist, however some Hadramoutis want their own state as in country. The federal option still seems viable in theory but the transitional central government has not engendered broad trust despite some intermittent gestures of reconciliation and is still viewed as an occupation. Nothing can be achieved without financial transparency and elite accountability, otherwise its just a better dressed mafia that’s stealing the money.

Misunderstanding the concept of “state”, Hashid tribesmen declare war on Houthis & pledge loyalty to Hadi

Filed under: Saada War, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 9:48 am on Sunday, September 30, 2012

1) head of the PSO Galed al Gamish has to go, neutrality or not, 2) loyalty to the state does not mean taking up arms unilaterally to wage a sub-war 3) the Houthi issue has to be resolved through dialog not arms 4) applying the constitution does not mean taking the law into your own hands or applying a violent tribal remedy, does Sadiq have any idea how contradictory and illogical that position is? 5) the Houthis have to stop expanding and fighting, there is no doubt, but Hashid tribesmen launching a seventh Saada war is only going to be another pointless blood bath and 6) Yemeni politics is comprised of various competing cults of personality in an ever shifting caste system.

Yemen Fox, Tribal unanimous agreement to free Sa’ada of Houthis

Sheikhs and officials of Yemeni Hashid Tribe reiterated their support to President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi in building the new Yemen.

At their Saturday meeting hosted by the Tribe’s senior Sheikh Sadeq al-Ahmer, sheikhs and tribesmen of Hashid stated that they “will not remain tied-handed towards violence ongoing in Raida, Sa’ada, Hajjah and some nearby areas,” calling on other tribesmen to line up and unite position against “enemies of the nation.” (Read on …)

“Islamist Movements in Yemen” published by the Center for Arab Unity Studies

Filed under: Civil Society, Demographics, Religious, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 10:55 am on Sunday, September 23, 2012

Book review in Al Monitor,Rise of Radical Islam in Yemen Altering Its Tribalism, Book Finds

Al Monitor: How can a country with a tribal society also see the spread of Islamic political movements? In anthropology, radicalism and tolerance are contradictory. In his book “Islamist Movements in Yemen” — published by the Center for Arab Unity Studies in Beirut — Dr. Abdul Malik Mohammed Abdullah Issa says that tribes constitute nearly 85% of the total Yemeni population and that there are 168 tribes in Yemen.

At the heart of this tribal social structure is also an Islamic religious identity. Yemeni society has historically been very religious. Although there are political differences within Yemeni society, there have not been ideological or religious differences except in a few cases — for example between Zaydi Shiite Houthis and Salafist Sunnis — and this is because most of Yemeni society belongs to the Shafi’i and Zaydi sects (there also used to be some Jews but most of them have emigrated to Israel).

Issa demonstrates that Yemeni society has historically been pragmatic. Yemenis come from one dynastic line from among the Arab Qahtani and Adnani lines. Yemeni society is highly tribal and religiously Muslim, divided between the Shafi’i and Zaydi sects. In his book, Issa explains the nature of these to sects and notes that there are very few differences between them. There are also some Ismailis, Hanafis, Abayidas, and Twelver Shiites, who came from Iraq during Saddam Hussein’s rule, and Wahhabis, who came from Saudi Arabia. (Read on …)

“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 …)

Tribesmen hired for pro-Saleh protests in 2011 seize IM building in Yemen

Filed under: Ministries, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 12:00 pm on Monday, July 23, 2012

There are the bullies who occupied the pro-Saleh square in Sanaa for pay, qat and a promise of a job:

Mohammed Jamjoom ‏@JamjoomCNN

#Yemen Govt Official said men who seized Int Min r tribesmen who were recruited onto police force last yr by relative of former pres Saleh

(Reuters) – About 100 armed tribesmen loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh stormed the Interior Ministry building in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Sunday demanding to be enlisted in the police force, an official said.
(Read on …)

Tariq al Dhahab killed by elder brother

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, Islamic Imirate, Tribes, Yemen, anwar, attacks — by Jane Novak at 2:50 pm on Thursday, February 16, 2012

to avoid tribal revenge. Later in the day, Tariq’s gang attacked Hazam’s house and in total 17 are dead. Several articles are citing an inheritance dispute among 20 brothers, but that was in play by 2007 when Nabil was released from prison alongside Anwar al Awalki. The overt enmity between these two began last month when Tariq tried to occupy Raada, al Baydah in order to release his brother, Nabil.

Al-Qaeda leader in southeastern Yemen killed by elder brother

Yemen Post Staff: Hazam al-Thahb, Yemeni tribal chief from the southeastern Yemeni town of Rada, which was briefly taken over by al-Qaeda militants, killed his younger brother, Tariq al-Thahb, a high-profile leader in AQAP.

Hazam broke on Wednesday evening into a mosque, where his brother and some of al-Qaeda militants were living, and killed his Tariq and some of his followers, tribal dignitary from the area told Yemen Post on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

“He has killed his younger brother after he repeatedly warned him not to align himself with the islamists, however his brother was obstinate and did not pay heed to his warnings and advice. That’s why he had to kill him before he is killed by the authorities, said the tribal dignitary. (Read on …)

HR Min Mansour to form independent commission to investigate HR crimes in Yemen

Filed under: Civil Rights, Judicial, Ministries, Tribes, Yemen, hostages, prisons — by Jane Novak at 7:43 pm on Thursday, February 2, 2012

She’s doing well and going in the right directions (for example closing private prisons) but the question is whether she will be allowed to cross the red lines or thwarted by ye ol powerful and guilty persons even though they have immunity. On a related note, on e report holds that Gen Kiran got a false passport and is planning to escape Yemen. Beyond his recent crimes against protesters in Aden and Taiz, Kiran also has a court case pending for the death by torture of Ahmed Darwish in an Aden prison cell.

Yemen Post: Yemen Human Rights Horia Mashhoor said on Wednesday that an independent commission will be formed with the aim of investigating violations committed against human rights since the outbreak of anti-regime protests in last February.

“Probes about killing of protesters in Sana’a , Taiz and Abyan lack transparency, and Yemen’s judiciary lack enough fairness,” she added.

In her meeting with Middle East and North Africa director of the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy(NED) Abdul Rahman Al-Jubouri, she made clear that Yemen needs special legalizations that cope with international laws.

Mashhoor revealed that the ministry seeks to hold a national dialogue conference to solve Yemen’s problems and come up with joint national views on human rights.

She revealed that Human Rights Ministry would be shifted to an independent supreme authority which enjoys impartiality.

For his part, Al-Jabouri stressed that NED seeks to help Yemen in the field of enacting legislations of the constitution and election laws, pointing out that NED would support and train the consultative body belonging to the Human Rights through Ministry.

In an interview with the state-run 26 September newspaper, Mashhoor made reference to the existence of a big gap between laws and their application on the ground.

Mashhoor has said she seeks to shut down private custodies (ed-private prisons) run by some officials and tribal leaders, stressing that the existence of such custodies contradicts Yemen laws and international conventions.
Mashhoor has vowed to release all political prisoners held in security forces.

Separately, Mashour stated that Yemen’s high-ranking officials take over 90 percent of allowances and benefits allocated to government ministries while low-ranking employees get nothing.

She affirmed that Yemen’s financial systems encourage corruption, demanding to carry out significant financial reforms.

Reuters correspondent in Yemen/ Presidential translator kidnapped

Filed under: Media, Tribes, Yemen, hostages — by Jane Novak at 12:55 pm on Sunday, October 9, 2011

Through the years, I would see a Reuters article that made my head spin because it mis-characterized events entirely, and the article was usually written by Presidential employee Sudam. Nonetheless, I am waiting for the widespread denunciations by the Yemeni protesters of this tactic by Mohsen’s forces, if thats what happened.

Gulf News: Sana’a: Mohammad Sudam, Reuters correspondent in Yemen, was kidnapped on Saturday night in Sana’a by forces loyal to defected general Ali Mohsin Al Ahmer, Yemen ministry of defence announced on Sunday.

Sudam, who is also working as a translator to the Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh, was arrested at a checkpoint run by Al Ahmer’s forces when he was en route from Sana’a airport to his house.

There has been no comment yet from Al Ahmer’s office. Yemen Journalist’s Syndicate condemned the arrest of Sudam and called for his immediate release.

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 …)

Tribesmen down mil aircraft in Arhab

Filed under: Military, Sana'a, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 2:49 pm on Friday, September 30, 2011

This is from two days ago and got stuck in drafts. “The routine task” was likely bombing civilian targets. The story is correct though in that the whole thing in Arhab started in march when the tribesmen prevented the Republican Guard from leaving the base to reinforce the state forces in Sanaa following the Sana’a massacre.

SANA, Yemen — Rebel tribesmen in a mountainous region just north of the capital brought down a military aircraft on Wednesday, Yemen’s Defense Ministry said in a statement. (Read on …)

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

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

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

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

Related: A minor Saleh family tree from the Washington Institute

Interview with Sheikh Hussain al Shuaib, mediator to AQAP

Filed under: Abyan, Islamic Imirate, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:13 pm on Monday, September 26, 2011

via email, this is an excerpt that deals with tribal mediation efforts last month in Abyan with top AQAP leaders. Sheikh Hussain is one of the local dignitaries that attempted to convince al Qaeda to lay down their arms and withdraw. Another section regarding evolving concepts of jihad, US counter-terror tactics and other related topics will be published later.

Q4: I learned from XXX you have contributed in mediation between the al-Qaeda, which controls parts of the south, and the tribes. Can you explain to us what kind of mediation and what resulted?

A4: Yes, I mediated after some tribal and other notables asked me, including some leaders of the ruling party in the province of Abyan. I responded to the request and was accepted in the tribes in the city claiming in the province of Abyan. Despite all the good that I do, our efforts are still ongoing, and the most important thing for us is to convince the young al-Qaeda to withdraw from the provincial capital of Zanzibar and return the situation as before, then arrange the return of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Our efforts are underway and there were some obstacles, the most important of which is that there are parties in the State and others that struggle to serve its interests and the achievement of its objectives, but there is no shortage of God’s solution.

Q5: There is a lot of talk that some of the devices of the Saleh regime are in favor of al-Qaeda taking control of some areas of the south. Are you able to confirm that?

A5: The role of the leaders of the brigades of the Saleh regime in Abyan and Aden was clearly evident on what happened and is happening in Zanzibar, the capital of Abyan province. The city was handed over entirely to al-Qaeda. Security pulled out of the military forces that were stationed there, including the central security. The sudden withdrawal from the city sparked surprise among all observers.

The modern Yemeni street and the south know of the existence of a conspiracy by the Saleh regime to deliver Abyan into the situation as it is now. We are accustomed to such policies from the Saleh regime which uses and always used al Qaeda fighters in any internal conflict between him and his opponents. The regime used them in the summer 94 and used them in wars on the Houthis in Saada. It is no secret that those who blew up the U.S. embassy in Sanaa on 17 \ 9 \ 2009, were some military officers and they used a military vehicle and hired al Qaeda fighters giving them military uniforms. The Saleh regime is not to be trusted on anything, it is the cause of all problems of the country.

I think that the situation worsened for Ali Saleh when he learned that the southern movement has almost complete control of the province of Abyan, after control of Lahj, and the young Qaeda fighters were planted there by Saleh, as it is known that Abyan province is representing the South.

Q6: What is your view of the U.S. role in combating terrorism in Yemen?

A6: I welcome the U.S. role in the fight against terrorism through dialogue and scientific discussion rather than violence and military intervention. As I said before, violence only begets more violence, we welcome that any role of the U.S. put an end to violence and terrorism and that is peaceful.

Most Yemenis believe that AQAP operates as an arm of the Yemeni intelligence and security services. There are substantial indications of the relationship. With the revolution in full swing, defectors are starting to come forward with details.

Judge Hamoud al Hittar is the head of Yemen’s now defunct Koranic Dialog Committee that “rehabilitated” 342 hardened al Qaeda operatives. A former Minster of Endowments, al Hittar said recently that the Saleh regime is “supporting a number of al Qaeda members in Abyan to frighten the West, and to suppress the Yemeni revolution.”

Judge Hamoud Al Hittar said many of the top al Qaeda members who he met during dialog sessions are, “dealing with the Yemeni regime and receiving financial rewards.” A well established system of communication and payments to al Qaeda militants is headed by three security officials, “one in a Presidential Guards, the second in the National Security and the third in the Interior Ministry.” (The Central Security forces are within the Interior Ministry and contain one of the counter-terror units.) In essence, the same counter-terror commanders the US is relying on for its national security are paying al Qaeda to engage in violence, foster insecurity and heighten the US’s threat perception.

Former Foreign Minister Abdullah al Asnag wrote in June about the conflict in Abyan, “Although the government has declared the dead as terrorists, a substantial number of these supposed terrorists have turned out to be on the payroll of the National Security Agency (headed by Ammar Saleh). Many families of the deceased and supposed terrorists have reported that their sons were employed by the National Security Agency and some families even presented NSA ID Cards belonging to the deceased.”

Over 100,000 Yemeni civilians have fled the violence in Abyan, and are sheltering in schools in Aden. A military brigade that refused to surrender to the terrorists was left stranded by the Defense Ministry and under assault by al Qaeda for two months without reinforcements or food. The US ultimately resupplied them by air. About 1500 local tribesmen came together to fight alongside the besieged unit against al Qaeda, and in late July, the Yemeni air force “accidentally” bombed the tribesmen, killing dozens.

Tribes seize RG base, protesters demand Saleh’s trial, Saleh lies more

Filed under: Military, Security Forces, Tribes, Yemen, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 8:03 pm on Monday, September 26, 2011

Lightly armed tribal fighters seize 40 tanks from the “elite” RG. The protesters will throw Saleh out again if that’s what it takes, but the idea bringing him and his relatives to trial in Yemen is really starting to fill the imagination. And Saleh lied in a speech about being willing to transfer power but he literally hasn’t told the truth in a decade, so its not worth posting or even reading. (The Regime’s social media strategy: lie, liable and infiltrate

VOA Forces loyal to a Yemeni tribal leader have captured a presidential guard base north of the capital Sana’a, as forces loyal to President Ali Abdallah Saleh appear to be suffering a slow erosion. (Read on …)

Tribesmen battle soldiers to forestall AQAP take-over

Filed under: Abyan, Islamic Imirate, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:17 am on Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fearing the soldiers will hand over the town to al Qaeda, tribesmen attacked the soldiers…

Aden al Ghad: Tribal gunmen took control over Musaimeir District in southern Yemen. According to sources said to “Adenalghad website” that clashes broke out in the district continued for several hours between local tribal gunmen and soldiers stationed in a number of government facilities in the district in the early hours of Thursday. (Read on …)

Abyan al Qaeda steal communication equipment?

Filed under: Islamic Imirate, Military, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:20 am on Friday, September 2, 2011

Al Qaeda spying on the Yemeni military with stolen communications equipment is not beyond reason. Maybe its the translation, but the reporter seems in many articles to be extolling AQAP’s military gains.

Yaf3: The source said the gunmen took control of the sensitive devices in the operating rooms Abyan province and the central axis and Security, which saw fully armed confrontations in the past and were taken to unknown destinations, including listening devices and wireless, which enabled them to learn the movements and the Yemeni army units, (Read on …)

National Solidarity Council announces support of the southern position rejecting the National Council

Filed under: Tribes, Yemen, protest statements — by Jane Novak at 12:19 pm on Saturday, August 20, 2011

On a side note, the National Alliance of Yemeni tribes, announced this month by Sadiq al Ahmar, called on tribesmen to leave the Republican Guard and return home. Marib Press reported

The National Solidarity Council on the other hand is a largely Hashid civil tribal alliance announced several years ago by Hussain al Ahmar to engage tribesmen in the political process.

al Masdar: National Solidarity Council announced his withdrawal from the National Council set up by the opposition last Wednesday, and said he would not recognize him. (Read on …)

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.


Filed under: Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:18 pm on Wednesday, August 10, 2011

GPC member Shaef quoted is not the defacto head of Bakil, they renounced him in 2010 Confederation

CNN But Mohammed Nagi Shaef, head of Bakeel confederation,Yemen’s biggest tribe, and senior member of the ruling General People Congress party, said that Yemeni tribes will not allow the international community to force Saleh into early elections or withdraw from power

He said that tribal leaders have called on all Saleh’s supporters nationwide to come to the capital and protest in front of the presidential palace, demanding that the international community allow Saleh back in Yemen.

“President Saleh’s term ends in 2013, and we will not allow him to leave before that period at any cost. This is what the Yemeni constitution says and this is what will happen,” said Shaef.

Clashes in Sanaa, Yemen

Filed under: Hodeidah, Sana'a, Security Forces, Tribes, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 12:08 pm on Friday, August 5, 2011

The Republican Guard had been preparing and repositioning for the offensive over the last days. The tribesmen fortified their positions. A spokesman for the al Ahmars said they are sticking to the ceasefire agreement. Update: Defense Ministry denies the short lived clashes even occurred in Sanaa. Six protesting lack of electricity were shot dead in Hodiedah. Two killed in Aden after military accidentally opens fire.

Yemen Post: Two huge explosions were heard and clashes started in Hasaba zone of the capital Sana’a between tribes and republican guards, numerous eyewitnesses said. Residents in Hasabah said that hundreds of gunshots were heard starting at 5pm in the area and have been spreading to the neighborhoods of Mazda, Giraf, and Airport road of the capital. (Read on …)

Three Yemen govt airstrikes targeted tribes fighting al Qaeda despite notice

Filed under: Abyan, Counter-terror, South Yemen, Tribes, Yemen's Lies, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 10:14 am on Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Update: Reuters reports the tribes have returned to the fight.

Xinhua: Tuesday’s offensive by the 119th Military Brigade in Khamila area in western Zinjibar killed three Islamist militants and wounded seven others, who all were hospitalized in Razi hospital in Abyan’s city of Jaar, a doctor at the hospital told Xinhua. Zinjibar, about 480 km south of the capital Sanaa, has been besieged by the 119th Military Brigade from the west and by the 25th Mechanized Brigade from the east

Original: This is an excellent article from AP and should be read in full. Lets again review the sequence of events. Saleh warns of an al Qaeda take over in Abyan, if he is deposed, then government troops withdraw leaving behind large stocks of weapons. Al Qaeda moves in, takes possession of the weapons and takes over several towns including the capital, Zinjibar, forcing about 90,000 residents to flee from Abyan to Aden. The Defense Ministry leaves the 35th Mechanized Brigade stranded for two months, ordering the brigade to surrender twice. (The US trained CT forces are no where in sight.) Southern tribesmen launch a counter-offensive along with the 35th MB and drive al Qaeda out of Zinjibar. As the fighting moves to the outskirts of town, the Yemeni military bombs the tribesmen three times, although they had notified the military of their position. The Yemeni government calls it a friendly fire incident. Yemenis call it another instance of state collusion with al Qaeda in order to play the western powers, especially the US.

Al Qaeda will be much, much weaker without Saleh and his relatives (including Ahmed) and could be easily conquered, on all levels, by the multitude of indigenous forces that are naturally opposed to them. Its a much more cost effective option as well.

Botched Yemen airstrikes harms anti-militant fight

By AHMED AL-HAJ, Associated Press – 20 hours ago

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemeni government airstrikes that accidentally killed 40 people last week, including four army officers and a tribal sheik, brought an abrupt halt to the largest military effort yet to dislodge al-Qaida-linked militants from a key southern town, officials and tribal fighters said Tuesday.

The airstrikes, which took place late Friday just east of the town of Zinjibar near Yemen’s south coast, outraged pro-government fighters, prompting them to withdraw from the military offensive against Islamist militants. (Read on …)

Iraqi pilots bomb Yemen villages, Update: airstike kills 400 RG who refused to fight, Update 2: figure corrected to 35 at Yemen Post site

Filed under: Iraq, Protest Fatalities, Sana'a, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:44 am on Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Yemen Post later corrected (without explicitly noting it) the following article to read: One of the airstrikes in Arhab district killed a large number of armed tribesmen fighting the government as well as republican guards. The total number of death varied, with least estimates saying that at least 35 were killed in the air raids.

Another possible discrepancy in fatalities, by the power of ten, here.

Saada War redux- Iraqi pilots bomb Yemeni civilians. The impact of Saddam’s military leadership in Yemen on both the Saada War and the Iraqi insurgency was substantial.

Sahwa Net- Yemen Air Forces have recruited Iraqi pilots and used them in bombarding some Yemeni villages in Arhab after Yemeni pilots refused orders to attack the Yemeni villages, a military source revealed.

The source affirmed that the Iraqi pilots committed brutal crimes against people of Arhab, outskirt of Sana’a governorate, pointing out that they carried out many air raids on Arhab. It also said that 400 Yemeni officers and troops who refused to attack Arhab villages were killed by the air raids, pointing out that a number of Yemeni pilots who rejected orders of bombardments are still held.

Update: gruesome, state airstrike kills 400 who refused to fight the tribesmen

YP Commander Abu Hatim said the Yemen Air Force are currently using Iraqi pilots at a time when the army is continuing operations in the two districts and that the Iraqis are committing enormous crimes against the Yemeni people.

One of the airstrikes in Arhab district after tribes were said to have seized a republican guard killed at least 400 officers and troops of those who refused to fight the tribes, he was quoted as saying by Akhbar Al-Youm newspaper.

A number of the republican guard camps in Arhab are being cleansed by the army, especially those which refuse to participate in the battles with the tribes, he said, pointing out that the army is also cleansing commanders accused of links with the opposition. (Read on …)

Sheikh beheaded in Yemen following MIGs “accidental” friendly fire? Updated

Filed under: Abyan, Air strike, Counter-terror, Islamic Imirate, Military, Tribes, Yemen, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 7:03 pm on Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The tribes fighting al Qaeda in Abyan in support of the 25th Mechanized Brigade were bombed by the state in “accidental (MA)” friendly fire after they drove al Qaeda from Zinjibar and were chasing them down the road. The AQAP counter-offensive occurred in the evening following the state’s bombing the tribesmen, which killed and injured dozens, about 10 km from Zinjiba. The name of the victim beheaded is Sheikh Abdel Mon’em Mohammed Nasser Nakha’i, the Sheikh of all Sheikhs of the Nakhee tribe of the Fahdl clan. Six tribesmen are still unaccounted for.

Several news sites reported the incident, and there was one denial by a purported fellow tribesman on Facebook who said the Sheikh died of three gunshots and was buried in his home town, Amshal. Generally in Yemen, the brutality of the state outpaces that of al Qaeda, for example Ahmed Saleh’s soldiers mutilating tribesmen bodies in Arhab, but this is egregious.

The report from Yaf3 Press hold the government as well as AQAP responsible: “This crime was indicted by a tribal to the security authorities and the Yemeni regime as a major crime joint between Sana’a authority and armed groups (suspected of al-Qaeda) committed against Sheikh Abdel Mon’em Mohammed Nasser Al Nakha’i the sheikh of sheikhs Nakha’i tribe one of the most important and largest tribes of Al-Fadl.” Others hold the Saleh’s plain clothes operatives responsible, and following what happened in Arhab, corpse mutilation, this is also a fair assessment.

Yaf3 Press: Sheikh Nakha’i found slaughtered from vein to vein in common crime and a vehicle in the right. (Read on …)

Sadiq al Ahmar declares new tribal confederation to protect the revolution

Filed under: Tribes, Yemen, protest statements, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 8:03 am on Saturday, July 30, 2011

Following bombing of villages and corpse mutilation in Arhab, the split among the ruling elite solidifies


The alliance of the Yemeni pro-revolution tribes was declared on Saturday in Change Square outside Sana’a University in the capital Sana’a, at a time when fears about the future of Yemen are growing. (Read on …)

Yemeni scholars and clerics demand names of Abyan fighters in statement

Filed under: Abyan, Counter-terror, Religious, Tribes, Yemen's Lies, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 4:53 pm on Tuesday, July 19, 2011

In an appeal letter to vice president Mansour “Hadi,” clerics and intellectuals demand revealing the persons involved in the Abyan battles

ADEN 18 JULY A number of clerics and intellectuals in Delta Abyan located in Abyan governorate, south Yemen sent a message of appeal to the vice president Abd Rabo Mansour Hadi and called on him to take a series of procedures to be taken with regard to the bloody events which are taking place in the Abyan Delta region by the armed jihadists militant groups.

Armies of Liberation obtained a copy of the appeal letter which included five points as follows:

1) We praises the steadfastness of 25 Mica camp and assured our confidence in the ability of the various branches of the armed forces to liberate the Delta region, therefore demand quickly clinch the battle.

2) Accelerate bringing security forces in the city after its liberation to fixing security and preserve what remains of public and private property, that the state shall ensure safe return for displaced persons to their homes.

3) Reveal the names of the elements whom involved in the fighting and looting operations and submit them to the justice.

4) Establishing fund to rebuild the affected cities and villages and make statistics, develop plans and budget necessary to restore the infrastructure of electricity, water, and other services that fund will manage by group of people of the Delta.

5) Compensate those affected in military operation (dead, wounded and private property) and make necessary limitation to them and consider the dead as martyrs.

Tribes expel al Qaeda in Abyan without a shot

Filed under: Abyan, Counter-terror, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 10:02 am on Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Suspected Qaeda chief killed in Yemen: official
ADEN — A leader of suspected Al-Qaeda militants in Abyan province in south Yemen has been killed by the army, a government official said on Tuesday.

The killing comes as tribesmen across Abyan began expelling the militants from the province.

Hassan Basonbol, who went under the alias Abu Issa, was killed in fighting with the army on Monday in Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan, where security forces have battled suspected Al-Qaeda-linked militants since May, the official said. (Read on …)

Arhab, Sanaa: 30 dead, 80 injured, thousands displaced in months of bombing

Filed under: Protest Fatalities, Sana'a, Security Forces, Tribes, War Crimes, political violence — by Jane Novak at 7:55 pm on Sunday, July 17, 2011

This all began months ago when the villagers locked down the RG camp as forces were deploying to attack some protesters. The villagers also captured and burned three helicopters in Nehm. The Saleh forces began randomly bombing residential areas and infrastructure in retaliation, a standard tactic. Arhab was also the site of the December 2009 US air strike and al Zindani is around there somewhere.

Yemen Post: A citizen was killed and three others injured when the republican guard continued shelling the district of Arhab on the outskirts of Yemen’s capital Sana’a on Saturday.

Local sources said the republican guard brigade 61 heavily shelled the village of Al-Obowa with artilleries and Katyusha rockets leading to the casualties and destroying homes and properties. (Read on …)

GPC local council members involved in pipeline, electricity infrastructure destruction

Filed under: GPC, JMP, Local gov, Marib, Oil, Tribes, Yemen, attacks — by Jane Novak at 9:40 pm on Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sahwa Net – A Yemeni opposition leader in Marib, Mabkhot Al-Shareef, has said that most those people involved in a 43- person blacklist published by the interior Ministry are members of the ruling party in Marib .

Al-Shareef affirmed that most of those included in the list accused of bombing oil pipelines and destructing electricity stations are the ruling party’s members of local councils in Marib. (Read on …)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 French aid workers missing in Sayoun, Hadramout, Yemen

Filed under: 9 hostages, Hadramout, Other Countries, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 1:52 pm on Saturday, May 28, 2011

Many foreigners, dozens, have been kidnapped in Yemen by tribes over the last decade and all have been returned without harm. The timing of this is off though. Some are saying that since the “AQAP take-over of Abyan” didn’t generate a US reversal, Saleh is continuing to play on AQ fears with this incident. Maybe his forces will find and rescue them into order to put Saleh in a good light.

BBC: Three French aid workers are feared kidnapped after going missing in southern Yemen, officials say. The three are reported to have gone missing in Hadramawt in the south-east.

They had been in Seyun since mid-April working for Triangle Generation Humanitaire, a French NGO working in Yemen since 1998. (Read on …)

What to expect from Yemen’s Saleh in Nehm, Updated

Filed under: Presidency, Sana'a, Tribes, Yemen, political violence — by Jane Novak at 3:19 pm on Friday, May 27, 2011

Saleh will likely approach the conflict with tribesmen in Nehm the same way he did in Saada, by committing massive human rights violations in order to pressure the fighters.

During the Saada War, 2004-2010, Saleh bombed civilian refugees, villages and hospitals. The state systematically blocked food, gas and medical supplies as a matter of policy. The state refused permission to international aid organizations to treat wounded civilians (not to mention Houthis).

Journalists were banned from the region for five years and punished when they wrote about the conflict. Saleh redeployed US trained counter-terror units to the region and used US supplied equipment in the conflict.

Internal refugees were about 56,000 in 2005 and grew to over 300,000 by 2009. The few UN refugee camps established were so poorly stocked that infants died of malnutrition within the camps. However the vast majority of refugees sheltered in the mountains or fields or with relatives. Child malnutrition in Saada remains well over the national average of 50%.

Saleh operated with complete impunity and little criticism from the US, under both Bush and Obama, even though he was deploying al Qaeda fighters, because he was the only game in town. As it feigned ignorance of the slaughter, the US’s primary concern in Yemen was and remains counter-terrorism. Somewhere around 2009, the EU and UN began making some noise.

The Saada War was not a civil war. Human Rights Watch said the state’s actions warranted an international inquiry into violations of international law, specifically collective punishment of the civilian population.

Saleh really is a butcher as Sadiq al Ahmar said. While many circumstances are different in the current situation, that basic fact is not.

Update: 120 homes destroyed in Nehm. In Yemen, extended families live together and a minimum of ten per home is realistic. Then nearly 1500 are displaced by one day of Saleh’s wrath. The other predictable factor in this conflict is that the tribesmen are the better fighters although under-equipped. They seized nine tanks and three helicopters in one day. Thats how the Houthis got most of their weapons–from the state.

Yemen Post Local in Nehm said that the government was attacking the villages with Meg 29 warplanes. Nehm tribal leader Sheikh Saleh Najeed said that the government forces have until now destroyed more than 120 homes in Nehm with the air attacks.
He said that two of the military bombers landed in villages of Nehm and refused to attack the tribes. The planes are now in the control of the Nehm tribes and the soldiers who were aboard the helicpters are now with the tribes. They are in total 24 soldiers in total.
The death toll from Nehm tribes is 18, while more than 65 are injured.
Tribes confirmed that they have taken 9 tanks from the republican guards.

Tribal attacks on Yemeni military forces, ongoing updates

Filed under: Military, Protest Fatalities, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 5:32 am on Friday, May 27, 2011

Summary: there is no civil war in Yemen or even the immediate prospect of one; the Bakil and Hashid tribes are on the same side against Saleh. Bakil tribesmen took over one of the largest Republican Guard bases, Salah has been shelling their villages for six hours in Nehm, Sanaa. AQAP did not take over Abyan. As it looks at the moment, state jihaddists were given the green light by the National Security to burn the bank in Zanzibar. The danger is of Saleh shelling.

Original: Maybe I’m jaded from all the years of the bloody Saada War, but what’s going on today seems rather controlled. Yemeni tribes in various locations are attacking the Republican Guard, and there’s no civilians in the middle. Only the state forces will deliberately or indiscriminately attack civilians; the tribes will make efforts to avoid them. The danger is not civil war but indiscriminate bombing by the Yemeni Air force. The more Saleh bombs, the less likely civil war becomes. The military capacity of Yemeni tribesmen is substantial. To follow are loose reports from multiple sources; check back for updates.

Sanaa City- Yemen Post reports no clashes overnight. Huge anti-government protests, the 16th Friday of the rev, but no protest by Saleh supporters; attack on mediators caused a significant peel away. 24 hour truce in effect after mediation, security taking potshots but al Ahmar forces not responding.

In speech at protest, Sadiq al Ahmar says mediation is ongoing and he fully backs the peaceful protest movement. Al-Ahmar told protesters in At-Taghir, “We are now in mediation and there has been a ceasefire between the two sides. But if Ali Abdullah Saleh returns (to fighting) then we are ready. We are steadfast and victorious. We wanted it (revolution) to be peaceful but Saleh, his sons and his clique wanted war. We will not leave them the opportunity to turn it into a civil war.”

Some Islahis agitating to take up arms but most protesters remain committed to a peaceful rev, and a (non-partisan) civil coalition moved to an adjacent site.

Info Min: eight ministries are in hands of the Al Ahmar forces.

*Saleh forces lose or give up 5 compounds in Ammeran, Arhab, Nahim and other areas around Sanaa. 10 am EST

Context: Backgrounder on the al Ahmar bros by at BBC by Ginny Hill .

Nehm, Sanaa north of Sanaa- 12 dead (5 tribesmen, 7 RG), dozens injured in fighting a/o 8:30 est. Three military units surrender. Commander of the RG 26 Brigade was killed *in helicopter crash. Retaliatory MIG 29 air strikes ongoing for six hours. RG 26 Brigade regional HQ w/ oversees Sanaa, al Jawf and Marib. *According to tribesmen, the camp contains a large arsenal of military tanks, armored vehicles, missiles, Katyusha rockets, in addition to a huge stockpile of ammunition and military equipment.

Tribe confiscates 3 helicopters. For more details, including helicopter crash, paratrooper fail and death of commander, see Mareb press. *Tribes retaliated after helicopters bombed villagers houses near a military position.

CNN: Defense Min official: 7 Air Force bombers deployed to Nehm, where 2 military compounds were overtaken by tribal fighters.

Locals to Marebpress : Two of the pilots who landed with their planes in Nahm refused to fire & now they are our guests

Context: Nehm tribes attacked RG in revenge for the death of mediator Mohammed Abulhoom at the compound of Sadiq al Ahmar. Nehm are of the Bakil tribal confederation, the largest in Yemen, although the Hasid confederation more politically powerful. The RG is under the command of Ahmed, Saleh’s son. This is one of the largest RG compounds in Yemen.

US delivered four Hueys to Yemen 2/2/11.

Nehm tribe on 5/13 took tanks from 101 Infantry Brigade when they tried to redeploy to Hadramout. Nehm and al Haima were bombed on 5/16 in retaliation. See al Tagheer’s article today for more on the Nehm locking down the RG for several weeks.

Arhab, Sanaa- fighting yesterday between tribesmen and RG, RG defeated or set back. Six people killed in clashes Wednesday, when fighters tried to prevent security officers from leaving two bases in Arhab to reinforce government troops in the capital, about 20 miles away.

Context: tribesmen across Yemen have repeatedly prevented the RG from redeploying to Sanaa and other protest sites from various bases. Arhab is the home of Abdulmagid al Zindani, longtime Saleh loyallist recently an oppositionist, and was the location of one of the US airstrikes targeting al Qaeda in December. I wrote about it years ago as a way station for al Qaeda training, under Saleh’s protection. Also home to Abdulelah Haider Shayer, al Zindani’s brother in law and close associate of Awlaki, who is currently in jail.

Amran- Under al Ahmar control, tribe has 600 pick-ups

Taiz- many citizens came from outlying areas to join today’s protests

Abyan- falling to tribesmen, Yemeni air force retaliates. Alnajda camp fell to armed men, ongoing fighting for control of the military brigade stationed in Abyan city.

Looting: “Scores of deaths in clashes in Zanzibar and Abyan. Military aircraft bombed a mountain about an hour before Khanfar Bdjaar with two missiles. Loose security is unprecedented in the Abyan and looted the central bank and mail in Zanzibar and Ahrachma and fomenting strife there in order to start a civil war.” See photo below.

*Alsahwa net: National Security director coordinates with militants to create chaos in Abyan and AQAP fears in west: “Saleh hands over areas of Abyan to gunmen, saying they are al Qaeda, and this delivery is under the supervision of the director of the National Security.”

al Masdar: militants burn bank, buildings in Zanzibar with no intervention from nearby military units. Residents accuse regime of complicity as Saleh fulfills his promise that Abyan will fall to terrorists.

Context: The state withdrew some military forces weeks ago, the day before the awful explosion at the ammo dump. An online statement from AQAP today regarding Abyan should be taken with a grain of salt. Salah has online stooges in FB, twitter, blogs and for sure in the jihaddis forums. Saleh also has loyalist jihaddists like al Nabi and Sami Dhayan who do his dirty work for money.

al Jawf- heavy clashes reported between al Houthis and tribesmen ongoing for weeks

Lahj- Habalean held a march and protest Thursday. The normally scheduled “prisoners day” protest by the southern independence movement commemorated the fallen, with many speakers and poetry.

Ibb- Huge anti-government protest Vid here

Hadramout- pro-independence protest, “prisoners day,” from the looks of the photos, a significant crowd attended

Marib- state reconnects electrical line, power restored to many part of Yemen.

Al-Baydah- Massive marches

Saada-Hundreds of thousands of Saada province in a massive march confirms the meanings of national cohesion, vids:






International- G8 condemns violence against protesters and says Saleh needs to go immediately. Protest today at UN in NY, joint Syrian, Yemeni pro-democracy.

Comic relief: even UBL thought Awlaki is an idiot. Documents indicate UBL was in direct contact with Attiyatullah al-Libi and dismissed Awlaki as AQ leader in Yemen, ie-AQAP wanted to name him as head and UBL nixed it.

Australian: Bin Laden’s Yemeni wife tipped off the US or was tracked, older wives accuse. “The joke in Pakistan is that Bin Laden called in his location to CIA because he was being driven mad cooped up for five years with so many wives and children.”

Abyan National Bank

Saleh orchestrated drone attack on Sheikh Shabwani: Mohsen

Filed under: Air strike, Counter-terror, Marib, Military, Tribes, Yemen, Yemen's Lies, protest statements, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 2:18 pm on Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Saleh regime topple watch has begun: Tomorrow’s Friday pro-Saleh rally has been canceled and no Saleh speech either. Republican Guard commander defected and called to the troops to join the protests. Tribal mediators working on exit for Saleh after tribes declared Saleh’s blood is free. Tomorrow will be the 16th week of peaceful protests in Yemen, and likely see the largest yet.

Original: After Sheikh Sadiq al Ahmar said today Saleh is leaving Yemen barefoot, Ali Mohsen al Ahmar says Saleh doens’t even have a fig leaf to cover himself with. At Mareb Press Ali Mohsen also said in an interview that Saleh orchestrated the assassination of Sheikh Shabwani in Marib who was thought killed by a US drone. Maybe Saleh deliberately misled the US, like when Saleh gave the Saudi Air Force the coordinates Ali Mohsen’s camp as a Houthi compound. I hope Mohsen keeps talking.

Revealed Mohsen that President Saleh is behind the machinations of the events of the stone that targeted elders Taiz and it is who is behind the events of 13 January 1986 that led to the fighting between factions of the Socialist Party, said: “This feline is raised Vtantha and fueled its horrors among our fellow members of the Socialist , a mastermind of the assassination of Sheikh Jaber Shabwani who sent in the mediation of Marib. “

Saleh really has a long history of killing or jailing mediators. Update: Another phenomenal post in the Trench, small teaser:

This dependency encouraged his bad behavior, antagonized Yemen’s populace, accelerated the revolution, and expanded AQAP’s area of operations. (Read on …)

Too good to be true? Tribal mediators working on deal for Saleh’s departure, Updated

Filed under: Presidency, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:14 pm on Thursday, May 26, 2011

If he is going without being killed, this is the way–tribal mediation. The mediators working to end the fighting between Saleh’s forces and al Ahmar’s are also working on an exit strategy for Saleh. See the earlier posts today for more on the tribes as the only check on executive authority in Yemen. This is the one negotiation Saleh can’t BS his way out of.

I’m not really worried about a civil war among the population, ongoing fighting between the forces maybe. Yemenis remember better than anyone the bloodbaths that came before, and this new generation has internalized principles of democracy.

Socially the protesters became akin to a new tribe, but with a protected status by all tribes, like every Yemeni woman has a protected status. When snipers murdered 58 protesters on March 18, literally half the regime resigned as a matter of personal honor not as a political statement. When Saleh shelled Sheikh al Ahmar’s house, it was another affront to the personal honor of every tribesman in Yemen, even opposing tribes. I’m hoping he’s gone by tonight. Earlier Saleh ordered the arrest of Sheikh Sadia al Hamar and his brothers. It doesn’t mean much.

Update: The mediators are Abdulqader Hilal and other prominent sheikhs including Fayez Mannaa, Ismail Abu Huriah and Awad Ba Wazir. (Saleh decides to leave) sources: the new mediation work to find a way out of the Sana’a airport security for his family
(Read on …)

Yemen’s tribes begin to stand against Saleh

Filed under: Presidency, Protest Fatalities, Tribes, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 10:53 am on Thursday, May 26, 2011

The only way Saleh will leave is by force, that’s been clear for years. The only effective check on executive authority in Yemen is the tribes, and they may just do it now. Beyond “the call” from al Ahmar, I am tracking down another tribal statement that the death of Saleh is now halal.

Update: its here at al Masdar: Sheikh Khalid Al Awadi said if the fighting is not ended in two days, tribesmen are ordered to leave the military and join the youth revolution in the squares of change and freedom, ie- Sanaa and Taiz. The title of the article is The blood is free after the killing of President Saleh meaning halal. Sheikh Sadiq al Ahmar said to Reuters, “Saleh will leave Yemen barefoot.”

The only thing the US can do in this situation is issue a clear, multi-sentence statement against Saleh, promising US humanitarian aid to the following government, in order to demoralize any of Saleh’s followers who are wavering. Freezing his funds would be a good step as well initiating any action at the UN, today. Then the USG, the Yemeni protesters, tribes, opposition parties would all be on the same side, a good place when Saleh is dethroned, which is coming, wrought with destruction and blood in its path, but its coming.

In the last decade, whenever Saleh initiated hostilities against domestic groups like the Houthis or Southerners, the way he did it increased the opposition forces substantially. There are strong norms supporting civilian immunity and the tribal concept of protected places in Yemen. That was the thesis of my 15 page report at MERIA, Comparative Counter-Insurgency in Yemen, September 2010.

The following is a good article as usual from Ahmed al Hajj for the AP. The Hashid tribal confederation is the most powerful in Yemen, but the Bakil is the larges. The mortar attack on the compound of the paramount sheikh of the Hashid, Sadiq al Amhar, killed Saleh’s own mediators. Moreover it was also extremely rude by Yemen standards. They are an extremely polite people, quite lovely actually.

SANAA, Yemen (AP) - Intense battles spread across Yemen’s capital Thursday between government forces and opposition militiamen from powerful tribes that warn of civil war unless embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh steps down. At least 28 people were killed as the four-day death toll neared 110…

Under Yemen’s ancient codes, tribal leaders can declare that members follow their orders above all others. This potentially gives tribal chiefs the power to order government soldiers from their clans to stand down. (Read on …)

Over 50 killed in overnight clashes in Sanaa, Yemen

Filed under: Presidency, Protest Fatalities, Sa'ada, Tribes, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 7:24 am on Thursday, May 26, 2011

President Saleh never had any intention of stepping down and played the international community very well for three months. He drew out negotiations, and reneged three times on signing the agreement he dictated to the US and Gulf countries. Then he attacked the mediators, besieging the US ambassador on Sunday with an armed mob of ruling party loyalists. Monday Saleh began shelling the compound of his main tribal rival, Sadiq al Ahmar in Sanaa the capital.

Clashes raged for hours. Tuesday Saleh sent his negotiators to the al Ahmar home (some say with a tracking device serendipitously planted on one of them) to mediate an end to the violence that he started. Then he bombed the compound, killing his own people who were still in the home. This of course triggered more clashes between the military and defected military with tribesmen on both sides that continues today. Saleh is claiming to be the victim, another standard tactic in the wake of state violence.

Saleh is now showing his true face to the world and his intention to retain power at all costs. President Saleh devastated the northern province of Saada, bombing for years (2004-2010), displacing 300,000 citizens and then blocking aid to the internal refugees. He ravaged the south and openly slaughtered hundreds of unarmed pro-independence protesters (2007-2010). He will do it to the capital Sana’a without a twinge of conscience.

After three months of nationwide pro-democracy protests, over 100 casualties mostly by head shots, and over 10,000 injuries among the unarmed protesters, yesterday President Obama finally said, as a one line throw-in during a press conference in the UK, “We call upon President Saleh to move immediately on his commitment to transfer power.” The only way Saleh will go is by force. The important impact of a clear Obama statement, if it ever occurs, will be to demoralize Saleh’s supporters not encourage any rationality on Saleh’s part.

During Obama’s hour long Middle East policy speech a week ago, huge throngs of protesters around Yemen waited as Obama ticked through the nations in the region, expounding on each. When he got to Yemen, Obama called Saleh his friend. Yemen also only had one line in that speech: “President Saleh needs to follow through on his commitment to transfer power.” The deal Saleh turned down afforded him immunity from prosecution and scheduled presidential elections in two months, a shoe-in for his son, Ahmed, head of the Republican Guard and the counter-terror unit.

Update, US position remains wimpy. There is a blackout of both news and electricity in Sanaa, besides the language barrier. This limp statement is not going to even penetrate: May 26 (Reuters) – The United States condemns the violence in Yemen and believes it underscores the need for a peaceful transfer of power, White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said on Thursday.

Yemen Post: The head of office for Sadeq Ahmar, Abdul Qawi Qaisi said that more than 50 people were killed and 110 injured in last nights clashes between Hashed tribes and republican guards.

Clashes continued for more than eight hours near Sana’a International Airport and in Hasaba zone of Sana’a.

The Defense Ministry announced earlier today that four more were killed yesterday evening by Hashed tribes.

Tribes in Arhab confirmed that nine tribesmen were killed in clashes between Arhab tribesmen and republican guards last night.

The government has not yet announced its casualties from soldiers.

“5 rockets turned the dark night into daylight around 3 am today in Sanaa these rockets are supplied by the US to saleh and he used them on Sh. Sadeq’s house today they are preventing the people from leaving Sanaa, and the Hasaba district looks like Gaza or Beirut in the 80’s with buildings riddled with ammunition holes today the clashes did not stop and there are un confirmed roomers that Ahmed Ali Saleh was shot and seriously injured by one of his body guards.”

Saleh shells his own mediators at al Ahmar home

Filed under: Protest Fatalities, Transition, Tribes, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 10:49 pm on Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Qamish is now with the revolution. The documents from the interior ministry were seized and are in secure location.

1) They used a Howitzer canon to strike the al Ahmar house, where Saleh’s mediation committee was on the phone with him negotiating a cease fire. The committee are all injured with Sh. Mohammed Mohammed Abu-Louhoom announced dead a few minutes ago. PSO head Galeb Al-Qamesh is seriously injured. The attack brought new tribes into the battle on the side of the protester when their sheikhs were attacked. The ministries of Local Authority and Education fell. (Read on …)

Saleh’s forces attack Sadiq al Ahmar’s home, many updates incl Hashid tribesmen flood in to Sanaa, JMP at house, timeline

Filed under: Sana'a, Security Forces, Transition, Tribes, Yemen, political violence, protest statements, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 8:22 am on Monday, May 23, 2011

Last update: Tribal mediation succeeded in ending the clashes. Saleh’s mediators were Sanhan Sheikh, Ahmad abu Horia and the Ghalib Al-Qamish, the head of the Political Security.

al Sahwa reports that heavy clashes using a variety of weapons have been raging in the vicinity of Sheikh Sadeq al-Ahmar’s house in Hasaba, Sana’a between Saleh’s militia, Republican Guards, Central Security and Sadeq’s guards for at least 2 hours as of 9:30am EST. Sadiq is paramount sheik of the Hasid tribal confederation, and in theory is Saleh’s sheik since Abdullah al Ahmar died. Update: the sides were CF and RG vs. Sadiq guards (Hashid tribesmen) and some military forces from Ali Mohsen al Ahmar.

Yemen Post reports 18 dead: Clashes started at 1pm local time when armed gunmen backed by central security forces attacked the residence of Yemen’s powerful Hashid tribe leader, Sheikh Sadeq Abdullah Ahmar eyewitnesses said. At least 100 gunmen have been shooting directly at the residence for hours now…

Headquarters for Yemenia airways in Sana’a caught on fire after tens of armed gunmen shot directly at the building, eyewitnesses said. In addition, tens of live bullets are being shot at Saba News Agency and dozens of employees are surrounded inside the building…Eyewitnesses and confirmed sources said that Ahmar tribes have seized the Commerce and trade Ministry building in Sana’a.

I believe the SABA building and likely Yemenia are being used by the CS to shoot from, which is why they are being shot at; its not an attack on the state media per se. Its going on for more than four hours already.

Updates: -Saleh attacked with the Najda (Emergency Police) as well as elements of Central Security and Republican Guards and hired mercenaries. – RPGs fired at Interior Ministry. -Salehs forces withdrew but its not fully over. -Injured includes a child - Video here -YPost: Hashed tribes seize the ruling GPC headquarters in Sana’a and Ministry of Trade and Commerce & 600 armed Ahmar tribesmen -road to the US embassy still blocked by armed GPC members

Timeline from a friend:

Republican Guard(RG) & CSF units attacked sh.Sadeq’s house at 1:12pm local time at the time leaders from the JMP were inside the house, sh. Sadeq was not.
at 3:00 pm the entire area was secured by sh.Sadeq’s men
the Al-Saeeda Airlines building fifth floor was in flames.
the RG are sending reinforcements to secure the ministry of interior which is now in flames.
At 5:00pm the Sh’s men have secured the building of the GPC head quarters, Ministry of trade, Saba news agency and were advancing towards the ministry of telecommunication.
at 5:30pm bombardment using Doshka, Tanks, and cannons are heard in the area.
sh. Hameed Al-Ahmer moved the past couple of days from his house in Hadda to the same house.
Sh. Sadeq issued the “Tribal Call” which in effect calls every tribesmen to join him in defending his honor, attacking one’s house is a great dishonor in tribal law.
at 6:30pm new clashed erupted at the entrance to Sanaa at the Azreqaen point as thousands of tribesmen are answering the tribal call are flooding towards Sanaa.

Both sides are a mix of military/security, tribesmen and militia. As long as the state does not attack in Saada, maybe this can wind itself down. There are thousands of troops on the Marib/ al Jawf border, last estimate was over 10,000, eight brigades if that makes sense, maybe divisions. Update: the troops are still in the same locations along the border and road to Sanaa where they have been for more than two months. Fierce clashes are continuing in al Jawf though

Saleh has been storing weapons in schools and government buildings for a week supposedly (including possibly the Ramah girls school). Beyond the military stocks, the state has confiscated a quarter of a million weapons over the last two years in furtherance of the weapons ban. It was never likely he destroyed all of them. I figured he’s resell them; I hope he doesn’t have them stockpiled. The reports of distributing weapons to thugs and GPC members have been consistent and are further augmented by many leaked documents that indicate a nationwide strategy under the direction of the interior ministry.

Update an English round up from AP: (Read on …)

Pro-Saleh tribesmen close road

Filed under: Military, Protest Fatalities, Sana'a, Security Forces, Tribes, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 9:09 am on Thursday, May 19, 2011

Its just so complicated and so dangerous. Apparently the tribesmen closed the road after the Republican Guard failed to retake a military camp occupied by the First Armored a/k/a Ali Mohsen’s forces

Yemen Times: A source in the area explained to the Yemen Times on Wednesday that the pro-Saleh tribesmen closed the road on Wednesday after another group of pro-Saleh tribesmen have failed to take control of a military base in the Bani Mater district, 35 km west of the capital Sana’a belongs to the First Armored Division last Friday. (Read on …)

Nehm tribes, Hadramout, take tanks from army

Filed under: Hadramout, Sana'a, Security Forces, Tribes, Yemen, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 11:13 am on Friday, May 13, 2011

Isn’t the 101st the brigade the state denied creating for Saleh’s son when the reports first came out some months ago? This is how the Houthis got a bulk of their weapons during the Saada Wars, from the Yemeni army.

5/10 News Yemen: Yemeni tribal gunmen from the tribes of Nehm, 40 km east of the capital Sana’a, prevented on Tuesday the army from passing to Hadramout province, southeastern Yemen, to repress anti-regime protests.

Local sources said that clashes broke out between forces of the 101 Infantry Brigade and the tribal gunmen who rejected to allow any military force to pass through their territory to crackdown protesters in Hadramout.

The sources added that the army used heavy weapons and warplanes to bomb the tribal men who blocked the main road in Nehm against the 101 Infantry Brigade’s forces, headed by son of President Saleh, but could not unblock the road.

There have been previous reports on casualties among tribesmen and soldiers, but local sources said that only one tribesman was wounded. Sources said that soldiers had surrendered and handed over personal weapons, armored military vehicles and tanks and returned to the capital.

Sanhan sheikhs deny assassination attempt on Ali Mohsen

Filed under: Military, Presidency, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 7:54 am on Thursday, April 7, 2011

Denial issued following the clash and Ali Mohsen al Ahmar’s statement. (Its the same way they killed Hussain al Houthi, an ambush during a supposed mediation.) According to al Ahmar’s statement, a flyover by two MIGs was the signal to open fire.

Yemen Post Staff: General Ali Mohsen Ahmar told media outlets that pro Saleh snipers were mixed with the mediation committee sent by President Saleh to help in solving the crises between Saleh and Ahmar. According to Ahmar, the snipers were preparing to assassinate him along with members of the mediation committee. “Gun shots were fired at our direction and I was a target of an assassination attempt,” said Ahmar.

Sanahan Sheikhs denies claims of attempting to assassinate Ali Muhsen
[07/April/2011] SANA’A, April 06 (Saba) – Sheikhs of Sanahan, Belad al-Ros and Bani Behlol tribes have denied the claims made by the 1st Armored Division’s Commander Ali Mohsen about attempting to assassinate him.

In a press release issued by them in the 26 September website, the sheiks said that such claims are sarcastic and untrue, affirming that the no one in the convoy has a weapon. (Read on …)

Yemen’s major tribal confederations join anti-government alliance

Filed under: Tribes, protests — by Jane Novak at 8:43 am on Saturday, February 26, 2011

A huge development if true. The article says Hussein resigned from the GPC, a good first step.

SMH: Yemen’s Hashed and Baqil tribal confederations announced on Saturday that they had joined protests to demand that President Ali Abdullah Saleh step down, tribal sources told AFP.

“I have announced my resignation from the (ruling) General People’s Congress (GPC) in protest at the repression of peaceful demonstrators in Sanaa, Taez and Aden,” the source quoted Sheikh Hussein bin Abdullah al-Ahmar, head of the Hashid confederation, as saying. (Read on …)

Hussain al Ahmar: Hashid tribes will protect Sanaa protesters

Filed under: Tribes, protests — by Jane Novak at 1:57 pm on Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hussein al Ahmar is head of the tribal grouping, the National Solidarity Grouping, not to be confused with Hamid al Ahmar head of the National Dialog Committee. Hussein is a bit of a polarizing figure to say the least. In my view, tribal power is one of the few existing effective checks on executive power in Yemen. These statements were made to journalists (not on the march to Sana’a and could be bargaining.) The statement by Zindani also reveals more allies peeling away from Saleh.

Al Hadath: The chairman of the National Solidarity Sheikh Hussein bin Abdullah bin Hussein Al-Ahmar said that a rally would intervene to protect the protesters in the governorate of Sana’a, if the regime continued to take down what have become known as “bullies” to abuse. (Read on …)

Collective guilt and collective punishment in Yemen: shelling Radfan

Filed under: Military, Security Forces, South Yemen, Tribes, al Dhalie — by Jane Novak at 8:54 am on Friday, February 4, 2011

Short version: somebody took some shots at an army patrol in Radfan, al Dhalie, and the state randomly shelled the town, probably with mortars. In essence, the state is assigning guilt and punishing to the whole town for the actions of individuals, heightening unrest. The Saleh regime’s tribal norms are an underpinning in its dealings with citizens. Tribalism isn’t bad, in fact a sense of shared identity and duty is probably whats keeping a lot of people from starving to death today. But when the state assigns collective guilt and other tribal tenets here in 2011, it runs counter to the modern sense of justice.

During the Saada Wars, the motivation for cutting food supplies to Bani Hushaish and other towns was to encourage people to hand in Houthi rebels, one official stated openly, but it had the opposite effect. Throughout Yemen, family members are taken hostage in lieu of a person wanted by security forces and can remain in prison for months or years. The northern Yemeni Arab Republic evolved from the Immamate, a theocracy that depended on the tribes as enforcers. The British colonized Aden in the 19th century and, although the concept of protectorates reinforced tribal authority and paternalism, the PDRY to a degree replaced tribal norms with individualism. One constant refrain of southerners is that the unified state dragged the south back into tribalism and after unification, the state appointed tribal sheiks based on their loyalty to Saleh himself.

Yemen Post: At least three civilians were injured, one seriously, when the army shelled Radfan town, Lahj, on Wednesday.

A medical source at the Radfan Hospital was quoted by the News Yemen as saying that the three pedestrians were injured and taken to hospital after the forces randomly shelled the town following firing on a military vehicle by unknown armed people.

One of the victims had his hand cut off and another was wounded by shrapnel in different parts of his body, the website said.

Also, tens of houses were damaged and families are continuing to flee the town due to the deteriorating situation amid an acute fuel shortage and lack of phone services.

Military reinforcements have been deployed to Radfan in recent months to fight separatist militants who have stepped up their attacks, targeting military posts and public properties.

Lahj is one of the southern cities hit by violence where the separatist movement, Al-Harak, continues the anti-government protests that usually turn violent.

Brother of Marib governor beaten by Sanhan gang, site says

Filed under: Marib, Sana'a, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:24 am on Saturday, January 15, 2011

Its a google translation but I can read it.

after a member of its secretariat was attacked by gunmen from the Sanhan ..
The children of revolutionaries condemns the targeting of its leaders in the center of the capital, Sana’a

Through the Forum of National Democratic Party for the children of revolutionaries and freedom fighters and martyrs Yemenis (glory) Member of the International Alliance for Defending Rights and Freedoms for disapproval and strong condemnation of the attempted attack, who was a member of the Secretariat General and brother of the governor of Marib Sheikh / Abdullah bin Ali al-Zaidi, by armed groups of approximately two hundred people Region Boss House in the capital Sanaa on Thursday evening and Friday afternoon .. (Read on …)

Violence flairs at Houthi checkpoint in northern Yemen

Filed under: Saada War, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 12:31 pm on Sunday, December 12, 2010

Yemen Post: At least 12 Houthi followers were killed, and 15 others wounded in an exchange of gunfire that erupted between Houthi followers and tribesmen in Sa’ada Province. (Read on …)

The Bakeel Tribe’s Website

Filed under: Media, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 3:30 pm on Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Nice! The site can be accessed at

Bakil tribe supports counter-terror initiatives in Yemen

Filed under: Counter-terror, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:52 am on Saturday, December 4, 2010

This is a quite politically marginalized tribe, although it is the largest tribal confederation, and a historical rival to President Saleh’s Hashid tribe. The article is dated 11/09 and hasn’t made it from draft to post for a month. But its an important development regardless of the inner workings that brought it about. People’s Daily

Yemeni tribesmen voice support for fight against al-Qaida November 09, 2010

Thousands of Yemeni tribesmen gathered on Monday in the capital of Sanaa to voice their support for the government’s efforts in fighting al-Qaida. (Read on …)

Yemen: Known al Qaeda operative a member of US trained CT unit

Filed under: Abyan, Security Forces, Tribes, USA, state jihaddists, surrenders — by Jane Novak at 8:01 am on Tuesday, November 2, 2010

This is true, and I’m happy to see it in print in the Wall Street Journal: the US trained counter-terror special forces contain al Qaeda members and sympathizers.

Its not that one al Qaeda operative recently infiltrated, its several and they were part of the unit long before the US stepped up its efforts this year. The PSO, the National Security and the Yemeni military all contain substantial elements of al Qaeda, some at the highest positions. And its hard to call them covert or double agents when they are known, protected and facilitated. The challenge in Yemen is elite support of al Qaeda. From the WSJ, via Youweb, an article that explains the very complex events in Mudiyah and the surrender of the 16.

On Oct. 16, al Mai’aser members (the governor’s tribe) surrounded the home of a man they suspected was a key operative in the ambush (on the governor of Abyan). The Yemeni security official says the man is a known al Qaeda sympathizer who also works as an officer in a U.S.-trained counterterrorism special-forces unit deployed in Mudiyah. The military didn’t return calls seeking comment.

When the suspect refused to surrender, a gunfight broke out; one of al Mai’aser’s rivals was killed and at least six others injured, although not the suspect himself, according to local residents.

A day later, tribal elders intervened to mediate a truce, a discussion that involved local government officials and military personnel who were also members of the two tribes. By Oct. 28, in a deal brokered by the tribal mediation, 14 men had surrendered to the governor for their alleged role in the attack on his convoy. The men were taken into tribal custody, to be dealt with under the rules of tribal justice.

Late Monday, the governor announced the 14 men would be handed over to Yemen’s security agency—apparently breaking the tribal guarantees given to the men to surrender.

Update: Those with good will are to be released…

Yemen Post: Abyan Governor Ahmed Al-Maisari said on Monday that 14 Al-Qaeda members handed themselves in to the authorities after they had been convinced by the local government and sheikhs. 5 Al-Qaeda leaders were among the 14 including Jamal Nuairan, said the governor, adding: “We also arrested 3 other terrorists.” — They would be sent to the political security prison in Aden and their investigations would be completed, he said, pointing out that anyone of them would be found guilty of committing illegal acts would be turned over to justice. But those with good-will will be released and rehabilitated, he added, as he said the authorities are continuing a hunt for other terrorist elements.

A state within a state, Hodeida

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Hodeidah, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:28 am on Sunday, October 10, 2010

Very similar to al Jasheen in Ibb and another village in Taiz, Hodeida is suffering violent anarchy resulting from the abdication of the state to its tribal proxies. In the case of al Jasheen, Parliament convened committees twice and there were attempted official field visits. The residents have been camped out in Sana’a protesting and demanding the state enforce the law, to no avail. Also below the fold, the YOHR report on the private prions in Hodieda. On a related note, there is a “strange epidemic” in Hodeida al Barakish reports, spreading quickly. Symptoms include high fever, severe pain in the joints, and some patients develop acute diarrhea.

Powerful Sheikh kills two people and enforce boycott on village 3/10/2010 – Sahwa Net

Sahwa Net- People of Kazaba village of Hodeida governorate have appealed the Attorney-General, President of Yemen, Prime Minister, Speaker of Parliament and all Human Rights groups to intervene and save their lives from a powerful sheikh who surrounds their village with 40 gunmen. In a statement, they said that the sheikh’s gang killed two of them and wounded five others who were taken to a hospital in the capital Sana’a, pointing out that they could not go out from their homes or practice their works. (Read on …)

Marib Sheikhs Declare Loyalty to Houthi?

Filed under: Marib, Saada War, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:49 am on Monday, October 4, 2010

Nothing on this yet from the al Houthis. As the money runs out, people switch sides.

Marib Sheikhs Declare Loyalty to Houthi Yemen Post Staff

A number of Marib sheikhs including advisor to Interior Minister brigadier general Mubarak Al-Mashan arrived in Saada on Sunday to declare their loyalty to the Houthi Group after a meeting with Houthi leader in Jawf Province two days ago, sources reported. (Read on …)

Tribal Civil Initiative

Filed under: Tribes — by Jane Novak at 11:33 am on Friday, October 1, 2010

Arabic below, the governorate is Ibb

Through a closer view, and read the minutes of the reality, and if the tribes Sufyan through the last decades in terms of development, and service, and demographic, educational, and functional.

One notes that this tribe, in spite of their national role and the importance of its geographical location and breadth of its territory and fertility.

Have been unintended ways of neglect and marginalization by the government of Yemen to special accounts, and pressure from some parts of the tribal lost tribes are still waging a Sufian hostility. (Read on …)

The 71 Hashimite prisoners of Houth, Amran

Filed under: Amran, Saada War, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 7:35 am on Saturday, September 25, 2010

These are the Hashimites arbitrarily taken prisoner based on their religious affiliation by Hussain al Ahmar’s forces in Houth, Amran. For prior report, click here. This is not related to the show that went on in al Hota, Shabwa. After the assault on Houth, Hussain al Ahmar issued a statement that the prisoners weren’t all in his tribal prisons, they are in official state prisons. But how does Hussain al Ahmar have the authority to go around rounding up villagers based on their religion and put them in official jail? That is actually a worse scenario that indicates Yemen is thoroughly out of control as has already devolved into various fiefdoms.

1. 1. العلامة / قاسم حسن قاسم السراجي
2. 2. عبدالخالق عبدالرحمن عبدالله الشرعي
3. 3. علي محسن حسين الــديـدي
4. 4. عبدالرحمن محمد محمد المتوكل
5. 5. حسين علي يحيى الشرعي
6. 6. صالح أحمد حومي
7. 7. عبدالقادر أحمد قاسم السراجي
8. 8. عبدالباسط محمد حسن الـديـدي
9. 9.أيمن عبدالقادر شرف الـديـدي

10. حمزة يحيى محمد السراجي

11. عبدالله صالح سباعي

12 (Read on …)

40 dead in renewed Sa’ada clashes

Filed under: Military, Saada War, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 7:40 am on Friday, September 24, 2010

Africaasia Fighting in mountainous north Yemen between Shiite rebels and an army-backed tribe over the past four days has left at least 40 people dead, tribal and rebel sources told AFP on Wednesday. (Read on …)

Saada has always been an important base for al Qaeda

Filed under: 9 hostages, Saada War, Tribes, Yemen, abu jubarah — by Jane Novak at 8:34 am on Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The al Tais al Qaeda group functions as General Ali Mohsen’s al Ahmar’s mercenaries in the Saada War. I have written about them extensively. They have official passports, transit the border with Saudi Arabia easily and many have military positions. They are big in the honey business. Al Qaeda has been active in the Sa’ada War since 2004. Everyone knows this, including the US, but they got a pass as “militants” not necessarily connected to the main Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. This was an entirely incorrect assessment. Additionally, the headquarters of the Dar al Hadieth network is in Dammaj, Sa’ada as well as the Abu Jabarah training camp, which houses about 500 jihaddists on a rotating basis. Last I checked on Abu Jubarah, there’s no women or children there, just terrorists training. The Sa’ada region has been closed to journalists and international agencies since 2004.

Bottom line: the Houthis captured General Ali Mohsen’s boy, Hussain al Tais, and AQAP is agitating for his release by kidnapping a Yemeni official. The primary and pressing issue at this moment though is to interrogate Hussain al Tais about the location of the German and British al Qaeda hostages.

Reuters: SANAA (Reuters) – The Yemeni wing of al Qaeda has claimed the August kidnapping of a senior intelligence official in the northern province of Saada and demanded the release of two imprisoned militants. (Read on …)

Yemen Gov’t Never Asked Tribe to Surrender Anwar Awlaki: Sheik

Filed under: Tribes, Yemen's Lies, anwar — by Jane Novak at 11:52 am on Monday, September 20, 2010

Where there was some news story floated that the al Awlaki tribes faxed a message after a meeting, threatening tribal warfare against anyone who arrests Anwar, the Sheik denied that it was an authentic statement and said there was no meeting. So what we have here is Saleh hiding behind another lie, namely the tribe won’t give up Anwar. Our buddy, Ali, lets give him a billion dollars. And what pray tell are they going to charge Awlaki with? There’s no law in Yemen prohibiting participating in jihad abroad. they probably just want to get him in to jail where he’s safe to take the heat off.

ذكرت مصادر قضائية يمنية، ان الحكومة اليمنية تدرس رفع دعوة قضائية على الامام المتشدد « الأميركي من أصل يمني انور العولقي، ومحاكمته غيابيا في حال استمر في دعمه لتنظيم «القاعدة»، وبث تصريحات ضد الحكومة اليمنية وحلفائها. Judicial sources said Yemeni, Yemeni government is considering to file a lawsuit forward radical «American of Yemeni origin Anwar Awlaqi, and tried in absentia in the event of continued support for the organization« Qaeda », broadcast statements against the Yemeni government and its allies. وأكدت لـ «الراي» ان «اليمن حريص على عدم قتل أبنائه، لكن استهداف مصالحه وإقلاق الأمن والسكينة يجعله مجبرا على الضرب بيد من حديد ضد المجرمين». They told «opinion» that «Yemen is keen not to kill his sons, but the targeting of interests and undermining the security and tranquility be forced to strike with an iron fist against the criminals». (Read on …)

Al Qaeda or Tribesmen bomb Marib pipeline

Filed under: LNG, Marib, Oil, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 12:09 pm on Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Yemeni government first denied it and then said there were limited damages

Yemen Post Unidentified attackers bombed on Monday the pipeline transporting LNG from Marib Province to the exporting port in Balhaf, Shabwa, a local official said.

Explosive devices were used in the bombing, the official said as they did not rule out Al-Qaeda was behind the attack and gave no details about damages. (Read on …)

Hussain al Ahmar’s forces attack villagers in Hout, Amran

Filed under: Amran, Civil Unrest, Religious, Saada War, Tribes, War Crimes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:04 am on Friday, September 10, 2010

(Update: Now its a war of threats.)

This is one version of the story but the town is still under siege. Armed tribal mercenaries under the command of Sheikh Hussein Al-Ahmar attacked Hashimite families in the town of Hooth, Amran, two weeks ago. The villagers were Hasimites, not Houthi supporters, giving rise to the charge of ethnic cleansing.

On Saturday August 21st, a tribal mercenary of the Hashid murdered an unarmed Hashemite youth, Mohammed Zaid Al-Hoothi, in Hooth. The murderer had brother who was killed in the sixth war in Sa’adah. The murderer escaped to Hussain Al-Ahmar’s house in Hooth. The Hoothi family asked Hussain to submit the murderer to justice. Hussain refused and sent two messengers to the Hoothi family telling them that they can not ask that because their son was in Sa’adah and thus not entitled to redress if he is killed. (His blood has no value in the tribal concepts). The Hoothi family said to the messengers that they do not accept that and they consider it an insult.

The Hoothi family buried the body Sunday evening. When receiving the guests, as all the Yemenis do, some tribal mercenaries started attacking them under the pretense that it was Hussain al Ahmar’s tribal committee searching for weapons in the Hashemite houses. Some clashes broke out Sunday evening at one house the al Ahmar loyalists. By Monday morning, thousands were attacking the city; bombing, shooting. About 80 people were kidnapped and remain in al Ahmar’s tribal prison as well as some state prisons. The Yemeni army cut Sana’a-to-Sa’adah road and a siege is in place around Hooth. As we know, the Saudis are unhappy with the Doha agreement and Hussain is financed by the Saudis.

al Wasat: يسود منطقة حوث التابعة لمحافظة عمران توتر حاد منذ مطلع الأسبوع الجاري إثر اندلاع مواجهات بين قبائل العصيمات وأبناء منطقة حوث والتي أسفرت عن مقتل وجرح العشرات من الطرفين في ظل غياب أي دور للسلطات في احتواء الموقف المتصاعد. Region there is Hot in the province of Amran tension sharply since early this week following the outbreak of clashes between tribes living in a region Alasemat Hot, which resulted in the killing and injury of dozens of parties in the absence of any role for the authorities to contain the escalating situation. ولاتزال قبائل العصيمات المسلحة تفرض حصاراً على منطقة حوث التابعة لها في حين احتجزت ما يقارب 67 مواطناً من المنتمين للمذهب الهاشمي. The tribes still Alasemat armed siege on the area’s Hot in when they detained about 67 citizens of belonging to the doctrine of Hashemi. وبدأ انفجار الأحداث على خلفية مقتل محمد مطهر زيد الحوثي من أبناء حوث قبل ثلاثة (Read on …)

Saada Refugees Begging for Food During Ramadan

Filed under: Saada War, Tribes, poverty/ hunger — by Jane Novak at 1:05 pm on Tuesday, August 17, 2010

They were hoping for some dates and sweets but there’s no food deliveries since June due to various conflicts and road closures. The widows and children are begging for food.

AMRAN, 17 August 2010 (IRIN) – Thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the northern Yemeni governorate of Amran, including 1,800 in the governorate’s only IDP camp, Khaiwan, have been hit by food aid delivery delays, according to aid workers. (Read on …)

Yemen Promoting Tribal Law including Summary Execution

Filed under: Civil Society, Security Forces, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 10:00 am on Monday, August 2, 2010

The state reinforces tribal law at the expense of civil law.

Bikyamasr: Amnesty International has urged the Yemeni authorities to launch an immediate independent investigation into the extrajudicial execution of a man accused of murdering a tribal sheikh.

‘Ali ‘Abdullah Muhsin al-Rajhi had been accused of murdering the sheikh, but instead of being arrested and brought to trial by the authorities, he was handed over to the victim’s family and summarily killed.

He is reported to have been shot dead by a relative of the murdered sheikh on 18 July 2010 in front of a crowd outside a mosque in the village of al-Hajfa, south-east of the capital Sana’a. (Read on …)

Ungoverned Yemen, Citizens Demand Imposition of Law

Filed under: Civil Rights, Tribes, editing — by Jane Novak at 12:58 pm on Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ungoverned Yemen: Al-Ja’ashin civilians launch hunger strike demanding state action

A press release from HOOD
By Nisreen Shadad, edited by Jane Novak

Residents of the beleaguered Al-Ja’ashin district in Ibb began a hunger strike on July 25, 2010 to demand the state assert its authority in their district. The villagers have been camped out in Sana’a for months after being ejected from their village by Sheikh Ahmed Mansour.

In some areas of rural Yemen, often called “ungoverned regions,” the state abdicated its authority to tribal proxies. Al-Ja’ashin residents struggled for years against tyrannical practices including illegal taxes, seizure of personal property, physical assaults and imprisonment in Sheik Mansour’s private prison.

“We will never eat until we die and go to a world without oppression and fear or to go to our homes and live safely under the law,” according to the al-Ja’ashin statement. The Al-Ja’ashin civilians began their hunger strike in front of the Parliamentary Council, as they had been unable to gain redress through any other means.

“For eight months we have been displaced and suffering in the streets of Sana’a. The public authority didn’t respond to our needs. Hunger, disease, rain and heat are exhausting us, while we are waiting for fair acts towards our case and the kind touch of people who are after all Yemenis and Muslims like you,” said the statement. The villagers demanded security and compensation for what was stolen by Sheikh Mansour and his followers.

“We want to live with dignity as human beings in Allah’s land. Islamic Sharea’a and Yemeni law should protect us from Sheikh Mansour and his soldiers and provide all weak people a life with dignity and peace,” the statement declared.

Parliament ordered a new committee to consider the issue of al-Ja’ashin and scheduled discussions for next Monday. A Parliamentary report issued in March said that while the nearly one hundred villagers were camped out in the capital, Mansour’s militia “looted their cows, ships, gold and all their home furnishings.”

“Mansour has unauthorized private prisons in which he punishes citizens, indicating a lack of the state sovereignty in the district,” Parliament found.The findings echo a 2007 Parliamentary report that concluded that Parliament must “compel the Government to impose the authority of the State in Al-Jasheen area as part of the territory of the Republic of Yemen.”

Many parliamentarians, journalists and human rights activists joined the hunger strike in solidarity with the al-Ja’ashin civilians including MP Ahmed Saif Hashid, MP Sahwqi al-Qadhi, Tawakul Karman, the head of Women Journalist Without Chains and Mohammed Naji Allaow, the General Coordinator of the National Organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms (HOOD).

“As Muslims and Yemenis, we have the rights of citizenship, equity and advocacy. We are oppressed, however, for eight months. We have been humiliated from you, the police officers and others who may relate to you or not, until we are disappointed and willing to die. Your negligence and humiliation make us feel we are unseen insects,” said the villagers’ statement.

HOOD called on all free people to declare their solidarity with Al-Ja’ashin and their demand to live under the protection of the law. For their courage, the al Jasheen villagers won HOOD’s 2009 Human Rights Award. In presenting the award, HOOD’s director, Khalid al Ansi said that the villagers overcame “historical inherited fear” in challenging the Sheik’s tyranny.

49 Killed in Amran Threatening Sa’ada Truce

Filed under: Amran, Parliament, Saada War, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 8:09 pm on Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Its a powder keg waiting to go off. Its unclear if its a tribal clash or a military one since the Houthis are fighting with “Army backed tribes.”

SANAA — Fighting in mountainous north Yemen between Shiite rebels and army-backed tribes over the past four days have left at least 49 people dead, threatening a fragile truce, tribal and rebel sources said on Wednesday.
(Read on …)

Amran Tribesmen Demand Payment for Service in Sa’ada War

Filed under: Amran, Economic, Military, Saada War, Tribes, Yemen, political violence — by Jane Novak at 10:56 pm on Thursday, June 24, 2010

The tribal paramilitary hasn’t been paid, violence ensues. I believe this happened in the last wars as well, likely the money got pocketed if it was paid at all.

Yemen Post: An army officer has been killed and three soldiers and unidentified number of tribesmen injured in the clashes that are still continuing between the army and tribes in Al-Ashah district in Amran Province. (Read on …)

Bakil head sheikh seeks to form tribal coalition against al Qaeda

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 8:16 am on Monday, June 21, 2010

I wonder is Sadiq al Ahmar, head of the president’s Hashid tribe, will join the coalition?

Yemen Post Leader of Bakil tribe, the largest Yemeni tribe, Sheikh Naji Abdul-Aziz Al-Shayef expressed his intention to call on the formation of a tribal coalition, includes leaders and sheikhs of the Yemeni tribes to stand by the government in its fight against the so-called Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which is based in Yemen.

Al-Shayef told Okaz, Saudi media source that “the presence of Al-Qaeda in Yemen poses a real threat on Yemen human security and abilities of the people, so the fight against this organization and to renounce its elements remain people’s joint responsibility, however, tribes must have a role on this, because Al-Qaeda is a stray organization lurks in all the classes of people in Yemen”.

AQAP called on Friday the tribes in Yemen’s Marib Province, eastern Yemen to revolt against the government as the security campaigns against terrorist suspects have intensified in the area.

In a videotape by an unidentified spokesman for (AQAP), the group called the tribal leaders to distance themselves from “standing with Crusade”; stressing the need not to hand over any of its elements to the security authorities.

Sheikh Al-Shayef also warned of the negative consequences of covering up Al-Qaida and makes Yemen a safe haven to them. He added Yemen’s security and safety of its citizens is above all else.

Al Qaeda Statement Calls on Tribes Not to Turn Them In

Filed under: Marib, Tribes, Yemen, aq statements — by Jane Novak at 8:52 pm on Saturday, June 19, 2010

In this statement, Al Qaeda also denied issuing the prior statement that claimed responsibility for Sheik al Shabwani’s death. So then who issued that statement, the government? Holy Moley Batman, could someone be issuing false statements on behalf of al-Qa’ida? Gee, then there was the other false statement on behalf of the Awlaki tribe threatening the US…

For more see the Yemen Post and the following from M&C

Cairo/Sana’a, Yemen – The al-Qaeda network on Friday urged tribal leaders in Yemen not to turn over its fighters – also known as the ‘mujahidin’ – to the government, according to a statement published on Islamist websites.

The statement accused the government of killing ‘the innocent people as well as children and women, under the pretext that some members of these tribes are wanted,’ referring to the death of the deputy governor of Yemen’s Marib province last month. (Read on …)

Naba’s Interview with American Kidnapped in Yemen

Filed under: Interviews, Tribes, USA, hostages — by Jane Novak at 8:34 am on Thursday, June 3, 2010

Quite a fascinating interview at Naba News with the American Ludmila Yamalova after she was freed from her kidnappers in Yemen.

1. Your feeling as a woman when tribesmen kidnapped you, did you think that they may kill you or being raped?

a. Answer. Yes, after the first half-hour of denial that this nightmare was happening and the intense conviction that it was going to end …the fear of physical violence kicked in. I started remembering previous hostage situations, which had ended tragically. Images of rape and killing kept crossed my mind for the next fifteen or so minutes… These fears were further perpetuated because for the first hour or so, we had no idea what was going on and what the agenda was. There was a lot of screaming, yelling, talking on multiple mobile phones, anger, angst and, what seemed like, confusion. It was difficult to tell how I fit into the whole picture and what their motives were against me, individually, and us, as a couple.

2. How did they treat you during the period of hostage? (Read on …)

Yafee Tribes Vow to Protect Northern Workers after Anonymous Threats

Filed under: Civil Unrest, South Yemen, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 7:54 pm on Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Its hard to know who is making the threats, but turning to violence and apartheid is a bad idea.
Yemen Post:

Gunmen of the Southern Mobility gave workers from the provinces of Taiz and Ibb who work in the markets of Yafea in Lahj province, southern Yemen, a limited time until tomorrow Thursday as a deadline to leave Yafea and the South to their Northern areas.

According to News Yemen website, the gunmen distributed leaflets in Yafea lead by the Southern Mobility, called on workers of all the Northern provinces in Yafea markets to leave away. Meanwhile, Thursday is the deadline for their departures leaving their businesses and their living incomes.

On the other hand, a number of tribesmen of Yafea denounced the action of the armed elements of the Mobility in dealing with the workers; moreover, they stressed their willingness to defend the Northern workers.

Many tribes have described such practices as serious, and said that the armed elements of the Mobility are lack for tribal customs and the ethics of the tribesmen as well as to the Islamic practices.

Mairb Tribe Accepts Guns and Money in Settlement for Death of al Shabwani

Filed under: Air strike, Counter-terror, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:54 pm on Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Following an air strike that killed a tribal sheik Jaber al Shabwani who was also the head of the local council, along with five others, the tribes in Marib cut some electrical lines and bombed oil pipelines. They gave the government 48 hours to produce the perpetrators. After mediation, they accepted guns and money, which is quite a normal tribal mechanism that prevents violence from spiraling out of control. They lifted the checkpints and the region is calm.

Yemen Observer: Sheikh Ali al-Shabwani – the father of the Secretary-General of the local council in Marib province, Jaber al-Shabwani, who was killed in an air strike last Monday – accepted a compromise provided by the presidential mediation committee that provided him with 200 Kalashnikovs and YR5 million, according to local sources in the tribal province of Marib. (Read on …)

Six dead as government denies deniable tribal proxies

Filed under: Saada War, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 5:59 am on Wednesday, June 2, 2010

With the Sa’ada War formally under a cease fire, flare-ups like this portend the possibility of a seventh war. The Yemeni government deploys deniable proxies in many areas and against many opponents. Much of the ruling family’s authority in peace time is deployed through indirect tribal means, the politicization of the civil service and manipulation of the state budget. What are called ungoverned areas are more correctly termed indirectly governed. Regime affiliated tribesmen fought for the regime during six wars with an appalling lack of discipline and command and control. Reports of looting and arbitrary violence against non-combatants are a characteristic of all the wars. And the state is trying to spin this latest conflict as a random tribal clash when it is symptomatic of the continuing power struggle between the Houthi rebels and the state. The issue of who is in control of the schools is not about buildings but about religious freedom.

update: Saudi Gazette: 10 dead 14 wounded

update: Houthi press releases calls it an ambush:

May 31, A source at the Information Bureau of the Houthi that the elements of the Authority in Beni Aouir province of Saada, the last night ambushed a group of supporters and led the ambush killed one person and wounding two others, the source said those elements paid by the authority aimed at stirring up trouble and strife when calmed down things back to normal, saying, when you want power to make things quiet you can do that, that we have observed by Holiday unit until now, when you want to spark things can ignite a crisis at the touch of magic through to instruct its members to carry out hostile acts, either ambushed or cut through.

June1, Crowd of thousands of supporters of Houthi era to this day in the city of Dahyan for the funeral of the bodies of their dead in ambushes yesterday and said our source is that the crowd was still growing. One of those killed in an ambush yesterday is a senior leader of the group and is known as Abu Haidar, his / Ahmed Hussein Salem. Our source said that a senior commander said the group has been the assumption by many posts in several areas in Sa’ada and Sufian, and it is one of the experienced military leaders, which fought the fiercest confrontations and battles during the past years. The source said the death toll at 5 and they would put their bodies to the cemetery of martyrs in the city Dahyan.

SANAA, June 1 (Reuters) – : Six people were killed in clashes between Shi’ite rebels and government-allied tribesmen in north Yemen, rebel and tribal sources said on Tuesday, in violence that could undermine the region’s uneasy four-month truce. (Read on …)

Local Council Head Killed in Airstrike While Negotiating with Al Qaeda Operative

Filed under: Air strike, Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, Local gov, Marib, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 7:25 am on Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Update: BBC: The militant, named as Mohammed Said bin Jardan, was injured but escaped. Three of Mr Shabwani’s bodyguards were also killed in the bombing, security sources told reporters. The Yemen army had meant to bomb the farm but hit the deputy governor’s car instead, Reuters reported. Who the heck is going to surrender now, when the last guy got ambushed? They meant to bomb the farm but hit the official’s car instead? That’s the story?

Another version from the YP:

Deputy Marib Governor, Secretary General of the Local Council, Jabir Al-Shabwani has been killed in an airstrike while he was leading a mediation to convince Al-Qaeda members to hand themselves in to the authorities. Three others including his uncle and two escorts were killed and two others were injured.

The airstrike targeted two cars in Al-Hadba’a district, one of which was carrying Al-Shabwani and his relatives, according to independent sources.Fury prevailed in the province in northeast Yemen after the news of Al-Shabwani’s death, with sources expecting clashes may erupt between his tribe and the army.

The state is calling it (another) misdirected airstrike.

(Read on …)

Sadiq al Ahmar Calls UK Ambassador’s Bombing “Political”

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Tribes, Yemen, political violence — by Jane Novak at 3:10 pm on Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Update: News Yemen reports that British investigators arrived in Sana’a, and the father of the bomber says its his other son that is studying in the UK, and that he notified security when his son when missing.

Original post: Wow that’s huge, not because its true- and it is likely true that it was a political act- but because Saddiq is saying it.

al Tagheer: “Sheikh Al Ahmar warned from deteriorating conditions during his meeting with heads of tribes. Security situation is worse,saying what happened to Dr. Abd Al wahab Mahmood and the British ambassador in Sanaa is a good example of that’s. Al Ahmar regrets what happened since there is security department and political security and have soldiers represent 10% of nation.

Al Ahmar wondered by asking: How Yemeni government and security could discover the ID of the bomber in two hours inspire the Yemeni gov has no lab to reach the DNA? Adding sarcastically : “ only if the bomber had been sent by politic security.

Politics motivation is behind the two incidents (the attempted murder of the British Ambassador and the shooting at the head of the JMP).

(Read on …)

Yemen confirms tribe’s statement on Awlaki a hoax

Filed under: Tribes, Yemen, anwar — by Jane Novak at 3:42 pm on Tuesday, April 13, 2010

as we reported yesterday. Its funny how often media hoaxes happen in Yemen. The following from the quasi-governmental Yemen Observer, the English language propaganda arm of the regime:

Al-Qirbi said that al-Awlaki should hand himself over to Yemeni government, and at that point he will be able to defend himself and prove his innocence. “Yemen won’t hand over al-Awlaki or any other Yemeni citizens wanted by the United States, or any other countries. Yemen is going to prosecute those within its territory, and they will be punished according to the law if found guilty of any crimes punishable by the law,” al-Qirbi added.

In the meanwhile, Sheikh Abu Bakr Ben Farid al-Awlaki, a sheikh in Shabwah province, denied that there was a tribal forum in al-Awalek’s tribe, regarding Anwar al-Awlaki. A statement, allegedly attributed to the al-Awalek tribes, had been distributed to Yemeni media outlets warning against any cooperation with America in helping arrest or kill al-Awlaki.

Ben Farid said that his tribe’s stand is the same as the state’s and that they are avoiding any further confrontations with the state. “We do not know al-Awlaki’s whereabouts,” said Ben Farid to NewsYemen website.

Alwaki Tribe Never Issued Threatening Statement, Government Knows Anwar Awlaki’s Location: Sheik bin Fareed

Filed under: Tribes, Yemen, anwar — by Jane Novak at 8:22 am on Monday, April 12, 2010

The Sheik of the Awlaki tribe in Yemen denied that tribal leaders held a meeting regarding Anwar Awlaki or threatened Yemeni citizens as is being widely reported in the Western media.

Reuters reported receiving a faxed statement last week from the Awalki tribe that said, “We warn against cooperating with America to kill Sheikh Anwar al-Awlaki” after the Obama administration announced that it authorized operations to kill or capture Anwar Awlaki, who holds duel Yemeni American citizenship.

News Yemen, a reliable independent news website, interviewed the head of the Awlaki tribe, Sheik bin Fareed, who denied a statement was issued. “We haven’t held any meeting of our tribe regarding Anwar Awalki. What has been published doesn’t reflect our tribe’s attitude,” the Sheik said

Sheik bin Fareed said his tribe is loyal to the government, and that they are working to keep their tribe from becoming embroiled in any acts of violence or revenge. “We can’t let government down,” he said.

Sheik bin Fareed added that the responsibility for the arrest of Anwar Awalaki lies with the government’s forces, not the tribe’s, saying, “We don’t know where Awlaki is. The government is the one who knows where Anwar Awlaki is and is capable to arrest him, because she is responsible for that.”

Reuters reported the “heavily armed” Awalki tribe warned it would “not remain with arms crossed if a hair of Anwar al-Awlaqi is touched, or if anyone plots or spies against him.” The purported statement also said that tribal leaders held a meeting and denounced “the reckless act by the U.S. government to allow the killing of the brave sheikh.”

Reuters employs President Saleh’s personal translator as a stringer in Yemen, and its reporting is often biased in favor of the Yemeni government. (Read on …)

Tribal Anarchy in Yemen, al Jasheen villagers denied by the state for three years

Filed under: Tribes — by Jane Novak at 10:48 am on Friday, March 26, 2010

As the state of Yemen unravels, al Sahwa reports that the villagers of al Jasheen are still displaced and unable to receive redress for the crimes committed by Sheik Mohammed Mansour (the President’s poet!), “Members of Parliament were twice prevented form visiting Al-Jaashin to investigate the violations committed by the sheikh against his subjects. The report said that the refugees included 45 students, 33 women, 33 children who are available in a refugee camp in the capital, Sana’a, indicating that Mansour’s militia looted their cows, ships, gold, equipments and all home furnishing.”

In lieu of comment, and considering nothing has changed in three years, I think I will just republish a section of the article I wrote on al Jasheen in 2007 as follows:

The elite among President Saleh’s northern tribesmen have supplanted the jurisdiction of the state. Since Yemen’s 1994 civil war, power has become consolidated in a network of influential individuals who largely operate above the law. Weak central government is counterbalanced by strong tribal authority, resulting in a nearly feudal substructure. The glue that stabilizes this political system is entrenched governmental corruption and patronage.

Many tribal elite are also government leaders, reinforcing patriarchal norms and discriminatory practices. Tribal figures including the president’s relatives dominate Yemen’s key military and security positions. Governmental employment is widely politicized. Some economic enterprises are monopolies. Favoritism in governmental procurements allows the ruling party to undermine the political system through patronage. Land theft by influential persons is systematic, endemic and destabilizing, especially in the former south.

Yemeni citizens are often subject to a tribal sheik whose authority outweighs state institutions. Tribal leadership varies from village to village, and some sheiks are quite altruistic. Generally sheiks provide residents with security and mechanisms of conflict resolution. An influential sheik can procure governmental funding for development and infrastructure projects including roads, schools and electricity. However, these benefits come with a price tag that can include arbitrary punishment. In one case, a sheik involved in a land dispute brutally tortured a worker who built a wall. Another dramatic example is found in Ibb governorate, in the village of Al-Ja’ashen.

Operating the village as a state within a state, the sheik’s authority is paramount in al-Ja’ashen. In a letter to Mareb Press, residents reported that they were required to “follow his orders without discussion or debate.” Citizens who had dared to challenge the sheik’s authority or criticize his practices were summarily jailed in the sheik’s private prison. The sheik charged a 10% harvest tax in excess of the state taxes, the villagers said. In lieu of payment, he sometimes collected farm animals and gas cylinders.

In January, residents unable to pay the tax were expelled from the village. About 400 Yemeni citizens including women and children were forced from their homes into a field and makeshift tents. The Sheik alleged the entire story was fabricated by the opposition. However, HOOD (a prominent Yemeni NGO) noted the sheikh used government vehicles and troops to expel the citizens. (Read on …)

Yemeni Tribes and al Qaeda

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:25 pm on Sunday, March 14, 2010

Carnegie, click here, a good report

Tribes Reject al Qaeda

Filed under: Tribes, Yemen, personalities, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 9:55 pm on Saturday, March 13, 2010


JEFFREY BROWN: And to another part of the world, as Margaret Warner begins her reports from the Middle East nation of Yemen, a place that has attracted urgent new attention in the U.S.

MARGARET WARNER: The call to prayer sounds five times a day in Yemen, as it does across the Arab world. This ancient nation on the Arabian Peninsula boasts a glorious architectural heritage, along with grinding poverty and a new and increasingly deadly franchise of the global al-Qaida network.

Facebook Twitter Digg StumbleUpon Reddit Delicious The outfit calls itself al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP. The top leadership includes two Saudi-born former Guantanamo detainees. While some have taken cover in the capital city, Sanaa, most members are believed to be sheltered in Yemen’s rugged tribal provinces, far from central government control.

Each week, tribal and community leaders meet on the outskirts of Sanaa to strategize about how to counter the al-Qaida presence in their nearby Marib Province. They insist they’re confronting AQAP where they can, not harboring it.

MOHAMMED AHMED AL-ZAIDI, Yemen (through translator): Al-Qaida in Marib feels unwanted. They are shunned and hunted. The ethics, morals and ideals of al-Qaida completely contradict the ethics and morals of the tribal system in Marib.

MARGARET WARNER: They fault Yemen’s central government for shutting their province off to foreign tourists, while still not providing reliable electricity, health services or schools. It’s a combination, they say, that aids al-Qaida.

ALI AL-GHOLESI, Yemen (through translator): We have a saying here: Where the paved road ends, al-Qaida begins. And we have a lot of unpaved roads in Marib.

MARGARET WARNER: They also blame the United States for their plight.

ALI AL-GHOLESI (through translator): I would say with confidence that the U.S. reestablished al-Qaida, as we see some leaders of al-Qaida were in Guantanamo and wanted revenge.

MARGARET WARNER: And why, if you know where they are and they’re shunned, you don’t just turn them over to the authorities?

AL-HASBHI, Yemen (through translator): A tribal chief may extend refuge or help someone until he sees clear evidence that this person has committed a crime.

MARGARET WARNER: At his home in Sanaa, former Prime Minister and presidential adviser Abdul Karim al-Iryani says there’s something more at work.

ABDUL KARIM AL-IRYANI, former Yemeni prime minister: There is a traditional system of accepting anyone who comes and says, I need you to protect me.

But I believe, with regard to al-Qaida, I can’t imagine that a tribe will shelter al-Qaida for free. It’s not a free ride. And, I’m afraid, they have money.

MARGARET WARNER: We came to Yemen to explore why this country has emerged as home base to the most effective new al-Qaida offshoot. And we found a contradiction. Ordinary Yemenis seem very welcoming to outsiders. Yet, from the medieval Crusades to the anti-Soviet campaign in Afghanistan and beyond, Yemenis have punched above their weight in waging jihad abroad.

We asked the former prime minister to explain the contradiction.

ABDUL KARIM AL-IRYANI: Yemenis are well-known traders, well-known migrants. So, being traders, you have to be tolerant. Being an immigrant, you have to accept the other.

MARGARET WARNER: But when fellow Muslims are under attack, he said, Yemenis have always answered the call.

ABDUL KARIM AL-IRYANI: The concept of continuous jihad is not a Yemeni phenomenon. It’s not — it’s not very entrenched in Yemen. However, when the call comes, they do.

MARGARET WARNER: Squarely in that tradition was Nasser al-Bahri, who went to Afghanistan in the mid-’90s and became a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden.

NASSER AL-BAHRI, former bodyguard for Osama bin Laden (through translator): He was so calm. He was so self-confident. He was, for me, the only and best person who could confront the United States.

MARGARET WARNER: Though out of the action now, al-Bahri still considers the U.S. to be the world’s biggest menace to Muslims. And he says America is exaggerating the strength of AQAP.

NASSER AL-BAHRI (through translator): Al-Qaida in Yemen is weak. The real al-Qaida people in Yemen do not exceed 200, maybe a few more. The media makes it much bigger.

MARGARET WARNER: Yet, they were good enough to almost bring down a U.S. airliner on Christmas.

NASSER AL-BAHRI (through translator): This doesn’t mean that they have a huge number of people. They need only an idea, training, preparation, then implementation.

MARGARET WARNER: One of AQAP’s ideas is recruiting radicalized young Muslims from the west, sometimes using Sanaa’s world-famous Arabic-language schools as unwitting cover.

The would-be Christmas Day bomber, Nigerian student Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, showed up for classes here, but dropped out after three weeks to pursue his deadly mission. U.S. and Yemeni officials say, however, that most of AQAP’s foot soldiers are drawn from local families, who struggle, whether in the countryside or the city, to live on an average of $2 a day.

Now they fear the desperation will grow, as terrorism takes a toll on Yemen’s all-important tourist trade. The medieval stone and plaster structures of the Sanaa’s Old City used to draw world travelers to look and to spend.

Usually, how many sales would you make a day?

SHOPKEEPER: Two hundred dollars, $300. It depends. Sometimes more, and sometimes less.


SHOPKEEPER: And now maybe $200 a month.

MARGARET WARNER: Shopkeeper Karim al-Faqi took us on a tour to show the wider impact.

Last month and this month, it went down. But, before, it was busy. Locals, it is no — no money coming from outside the country.

MARGARET WARNER: So, all of this, in a way, you’re saying is a little deceptive? There’s not enough really happening here?

SHOPKEEPER: That’s right. Too much stuff, and few people to buy.

MARGARET WARNER: Another risk? Too few teachers or jobs for the legions of restless young men in Yemen’s overcrowded and underfunded schools.

AMIN AL-ANDRISI, high school English teacher: For me, myself, I can’t keep — memorize all the names of the students.

MARGARET WARNER: High school English Amin al-Andrisi, mobbed by his students during a break, feels he’s letting them down.

AMIN AL-ANDRISI: You can get in some classes more than 80 students. Sometimes, we are reaching 120. Yes. Yes. You can’t believe that. No, you believe me. And you can ask any student here.

MARGARET WARNER: And he fears Yemen will let them down, too, when it comes to getting a college education or a decent job.

AMIN AL-ANDRISI: You know, you are teaching teenagers who are between 16 to 19 years old. This is the age which the students, they think, themselves, that they are very strong and very power and they can do whatever they want.

MARGARET WARNER: Whatever they want — in a country that too often doesn’t provide good choices for its youth.

JEFFREY BROWN: Margaret will continue her reports from Yemen later this

Saudi “Aid” Keeps Yemen Fractured

Filed under: Saada War, Saudi Arabia, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 8:37 am on Friday, January 29, 2010

True. By paying money directly to the sheiks, the Saudis divorce the sheiks’ relationship with and accountability to both state and their constituencies, the tribe. Victoria Clark at the Independent

Saudi aid in the security field is already reckoned to be around double the $140m to be offered to Yemen by the US this year, and there is more – harder to quantify precisely – in the form of mosque-building, charity and religious education. But the hardest Saudi aid to quantify is the cash flowing straight out of a Saudi “Special Office” to the sheikhs of many Yemeni tribes, especially ones located anywhere near the Saudi border.

A Yemeni civil rights activist laments the Saudis’ financial clout, portraying it as one of the chief banes of Yemen’s existence: “Although Yemenis hate Saudis,” he explains, “the Saudis know how to spread their influence by their wealth and they have corrupted everything in Yemen.” He claims that two thirds – in other words, 6,000 of Yemen’s approximately 9,000 tribal sheikhs – benefit from Saudi handouts, the most powerful of them to the tune of $3.5m a month.

The Saudis’ apparent reluctance to invest in the long-term development and improvement of the country and help educate its people is what makes Yemenis baulk at the now frequently voiced Western opinion that Yemen’s rich neighbours, rather than any Western countries, should be taking the lead in supplying aid to Yemen.

Six Killed in Decade’s Old Tribal Land Dispute

Filed under: Dharmar, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 1:57 pm on Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tribes fighting each other don’t fight the state. The fighting moved into villages with medium weapons, killing people and destroying houses. One study found 90% of tribal wars revolved around water.

Yemen Post: At least six more people have been killed and dozens hurt since clashes erupted between tribes in Yemen’s central province of Dhamar.

Local sources told the Alsahwa website a land dispute was behind the war between the tribes of Bani Al-Ferasi and the tribes of Al-Amas, Da’adi’e and Bani Hassan in the district of Al-Hada. (Read on …)

Japanese Hostage Released

Filed under: Tribes, hostages — by Jane Novak at 9:51 am on Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Yay. Still missing five Germans and a Brit since June 09.

Related: Germany Hearts Yemen

BERLIN, Nov. 23 (Saba) – German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle hailed Monday Yemen’s democratic approach as well as the level of distinctive relations between Yemen and Germany. (Read on …)

Al Qaeda Takes Japanese Hostage from Tribal Kidnappers

Filed under: TI: Internal, Tribes, arrests, hostages, security timeline — by Jane Novak at 9:42 am on Saturday, November 21, 2009

Update 2: Released unharmed, November 24.

Update: The governor of Sana’a says he is still with the original group of tribal kidnappers and negotiations are underway. Yemeni officials do not have a great record of telling the truth but in this case I hope its true.

If the imprisoned tribesman is 22, then he was 14 when he went to fight in Iraq??
“Sources at the Inferior Ministry confirmed that he person from Arahab tribes because of who was the kidnapping incident is accused of his affiliation to al-Qaeda organisation, who is Hussein Abdullah Hussein Qoub, fought in Iraq for two years and settled in Syria for one year and in Lebanon for another year and he was arrested after his return from Iraq four years ago.”

Original Post: Damn. An earlier report here. As an aside, the reason the 22 year old was held by the state without charges after fighting in Iraq is that jihad (murder) abroad is not illegal in Yemen and is often encouraged by the President on national TV, for example during the Lebanon crisis.

Hammoud Mounassar, AFP Al-Qaeda gunmen have seized a Japanese engineer from his tribal kidnappers in Yemen, a tribal source who has been seeking to negotiate his release said on Saturday.

“The hostage was seized by elements of Al-Qaeda, who took him to an unknown destination in the Maarib region,” east of the capital, Sanaa, one of two tribal mediators told AFP on condition of anonymity. (Read on …)

Japanese Engineer Still Kidnapped

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Diplomacy, Sana'a, Tribes, Yemen, hostages — by Jane Novak at 10:33 pm on Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tribesmen in Yemen have kidnapped foreigners for years in order to pressure the government for the release of family members, often held as official hostages by the state or as a result of a tribal dispute. The Yemeni government cares not a whit about kidnapped Yemenis, ergo its the foreigners who get snatched. In this case, the Japanese engineer is being held as ransom for an al Qaeda member, and the Yemeni government lied (again, no surprise there) about the success of the negotiations. The regime’s lack of a counter-terror posture and prior accommodations to terrorists only encourages this behavior. At the same time, the lack of equitable redress in the form of a functional legal system is the fundamental root of the kidnapping phenomenon.

Yemen Post According to sources close to the Japanese engineer who preferred to be anonymous, the kidnappers didn’t release the Japanese engineer yet.

“There were conflicting reports about the release of the Japanese engineer kidnapped in Arhab and I confirm that tribal mediation did not succeed so far in the release of the kidnapped Japanese”, the source said. (Read on …)

State Sponsored Jihaddists and Tribesmen in Sa’ada

Filed under: Counter-terror, Saada War, Tribes, Yemen, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 7:27 am on Saturday, September 5, 2009

First of all, the Yemeni government should stop its whining abolut the Iranian media and remedy what it sees as biased reporting by letting independent journalsits into Sa’ada. There haven’t been any since 2004. What are they afraid of? What is there to discover?

The issue of the jihaddists in Sa’ada goes to the parallel point of the Yemeni regime’s symbiotic relationship with fundamentalists which defines its counter-terror policies or lack thereof.

Ahram : Al-Qirbi also said in an interview with the official weekly Al-Methaq that the reporting of the Iranian media could harm bilateral relations between the two countries. (Read on …)

Hashid Tribesmen Killed and Injured in Sa’ada

Filed under: Military, Saada War, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 1:58 pm on Sunday, August 30, 2009

Update: Yemen Times

In a related event, thousands of Hashed tribesmen in Amran are preparing to participate in the war against the Houthis. Media sources said that 3,000 fighters – in addition to other fighters mobilized last week- were made ready to participate in fighting against the Houthis in Amran’s Harf Sufyan front. Fighters’ names were registered and each of them was given YR 20,000 and 100 machine gun bullets.

Tribal militia’s are a bad idea in general because they lack military training and discipline. From AFP

SANAA — Nine tribesmen who were fighting alongside the Yemeni army to crush a Shiite rebellion in the north of the country have been killed in a mortar attack, tribal sources said on Sunday.

Sixteen other fighters from the influential Shiite Hashed tribe were also wounded on Saturday when the Zaidi rebels fired mortar rounds on their positions in the mountainous region of Sawad, near Saudi Arabia, they said. (Read on …)

Dr. Derhem al Qadasi Buried Today

Filed under: Judicial, Medical, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 3:19 pm on Friday, August 28, 2009

Update: Yemen Times

Al-Qadasi was the head of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Science and Technology Hospital in Sana’a, when he was attacked by a group of 18 tribesmen in January of this year.

He was stabbed by the sons and relatives of patient Ahmed Al-Maflahi, 85, after he informed their family of his death. His assailants stormed into the hospital and threatened the unarmed security staff, before finding Al-Qadasi and stabbing him with a jambiyya knife.

Tawfiq Al-Maflahi pinned down Dr. Al-Qadasi while his brother Yusif stabbed him in the back, causing him fatal injuries in his right lung and main arterial vessels.

Despite four operations, fellow doctors were not able to revive him and he died three weeks later.

Following the incident, doctors in both government and private hospitals in Sana’a, Taiz, Dhamar and Ibb went on a strike for weeks to protest against the attack and demand the attackers be brought to justice.

After huge pressure from physicians, activists, and the general public, the authorities arrested Tawfiq Al-Maflahi and four other involved in the murder.

Al-Qadasi’s family, relatives and friends have held protests every Tuesday in front of the cabinet demanding the arrest of main killer Yusif Al-Maflahi, but to no avail.

Although Yusif Al-Maflahi holds an American passport, rumors say that he still lives in Sana’a under the protection of a prominent sheikh.

The Funeral March for Dr. Derhem

The Funeral March for Dr. Derhem

There are many tragedies in Yemen, and throughout the world. Few are more pointless than the brutal murder of Dr. Derhem al Qadasi, stabbed to death by tribesmen in the hospital following the death of an elderly patient. The perpetrators are known, (and are on video) yet remain free due to influential connections, compounding the injustice.

Rebels offer terms of truce in Sa’ada War

Filed under: Diplomacy, Saada War, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 1:26 pm on Saturday, August 22, 2009

Govt refuses to consider rebels truce offer
As before, Sadiq alAhmar pledges support (in 2007, he sent 800 fighters)
Saleh (as before) frames rebels as devilish and satanic
Bombing campaign continues today

Dueling initiatives- Saleh has six points and the rebels’ eleven.

Yemen Observer: He said that the rebels have to stick to the six conditions the government suggested before to establish peace in the region. The conditions include: lifting all road checkpoints that impede citizens’ travels, abandoning their military strongholds and coming down from the mountain peaks, handing over all civil and military equipment that they had seized, disclosing the fate of the six kidnapped foreigners, one British man and a German family, handing over the kidnapped Sa’adah citizens, and ending all interference with the local authority’s affairs and full withdrawal from all Sa’adah districts and eliminating all checkpoints from all roads.

The government refused on Thursday an initiative by some of the rebel leaders’ relatives to put an end to the war…

A group of al-Houthi relatives have submitted a message to the president on Wednesday consisting of eleven points which include the lifting of military checkpoints and the redeployment and return of military forces to their barracks, in return al-Houthis pledge to withdraw from the areas that they occupy and declare loyalty to the state, stipulating that the government should appoint directors as well as security and educational managers from al-Houthis. The memo also stated that al-Houthis should keep the Matarah and Naqah areas under their control, and that the army would withdraw its heavy military equipment from these two Houthi dominated areas and al-Houthis would return the areas back to the government within three years time. It also stipulated the release of war detainees and that al-Houthis should be free to teach their Zaidi faith…. (Read on …)

Yemen Govt: “Pro-Government People” Fighting and Arresting Houthis

Filed under: Amran, Military, Saada War, Tribes, Yemen, al Jawf — by Jane Novak at 12:52 pm on Saturday, August 22, 2009

From the gov’t website, SABA, confirmation of tribal paramilitaries fighting on behalf of the state (again) in the Sa’ada War. What kind of rules of engagement exist for these non-military combatants? Is there any attempt at command and control, or are they free to wander around and engage in firefights at will? The “pro-government people” are also authorized to make arrests, according to SABA. Another SABA report in Arabic report has 50 cars arriving in Sa’ada with fruit, water and food for the army. (Meanwhile thousands of women and children who fled the bombing are spread along the roads with nothing.)

Undoubtedly, both sides are using child soldiers.

The bombing is publicly acknowledged this time, but it was a tactic used extensively in prior rounds of the war, with the same consequences- civilian casualties and mass displacement. When the regime spent one billion on new weapons from Russia in March, following a major upgrade on Yemen’s fleet of Mig29’s in October 08, it was pretty apparent that the next war would be an air war.

Lastly, the UN said tens of thousands of refugees are in remote regions inacessable by air. Why not helicopters? Yemen has choppers. But the Yemeni govt is continuing to block international organizations from humanitarian access even to refugees who are reachable. And although the rebels agreed in theory to a truce during Ramadan, the military offensive continues. (ah a link at the Yemen Observer: The government refused on Thursday an initiative by some of the rebel leaders’ relatives to put an end to the war.

SABA: Yemen’s Air Forces have landed painful blows on the elements of a rebel group in several districts of the northern Yemeni province of Saada.

Security sources said on Saturday that groups of the al-Houthi rebels have been encircled and besieged in a number of the districts of Saada and Harf Sufyan area of the neighboring province of Amran….

At the same time, the Air Force landed painful blows on a number of strongholds belonging to the al-Houthi rebels in the areas of Matrah and Naq’ah.

Meanwhile, pro-government people in Saada, Amran and Jawf provinces have been fighting the al-Houthi rebels in some areas of those governorates in order to pursue, arrest and hand them over to the concerned bodies of the government.

The sources affirmed that the rebel group has attacked a health center aiming to kidnap health staff and medical supplies as well as they bombed some buildings of citizens in al-Qabel village of al-Mahadher district in Saada.

On the other hand, 28 rebels of the al-Houthi group were arrested by citizens after escaping from the confrontations with the armed forces in Harf Sufyan area.

Al Jawf in Yemen, 4% Electricity

Filed under: Communications, Electric, Transportation, Tribes, al Jawf — by Jane Novak at 3:41 pm on Friday, August 21, 2009

This is a very good report on Al Jawf. Similiarly, the Sa’ada War has roots in the overall failure by the central government to promote development due to massive corruption.

SABA Jawf, forgotten governorate 1-3

[20/August/2009] By: Faez al-Makhrafi, Translated by: Mahmoud Assamiee

JAWF, August 20- ( Saba)- A visitor of Jawf governorate, 170 kilometers northeast of the capital Sana’a, is surprised seeing women with a belt of bullets on their waists for the arms they carry. In this governorate you can see everybody, men, women and even children carry weapons on their backs.

Local officials say that Jawf is only a big building for the governorate affairs (without basic services and development) though 47 years have passed since realizing Yemeni revolution on 26 of September 1962. They said the governorate is only a “basket for concerns, and a tragic image of negligence.” (Read on …)

Thousands of Well Armed, Well Trained Rebel Fighters Take Sa’ada: YP

Filed under: Iran, Proliferation, Saada War, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 11:50 pm on Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Yemen Post updates the battlefield configuration of the Sa’ada war and contrasts official sources which say the Yemeni military is engaged in “mopping up” operations after a substantial victory which uncovered stores of Iranian weapons . Contacts with Saudi officials, dissing the Lebanese Shiite Council and proxy tribal wars are other interesting topics. During the second war (2005), the Shiite establishments of Iran and Iraq issued a joint statement, signatories included Ayatollah Sistani, calling the Sa’ada conflict a state jihad and noting “a pact of evil” extending from Baghdad to Sana’a.

The Yemen Post : Following fierce clashes between Houthi followers and army forces, informed sources revealed that armed forces restored Al-Husamah, a strategic area in Al-Malahedh district on the Yemeni-Saudi borders.

The army, according to local sources, is losing control of most Sa’ada districts with Houthis recently taking over Shadha and Razeh districts.
(Read on …)

Yemen Govt: Tribesmen Headed to Sa’ada

Filed under: Military, Saada War, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 9:43 am on Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Yemeni government announced the recruitment of tribal fighters into the Sa’ada war. The fact that they are “spontaneously” joining the battle is no defense for the Yemeni military. In a war, or an insurgency, the state remains culpable for a counter-insurgency fighting on behalf of the state (like the Janjaweed in Darfur). Also the arms, payments and weapons certainly are coming directly or indirectly through state channels.

The numbers are more than likely exaggerated. Even so, its bad news. The five prior Sa’ada wars have been philosophically contained as Houthis verses the government. The Houthis sought to define the conflict as a defensive fight against a repressive and discriminatory government, and the regime publicly defined it as a sectarian conflict against demonic apostates, but neither of the competing narratives caught on. To the extent the ranks of the rebels swelled from 200 in 2004 to thousands now, it was largely a result of the government’s violent campaign in the region, not because the Yemeni public was buying into the Houthi ideology. However, if the sixth Saada War becomes primarily a tribal conflict, then the combatants will be defined by new identities, and tribal norms dictate participation., Saba – Masses from many tribes of all the country’s governorates are heading willingly for Sa’ada governorate to take part in the fight against the Houthi rebels.

The military-run quoted tribal sources as saying that the Houthi’s claims, crimes and sabotage acts have provoked them to defend Yemen and its security and stability as well as the innocent citizens of Sa’ada.

The sources said that the tribesmen move to Sa’ada is freely to assist their bothers to encounter rebels’ collusive plots.

Well-informed sources said that businessmen and merchantmen have begun donating money to the security and armed forces fighting against rebels.

Hundreds of thousands (ed: perhaps they meant hundreds or thousands)of youths have announced their readiness from different governorates to battle to the insurgents in the governorate of Saada, according to the website.

Update: This is hysterical- “businessmen and merchantmen have begun donating money”- when Yemen’s economic activity is dominated by the same elite that dominates the political arena, land ownership and the security forces. I have a link on the side bar of the cross over between major corporations/ military and security/ membership in Saleh’s family. Its shows that Saleh’s family/ corporate leadership/ military commanders are largely the same persons. (The MAZ Corp, anyone?) A very important aspect thats missing from the list is land “ownership”, keeping in mind that much of the dissatisfaction in the south comes from the outright theft of land by major military commanders.

Tribal War Looms

Filed under: Saada War, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 5:44 pm on Monday, August 17, 2009

The possiblity of the Sa’ada War becoming an all out tribal war has generated concerns for several years. In some ways, this sixth round is different from that which came before, and the dangers are great.

Al Eshteraki

السلطة تدعو القبائل للمشاركة في الحرب Calls upon the Authority to participate in tribal war

وكان اخطر واكبر تطورات الحرب السادسة هو دعوة السلطة رسميا لمشاركة القبائل اليمنية الى جانب الجيش ضد المتمردين الحوثيين وهو ما سبق التحذير منه لما لذلك من مخاطر في توسيع نطاق الحرب واطالة امدها وتعقيد امكانية معالجة أثارها خصوصا في حالة استغلال قبائل معينة لهذه الدعوة لتحقيق اجنداتها الثارية مع قبائل اخرى كما هو الحال بالنسبة لقبائل العصيمات بحاشد وسفيان ببكيل The largest and most dangerous developments in the sixth, is the formal invitation for the participation of the tribes of Yemen, along with the army against the insurgents, which had been warning him to a risk to expand and prolong the war and raised the possibility of dealing with complexity, especially in the case of the exploitation of certain tribes to call for revenge with Ajindatha Other tribes, as is the case with the tribes and Sufyaan Alasemat Bhashid Bbugel (Read on …)

18 Killed in Tribal Clashes in Amran, Yemen

Filed under: Amran, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 10:54 pm on Thursday, July 30, 2009

Yemen Post:

Eighteen people were killed in clashes between two tribes in Amran governorate, northern Yemen, in the two days past.
Local sources in Amran said that the clashes were renewed lately between Harf Sufian and Al-Osaimat tribes after the failure of a number of local mediation efforts to put an end to the clashes.
Over 74 people, including women and children, have been killed in the conflict which remains ongoing using various weapons.
The conflict between Harf Sufian and Al-Osaimat tribes has erupted since November 2008, according to local sheikhs.
The tribes belong to powerful rival tribal coalitions, the Bakil and the Hashid.The conflict has its roots in the early 20th century with disagreements over land known as al-Sawad, bordering al-Osaimat and Harf Sufian areas.

Yemen Rounds Up 101 Usual Suspects

Filed under: Crime, Ministries, Tribes, hostages, security timeline — by Jane Novak at 9:54 am on Thursday, July 30, 2009

These are not accused of being complicit in the kidnapping of the nine foreigners in June, six of whom are still missing. Yemen Post

Yemeni Interior Ministry announced that 101 suspects were arrested in Yemeni governorates in connection with kidnapping Yemeni and foreign people during the middle of last year till July 2009.
Interior Ministry said that arrests aimed to catch outlaws to bring them to justice, ”most of the suspects handed down in Yemeni courts in different cases related to broken laws” Interior Ministry explained.
101 suspects were arrested in different governorates, including 50 in the capital, 8 Aden, 7 Taiz, 8 Hadramout, 9 Hodeida, 3 Abyan, and 10 in Dhmar governorate. (Read on …)

Five Filipino Medical Workers Freed in Sa’ada

Filed under: 9 hostages, Medical, Saada War, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 10:51 pm on Sunday, July 19, 2009

The German family and British engineer kidnapped days later are still missing. So who kidnapped the 26 foreign medical workers and why? This was the original story: June 11, 2009 – Tribesmen in Saada kidnap 24 doctors and nurses with a demand that authorities should free two prisoners. The 24, most of whom were Yemenis but also included Egyptians, Indians and Filipinos are released the next day.

The numbers never match up: Sunstar: Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo said they are grateful for the release of the five Filipino health workers who were abducted last June 11 with 16 other foreign nationals…

MANILA, Philippines – Five Filipino health workers who were abducted with 21 other hospital personnel in Saada, Yemen, on June 11 have been released, the Department of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. (Read on …)

Armed Tribesmen Besieging Murdered Yemeni Rabbi’s Family after Ruling

Filed under: Religious, Security Forces, Trials, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 11:13 am on Sunday, June 21, 2009

Late last year, retired Yemeni Air Force pilot, Abdul-Aziz Al-Abdi., threatened the Jewish community in Amran to “convert or die”. Al-Abdi then shot a young Rabbi, Masha al-Nahari, father of nine, in broad daylight. The family’s home and the Jewish in general was threatened and pelted with stones, forcing children to withdraw from school. After a sustained effort by Yemeni civil society, especially the HOOD organization, al-Abdi was brought to trial, and sentenced to a fine. Representing the victim’s family, HOOD lawyer, Khaled al-Anesi called the verdict “a scandal”. Today upon appeal, the Yemeni court overturned the prior verdict and imposed the death penalty. Currently a crowd of armed tribesmen is besieging the court and threatening the family, lawyers and journalists.

HOOD: An armed tribal group ranging 20-25 is surrounding the court building after the announcement of the Amran Appellate court’s ruling today…HOOD has received a call from its lawyers, Masha’s defence team before court proceedings, asserting that “they are seized inside the court with some of other journalists and Masha’s family members by an armed tribesmen belong to the convicted al-Abdi. Subsequently, HOOD directs a statement to the Interior minister holding him accountable of protecting the safety of all people seized inside the court building.

Its not like the police are going to come or anything. The family, lawyers and journalists are trapped inside the courthouse.

Zinc Mine Complications Results in Shoot-out

Filed under: Business, Investment, Tribes, land disputes, non-oil resources — by Jane Novak at 9:28 pm on Saturday, June 13, 2009

Land dispute, maybe disgruntled businessmen, leads to soldier’s death at the ZincOx mine.
Yemen Post

A soldier from the Republican Guards forces, led by President Saleh’s son, was killed and an officer was injured in fresh clashes with Al Al-Dhahak tribe from Al-Jawf’s Nihm district. (Read on …)

Another Kidnapped Foreign Medical Worker

Filed under: 9 hostages, Tribes, hostages — by Jane Novak at 3:31 pm on Saturday, June 13, 2009

A day after the release the 24 doctors and family members kidnapped in Amran (on their was to Sa’ada), a German expert and his family and friends were kidnapped near Sa’ada. The first incident was prompted by demands to release an imprisoned relative. This is likely the same. Before that was the Dutch couple. None of the kidnapping are by al Qaeda and money is not the object, and the hostages never get sold to al Qaeda. The absence of a functional judiciary prompts the tribesmen to these measures to get relatives released- relatives often held hostage for the actions of others.

Sana’a, Yemen – Seven Germans and two Britons have gone missing in the restive north-western Yemeni province of Saada and are feared kidnapped, security sources said on Saturday. (Read on …)

Shabwa Tribal Sheik Killed

Filed under: Local gov, Tribes, political violence — by Jane Novak at 5:53 pm on Sunday, June 7, 2009

Tribes’ affair Manager in Shabwa murdered :

YemenOnline.June 5,2009- The people in Shabwa were panic stricken when a person was killed and two others injured, as Mohamed Awadh Fadhl al-Rubaizi, the Manager of the Tribal Affairs and member of the local council in Shabwa was murdered this afternoon. Al-Rubaizi was murdered while he was participating in a local council conference. He was shot dead in a restaurant in Ataq, presumably in a revenge incident.People wondered over the security absence when there are checkpoints in every half a kilometer but they did nothing to stop the killing.

Cross Your Fingers

Filed under: South Yemen, Tribes, mentions, political violence — by Jane Novak at 3:47 pm on Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lets hope Yemeni security forces don’t follow their standard pattern and shoot into the crowds of southern demonstrators on Monday.

The 27th is Tariq al Fadhli’s “Day of Silent Protest” in Zanjibar, although the regime is calling it “Democracy Day” along with planning other distractions.

The military build-up is going swimmingly in all southern provinces including Aden (a military camp now), Dhalie (two more injured in Radfdan yesterday), other parts of Lahj, Hadramout and all over Abyan where al Fadhli is calling for the marches tomorrow.

Oddly the military let the would-be protesters heading for Zanjibar past the check-points, and thousands are already gathered. (Read on …)

Yemeni National Solidarity Council Opens London Branch

Filed under: Other Countries, Tribes, Yemen, political violence — by Jane Novak at 10:15 am on Sunday, April 26, 2009

London is such a happening place. Now in addition to the GPC stooges, the Yemeni intell agents, the TAJ people, the non-Taj opposition, we get the National Solidarity Council’s London branch, Hussain al Ahmar’s tribal lobbists.

Hussein opened a branch in London of the Council of National Solidarity Naba News
السبت, 25-إبريل-2009 Saturday, 25 – April -2009
نبأ نيوز- مجلس التضامن – News report – Board of solidarity –

أعلن مجلس التضامن الوطني عن افتتاح فرعه الجديد بالعاصمة البريطانية (لندن)، وذلك في إطار خطة المجلس لافتتاح عدد من الفروع داخل وخارج الأراضي اليمنية. National Solidarity Council announced the opening of its new branch on the British capital (London), in the framework of the Plan of the Council for the opening of a number of branches inside and outside Yemen.
وكان الشيخ حسين بن عبد الله الأحمر– رئيس مجلس التضامن الوطني- قام خلال زيارته إلى بريطانيا بافتتاح فرع المجلس بحضور عدد من الشخصيات السياسية والدبلوماسية وممثلي المنظمات العربية والدولية. The Sheikh Hussein bin Abdullah al-Ahmar – Chairman of the Board of the National Solidarity – During his visit to Britain at the opening of the branch of the presence of a number of political figures and representatives of the diplomatic and Arab and international organizations. (Read on …)

Yemen Pays Ransom for Hostages?

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Tribes, hostages — by Jane Novak at 12:51 pm on Wednesday, April 15, 2009

They could have used the 1/4 mil for development projects and got a better result. The Star

SANaA, Yemen – A Dutch couple held for two weeks by armed Yemeni tribesmen was freed today, and a tribal leader said Yemen’s government paid more than a quarter-million dollars in ransom.

The government denied paying the money or meeting any demands and said it was searching for the kidnappers among the Serag tribe in a mountainous region east of the capital.

Armed tribesmen seized the couple from their car in the capital, Sanaa, on March 31 and took them to a mountainous area about 70 kilometres to the east…After being freed, Heleen Janszen and her husband, Jan Hoogendoorn, were taken to the Dutch ambassador’s home in the capital. There they told reporters they did not feel that their lives were threatened.

Another Foreigner Kidnapping in Yemen

Filed under: Judicial, Tribes, Yemen, hostages   · · — by Jane Novak at 8:13 pm on Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The lack of judicial processes leads tribes to take matters in their own hands. The Dutch are longtime donors to Yemen. They were kidnapped driving in the capital.

Sana’a, Yemen – Yemeni tribesmen holding a Dutch couple hostage said on Wednesday they would release them if two provincial police chiefs are put on trial over a shootout last year in which four fellow clansmen were hurt, a municipal official said.

Jamil Shuraih, the secretary-general of the Bani-Dhabian district, where the Dutch hostages are being held, said the abductors also demanded financial compensation for injuries suffered by their relatives during the gunfight. (Read on …)

Bogus Rumors of US Invasion Irks Tribes

Filed under: Counter-terror, Tribes, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 3:13 pm on Monday, March 23, 2009

The original fear-mongering report came out in one of the regime fronted stooge papers. The tribes then issued a statement warning against US assault. Yemeni tribes have been the subject of statements by Zawahiri and Saleh recently. Normally they have to kidnap a foreigner to get any publicity.

SANA’A, March 22 (Saba) – A Yemeni official source has denied that the US will carry out land and air strikes against al-Qaeda targets in Yemen, dismissing reports that a Yemeni official had made statements for the official website of the United States Department of Defense over the matter.

The state-run cited the source as saying all information included in the reports were untrue and baseless.

There is no official source in Yemen who had contacted the website in New York to tell them about a Yemeni-US deal to crackdown al-Qaeda militants in the country, the source made clear, adding some websites deliberately promulgated misinformation for only a purpose of propaganda.

Parliament and Local Council Members’ Private Prisons

Filed under: Local gov, Parliament, Tribes, Yemen, hostages, prisons — by Jane Novak at 11:16 am on Friday, March 6, 2009

In Yemen, appointing Sheiks to Parliament and local councils (and have no doubt they were appointed not elected) has had the result of tribalizing the government, rather than impacting tribal norms. al Sahwa

Sahwa Net – There are as many private prisons as literacy schools in Hodaida province , according to Alsahwa Newspaper correspondent Abdul-Hafeedh al-Hattami who managed to visit a number of these private prisons.

Al-Hattami said in a prolonged report that powerful sheikhs (chiefs of tribes), sons of lawmakers and local councils members imprison and torture people in Hodaida, the poorest governorate in Yemen and impose taxes on them .

” Five years ago , Badr Zohar from Al-Zohra district , Hodaida, was imprisoned in a jail which is called al-Mitiana in night to be extradited to his dad in day as a corpse” said al-Hattami indicating to the absence of judiciary or security or any public services in these remote areas .

Tribal chiefs who a majority of them are members of the ruling party , parliament or local councils practice repressions, tortures and all kinds of violations against their subjects, and loot their lands and prosperities, according to the report.

Saudi-Yemen Border Closed by Disgruntled Sheik

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Saudi Arabia, Tribes, Yemen, land disputes, political violence, smuggling — by Jane Novak at 1:39 am on Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Says a lot, Yemen Online

Yemeni Sheikh closed “Ilb” Yemen-Saudi border crossing in Sa’ada governorate, calling for the implementation of the agreement terms between his grandfather and Saudi Arabia.
YemenOnline. March 01 – Armed elements believed to be followers to Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed Moqait, Baqim district, Sa’ada governorate closed on Saturday morning “Ilb” Yemen-Saudi border crossing, denying entry and exit of people and vehicles to and from Saudi Arabia, learned tribal sources reported to Al-Ishteraki Net. According to the sources, hundreds of cars and trucks piling up on both sides of the border of Yemen Saudi Arabia since the early hours of Saturday morning To reopen the border crossing, Sheikh Moqait , a senior Baqim sheikh, demanded that both Saudi Arabia and Yemen authorities implement his terms, in particular allowing the people of his tribe to enter to Saudi Arabia and work there without having to obtain what is known as the Saudi “sponsor”.
According to Sheikh Moqait , Saudi Arabia is obligated to implement the agreement terms between “AL Saud” and his grandfather in particular allowing Yemeni-Saudi border tribes, including Baqim and Monabbih tribes, to work in Saudi Arabia without having to obtain work permits or a Saudi sponsor.

Notably, Ilb border crossing is one of the most important crossings between Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

Tribes Reject Government and Democracy due to Non-Performance

Filed under: Civil Rights, Corruption, Tribes, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 1:34 pm on Sunday, February 22, 2009

Blaming democracy not corruption.

Yemen Online

Yemen: “We don’t need a country the government of which doesn’t at all respect its own nationals.” A Yemeni tribe in Al-Jawf stated.
YemenOnline. Feb 22 – A number of Al Heridan – Almahashimah tribesmen in Al-Jawf governorate demanded withdrawal of all the government’s troops and military equipment off their land because they do not need a country the government of which doesn’t at all respect its own nationals. “Yemen Government practices all standards of racism and nepotism against us, and we are being marginalized in every aspect of our own rights.” said Al Heridan – Almahashimah tribesmen in a letter addressed to civil society organizations concerned in human rights issues. Calling on Saudi Arabia to embrace the tribe, the letter confirmed that Al Heridan – Almahashimah tribe does no longer need a system that overlooked them.

Yemen Online

Yemen Should be a Kingdome, seriously said Shiekh Mabkhoot Bin Hadhal.

YemenOnline, Special. Feb, 22 – “Yemen should be a Kingdome, and President Ali Saleh should be a king.” seriously said Shiekh Mabkhoot Bin Hadhal, Marib governorate in a special statement to YemenOnline. “My own point of view, which a huge number of Yemeni people share with me, is that Yemen’s democratic system is to be cancelled. We no longer need any political parties or the Parliament itself due to the fact that those parties proved to be just headache and they caused us a lot of troubles at all levels, even at the family level”, he added.”Huge amounts of money are wasted inefficiently on the electoral process which is in turn corrupt.”, he stated, highlighting the fact that Yemen is surrounded by Gulf Kingdoms and it is much better for Yemen to be a Kingdome too.”This is going to make it a lot easier for Yemen to join Gulf Cooperation Council” he added, expecting a strong denouncement among Yemeni political system and even among opposition parties themselves.”An 18-year of failure is enough to prove that the democratic experience is useless.”, he commented.

Saleh’s Second Meeting in al Jawf Boycotted by Some

Filed under: Local gov, Presidency, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:55 am on Friday, February 20, 2009

Al Jawf is where the regime threw out the independent governor elected by the local council, made him an ambassador or something. The government said the election was irregular, what was irregular about it was the GPC didn’t win. But Saleh ultimately appointed a GPC loyalist as al Jawf governor.

And they just dont get it. Its really a thug mentality. Saleh’s apparatus is making a big stink about the fact that the JMP is trying to include the Houthis and the Southern movement in its coalition. “The enemies of the State,” they are called; however political inclusion is a GOOD thing. The total exclusion of authentic southern representatives is what drove the southerners to the streets in the first place.

The GPC/State put out a report a few years ago defining the primary cause of foreigner kidnapping as tribal exclusion from development projects, employment, education and political participation. But nothing happened, no policy shift at all, just more kidnappings. Saleh is not one to unclench his fist, as the O would say. So now we have Saleh courting the Sheikhs in al Jawf and not suceeeding as well as he’s like:

YemenOnline. Feb 17, 2009 – President of Yemen Ali Saleh met for the second time today with AL-Jawf Shiekhs to address Al-Houthis’ influence in Al-Jouf governorate.

The President emphasized the importance of maintaining solidarity and cooperation in reducing Al-Houthis’ influence in the governorate.

More than a hundred Shiekhs attended. Yet, senior Shiekhs did not, despite they had already been informed. Learned sources commented that the outcome of the meeting was not positive as expected

Sa’ada War Set to Flare Again

Filed under: Diplomacy, Saada War, Targeting, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:44 pm on Monday, February 16, 2009

No reconciliation yet.

Yemen Times

SANA’A, Feb. 15 — Houthi leader Abdul Malek Al-Houthi has recently threatened to avenge the death of field leader Ahmed Abdulla Abdan Al-Ezzi, whom he accused government-supported militias of killing last week.

Al-Houthi’s media office accused local authorities in Al-Jawf of setting up an armed ambush that targeted citizens on the public road of Zahir district, killing five citizens.

“Militias from the government in Al-Jawf headed by Khaled Al-Sharif, head of the Supreme Commission for Election and Referendum (SCER), carried out this operation,” said their press release. (Read on …)

Yemeni Parliament Reinforces Tribalism

Filed under: GPC, Parliament, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:48 am on Friday, February 13, 2009

There is a very good book by IFES, it could be 2005, but everything in it is still true, and one article gives the stats of tribal Sheiks in Parliament and its high. In effect, the “democratic institutions” in Yemen reinforce patriarchal norms and undermine egalitarianism. al Sahwa notes a study that concludes many MP’s have a grammer school education, a result of this patronage system.

A working paper on the common measures of forming the parliamentary elite in Yemen has demonstrated that the ruling party , the General People Congress, always nominates incompetent candidates for parliament, pointing out that most of its parliament’s members do not hold secondary school certificates. (Read on …)

From Judge to Jailor, al-Ja’ashin Sheikh Again Terrorizes Villagers

Filed under: Tribes, Yemen, poverty/ hunger — by Jane Novak at 7:35 am on Friday, February 13, 2009


The tragic ordeal in al-Ja’ashin continues as villagers continue to face aggression from Sheik Mansour in the al-Ansieen province of Ibb. Sheik Mohammed Mansour is continuously demanding that villagers pay him taxes on a variety of pretexts. He has confiscated their possessions, and residents are again displaced outside the village. (Read on …)

Saleh Admits State Unable to Apprehend Terrorists, Issues Threats

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, Presidency, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 3:24 pm on Thursday, February 5, 2009

There are safe havens in ungoverned regions, but the state has never tried actually to govern them, too busy stealing money.

In other cases where the regime is pressuring local populations to turn in wanted persons, the military usually resorts to bombing the areas and blocking food and medicine as in Sa’ada and Bani Hushiash. The government’s bombing in al Jawf is a bad sign.

Marib, Yemen – Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Tuesday called on tribesmen in three desert provinces to help security forces in hunting down terrorists in their remote areas.

‘Fight terrorism, and expel the saboteurs, otherwise I am able to get them,’ Saleh told tribal chieftains he met after attending a military manoeuvre in the north-central province of Marib.

‘Terrorism is damaging development and security in your areas,’ Saleh told the tribal chieftains represented Marib, al-Jawf and Shabwa, where officials say dozens of al-Qaeda fugitives are believed to be hiding.

Saleh said the government forces would not be able to catch the fugitive terrorists without cooperation from people in those provinces.

‘You see them (terrorists) before your eyes in your villages, and you don’t do anything to them,’ the Yemeni leader said.

He said the government ‘even with its big army and security (forces) could not catch the saboteurs without a truthful cooperation from all the citizens in these provinces.’

SEYAJ Opposes Use of Child Soldiers in Amran Tribal War

Filed under: Children, Military, Saada War, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 6:02 pm on Sunday, January 25, 2009


Much of the Sa’ada war is being fought by children on both sides. Those little girls are probably married.

SEYAJ organization for Childhood Protecting Press Release

Urgent humanitarian appeal

Stop killing children in tribal wars.

40% of the killed in tribal wars are Children.

SEYAJ organization for childhood Protection calls upon fighting tribes in Amran province and other tribal areas in Yemen to respect traditions and values of the tribes – if they don’t respect Islamic orders and national laws – and avoid killing or targeting children and women in wars or civilians who are not involved in the fighting.

SEYAJ Sources in the clashes area emphasize that until today January 25, 2009, 63 people were killed, 40% of them under the legal age in clashes which have been taking place for more than four months in the tribal areas of ‘Amran’ province- Approximately 50 km north of Sana’a.

SEYAJ demands all related officials and tribal sheikhs and men to enact a disciplinary law against any party proven that it is targeting children and women, or using them in combat operations, either as combatants, assistants or providing logistical support or any other forms of engagement that put their lives at risk.

According to Seyaj sources, combatants use children in these clashes and 50% of the fighters in the tribal wars are from children.

SEYAJ express its deep concern about such unacceptable conditions and calls on the State represented by the Ministry of the Interior to do their duty and protect citizens’ lives in general and children in particular.
Moreover It calls upon the media to shed more light on what is happening in war areas to convey a real image to the local and international public opinion hoping that somebody would mediate between the fighting parties to end this war.

SEYAJ also urges civil society organizations and all concerned to pressure the government in order to stop the massacres, which claim dozens of lives in silence instead of that it should support tribesmen to develop their life economically, educationally, and intellectually.

We hope urgent actions and widespread condemnation of what is happening to children in wars will come to pass whether ongoing or intermittent wars, tribal-tribal or between the state and the tribes.

SEYAJ Organization for Childhood Protection
Republic of Yemen – Sana’a

25th January 2009

Ah, good. The tribal angle and the Sa’ada war from the Media Line

The clashes in ‘Amran, about 50 kilometers north of ‘San’aa, erupted late last year between the Harf Sufian and ‘U’seimat tribes, and there are fears they will encompass larger tribal coalitions.

There are also concerns that a continuation of the clashes will deflect from the power of the government forces, and give more power to Shi’ite rebels from the Al-Houthi clan, who are positioned in the northern part of the country.

The tribes have a long-standing dispute over land, but the rebellion up north, which pits Shi’ite extremists against government forces, has accentuated their rivalry, with Harf Sufian supporting Al-Houthi and ‘U’seimat tribes siding with the government.

‘U’seimat tribes deny they are receiving government support against Harf Sufian.

German kidnapped in Yemen

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Tribes, Yemen, Yemen-Economy — by Jane Novak at 11:36 am on Saturday, January 10, 2009

The hostages were later released…


Armed Yemeni tribesmen have kidnapped a German engineer and two of his colleagues, a Yemeni gas firm has said.

The incident involving employees of Yemen LNG happened in Shabwa region, east of the capital Sanaa, on Sunday.

One report said the kidnappers had demanded that the authorities release fellow tribesmen from prison.

It is the latest in a string of kidnappings of foreigners by Yemeni tribesmen. In almost all cases, those abducted have been freed unharmed.

On Sunday, a spokesman for the German foreign ministry said he could not confirm the abduction.

“The ministry and embassy are working intensively to try to establish what has happened,” the spokesman said.

“We are in close contact with the Yemeni authorities,” he added.

Oil Pipeline in Yemen Blows

Filed under: Oil, Tribes, Yemen, political violence — by Jane Novak at 11:48 am on Saturday, January 3, 2009

Earth Times

Sana’a – Attackers, believed to be tribesmen, blew up a major oil pipeline in western Yemen on Sunday, but there were no reports of casualties, police said. The explosion occurred in the Khawlan area, some 60 kilometres south-east of the capital Sana’a, where the pipeline runs to the Red Sea exporting facility of Rass Essa.

Witnesses said thick black smoke billowed over the blast scene for several hours following the explosion.

Police officials told Deutsche-Presse Agentur

Kidnappers Release Germans for 100K and relatives release

Filed under: Tribes, hostages — by Jane Novak at 6:20 am on Friday, December 19, 2008

The three German hostages released ’ Yemeni mediators affirm
YemenOnline-December 19,2008- Tribesmen have released their three German hostages after the Yemeni government agreed to meet some of their conditions, including paying a ransom and releasing some tribesmen from prison, mediators said Friday. The Germans were due to arrive by late afternoon in the capital city of San’a, said Ahmed Ubad Sherif, one of the leading mediators from the Khawlan tribe.Sherif said the Germans were being cared for by Sheik Abdel Qawi Ubad, the deputy governor of the Al-Dhala province in southern Yemen. The deputy governor is also a senior tribal member.A second tribal official, who was also mediating, said the kidnappers released the hostages after the government agreed to their conditions to release some tribesmen in Yemeni prisons.The mediator, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said a ransom of 20 million Riyals ($100,000) was paid by the Yemeni government.

Yemen Takes 100 Hostages After Tourist Kidnapping Spurred by Government Hostage Taking

Filed under: Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:39 am on Thursday, December 18, 2008

The hostage system is unjust, destabilizing and should not be encouraged.


Sanaa, 16 Dec. (AKI) – Yemeni police have arrested at least 100 tribesmen believed to be linked to the abduction of three Germans in a remote area 130 km south of the capital, Sanaa, according to unnamed tribal sources.

All those arrested reportedly belong to the powerful Banu Dhabian tribe of the kidnappers and the move is intended to pressure them to release the German hostages who were abducted on Sunday.

Earlier on Tuesday security forces surrounded the mountain hideout east of Sanaa where the kidnappers are believed to be holding a female employee of the German Technical Cooperation agency GTZ and her parents.

The captives are in good health, according to the German embassy in Sanaa. It said the Yemeni government has assured it no force will be used to free the hostages.

The kidnappers have demanded the release of two close male relatives who have been jailed for abducting five Yemeni engineers and holding them captive for six months last year, Yemeni Interior Ministry officials said.

The kidnappers have also asked for 200,000 dollars, according to the ministry.

Disgruntled tribesmen in impoverished Yemen kidnap foreigners as a means of bargaining with the government, either to secure the release of jailed tribe members, or for jobs or improved living conditions. Most hostages are released unharmed.

Update: now the kidnappers want Moyaad, money and the release of the family members.

Yemen’s Hostage System Prompts Kidnapping of Three Germans

Filed under: Tribes, Yemen, hostages — by Jane Novak at 8:13 am on Monday, December 15, 2008

Yemen’s law is based on Sharia and tribal norms. The government often kidnaps people and holds them hostage as a way to pressure family members. In other cases, state hostage taking is simply retribution by a powerful person. Considering the judicial system is no remedy, tribesmen regularly resort to kidnapping foreigners in order to get their relatives released. Why foreigners? Because no one cares when they kidnap Yemenis. Depending on the tribal identity of the kidnappers, the state sanction can range from financial rewards to prison time.The hostages are usually released without harm. The only exception was when jihaddists kidnapped foreigners in 1998. That ended with several fatalities. The tribesmen on the other hand have never been known to hurt the hostages and usually are very hospitable.

SAN`A, Yemen (AP) — A security official and tribal leader say tribesmen have kidnapped three Germans in southern Yemen and are holding them hostage, demanding the government release imprisoned clan members.

The Yemeni official says a German woman working for a non-governmental organization in Yemen and her visiting mother and father were abducted early Monday by Bani Thabyan tribesmen of Dhamar province 65 miles south of the capital, San`a.

A clan leader from the same area says the tribesmen are demanding the release of relatives held by the government.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk about the incident. The clan leader asked not to be identified fearing he would be accused of being linked to the abduction.

Military Demands Execution of Journalists for Article

Filed under: Media, Military, Saada War, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 12:02 pm on Sunday, November 16, 2008

Didnt al-Motamar publish the same news? The official Yemeni government estimates were 8,000 tribal fighters and they were going to try to recruit more. Maybe it was the part where the Islamic extremists were training the fighters that was the military secret.

News Yemen
SANA’A, NewsYemen

A state security and terrorism specialized court refused on Monday an objection by al-Share independent weekly against the court’s authority to hold a press case as press cases are required by the constitution to be heard by the Press and Publications Court.

The court said it has the authority to look into the case raised against the paper by the Ministry of Defense and ordered the case to the primary court again.
Last November, Editor Nayef Hassan and two journalists at al-Share Weekly were indicted in Yemen’s State Security Penal Court, which is reserved for terrorism cases. Al-Share published articles documenting the regime’s use of tribal fighters in its war against Shiite rebels in Sa’ada.

The Ministry of Defense demanded the execution of the three journalists for “threatening national security, demoralizing the military and divulging state secrets.”
The al-Share case referred to the State Security and Terrorism Court. The Yemeni Journalists Syndicate condemned referring a press case to terrorism-specialized court and said it was against the Yemeni constitution and press law.

Tribesmen Close 13 Oil Wells

Filed under: Oil, Tribes, political violence — by Jane Novak at 2:25 pm on Thursday, November 6, 2008

What is it this time? Demanding the release of state held hostages, oil jobs or wells?

News Yemen A group of tribes in Mareb have by force closed a number of oil wells in province, local sources in Mareb said.

The sources said that armed tribes locked Thursday 10 wells in Raidan block and three wells in Monkem block. They said ten security vehicles were immediately sent to unlock the wells.

A security source told NY the incident was a destructive act, confirming that three wells have been unlocked.

NewsYemen could not contact with the security director of Mareb for more details.

Women as Minors, Who Work 16 Hours a Day

Filed under: Demographics, Employment, Tribes, Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 9:34 am on Saturday, October 11, 2008

Yemen Observer:

However mature and well-educated they may be, women in Yemen still do not enjoy equality status with men. This is largely due to social traditions that still regard women as minors needing help and support, said a paper on women and tribal traditions in Yemen.

Women’s roles largely remain confined to giving birth, raising children and caring for the home and family, said the paper which was presented by researcher Dr. Afaf Al Haimi in a symposium held in Sana’a this week on the political role of tribes in Yemen, Jordan and Iraq.

“Education for women is not regarded as essential, especially in rural areas where women generally work about 16 hours per day on farms, in houses and gathering water,” said Al Haimi.

The rate of illiteracy among women in rural areas is as high as 75.7 percent and 40.5 percent in the urban areas, she said.

The gap between male and female education is 76 girls for every 100 boys, but in the high classes the number of girl’s decreases. At this level, there are only 44 female students for every 100 male students, she said.

The researcher also noted that there is a high drop out rate for girls at nearly every level of education. Girls generally drop out of schools because of early marriage, and because the prevailing culture does not stress female education. Also, housework, especially in rural areas and family traditions, often prevent women from leaving the home, the researcher said.

In government institutions, the researcher said, the number of female employees is around 90,464 compared to 440,061 men.

The researcher also criticized Yemen’s educational curriculum, saying it discriminates against women by focusing solely on what are typically regarded as male virtues- heroism and success, and it stresses the power of men.

She said the country’s political parties do nothing to help women. These parties are strongly affected by the country’s tribal culture which looks at women as inferior, the researcher concluded.

2 Columbian Hostages

Filed under: Targeting, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 7:21 pm on Saturday, September 27, 2008

The third kidnapping in 2008.

It would be nice to have some stats on how many Yemenis a year get kidnapped.

Yemen cracks down to free two Colombian hostages

[20 September 2008]

ABYAN, Sep. 20 (Saba)- Security sources said on Saturday that the security committee of Abyan province held a meeting to conduct security crackdowns for the release of two Colombian oil experts who were kidnapped on Friday by tribal gunmen.

The sources added that the two Colombian oil experts, working with the Yemeni Liquefied Natural Gas Company, were kidnapped on Friday while they were on their way to the pipelines, in Balhaf, Shabwa province.

Well-informed sources said the two Colombian oil experts, along with two Yemenis, were kidnapped in the Shabwa province, east of Yemen. The hostages were identified as Hector Marin, Rafael Abala, Basheer Al Sulwi, the driver, and Abdul-Aziz Abdul-Gani.

Primary investigations revealed the kidnappers were from the Ba Kazem tribe in Shabwa province. The kidnappers drove off in the car of the kidnapped experts, leaving their car at the spot where the kidnapping occurred.

According to a local statistics, Yemen has witnessed about 134 kidnappings, which included about 325 Europeans and 25 Americans, between 1990 and 2005.

Around 80 per cent of these abductions took place in the provinces of Sana’a, Amran, Mareb, Sa’ada and Shabwa.

12 year old hostage in prison

Filed under: Children, Security Forces, Tribes, Yemen, prisons — by Jane Novak at 11:39 am on Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hood On Line

Hood concerns About Detaining al-Salihi Juvanile along with three others:
Tuesday 09 September 2008 / Hoodonline

Hood has informed that a 12-year juvenile of al-Salihi family was apprehended along with three of his relatives for more than a month and a half at Moa’en security directorate prison in the Capital.

These four prisoners are the juvenile Bakeel al-Salihi,12, Hussien Saleh al-Salihi,18, Mohammed ,21,and Ali Ahmed al-Salihi who are still under arrest until this writing.

They are kept in prison as hostages with no clear charges pressed against them. It became obvious later on that the detention was on the grounds of tribal dispute in M’arib-Yemen, which these four men play no part in it.

After receiving a complaint from the detainees’ relatives, the prosecution of the capital west-circuit visited the detention scene and proved the illegal condition of the detention. The prosecution also noted that the Police Station director scoffed at Law offering an excuse of receiving a high order from the Interior ministry.

Hood says, addressing the interior ministry, that the hostage system is supposed to be vanished since the blessing Sep26th Revolution. As Hood also alerts the Interior Minister of being drifted towards the rejected tribal practices and shifted to be a brigand entity Kidnapping and arresting people as hostages.

Therefore, Hood considers this detention illegal and egregious violation in human rights and calls the Interior Ministry and the Attorney-General, in two letters each, for the urgent release and the prosecution of those responsible.

Short Kidnapping Of French Engineer

Filed under: Crime, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 1:06 pm on Thursday, August 14, 2008

A group of armed tribesmen released a French engineer of Algerian origin yesterday after holding him hostage for one day in south-eastern Yemen to press for the release of jailed fellow clansmen, local officials said.
The officials said the hostage’s release was secured by a mediation led by tribal figures and local officials in Shabwa.
The engineer, who works for a giant gas exporting project, was taken at gunpoint from the Habban area about 40km from Ataq, the provincial capital of Shabwa.
“The engineer was handed over to tribal dignitaries, and he is safe and sound,” a local official said, asking not to be named.
He said the man was released along with four bodyguards after the abductors, who belong to the Laqmoush tribe, received pledges from officials that they would release three clansmen being detained in neighbouring Hadramout province over a land dispute. – DPA

Al-Zindani President of the Virtue and Vice Commission

Filed under: Civil Rights, Religious, Tribes, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 4:18 pm on Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Yemen Observer

The newly established vice and virtue committee elected Sheikh Abdulmajid al-Zindani as a president of the committee, Sheikh Sadiq Bin Abdullah Bin Hussein al-Ahmar vice president and Sheikh Hamoud al-Tharihi as a Secretary General, said Sheikh Hamoud al-Tharihi. (Read on …)

Assassinations and Reprisals in al-Jawf

Filed under: Saada War, Security Forces, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 11:12 am on Thursday, July 17, 2008

Imagine how messy its going to get if the “citizens’ militia” comes to fruition.

Sana’a, Yemen - Gunmen loyal to a Shiite rebel group killed a senior regional official in an ambush in the north-western Yemeni al-Jawf province on Wednesday, local sources said.

The sources told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that Abdul-Wahab al- Dhamin, the deputy governor of al-Jawf, and three tribal chieftains accompanying him were killed after the gunmen opened fire on al- Dhamin’s car.

The attackers ambushed the car near al-Zahir district of al-Jawf, some 195 kilometres north west of the capital Sana’a, they said.

The assassination of al-Dhamin was likely a direct retaliation of the killing Abdu Abu-Rass, a leading member of the rebel group, in al-Jawf earlier in the day.

Abu-Rass and one of his body guards were ambushed by armed tribesmen in al-Zahir district.

In a separate ambush, two soldiers were killed and four others injured in the Barat district of al-Jawf Wednesday, local officials said, adding that the attackers were also Shiite rebels.

Hussain to Mediate in Sa’ada

Filed under: Biographies, Saada War, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:25 pm on Friday, May 9, 2008

Yemen Post:

President Saleh has handed the responsibility of solving the Saa’da crisis to Sheikh Hussein Al-Ahmar, Head of the National Solidarity Council. Saleh has asked Ahmar to finalize the differences between both sides and ensure that peace fills the region of Sa’ada. This comes after the previous two committees responsible for the peace negotiations between the government and Houthi loyalists have failed over the past year, as casualties continue to rise weekly.

Houthi field officer Abdul Malik Al-Houthi welcomed the move by President Saleh and hoped that the outcomes are fruitful now that Ahmar is head of the committee.

Most members of the new committee assigned by Saleh are members of the National Solidarity Council. This is considered the third mission President Saleh has asked Sheikh Ahmar to intervene and help solve over the last two months including the Ja’ashin and South issues that Ahmar has solved.

Turning back to Sa’ada, escalation from all angles took place as fifty people were killed and nearly one hundred and twenty injured as locals in Sa’ada witnessed the start of a sixth war in the war torn governorate.

A local source told the Yemen Post that violent clashes are ongoing in different areas of Sa’ada province where casualties for Sunday exceeds 15 deaths and over 45 injured.

The source added that Houthis have become stronger especially when their fellow rebels were released from government prisons. Meanwhile, Houthi followers are surrounding a government complex in Munabeh district.

Further, government forces are also surrounding a large group of Houthi loyalist in Saa’da according to sources.

On Saturday, three Yemeni security soldiers were killed and another two injured in an attack that targeted a control center located in the northwest part of the city. In separate clashes, eight Houthi loyalists were killed in continuous clashes in the city as the death toll increases everyday from both sides.

Also, 15 people were killed and over 60 others injured, mostly soldiers when a powerful explosion rocked Suliman mosque in Sa’ada.

The explosion resulted from explosives packed into a motorbike and it was detonated when worshippers started to leave the mosque following performing Friday prayer.

The war has also caused unrest in people lives as more than 50 thousand people are homeless according to local sources. Also epidemic and infectious diseases are spread and many schools are closed. The Human Rights Report for 2007 issued by

Tribal Conflicts, Bandits, Lack of Infrastructure Hinder College Students Travel

Filed under: Education, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:23 pm on Monday, April 28, 2008

An excellent report from Mareb Press on the difficulties facing college students in Marib

Revenges and tribal conflicts deprive Mareb students from education
Local News: Great struggle to reach colleges
Sunday 27 April 2008 / Mareb Press

Education is the right of all people. From this perspective, Mareb students start to pursue their university education despite of the tribal conflicts in the province. The persistence of the students in pursuing their university education despite the difficulties they face in transportation and traveling through the desert on foot makes you feel surprised.

At the same time, the students condemned the continual tribal conflicts of which they have become victims even if they do not belong to the parts of conflicts. So, they strongly demand to make the colleges “Hejer” respected, safe and secure places prohibited to be harmed. After they have been deprived from university education for several years, the Faculties of Education Arts and Sciences were opened two year ago to give them a hope in pursuing university education. However, students are still suffering from the tribal conflicts; in this investigation, some students will narrate the difficulties and sufferings they face in pursuing their university education.

Travel burdens and the bandits:

Saeed Al-Athel, second level, faculty of Art, Serwah district, said that they face difficulties in far distance, transportation, absence of student accommodation, laboratories and libraries in Mareb College. He said these problems made the educational process more difficult, but he confirmed that the educational atmosphere was better last year. (Read on …)

Hussain al-Ahmar

Filed under: Biographies, Islah, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:23 pm on Saturday, April 26, 2008

Libya is a commercial relationship, but SA is a historic one.

Mareb Press

Southern crisis is political and rioters must be tried for high treason, says Al Ahmer
Wednesday 23 April 2008 / Mareb Press

The Head of the National Solidarity Council (NSC) and Member of Parliament, Hussain al-Ahmer, described his relations with Saudi Arabia as historical while he said, “his relation with Libya is commercial one and it is currently suspended but it will be resumed at any time”.

Al-Ahmer said in interview with Mareb Press the current southern crisis is political crisis.
“Some parts in Yemen want to exercise political pressures by moving the street in order to achieve their goals. I wonder if there is any Yemeni person boasting of secession” he added.

Al-Ahmer accused the committees which were formed to resolve the issues of the southerners of procrastination.

He added there is no problem in arresting and trying those people who carried out sabotage and riot acts. He demanded to try them on the charge of high treason.

About the aim of opening new branch for the NSC in Aden city, al-Ahmer said “The aim is to stand with people irrespective of their partisan affiliation and to spread awareness among them and to solve their problems.”

Al-Qaeda Threatens Leadership in Mareb, and an Explosion

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, GPC, Military, Tribes, Yemen, political violence — by Jane Novak at 8:44 pm on Saturday, April 12, 2008

Mareb Press

Al Qaeda threatens leadership in Mareb
Local News: One soldier killed in Mareb
Saturday 12 April 2008 / Mareb Press

One soldier was killed on Saturday by unknown men on Safer road in Mareb province.

The attackers opened fire on an army vehicle leading to the death of one solider. The attackers were able to run away.

The security apparatus are still search and investigating to know the attackers.

On other hand, unknown men threw a bomb on the building of the Command of Middle Region causing no casualties.

It’s worth mentioning that the building of the Command of Middle Region was exposed to a number of attacks during the last months. The attacks allegedly carried out by Al Qaede. The attack occurred during day time not at night as usual.

Unknown men have distributed publications threatening the leadership and social figures in Mareb with death for being involved, as they claimed, in killing four Al Qaeda men.

The publications which include poems also praise and lament the four Al Qaeda men.

And a bombing – An explosion resounded near gates of the Mareb governorate building and the General People’s Congress (GPC) branch headquarters at 7:30 pm Saturday.

The governor of Mareb Arif al-Zoka confirmed to the occurrence of the explosion and said it has not caused any damage and investigations were underway to disclose complications of the incident.

On his part the head of the GPC branch in the governorate Abdulwahid al-Qabali told that no damage happened or casualties due to the explosion except for slight damage to the gate of the GPC branch building.

The GPC leading member did not exclude political motives behind the incident of which the police are still investigating.

Kidnapping Pays

Filed under: Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:09 pm on Thursday, April 10, 2008

April 22, 2008

Marib, Three wanted men of Khawlan district were injured in clashes with security forces Tuesday in Marib province.

Local sources said that security forces wounded three persons from Khawlan , pointing out that one soldier was slightly injured.

Media reports had affirmed that engineers who were kidnapped by tribesmen from Khawlan were lately released in return to amount YR 40 million paid by the government for the kidnappers.

New al-Ahmar Alliance with Saleh

Filed under: Islah, LNG, Ministries, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:02 am on Monday, April 7, 2008

A gas tender, a Parlimentary speakership and a Minstry, the boyz sold their postions cheap. Yes, dissappointing.

Yemen Times

These challenges facing the tribally-backed regime have pushed Saleh not to forward concrete actions, but revamp cracks in his tribal coalitions with Al-Ahmar family. Suddenly, the president was able to normalize his relationship with the sons of Al-Ahmar, extending a gas tender to Hamid, appointing another as vice speaker of Parliament and another as deputy minister of sports and youth. Hussein, who set up the tribal National Solidarity Council to irritate the regime, has been seen on TV with the president in some events.

This attests to Saleh’s allegations that these vocal and critical “boys” want their share of the cake and nothing more. Yes, this is the question. This restructuring of the tribal coalition is meant to challenge disturbances in Sa’ada and in the southern provinces. It is a coalition against the public’s demands. People were naively fooled when they believed that the sons of Sheikh al-Ahmar would side by the public and their pains.

Saleh has tried to develop a loose coalition with the tribe and Al-Ahmar family in particular but found it difficult, and therefore preferred to compromise with the new young leaders of Hashid. Such a technique might serve to extend the hold up of his regime, which is going through hard times, but will not rein in the outrageous people who felt disappointed in the man who promised to improve their living standards in the 2006 elections and now tells them to drink “sea water,” a gesture of recklessness.

At the same time, the protesters demanding separation are serving the regime’s interests, for the people are not in favor of separation. The solution to our problems which are embroiling the country into turmoil is not splitting again into south and north. The country cannot simply split into north and south. It would rather mean complete disintegration and fragmentation of the whole country, which means a bleak future for everybody, without exception.

Now, as the country is on the edge of a precipice, concrete solutions are urgently needed before it is too late and everything falls apart.

Six killed in Tribal Clashes

Filed under: Tribes, Yemen, land disputes — by Jane Novak at 9:52 am on Tuesday, March 25, 2008


SAN’A, Yemen (AP) – A Yemeni Interior Ministry official reports six people have been killed and five injured in a fight between tribesmen over land.
The official, speaking on customary condition of anonymity, says that the violence broke out Sunday and continued through Monday between the Abdullah and Bani-Ali tribes north of the capital San’a.
Tribal mediators are working to calm the furor.
Clashes between the heavily armed tribes in this impoverished nation are frequent and most men carry firearms despite an official government ban.

Two Boys Kidnapped

Filed under: Tribes, Yemen, land disputes — by Jane Novak at 9:14 am on Sunday, March 9, 2008

President’s directives are not followed

Yemen Times

SANA’A, Feb. 20 — Two Yemeni families are still suffering from the kidnapping of their children, taken by tribal groups eight months ago.

The story caught human rights organizations’ and the public’s attention, and they have demanded that the government take action. Abdul Allah Ali Saleh Al-Komim, 15, and Mohammed Yahya Naser Al-Komim, 17, were kidnapped by a tribe 50 kilometers outside Sana’a. For over eight months, these children have been kept away from their school, friends and families. (Read on …)

Another Village Under Sheik Mansour Rebelling

Filed under: Civil Rights, Local gov, Reform, Refugees, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:19 pm on Tuesday, March 4, 2008


I didnt realize al-Jasheen freed itself. I thought they were still being tormented. The villages are a state within a state not subject to any laws but the whims of the sheik, showing the abject failure of many institutions of the Yemen government to function as a national entity.

SANAA, 4 March 2008 (IRIN) – Around 120 people from a village in Ibb Province have fled to the capital, Saana, in fear of their lives after their local sheikh (tribal leader and alleged landowner) expelled them from their homes.

The displaced persons, including children, from al-Ansiyaen village have been camping in the yard of local non-government organisation (NGO) Yemeni Female Media Forum, in Sanaa, for over a week. They said their sheikh, Mohammed Mansour, was not allowing them to stay in their houses because they had not paid him `zakat’ (annual alms payment).

The villagers said they went to Ibb town to pay `zakat’ to the government, but the sheikh threatened them, beat them and put them in two private prisons he runs. They escaped and fled to Sanaa, and have said they will not leave their current abode until the government steps in.

Villager Abdullah Ghaleb, aged 27, told IRIN that everyone in the village had to pay 30,000-40,000 riyals (US$150-200) a year to the sheikh as `zakat’. “He claims the land we live and work on belongs to him, which is not true,” he said, adding that the sheikh could imprison and attack anyone who disobeyed his orders. “He can even loot our property (animals, farms, belongings) if we do not obey his orders,” the villager said.

Village cordoned off
According to Ghaleb, the sheikh has cordoned off the village to stop other villagers going to Sanaa. “The sheikh’s soldiers have surrounded the area and do not allow anyone to leave or enter the village,” he said.

Abdul-Rahman Barman, a lawyer at the National Organisation for Defending Freedoms and Rights (a local NGO known as HOOD), told IRIN: “They [the villagers] requested the assistance of the local authorities there to no avail. The sheikh ordered 100 of his soldiers to loot the villagers’ property and kill their animals after they staged sit-ins in Sanaa.”

Barman said women and children were beaten by the soldiers. “The area is not subject to the rule of law and the sheikh is acting with impunity…” He has private prisons, he tramples on their rights and attacks their properties illegally,” the rights activist said.

Najib Saleh, one of the displaced villagers, said the sheikh controlled everything in the area. “He can send people to his prison, and scrutinise their activities. He is lawmaker and ruler at the same time. We were brought up under his tyranny,” he said, adding that the sheikh had all kinds of weapons, including medium-sized missiles.

On 3 March, after a protest organised by the villagers and rights groups in front of the ministry, Minister of Local Administration Abdul-Qader Hilal promised to form a fact-finding committee to visit the area and investigate the allegations, but he did not say when the committee would be set up.

Al-Ansiyaen is one of five villages controlled by Sheikh Mansour. In March 2007 two villages previously under his dominion became free after locals staged sit-ins in Sanaa.

Zindani, GPC Head and Saddiq al-Ahmar call for resistance

Filed under: GPC, Islah, Media, Palestinians, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 12:37 pm on Monday, March 3, 2008

News Yemen

Head of Al-Eman religious university, member of Yemeni Clerics Association, sheikh Abdul-Majid al-Zindani has called for changing the Organization of Islamic Conference into an Arab-Islamic federation and to set up a Yemen-based satellite channel for the federation. (Read on …)

Al-Jasheen Villagers in Trouble Again

Filed under: Civil Rights, Targeting, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:14 pm on Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mareb Press

Tens of people carried today, Sunday, out a sit-in in Al-Jashen zone before the building of the province of Ibb protesting against sheikh Mohammed Ahmed Mansour, sheikh of AlJashen zone, who demanded them to pay money for their harvests.

Some protesters told Mareb Press that Sheikh Al Jaeshen demanded them to pay large sums of money reaching to YR 70 thousands.

Abdullah Abdo Sharaf said, “They asked me to pay YR 40 thousands and it was the same amount of money that I paid last year. I don’t have anything except a small piece of land. I have gotten my children out of the school because I can not bear the school expenses.”

“We did not know the republican system except during the 3-year period of AlHamdi’s ruling,” he added.

The citizen, Abdul Raqeeb Abdullah, demanded the authority to force Sheikh AlJa’shen to release his brother who was detained by militia of the sheikh and put in al-Hanesh prison that belongs to the sheikh.

The citizens confirmed that the militia headed by Hamoud Abdullah Mushen, Ahmed Bin Ahmed Ali and his sons prevented the refugees who ran away from AlJa’shen zone to establish a camp in Halyan zone in AlOdain district by using military vehicles belonging to the Sheikh.

They confirmed to Mareb Press that their demands were “fair and legitimate” and they wanted to feel that they were “in a State”. The citizens offered their complaint to the governor.

Meanwhile, Marab Press has learned that the governor of Ibb province has directed to cancel these amounts of money.”

The Political Role of Yemeni Tribes

Filed under: GPC, Parliament, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:36 am on Thursday, February 21, 2008

What a good analysis, worth a read, Yemen Times

Yemeni society suffers from a faulty overall structure that has enabled the worst aspects of the past and present to emerge and become firmly established. Now we perceive the yoking of the worst values and practices of both bygone and contemporary times. New institutions have surfaced, modern in appearance but traditional in essence. They are “disfigured creatures,” borrowing from the tribe the most objectionable conventions and customs, such as vengeance killing, which is a phenomenon being transformed into political and partisan vengeance practiced in Sana’a and other Yemeni cities and villages. The “it-is-easy-to-resort-to-arms-and-violence” habit has been increasingly adopted to settle scores instead of resorting to the culture of dialogue and tolerance. (Read on …)

Kidnappers Try to Bomb Pipeline

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Oil, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:43 am on Wednesday, February 20, 2008

al-Motamar – Security forcers in Yemen captured Saturday as gang that was trying to an oil pipeline in the area of Sarwah, Marib governorate, among them a person wanted by security over abduction of foreign tourists.

Security sources mentioned today that security forces arrested thee members of the gang while another member of the four-member gang is being hunted down. quoted the security sources as clarifying those security men managed to surround the gangsters and then captured them as they were trying to carry out a sabotage act on the oil pipeline.

The sources pointed out that one of the captured gang’s members is wanted by security over the incident of kidnapping the Italian tourists and he is called Salam Ali al-Amiri, in addition to Mohammed Saleh al-Zaidi and Jarallah al- Salihi while the fourth member of the gang Ghalab Hussein al-Zaidi is being chased by security.

SANAA (Reuters) – Yemeni forces have foiled an attempt to blow up a crude oil pipeline in the Marib province and arrested a number of “saboteurs,” the official Yemeni news agency Saba said on Sunday.

“Interrogations are under way, but the initial results indicate that this group is linked to the terrorist bombing of the pipeline last year,” Saba said, citing the head of security in the province.

In November, tribesmen blew up a pipeline that carries crude oil from the Marib oil basin to storage tanks at the Ras Issa terminal for export. No one was harmed in the bombing, which took place in a desert area in the eastern Marib province.

Officials said at the time that the perpetrators were not linked to Islamist militants. Tribesmen sometimes kidnap holidaymakers and foreigners working in Yemen to press for better schools, roads and services or the release of prisoners.

Now they are terrorists, the Yemen Observer sez:

A terrorist attack targeted an oil pipeline in the area between Marib and Serwah in the north east of Yemen on Friday night. The attack resulted in exploding the pipeline. However a security source revealed that security forces exchanged gun fire with the terrorists and resulted in injuring one of the security personnel and wounding one of the attackers and arresting two terrorists. The three attackers were named al-Gamily, M. S. al-Zaidi and A. al-Zaidi. The security sources revealed that the perpetrators will be prosecuted and presented to justice soon.

First Al-Jawf Demonstration

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Tribes, Yemen, poverty/ hunger — by Jane Novak at 9:57 pm on Saturday, February 16, 2008

Yemen Times

- Al-Jawf governorate organizes peaceful uprising against wealth robbery and exploitation of government jobs

Thousands of citizens staged a huge rally Tuesday in the Yemeni eastern province of Al-Jawf over what they called ‘exploitation of government jobs and wealth robbery by influential officials’ the weekly reported, adding that the event, believed to be the first of its kind in the governorate, took place at the Government Complex’s yard in Hazm city. The Islah Party’s Shoura Council Chairman and Festival’s preparatory committee head Al-Hasan Ali Abu Bakr said addressing the rally participants that “You are more able to make change and by your sincere efforts, we can make unprecedented victory over injustice and oppression.”

“We have trusted our political leadership and helped it take the highest job once again, but regretfully, it reversed our expectations and looted our national wealth and natural resources,” the weekly quoted Abu Bakr as saying. The man stressed the necessity of continuing the peaceful struggle irrespective of the challenges and obstacles expected to be standing in our way. “The false promises are impossible to gratify starving and thirsty people,” he commented in an implication to promises made by the General People Congress’s candidate ahead of 2006 presidential elections.

According to the weekly, Head of Islah Party’s Executive Office in Al-Jawf Abdulhamid Amer noted the nation is experiencing ‘a revolution of awareness about implications of the peaceful struggle and awakening of the Yemeni conscience’. He said that Yemeni people see that it is time to exterminate rampant corruption and property theft, as well as stop the irresponsible exploitation of military and security posts.

Sewage Service Limited

Filed under: Medical, Tribes, Water, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:01 pm on Tuesday, February 5, 2008

YEMEN: Sanitation services limited, sewage treatment plants poor 05 Mar 2008 16:29:11 GMT
Source: IRIN

SANAA, 5 March 2008 (IRIN) – Sanitation services in Yemen are limited. Almost all villages in rural areas, where 75 percent of Yemen’s 21 million people live, still use traditional means: Sewage is either dumped in watercourses or piped onto open ground.

According to the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Report 2007-8, 43 percent of the population used improved sanitation, implying connection to a public sewer, connection to a septic tank system, pour-flush latrines, simple pit latrines or ventilated improved pit latrines.

The UNDP figures indicate an improvement over recent years: The official 2004 population census showed that only 15.9 percent of Yemeni households had access to a sanitary network (implying piped sewage only). Of the houses not connected to sanitation networks, 26.8 percent had covered holes for gathering excreta, 16.6 percent had uncovered holes, and 37.1 percent had nothing.

Officials at the Ministry of Water and Environment said the government was striving to improve sanitation services, but lacked funds.

Saleh al-Hakimi, a senior adviser with the German Society for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) office in Yemen, said Yemen was unlikely to achieve the water and sanitation Millennium Development Goal (MDG – halving the proportion of people without access to safe water and sanitation by 2015) unless significant further efforts were made. “The government of Yemen is making efforts to provide sanitation services but these efforts are not sufficient,” he said, adding that the lack of adequate sewage treatment plants was leading to groundwater contamination.

The UN has also said Yemen is not on track to meet the sanitation MDG.

Rural areas

Ahmed al-Soufi, an information officer at the National Water and Sanitation Foundation (NWSF), a government body under the Ministry of Water and Environment, told IRIN that in rural areas, human waste was often collected in open places near people’s homes.

“Special tanks then carry the human waste to unpopulated areas,” he said, adding that the lack of sanitation services led to health problems like diarrhoeal diseases. He said these areas had no sewage treatment plants.

Mohammed Ibrahim al-Hamdi, deputy minister of water and environment, told IRIN that in rural areas sanitation services were also difficult to set up due to varied geographical and geological conditions.

“People in rural areas do not use as much water as in urban areas. It is difficult to set up sanitation services in mountainous areas. Most villages consist of a few houses and it is difficult to establish sewage treatment facilities in each village,” he explained.

Sewage treatment plants ineffective

Salem Mohammed, head of GAPE’s Epidemic Surveillance Department, told IRIN that in the 1990s there was bacterial pollution because of waste sewage being dumped outside cities. “But sewage treatment plants solved the problem only to some extent,” he said. Their location was often inappropriate as they were close to residential areas.

Ali Abdullah al-Dhabhani, head of the Toxins and Wastes Department at the General Authority for Protecting the Environment (GAPE), told IRIN that hospital and medical laboratory waste is treated at sewage works. This waste contains dangerous chemical substances, bacteria and viruses, he said, adding: “Unfortunately, sometimes farmers use such waste water to irrigate their crops.”

Al-Dhabhani warned that water treated at sewage works, which also often processed medical waste and waste from abattoirs, was not fit for irrigating crops owing to chemical contamination. The lack of water was also a problem as it meant the concentration of toxic chemicals remained high.

“Health risks include cholera, diarrhoeal diseases and typhoid,” GAPE’s Mohammed said, adding that sewage plants were “sub-standard”.

Sewage treatment plants are found only in the big cities, like Sanaa, Aden, Taiz, and al-Hudeidah. According to al-Dhabhani, Sanaa’s sewage works was designed in the 1980s and opened in 1999, but never designed to cater for a city of around 2.5 million people.

Brig. General Ali Mohasen Al-Ahmar Stealing Land Again

Filed under: Military, Tribes, Yemen, theft: land other — by Jane Novak at 8:50 pm on Sunday, January 27, 2008

SANA’A, NewsYemen

Five Yemeni engineers, kidnapped by tribesmen from Bani Dhebian tribe a month ago, are going on food strike.

Bashar al-Moayyad, brother of Ismael al-Moayyad, one of the kidnapped, told NY that his brother informed them that he and other captives started a food strike last Monday and that they would continue the strike until the authorities free them. Bashar said the authorities did not take any measure to release the captives.

Security source in Sana’a told NY: “the security apparatuses have arrested some men belonging to Bani Dhabian”, explaining that engineers have been kidnapped due to a dispute over a piece of land in Sana’a. He asked NY not to report anything, justifying that as Bani Dhabian “has a history of kidnappings”.

Sheikh of Bani Dhabian Abu Rabu al-Tam said “the tribe requests the government to solve the dispute between the tribe and Al al-Kumaim, two of the engineers belong to, over the land. He told NY that Al al-Kumaim have illegally took away the land of Bani Dhabian and sold it to commander Ali Mohsin al-Ahmar.
“Engineers are safe and being treated as guests,” said sheikh al-Tam.

Engineers Ismael al-Moayyad, Anis a;-Moayyad, Wadah al-Khubari, Ibrahim al-Mahdi, Rafiq Radman were kidnapped on January 9, 2008, in addition to two young men from Al- al-Kumaim who were kidnapped nine months ago.

Khawlan Tribes Present Demands to US, Saleh for Moyyad and Zaid

Filed under: Presidency, Tribes, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:49 pm on Thursday, January 17, 2008


January 15, 2008 – Sheikhs of Khawlan tribes met Tuesday the US ambassador to Sana’a Stephen Seche and handed him a letter in which they demanded the US Justice Department and the Colorado Appeal Court to immediately release Sheikh Mohammad al-Moayad and Mohammad Zayed.

The letter was attached with a medical report explains deterioration of al-Moayad and Zayed’s health as well as a CD shows Sheik al-Moayad’s various charities in Yemen.

Well-informed sources told that Sheikhs said that it is impossible for their tribes to abandon Sheikh al-Moayad and Zayed, stressing their refusal to the pervious unjust sentences issued against al-Moayad and Zayed .

Sources further said that the Sheikhs told the ambassador that they expected the US to meet their demand.

Seche, according to the sources, promised to carry their demand to the US administration, calling to discuss viable and appropriate solutions between US and Yemen regarding this case.

On the other hand, the president Ali Abdullah Saleh met on Monday Khawlan’s Shiekhs who handed him a letter in which they claimed him to intensify efforts aiming to free al-Moayad and Zayed .

For his part, Saleh promised to pursue the case, emphasizing that it largely concerns the government, as said the sources.

The president had summoned Seche and handed him a message demanding the US administration to free all Yemeni detainees.

Programs to Reduce Tribal Conflict

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:12 pm on Thursday, January 10, 2008


SANAA, 8 January 2008 (IRIN) – Two international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are sufficiently concerned about the extent of tribal and other kinds of conflict in Yemen to have independently started programmes aimed at reducing them.

The two NGOs – the US-based National Democratic Institute (NDI) and Islamic Relief – have set up programmes in seven of the country’s 21 governorates. (Read on …)

Al-Jasheen Sheik Detains Teachers

Filed under: Education, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:10 pm on Thursday, January 10, 2008

Nothing changed since the sheik expelled the villagers, nothing.


January 8, 2008- Yemeni Sheikh, Mohammad Ahmed Mansor, has arrested two teachers while they were performing their duties at al-Jaashin district.

In a letter to the governor of Ibb province, the teacher, Taher Musra said that Mansour’s gunmen raided the school he along with his brother, Faisal work at, arrested them before their students and put them in incommunicado detention.

In the letter, Taher said that he knows nothing about his detained brother.

He further explained that Sheikh wanted to capture documents of their own land and when they refused, he ordered his gunmen to arrest them.

It is worth reclaiming that Sheikh Mansour had banished months ago hundreds of citizens as they rejected to pay him illegal taxes.

Hamid Calls for An End to Revenge

Filed under: Islah, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:13 pm on Thursday, January 3, 2008

Al-Ahmer’s son calls on Yemeni tribes to end revenge

[02 January 2008]

SANA’A, Jan. 02 (Saba) – The Son of the late parliament speaker, Hamid al-Ahmar has called on all Yemeni tribes to sign a one-year truce agreement during which they can put an end to revenge cases and tribal conflicts throughout the country, the independent al-Ghad newspaper reported on Wednesday.

On the day of escorting his father, the deceased Abdullah bin Hussein al-Ahmar, to his final resting place, Hamid al-Ahmar emphasized the significance for all Yemeni people to take the responsibility for preserving the constitution and the republic system.

Soldiers Ambushed and Kidnapped

Filed under: Military, Tribes, Yemen, political violence — by Jane Novak at 11:57 pm on Sunday, December 30, 2007

al-Motamar: Local sources in Taiz on Wednesday said three central security soldiers were killed Wednesday and five others wounded in an ambush set up in the mountainous area of Mikhlaf Shaartab where commander of the central security camp in Taiz brigadier general Abdul Nasser al-Qawsi was on an inspection visit to the security point there.

A security source in Taiz said to the gunmen set their ambush in an area before the headquarters of the security area. He added the gunmen showered the security force with gunfire killing three soldiers and wounding five others among them commander of the central security brigadier general al-Qawsi

Director of Taiz security brigadier general Yahya al-Haisami told that brigadier general al-Qawsi was not wounded and that three soldiers were killed and 9 others were wounded in the attack and they were taken to hospital in Taiz and then a military hospital. – Head of the General People’s Congress (GPC) branch of in Sharaab Al-Salam district Sheikh Hamid Ali Abdeh confirmed Friday the release of commander of Central Security branch of Taiz Staff Brigadier General Abdul Nasser al-Qawsi and six of security men who were held in Sharaab area.

Head of the GPC branch told he has received the detained persons last evening and affirmed that they has not come under any harm and all were heading for the city of Taiz.

He considered the release of security soldiers as a result of efforts ad mediations by sheikhs, notables and social personalities as well as by leadership of Taiz governorate in order to avoid deterioration of situations over an armed ambush set up last Wednesday for brigadier general al-Qawsi resulted in the killing of three security soldiers and injury of other nine. The outlaw gunmen held chief of Taiz central security branch and six of security soldiers.


Yemen Times: Following the confrontation between people of al-Salam district in Taiz with the security men, the government did not move to control the situation. It rather gave in its role to the tribesmen from al-Hadda whose man, leader of the central security Abdulnaser al-Qawsi, was seized by the people. I have been told the security in Ibb tried to prevent the flow of fully armed tribesmen of al-Hadda to Taiz, high ranking officials gave orders to allow them pass through all checkpoints.

The officials of the interior ministry have been shrugging their shoulders in pride of controlling arms carrying in cities. What about the heavily armed tribesmen whose trip to Taiz was even facilitated by the state officials? Several months ago, tribesmen from al-Hadda made their way with their arms to Ibb to slaughter Salah al-Rawee in jail and come back triumphantly.


Yemen Observer:

Tensions remain over murder of Sheikh

Brigadier General Abdul Nasser al-Qawsi, commander of the Central Security branch in Taiz, along with 6 soldiers captured by tribes in the Sharab district were released midnight Friday, said Hamid Ali Abdo, head of the General People Congress (GPC) branch in the Sharab district last Friday. They were accompanied by military trucks to the Taiz governorate.

Al-Qawsi was attacked during his return from an Eid celebration visit in a trap set by an armed group on Wednesday at 11:30 P.M. The attack caused death of 3 soldiers and the injury of 9 others. Al-Qawsi had not injured.

The surprise attack was executed over events surrounding the murder of the late Sheikh Abdulsalam al-Qaisi. Following the murder, three government soldiers were sentenced to death and five others were jailed. The attackers held al-Qawsi hostage, demanding that the commanding officers that ordered the mercenary soldiers into the regions be put to death as well, for they broke an agreement with the tribes of Sharab that no government soldiers should enter without invitation.

Meanwhile, a committee consisting of representatives from a number of government ministries as well as concerned citizens was formed to investigate these recent incidents. In a statement issued by sheiks, prominent people and concerned citizens of Taiz said that some political powers used the murder of Sheikh Abdulsalam al-Qaisi to further break agreements and shake security and raise disturbance in the governorate. It pointed out that the government should do its duty and offer the additionally accused of the al-Qaisi murder to be brought justice.

The statement said that the government committee quickly formed to look into the al-Qaisi murder has not been taken seriously by the concerned parties. They cited emotionally-charged crowds gathering during court sessions in hopes of obstructing the justice system as one example.

“It seems that there are some who do not appreciate what their country is doing to ensure justice and safety, and are working to raise further conflicts,” the statement went on to say.

“Some of them considered the al-Qaisi murder as chance for public appearances, even with this case’s issues of innocent blood and justice.” ‬The statement pointed out that the blood-running, lost souls, further disturbing the safety of the people, and preventing security sources from doing their duties are criminal acts rejected by Islamic sharia and law and traditional local conventions.

The statement asks sheikhs and intelligence organizations, parties and citizens of the region to stand in the face of such acts and support the government in taking necessary procedures to stop them.

Sources said that the security system will not make light of these incidents once the perpetrators of this latest kidnapping are captured, and will offer them up to the arms of justice. Security officers are asking citizens to cooperate in keeping security and safety in the region.

Despite these pleas of the government and its supporters, the tribes and sheikhs of Sharab have refused the instructions of the governor of Taiz to submit the 15 wanted militants that took part in the abduction of General al-Qawsi and in the killing of the 3 soldiers and injuring 9 other soldiers, and have threatened to fight any government intervention. They have begun the construction of barricades and reinforcements, and have stationed defense personnel on mountaintop look-out posts. A sheikh told Ma’reb press that they would not surrender to the government, and are willing to fight back. Any irresponsible act by government authorities will be challenged.

According to Mareb Press many women and children have left the Sharab regions for the safety of nearby districts.

Govt to Intervene in Kidnappping of Businessman

Filed under: Business, Security Forces, Tribes, Yemen, political violence — by Jane Novak at 12:03 am on Sunday, December 30, 2007

It takes a special order

PM directs interior ministry to free Yemeni businessman

[26 December 2007]

SANA’A, Dec. 26 (Saba) – Prime Minister Ali Mujawar has given his directives to the interior ministry to take the requisite procedures to release the businessman Mouty’a al-Hubayshi, who kidnapped by
gunmen kidnappers from Khawlan tribe of Sana’a, al-Syasiah daily published by Saba reported Wednesday.

In a letter to the interior minister Rashad al-Alimi, Saba has got a copy of, Mujawar directed the security authorities to free the kidnapped and capture the kidnappers.

Sheikhs and citizens of Hubaysh district of Ibb governorate have submitted a complaint to the interior minister accusing Mohammed Ubadi Ermh and a gunman group of Bani Shadad from Khawlan of
abducting forcibly al-Hubayshi.

For his part, al-Alimi ordered the governor of Sana’a Ali al-Maqdashi to arrest immediately the accused persons.

Worth mentioning, Mouty’a al-Hubayshi, the chairman of the board of the Royal Hotel in Sana’a, was kidnapped in al-Zubairi street in the Secretariat Capital on December 8.

Sheik Al-Ahmar Passes

Filed under: Islah, Parliament, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:15 am on Saturday, December 29, 2007

Quite an iconic figure in Yemeni history.

Yemeni warrior dies after life full of glories

[29 December 2007]

SANA’A, Dec. 29 (Saba) – The Parliament speaker Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hussein al-Ahmer, 74, has died at the Specialized Faisal Hospital in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

Al-Ahmar who was born in 1933 was arrested in 1950s in Hodeidah province by the ruler of Yemen Imam Ahmed and was jailed for three years until the revolution in 1962.

Sheikh al-Ahmar held several positions during his career. In May 1964 he was nominated a Minister of Interior and held that position under three sequent governments.

In 1969, he was named a head of the national council which was tasked with the formulation of the Yemen Arab Republic’s constitution, and in 1975 chairman of the Shoura Council till the work with the constitution was suspended.

During 1979-1190, he served as member in the Consultative council. In 1990, he was nominated a head of the Higher Preparatory Committee of the Formation of the Islah Party (Yemeni Congregation for Reform) and served as the party head until his death.

In April 1993, al-Ahmar could gain the trust of the Yemeni people to win at his constituency, and in May of the same year he was nominated the speaker of parliament, the first parliament under the united Yemen.

He was re-elected as speaker of the parliament in 1997 and 2003.

Al-Ahmar made contributions to protect the revolution, unity of Yemen and Arab interests through the posts he had held such as head of the Public Committee for Defending al-Aqsa and Palestine, head of the parliamentary committee of Palestine and Quds and member of the Trustees Council of the Islamic International Mission Organization.

Al-Ahmar was deputy of the Quds Trustees Council in Yemen, head of branch of the Quds Organization in Yemen, and head of the Public Committee for Supporting the Kuwaiti People after Iraq invasion of Kuwait.

SANAA, Dec 29 (Reuters) – The speaker of Yemen’s parliament, Abdullah bin Hussein al-Ahmar, has died in Saudi Arabia after a long illness, officials said on Saturday.

It was not clear who would succeed Ahmar as head of the Yemeni parliament, a position he had held since 1993, or as head of the main opposition Islah (Reform) Party.

Born in 1933, Ahmar was head of the powerful Hashed tribal confederation and has played a key role in the turbulent politics of the impoverished Arab state for almost half a century.

Ahmar took part in elections through his Islah party, which combines tribal and Islamic elements, following the unification of northern Yemen with the communist south of the country in 1990 after years conflict.

Yemen mourns death of Sheikh al-Ahmar

[29 December 2007]

SANA’A Dec. 29 (Saba)- Yemen announced a official three-day mourning starting from Saturday on the death of Parliament speaker Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hussein al-Ahmar.

Al-Ahmar died Saturday morning in the Saudi capital Riyadh at the age of 74 years after a long-term suffering from an acute illness.

An official source told Saba that the funeral will be next Monday morning in his cemetery in the capital Sana’a. – The Yemen’s Presidency has on Saturday mourned the death of late Speaker of the parliament sheikh Abdullah bin Hussein Al-Ahmar who died in Riyadh Saturday the capital of Saudi Arabia at age of 74 years after suffering from a chronic disease.

A presidency statement sadly announced the death of the parliament Speaker Sheikh al-Ahmar Saturday to the people of Yemen and the Arab and Islamic nation following a long life of struggle he spent serving the homeland, the revolution, the republican regime, unity , democracy, development and service of the issues of his Arab and Islamic nation.

The statement said the deceased was one of the great national symbols and strong pillar of the revolution and the republic as well as a prominent nationalist and Islamic personality that served his homeland and, the Arab and Islamic nation. Sheikh al-Ahmar played a great role in the outbreak of the Yemeni revolution and the march of defending it at its various difficult and historical stages.

Hamid al-Ahmar, The Strong Man of Yemen

Filed under: Islah, Political Opposition, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:19 am on Friday, December 28, 2007

Hamid is a young, modern educated businessman. He’s got the national name recognition and but the Southerners might not trust him enough to give him a chance.

from the Yemen Times:

The Strong Man of Yemen

Hameed bin Abdullah bin Hussein Al-Ahmer, now at the age of 40, has become one of Yemen’s most influential men. This huge achievement is only partially due to being born into one of Yemen’s most powerful families—Al-ahmer family of the Hashed tribal confederation. His father Abdullah bin Hussein Al-Ahmer, was and still is the paramount leader of the Hashid confederation. Senior Al-ahmer is still, at least nominally, the Speaker of the Yemeni House of Representatives (HR). He is also the most respected living revolutionist. For more than four decades, senior Al-ahmer has been known as the presidents’ maker and breaker, but he never sought the highest office for himself.

Hameed Al-ahmer was born in an era of turmoil not only in north and south Yemen but also in the Arab world. In less than a decade, senior Al-ahmer lost his father and a very bright brother to the cause of political change. In addition, the battle between the republicans and the royalists was still raging. In such a political environment, Hameed was named after his politically ambitious, popular, and talented uncle, who was executed by the Imam.

While it was extremely rare for the sons of sheiks to worry about education during the 1970s and the 1980s, Hameed had a personal inclination to education. It was something inside him that led the son of this powerful, albeit traditional, family to educate himself to the best possible. As a youth, Hameed would travel to the U.S to spend summers where he would stay with an American family in order to learn English.

In the early 1990s, Hameed, who is now a fluent speaker of English, attended Sana’a University and earned a bachelor degree in economics with honors. Like his other brothers, Hameed must have enjoyed the support of his rich and powerful family. Unlike his brothers and most sons of Yemeni sheiks, however, he opted for the hard way in life.

One of his professors privately conveyed to the author that he used to double check Hameed’s exams to search for mistakes. The professor was afraid that people would not believe that a son of sheik Al-ahmer would get a full grade in an economic course. One of the students who attended school at that time said that Hameed, who would usually be followed with many armed bodyguards, would reach the gate of the College of Trade and Economics and hand over his small gun to the university police in order to keep it for him until he picks it up on his way out from classes.

The late professor of economics at Sana’a University and the founder and then publisher of the Yemen Times Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf interviewed Hameed, the young entrepreneur, in one the early issues of Yemen Times. That interview reflected a professor’s fondness of a young man who seemed keen on making a difference in the life of his country and people. But late professor Al-Saqqaf himself might not have thought that Hameed in a few years over a decade would become one of Yemen’s most achieving businessmen, owning icons such as Sabafone—a cellular telecom with more than a million and a half subscribes—the Islamic Bank of Saba, and at least a dozen other businesses.

But Hameed is not only a brilliant businessman. He is also a courageous, diligent, innovative, and goal oriented politician. Capitalizing on the power and influence of his family, Hameed was elected to the Yemeni HR for the first time in 1993, reelected in 1997 and again in 2003. It is worth noting that while Hameed’s older brother—Saddiq—remained politically independent and his younger brother Hussein joined the ruling General People’s Congress (GPC), Hameed from the onset ran on the ticket of the party presided over by his father—the Yemeni Congregation for Reform—which is known by its short Arabic name Islah (meaning reform).

It was no coincidence that Hameed would find himself after a decade and a half of multi-partisan politics as one of the top leaders of Islah which is unequivocally the largest opposition party in the country. It is very likely that senior Al-Ahmer, a father of many sons and daughters, and one of the most shrewd politicians in today’s Yemen had saw in Hameed—his second son—what it takes to inherit his father’s powerful political role. It is also worth noting that the rise of the political star of Hameed has paralleled the gradual withdrawal of senior Al-ahmer from political life partially due to deteriorating health conditions.

Whereas senior Al-Ahmer has been most of the time out of the country for treatment and rehabilitation over the past few years, junior Al-ahmer has been calling the shots in his father’s place. While not outsider to politics, Hameed’s rise to the nation’s top rank of outspoken politicians took place in the last three years. His acquisition of an important political role coincided with many developments in the Yemeni political scene. For one, the old alliance between senior Al-ahmer and President Saleh started filtering. The immediate causes are many but the single, and probably most significant long-term cause, is a struggle over power among the younger generation of the Hashid confederation. For another, senior Al-ahmer as said earlier has been gradually withdrawing from public life partially for health and partially for political reasons.

And, regardless of the causes of the rift between senior Al-ahmer and President Saleh, politics in Yemen seems to have dramatically changed over the past few years thanks to Hameed’s entrepreneur skills, political ambition, and determination. It is widely believed that Hameed has played a vital role in solidifying the opposition’s stand against Saleh in September 2006 presidential elections. At that time, Saleh, with no signs of credible competitor in the horizon, had hoped for a smooth renewal of his term in office. To his dismay, junior Al-ahmer surprised him with a fierce elections’ battle that attracted the attention of friends and foes.

While accompanying the Joint Meeting Parties’ presidential candidate engineer Faisal bin Shamlan in his camping trail across Yemen, Hameed seemed to have redefined the contemporary politics of Yemen. He proved the old slogan of tribal politics, which states “my nephew and I are against the outsider,” to be inaccurate. The most telling moment, probably in the politics of modern Yemen, occurred in the summer of 2006 when Hameed with the support of some of his brothers mobilized tens of thousands of Hashid’s tribesmen for the opposition parties’ presidential candidate bin Shamlan’s campaign stop in the city of Amran to the north of the capital of Yemen—Sana’a.

It is true that Saleh is the one who decided to shift from the politics of consensus to the politics of competition. It is truer, however, that junior Al-ahmer is the one who defined what the politics of competition looks like today and will look like in the future. And, while the door for reconciliation of differences among the younger generation of Hashid is not completely closed, the likelihood of reconciliation and a return to the politics of consensus seems remote. The best the sons of Hashid can hope for in the future is not the impossible return to the politics of consensus, but the attainable goal of acceptance of the right and legitimacy of the role of each other.

Hameed, who is widely perceived among the opposition—specially the youth—as their strong man, repeatedly asserts that he is ready for the long haul of political competition and struggle. In response, the regime has been keen on targeting him. Since he openly started opposing Saleh’s rule and policies and calling for deeper and comprehensive political reforms, the regime has reacted hastily, using state institutions, resources, and public media outlets to undermine his flourishing businesses, and to tarnish his reputation. But despite being subjected to all types of harassment, Hameed seems to be undeterred. In a recent interview, Hameed, an optimist and a strong motivator, told his supporters and opponents too that he is ready to pay the price for the cause he believes in.

Some of Hameed’s friends, however, fear for his life. One of his proponents wrote a long article in 2005 asking “will Hameed become the Harairi of Yemen?” referring to assassinated businessman and prime minister of Lebanon Mr. Rafiq Al-harairi. For those who know him well, the fate of his late uncle at the hands of the Imam raises a legitimate concern.

Unlike his friends, Hameed prefers to look at the bright side of events. After all, the heinous murder of his ambitious uncle and grandfather led his father to mobilize the Hashid tribes, normally supporters of the Imam, to the side of the revolution when it broke out in north Yemen in 1962. The efforts of his father, family, and tribesmen eventually led to the permanent demise of the Imamate’s 11 centuries’ rule. “We are now better off” said Hameed, in a recent interview, comparing the conditions of opposition leaders today to those of the 1960s revolutionaries in the southern and northern parts of Yemen.

The author is a professor of politics at Sana’a University. For comments, please email the author at:

Parliamentary Presidency to GPC

Filed under: Islah, Parliament, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 12:57 pm on Monday, December 24, 2007

Yemen Online

After Al Ahmer: Expectations – Al Ra’ei to Lead the Parliament; Yadoomi to Lead Islah Party , & Sadeq to lead Hashed Tribes
The opposition Islamic Party Islah considered that selecting a successor to Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hussein Al Ahmer is “GPC business which is the owner of the majority of votes”. Expectations indicate that Vice Chairman of Islah will chair the party “temporarily”.

Vice Chairman of the GPC bloc in the Parliament Yaser Al Awadi said to Yemenonline that the party will choose someone from GPC to replace late Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hussein Al Ahmer who died last Saturday in one of Saudi hospitals in the Saudi capital, Ryadh.

Al Awadi added: “it is too early to talk about a successor to Sheikh Abdullah; however, the upcoming chairperson for the Parliament will be from GPC since it has the majority of votes.”

Vice Speaker of the parliament for organizational and technical issues, Yahya Al Raei, is the luckiest candidate to succeed Sheikh AL Ahmer, especially when he has been practically heading the Parliament during the past two years 2006 and 2007 after the deterioration of the Chairman’s health.

Al Ra’ei has occupied the post of assistant secretary general for economy and services in GPC since December 2005.

A responsible source in Islah Party said that selecting the successor of Sheikh Abdullah bin Hussein Al Ahmer to chair the parliament is “an issue that concerns GPC since it has the majority of votes in the Parliament.”

The chairman of the Islah bloc Mr. Abdulrahman Ba Fadl, said in a statement to Marib Press, commenting on Al Awadi statement, “the current Parliament presidency could continue the legal period of the Parliament which ends in April 2009, indicating that Islah will not object to Al Ra’ei nomination but will not nominate him.”

Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hussein Al Ahmer, chairman of the Islah Party chaired the Parliament which has 229 seats for GPC out of 301, 58 seats for all opposition parties together, and 14 seats for independents.

The Parliament in 2003 elected Al Ahmer as a Chairperson by consensus, after the announcement of Mr. President, Ali Abdullah Salleh, in a TV speech that Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hussein Al Ahmer is the candidate of GPC for heading the Parliament (because he is the link between all parties).

On the other hand, a responsible Islah source, expects that Vice Chairman of the Supreme Committee for Islah, Mohamed Al Yadoomi, to chair the party “temporarily” until holding the general conference of Islah in February 2009.

The source said in a statement to Yemenonline, who asked not to reveal his identity, that electing a chairman for the Supreme Committee does not take place without a general conference and he thinks it is unlikely to be hold currently. He indicated that it is not in the power of the Supreme Committee or the Shura Council to elect a chairperson for the party. He also added: “I think the Vice Chairman of the Supreme Committee for Islah will chair the party until holding the general conference next year.

Khawlaan Tribes Demand Justice

Filed under: Judicial, Presidency, Trials, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:18 pm on Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Sheikhs and nobles of Khawlaan Tribes Union in North Yemen (the largest Tribal Confederation in Yemen) held a meeting yesterday, 12 December 07. They issued a statement regarding the killings of Sheikh Ahmed Ali Al-Tahery (the general director of Khairan district in Haggah governorate) and his cousin.

In the statement they send a warning to the president of Yemen, because Saleh personally intervened in the case and prevented justice from taking place. The president issued an order to transfer the hearing from a court in the capital Sana’a where the crime occurred to another court in Al-Hudaidah Governorate.

sheiks meeting 2 122007.jpg

In the statement, there is a declaration of Khawlaan’s sheikhs and all members of the tribes affirming their standing by the dead persons and their determination to get punishment for the murders.They warned the president of not to intervene, and they gave him a deadline to unhand the case and not to prevent justice. Otherwise they will act in all ways to ensure getting the dead persons rights which are the right of all the tribes members.

They demand the arrest of the murders and that they are presented urgently before the justice in a court in Sana’a.

sheiks meeting 122007.jpg

The photos were taken at yesterday’s meeting.

100 Gas Tankers Kidnapped

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Security Forces, Tribes, Yemen, prisons — by Jane Novak at 9:37 am on Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Same issues apparently as when foreigners are kidnapped: the lack of a judiciary that works fairly.


December 10, 2007- Local sources in Abyan governorate have revealed that a military campaign is being prepared in order to free 100 gas tankers seized in Abyan days ago.

Sources told that the campaign comes after sheikhs’ mediation failed to release the tankers.

The sources explained that the tankers were seized by gunmen aiming to put pressure on the government in order to free a detainee, Ahmed al-Anbori, who had imprisoned by the Aden’s political security a year ago.

Rally in Dhalie

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Education, South Yemen, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:47 am on Sunday, November 25, 2007

In massive rally, former soldiers protests in Al-Dhalie


November 24, 2007 – The Military Retiree Association arranged on Saturday a massive rally in which citizens from various southern participated.

In the rally attended by former commanders, ambassadors and parliamentarians, the head of MRA, Abdul-Maatari, delivered a speech in which he affirmed that their case is just rights, not any other issue, asking to immediately release all detainees imprisoned due to their peaceful demands.

Rally in Abyan:

ABYAN, NewsYemen

Thousands of people rallied Sunday in Loder of Abyan, south of Yemen, to continue protests against the delay of the government to meet some requests and release activists arrested in previous demonstrations in southern provinces, warning to extend protests.

“Thousands of people from Loder, Modia, al-Wade and Mokaires have participated in this rally organized by political and social organizations to ask for the immediate release of 21prisoners from al-Dalei, Aden and Hadramout” the political activist Ahmad al-Qame told NewsYemen.

Al-Qamei said local authorities announced an alter Saturday and threatened to arrest lead personalities who encourage such marches. He pointed that the Joint Meeting Parties do not take part in these activities because they do not agree with slogans some political and social organizations raise.

Local authorities accuse some lead figures in southern provinces of encouraging such protests which result in insecurity and attacks on shops and properties.

Ali al-Saadi, from the Military Pensioners Association, warning that other province might witness more demonstrations until the authorities meet requests. “Today is the deadline for authorities to do, he said.

Al-Qame condemned the prevention of al-Jazeera space channel to cover the event.

Special sources told NewsYemen the cameraman of al-Jazeera was detained from the early morning on Sunday for hours to prevent him from covering the rally.

Hundreds of jobless graduates raised their certificates asking the authorities to fulfill promises of president Saleh to eliminate unemployment. They carried placards saying that the number of jobless in the province reached 8000 graduates registered in the civil service ministry since years.

The protesters said the graduates of Abyan have been prevented to join military and security academies since 13 years. They also demanded the trial of persons who killed three protesters last September and to get “all prisoners over peaceful demonstrations released”.

Meanwhile, teachers in Serwah area of Marib started a sit-in on Sunday protesting the delay to pay them for last October. They asked for their payments with some extra the government promised to pay on October.

They called teachers all over the country to strike until meeting their requests.

Then there’s the tribal alliance rally where Hussain al-Ahmar urges tribesmen to obey their sheiks.

Yemen Times

AMRAN, Nov. 18 — The Hashid Tribe held a huge public rally on Saturday for its people in Amran’s Khamer District, 50 km northwest of Sana’a. Attended by more than ten thousand people from the Hashid and other loyal tribes, the rally is the first of its kind for the tribe, the second largest in Yemen after the Bakeel tribe.

During the rally, named the ‘broader meeting for Hashid tribesmen’, Parliament member (MP) Hussein Abdullah Al-Ahmar welcomed the attendees who came from different parts of the tribe to participate in the meeting. Al-Ahmar considered the meeting a new peaceful revolution to reform the situations and infringements which, according to him, are symptomatic of poor government policies.

“Yemen is undergoing serious difficulties due to the failed policies pursued by the government,” Al-Ahmar said, reminding attendees of his father’s statement at the Islah Party’s Third Conference, that ‘Yemen is passing through a gloomy tunnel.’ He pointed out that corruption has become rampant in all the government offices, and therefore has permeated every house and family in the nation, adding that such a destructive phenomenon has spread to judicial, education and health sectors.

The tribal leader, who chairs the National Solidarity Council (NSC), went on to say, “If we want to continue the march toward a modern and strong Yemen, the Yemeni people must understand that the country’s problems will never be solved without a nationwide struggle. Today, Yemen is threatened by secession and fragmentation, which the corrupt regime is responsible for.” (Read on …)

Sheik Loots Village, Sets It Ablaze

Filed under: GPC, Security Forces, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:15 pm on Friday, November 23, 2007

TAIZ, Nov. 18 — The National Authority for Defending Rights and Freedoms (HOOD) condemned the attack launched by Sheikh Jameel Al-Dhabab followers, who it claims set fires, looted and destroyed four houses belonging to locals of Al-Qubah villages.

HOOD denounced such outrageous acts, claiming in its press release that they “violate the principles and values of our religion and humanity,” and adding, “Such unjustifiable actions indicate the narrow-mindedness of these violators and their contemptible views upon others. They look down upon others as if they are the lords and the others are their slaves. This view has declined over time; however, such acts taking place in some hamlets and isolated areas show us that this narrow-minded mentality still exists.”

Shortly after receiving a complaint made by the victims, HOOD immediately reported the act to the Saber prosecution office.

The Yemen Times interviewed Abdul-Sallam M. Sultan, who said that one of the sheikhs’ sons attacked a woman living in a house in his village, located west of Taiz. According to the witness, the sheikh bit the woman, for unclear reasons. The village’s locals rescued her and evicted the attacker. As a result, the attacker brought a large group of people to attack village locals.

An ensuing firefight took place between the two sides, leading to the murder of one of the sheikh’s followers. Then, the locals surrounded criminal investigation officials. The sheik’s group attacked the village again when women and children were alone, looting, destroying and setting fire to houses.

HOOD, as well as relatives of the victims, requested the president and Attorney General to arrest the perpetrators and present them before justice.

Rally in Marib

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Employment, Military, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:15 pm on Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Military positions are currently often awarded by sheiks as patronage:


November 20, 2007 – Thousands of people rallied Tuesday in Marib governorate, demanding to draw militaries form populated villages, require oil firms to offer concessions to the governorate, build an Oil College and reform the electoral system.

They also asked, in a speech delivered in the rally by Sheikh Mohammad al-Zaidi, soldiers to stand by citizens’ legal and just rights.

Moreover, they demanded to provide electricity, water and other services to their village as well as to control necessary foodstuff prices.

Tribesmen attack oil installation

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Elections, Oil, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 2:44 pm on Friday, November 9, 2007

Jobs given to northerners, not foreigners, seems to be the grievence:

SAN’A, Yemen (AP) — Tribesmen attacked an oil installation in Yemen and then clashed with government troops Thursday, leaving 12 people dead, a local official said. It was the second attack on the country’s oil industry this week.

The clash in Shabwa province, about 136 miles southeast of the Yemeni capital San’a, broke out after men from the Bani Harith clan attacked a Ukrainian-run oil installation, said the province’s governor, Mohammad Ali Ruwashan. (Read on …)

Pipeline Explodes

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, Oil, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:44 am on Wednesday, November 7, 2007

If the regime says immediately that its tribesmen, then probably its not.

The Associated Press Monday, November 5, 2007

SAN’A, Yemen: Unidentified saboteurs bombed an oil pipeline Monday in Yemen’s central Marib province, causing damage but not casualties, a security official said.

Yemen’s official news agency SABA quoted Ahmed Fandar, a Marib security official, as saying a “group of saboteurs” were behind the explosion, which halted the flow of oil. (Read on …)

Slaughtered Like a Goat in a Yemeni Police Station

Filed under: Security Forces, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:58 am on Wednesday, October 31, 2007

This kind of anarchy results from the fact that the entire leadership structure of Yemen’s security forces and military is in the hands of the president’s relatives who operate with impunity, and so do their associates, and their associates’ associates. And so it goes until things deteriorate to the point that a college security guard can walk into a police station, shoot a prisoner in the head, and then go dancing home to threaten the dead guy’s kid.

Yemen Times op-ed:

Salal al-Rawee was slaughtered like a goat at the hands of savage tribesmen at the criminal investigation office in Ibb Oct. 13. The irony is that the perpetrators are the head of the criminal investigation office at Thamar governorate, the security officer of Thamar University and a professor at the same university accompanied with a group of armed tribesmen. Exploiting their security positions, they managed to go through with their guns all security checkpoints stationed along the way from Thamar to Ibb governorate. They went into the criminal investigations office and asked for the defendant Salah al-Rawee. They camouflaged the security men at the office and when Salah was brought from his cell, they stabbed him with their Jambias or daggers and then shot him dead. Some managed to escape and go back dancing after this great victory, while others were arrested. Not only this, the tribesmen descending from al-Hadda in Thamar invaded the city of Ibb again and destroyed the small house of al-Rawee and continued threatening to kidnap his son. They also protested to demand the release of the murderers. (Read on …)

Tribes in Yemen

Filed under: Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:33 am on Saturday, September 29, 2007

Yemen Observer

Dr. Mohammed Mohsen al-Dhaheri, chairman of the Political Sciences Department at Sana’a University, spoke with the Yemen Observer about the contemporary role of tribes in the governance of Yemen and the conflict between the traditional and modern authorities. He is the author of two books about the socio-political relationship between the tribes and the state in Yemen.

Yemen Observer: What do you think of the newly established National Solidarity Council, and what do you think prompted its establishment?
Dr. Mohammed al-Dhaheri: First, I would like to say that this is what we can call political meddling. Tribes in Yemen have certain mechanisms to demand their rights. For example, some tribes will block highways or kidnap foreigners to add urgency to their demands. I can not put this council in the frame of a tribal bloc. It is can not what I would call a tribal council nor is it a partisan council. You can see that politicians meet with the sheikhs and with the academics. The council represents a period in tribal meetings that Yemen has not witnessed before. You can not call it an opposition entity as it has many members from the GPC, and academics etc. As you see there is a sort of dichotomy that starts to prevail in Yemen. This council has encountered other gatherings from tribes led by Sheikh al-Shaif.
We as researchers can not judge this NSC until we see what it will do. We focus on behavior and we don’t really trust speeches in which everybody claims that they are moving towards positive change and that they are against corruption. The proof is in the behavior. This council also shows that when official authorities of the state fail to respond to the needs of citizens, they retreat to entities that existed before the state, namely tribes. Those who joined the NSC want to clear themselves from any responsibilities of what is happening in Yemen and they want to demonstrate that they are not to blame. That’s why they join and they also want to be ready to gain power 2013.

YO: Why do you think some academics, people from the GPC and oppositions have joined the NSC?
MD: Again, the establishment of this council is an indication of the failure of civil society. Organizations and parties that play a role in the council want to invest see membership as an investment in achieving particular interests. There is no partisan discipline from those members who left certain parties to join this entity. Some might be honest, but some also may exploit the council for their own interests.

YO: How will you define the ‘tribe’ in Yemen in this era of change in the country?
MD: Defining the tribe in Yemen has is tricky. Researchers in the West and in anthropological writings say that the tribe is a traditional structure that existed before the state. The peculiarity of the definition of the tribe in Yemen is that it is also part of the state and is in dialogue with the political and social sides of it. In one analysis I did in my PhD, I say that the state in Yemen embraces two political systems: an arbitrational system that is the official system in Yemen; and the political-tribal system. So, the tribe in Yemen is a group of people who inhabit a certain place and have shared conventions, customs, traditions and interests forming a political, economical and military system. This group also feels that they have a kinship connection whether this is real or not. I want to affirm here that the tribe in Yemen is political in nature and has a number of traits that make it close to politics. It is a closed structure but it resembles political parties and pressure groups in that they have some influence over political decision-makers. This is what makes the definition of the tribe in Yemen distinctive.

YO: What about the variety of tribes in Yemen and how do you classify them?
MD: There are a great variety of tribes in Yemen—it is not a solid mass. There are fighting tribes and there are peaceful tribes, there are tribes in fertile land and tribes in barren land, there are tribes with strong fanaticism and there are tribes who are less fanaticism. There are tribes that are loyal to the ruling system and those in opposition to it. So, nobody can conduct a case study on one tribe and generalize their findings, like the anthropologists do. There are places where tribes still cling to their tribal norms and on the other hand there are places where tribes have lost these norms. The core of these tribes is that each has its own leader—who we call Sheikh. These sheikhs now unfortunately pursue personal interests and pay less attention to their groups. We here in the Yemeni environment that show the worst in tribes and the worst in political parties.

YO: How would you describe the relations between tribes, the state and the society at large in Yemen?
MD: There is a direct relationship between the state and the tribe. When there is a weakness in the state, the tribe gets stronger and vice versa. What happens everywhere else in the world is that when there are modern institutions and organizations, the tribes fade. In Yemen there is coexistence between the tribes and modern organizations or civil society—coexistence between the tribe and politics.

YO: How would you describe Yemenis attitudes towards events in and outside of Yemen?
MD: Yemenis are greatly influenced by events that occur outside of Yemen. Cases in point are the reaction of Yemenis to the execution of Saddam Hussein; they were hanging up pictures of him in shops, cars and everywhere. The same thing was seen with Nasr Allah during last year’s war between Hezbollah and Israel. Nasr Allah pictures were also seen ubiquitously in Yemen. Unfortunately, Yemen is influenced by the outside world but does not interact with it. We also see this when some tribal individuals attempt to pressure the authorities by kidnapping foreigners. This is for several reasons the most important of which is a kind of absence of trust between society and authorities. Now in Yemen there is a kind of weakness in the state and also a weakness in the tribes. What happens is that there is a weakening of traditional structures—that is tribes, but also a weakness in its substitute—the modern institutions like parties and otherwise. I am not with the tribes as a political participant but with it as a social entity.

YO: What changes have occurred in some of the tribal concepts of this era? MD: The traditions and norms of the tribe are no longer as they were in the past; they are changing completely. For example, it was prohibited to take revenge in cities (places that tribes call majjar), and also in souqs. Now we see tribesmen taking their revenge in cities, markets wherever they find their opponents. Secondly, leaders of tribes are supposed to look out for the welfare of their people and to act in their interests. Sheikhs now look after their own interests alone. Sheikhdom has turned into a game of personal wants and self gains. There used to a great sense of belonging to a certain tribe and a belief that one’s interests could only be fulfilled through one’s tribe. There is also a relaxation in the use of all sorts of arms including jambias. There are severe punishments for brandishing arms or jambias in front of any one. The traditional entity tribe in Yemen is in its worst times. Honesty and dignity as the main qualities of tribalism are fading.

YO: Do you believe that there is a certain force that benefits from the weakness of tribes in Yemen?
MD: I would like to say that we are not living in an isolated place. We live in a world of globalization and under the influence of the internet, technology, and satellites. All this has weakened the traditional entity of the tribe. This weakness has not only affected tribal norms, but also the norms and values of modern civil society. There is no obvious strategy by the political regime to weaken the tribes and provide the modern organized society as its substitute.

YO: What are the main obstacles for the presence and practice of real democracy and do you think the role played by tribes in this era hinders democracy?
MD: As I said earlier, we are living in a political environment that brings out the worst in tribalism and the worst and partisanship. Yemen is moving very slowly towards democracy. Some of the characteristics of a real democracy are the peaceful handing over of power, a strong opposition, the absolute independence of the justice system, effective law enforcement, and political pluralism with no legal ties. Yemen has a sort of democracy in the form of elections, but this democracy is painted with the traditions of Yemen. If you look at political participation in Yemen, you will find it very weak in the sense that there is very little awareness of politics and political rights. What happens in Yemen is political mobilization. Voters follow their tribal leaders and don’t pay much attention to the electoral agenda or program of candidates.

YO: How much do you think the culture of fear affects the political arena in Yemen, in particular the fear of change?
MD: This is one of the most important issues characterizing the culture of Yemen. We live in an avenging culture. When a foreigner visits Yemen and walks in the streets they will see many people and soldiers inside the main cities carrying firearms. To the foreigner these weapons are indicators of violence. However, for Yemenis these are a sort of reaction. Once I stopped a sheikh with his escorts and told him we people with pants are afraid of you and he said” look son I am afraid as someone may seek revenge against me, he may kill me any time or anywhere.” To go back to the question though, we have universities, civil society organizations and elections all of which are indicators of democracy, but if you look at the educational institutions, you find that they are still teaching in traditional ways. Students are not given a chance to think for themselves. Free elections need complete awareness from voters which is not seen in Yemen. To show or prove that a country has real democracy, there has to be strong institutions that help in policy making which is not the case in Yemen.

YO: How do you see the relationship between the state and society in Yemen?
MD: There is a mutual relationship. The best thing is to have a strong state and a strong society. The presence of a strong state implicitly means the presence of a strong society with modern institutions. In Yemen the state is not strong – strength and power lie in the hands of certain individuals and the interests of citizens are not taken care of greatly. Foreigners are getting much of the country’s riches as we have what I call an inferiority complex. In Yemen people are bullying towards each other and feel inferior in front of foreigners.

YO: What do you make of the demonstrations etc that have been taking place in Yemen over the last two months?
MD: There is a sort of political insecurity now due to the absence of basic needs. The rulers have to provide the ruled ones with their basic needs or it will cause insecurity. Any problems in Yemen have to be solved before they get too bad. The authorities do not have to wait until things are worse; they have to tackle issues in their early stages. The legitimacy of any political system comes from the satisfaction of its ruled ones. I am sure that there will be no revolutions or coups in Yemen just yet, but if what is happening continues, political insecurity will continue. As I said Yemenis confuse fate and the bad performance of the state. When prices increase some will not say it is because of a decline in economy but a test from God.

YO: How can we achieve political security in Yemen?
MD: For political security, there must be modern institutions that participate effectively in policy and decisions making and we need to get rid of political possession. The political system needs to enhance its legitimacy of power by making sure that ruled ones are satisfied. The system has to work towards providing the basic needs of citizens, improving living standards, and fighting corruption and unemployment. The society also needs to get rid of dichotomies.

YO: How do educational institutions such as schools and universities enhance the social structure in Yemen and improve the society at large? MD: Yemen needs real and effective political breeding that can help development and enhance political security. I want to say here that the Yemeni environment is expelling any talents; universities are the pillars of a developed, democratic and modern society. The educational system needs a drastic change. I find my students take things very easy; they take things for granted without questioning the way things are. Universities have also been negatively politicized. The educational shortfalls begin well before higher education; they begin from the primary education. Universities have become graveyards for talents. Professors of universities are also affected by students. When their students are mentally lazy, teachers will not prepare and this also deprives the very few students who are intelligent and want to learn.

YO: Do you think that the state modern organizations can co-exist with the strong presence of tribes?
MD: First, I want to say that the tribes are not hindering the presence of modern organizations. Some people and researchers seek to break down the traditional entity of the tribes without thinking about the substitute. I support modern establishments like political parties and civil society organizations. People that do not know Yemen have to understand that tribes are traditional structures that carry political characteristics. Tribes help the political system and also benefit from it. There is also a great deal of social and cultural variety in Yemen. When a foreigner sees people carrying arms this is not an indicator of violence, but a mixture of traditions and customs. They will also see the honesty and hospitality of the tribes and feel welcome. The danger is that Yemenis are talking more to the outside world than amongst themselves. You also see Yemenis seeking help from outside and not from the inside.
Dr. Mohammed al-Dhaheri

Low Awareness of Aids in Rural Areas

Filed under: Medical, Religious, Tribes, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:15 pm on Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Yemen Observer

The latest study on AIDS awareness in Yemen, conducted by the Ministry of Health, concluded that only 34 percent of females in rural parts of the country are aware of AIDS, compared to 95 percent of urban women.

The high level of awareness among urban women shows that public awareness campaigns have been effective, but the government’s efforts to spread awareness in rural areas are still too little.

Also, the increase in AIDS victims in Yemen shows the government is not doing enough to prevent the spread of the disease. The Minister of Public Health and Population, Abdul-Karim Rasee, said the government is committed to fighting AIDS and stop it’s spread. “The National Anti-AIDS Program achieved much during the 2002-2006 period and many centers for fighting AIDS have been established,” he said.
(Read on …)

Regime Breaks Shabwa Blockade of Oil Tankers for Al-Noba’s Release

Filed under: Civil Society, Islah, Local gov, Oil, Political Opposition, South Yemen, Targeting, Tribes, Yemen, political violence — by Jane Novak at 7:39 pm on Tuesday, September 4, 2007


Release of 50 gas tankers in Shabwa

September 4, 2007- Provisional government sources in Shabwa province told “” that security forces controlled a blockade which had been installed by tribes were demanding to release the retired general ,Nasser al-Nowba, who had been held on Monday in Aden.

They affirmed that government forces attacked the blockade and released the 50 held gas tankers which had been seized by tribes.

Moreover, several barriers were installed in Shawa province to protest the kidnapping of the general Nasser al-Nowba .

For its part, the Islah party renewed its call for the Shabawa people to adopt peaceful struggle, not armed struggle.

September 5, 2007- Provincial sources in Shabwa governorate told “” that two soldiers were wounded on Wednesday in shootout between security forces and tribes protesting arrests of demonstrators who were protesting Saturday against price hikes in Aden and Hadramout provinces.

The sources added that a tribal mediation led to ceasefire, but they did not explain whether that mediation managed to release gas tankers had been seized by the tribes.

Canadian and Two Yemenis Kidnapped in Yemen

Filed under: Crime, Other Countries, Tribes, Yemen, poverty/ hunger — by Jane Novak at 6:46 pm on Saturday, September 1, 2007

well actually theres lots of Yemenis kidnapped in Yemen but these two are with the Canadian

SHABWA, NewsYemen

An official in Shabwa province, south Yemen, expected that the director of Canadian oil company Technohouse Atram Nafour Kaftar and his companions whom tribesmen kidnapped Saturday might be released soon.

The director of AlSaeed district of Shabwa said in a phone call with NewsYemen that contacts between the Canadian company and the kidnappers from Al-Tawasel tribe are ongoing since Friday. He explained that the kidnapping was because a difference between the firm and a contractor belongs to the tribe.

A tribesman affiliates with the Al-Tawasel tribe kidnapped last Friday the Canadian and two Osama Mohammad Aslab from Syria and the Yemeni driver and moved them to Al-Kore mountain in Al-Saeed district.

Both engineers and their driver are said to be alive and well.

Four French tourists were kidnapped in Shabwa last September, before presidential elections. The tribesmen released the tourists after two weeks of mediation efforts.

Guns Banned from Capital City

Filed under: Ministries, Parliament, Proliferation, Tribes, Yemen, political violence — by Jane Novak at 8:10 am on Saturday, August 25, 2007 – The Yemen interior ministry on Thursday announced it will from today morning prevent carrying firearms inside the capital, indicating it will set stores at entrances of the capital and provincial capitals of governorates for keeping guns and give their owners receipts for them.

The ministry added it will beginning of next month carry out a decision preventing carrying licensed firearms, confirming that security authorities would arrest anyone carrying weapons in violation of the announcement and confiscate his gun.

An announcement issued by the interior ministry, a copy of it received by, mentioned that it is categorically prevented carrying weapons inside the capital and provincial capitals of governorates. The statement attributed that decision to increase of crimes and incidents resulting from the use of guns and to the negative impact which carrying firearms cause to development and investment as well as to tourism. It added that the aim is to protect the citizens life and achieve general security and safety for the citizen, social peace.

The statement mentioned that bodyguards of senior officials of the state and members of parliament and Shoura and local council will be allowed to carry only guns in an invisible way.

The interior ministry asked all political, security, military and administrative leaderships to commit to carrying out the decision, calling upon political parties and organisations and citizens to cooperate in implementation of the decision and report on any violations.

Military, Tribesmen Continues to Attack Houthis, No Relief for Refugees

Filed under: Military, Saada War, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 5:37 am on Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sections of the Yemeni military are autonomous and beyond control of the central government.

One unmet demand is for the regime to turn over Hussain’s body because they are not sure he is dead.

SA’ADA, August 15 — Tribal and media sources from Sa’ada revealed that a portion of Sahar district, north of Sa’ada city, experienced armed clashes between army soldiers and Houthi loyalists. These clashes coincided with negotiations between the two parties undertaken over the last two weeks. Both parties began digging trenches and barricades and equipping their sites with weapons, carefully monitoring actions from the opposing side.

Army soldiers shot and killed a Houthi member in Qataber last Wednesday. The incident incited sympathy among many tribesmen, arousing suspicion regarding protection of their lives in the event that they return to their homes, while the state refrains from issuing amnesty according to Al-Dawha agreement.

Media sources stated that Abdul Malik Al-Houthi mentioned the double-cross killing in a message directed to the presidential and Qatari committees last Monday. This was in response to a message delivered by the two committees to the Houthis two days before.

According to the source, the message Abdul Malik Al-Houthi delivered last Monday in Sana’a through a representative contained many inquires about the decree of amnesty as well as the issue of migration from Al-Naqa’h and Matrah areas. The message also inquired about the clashes of Wahsha and Haidan districts and failure to restore stability to the areas before 2004.

Field sources in Wahsha district informed that there are army troops, supported by hundreds of tribesmen, preparing a second attack on Shallal Mountain as well as neighboring mountains where Houthi loyalists are taking cover.

Ahmed Al-Sharafi, one of the Houthi field leaders, in a statement published by, stated that the army is supported by hundreds of tribesmen from different areas. Last Thursday, the army launched an attack on Al-Mashaf Mountain, resulting in mass injuries and casualties on both sides. Houthi loyalists were subjected to a mortar attack last Tuesday. Those attacked did not exclude women, children and livestock, according to his release. (Read on …)

Saleh interview with al-Wasat

Filed under: Political Opposition, Presidency, Saada War, South Yemen, Targeting, Tribes, Yemen, political violence — by Jane Novak at 4:36 am on Thursday, August 16, 2007

Wow, Saleh unplugged

Why is Libya meddling in Yemeni affairs anyway? Really there’s enough headaches without Khaddafi throwing money everywhere. The Saudis do enough of that.
Defeated forces utilize people’s issues to remind of themselves: Saleh

President Ali Abdullah Saleh affirmed there are elements that have missed the train and try to remind others of themselves by badly taking advantage of issues of the retired. He pointed out that all the defeated forces; whether inside or abroad want to remind of themselves. The president said the political parties exploited demands of the pensioned and “everyday they will create disorder “, confirming if the opposition had reconsidered its performance, criticised itself and overcome the irresponsible fuss it would be acceptable.

The president considered continuation in igniting fires, which does not s0o,ve issues, it would affect he process of development and investment, saying that would make the opposition action a devastating act and not democratic. He added that the leaders of the Joint Meeting Parties want to justify their failure in the presidential and local elections and therefore they try to pass into the role of talking in the name of the people regarding the question of the rise in prices of foodstuffs despite that is an international state rather than the prices of Ali Mujawar (Yemen’s prime minister).

Al-Wasat newspaper that conducted an interview with President Ali Abdullah Saleh said it was able to obtain a meeting with the head of the state without much effort whereas it remained demanding Mohammed al-Yadoumi, the former secretary general of the Yemeni Congregation for Reform Party (Islah) and he successor Abdulwahab al-A’nsi for an interview but in vain. (Read on …)

Tribal tensions rising

Filed under: Saada War, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:10 am on Monday, August 13, 2007

here we go, a predictable result of tribalizing the Saada war

Yemen Observer

A group of local sheikhs and dignitaries headed by Sheikh Naji bin Abdul-Aziz al-Shaif has rejected the National Solidarity Council formed last fortnight by an equivalent tribal group of sheikhs. Sheikh al-Shaif, head of the Bakeel tribe, introduced himself as the Sheikh of all Sheiks of Yemen, a title disputed by the Parliament Speaker Sheikh Abdullah al-Ahmar, who is the head of Hashid tribe. The tribes have a history of dispute and confrontation. The northern governorates of Yemen are divided between the two tribes. “We, the sheikhs, scholars and dignitaries of Yemen, declare our opposition to the so-called National Solidarity Council,” said a statement by al-Shaif and the sheikhs in his tribe. (Read on …)

1000 Tribal Sheiks

Filed under: Civil Rights, GPC, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:50 am on Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Primarily Hashid, GPC

News Yemen

SANA’A, NewsYemen

Almost 1000 tribal sheikhs participated in a constructive meeting on Sunday for forming the first “National Solidarity Council”.

The participants elected sheikh Abdullah bin Hussein al-Ahmar the head of the
council and Mohammad Hassan Damaj the secretary-general.

Sheikh al-Ahmar confirmed the council would encounter corruption and corrupts in the country what ever their ranks and posts. (Read on …)

Oil Tanker RPG’ed

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Oil, Security Forces, TI: Internal, Tribes, Yemen, prisons — by Jane Novak at 4:38 am on Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Regime blames al-Qaeda.

Incidents like these raise insurance rates and dampen enthusiasm for investment.

Yemen Times
MARIB, July 29 – Media sources revealed, last Wednesday, that an armed gang blew up an oil tanker in Marib. reported that a big oil tanker was seen aflame in Al-Irqeen area located between Safer and the government complex in Marib city.

The source quoted an eye witness as saying that a group of armed men fired an RPJ shell at the tanker causing its explosion; however, no fire brigade came to set off the fire until the tanker was completely destroyed.

Such a terrorist act, which is, according to the authorities, is blamed to Al-Qaeda, came just in few weeks after the terrorist operation that targeted and killed eight Spanish tourists in Marib.

Meanwhile, a tribal group from Al-Awaleq tribe, residing between Abyan and Shabwa governorates, in the south of Yemen, seized 12 oil and gas tankers and distributed their content among the area’s gas stations; however, they were reconciled through a tribal mediation.

The tribe expropriated the tankers in an effort to force the authorities to free some of its sons jailed in Aden’s Al-Mansourah Prison or shift them to Abyan so that their families can visit them.

Tribesmen Occupy City

Filed under: Security Forces, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 4:32 am on Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Lacking a monopoly on the use of force can be tricky in a country as heavily armed as Yemen.

So what are they going to do now, negotiate?

Yemen Times

al-Sahwa via YT

Hundreds of gunmen stream into Damt streets following murder of three policemen

The weekly newspaper reported that more than two hundred armed men from Al-Beidha governorate have streamed into streets of the tourist city of Damt, one day after a citizen shot dead three policemen during their attempt to confiscate his gun. The newspaper correspondent confirmed that the gunmen came to Damt aboard 20 cars, pointing out that gunmen are positioning with their heavy and light arms at the city entrances. This aroused fear among the city inhabitants.

The weekly quoted local sources as saying that gunmen have come from Qaifa area, one of the Yemeni tribes known for the possession of different types of heavy and light arms in Al-Beidha governorate, seeking revenge for the murder of their tribesman, Ahmad Qara’a, who was an officer working in the city security department. Qara’a and another two policemen were shot dead on Tuesday as they tried to force a citizen lay down his gun.

Son of Libyan Ambassador Released

Filed under: Libya, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:59 am on Saturday, July 21, 2007

Money transfers to tribesmen in Khawlan by LIbya were intecepted by the former Libyan Ambassador, so the tribesmen kidnapped the son of the acting Ambassador.


July 19, 2007 – The son of the acting Libyan ambassador to Sana’a has recently been released after he was abducted for tow weeks by some tribesmen in Khawlan district, near to the Yemeni Capital, Sana’a.

A source close to the kidnappers said that the release came after there tribal sheikhs and elders interfered.

The source said to “” that the reasons behind the kidnapping are that the kidnappers accuse the former Libyan ambassador of seizing money transferred to them form the Libyan government.

“As the acting ambassador ever-postpone paying them the money, they resorted to abduct his son” the source added.

Weapons Seizures

Filed under: GPC, Proliferation, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:54 pm on Sunday, July 15, 2007

I hope the weapons depot doesn’t explode, again.

Yemen Observer

About 1,000 mobile rockets and other weapons have been collected from Yemeni citizens by security authorities and destroyed by the government, said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Rashad al-Alimi on Tuesday. The Yemeni government’s plan to collect heavy-duty and medium-sized weapons from citizens began in earnest earlier this year. Al-Alimi, who spoke to the Shura council, said that the weapons were destroyed under the supervision of international experts. “Those weapons in hands of citizens gave the Yemeni government and the international community much anxiety, because it was created a dangerous situation for the airlines,” he said.

“We are continuing to collect the weapons, and we have anther plan to limit the carrying of personal guns in the main cities, and it will reach the other areas soon,” he added. Some dramatic seizures were made this week. Security authorities in al-Mahara governorate in eastern Yemen discovered weapons stockpiles on Wednesday, after security forces raided a cave where they found more than 158 mortar rounds. Colonel Ahmed Saleh, Director of Criminal Investigation in the province, said that the security forces uncovered the weapons cache after the arrest of a gang of 11 people who were stealing bullets and hiding them.

“After we got the weapons, we followed-up on the rest of the gang members, and are still conducting investigations on the case,” Saleh said. “The preliminary investigations indicated that this gang aimed to sell these bullets for financial gain only, and that they are not tied to any violent organized group,” he said. The rest of the gang members are expected to be apprehended in the next 48 hours, he said Wednesday. Authorities think that there may be six or seven more men involved, in addition to the 11 already in custody. Some of these men may be soldiers, he said.

Colonel Mubarak Hussein, security director in al-Mahara, said that the gang had stolen the bullets from arms stores belonging to the security forces. “They purpose of this collecting of bullets was merely to sell them, and none of the gang members carried out armed actions against any state or against citizens,” he said. “Investigations are under way to resolve the rest of the details of the case,” he said. A recent report submitted to the Parliament by the Ministry of the Interior shows that weapons-related crimes have been increasing in Yemen.

“The crime rate is increasing wherever more weapons are carried,” the report said. According to the report, there were around 32,000 crimes from 2004 to 2006. Weapons were involved in more than 77 percent of them. In that same time period, there were 23,577 deaths and injuries in Yemen that involved weapons. Some 85 percent of those died because of guns. According to the report of the Interior Ministry, in the last three years, security agencies have seized numerous firearms. These weapons included 13,106 rifles, 3,115 handguns, 251 bombs, and 204 other weapons. They have also seized 41,573 bullets. The Ministries of Defense and the Interior recently began collecting medium-sized and heavy-duty weapons from the citizens.

In the context of the campaign, the ministry has collected rockets, ammunition, tanks, antiaircraft missiles, explosives, detonators, and anti-personnel mines. When the government seizes these weapons from people, they compensate them for them from the state treasury. They will continued to pay for arms turned in in the next six months. After that, they will begin to take weapons from citizens by force. The government as already spent billions of riyals on this effort to eliminate arms trade, and on the reduction of the possession and carrying of arms deployed in the parts of Yemen most beset by violence, particularly the tribal areas. Large parts of these tribal areas are still outside the scope of government control.

Al-Motamar – A security source said Sunday that police forces had seized 100 pieces of weapons in a new campaign of capturing unlicensed weapons began Sunday in fie Yemeni governorates.

The source told the campaign includes the governorates of Sana’a, Aden, Taiz, Hadramout and Hudeida. The seized weapons, found with citizens in the first day of the campaign, included Kalashnikov and other types of weapon pieces and that campaign is carried out by patrols of central security forces and emergency police.

It is worth mentioning that the government had presented the weapons law to the parliament in 2001 but a large-scale deliberation is until now going on inside the parliament and outside it about the law and its discussion has been suspended. The weapons law was coined the beginning of the nineties bearing No, 42 for the year 1992.

750 motars – Security authorities in Maharah governorate seized Sunday about 600 mortar gun 81 caliber shells just three day after detection of other 158 projectiles hidden inside a mountain cave in the governorate situated east of Yemen.

A high ranking security official told the shells were seized in Zumah district in a deserted unpopulated area before being transferred to the desert. He added that selling and buying operation was done by those involved in dealing with them.

The official also affirmed that seven persons were detained over their involvement in the operation.

Deputy Premier, minister of interior Dr Rashad al-Alimi said on 7 of this month at a meeting of the shoura council that committees had been set up that will carry out in the coming six months the process of counting and documenting weapon and ammunition assets of the armed forces and security as well as their serial numbers. The minister said the information will be included in database so that it will be easy to follow up those weapons and ammunition in case they were leaked in illegal ways.

Shabwa: Military Runs Amuck, Provokes Tribal Response

Filed under: Military, Security Forces, Tribes, Yemen, political violence — by Jane Novak at 7:04 pm on Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Thats not how the story is written but thats what happened: – A local source in the governorate of Shabwa said Tuesday a mediation committee has been formed including members from the local authority and sheikhs succeeded in containing a problem happened the day before yesterday between emergency policemen and gunmen from the tribe of Lakmoush.

Stating to the source added that the mediation committee chaired by Sheikh Faarid al-Awlaqi and a number of Baihan area sheikhs managed to calm down confrontation and there is at present negotiation with sheikhs of Lakmoush for holding a tribal meeting to settle the problem.

Confrontations erupted the day before yesterday between gunmen from the tribe in Shabwa and members of security checkpoint resulted in the killing of two troops and one civilian and the injury of eleven others, including a number of citizens.

Parliamentary Report: Hostages in Prison for Years and Years

Filed under: Presidency, Targeting, Tribes, Yemen, prisons — by Jane Novak at 8:07 am on Friday, June 15, 2007 – Official legal report disclosed Friday the existence of more than 100 hostages inside five Yemeni prisons. Hostages kept in those prisons pursuant to directives f sheikhs and personalities over their relation to Yemenis who committed various crimes.

A report prepared by the ministry of human rights, received a copy of it, mentioned that some inmates of those prisons have spent more than 13 years without standing trial, clarifying
that their detention represents violation of human rights and that they have the right to fair trial leading to acquittal or condemnation.

The report strongly criticised prisons conditions that are suffering great shortage in health care services, nutrition, and medicines particularly medicines for children, let alone the limited number of medical workers.

The report indicated that the central prisons in Sana’a, Aden, Taiz, Lahj, Ibb and Thamar suffer from weakness of their buildings, shortage in repairs, overcrowded, lack of means of communicating with outside world and shortage in beddings and detergents.

On the other hand the report mentioned that despite scarcity of abilities the prisons are suffering from the people in charge there adopts good training and educating programmes. Many prisoners practice some professions such as sewing, carpentry and embroidery and some of them are enrolled in illiteracy eradication programmes to enable them learning reading and writing and recitation of Koran in addition to practicing some sport activities.

The report criticised policies of officials administering the prisons regarding the mingling the Yemeni prisoners with illegal migrants from Somalis and Eritrean that can lead to communication of infectious diseases to some local prisoners in case there are such diseases among foreign prisoners.

The report also criticised the mixing of prisoners accused of serious crimes and those of civil crimes, demanding concerned authorities to improve conditions of prisoners, raising financial allocations for prisons, releasing hostages detained without legal justifications and paying debts imposed on insolvent prisoners.

Tribesmen Clash with Security Forces

Filed under: Security Forces, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:08 pm on Monday, June 11, 2007

Tribesmen blocking the road to Safer clash with security forces. – The governor of Ma’reb Arif al-Zouka said Monday five of security soldiers were killed today while they were removing a roadblock set up gunmen groups on the main road linking the governorate to Safer area.

The governor added in a statement to the security sent two patrols to remove the roadblock and that resulted in exchange of fire with highwaymen caused the killing of five members of the patrols among them the commander captain Haydar Sulaiman and the wounding of seven from both sides.

The governor said disputes with Al-Damashqa tribe caused that some its tribesmen blocked the main road near Safer area, indicating that security authorities began immediately taking necessary measures related to the incident.

Update: They wanted oil jobs.

JP: At least five government troops were killed Monday and five others injured in a fight with tribesmen demanding jobs in oil fields in Yemen, police officials said. The violence in Ma’rab province, about 176 kilometers (109 miles) to the east of the capital, San`a, erupted Sunday when tribesmen of the Damashqa clan cut the main highway linking the oil fields to the province.


Furthermore, the Mareb Press news-based website reported according to tribal sources which confirmed that the reason behind blocking the road was due to a dispute between Addamasheqah tribe and Al Hashedi oil Services Company. The tribal people claimed that the company didn’t fulfill its obligation to hire their sons within its offices. The net source reported that wide meditation connections conducted last Monday to relieve the burning-situation after an eye-witnessed reported that a military force consists of many tanks were called to the location.

This tension is reported for the second time as similar clashes happened earlier for the same reason and it was the interior minister who intervened and promised sons of Addamasheqah tribe to be on the top of the al hashidi company-employed people.

On the other hand, intensive intervention efforts were exerted to release a detained oil truck belongs to the Gas pipes installation project in Balhareth Valley in Shabwa.

Reliable sources reported that a group of people took the oil truck into custody in protest for the unemployment of their sons by that project. It’s worth mentioning that the truck was captured while carrying gas pipes from Ben Eyath location to block 70 in Ossailan district. Furthermor, the same sources confirmed that the intervention efforts to release the truck are close to find light in the forthcoming hours.

Prison Holds 40 Hostages for Sheiks

Filed under: Tribes, Yemen, prisons — by Jane Novak at 7:21 pm on Thursday, June 7, 2007


Some 40 prisoners are being held hostage in the Central Prison in Sana’a on the orders of their sheikhs, said the Ministry of Human Rights in a letter to the attorney general, urging him to release the men. Azal Hashim, general manager of communications at the Ministry of Human Rights, said that the situation of these prisoners being held hostage came to light during the visit of the Minister of Human Rights, Dr. Huda al-Bann, to the Central Prison last week in order to assess the situation of prisoners.

During his visit, he discovered that 40 prisoners had been detained outside of the law, he said. Among these, 30 of them have been detained because of the applications of sheiks, sometimes not because of their own crimes, but because of those of their relatives. Hashem said that his ministry is demanding that the attorney general do his part as the man responsible for putting these men in prison, to either grant them a trial or release them. The source at the Ministry of Human Rights told the Observer that 10 people were held on the orders of Sheik Abdullah Bin Hussein al-Ahmar, and the rest by some other sheiks or by other government bodies.

Al-Ahmar is currently in Saudi Arabia, and thus was not available to comment on these charges. The same source explained that some prisoners have been captive for as long as 10 years. The Minister of Human Rights requested an interview last week with the attorney general to discuss the issue of prisoners held illegally, as well as to solve some other prisoner problems. However, the meeting was postponed to this week. The Observer learned that the attorney general has sent notes to some sheiks and government bodies regarding these prisoners. However, the source did not mention the responses to these notes by the attorney general.

Sheik Al-Ahmar’s Letter

Filed under: Islah, Presidency, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:52 am on Monday, June 4, 2007

This is a good explaination of the nuances of the letter in an oped in the YT written by the same guy who was kidnapped two years ago about, held incommunicato and then charged with bogus charges.

On May 10, the 26 September Weekly published a letter from Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hussein Al-Ahmar addressed to Sa’ada tribal leaders among them the sheikhs of Sahar, Juma’a, Khawlan Bani Amer, Munabeh, Razeh, Ghamr, Shada, and other tribes. The letter coincided with a time period having its own unique political impression when two stances contradicted each other. According to the issue No. 147 of Al-Wasat Weekly, Sheikh Al-Ahmar suggested that President Saleh contains the issue at the very beginning but the latter refused saying that he is capable enough to settle the issue (the Sa’ada fighting) within three days. Since then, Sheikh Al-Ahmar hasn’t interfered in the issue until President Saleh asked him to do so over the past few days.

It is logical that Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hussein Al-Ahmar may have a say, an opinion and a viewpoint, be they positive or negative, about the Sa’ada crisis, but the wind doesn’t usually blow along the direction of ships. The ruler tried his arrogance in escalating the crisis by devastating Sa’ada but he reaped nothing except for thorns. This is why he turned once again to seek the advice of Sheikh Al-Ahmar. For the reading of Sheikh Al-Ahmar’s letter to be closer to logic and more objective, some key points have to be taken into consideration as a background of the letter and its effect. (Read on …)

Houthis Kill Sheik in Dammaj

Filed under: Saada War, Security Forces, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 12:59 pm on Thursday, May 24, 2007

article from the ruling party’s website – Local sources in the governorate of Saada said Thursday that terrorist elements, followers of Abdulmalik al-Houthi, took advantage of the halt in military operations to continue their attacks on citizens who refuse to cooperate with them. They have assassinated Sheikh Abdullah Ahmed Muawadh and wounded other citizens in the district of Safraaa after they sneaked to their houses at night.

The sources told that five terrorist elements last night killed sheikh Muawadh in his house in Damaj area, Safraa district and a number of citizens were injured in clashes with those elements while trying to enter houses in the village. The sources did not mention about the fate of those elements because stark darkness but said they were strongly confronted by inhabitants of the village.

On the other hand other local sources told that security men captured a person in the district of Manbah carrying 5kg of drugs and who it was later revealed he is one of terrorist elements. The sources added that the person Al-Aksar was arrested in the wake of suspicions by security men who were in a patrol nearby the district centre that he is one of the terrorists. The moment he was caught they found out he was carrying a quantity of drugs he was intending to take them to terrorists he has been retained and drugs confiscated.

An official source at a forward operation room in the north-western military area in Saada earlier announced implementation of president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s directives on suspending military operations in Saada beginning from last Monday to give the terrorist elements an opportunity to surrender themselves and their medium and heavy weapons to the state in implementation of decision taken by the National Defence Council and statement of Yemen scholars.

Religious Scholars Arrive in Sa’ada

Filed under: Presidency, Religious, Saada War, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 12:58 pm on Thursday, May 24, 2007

Surrender or die

YO: A committee of scholars dedicated to ending the war up in Sa’ada arrived there Saturday, carrying a message for the al-Houthi rebels. “We will try to convince the rebels to surrender and lay down arms and stop the war against the camps of the state,” said the Minister of Endowment and Guidance, Hamoud al-Hitar. The committee was formed last week, at the end of a conference to come up with solutions to the four-month armed conflict between the government and Shiite rebels in the north.

The conference formed the committee to follow up the implementation of its recommendations and findings. The final statement of conference said the conference would continue to be held until the rebellion is eradicated and life in the Sa’ada province gets back to normal. The committee includes al-Hitar; Abdul-Majeed al-Zindani, the Islah leader; Mohammed al-Hajee, the president’s advisor; Mohammed al-Mansour and Hamoud al-Moayyad, scholars in the Zaidi faith, and others. Abdul-Majeed al-Zindani’s office said that he was not actually a member of the committee, despite official announcements.

Committee member Abdullah al-Sheikh said that if the rebels refuse the invitation of the scholars to lay down arms, they would go to all of the villages and cities to clarify the truth for the people and to rally people against this armed rebellion. (Read on …)

Sa’ada, Yemen

Filed under: Iran, Libya, Religious, Saada War, Security Forces, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:01 am on Thursday, May 24, 2007

The original fatwa, the recent last-chance-before-a-fatwa statement by the religious scholars, and the very traditional, tribal call to arms by Sheik al-Ahmar after a visit from President Saleh were all designed to increase popular participation in the war on behalf of the regime, however the 58,000 soldiers in the Republican Guard remain in Sana’a, with Saleh’s son Ahmed, who may be the ultimate and only winner in the war.

Gulf News: Sana’a: The state must fight the rebels in Sa’ada if they do not surrender themselves, said Yemeni religious scholars yesterday at the end of a conference that aims to end the four-month armed rebellion in the north. (Read on …)

When the State Abandons Responsibility

Filed under: Counter-terror, Military, Religious, Saada War, TI: Internal, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:16 pm on Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Opinion article from the Yemen Times:

he political regime in Yemen seems to be in hot water with regards to the fighting with al-Houthi rebels in the northern governorate in Sa’ada. It has been trying its best with clerics of the Zaidi sect to issue a statement condemning the war in Sa’ada and calling for rebels confrontation.

It has tried to get Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hussein al-Ahmer involved and pushed him to call the tribes of Sa’ada, according to the accustomed tribal mores, to join hands and fight the insurgents. However, the consequence was terrible as the tribes of Sa’ada put al-Ahmer in a fix and embarrassed him when they said in a letter to him that they would like him to thwart the harassments they are going through at the hands of the government troops and their fellow tribesmen backing them up. This letter shows that it is not only al-Houthi supporters who are fighting against the government troops and that some tribesmen are involved.

Again, last week president Saleh mandated the clerics of Yemen to find a way out for this headache of Sa’ada fighting. But, he failed to get a final religious edict to legitimize a war against al-Houthi rebels based on religious ground. In their statement, the clerics who gathered around in a 2-day conference decided to give al-Houthi fighters another chance to let their arms and live peacefully.

But, it is really dangerous that the state gives the whole responsibility to others to sort out such a serious problem that has been there since 2004. It entails unawareness to the grave consequences of such an unclear policy towards the question of the war in Sa’ada.

I understand there is a tremendous growth and expansion for the Salafia movement and their supporters who are given an official patronage these days; these people are very much radical in their views towards al-Houthis and the Shiite groups at large to the extent they name them in their mosque sermons infidels and are on tenterhooks to have a green light to launch a religious war against these people.

It is really dangerous that the political regime hands such a serious issue to a group of clerics to handle. Some might allege that this is a tactic by which the government then claims it has tried all possible ways to nip this problem at the bud but the rebels gave deaf ears to all initiatives and thus it has the right to crack them down. Such kind of offers by the government to the rebels gives an impression that this is a signal of weakness rather than strength.

I believe rebels have been outlawed and all do oppose their use of arms to the fight the government. Therefore, it is the task of the government and not the clerics or tribesmen to sort out the problem with al-Houthis. It is fine that they can take the advice of the clerics or tribesmen but they can never be the main players. I would prefer that the government has involved also the political parties and civil society organizations in any talk on the problem of Sa’ada to get their feedback on how it can be worked out. It is really dangerous that the state gives up its responsibility to others as this is a signal of its weakness which might incite more tumult here and there.

Sa’ada Sheiks Write Back to Sheik al-Ahmar: Stop the Torment

Filed under: Military, Saada War, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:31 am on Thursday, May 17, 2007


The reaction of Sa’ada sheikhs to Sheikh Al-Ahmar’s call to fight Houthis in the governorate continue, with Marib Press publishing a letter of response written by one such sheikh.

“With links of tribe and fraternity, we call on you to remove the state armies and their pro-tribal soldiers from us because they’ve been tormenting us for four consecutive years and they are a key reason for expanding the volume of the war,” the sheikh’s letter indicated.

He asked Sheikh Al-Ahmar, “What will your reaction be if the army and its tribal supporters bedevil the breadth and length of Hashed for more than four years for no plain reasons known to you or others?”

The sheikh’s letter added that the authority’s claim regarding what it describes as “a group of adolescents [Houthi followers] who will turn back the wheels of history” is baseless, especially when those adolescents have no capability to overthrow the regime and are hunted everywhere.

In conclusion, the letter stated that “No one has the power to bring down the revolution and the republic except the one who holds the army, authority, wealth and media in his hands. He’s the only one who’s walking the same path and preparing for the same purpose.”

Sheikh Al-Ahmar sent a May 2 letter to tribal sheikhs in Sa’ada asking them to join the Yemeni army in its fight against Houthis, a surprising stance to observers, particularly as it came prior to his return from Saudi Arabia where he had been receiving medical treatment for three months.

Various media outlets noted that the letter was written at President Saleh’s request. Observers consider it a government attempt to cover up its army’s failure to defeat Houthis by seeking the help of tribesmen.

Related: This article quotes al-Thouri as estimating 100,000 civilian refugees in Sa’ada. The total population in Sa’ada is 690,000 according to the 2004 census.

Libyan Ambassador Recalled After Tribal Pressure

Filed under: Diplomacy, Libya, Saada War, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:42 pm on Thursday, May 10, 2007

Impressions, indications, no proof

SANAA, May 10 (Reuters) – Yemen has recalled its ambassador in Libya over its suspected support to Shi’ite Muslim rebels, a state-run Web site said on Thursday.

Yemeni officials have said they suspected Libya was supporting the rebels led by Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, who have been fighting government forces in the northern province of Saada since the beginning of 2007.

“The decision to recall the ambassador … came a day after popular demands for cutting Yemeni ties with Libya and to close its embassy in Sanaa over accusations of Libyan involvement in supporting the terrorist elements,” the Web site of the ruling People’s Congress Party said, quoting “well-informed” sources.

The Web site,, said that residents of Saada had urged the government to sever ties with Tripoli as part of efforts to dry up the sources of rebel funding. (Read on …)

Kidnappers and Attempted Assasins Verdicts

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Trials, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:28 am on Monday, May 7, 2007

SANAA: Two Yemenis convicted of trying to kill a former US ambassador to Sanaa had their jail terms reduced by a special court on Sunday from five years to three after they appealed. Hizam Ali al-Mass, 17, and Khaled Saleh al-Heleila, 18, were found guilty in March last year of attempting in 2004 to set off two bombs near a shop in the south of the capital where Edmund James Hull had stopped. Hull was the American ambassador from October 2001 until July 2004. He was accused by the ruling General People’s Congress party in April 2002 of behaving “like a high commissioner” and “interfering” in domestic affairs, and threatened with expulsion. Before taking up his post in Sanaa, Hull was the US principal deputy coordinator for counter-terrorism and a member of the inter-agency Counter-Terrorism Security Group. Yemen is the ancestral home of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, and since the September 11, 2001 attacks against the United States it has been cracking down on suspected militants with Washington’s help. -AFP


.net – The Specialised Penal Court in Yemen decided on Sunday 12-year imprisonment sentence against those accused of kidnapping four French tourists and their Yemeni translator at Asran crossroads in the governorate of Shabwa and holding them in a house of one of the two accused for half a month.

The verdict issued today stipulated the imprisonment for 12 years of Ahmed Haydara Salfouh and Rajih Mohammed Ahmed Hadi for committing the crimes of intercepting and kidnapping four French tourists and their Yemeni translator in the governorate of Shabwa and detaining them for half a month in the house of the second defendant.

The same court has also on Sunday issued it sentence of 3-year imprisonment against two persons Huzam al-Mas and Khalid al-Hulailah accused of attempted assassination against the former American ambassador to Yemen Edmond Hall the end of December 2004 while he was inside a business shop in Hada area, Sana’a.

Land Theft by Influential Persons Again

Filed under: Civil Rights, Tribes, Yemen, land disputes — by Jane Novak at 8:01 am on Thursday, May 3, 2007


- Tribesmen protest property confiscation

May 2 — Hundreds of tribesmen took to the streets in a peaceful march asking the governorate leadership to restore their lands, which they say were given to influential government officials. In a statement to, Brig. Badr Al-Ezeibi said that his tribesmen have been asking the authorities to restore their property and agricultural lands since 1990, but until now they have not reached any solution, even though President Ali Abdullah Saleh gave directions to the concerned authorities to return their confiscated property.

New Village Discovered

Filed under: Civil Rights, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:39 pm on Sunday, April 29, 2007


Villagers living in isolation

April 22 — In an event, the first of its kind, Ramzia Al-Eryani, Chairwoman of Yemeni Women Union, and a group of her colleagues, discovered villages that have never been visited nor reached by the state. The women team found a village mostly inhabited by blind and mad people, who is found to live in starvation, eat no food for many days, and sleep in the ground. The team added that nobody knows about those villagers’ condition.

Darsi Case

Filed under: Trials, Tribes, Yemen, political violence — by Jane Novak at 8:52 am on Tuesday, April 17, 2007

via Hood On Line

by Fathi Al-Ta’ami, Nass press
The Prosecution representative called Bait Al-Faqeeh Court to impose maximum punishment on Shuaib Al-Fasheq for what he has done against Hamdan Darsi by violating his humanity. After the decision of Minister of Justice, the court session of today was held in Al-Hodeidah City during which the Judge Jalal Noman Al-Maqtari, Chairman of the Court, heard the text of accusation against Al-Fasheq including: “ Shaib had restricted the freedom of the offender, Hamdan Al-Darsi and used a solid instrument, after painted with oil, and violating his honor.”

For his part, Shuaib Al-Fasheq denied what has been mentioned by the Prosecution affirming that these allegations are not correct. Al-Fasheq’s lawyer asked the court to postpone theuntil the case is studied which is the same demand of requested by the prosecutors. The session, in solidity with Al-Darsi, a number of journalists and lawyers in the forefront the representative of Allawo Corp. For Advocacy and Legal Consultancies in Hodeidah Mr. Khalid Al-Raimi in addition to some people interested in human rights.
The Prosecution of Appeal issued in Hodeida : January 28, 2007 a verdict of accusation against Sheikh Shuaib Al-Faseheq and to be transferred to the court as he attacked the citizen Hamdan Al-Darsi.
Head of Hodeidah Appeal Prosecution, Judge Ali Al-Samet accused Shuaib Al-Faseq of restricting the freedom and violating the honor of Darsi, removed his clothes, chained him with iron chains and inserted a solid instrument in his anus and sent him out the house naked. The Attorney-General Dr. Abdullah Al-Olifi gave his orders on December 23rd, 2007 to investigate in the case and to arrest the offenders after Al-Darsi presented a complaint to him against Al-Fasheq.
For his part, Al-Husainiah citizens in Bait Al-Faqeeh provinvce, Hodeidah Governorate denounced what happened to Hamdan Al-Darsi of beatings, torture and violation of his honor by Sheikh Shuaib Mohammed Hassan Al-Fasheq and his companions. In a written statement with their signatures, Nass press got a copy of it, they explained that Hamdan was sent in AL-Fasheq private prison under the pretext that he was working in a building that was under arguments in the mid of last December asserting that Al-Fasheq’s followers put chains on his feet and left him with no food until the midnight. They added in their statement, “then Al-Fasheq ordered his followers to take off the clothes of Hamdan and to hang his feet in the ceiling, then Al-Fasheq inserted a thick stick in his anus and poured wine over head and threatened him with burning him with sulfur and then sent out the prison and threatened to be killed if he talked about what happened to him. Hamdan says “during torture and also after the completion of his criminal act and violation of my honor, he used to put his cigarette in my anus and he put a knife on my neck, I wished that he slaughtered me and not to do what he did.”
About the torture of Hamdan Al-Darsi, a report prepared by Hodeidah Security based on eye-witnesses stated that Al-Fasheq imprisoned Hamdan from afternoon Wednesday 12, 20th, 2006 and tortured physically then released after midnight after he finished his torture and sent him out his home naked. The report pointed out that the victim submitted a medical report issued from the Health Office of Bait Al-Faqeeh Province shows geological, burning and swelling of the anal victim, and the presence of abrasions, burning and swollen behind left leg and forearms.



Court tries MP for torturing citizen

April 22 — Chaired by Judge Jalal Al-Maqtari, Beit Al-Fasheq Court held on Saturday a sitting to discuss the case of Shu’eib Al-Fasheq, an MP who is charged with torturing a simple citizen. At the sitting, prosecution asked the court to oblige the suspect to compensate the victim Hamdan Darsi, who suffered psychological and physical harms after being subjected to attacks and beatings. The defense-advocate, who defends Al-Fasheq, accused certain parties of staining the MP’s image in newspapers and magazines.

Political Tribalism in al-Ja’ashen, Yemen

Filed under: GPC, Janes Articles, Presidency, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:47 am on Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The winds of change may be sweeping across Yemen. President Ali Abdullah Saleh recently appointed Dr. Ali Mohammed Mujawar as Prime Minister. Formerly the Minister of Electricity, Mujawar comes to the post with a strong reputation as an academic and a technocrat. This change in leadership was followed by a cabinet shuffle in April that brought eleven new ministers on board. The enthusiasm of the new government is palpable. However, the Cabinet’s ability to act decisively is limited by countervailing authority seated outside governmental institutions. (Read on …)

NDC: Rebellion is Aimed at Restoring Imamate

Filed under: Military, Proliferation, Saada War, Tribes, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:05 am on Monday, April 16, 2007

So the Houthis aims are solely domestic according to Yemen’s National Defense Council. During the meeting, the NDC decided its new strategy to thwart the rebellion is more tribesmen and jihaddists.

SANA’A. 10.April. President Ali Abdullah Saleh chaired the National Defense Council (NDC) meeting on Tuesday and discussed a number of issues and topics included in its agenda.

The meeting dedicated to issues related to the enhancement of defense and security capabilities and the implementation level of modernization programs in addition to the way of implementing the security plan in the country.

The also dealt with reports of security committee on the latest developments in Sa’adah province in the light of armed and security forces confrontation for the criminal acts of the law breaker and terrorist elements who are committing criminal acts against people, security and military individuals as well as the private and public intuitions.

The NDC reviewed the investigations results and serious confession of some elements who were arrested.

The confessions revealed the truth and the real goals behind their terrorists acts, the first of them is the rebellion against republican system and reviving the Imamate rule.

The confessions also revealed that the motto “Death for America … Death for Israel” is only a pretext to cover their real goals for carrying weapons against the constitutional institutions and committing crimes by killing citizens and individuals of military and security forces.

The NDC praised the national role and excellent performance of armed and security forces and their confrontation for the terrorist elements acts.

It also praised the national spirit of citizens in Sa’adah province and the other provinces for their support to their brothers in armed and security forces.


Also the NDC admits the Houthis weapons were bought in local markets, and embarks on a weapons buy back program which seems doomed to failure unless the powerful persons who are importing the weapons cease the lucrative venture.

SANA’A, April,12 — In its last meeting which presided over by The President of the Republic Ali Abdullah Saleh, the National Defence Council ratified a plan, which presented by Dr. Rashid Alalimi, vice prime minister and minister of interior, to collect heavy , mid weapons, and explosives

The 26 September Newspaper quoted witnessed sources that the plan included many steps. First, determining arm markets and the places of arm spread in the light of the result of the previous committee which ordered the collecting of those weapons. Second, determining the kind of arms which come under no possession. Third, determining the compensation for each piece according to its sort, standard, manufacture, and present situation . Fourth, starting the implementation of the plan and finding the necessary bases to its success such as funds for compensations, commissions to superintend the field and secure the collection, and import-storing centers.

The Newspaper adds that implementing the plan to collect heavy and mid weapons will be accompanied by a wide press campaign in different means of information i.e. readable, audible, and visible, so as to identify the risk of this phenomenon as well as the negative sides which affect the citizens who buy or carry those pieces. Also, calling all citizens to cooperate with the commission in their weapon collection according to the law which prevent arm possession.

Sources in the interior Ministry affirmed that the plan will be presented to the Cabinet to ratify it at first, second to approve a budget, and third to assign commissions to count, collect, and pay compensations according to the plan. In addition, an official have said that the repel weaponry comes from the biggest arm market , Souq al-Talh which is located only 30 km from the provincial city of Sada, 240 km from the capital Sana’a. He, also, added that there are around 12 arm markets and about 300 light weapon shops spreading across Yemen. It is worth mentioning that in 2005, the government of Yemen Embarked on a scheme to collect heavy weapons, which reach 9 million pieces according to a survey by the UN in 2003, from tribal communities or arm traders, spending a round 44 million dollars to buy back weapons. However, this effort was floundered as a result of inadequate funding.

Brits on weapsons smuggling

Al-Jasheen, a state within a state

Filed under: Parliament, Security Forces, Tribes, Yemen, prisons — by Jane Novak at 7:10 am on Thursday, March 29, 2007

SANA’A, March 26 — A parliamentary fact-finding committee on Sunday called for investigating officials in Ibb governorate who connived with Sheikh Mohammed Ahmed Mansour, accused of evicting and intimidating more than 400 families in Al-Ja’ashen district.

In its report, the committee recommended firing Ibb Governor Ali Al-Qaisi for not fulfilling his duty to stop Sheikh Al-Mansour’s violations against the residents, as well as for hampering the fact-finding committee’s activities in the area.

The parliamentary committee was formed Feb. 12 following reports that approximately 70 families from Ra’ash and Al-Soufa villages in Al-Ja’ashen district were displaced by their local Sheikh Mansour, who controls the entire area.

Earlier this month, the villagers returned home with the committee, but the latter was prevented from entering the area. The residents said they were insulted and harassed by Sheikh Mansour’s soldiers upon their return.

Committee members reported that Governor Al-Qaisi advised them not to visit Ra’ash and Al-Soufa lest they be subjected to risks by Sheikh Mansour’s escorts.

Thus, the committee prepared its report, including accounts by some villagers, and submitted it March 19 for inclusion on Parliament’s discussion agenda. However, several parties and influential individuals attempted to prevent its distribution to members of Parliament. MP Sakhr Al-Wajeeh, the committee’s reporter, confirmed that Parliament agreed to include the report on its agenda for later discussion.

In the report, the committee demanded investigating chief of Thi Sufal district and replacing him with someone else not conniving with Sheikh Mansour.

The report pointed out that the Yemeni government should enforce the state’s authority in Al-Ja’ashen district, since it is part of Yemeni lands, noting that no individual – no matter who he is – may conduct himself outside of the Yemeni Constitution and effective laws.

The committee further called for destroying all of Sheikh Mansour’s prisons in the area and criminalizing such behavior, along with punishing any individual detaining citizens outside of effective Yemeni laws.

Moreover, the report stressed the importance of quickly investigating the issues of Al-Soufa and Ra’ash villagers and judging them according to law and further requested the Yemeni government provide the area with basic services.

The committee also slammed local authorities for their leniency with Sheikh Mansour and trying to protect his dignity under the pretext of deferring to him in order for the area not to fall out from under his sway.

According to the report, the villagers’ demands were just and fair, as they simply had requested their basic rights and demanded correcting the wrongs imposed upon them. The committee reported that various checkpoints affiliated with Sheikh Mansour were established along the main road leading to Ra’ash and Al-Soufa, further noting that most villagers were abused and checked upon their return to their homes.

It spoke at length about the villagers’ suffering and barriers hindering the committee from doing its job, including misbehavior of local and official authorities in the governorate who insisted on backing Sheikh Mansour against the villagers.

In related news, Parliament halted its session Tuesday after a majority of MPs withdrew in protest of hiding the committee’s report and preventing its distribution among MPs.

The deputy speaker of Parliament justified the move, saying MPs want to discuss the committee report with the heads of political blocs (a move considered to violate parliamentary bylaws), particularly after it was approved by a majority for discussion.

In its Wednesday’s session, Parliament demanded Ministry of Interior to shut up unofficial prisons and punishing all those people responsible for setting up private prisons and criminalizing such acts.

(Read on …)

Dar al-Salam Mediators Killed

Filed under: Civil Society, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:08 pm on Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Dar al-Salam is a good organization that has been working for years to end tribal revenge incidents.

YO: A peace activist was reported killed and another injured while they were trying to mediate a revenge case in Anis district last Wednesday. Sheikh Ahmad Bin Yahya Atef, a member of the Dar al-Salam organization, which works to fight revenge crimes and violence, and to spread a culture of tolerance, was killed. Another member, Sheikh Jabal Bin Hussein Jabal, was injured, in the Jabal al-Sharq region of Anis district, said the Chairman of the Dar al-Salam Organization, Abdulrahman al-Marwani.

The two activists were killed while they were taking part in a mediation group, said al-Marwani. The group took several bulls to the Jabal al-Sharq tribe, in an attempt to persuade a family to peacefully solve the killing one of its members, called Abdul Razaq al-Hayee, according to the tribal traditions. Al-Hayee was reported killed by people from the Guraimah family of the Bani Khalid tribe, which killed him in one of their qat farms at night, taking him to be a thief, a week prior to the killing of the mediator.

Al-Marawani said that a group of peace activists, including Sheikhs from the two disputing tribes, Bani Muath and Jabal al-Sharq, headed with the bulls to the Jabal al-Sharq tribe and particularly to the al-Hayee family. They were shocked when the brother of the victim refused their mediation, and grabbed his Kalshinkov and fired at the mediation group, killing Sheikh Ahmad Yahya Atef, who is one of the sheikhs of Jabal al-Sharq, the tribe of the victim. “The aim of the peace group was to solve the problem peacefully, so as to avoid a revenge war breaking out between the two tribes,” said al-Marwani.

“The group aimed to solve the problem, or refer it to the judiciary channels, away of the language of revenge and violence that mostly harvest the souls of tens and hundreds of innocent people,” said al-Marwani. The security office of Dhamar governorate reportedly sent a number of police escorts and arrested the killer of Sheikh Atef and the man accused of killing al-Hayee, along with other persons from both sides, who all are reportedly detained in Dhamar security prison in preparation to refer them to justice.

Al-Marwani said that the Dar al-Salam organization is still exerting extensive efforts to solve the problem peacefully and through the social and tribal traditions. Dar al-Salam issued a statement in which it condemned the murder of one of its members and the injury of another. The organization said that this savage crime contradicted the Yemeni tribal traditions and habits that respect the peace activists and mediators that are usually welcomed and respected.

The statement called this act a shame on the perpetrators, and a dangerous violation that contradicts the traditions that consider any third person not involved in the dispute as a mediator who can intervene to solve the dispute. The statement also called on the sheiks of all tribes in Yemen to condemn the killing of the peace activists, so as to not repeat what had happened to the mediators. Al-Marwani said that 15 members of the Dar al-Salam organization were killed and injured in the past nine years while performing their humanitarian mission.

Parliament’s Leadership Ignores al-Jasheen Citizens’ Plight

Filed under: Civil Rights, GPC, Parliament, Targeting, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:06 pm on Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Well at least the other members withdrew:

Mar 27, 2007 -The parliament stopped its session today, Tuesday, as most members withdrew; protesting refusal of parliament presidency to discuss a report of al-Jaashin displaced people.

They regarded the refusal as support for tyranny, persecution and a kind of postponement.

The Member of Parliament, Mansour al-Zindi said that the withdrawal came as some tried to alter the case into a political one.

The deputy speaker of parliament, Yahya al-Rai promised to discuss the report tomorrow after holding a meeting with the leaders of Parliamentary blocs.

For his part, the member of the committee authorized to investigate the case, Abdul –Aziz Jbari , expressed sorrow as the parliament could not defend the citizens’ rights, stressing that the committee would strongly grasp the recommendations of the report .

Al-Jaashin’s case had erupted 3 months ago as an influential Sheikh banished over 400 citizens from their homes after they rejected to pay him illegal taxes and duties.

It is worth reclaiming that al-Jaashin’s citizens accuse the sheikh of practicing brutal persecution and infringements against them.

Land Theft Accusation Results in Lawsuit Against Opposition Newspaper

Filed under: Crime, Judicial, Media, Tribes, Yemen, land disputes — by Jane Novak at 8:17 pm on Tuesday, March 20, 2007

AM: – Head of appeals prosecution of Aden Judge Qahir Mustafa affirmed Tuesday inaccuracy of the disquieting news published by Al-Sahwa newspaper in its last issue on allegation of the citizen Arwa al-Hamadani of the loss of her right as inheritor of a plot of land in the area of Kud Baihan in the governorate of Aden.

He made it clear by mentioning that he as a judge in the judiciary authority is obliged in applying the law in dependence on the legitimate and legal documents that are considered before the concerned body and to deal with in accordance with that. He said the rival of Arwa al-Hamadani presented to the Sheikh Uthman prosecution documents proving selling of the said piece of land to him by his owner and the concerned prosecution asked Arwa to present her documents. Instead of that she sent letters to a number of officials about the case.

Regarding the false accusations and offence published by Al-Sahwa newspaper the Judge said he is in the process of suing the newspaper and to whom those allegations were attributed and they have to confirm them before the court or to bear the legal responsibility.

Kidnappers of French Tourists Released

Filed under: Judicial, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:13 pm on Tuesday, March 20, 2007

AS :

The Yemeni authorities released Tuesday four prisoners who were charged with kidnapping French tourists in 2006.

The release came after an agreement was reached between the president, vice president and Sheiks from Abyan Province.

I have to check what happened to the kidnappers of the Germans.

Al-Jasheen Villagers Still Victims of Tribal Authority

Filed under: GPC, Targeting, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:59 am on Saturday, March 17, 2007


Al-Jaashin citizens dispatched Tuesday a letter to Ibb governr, demanding to put an end to infringements practiced against them by al-Jaashin local Sheikh, Ahmed Mohammad Mansor.

The letter says that Mansor blocked drinking water pipes from their village, demanding the governor to immediately end the trouble and bearing him the responsibility for protecting their lives.

The citizens said in a call to Alsahwanet that they want rehabilitation for their banishment, ending infringements, changing local chiefs, preventing the sheikh form intervention in their affairs, public services and social insurance.

Meanwhile, the displaced people and civil society bodies are still waiting the report of parliamentary committee appointed by the parliament to investigate the events of banishment and violations committed by the sheikh against al-Jaashin people.

The displaced who lately returned to their villages also complained that a local security official surrounded them with the military vehicles, threatened them, wrote down their name and offered them to the sheikh’s son who, in turn, menaced them with retaliation and killing.

Houthis Kill Sheik

Filed under: Saada War, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:58 am on Saturday, March 17, 2007


Local sources in Saada affirmed that Sheikh Mohammad Khatab was killed in armed confrontations erupted between him and 6 al-Houthi rebels.

The sources said to Alsahwanet that the confrontations resulted when the rebels rejected to unveil their masked faces.

Moreover, the armed forces could rescue a vehicle carrying two tanks after it was surrounded by the rebels for 20 hours.

On the other hand, Interior Minister Deputy, Motahr al-Misri met Tuesday Saada reasonable people and dignities, discussing with them security issues in their province.

Hussain al-Ahmar Accused of Recruitng Tribesmen

Filed under: Saada War, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:40 am on Saturday, March 17, 2007

I also read that Sadiq had asked some sheiks but they refused

NY: The Yemeni Socialist Party accused Hussein Abdullah al-Ahmar to be “one of few sheikhs who are recruiting Hashid tribes for fighting against al-Houthis supporters in Saada province on the same sectarian bases that the ruling party is trying to circulate against rebels such as Safawism, Jafarism and Imamate”.
The accusations against al-Ahmar came after his office had stated that a preparatory committee is being formed to prepare for a conference to announce an anti-sectarianism committee called “Public Committee for National Solidarity”.
The office of al-Ahmar said that the committee’s tasks are to keep the national concepts, deepening the Yemeni Unity and brotherly ties and national loyalty, creating social incorporation, protecting constitution and law, fighting corruption, reviving good cultures and noble norms in Yemeni society and abolishing sectarianism among people.
The committee is not a partisan organization against another party or organization but it is a social cohesion aims to deepen the spirit of Yemeni revolutions,” said the office.

Local News Assorted

Filed under: Tribes, USA, Yemen, prisons — by Jane Novak at 8:06 am on Tuesday, March 13, 2007


• Judge interrogated after he summoned President Saleh to trial for imprisoning a citizen without charge

The newspaper quoted a human rights organization as saying the Judicial Inspection Authority (JIA) summoned an appeal court judge for interrogation after he sent a letter to President Saleh demanding him to stand a trial for imprisoning a citizen without any charge.

Mohamed Naji Allaw, Chairman of the National Organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms, known as Hood, said the appeal court held its first session regarding the citizen’s imprisonment in the presence of a representative from the Ministry of Legal Affairs. The organization denounced referring the appeal court judge to the JIA in the Ministry of Justice.


• Armed clashes break out between Al Awadh and Sanhan tribes after killing the child Taha Al-Awadhi over land disputes

• Victims of municipality workers on the rise amid indifference of courts to try perpetrators

The newspaper criticised the daily killings of street vendors by municipality workers, who exploit the non-reinforcement of judiciary and human rights laws. The paper quoted Khalid Al-Anisi, a human rights activist and lawyer, as saying he doesn’t pin any hope in the authorities to put a stop to the murder of poor citizens, who strive hard to earn livelihood, at the hands of municipality officials.

Al-Anisi regretted, “As the concerned parties in the government are not serious to end the phenomenon, such inhuman crimes are bound to multiply. Those, who open fire on innocent citizens, believe that they won’t be held accountable for their conducts.


Parliamentary report attributes poor healthcare in Al-Jawf to financial and administrative corruption

The newspaper reported that the Parliamentary Health and Population Committee released a report, of which a copy was obtained by Al-Wahdah weekly, stressing the necessity of inquiring about the fate of the money allocated for the Drug Fund in Al-Jawf governorate.

The report revealed that financial and administrative corruption in the fund is responsible for the poor healthcare in the governorate. It added that the fund officials wasted a sum of 1.2 million Euros, which the German Government donated to the Drug Fund via GTZ for restoring Al-Hazm General Hospital.

The report insisted on interrogating those involved in the case and referring them to the concerned judicial authorities.


• Publications distributed in Taiz and Sana’a describing Shiites as disbelievers

YLS discusses US lawyer’s violations

March 9 — The Sana’a Brach of Yemeni Lawyers Syndicate (YLS) held its meeting last Wednesday, during which participants discussed violations committed by Robin Perie, who claims to be a member of the American Lawyers Syndicate. Through the British Embassy in Sana’a, the U.S. lawyer funded programmes and training courses for Yemeni junior lawyers in coordination with the Human Rights Ministry. He has become the executive consultant of the program. The YLS appointed a defense team to sue the Western lawyer for intervening in Yemen’s sovereignty and local affairs.

Kholan Tribesmen Threaten to Enter the War

Filed under: Saada War, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:04 am on Tuesday, March 13, 2007

If the regime doesn’t stop its assault on Saada

The tribes are the only effective check on executive authority.

Al-Jaasheen residents return home, fearful

Filed under: Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 5:02 pm on Thursday, March 8, 2007

At least they are home again. Thats a relief.


- Ra’ash locals still live in fear

March 7 — More than 400 residents in Ibb governorate’s Ra’ash area say they still fear for their lives after returning home on Monday. They complain that Sheikh Mohammed Ahmad Mansour’s bodyguards often intimidate them with arms.

Last month, more than 65 families were forced from their homes by the tyrannous sheikh after they refused to pay him a collective amount of YR 3 million (equivalent to $15,000) in zakat (an annual alms payment). The displaced residents camped in a nearby deserted area for one week.

Houthis Fatwa-ed, Yemeni Regime Declares Jihad on Shiites

Filed under: Military, Saada War, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:02 am on Thursday, March 8, 2007

As I have previously reported, a variety of Salafi Jihaddist groups have gone to the Saada region of Yemen to fight on behalf of the Yemeni regime against a band of Shiite rebels. Those alligned with the Yemeni military include members of the Aden Abyan Islamic Army and specifically, Khalid Abul Nabi. Others who are joined in the fight on the government side include exiled Iraqi Baathists, and a variety of Egyptian, Saudi and Somali Jihaddists as well as some established homegrown Jihaddist groups. Well, now its officially a Jihad. There’s an official fatwa being circulated by the government. There’s other disturbing news.

A major Sheik has called 3,000 Salafya tribesmen to battle Shiite rebels (Houthis).
There’s still no food for the local (Shiite) population because the roads are blocked for over a month.
There’s mounting civilian, military and Houthi casualties.
Thousands of civilians have fled their homes to avoid the fighting; many are living in the mountains with little shelter.
The media war is heating up with the official press disparaging the Zaidi Shiites (not just the rebels) in general as Satanic.
Random citizens are being arrested.
And just when I’m starting to come around to the idea that the Houthis should surrender, the Yemeni government declares Jihad on its own citizens. The regional implications are staggering, especially for the Horn of Africa.

The Yemeni regime has not been working to co-opt the extremists; the extremist ideology has co-opted the regime and those with a jihaddist mentality regularly utilize the tools of the state to achieve their goals, one of which is killing US troops. The normal Yemenis generally speaking are a nice tolerant people and Yemen is a rather religiously pluralistic nation. But the Salyfia ideology dominates among many of the actual power brokers. The rest are corrupt.

Jihad. A government sponsored scholar is calling it a Jihad and providing religious justification to militarily engage the Houthi rebels who, they say, do not deserve to live because of their Zaidi religious beliefs. The regime previously framed the conflict in nationalistic terms, saying that the Houthis are traitors and enemies of the state. When they didn’t get enough volunteers, bing, its a Jihad.

Read the whole sorry sad story here at the award winning Yemen Times.

Then of course there’s the whole issue of how the US can be alligned with a regime that is engaged in a Jihad that targets among others Shiite civilians. And the US has expressed support for the Yemeni government in its battle against the Houthis, and generally speaking, the state should have a monopoly on the use of force. However when that state is framing its use of force against its own citizens in divine terms, it seems a bit problematic.

Oh I forgot to mention the military commander of the North West region who is leading the attacks against the Shiites is Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, who reportedly recruited fighters for Bin Laden in the 80’s and set up training camps in Yemen. He met with UBL in 1996 at an ariport in Yemen for six hours, I think the report was. He was involved in the kidnapping of the British tourists in 1998, exiles claim. Ali Mohsen is a reputed Wahabbist and reports indicate that he currently coordinating the training of Jihaddists who go to Iraq to kill our troops. In the earlier 2005 war between the Yemeni state and the Houthis, eyewitnesses told me that Yemeni tanks ran over wounded Houthi fighters, old women and children were killed intentionally and the Yemen Times reported that military vehicles were dragging around the dead bodies of Houthi fighters. It was a jihad then, and I said that, but now its official.

And now you know why they banned my website in Yemen, and the Yemeni editor, Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani’s website. They don’t like what he writes either. But there’s always Jawa.

SA’ADA, March 7 — The Sa’ada war has entered its second month, with all information indicating its expansion in geographic, social and sectarian contexts. Casualties are increasing on both sides, together with the number of residents displaced from their areas and villages, and food supplies into the governorate are cut off.

Sources mention that fierce confrontations continue between the Yemeni army and Al-Houthi loyalists on various fronts, felling dozens more victims within the past few days.

A military source mentioned on Tuesday that the human losses among Houthis amount to 160, including leading elements, as well as 40 unidentified bodies. He added that there are numerous injured, while many others have been arrested in various areas. quoted local sources as saying that more than seven civilians were killed and another four injured in fierce clashes in Sahar district.

The source also revealed that five military personnel were killed and another three injured during confrontations while combing Bani Muath area on Monday morning.

It added that military leaders met with sheikhs and dignitaries from Majd and Razih districts earlier this week seeking their help in fighting and eradicating Al-Houthi supporters.

During the meeting with dignitaries from Razih – the only district not witnessing confrontations since the first war in 2004 – the military leaders asked locals to protect their district and prevent Houthis from penetrating it, maintaining that the armed forces will take on the responsibility if locals fail.

The demands were presented after leaked information mentioned that Houthi groups are present in the district, according to the sources.

In related news, Sa’ada’s second largest city of Dahian seemed deserted after locals evacuated the area to meet an army deadline giving them just 48 hours before its entry in search of Houthi loyalists or weapons.

Dahian locals earlier warned about entering their city, considering it an attempt to loot citizens’ property by armed tribesmen summoned from outside the governorate to assist Yemeni armed forces in their war against Houthis.

The sources also indicated that government forces imposed a buffer between Matara area, which is dominated by Abdulmalik Al-Houthi’s supporters, and Al-Naqa’ah area, the stronghold of Abdullah Aidhah Al-Ruzami, the second man in the Faithful Youth Organization, which is banned from exercising political activities in Yemen.

According to sources, the buffer between the two areas will enable Yemeni armed forces to wage a knock-out offensive against Houthis.

Media war

Al-Thori official newspaper last Friday warned satellite channels, news agencies and newspapers about publishing any statements by Yahya or Abulmalik Al-Houthi or their followers, considering it a counter act against Yemen and support for terrorists.

Media sources report that more than 3,000 tribesmen from Al-Ausimat and Bani Sureem, parts of Hashed tribe, were called upon by a local sheikh last Sunday to fight in Sa’ada. The sources also added that Kharef sheikhs declined to accept Sheikh Sadek Al-Ahmar’s call to participate in the war.

Official media distributed what it terms a fatwa by scholar and Judge Mohammed Ismail Al-Amrani, calling on Yemenis to fight in Sa’ada and justifying the killing of Houthis. The fatwa is similar to one Sheikh Abdulmajeed Al-Zindani issued during the 1994 war with the Socialist Party.

Several reports and analyses point out that the authority has resorted to fatwa and jihad to involve tribal groups from inside and outside Sa’ada in the war against Houthis, after army and security forces were unable to defeat them.

Citizens from Sa’ada and Dahian told media that over the past few weeks, thousands from Dahian and other nearby villages have left their homes for Sa’ada city and other areas while the governorate witnesses a critical shortage of foodstuffs and provisions as the government has cut off supplies to Sa’ada and prevented relief organizations from entering.

Further, numerous citizens in various governorates have been arrested over the Sa’ada events, with local sources mentioning that more than 15 citizens from Al-Mahbeshah and Kahlan Al-Sharaf were arrested for links to Al-Houthi.

The sources added that seven military vehicles have been stationed in Kahlan Al-Sharaf’s Aqsur area for more than a month demanding 10 locals linked with Al-Houthi.

Sa’ada Jews

The Yemeni government summoned those Jewish families that Houthis dismissed from their homes in Al-Salim to Sana’a and provided them private housing at the expense of the Economic Military Corporation to escape the war.

Newspapers close to the authority hastened to announce this step by the government, an act interpreted as a message to the outside world – especially the United States – to avoid international pressure on the pretext of suppressing the Jewish faction.

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper mentioned that the Jewish families, amounting to 45 people, were transported to Sana’a by special plane and given government apartments after preparations made by high-ranking officials. It added that some Yemeni Jews told their friends in Israel via phone that they are receiving government salaries and that their situation has begun to improve. reported that the Jews earlier declined to reside in housing meant for marginalized factions in Sa’wan zone of Sana’a, especially those working in the cleaning sector; thus, the government was forced to give them luxurious apartments in Tourist City, a zone near the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a.

Observers believe the issue reflects the Yemeni government’s duality in dealing with its citizens, as it moved the Jews from the war-torn areas and provided them security, while others are kept there like firewood.

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 22375 access attempts in the last 7 days.