Armies of Liberation

Jane Novak's blog about Yemen

Re-hiring the southern Yemeni army

Filed under: Military, South Yemen, mil restrucuturing — by Jane Novak at 11:39 am on Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I have argued for a long time that integrating (or re-hiring) the forcibly retired southern military has many advantages:

1) the long idle former southern army are disconnected from the vast web of corruption, smuggling and nepotism that pervaded the upper levels of the Yemeni military during the Saleh regime
2) they may have more respect for human rights, especially if they are deployed in the south
3) they already have formal training by the Russians
4) it will decrease the sense of alienation of some southerners and especially unemployed young men in the southern provinces who are regularly turned away from the army when recruitment is a function of a sheikh’s patronage
5) it will lessen the proselytizing of soldiers wherein some extremist commanders deem military operations as jihad instead of security missions designed to protect all Yemeni citizens.

The army must become a non-political, neutral and uniformly trained body that provides equal opportunity to Yemeni men (and women) regardless of identity. Even those who are advocates for separatism might be able to see the advantages to southerners (and peace and stability) of rehiring the retired military, instead of seeing it as a way to defuse the southern movement.

The Link: (ar) Hadi to re-hire 795 former southern military commanders

Reuters: Yemen has launched a $1.2 billion fund to give back tens of thousands of southern Yemenis jobs they lost after the 1994 civil war, a minister said on Tuesday, part of efforts to revive talks aimed at ending longstanding political divisions.

International Cooperation Minister Mohammed al-Sa’adi said the fund, agreed on Sunday, had persuaded southern separatists to return to talks they boycotted last month in protest against the government’s handling of their demands.

Another positive development is the adoption of the biometric voter ID system, this must be internationally funded and locally implemented and will enhance the legitimacy of future elections as well as reduce corruption, ghost workers, and ensure the distribution of aid. The positive benefits of incorporating this technology are many and can jump start a fairer Yemen.

Fostering and countering terrorism in Yemen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yemen Centre for Transitional Justice calls for de-militarized cities

Filed under: Military, Pres Hadi, mil restrucuturing — by Jane Novak at 2:12 pm on Friday, May 17, 2013

Statement from YCTJ

An Urgent Appeal to Yemeni President Abdu-Rabbo Mansour Hadi: Remove All Military Bases from the Major Cities of Yemen

His Excellency President Abdu-Rabbo Mansour Hadi, President of the Republic of Yemen.

Dear Excellency:

The Yemeni Center for Transitional Justice takes this opportunity to congratulate Your Excellency on the launching of the Comprehensive National Dialogue on March 18, 2013 and wishes to express the appreciation of the YCTJ on your concerted efforts to bring peace, security and political stability to Yemen. We hope that the National Dialogue will lead to concrete decisions that strongly respond to the needs and aspirations of the Yemeni people and that best serve the interests of all Yemenis.

We are very concerned about the widespread existence of military bases and installations inside the major densely populated cities of Yemen. Your Excellency has certainly noticed the previous recent crash of a military aircraft of February 19, 2013, in which 12 citizens needlessly lost their lives. You will also recall that the fall of a military aircraft in November 2012 killed 10 Yemeni citizens, In addition there were more than 400 civilians killed in Ta’ez and Sana’a City during the armed confrontations that took place during the Yemeni Uprising of 2011.

In the latter, it was clear that major Yemeni cities were literally turned into battlefields for the political combatants. Undoubtedly this was primarily due to the location of military bases in the midst of highly populated areas of these cities. Among the civilian victims of these unfortunate armed confrontations were rising number of cases of Vitiligo (whitening of skin) and nocturnal enuresis (involuntary urination) among children, who resided near the Central Security Military Base in Ta’ez City, as reported by many physicians. As a result of the armed conflict in that area and the excessive use of force, there were many children who experienced sudden stress caused by the dreadful sounds of ordnances and the thunderous firepower unleashed in these conflicts, all of which caused such illnesses.

The fight against Al-Qaeda insurgents in Abyan also led to disastrous results for civilians there. The military bases, depots and ammunition stores targeted by AQAP insurgents were all too close to civilian residential homes and working areas in the cities of Abyan Governorate. The subsequent death of at least 150 civilians in the munitions factory attack in Ja’ar by Al-Qaeda in March 28, 2011 is testimony to the senseless presence of these military installations in the middle of cities. Half of these civilian victims were women and children.

The extensive presence of military installations and facilities amidst densely populated areas clearly constitute a clear violation of international customary norms and practices . They also certainly evoke obvious breaches of international and local humanitarian law, including, inter alia, Article 13(1) of the Additional Protocol II[8] as well as Article 8 of the Second Protocol for the Protection of Cultural Property[9].

These military bases and installations occupy large surface areas in already congested cities. They also force more beneficial and useful projects, such as schools, hospitals, and parks to be relocated outside the cities, thus increasing the hardships of citizens to reach and have access to the services of these important civilian facilities. This presents an important opportunity to convert these dangerous military installations and bases to become useful public parks, educational facilities and hospitals and other more useful projects that will better serve the public.

Therefore, we urge Your Excellency to take an unprecedented historic initiative and reform this archaic aspect of the old regime, which literally used cities as military bases. The Yemeni people will appreciate this important development and will surely support you in this monumental decision. This would be especially significant as Yemen is undergoing a transitionary period and the priority needs of the Yemeni people at this important stage is to establish security, safety and peace. Your initiation of this step during your presidency will ensure for Your Excellency a praiseworthy place in the history of our country and will promise to bring a peaceful life for the future. In addition the decision will be a step in the right direction towards achieving a real democratic transition.

With all due respect to your Presidency and to the authority of your esteemed transitional government, we appeal to Your Excellency to take this highly important step and proceed to relocate all military bases and installations at safe distances outside Yemeni cities.

Respectfully yours,

The Yemeni Center for Transitional Justice

[1] 14 January 2010

[2] Found Human Rights Watch, “Disappearances and Arbitrary Arrests in the Armed Conflict with Huthi Rebels in Yemen”, 24 October 2008 (ISBN: 1-56432-392-7).

[3] Article 13(1) Additional Protocol II stipulates that “the civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against the dangers arising from military operations”

[4] Article 8 of the 1999 Second Protocol to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property provides: “The Parties to the conflict shall, to the maximum extent feasible: … b) avoid locating military objectives near cultural property.” In the event of international armed conflict it would be a violation of Article 58 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I which states that the parties to the conflict shall, to the maximum extent feasible “avoid locating military objectives within or near densely populated areas”.
[5] Article 4(2)(c) and Article 13(1) Additional Protocol II

[6] Yemen’s Military Criminal Code (1998), the “use of civilians as human shields during war operations” constitutes a war crime.

[7] In the event of an international armed conflict, it would contravene Third Geneva Convention, Article 23; Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 28; Additional Protocol I, Article 51(7)

[8] Article 13(1) Additional Protocol II stipulates that “the civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against the dangers arising from military operations”.

[9] Article 8 of the 1999 Second Protocol to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property provides: “The Parties to the conflict shall, to the maximum extent feasible: … b) avoid locating military objectives near cultural property.” In the event of international armed conflict it would be a violation of Article 58 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I which states that the parties to the conflict shall, to the maximum extent feasible “avoid locating military objectives within or near densely populated areas”.

Ahlam M Mothanna
Secretary General
Yemen Centre for Transitional Justice (YCTJ)

US drone target tied to Yemen’s military leader

Filed under: Air strike, Military, embassy, mil restrucuturing, obits, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 10:47 am on Saturday, November 10, 2012

US drone strike 11/6 in Sanhan, another mediator killed, tied to 2008 US embassy attack

SANAA: A drone strike near the Yemeni capital killed three suspected Al-Qaeda members including a militant wanted for a deadly attack on the US embassy in Sanaa, security officials said on Thursday. They said the drone strike, believed to have been carried out by the United States, targeted a car near the village of Beit al-Ahmar in the Sanhan region, 15 kilometres (nine miles) southeast of Sanaa. Among the dead was Adnan al-Qadhi, a former jihadist fighter in Afghanistan and Al-Qaeda member wanted for a 2008 car bomb attack on the US embassy that killed six Yemeni soldiers and four civilians.

After a decade of willful ignorance, the US starts tying AQ attacks to the former regime, probably in search of evidence for sanctions:

Yemen Fox: Mareb Press cited diplomat sources as saying that the US Embassy in Sana’a exerts efforts in collecting and documenting many terrorist attacks carried out by al-Qaeda and in which former President Ali Abdullah Saleh was found involved, most important the bombing the US Embassy in Sana’a in 2008. The sources said that the Americans have evidences that some with close links to Saleh’s family are involved in that operation, as US investigations showed that cars used in the terrorist attack were purchased by people close to Saleh’s family, specifically from Sanhan.

Better summary of the relationship

Nasser Arrabyee: The drone- killed Al Qadi was general in Yemeni army

By Nasser Arrabyee,07/11/2012

Adnan Al Qadi, Al Qaeda operative killed by US drone Wednesday, was a lieutenant colonel in the Yemeni army before he joined Al Qaeda, said sources Thursday.

Adnan Al Qadi was working as a commander of brigade in Al Makha under the leadership of Saleh Al Dani, a retired general who is now working with the defected general Ali Muhsen. All of them are from one village called Sanahan, the same village of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Adnan Al Qadi and Aref Al Qadi, were arrested after the bombing of the US embassy in Sanaa late 2008 for being involved. Aref is a nephew of brigadier Abdullah Al Qadi, retired general from Sanhan. Both of them were released secretly because of influence of their fathers and sympathy of general Muhsen.

Recently, Aref Al Qadi, raised the flag of Al Qaeda over his house in village of Bait Al Ahmar, the village of all conflicting guys, according to local sources.

The slain Adnan Al Qadi was one of the mediators between the Yemeni government and slain Sheikh Tarik Al Dhahab, Al Qaeda leader in Radaa last year according to Al Qaeda specialist journalist, Abdul Razak Al Jamal who met Al Qadi and most of the Al Qaeda leaders..On Wednesday November 6th, 2012, a US drone hit a car in the area of Al Nasrin in Sanahan, 30km south east of the capital Sanaa, killing Adnan Al Qadi and two others identified as Rabee Laheb, and Redwan Al Hashidi. Some sources said that the latter two were only injured..

Related: “‏@adammbaron abdulrazak jamal interviewed Adnan alQadhi, target of sanhan drone strike, before his death.” Had the black flag on his roof and door?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Original Arabic below: (Read on …)

Yemen Defense Min targeted for assassination for 7th time, AQAP raid

Filed under: Ministries, Post Saleh, Security Forces, mil restrucuturing, state jihaddists, suicide attacks — by Jane Novak at 7:48 am on Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The assassination spree by the al Qaeda hit squad, or some mercenary facsimile thereof, continues with a gusto. Security officers are targeted and killed in the south with alarming regularity, about once a week. The pattern is highly reminiscent of the period between unity (1990) and the civil war (1994) when al Qaeda targeted YSP leaders and over 150 were killed. The 1994 document of Pledge and Accord begins by demanding Saleh stop employing terrorists and terrorism against southerners to achieve his political goals, but he never did.

The deposed (half of the) Saleh dictatorship continued to conduct false flag attacks (pipelines anyone?) or hired al Qaeda types or used intelligence officers disguised as AQ to conduct operations against internal rivals or to shift the political winds. Its not only a matter of exploiting al Qaeda attacks to gain international support; its also a matter of ordering them.

When is the US going to talk about the tourist murders and the plots against the British ambassador or the South Korean officials as Saleh’s foreign policy in action? Much, maybe most, of the al Qaeda violence in Yemen is self-generated, but some is designed. Its a good thing the US remembered belatedly to add the terrorism exclusion to Saleh’s immunity deal.

Sana’a: Yemen’s Defence Minister Mohammed Nasser Ahmed escaped an assassination attempt Tuesday near his home located in the capital city of Sana’a, Xinhua reported. A car bomb was discovered near Ahmed’s house and was removed before it could explode, said police sources.

This was the seventh occasion when militants, suspected of belonging to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), targeted the defence minister since the interim Yemeni government came into existence last December.

On Sep 11, a car bomb attack targeting the defence minister’s motorcade in Sana’a killed 12 people, including his seven bodyguards. The minister was critically injured in his chest, with his face bruised

They probably saved a lot of lives by rolling this one up. The gas cylinders were first used in Yemen in the 2005 twin attacks on the oil facilities.

Reuters: Army and security forces raided a house in the southern province of Aden at dawn, killing three militants in clashes that went on for almost two hours, the Interior Ministry said. Four soldiers were wounded.

“A large amount of various explosives was found in most of the rooms in addition to booby-trapped gas cylinders and cars ready to be used in suicide attacks and weapons including a rocket and explosive belts,” the Defense Ministry website quoted a security source as saying.

The house, in Mansoura city, was used as a headquarters for al Qaeda leaders in Aden to plan for attacks and a bomb factory, the source said.

Security forces seized documents and computers which contained plans to attack vital establishments in the province including military, security and civil buildings, the source said.

A local security source told Reuters among those killed was a Somali fighter, adding that the cell was behind several suicide attacks and assassination attempts in Aden over the past few months.

Houthis cleaned up drug trade, blame Ali Mohsen for Midi hashish smuggling: report

Filed under: Biographies, Hajjah, Military, Ports, Saudi Arabia, drugs, smuggling — by Jane Novak at 10:09 am on Sunday, September 23, 2012

This below is not from the official Houthi media but it is from a Houthi supporter if not an unofficial outlet. As with all posts presented here and explaining various Yemeni viewpoints, I am posting it to demonstrate the narrative and not as an endorsement of its authenticity. However it is well known the 1st Armoured Division did facilitate smuggling into Saudia during Saada War 1-5, and Ali Mohsen was a major figure in the black market international weapons trade as well as fuel smuggling with Faris Manna and Tawfiq Abdel Rahman respectively. As Amb Krajeski correctly noted in a Wikileaks cable:

“Ali Mohsen’s questionable dealings with terrorists and extremists, however, would make his accession unwelcome to the US and others in the international community,” Krajeski wrote.

“He is known to have Salafi leanings and to support a more radical Islamic political agenda than Saleh. He has powerful Wahhabi supporters in Saudi Arabia and has reportedly aided the [Saudis] in establishing Wahhabi institutions in northern Yemen.

He is also believed to have been behind the formation of the Aden-Abyan army, and is a close associate of noted arms dealer Faris Manna.

For years, he acted as Saleh’s iron fist, building a reputation at home that lies somewhere between fear and revulsion,” reported Krajeski.

Googlish below regarding the latest bust : (Read on …)

Suicide bomber targets pro-govt, former AQAP, militia commander, 4 killed

Filed under: Abyan, Yemen, assassination, popular committees, suicide attacks — by Jane Novak at 7:24 am on Sunday, September 23, 2012

I remember this guy and three years ago would be likely during the 2009 battle of Jaar when various factions of AQ fought each other for control of the city. The Defense Ministry paid one side. I wonder how many reformed al Qaeda are heading the popular committees and where they are obtaining their weapons, ammo and funding since they are militias and outside the formal military structure. And what was promised in return. Maybe its an authentic ideological reversal. Its the fifth time Latif was targeted for death by al Qaeda. NAA: Sanaa hospitals failed to treat Al Sayed who suffered serious injuries in the suicide bombing of Saturday in Aden, taken to Saudia. Update below: militia attacks al Qaeda who attacked commander.

ADEN (Reuters) – A suicide bomber failed on Saturday in an assassination attempt on a former Islamist in Yemen who helped drive al Qaeda militants out of a southern region this year, a security source and resident said. (Read on …)

Rouge commander in Yemen refuses to relinquish US supplied CT weapons equipment, Updated: Yemeni Min says Saleh undermining transition

Filed under: Military, Security Forces — by Jane Novak at 7:13 am on Sunday, September 23, 2012

That would be Ahmed Ali, the former president’s son, head of the CT forces and the US’s main liaison for a decade. I for one, as a taxpayer, would like a public accounting of the $ 436 million the US supplied in CT support to Yemen over the last several years. Under US law, the US Embassy was responsible for monitoring the weapons. The End Use Monitoring Agreement and the Blue Lantern program appear total failures in Yemen.

A US Congressional inquiry found US trained units were diverted to the Saada War in earlier years. Much of the weapons are currently missing. The US public is owed an accounting before we pour millions in new funding and equipment into Yemen, as it is likely much were sold, and diverted into the black market and private stocks. Not to mention new commercial sales allowed since the State Dept lifted the arms embargo on Yemen. For certain, these weapons will be used against civilians or wind up in the hands of al Qaeda without stringent controls.

Currently Ahmed Ali is refusing to transfer several units and equipment to a new Presidential Guard designed to end the fracture within the Yemeni military.

Trend: Yemen’s defence minister is to call on the son of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh to hand over troops and material he has retained against orders, the Defence Ministry said Thursday.

Defence Minister Mohammed Nasser Ahmad, during an inspection of the first brigade of the newly formed presidential guard, observed that it was at only 10 per cent of its official strength, dpa reported according to the ministry website. (Read on …)

Private weapons shipment to Ali Mohsen in Yemen

Filed under: Counter-terror, Hodeidah, Military, Ports, smuggling — by Jane Novak at 8:29 am on Sunday, September 16, 2012

This arms shipment could have come from anywhere, from China to the US, now that the State Department has lifted the embargo on commercial arms sales to Yemen. The weapons were unloaded by Ali Mohsen, one of the main power centers during the former regime that should be becoming weaker in the new one.

The Yemeni black market on weapons is a vital economic sector that supplies AQAP, al Shabab, the Houthis and any armed group without distinction. Its going to be Fast and Furious on steroids when al Qaeda in Yemen or Somalia uses US weapons during a terror attack. And if the US is going to allow private sales in order arm to the southern militias that are fighting al Qaeda, there has to be a better conduit than Ali Mohsen.

The Link: Sources said that about 20 days ago a ship loaded with weapons NES to Minaoualhdidh, and unloaded the ship onto military trucks. The same source said the ship was unloaded under the direct supervision of Ali Mohsen, where he take to Hodeidah himself and eagerness that did not know one visit. Sources said that trucks loaded with weapons headed to places belonging to the First Armored Division on a number of nearby provinces there and dump all weapons in those places. There are other sources stating that the arms shipment came in favor of the so-called Army of the Revolution that is collected illegally now to include plotted against Ansar Allah in Saada (the Houthis), the Link believes.

Yemeni Interior Min has no info confirming death of AQAP #2 Saed al Shahri

Filed under: Air strike, Military, obits, personalities — by Jane Novak at 3:09 pm on Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dagnabbit. In an interview in the Saudi Okaz, the Yemeni Interior Minister says he has no info on whether AQAP #2 al Shihiri was killed, and he says to ask the Defense Ministry. Meanwhile AQAP denies he’s dead, and confirms Ahmed al-Daradish and Albatar al-Baydani were killed and the terrorists are usually much more accurate than the Yemeni govt in this situation, unfortunately.

Its quite possible the US media was spun again, just in time for the 9/11 anniversary, as they have been many times before. I thought it was way too quick for all the al Shihri obits, because the Yemeni Defense Ministry has released total disinformation time and time and time again, see my earlier post. I don’t know if hes dead or not, but I wouldn’t count on it. Its the fifth time he’s been announced as killed or captured. So its more likely that al-Daradish and al-Baydani were killed in yesterday’s strike and Al-Shihri is still alive, but really its too early to know.

al Masdar:

Yemeni Interior Minister skeptical of information killed Qaeda’s second-in-Said al-Shihri (Read on …)

Yemenis protest in Sanaa for dismissal of President’s son as security cheif

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Counter-terror, Military, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:56 am on Friday, July 27, 2012

More videos on the protest in front of Hadi’s home calling to resign Saleh’s family from their posts

1st Armored Div protests for Ali Mohsen al Ahmar dismissal, prisoner release

Filed under: Islah, Military, Yemen, protests — by Jane Novak at 7:21 pm on Saturday, March 10, 2012

There were a lot of articles on the anti-Mohsen protest on Saleh regimists funded “independent” websites, but I finally found it on what looks to be a non-aligned site. Continuing and growing momentum in the protests against corrupt military leaders and other top corrupt officials (known jointly as the institutional revolution) is a good development. Ali Mohsen’s history and connection to extremists is just as bad as the Saleh boys and nephews. The protesters also demanded that Ali Mohsen release all the prisoners he’s holding without any basis. The hegemony of Islahis, because of their funding and muscle, in the square derailed the drive toward a civil state and divided the protesters.

Mersad: Observatory – rebounds: Protest this morning outside the house of the President Hadi Street, sixty in the capital Sanaa, thousands of officers described the soldiers of the north-west and the First Armored Division, demanding dismissal and the trial of General Almends Mohsen al-Ahmar commander of the First Armored Division – revolutionary youth popular- as a result of crimes committed against them and the rights of the people of Yemen. (Read on …)

Inventory of military an excellent first step, next Youth auditors?

Filed under: Military, Ministries, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 8:46 am on Thursday, March 8, 2012

In order to restructure the military, the transitional govt needs to know what exists and where; a US congressional report in 2009ish found that the Yemeni CT forces and military could not account for or locate some equipment granted as US military assistance. Furthermore, direct and brokered Yemeni arms purchases are sometimes sold in bulk to the black market, and individual soldiers (who sometimes aren’t paid for months) have been known to sell their weapons.

In reality, all ministries and government offices should be subject to an inventory (including cars). However, considering the gargantuan levels of corruption and mismanagement at all levels, a secondary audit is imperative. Asking the people responsible for the embezzlement to count the inventory is a recipe for more subterfuge.

A secondary audit of the inventory would be a good job for the revolutionaries, many of whom have accounting and computer degrees. As outsiders they would be independent, and its a good method to enfranchise them in the transition process while generating trust through transparency. International assistance by experienced accountants of the process may also increase the Yemeni auditors skill levels and employ-ability. Of course the US will be embarrassed by how much of its intended CT aid was stolen, diverted and/or resold, but sunlight is good for everybody.

Its very important however to standardized the inventory process regionally and from ministry to ministry–from the beginning. Starting with compatible processes, methods, computer systems and software is essential. For example, Yemen’s years long difficulty in generating stats and paperwork on the Somali refugees arises in large part from technical obstacles generated by using different accounting methods, incompatible databases and different computer systems, both vertically and horizontally. This impending pitfall is easily overcome with a little forethought at this point.

al Sahwa, President directs to count properties of military

Alsahwah.net- Yemen President Abdu-Rabo Mansour Hadi has directed on Wednesday the Defense Ministry to form technical committees to count the properties of the army in a move that precede the reconstruction of the military and end the division.

Meanwhile, the government tasked the Oil and Mineral Minister, Hisham Sharaf, to appoint a new director-general of the Oil Petroleum Company after the resignation of the former director in response to waves of protests by the employees of the company.

According to the Yemeni News Agency, Saba, military commanders held on Wednesday a meeting presided by the Defense Minister Ahmed Nasser Ahmed. The meeting discussed the counting of the military’s properties and how to halt the squandering of the public resources.

Also see “Fixing Broken Windows”: Security Sector Reform in Palestine, Lebanon, and Yemen Carnegie 2009

US to resume military training in Yemen prior to restructing military

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yemen’s Air Force uprising spreads to seven provinces

Filed under: Military, Transportation, photos/gifs — by Jane Novak at 6:56 pm on Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Air Force wants to overthrow the president’s brother.

airforcedemjan2012.jpg

Al Shawa: The (pro-rev) army (led by Ali Mohsen al Ahmar) said in a statement yesterday that Mohammed Saleh al Ahmar left in a Russian cargo plane yesterday that took off from Sanaa airport, in “the process of smuggling money abroad after the protests plaguing the rest of the pillars of the family and the most recent sit-air forces to demand the dismissal of Mohamed Saleh al Ahmar, who is about to catch up with his brother Ali, God’s favor, as a result of these protests.”

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black; Ali Mohsen is another big thief and murderer.

Actually Wednesday was the fifth day but details in English:

Yemen troops demand dismissal of Air Force chief (AFP)

SANAA — Thousands of soldiers continued sit-ins Tuesday for a second day in Yemen demanding the “official” ouster of the Air Force commander they accuse of corruption, AFP correspondents and military officials said.

They are demanding the dismissal of General Mohammed Saleh al-Ahmar, a half brother of President Ali Abdullah Saleh who left Yemen on Sunday for the United States following a year-long uprising against his 33 years in power. (Read on …)

Yemen Air Force revolts against corrupt commander, Saleh’s half brother

Filed under: Corruption, Military, Post Saleh, Sana'a, protests — by Jane Novak at 10:38 am on Sunday, January 22, 2012

Shoe throwing at the presidents relatives is always a good sign however the arrested show throwing air force officer is probably in pretty poor shape right now.

Yemen Post: Hundreds of officers and soldiers protested inside the International Sana’a Airport on Sunday, demanding to sack commander of the Air Forces, Mohammad Saleh Al-Ahmar, half-brother of the outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

One officer told Yemen Post on condition of anonymity that five tanks and many military vehicles belonging to the Central Security and Special Guard Forces rushed to the airport with the aim of dispersing the protesting soldiers.

“However, Major General Ahmed Ali Al-Ashwal, Chief of General Staff, immediately headed to the airport and ordered the forces not to assault approximately 500 protesters.” he added.\

He further said that negotiations are being continuing between Al-Ashwal and some officers of the Air Forces, indicating that they insist on the resignation of Al-Ahmar and meet all other demands.

Sources said that Guards of Al-Ahmar arrested an officer, Omar Al-Hatimi, who loudly criticized Al-Ahmar and threw his shoes at him inside a meeting hall of the Air Forces. (Read on …)

Witness: 100’s defected soldiers, protesters whipped, electrocuted, tortured inside Yemeni military camp

Filed under: Military, Sana'a, Transition, political violence, prisons, protest statements — by Jane Novak at 8:43 am on Wednesday, January 18, 2012

But its not a problem for the US, UN and GCC which all strongly endorse an immunity package for the Saleh regime and consider the Yemeni public a nuisance.

Yemen Post: The Yemeni Human Rights Organization, HOOD, has affirmed that hundreds of officers, troops and protesters are being detained and brutally tortured inside military camps affiliated to the outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The body said that these soldiers were detained due their support to anti-regime protests.

Hood indicated that the Yemeni authorities have recently released 44 detainees from the Central Prison in Sana’a.

Yemen security and army services have arbitrarily detained hundreds of peaceful protesters across the country, subjecting them to torture and ill-treatment, since anti-government demonstrations began in February 2011.

“A military court has recently released four officers and troops of the Special Forces Service led by son of Saleh, Ahmed,” Hood said.”They were arrested on charges of taking part in anti-regime demonstrations.”

One of the released persons revealed that 75 protesters and 70 soldiers of the defected First Armored Division are being held inside a custody in Alsama’a military camp located in Arhab district of Sana’a governorate.

The protester told Yemeni activists that he was kidnapped from the capital in December, 2011, pointing out that he was immediately transferred to this camp.

He said he was subject to brutal forms of tortures, including electro-shock devices and beating with cables and whips, as he was blindfolded and handcuffed.

Yemenis have been demonstrating across the country demanding the release of hundreds of detainees held by Security services which are still controlled by people loyal to Saleh.

Yemeni activists had urged all international human rights organizations to press on the Yemeni regime to release all detainees who are subject to brutal torture.

The exact number of detainees being held by the authorities is unknown, but activists say that it could be as high as 1,400.

Yemen’s Gen Quiran re Taiz violence

Filed under: Aden, Civil Rights, Military, Protest Fatalities, Taiz, War Crimes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 3:29 pm on Thursday, December 22, 2011

Qiran is also indicted in the murder of Ahmed Darwish in an Aden prison.

12/12/12

NYT

TAIZ, Yemen — Armed tribesmen had finally retreated from a pocket of this city, handing back to the state an education building they had occupied in recent weeks. The governor, elated, called it a breakthrough.

Dozens of people had been killed during weeks of violence. Cease-fires had come and gone. Now, the building handover again raised the possibility of a truce. For eight hours, the streets were quiet.

Then the tribesmen retook the building.

“I think we will succeed. Or not,” the governor, Hamoud al-Sofi, said Thursday, sounding exasperated. “We will see.”

Yemen has been caught in a cycle of protest, repression and factional fighting that simply will not let go, even though, as in Taiz, there are many moments that appear to signal a breakthrough, as when the president agreed to step down. The interim government that took power in Yemen last week amid guarded optimism faces an array of daunting challenges. (Read on …)

Ali Mohsen: I am ready for trial

Filed under: Military, Transition, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:20 am on Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Yemen 4 All: General Ali Mohsen: I admit that I personally, and a wide range of military men and politicians, bear great deal of responsibility for mistakes done during the rule of Saleh’s regime.

We are ready to stand before judiciary if we were requested to do so, as witnesses or under the law, and this is a vow from us to the youth of the revolution, to the Yemeni people, and to all those who suffered from the oppression of Saleh’s regime in the southern and the Northern provinces.

Also: #Yemen The pro-revolution army says they captured a car loaded with explosives and related by two phone cards to be blown over the connection call and it was entered to the headquarters of the First Armored Divisions through persons recruited by the National Security Guards for the purpose of the assassination of leaders in the pro- revolution army led by Major General Ali Mohsen.

Aha, full translation:

NYR | : YemenFox | This is the speech delivered by General Ali Mohsen on the occasion of Eid Al-Adha to Yemenis. (Read on …)

The un-mentionableness of Ali Mohsen

Filed under: Islah, Media, Military, Post Saleh, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:32 am on Thursday, November 3, 2011

Islah’s repression of independent thought and revolutionaries continues:

Yemen Post: Islah profile: As revolutionaries in Yemen are celebrating their victory in eventually obtaining some worldwide attention, and relishing in the fact that western nations have taken up the matter of Saleh’s presidency to the UN Security Council, the main opposition party, al-Islah is slowly but surely high jacking the revolution, rallying to its cause more and more protesters. (Read on …)

Yemen Air Force bombs soldiers fighting al Qaeda again

Filed under: Abyan, Air strike, Islamic Imirate, Military, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 4:21 pm on Sunday, October 2, 2011

For the second time the Sanaa regime has “accidentally” bombed the troops fighting al Qaeda. The last time in early August dozens of the tribal fighters against al Qaeda were killed as well as four military commanders. The tribesmen later said that al Qaeda fighters were lying in wait after the bombing, as if it was coordinated with them. And this time, the al Qaeda fighters were laying in wait again. The Yemen Air Forces is commanded by the half-brother of Saleh, Mohammed Saleh Ahmar. I used to say the Sanaa regime was like John Gotti with an airforce, but now they are more like Zawaheri with an airforce. Update: Sanaa regime denies but multiple news outlets have local sources confirming.

USA Today: The officials said the bombing, which took place on Saturday evening in the southern Abyan province, targeted an abandoned school used as shelter by soldiers of the army’s 119th Brigade. The school is located just east of Abyan’s provincial capital Zinjibar, where militants linked to al-Qaeda have been in control since May.

Heavy fighting has been raging in the area for days as part of the army’s months long campaign to seize back Zinjibar from the militants.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information, said there were unconfirmed reports that militants arrived at the school soon after the airstrike and killed an unspecified number of wounded troops.

The school is in the Bagdar area, along the frontline between Yemeni forces and militants. On Saturday, fighting in Zinjibar killed at least 28 soldiers and militants.

The 119th Brigade has rebelled against the regime of President Ali Abdullah Saleh to join the protest movement demanding his ouster. It is thought to have received significant support from the U.S. military to enable it to fight the militants in the south more efficiently.

(Read on …)

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

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

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

NYT

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

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

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

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

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

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.

NYT
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 …)

Brig. General Mohammed Sawmali, Commander of 25th Mech interview

Filed under: Abyan, Islamic Imirate, Military, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:38 am on Wednesday, September 28, 2011

General Sawmali says few local jihaddist are fighting in Abyan, Khalidabdul Nabi is not. Many have come from other governorates and other countries. Some payments made to fight; its a leaderless amorphous group. They confiscated weapons that were left behind by the Public Security, Police, and Central Security after their sudden withdrawal

“I do not want to cross the line and accuse my colleagues of complicity with Al Qaeda” yes that would be a death sentence

“We receive promises from [Southern military commander] Major General Mahdi [Maqwala] that “tomorrow we will be with you” however when tomorrow comes, nobody shows up.”

“All that we have received from the US side was a shipment of food supplies.”

“The Yemeni Navy bombarded some of Al-Qaeda fortifications for one day, but we need much more than this.”

Yemen Fox translates the Asharq Alawasat interview: In his first media interview, Brigadier General Mohammed al-Sawmali, commander of Yemen’s 25th Mechanized Brigade in an interview to Asharq Al-Awsat , from the heart of the Yemeni forces siege of the city of Zanjibar, the capital of Abyan Governorate, this has become an Al Qaeda stronghold. “Yemen fox” republish the interview. Brigadier General Al-Sawmali spoke through telephone about the 25h Mechanized Brigade’s lone mission to eradicate Al Qaeda from Abyan, particularly after Yemeni military units that were previously stationed in the region withdrew, allowing Al Qaeda to gain its foothold there. Al-Sawmali played down claims that the security apparatus purposefully withdrew from the region and allowed Al Qaeda to gain a foothold there as part of a plot to strengthen Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s grip on power. The Yemeni General insisted that the 25h Mechanized Brigade would not withdraw from Abyan, even in the face of defeat and death.

The following is the full text of the interview: (Read on …)

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