Friday, 30 November 2012

Deaths and injuries in explosion of  weapons store in Sanaa

Deaths and injuries in explosion of  weapons store in Sanaa

By Nasser Arrabyee,30/11/2012

The Yemeni security forces are searching  to arrest the businessman Jarman Abdu Jarman after a  huge explosion happened in his house killing and injuring 6 people and destroying at least houses around,said  security sources late Friday.

Clashes happened immediately after the explosion which could be heard to kms away inside the capital Sanaa.

Explosion is only meters away from the UNFPA.

The bodyguards of Jarman prevented the security forces from entering the house,  and this was was the reason why   clashes  happened.

The ambulances took to the hospitals more than six victims. 

The bodyguards of the businessman Jarman prevented the photographers and cameraman from entering taking pictures of the destroyed house.

The bodyguards  were  surrounding the house, and police surrounding the area, sources in the site said. 

The businessman Jarman has a complex of houses in the street of Algeria in Sanaa.  

Sources close to Jarman family said that the explosion happened after hand grenades were thrown to the basement where weapons were. 

Three cars laden with gunmen loyal to Jarman have arrived now to protect the destroyed house, eyewitnesses said.

In the street of Algeria, the businessman Jarman Abu Jarman, from Saada, has  two big houses, opposite to each other.  One of them has the stores of weapons. This was almost completely destroyed by the explosion that happened inside.  For the other one,  in the other side of the street, the wall of the yard was almost destroyed.  


Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Preparations for national dialogue almost over, Bin Omar says

Preparations for national dialogue almost over, Bin Omar says

Sources: Statement, 29/11/2012

The Yemeni parties and forces agreed on percentage of representation in the coming national dialogue after long controversy. 

The People General Congress, Saleh's party, was given 112 seats out of the total 565 seats for all participants of the national dialogue which is expected to be held on December. 

The Islah party was given 50, the Socialist, 37, Nasserite 30, Hirak 85, Al Houthi 35, ANC President Hadi 62, and the remaining are for the youth, women and other small parties.

The UN envoy Jamal Bin Omar,  to Yemen issued statement on Wednesday after he reached an agreement with the parties and forces about the controversial issue of representations. 

Bin Omar said in the statement that was sent to media: 

I am pleased to announce this evening, that a resolution has been reached to the recent deadlock amongst all stakeholders over the allocation of seats at the upcoming National Dialogue Conference.

It became very clear as discussions ensued amongst the Preparatory Committee, that there was simply no perfect formula that would suit al the groups represented – the GPC and former opposition parties, Houthis, Youth & women activists, and representatives of the South. The Committee, therefore, requested that I present a formula to end the deadlock.

Tonight, I presented a distribution that I felt was the most clear and balanced. I am pleased that after presenting the proposal, the Committee accepted the numbers.  

With this last contentious issue resolved, the long hours and efforts of the Committee are coming to a conclusion. The fruits of their efforts will soon deliver a final report and other elements finalizing the rules and structure of the Conference.

The dedication and efforts of the Committee is to be highly commended. They have paved the way for a national dialogue that is truly constructive, participatory and effective.

I would like to thank the members for placing their trust in me and for extending their cooperation throughout

UN official pressures on Yemen to get out from 'Shame list' of recruiting children

 UN official pressures on Yemen to get out from 'Shame list' of recruiting children 

Source: UNICEF press release, 29/11/2012

Special Representative Zerrougui secures commitments from the Yemeni authorities and Al Houthi armed group to end child recruitment

Sana’a, 28 November 2012 -- During a mission to Sana’a, United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, secured commitments from the Government of National Unity to end the recruitment and use of children by the Yemeni Armed Forces.

In Yemen to take stock of the situation of conflict-affected children, Ms. Zerrougui met with the President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi and Prime Minister Mohammed Saleh Basindwa, as well as the Military Affairs Committee for Security and Stability established by the GCC Initiative, Gen. Ali Mohsen, commander of the First Armoured Division, child victims, the Child Parliament and civil society members. 

Ms. Zerrougui also travelled to Sa’ada governorate, where she met with the leader of the Al Houthi armed group, Abdul Malik Badraldeen Al Houthi. 

“I am heartened by the pledge from President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi and others in Government to end the recruitment and use of children by Government forces. 

The re-structuring of the security forces envisioned during the transition period offers a unique opportunity to end grave violations against children and to professionalise the security force,” said Ms. Zerrougui. “The President’s public instruction to all security forces not to recruit children under 18 is a very positive first step,” she added.

Four parties in Yemen are listed in the Secretary-General’s ‘list of shame’ for recruitment and use of children: the Yemeni armed forces; Ali Mohsen’s First Armoured Division; pro-Government tribal militia and the Al Houthi armed group.

The Government’s commitment paves the way for the development of an action plan to address prevention, separation, and the reintegration of children, in line with Security Council resolution 1612 (2005).

In Sa’ada today, Ms. Zerrougui also held a positive meeting with Abdul Malik Badraldeen Al Houthi, who also pledged to work towards the reintegration of children.

While in Sana’a, Ms. Zerrougui met with child victims of conflict, including Ismael and Ali (names changed), boys associated to the First Armoured Division and the police. 

‘The cases of Ismael and Ali underscore the need for urgent action by the Government,’ Ms. Zerrougui stated. ‘Children must go to school, not military camps; I urge the Government to act quickly with the United Nations’ support in separating children from the security forces, and ensuring that they are reintegrated back into civilian life’.

For his part, the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Ismael Ouldcheikhahmed stated the UN system’s readiness to work closely with the Government and other partners in implementing these commitments. An important component will be to reintegrate children and facilitate their access to education and livelihoods support.

 ‘Implementing existing national laws and providing access to basic services will be critical to ending children’s involvement in hostilities’, Mr. Geert Cappelaere, ‘Yemen’s future is in its children. Let’s invest in it together,’ he added.

Ms. Zerrougui also met children maimed by mines. ‘I am horrified by the widespread use of explosive weapons in populated areas in Yemen, which has increased dramatically this year -- by five times – and have a disproportionate impact on children’.  Ms. Zerrougui met with 17 year old Mohammed (name changed), who lost his left foot and suffered injuries to his arm and stomach when he stepped on a mine while playing in the street.

 ‘Mohammed’s life has been changed forever. He feels stigmatized at school because of his amputation, and his health is deteriorating, she noted. ‘The use of mines, improvised explosive devices, and the presence of explosive remnants of war pose a serious threat to children’s wellbeing,’ she added.

The Security Council’s resolutions 1612 (2005), 1882 (2009) and 1998 (2011) on Children and Armed Conflict establish measures to end grave violations against children, through the creation of a monitoring and reporting mechanism, and the development of Action Plans to end violations by parties who have been listed in the Secretary-General’s report for the commission of such violations.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Yemeni Guantanamo detainee kills himself 

Source : The Truth out, 27/11/2012

Latif Autopsy Report Calls Gitmo Death a Suicide: Questions Remain
Monday, 26 November 2012 13:46

By Jason Leopold, Truthout | Exclusive Report

The cause of death has been ruled a suicide, the manner of death has not yet been disclosed. The list of unanswered questions grows.

Truthout has obtained the results of the autopsy on Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, but the long-awaited report on the mysterious September death of the Guantanamo Bay detainee raises more questions than answers.
Yemeni government officials, who have been briefed on the autopsy report, as well as a US military investigator close to the case, told Truthout this weekend that a military medical examiner has concluded the cause of death was suicide.

However, the manner in which Latif is reported to have taken his own life has not yet been disclosed and the autopsy's reported conclusions conflict with previous statements by US and Yemeni government officials that there was no sign of "self-harm" on his body when he was found "motionless and unresponsive" in his cell in a disciplinary wing of Camp 5 on the afternoon of September 8.

These sources, who declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak with the media, would not disclose additional details from the autopsy report until the Yemen government accepts Latif's remains and returns his body to his family.

"We will issue a statement as soon as [Yemen] accepts his remains," said Lt. Cmdr. Ron Flanders, a spokesman for United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), Joint Task Force-Guantanamo's (JTF-GTMO) higher command. Flanders would not comment on the autopsy report's conclusions. Truthout has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for a copy of the report.

Latif, who had been seriously injured in a car wreck in his native Yemen, was in search of free medical treatment in Afghanistan in October 2001 when the US invaded the country in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.

Trapped by the bombing of Kabul, Latif was captured at the Pakistan border by Pakistani police and sold to the Northern Alliance for a bounty of $5,000. He had been cleared for transfer back to his homeland four times over the past decade by both the Bush and Obama administrations.

A Yemeni government official told Truthout Saturday Latif's remains would be returned to his family in "the upcoming days." The Yemeni government had previously declined to accept his remains until they received a copy of the autopsy report and the findings from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), which has been investigating Latif's death as required whenever a prisoner dies at Guantanamo.

Although the Yemeni Embassy in Washington, DC received a copy of the autopsy report on November 10, the NCIS probe, as Truthout previously reported, could take as much as a year to complete.

Latif's body has been held for nearly three months at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. US officials have said Latif's remains have been handled according to Muslim precepts, which precluded taking steps to preserve his body and organs, now badly decomposed. Therefore, his family will not be able to seek an independent autopsy.

"This will be very tough for [Latif's] family," the Yemeni government official said about the condition of Latif's remains.

That the cause of Latif's death was determined to be suicide -the seventh such case at Guantanamo - appears to contradict what US officials originally believed.

Last month the Yemeni official told Truthout a US government official seemed to rule out suicide during their discussions with embassy officials in September, prior to the completion of the autopsy report.

Embassy officials specifically asked the US government representative if there was any sign Latif "choked himself" or hung himself and the answer was "no," the Yemeni official said.

Previous rulings of suicides at Guantanamo, several of which have been called into question, were the result of hanging and strangulation by the elastic waistband of a pair of underwear. In all of those cases, a news release was immediately issued characterizing the deaths as suicides.

But Latif's death stands out because, after three months, the US government still has not issued a statement saying how he died. That is partially due to the fact that when his body was discovered there wasn't any sign of "physical harm" or "any harm" on Latif's body to suggest he committed suicide, the Yemeni government official said.

That's consistent with what Capt. Robert Durand, a JTF-GTMO spokesman, told the Associated Press two days after Latif's death in which he is quoted as saying, "There is no apparent cause [of death], natural or self-inflicted."

Durand told Truthout that although Latif "had a history of self-harm acts" he "generally refrained from activities which would potentially cause his death."

Latif, who had suffered severe head injuries in the car accident that caused neurological problems, was deemed a mentally unstable prisoner who often said he wanted to die.

Still, Durand said, Latif "was monitored by the behavioral health unit, and his recent actions, activities and statements to therapists indicated that he did not appear to want to end his life."
Absent an obvious indication of self-harm, or a known medical condition, it would be inappropriate to speculate on the cause of death," Durand said in October.

Durand would not say if Latif, who was monitored round-the-clock by prison guards, was placed on suicide watch.
Guards are supposed to check on prisoners in Camp 5 at least every three minutes and, if the prisoner is deemed a "detainee of interest," every 60 seconds. The guards are supposed to check to make sure the prisoners are breathing, according to one former Guantanamo guard.

Latif's Last Days Revealed
According to Durand, Latif was sent to Camp 5 after being "medically cleared," because he assaulted a guard with a "cocktail," a mixture of bodily fluids and food. Neither Durand nor Guantanamo spokeswoman Capt. Jennifer Palmeri would say when the incident took place or when he was transferred to Camp 5 Alpha Block, where most prisoners are held in isolation.

But according to unclassified notes taken by David Remes, a Washington, DC-based human rights lawyer who began challenging Latif's detention in 2004, in September and October during meetings with a half-dozen other prisoners he represents, the circumstances that led to Latif's transfer to Camp 5 are much more complicated. He was first sent from Camp 6 to a psychiatric ward, then the prison hospital and then to Camp 5.

Some of the prisoners, who are also represented by Remes, were housed in the same cell block as Latif. Remes has asked that their names not be used for their protection.

It appears Latif was in Camp 5 only a day or two before he died. One of the prisoners who provided insight into Latif's detention in Camp 5 is Shaker Aamer, who was Latif's "neighbor" in the Alpha cellblock at Camp 5. Aamer, who allowed his name to be used, is the last British prisoner whose ten-plus years of detention and torture at Guantanamo has attracted international attention and has put pressure on the British government by human rights organizations to secure his immediate release.

Aamer told Remes last month that in early August, Latif was in the recreation yard at Camp 6 when he threw a stone at a guard tower and broke the spotlight; he was then taken to the psychiatric ward connected to the prison facility's hospital.

Aamer contends Latif was told on September 6, two days before his death, he would be given an "ESP injection," that other prisoners claim "makes you a zombie" and "has a one-month afterlife," according to unclassified notes of the meeting between Remes and Aamer.

It is not known what an "ESP injection" is or how Aamer obtained the information. Remes said he could not provide additional details about his discussions with Aamer. However, Truthout has previously reported, based on a Defense Department Inspector General's report obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, that Guantanamo prisoners who act out are "chemically restrained" with unknown medications.
A Defense Department spokesman said he could not respond to the allegations leveled by Aamer because he was not familiar with the chain of events.

Aamer, who speaks English, then told Remes that on September 5, three days before his death, Latif broke a fence and "escaped," presumably from the psych ward, and was then taken to the hospital at the urging of another prisoner who said it would "calm him."

Either on September 6 or 7, just a day or two before he died, is when Latif was moved to the disciplinary wing of Camp 5. Aamer said Latif protested his transfer into the cell at Camp 5 because of the constant buzzing noise from a generator located behind a wall.

"He fought and fought against going there," Aamer said, according to the unclassified notes.
Another prisoner said a female psychologist accompanied Latif from the hospital to Camp 5, where one prisoner told Remes the minimum stay is three months, "regardless of the magnitude of the offense."

The female psychologist said she would communicate Latif's concerns about being housed in Camp 5 to "higher-ups." Latif said he was happy at the hospital and eventually wanted to return to Camp 6. But a guard apparently told Latif, according to another prisoner, he would never return to Camp 6.
Aamer's account is consistent with the accounts provided to Remes by other prisoners who gave statements to Remes.

The other prisoners went into greater detail about the guard tower incident. They said Latif threw the rock at the guard tower because he was not given his medication "on time or not at all," according to other unclassified notes of meetings between Remes and a half-dozen other prisoners.

Latif went out to the rec yard of Camp 6 and, through an interpreter, sought assistance from guards, asking them to contact "the clinic people" for his medication.

"The guards waved him off, so [Latif] picked up a rock and threw it at one of the towers in the rec area, breaking a spotlight," according to the prisoner's account.

The incident took place during Ramadan and resulted in dozens of soldiers being called into the rec area, some of who rolled up in Hummers, fired their weapons into the ground and threatened to kill Latif, according to several prisoners who were present.

"The guards came into Camp 5 with guns, and beat up the detainees," another prisoner recalled. "Other soldiers surrounded the camp. [The Officer in Charge] came and told detainees, 'You are extremists and I'm going to deal with you in a harsh way. You intend to kill our soldiers; we'll do the same thing to you.'"

Aamer also said Latif was on a hunger strike at the time of his transfer to Camp 5; another prisoner said before his transfer to Camp 5, Latif was housed in a wing of the hospital reserved for hunger strikers.

A US official knowledgeable about the NCIS investigation into Latif's death told Truthout Latif did not leave his cell to attend prayer on the day of his death and did not eat breakfast or lunch prior to being found unresponsive by prison guards on Saturday afternoon, September 8.

After prisoners were informed about his death on September 8, according to the account of another detainee, they "refused food" and "people in various blocks demonstrated."

Politics at Play?
The autopsy report into Latif's death has been complete for more than a month and was shared with Yemeni government officials on November 10. But both the US and Yemen have refused to discuss it - until now.
Several US officials told Truthout that Yemen did not publicly disclose the contents of the autopsy report or accept Latif's remains because they were "using him as a political tool during high-level discussions" about the release of other Yemeni detainees.

Discussions between the US and Yemen surrounding Latif's death have always centered on the repatriation of the remaining Yemeni prisoners at Guantanamo, half of whom have been cleared for release, and those being held at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

In a statement issued in Arabic by the Yemen Embassy in Washington, DC on November 11 - one day after embassy officials received an official copy of Latif's autopsy report - the Yemen government said Adal Al-Suneini, acting charge d'affaires in the Yemen Embassy in Washington, DC, met with William K. Lietzau, the assistant secretary of defense for detainee policy, to discuss these issues.

According to a copy of the statement, for which Truthout obtained a translation:
During his visit to the Yemen Embassy, Mr. Lietzau conveyed to the embassy officials, and through them to the Yemeni government and the deceased's family, his country's condolences, explaining that the American government is dealing seriously and in a transparent manner in the death issue. He added that the concerned authorities in the American government will provide the Yemen Embassy with all the details during the investigation process, which could take some time because of conclusive on the spot investigation.

Mr. Lietzau mentioned all the legislative, legal and security obstacles that made transferring the detainees to Yemen difficult in the past.

Mr. Al-Suneini confirmed the concerns of president, brother Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, for the status of the Yemeni detainees ... [sic] stressing the importance to Yemen of having the Yemeni detainees brought back home and rehabilitating and reintegrating them back into the Yemeni society, and referring the files of anyone with charges to the legal system for a fair hearing.

Mr. Al-Suneini explained that the president had told both secretaries of justice and defense, during his meetings with them in his visit last September, that Yemen has abandoned the prior conditions regarding the return of the 88 detainees in Guantanamo and Bagram, so as to facilitate their return to their homes, and noted the assurances of the president that the Yemen government will finance the construction of a rehabilitation center for the detainees.

He hoped to have the issue of the Yemeni detainees take priority on the agenda of the high officials of the [US] Department of Defense right after the presidential elections and to try to find legal and diplomatic ways to free and transfer them to their home land.

While Mr. Al-Suneini expressed his extreme sorrow for the death of the Yemeni national, Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, in mysterious circumstances, he stressed the instructions of the president to the embassy to follow up with the American officials to perform an accurate and quick investigation in that unfortunate incident.

Mr. Al-Suneini also expressed the interest of the Yemen government to work closely with the American officials to uncover the circumstances and reasons for the death of the Yemen national as soon as possible, demanding that the American government share with the Yemen government all the medical reports and also the details of the field investigations of the death.

Mr. Al-Suneini noted that the concerned parties are in direct contact with the family of the deceased and that the Yemen government had offered its condolences and deep sympathies to the family of "Adnan" right after his death, and noted the president's readiness to visit the Yemeni detainees at Guantanamo Bay in the coming few weeks.

It should be noted that the embassy official who wrote this release, Mohammed Albasha, disputed the translation provided to Truthout that alludes to "mysterious circumstances." He contends there are no "mysterious" circumstances.

The Latif family reports they received a telephone call from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs a few days after their eldest son's death. They were told to expect to receive his body within two weeks, but did not hear any more from the Yemen government until last week.

In an interview with Truthout over the weekend, Adnan Latif's brother, Muhammed, said the family received a telephone call on Thursday from Yemen's feared intelligence agency, the Political Security Organization (PSO), which deals with issues involving Yemeni Guantanamo prisoners, and was asked if the family still wanted to receive his brother's remains.

"Yes," Muhammed told the PSO officer. "He said the initial [autopsy report] is only conditional and the final cause [to be issued by NCIS] will not be available for nine months."

Muhammed said when he tried to ask the PSO official questions about the cause of his brother's death he was told, "We're very busy. Call back later."

Muhammed also said he had sent numerous emails to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs over the past several months inquiring about his brother and not one was answered.

"The family is still very sad and in shock," he said. "We don't know what is happening with Adnan."
It was during this interview that Truthout told Muhammed that the autopsy report concludes that his brother committed suicide. He was silent, eventually saying he refused to accept the autopsy report's conclusions and reiterating what he has said in earlier interviews: that President Obama is personally responsible for the death of his brother.

The Yemeni government official disputed any suggestion that politics played a role in their government's failure to release details of the autopsy report publicly, or share it with Latif's family.

"This is just the worst time for the Yemeni government to be working on this," the government official said. "The government is preoccupied with other things and this is on the backburner. The bureaucracy is terrible in Sana'a. Things are not going as smooth as we would hope it to be."

The official declined to elaborate and it is unclear why Latif's family has not yet received a copy of the autopsy report.

Remes, Latif's lawyer, told embassy officials he was authorized to accept it on behalf of the family. But Asmaa Katah, the political official at the Yemeni Embassy in Washington, DC, said she was not authorized to give it to Remes. Katah, who did not respond to requests for comment, told Remes that Muhammed make the five-hour journey to Sana'a and pick up a copy.

But Katah would not guarantee that it would be turned over to him, Remes said.

Sectarian or political conflict between Houthis and Islah?

Sectarian or political conflict between Houthis and Islah?

By Nasser Arrabyee, 26/11/2012

With an  unprecedented attack on Shiite mourners in the heart of Yemeni capital Sanaa this week, fears are increasing that a sectarian conflict is 
in its way to add insult to injuries for the political conflict- torn county. 

Thousands of Al Houthi Shiite supporters celebrated the day of Ashura in the capital Sanaa this year for the first time after years of only celebrating that occasion in  the northern province of Saada where they led six wars with  the government  troops for their beliefs. (Ashura is the day when Imam Ali Bin Abi Talib was killed, more 1400 years ago).

Three people  were killed and 13 others  injured when gunmen fired RPG  at the gate of Zahrar Al Madayen Hall, a public place for different social occasions, in Al Juraf area, the northern part of Sanaa, where Al Houthi supporters were celebrating Saturday afternoon, November 24, 2012.

The RPG was fired to the gate of the Hall while Shiite mourners were starting to get out from the place. The  perpetrators escaped on their car.

Earlier in the day, at least nine people were injured when a land mine exploded under their car in Al Motoon area of Al Jawf province , the place where Al Houthi supporters are often in clashes with the followers of the  sunni Islamist party Islah, that struggles to prevent Al Houthi from taking control over neighboring provinces. 

The top leader of Al Houthi Shiites, Abdul Malik Al Houthi, said in a statement immediately after the attack, " hired" elements were behind the attack with the aim of making a sectarian war in Yemen. And he held responsible the national unity government for arresting the perpetrators and bringing them to justice. 

All political parties and organizations condemned the attack as a criminal and terrorist act. 

Hassan Zaid, secretary general of Al Hak party, whose members are Houthi supporters, said that the extremism discourse and calling people Kafirs is the reason behind the attack.

"We know very well who was behind it, but what is more important now is to know how to eradicate extremism that makes some groups call other Muslims Kafirs," said Hassan Zaid.

The attack came while Yemen is in an exceptionally critical situation as Yemenis are readying to sit on the table of a national dialogue that is expected to come out with solutions for all conflicting groups under one State including Al Houthi group.

A few days before the attack on the Shiite mourners, a statement attributed to  unnamed religious leaders, said that those preparing for the dialogue are not doing something for the interest of Islam, and they should be killed. 

The statement showed that there were some religious groups against participation of  Al Houthi  group in the dialogue. This group says, if Al Houthi, as an armed group, is participating, then why Al Qaeda is not allowed to participate? Al Qaeda should participate in the dialogue. 

The officials say Al Qaeda can participate in the dialogue if they put down the weapons. However, no one told Al Houthi group to put down their arms, because there are more armed groups who would participate, like the armed tribesmen who form the majority of the two main political parties, the Islamist party, Islah, and the Saleh's party, People's General Congress.

The director of the office of the President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi said that those behind the attack wanted  either to obstruct the dialogue  or make a sectarian war between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.

"They are wrong if they think they could make a sectarian war, and they stupid if they think they can foil the dialogue and turn back the wheels of change," said Nasr Taha Mustafa, director of Presidential office. 

 Yemeni activists, in general, look at the attack as a natural result for the continuous conflict between Al Houthi supporters and supporters of the largest Islamist  party, Islah ( brotherhood in Yemen). 

But the activist look differently to the nature of this conflict. Some say it is sectarian, and some say it is political, and some say it is both political and sectarian. But, surprisingly,  all activists asked by the Weekly agreed that Saudi Arabia and Iran are behind the conflict.

The political activist Mohammed Khamis said the conflict between Islah and Houthi is political not sectarian. 

However, activist Yahya Al Harbi disagrees saying that the conflict is sectarian. " Saudi Arabia is supporting Islah, and Iran is supporting Al Houthi," said Al Harbi.

The lawyer Amin Arrabyee, said the conflict between Islah and Al Houthi is both political and sectarian. " The state of law and order would make different groups live  and coexist with each other," said the lawyer Arrabyee.

Yemenis are waiting for the result of the Investigations over the attack on Shiite mourners, although they know very well that no  results  were announced   of any previous investigation of any political assassinations ( hundreds if not thousands of political assassination happened during this crisis).

For instance, only two days before the attack on the Shiite mourners, 10 senior military officers were killed when their Russian-made Antonove plane crashed over an empty market inside the capital Sanaa after it was  allegedly shot down with six bullets on its right wing. Investigation is also going on, and Yemenis are desperately waiting despite the fact that the black box has been taken to Russia. 

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Turkey and Yemen more economic and political cooperation

Turkey and Yemen more economic and political cooperation

By Nasser Arrabyee, 25/11/2012

The Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, Bulent Arinc, left Yemen Sunday after a two-day visit during which a number of  economic agreements between the two countries were signed.

Upon his departure, the Turkish official said the visit was successful as it came out with a number of bilateral agreements for the interest of the two brotherly countries in field of economy, aviation, youth and sports.

The official also said that he discussed with the Yemeni officials the future assistance that can be provided to Yemen through the office of the Turkish International Cooperation Agency ( TICA) that was opened during the visit. 

The Turkish official met the President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi and Prime Minister Mohammed Salem Basundwah and senior officials. 

During the visit, the sixth round of the Yemeni-Turkish Ministerial Committee was held where a number economic agreements were signed. 

 Under  the chairmanship of Mr Arinc and Yemen Minister of Industry and Trade, Saad  Al Deen Bin Talib, the sixth round of the ministerial committee came out with signing : an understanding memorandum on housing, an agreement on aerial transportation, a cooperation agreement in the field of youth and sports, and also the program of cooperation in field of education, arts, media, and culture, during 2012-2015.

" We will do our best to implement all these agreements and decisions of this round of the ministerial committee," said Mr Arinc after signing ceremony.

On his part, the Yemeni minister of Industry and Trade, Saad Al Deen Bin Talib, said that Turkey is good example for economic development.

"Turkey is going with speedy steps towards the future, and we hope Yemen would learn from it," said Bin Talib. He also called upon the Turkish investors to come to Yemen for investing in field infrastructure, oil, gas and energy. 

The Turkish deputy prime minister, Arinc was seen off at the airport by the minister of industry and trade, Saad Al Deen Bin Talib and the Turkish ambassador to Sanaa, Fazil Corman

Netherlands supports Yemen UNICEF wirh 5.7$ million for water and sanitation projects 

Netherlands supports Yemen UNICEF wirh 5.7$ million for water and sanitation projects 

Sources: 25/11/2012


48% of Yemenis without access to safe drinking water or adequate sanitation facilities
Sana’a 25th November 2012 - At a signing ceremony in the Yemen capital Sana’a, the Government of the Netherlands and UNICEF today sealed the donation of US$ 5.7 million in support of the ‘Extension of Water and Sanitation Services in Rural Communities’.  

The project which will be managed by UNICEF will cover a two year period from 2012 – 2014 and will focus on Hodeidah, Taiz and Ibb governorates, which have the highest levels of water scarcity and malnutrition in the country, and will benefit over 165,900 persons in 41 rural areas within the three governorates.

The project aims to contribute to the improvement of drinking water sources, sanitation facilities and general health and hygiene conditions through the rehabilitation of the water supply systems, household pit latrines and promote open defecation free status in 20 selected communities.

“An estimated 70,000 children aged less than five die annually in Yemen from easily preventable diseases”, says UNICEF Representative Geert Cappelaere. 

“The major causes of these child deaths in order of magnitude are diarrhoea, pneumonia, measles, low birth weight, prematurity and asphyxia. The top three directly and/or indirectly linked to water, sanitation and hygiene practices. 

Over 50% of these deaths have malnutrition as an underlying exacerbating factor with diarrhea as a major contributor. Tackling access to improved water and sanitation is therefore an urgent priority to ensure the wellbeing of the children of Yemen.”  

Yemen is one of the most water-deficient Arab countries, with declining freshwater resources due to over-pumping of aquifers. Water demand is growing due to population growth and increased per capita water consumption.
Prior to the civil unrest that has swept across Yemen since early 2011, surveys estimated that around 4.5 million children lived in households that had no access to an improved water source and that over 5.5 million children had no access to adequate sanitation.    

The rural water supply and sanitation services have deteriorated where 30% of the rural water supply schemes are not functioning due to depleted water sources, disrupted water pumping sets and inadequate maintenance of existing facilities amongst others. 

The situation has been further compounded with the crisis in 2011 and its political and economic consequences of instability and under-investment. 

The rural populations continue to bear the brunt of the poor water and sanitation in the country with around 73.3 percent of Yemeni’s population living in rural areas and lack of accessing to safe water, adequate sanitation and hygiene.

The signing of this agreement today with the Dutch Government will enhance efforts towards the rehabilitation of water schemes, building of new infrastructure and launch innovative community-led sanitation programmes, especially in the most under-served districts in the country.

Earlier this year the Dutch Government pledged €3 million towards humanitarian efforts in Yemen.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

3 killed and more than 10 injured in bombing against Shiite ceremony in Sanaa

3 killed and more than 10 injured in bombing against Shiite ceremony in Sanaa

By Nasser Arrabyee,24/11/2012

At least three people at least were killed and more than 10 others injured when gunmen fired RPG at Shiite  gathering of Al Houthi  supporters who celebrating Ashora day in Sanaa, said sources .

Al Houthi supporters were celebrating in a public hall called Zahrat Al Madayen, close to the  buildings of the State-run TV  in Al Hasaba area north of the capital Sanaa.

Gunmen came on a car and fired an RPG some meters away from the gate while Al Houthi supporters were starting to get out from the place of ceremony 
The gunmen escaped on their car before the police fired to the air after them, said the sources. 

Earlier in the day, at least nine people were injured when a land mine exploded under their car in Al Motoon area of Al Jawf, the place where Al Houthi supporters are often in clashes with the followers of the  sunni Islamist party Islah. 

Friday, 23 November 2012

UN envoy calls for immediate start of Yemen national dialogue

  “Preparations for the start of the National Dialogue Conference must end” says,  UN Special Adviser on Yemen Jamal Binomar

 Sources : Statmwnt, 24/11/2012

 Press statement on the occasion of the first anniversary of Yemen’s peace and transition agreement

 Today marks the first anniversary of the signing of Yemen’s peace and transition agreement. The road towards this Agreement took courage and persistence on the part of all involved.  The road ahead is no less difficult.

 And despite the challenges lying ahead, I remain confident that our common efforts to help those in Yemen aspiring for a better future will be successful.   Remarkable progress has indeed been achieved throughout this past year. Back in February 2011, a large and vibrant youth movement, demanding change, took to the streets across the country.

An atmosphere of insecurity ensued, raising fears of a full-scale civil war.  However, the combined will & efforts of all involved led to the signing of the Agreement that paved the way to a peaceful and comprehensive political transition.

  The November agreement provided for:   • A clear path for fundamental reforms of Yemen’s governance systems as well as for addressing past wrongs. • Recognition of the role played by the youth, with a clear roadmap to secure their participation during the transition in a way that meets their aspirations. • The opportunity for Yemenis to reclaim their destiny and establish a new constitutional order. • Full representation of women throughout the transitional process.     We stand now at a critical moment of this process, with the preparations for the National Dialogue Conference coming to a conclusion. Therefore, I call on all political leaders and the preparatory committee of the national dialogue to address the pending issues.  It’s a matter of urgency to launch the conference and give all segments of Yemeni society the chance to discuss the issues facing their country.   The National Dialogue, driven by Yemenis themselves, will be crucial to secure the country’s democratic future and identity. Its success requires bold steps to reassure all Yemenis that their aspirations will be met.  It has been an inspiration to see women, youth, civil society, together with representatives of political parties, Houthis and Southern representatives participating constructively in the Committee.  This is undoubtedly the beginning of the new Yemen. Thus, a speedy conclusion of the preparatory works is urgently needed.    The transition in Yemen remains fragile, and the stakes are high. It’s still threatened by those who have not embraced change in the country. However, Yemen is the one example in the region where the Security Council and international community are speaking with one voice in support of this unique experience of peaceful change.  It is a transition based on a clear roadmap and enjoys the overwhelming support of the population.   Yemen’s remarkable transition offers a chance for all Yemenis to participate, paving the way for a prosperous and stable Yemen. I remain committed to working with all political players as well as the international community to ensure the speedy launch of the National Dialogue Conference and equally to support a successful transition through the subsequent constitution drafting, referendum and elections in early 2014.  

Thursday, 22 November 2012

280 members out of 565 for south, national dialogue next month

280 members out of 565 for south, national dialogue next month

By Nasser Arrabyee, 22/11/2012

The delayed national dialogue might start next December, said the spokesperson of the technical committee for preparing for the dialogue, Ms Amal Bash.

Ms Al Basha said that with almost all preparations  done,   the President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi can announce the date he sees appropriate for the start of the national dialogue which is expected last for six months.

Earlier in the week, the technical committee approved the presentation of all parties and components who will be involved the dialogue sessions. The south percentage will be 50% of the 565 members of all the national dialogue conference. 

The southern separatist movement (Hirak), may take 10-15 of the southern presentation, expected some observers. 

In addition to the parties that are forming the national unity government, all other components will be presented in the national dialogue. The parties are, the People General Congress, Saleh's party, and the JMP, that is the Joint Meeting Parties Coaltion which includes six parties, the largest of which are the Islamist party, Islah, and Socialist part. 

The other components include independent youth, Hirak, Al Houthi, civil society, and women.  

Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, on head of  high profile business delegation to Yemen

Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, on head of  high profile business delegation to Yemen

By Nasser Arrabyee, 22/11/2012

On Saturday, a total of seven economic agreements between Yemen and Turkey are to be signed within the framework of the continuous  bilateral cooperation between the two brotherly countries. 

A high profile delegation from Turkey had arrived in Sanaa on Friday headed by the deputy prime minister, Bulent Arinc.

The agreements will include  industrial projects in the western  coastal province of Hodiedah and other sectors like transportation, tourism, and health, according to the Yemeni minister of  industry and commerce, Saad Al Deen Bin Talib, who will chair the Yemeni side during signing of  the agreements. 

The Turkish deputy prime minister and accompanying delegation are scheduled to meet the  Primie Minister Mohammed Salem Basundawh and other senior officials. 

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Antonove plane was shot before crashing, military sources

Antonove plane was shot before crashing, military sources 

By Nasser Arrabyee,21/11/2012

The military airplane crashed this morning in Sanaa was downed by firing from the land, said military sources in the air defense base Wednesday. 

The officials said it was a technical fault behind the crash and that a fact-finding was formed to know what and who was behind the fault.

The sources said the shooting might have come from Al Qaeda or from the conflicting parties within the State, like the political assassinations that happen from time to time these days. 

Earlier Wednesday, 10 military officers onboard were killed when the Russian-made Antonov crashed into the Qat market in Al Hasba area, behind the Palace of the famous tribal leader late Abdullah AlAhmar. The market was empty, no casualties from civilians, but many shops were heavily damaged. 

Many eyewitness from local residents said they saw smoke rising from the plane before it crashed.

Four high ranking officers including   Ali Al Khawajah, commander of the transportation brigade, were among those killed. 

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

EU praises progress of Yemen's transition and promises more  support

EU praises progress of Yemen's transition and promises more  support

Sources : EU press release, 20/11/2012

1. The European Union welcomes the progress achieved under the leadership of President Hadi during the first year of Yemen’s transition. 

This process was set in motion on 23 November 2011, with the signature of the political Transition Agreement and Implementation Mechanism in accordance with the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative. 

The EU reaffirms its full support for President Hadi and the Yemeni Government in their efforts to implement this agreement and manage a peaceful and orderly transition. 

It also reaffirms its strong commitment to the unity, sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity of Yemen. 

It stresses the need and urgency of progress in the political, economic, humanitarian and security sectors, in order to meet the high expectations of the Yemeni people by taking steps to improve respect for civil and political rights and their living conditions.

2. The EU emphasises the urgency of progress in initiating the National Dialogue Conference and underlines the importance of respecting the timelines as set out by the GCC initiative. 

It urges all Yemeni stakeholders to support and participate in this process in a constructive manner and without preconditions to ensure that it is fully-inclusive, balanced and transparent, adequately representing all strands of the Yemeni society and reflecting the important role of youth and women.

 The EU also encourages the Yemeni Government and all relevant parties to take measures aimed at improving the political climate ahead of the National Dialogue.

3. The EU welcomes the Yemeni Parliament's mandate to President Hadi to appoint a new Electoral Commission and encourages swift progress in order to take the necessary steps to hold a referendum on the Constitution in 2013 and orderly national elections in early 2014. The EU stands ready to provide electoral assistance as appropriate.

4. The EU strongly condemns all acts of terror. It is also seriously concerned by all actions aimed at undermining, obstructing or derailing the transition, thereby jeopardising further progress in institutional, social and economic reforms. 

It calls on all parties, in particular representatives of the former regime and the military, to work towards full realisation of Yemen’s transition in accordance with the spirit of the Transition Agreement. 

The EU reiterates its readiness to explore all available options to ensure a successful transition, and recalls the United Nations Security Council resolutions 2014 and 2051.

5. The EU is deeply concerned with the constant deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Yemen. Food insecurity and acute malnutrition remain major problems for a large part of the Yemeni population, notably children. In 2012, the EU has increased its efforts to address immediate humanitarian needs and remains fully committed to do so in the future, as needed and feasible.

6. The EU welcomes the successful results of the recent Donors' Conference and Friends of Yemen ministerial meeting, which reaffirmed international support to Yemen. It encourages the Government of Yemen to strengthen the capacity of its institutions and calls on all donors to provide the necessary assistance to do so, to ensure that these pledges be swiftly translated into concrete action to improve the situation of the people of Yemen."

Monday, 19 November 2012

Decorations for Yemen transition  supporters  

Decorations for Yemen transition  supporters  

By Nasser Arrabyee,19/11/2012

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was honored with the State's highest decoration in his first ever visit to Yemen. In his 10-hour visit to the troubled country, Mr Ban Ki-moon attended a celebration of the first anniversary of signing the deal that rescued Yemen from a civil war.

The  top UN official was seen as  brave enough to make it to a country where political assassinations remain one of the common techniques of negotiations between the conflicting parties.

Although security measures were exceptionally tightened Monday November 19, 2012, in the Yemeni capital Sanaa before and during the arrival and departure  of  Ban Ki-moon,a  military helicopter took him  from ( and to)the  Sanaa airport to the Presidential House where he met President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi and other officials and diplomats.

 Almost all  streets around the Presidential House at the southern part of the city, were closed causing additional heavy traffic in the other streets. 

On November 23rd, 2011, the former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his opponents who were behind the then uprising, signed the deal that was called the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative (GCCI), which was sponsored by Saudi Arabia and backed mainly by United States. The UN Security Council issued two resolutions to support the deal after the special envoy of Ban Kimoon, Jamal Bin Omar, exerted well-recognized efforts to make the conflicting parties sign it. 

Now, only one  year is left for President Hadi to finish his transitional period successfully as planned by the GCCI.

Despite securities, political, and economic  difficulties, Hadi seemed to be confident about moving forward but relying on external support more than internal one. 

"The GCC Initiative is not like any previous deal, it is guaranteed by two UN  resolutions," said President Hadi referring to  the UNSC resolutions 2014 and 2051 to support the transition in Yemen.

Spoilers from both sides keep spoiling the implementation of the deal, especially the most important two steps to be taken from now on: the holding of the national dialogue, and the unifying and restructuring of the army.
President Hadi threatened to punish spoilers, without saying who are they and how they are going to be punished. 

" The Yemeni people would punish the spoilers before the UN or anyone from outside," He said. 

Preaident Hadi said clearly that there was no victoriuous and defeated party when the deal was signed in the Saudi capital Riyadh last year. 

"Both the constitutional legitmacy and revolutionary legitmacy provided concessions and produced the GCCI," said Hadi. President Slaeh and his supporters were sticking to what they called constitutional legitimacy, and Saleh's opponents and their supporters were talking about revolutionary legitimacy.  

The President Hadi decorated Mr Ban Ki-moon the decoration of the Republic, and Jamal Bin Omar and Abdul Latif Al Zayani, the GCC Secretary General, the decorations of the Unity. 

Ban Ki-moon said that the progress so far in the implementation of the transitional deal is good praising the leadership of Hadi. 

" No turning back, and the difficult  legacies of the past  will be solved by understandings and reconciliations and by the wise, strong and successful leadership of President Hadi," said Ban Kimoon.

However, his envoy, Jamal Bin Omar, said that Yemeni politicians and youth deserve the decoration more than him, warning that dangers are still facing the settlement. 

"The  Yemeni leaders, and  you come first, and the youth deserve the honor decoration more than me," said the UN envoy to Yemen Jamal Bin Omar.

"The transition is still fragile and dangers are still big," he warned. 

For the GCC Secretary General Abdul Latif Al Zayani, he was very optimistic about the steps taken so far and the coming steps.

" Today, I saw Yemen better than it was, and tomorrow it would be even much more better. I saw the hope in the street, with the officias and with normal people and with every one," said  Al Zayani. 

Before the celebration, Ban K-moon met with the most important two committees, the military committee assigned with removing the security tensions and working on unifying and restructuring the army and security forces, and the technical  committee for preparing for the national dialogue.

The US ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein along with the six Gulf and 3 European ambassadors ( known as the ambassadors of the 10 sponsor countries of GCCI) attended the meetings with the UN Secretary General.

In the meeting with the technical committee for preparing for the national dialogue, Al Houthi representative Mohammed Al Bukhaiti walked out from the meeting in protest over attending of the American ambassador.   

"We can not accept participation of US ambassador, whose country kills children and women in Gaza," said  Al Houthi representative Mohammed Al Bukhaiti   as he walked out from the meeting. 

All signatories of the GCC attended the celebration of the first anniversary of signing, except for the former President Saleh. 

" The celebration would have been better if all the signatories attended," said Tarik Mohammed Saleh, nephew and former commander of special guards of Saleh, in an obvious reference to his uncle. 

President Hadi was supposed to announce a date for starting the national dialogue on November 15, 2012, but he did not do that because of the preparations were not completed. 

President Hadi said in a press conference held after the celebration of Monday that 95 per cent of the preparations of the national dialogue were already complete and that more weeks are needed for finalizing everything.