YemenSource Headlines –  December 2, 2013

Follow the week’s top news headlines and analysis from Yemen and regional press.


Yemen’s national reconciliation government lacks ‘reconciliation’
Aidarous Nasr al Nakib recommends that Yemen’s transitional government be replaced by a technocratic government, as the current government is ineffective and too concerned with the interests of political parties. [Al-Monitor, 11/27/2013]

Yemen’s New Ways of Protesting Drone Strikes: Graffiti and Poetry
Amid growing frustration over drone strikes in Yemen, activists turn to graffiti and poetry to express their anger and send a message to other Yemenis and foreigners. [Time, 11/30/2013] 




Foreign Minister says Yemen on right track for Gulf initiative
Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi said ibn Kuwait on Wednesday that Yemen is on the right track for the implementation of the Gulf political initiative intended to resolve Yemen’s political crisis. Speaking at a joint meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) foreign ministers, al-Qirbi said that the country had already achieved a great deal in its transition but much work is still needed to be done in order to improve the economic and security situation in the country. Al-Qirbi called on the international community to continue to support the Yemeni people. [Saba, 11/27/2013] 


Southerners rally for independence as Hadi says he will not tolerate secession of the South
Yemeni President Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi warned Friday against any attempt to undermine his country’s unity, amidst ongoing tensions over the southern issue in the country’s National Dialogue Conference (NDC). “I will not allow anyone to haggle over the issue of the south of Yemen’s unity,” Hadi said in a speech marking the forty-sixth anniversary of the independence of South Yemen from British occupation. On Saturday, thousands demonstrated in south Yemen’s main city Aden to demand a return to independence.  In a rally organized by the Southern Hirak, demonstrators waved southern flags and banners proclaiming, “Yes to Freedom and Independence,” and, “Our Goal is the Reclamation of Statehood.” [Daily Star, 11/29/2013]

Conflicting reports of Hirak participation in NDC 
Amid conflicting reports, various news outlets reported the withdrawal of a large group of Hirak delegates from Yemen’s National Dialogue Conference (NDC). On Tuesday, southern leader Mohamed Ali Ahmed announced the withdrawal of Hirak delegates to the NDC during a meeting of the National Congress for the People of the South. Ahmed did not specify a timeline for the group’s withdrawal. On Wednesday, Ahmed declared that the delegates would return to Aden to continue “a peaceful struggle to restore the Southern state” and attacked the Southern leadership participating in the NDC, saying they do not truly represent the South. At the same time, conflicting reports emerged regarding the number of Southern delegates who withdrew. A statement from one Hirak delegate denied reports of his withdrawal from the NDC and noted that 56 out of the total 85 Hirak delegates were present at the NDC meeting, and that reports of a boycott are “a fabrication.” In a press conference on Thursday, Hirak delegates said that they did not leave the NDC. The Hirak’s political body emphasized that its participation in the NDC would continue, stressing that they would not “leave the issue of the South to the wishes of a person or group of people, who wanted to turn this issue into a mere card … to realize personal gains regardless the issue’s goals.” [Mareb Press (Arabic), NDC (Arabic), Al Masdar (Arabic), 11/27/2013]


Yemen bans motorbikes in Sana’a because of attacks 
Yemen on Sunday began enforcing a temporary ban on motorbikes in the capital to prevent “shoot and scoot” attacks in the city during national dialogue sessions. The interior ministry said the ban will last until December 15 to “preserve security and stability” as Yemen undergoes a difficult political transition. An AFP correspondent reported that the ban was being strictly enforced, with no motorcycles on the streets on Sunday. [AFP/Gulf News, 12/1/2013]

North Yemen fighting kills 120 people
Fighting between Houthi rebels and Salafis in northern Yemen has killed more than 120 and a government official in charge of enforcing a ceasefire accused the Houthis of breaking the truce. Amin al-Hemyari, head of government observers monitoring a ceasefire reached last month, said the death toll among Salafists in the town of Damaj had risen to more than 120, with dozens wounded, the government-run Al Thawra newspaper said. He said no casualty figures were available for the Houthis. Al Thawra also quoted the head of a presidential committee tasked with ending the fighting as saying Houthi fighters had seized two government soldiers monitoring the truce on Saturday on charges of delivering guns and ammunition to the Salafists. [Reuters/Gulf News, 12/2/2013]

Vandals, tribesmen attack Marib transmission lines
Tribesmen blew up Yemen’s main oil export pipeline on Friday east of the capital Sana’a, officials and tribal sources said. Tribal sources said they carried out the attack to force the government to pay them compensation, without going into further details. In addition, the Marib power station was out of service following an attack on its power transmission lines Tuesday evening. An official source at the Ministry of Electricity said that vandals used heavy gunfire in the attack on transmission lines linking the power station in Marib and the transfer station in Sana’a. The security forces in Marib accused Muhammad Saeed Ali Ayyaf Shabwani of the attack, as Shabwani has carried out several other similar attacks in Marib. [Reuters, 11/30/2013; Saba (Arabic), 11/26/2013]

Russian military advisor shot dead in Yemen 
Two gunmen on a motorbike on Tuesday shot dead a Belarusian military advisor and wounded another as they left a hotel in the Yemeni capital, a security official said. The gunmen fled after opening fire on the experts, who worked as advisors to the Yemeni army, the official said. The  foreigners were gunned down as they walked out of a hotel in Baynouna street in southern Sana’a. Security forces immediately cordoned off the scene of the attack. [AFP/Ahram Online, 11/26/2013]

Airstrikes kill twelve al-Qaeda suspects
The Yemeni interior ministry says government airstrikes have killed twelve suspected al-Qaeda militants in the country’s south. The statement Monday said the militants were killed in a strike in Abyan province that left their vehicle burned to a shell. [AP/Washington Post, 11/25/2013] 


UN Security Council might consider “further measures” against spoilers disrupting Yemen’s transition 
The UN Secretary-General has expressed concern about attempts to disrupt the transition in Yemen and highlighted his readiness to consider further measures against those trying to derail the transition process. Ban Ki-Moon welcomed the Security Council’s November 27 statement on Yemen and called on all sides to participate in the NDC in good faith and to refrain from any obstruction of the transition process. The UN statements came after Special Envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar met with the Security Council on Wednesday to present a report on the progress of the country’s political transition. Meanwhile, a campaign has been launched on Facebook calling for the deportation of Benomar from Yemen. The campaigners accuse him of pursuing projects for hidden agendas in Yemen seeking to disrupt the National Dialogue Conference (NDC). [Saba, 11/30/2013; Al Tagheer (Arabic), 11/25/2013; Barakish (Arabic), 11/29/2013]

Yemen to sign protocol of accession to WTO on December 4 
After many months of preparation, Yemen will sign the protocol of its official accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) on December 4 to become the organization’s 160th member. Saad Eddin Bin Taleb, Yemen’s Minister of Industry and Trade, confirmed the importance of this historic accession, which will achieve great gains for Yemen. He pointed out that Yemen’s accession to the WTO will provide job opportunities and further investment opportunities throughout the country. [Saba, 11/30/2013]

US, EU condemn Jadban’s assassination, Dammaj clashes in Yemen
The US Department of State has condemned the assassination of Abdul-Karim Jadban, member of parliament and National Dialogue Conference, in Sana’a last Friday. In a statement, the Department of State also condemned the clashes in the Dammaj area of Sa’ada province, urging all parties to abide by the cease-fire permanently and to stop restriction of movement of the International Committee of the Red Cross. The European Union (EU) Delegation in Yemen also condemned the assassination. The EU issued a statement saying that such “heinous acts” that coincide with the conclusion of the National Dialogue risk undermining the entire process of peaceful transition in Yemen. [Al Masdar (Arabic), 11/26/2013] 


Expatriate workers returning from Saudi risk instability in Yemen 
Around 200,000 Yemeni expatriate workers have returned from Saudi Arabia since June, according to estimates from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), amid a sharp escalation in deportations as Saudi authorities crack down on those breaking labor laws. These developments risk increasing poverty and destabilizing the transition in Yemen, say analysts. The Yemeni government says it expects at least another 400,000 jobless returnees in coming months. “Without giving [returnees] the opportunities to live a decent life we… fear that they might be turned into element of instability,” said Yemen’s Minister of Human Rights Hooria Mashhour. “For the short term indeed they are in bad need of immediate assistance like food and medical treatment, but for the long term we have to provide… [many] more job opportunities to cover their family’s needs and… [theirs] as well.” [IRIN, 12/2/2013]

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