Hariri Center acting director Danya Greenfield writes for BBC Online that “Yemen offers an inspiring and hopeful example with the recent completion of [the NDC]…however, “now Yemen’s leaders must start the even more  difficult process of translating it into meaningful action and incorporating the principles into a new constitution.” [1/28/2014] In a MENASource analysis, she heralds Yemen’s achievement as the only Arab awakening country to successfully complete a negotiated transfer of power and an inclusive dialogue process, but notes three reasons for concern moving forward: the lack of transparency in the final agreement, insufficient attention to lack of Southern buy-in, and ongoing resistance to state authority in the north and Hadrawmawt. [1/29/2014].


Fresh challenges ahead as national dialogue ends
Hariri Center acting director Danya Greenfield writes for BBC Online that “Yemen offers an inspiring and hopeful example with the recent completion of [the NDC]…however, “now Yemen’s leaders must start the even more  difficult process of translating it into meaningful action and incorporating the principles into a new constitution.” [1/28/2014] In a MENASource analysis, she heralds Yemen’s achievement as the only Arab awakening country to successfully complete a negotiated transfer of power and an inclusive dialogue process, but notes three reasons for concern moving forward: the lack of transparency in the final agreement, insufficient attention to lack of Southern buy-in, and ongoing resistance to state authority in the north and Hadrawmawt. [1/29/2014].

Al-Qaeda benefits from unsettled politics
Farea al-Muslimi, a Yemeni analyst and youth activist, argues in Al-Monitor that without the resolution of ongoing grievances, al-Qaeda will have the capacity to exploit political rifts–particularly with the increasingly politically isolated Salafists–and act with impunity throughout Yemen. [1/28/2014]

Will decentralization in Yemen marginalize citizens?
Hariri Center nonresident fellow Rafat al-Akhali writes in MENASource article that the National Dialogue  key demand reduce centralization has resulted in a new federal system that will be based on four levels of government (the addition of regional government), but the new constitutional committee will be left to decide how to distribute powers between them, which ultimately will impact the relationship between the new federal state and its citizens  [2/3/2014].




Delegation sent to Arhab to negotiate between tribes and Houthis, another to al-Jawf after bombing
President Hadi has dispatched a delegation to Arhab to negotiate a cease fire between Houthi militants and local tribes. Dozens on both sides have been killed in recent days, and tensions are high with Arhab located not far from the capital in Sana’a. Another delegation was dispatched to al-Jawf province to address tensions there, just as a bomb detonated near a Houthi-run school. [Mareb Press (Arabic), 1/31/2014]

Confrontation heats up between government and former regime
Soon after the end of the National Dialogue, tensions have increased between the current government and the former regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh, as the government has stepped up efforts reclaim money stolen by former regime officials and has threatened to utilize local and international courts to do so. The allegations against former officials center on the sale of liquefied natural gas at exorbitantly low prices far below market value, which prompted the launch of an investigation. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council are also considering placing sanctions on Yemen’s former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and former vice-president Ali Salem al-Beidh. [al-Masdar (Arabic), 1/31/2014]

Even out of office, Saleh wields great power
The New York Times profiles ousted leader Ali Abdullah Saleh, calling him a rare figure: an overthrown autocrat who remains in his country unmolested, even treated by visitors as “the most powerful man in Yemen.” Saleh’s political enemies allege that he is behind attacks on oil and power lines, as well as political assassinations, conspiring to maintain his family’s influence on Yemen’s affairs. [New York Times, 2/3/2014]

Hadi appoints military spokesman with ties to journalism
President Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi has appointed Colonel Saeed Mohamed Saif al-Faqih as the official spokesman for the military. The choice of al-Faqih is a gesture toward transparency as he is a member of the Syndicate of Yemeni Journalists and the Federation of Arab Journalists. He told reporters that he looks forward to representing the military as “a protector of national sovereignty,” detached from political interests. [Al-Masdar (Arabic), 1/29/2014]


Regions committee agrees on six regions
A week after the formation of the “Regions Committee” (to determine the number of regions in the new federal system), the body has endorsed the six region model as the template for Yemen’s federal transition. The South will be comprised of two regions with the remaining four in the north. Some issues remain to be further studied by committees of experts such as giving Aden and Sana’a special status within this federal framework, and what divisions will be implemented within each region. The Herak Southern secessionists and the Yemeni Socialist Party continue to object to the plan, due to grievances regarding the composition of the committee and its alleged failure to heed NDC calls for balance and consultative processes.. The committee’s decision will be passed to a constitutional committee that will be formed in the coming days. [al-Masdar (Arabic), 2/3/2014]

Reconciliation Commission expands to include more southern voices
Yemen’s Reconciliation (or Consensus) Committee is set to be expanded to include all components of Yemen’s political field, notably the south. The committee’s members will be fifty percent from the south, as well as other quotas: thirty percent will be women and twenty percent will be youth. The Reconciliation Committee is the body charged with implementing the outcomes of the NDC and overseeing the process of drafting a new constitution. [Asharq al-Awsat, 2/2/2014]

Hadi meets with Southern leaders to discuss federalism
President Hadi met with leaders of four southern districts–Aden, Lahj, Abyan, and al-Dali’–to discuss the benefits of federalism as well as the types of authority the districts will have. He noted that each region will have a parliament and a council of ministers. Hadi likewise emphasized that local administration of health and education services would improve service delivery. [Al-Masdar (Arabic), Saba; 1/28/2014]

Clashes in South over presence of armored brigade
In addition to a series of separatist protests since Tuesday, the Southern province of al-Dali’ has been the site of ongoing clashes between Herak militants and the military. The Southern separatist movement has demanded the removal of the 33rd Armored Brigade from the province, a popular demand since the Brigade shelled a funeral procession in December. The military claims they are shelling the city in order to combat militants, though Herak militants claim their attacks are in response to the shelling. After an order came for the dismissal of the Brigade’s commanding officer, the Brigade’s forces have fortified its headquarters, encircling the compound with tanks, refusing to honor the order citing the abduction and continued detention of their comrades by the separatists. [Yemen Times, Gulf News; 1/30/2014]


Houthi militants seize locations in Northern Yemen
The latest clashes between Hashid tribesmen and Houthi militants have left at least sixty dead, tribal sources report. On Sunday, Houthi militias overtook large parts in northern Amran province. A negotiator sent to mediate claims to have worked out an agreement between the two groups and says that both sides have agreed to the terms, including prisoner release and the return of displaced peoples to their homes in Huth. [World Bulletin, NOW Lebanon; 2/2/2014]

Clashes between Houthis and tribesmen; Salafi-Houthi dialogue symposium in Sa’ada
Houthi militants continue to clash with Hashid tribesmen loyal to the government just north of Sana’a in Arhab, leaving as many as thirty-eight dead. Elsewhere, Salafi representatives and representatives of families from Sa’ada met today with a Houthi spokesman at a symposium to discuss the issue of the Salafis’ forced displacement from the province weeks ago as mandated by the central government initiative to enforce a ceasefire. [al-Masdar (Arabic), al-Nahar Net; 1/30/2014]

Three explosions rock Sana’a
Three large explosions occurred in the capital of Sana’a on Sunday, close to the defense ministry, the central bank, and former president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s home. Locals report that security forces rushed to the area and cordoned it off, but the sound of gunfire could be heard from the sites. Though injuries have been reported, there is no report of casualties at this time. [Reuters, 2/2/2014]

Security forces aim to build trust with citizens
In a meeting with security delegations from the United Kingdom and the European Union, Yemen’s chief of staff of the Special Security Forces said he welcomed the NDC outcomes calling for security forces to build relationships with citizens and respect human rights. A British military attache called upon security forces to comply with the NDC outcomes, saying that Yemenis still associate security forces with “gross human rights violations.” [Yemen Times, 1/28/2014]

Attack on military base in Hadramawt leaves fifteen dead
At least fifteen soldiers were killed Friday after an assault believed to be carried out by al-Qaeda targeted a military base in Hadramawt province. After an initial attack by gunmen, witnesses confirmed that they heard explosions, though it is not yet known if improvised explosives were used or if grenades were thrown in the exchange. [Mareb Press (Arabic), Gulf News; 1/31/2014]


Benomar addresses UN security council, urging action on would-be spoilers
UN special envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar briefed the Security Council on Sunday in a closed door session, pressing the Security Council to follow-up with action on its November 2013 observation that elements of the former regime were attempting to derail Yemen’s transition process. “I told the Council that the Yemeni people are doing their part,” Benomar said. “And they are counting on the Council to do its part.” The president of the Security Council, the ambassador from Jordan, said that a resolution on Yemen would be drafted within days and that Council members have expressed readiness to act on “attempts to place obstacles to subvert” Yemen’s stability. Benomar’s full statement can be found here. [Reuters, 1/28/2014]

From Guantanamo Bay to Socotra: prison in paradise?
Human rights activists are raising alarm over rumors that Yemeni detainees currently held without trial or charges at the United States’ Guantanamo Bay prison will be transferred to Socotra, Yemen’s southern archipelago. “The prisoners in Guantanamo should either be prosecuted or released,” one activist said. “Simply transferring them to another prison located elsewhere is not a solution.” The idea does not seem to be popular among local residents who believe it would adversely affect tourism to the area, and who oppose the idea that some or all of the island would be turned into a military detention facility. [Economist, 1/29/2014]


Ministry of finance report points to positive indicators
Yemen’s economy appears to have begun recovering in 2013 after two tumultuous years since the uprising in 2011. Yemen’s GDP rose to 5.4 percent from 2 percent in 2012 and and negative 12.8 percent in 2011. There was also a steady decrease in inflation rates. Still, there are significant worries about the continued lack of foreign investment and disruption in oil pipelines due to sabotage, as the number of attacks on oil pipelines has increased in recent years. [al-Shorfa, 1/28/2014]

States urge Yemen to protect women, jump-start national human rights reform
The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted Yemen’s second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report on Friday, detailing the status of human rights in the country and making a total of 191 recommendations for the country. Yemen has accepted 166 of these, tabling the remaining recommendations for further review. The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) commends Yemen for accepting the recommendations but notes with some trepidation that though Yemen accepted over 125 recommendations at its first review in 2009, the majority of these recommendations have yet to be implemented. Many of the recommendations made in the country’s most recent UPR deal with gender-issues and the important opportunity to enshrine human rights norms in law as Yemen moves forward with forging a new constitution. [CIHRS, 2/1/2014]

2014 Yemeni budget tackles education and health challenges
The Yemeni government has allocated nearly a quarter of its 2014 budget to the health and education sectors in a bid to meet the needs of the poorest Yemenis. According to Ali al-Shamahi, assistant undersecretary at the Ministry of Finance, the education sector was allocated 512.3 billion riyals ($2.4 billion) and the health sector 169.6 billion riyals ($790 million) in this year’s budget, about 14 percent and 17.5 percent more, respectively, than was allocated to each in the 2013 budget. The government has also passed a draft law establishing a fund for unemployed graduates to help alleviate the hardship of Yemen’s unemployed youth. The fund hopes to provide opportunities for graduates to pursue further education at higher universities, technical and vocational schools, and community colleges. Additionally, UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs released a map detailing the critical economic situations in some of Yemen’s southern provinces. [Al-Shorfa 1/30/2014]