YemenSource | New NDC Implementation Panel Created

President Hadi created a new panel to oversee implementation of the outcomes and conclusions of the National Dialogue Conference (NDC). This panel will be comprised of eighty-two delegates who participated in the NDC. The formation of the panel was mandated by the concluding document of the Dialogue, though it remains unclear what specific powers, scope, and mandate the panel will have. [Al-Masdar (Arabic), 4/25/2014]



Yemen Latest Frontline in Saudi-Qatari Feud by Farea al-Muslimi
The recent spat between Gulf Cooperation Council states has added “another  another layer of complexity to an already complex, unstable political environment, writes Muslimi, as he assesses the effects of Saudi and Qatari political competition in Yemen. [Al-Monitor, 4/28/2014]

Of Transitology and Counter-Terror Targeting in Yemen by Sheila Carapico
Carapico critiques the GCC agreement and current US counterterrorism policy in Yemen, saying,“The Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, does not treat Yemen as a place where citizens have real aspirations,” says Carapico. “Instead, it is seen as a ‘theater’ of operations for the ‘war on terror’ in the backyard of the Saudi monarchy.” [Muftah, 4/22/2014]

Hadramawt: Rebellion, Federalism, or Independence in Yemen? by Haykal Bafana
Bafana analyzes the history and popular currents of the Hadramawt province. For the people and tribes of the province, says Bafana, aspirations for Yemeni unity simply amount to ideas that too often seem divorced from their collective memory. [Muftah, 4/28/2014]


Hadi meets with security committee, economic council
In a meeting with the Supreme Security Council, President Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi discussed the ongoing counterterrorism efforts throughout the country against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Ansar al-Sharia. Hadi confirmed that sixty people had been killed in the weekend offensive in southern provinces. The Security Council subsequently approved the expansion of counterterrorism operations. Speaking to the Supreme Economic Council, Hadi also discussed the efforts clean up the interior and defense ministries by using biometric data to eliminate falsified names and so-called “ghost” accounts. Addressing the fuel crisis Hadi warned of the prosecution of parties acting to block oil shipments throughout the country. [Saba News, Al-Masdar (Arabic), 4/24/2014]

Prominent Hashid elders meet to talk reconciliation
A number of figures of the Hashid Tribal Confederation met in Sana’a on Saturday to talk about reconciliation following a lingering fallout within the federation dating back to the 2011 uprising. The largest tribe of the Hashid, the al-Ahmar, broke from the federation in 2011 in opposition to former president Saleh’s rule. The recent effort to reconcile is directly related to the ongoing conflict with the Houthis, who have advanced from their northern strongholds into Hashid lands in Amran and elsewhere. There are reports however that Houthis have agreed to disarm. [Yemen Post, Nashwan News (Arabic), 4/27/2014]

Draft law ending child marriage passed to prime minister
On Sunday, Legal Affairs Minister Mohammad Mekhlafi submitted the proposed law to Prime Minister Mohammad Basindwa, who will oversee a cabinet review and submit it to parliament. The draft law requires the official marriage contract to verify the age of both the man and the woman. Further articles mandate penalties of up to one year in prison and a fine for any authorized person who draws up a marriage contract knowing that at least one party is under eighteen. Any witnesses or signatories to the marriage contract, including the parents or other guardians, are subject to prison and fines. [Human Rights Watch, 4/27/2014]

Tribal mediation committee and security forces recover oil tankers in Marib
A joint military and police detachment accompanied by a tribal mediation committee on Tuesday succeeded in releasing seven out of twelve oil tankers confiscated by gunmen in al-Wadi district of Marib on April 18. The remaining five oil tankers are still being held by the armed tribesmen. The ministry of interior on Wednesday said on its website that a military and police force including nine armored vehicles and a tank were able to lift a tribal roadblock on the main road in al-Wadi. The tribesmen demand money for the release of the remaining tankers, although mediation is ongoing. [Yemen Times, 4/24/2014]


Southerners rally for secession twenty years after Yemen war
Thousands of Yemenis rallied in Mukalla and Aden on Sunday to demand statehood for the formerly independent south two decades after the crushing of a secession bid. The rally was organized by a separatist branch of Herak that rejected the six-unit federation plan. During the protests, security forces arrested a number of Herak activists in Aden, deploying tear gas to disperse demonstrations. Exiled Southern leader and former Prime Minister Haider Abu Bakr al-Attas said that the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference was a good starting point for building the future. Former Vice President Ali Salem al-Beidh stressed the need to restore the South and called for further protests in May. [The National, 4/27/2014]

Pipeline attacks in Hadhramout cost Yemen $126 million in February
The repeated attacks against oil pipelines in Hadhramout have led to a decrease in exports estimated at 800,000 barrels in February compared to around two million this April. A formal report issued by the Yemeni Central Bank indicates that the deterioration in petroleum exports decreased an estimated $126 million from the month before. [Saba News, 4/22/2014]


Fallout from last week’s attacks on AQAP in al-Bayda borderlands
At least fifty-five suspected militants were killed in the campaign launched on April 19, targeting members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Though rumors persist over the deaths of top AQAP leaders Ibrahim al-Asiri and Nasir al-Wuhayshi, their deaths are not confirmed. Several other leaders were confirmed by the ministry of interior. Security experts and human rights advocates have said that despite affecting AQAP’s ability to maneuver and hold territory, drone strikes are not an effective long-term strategy. At least four civilians were killed in the initial strike on Saturday and several others injured, and the government has agreed to arbitration terms of twelve million Yemeni rials and thirty Kalashnikovs. The government has not confirmed any further civilian casualties. AQAP is believed to be behind four assassinations of security officials in the past two days. Yemen’s House of Representatives has summoned the country’s ministers of defense and interiors to answer questions about the campaign later in the week. [Reuters, The Guardian, 4/22/2014]

Elite units continue anti-AQAP campaign; Popular Committees prepare for Abyan offensive
Yemeni commando forces from elite units conducted simultaneous raids on al-Qaeda hideouts and cells on the outskirts of Sana’a on Friday. The raids are part of recent operations to crack down on AQAP, representing most intense campaign against it since 2012. A key component of the 2012 victory, the Popular Committees—local militias not affiliated with official security forces—also announced on Sunday that they are preparing a campaign in tandem, targeting al-Qaeda hideouts in Abyan province. Reports suggest that local military brigades are also involved. [CNN, 4/25/2014]

Tribal leaders protest curfew against traveling with weapons
A small group of tribal leaders and other influential people protested in Ibb against a curfew banning traveling with weapons. Three demonstrators insisted on their right to keep light and medium weapons, and were armed as they entered local government facilities, though no clashes occurred. A member of parliament was among the demonstrators, according to witnesses. [Al-Masdar (Arabic), 4/25/2014]


Delegation meets with Houthi leader in Sa’ada
A delegation of Yemeni officials, as well as an advisor to UN envoy Jamal Benomar, arrived in the Houthi dominated Sa’ada province to speak with Abdulmalik al-Houthi, the groups leader to discuss disarmament and the implementation of the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference. The delegation intends to also press the group to engage politically and avoid the escalating trend of violence in Yemen’s north. [Al-Masdar (Arabic), 4/24/2014]

UN envoy Benomar briefs UNSC, comments on Houthi conflict and drones
UN special advisor Jamal Benomar briefed the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Thursday about the status of Yemen’s transition. Benomar discussed the constitution drafting and security challenges, but highlighted the economic and humanitarian situation in the country, emphasizing the need for donors to fulfill their pledges. Benomar said Thursday that the Houthis agreed to a new initiative by President Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi to promote dialogue related to the rebels’ disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. Addressing the recent military campaign in the south against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Benomar called AQAP “a very real and lethal  threat,” explaining that the country will need “all the help” it can get with regard to defeating it, though did not explicitly mention the United States or its unmanned drone strikes. Benomar also spoke with Asharq al-Awsat about the ongoing threat posed by militias and localized conflicts. [Saba, 4/25/2014]

Extensive US involvement in anti-terror operations
The United States offered extensive assistance beyond drone strikes during a massive anti-terror operation in Yemen, including flying Yemeni commandos to a site where they killed scores of suspected al Qaeda members, a US official said. US Special Operations troops wore night-vision gear and flew Yemeni forces to a remote, mountainous spot in southern Yemen, according to a senior US official. The Yemeni helicopters that the US personnel flew were Russian-made, which helped to minimize the US footprint during the operation. [CNN, 4/22/2014]


Civil service reform is urgent, says UNDP country director
In an interview, the UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) country director Mikiko Tanaka says that though she believes that the government wants to make things work, major problems with the civil service and government capacity stand in the way. “Citizens want to see results,” says Tanaka. “People need education, healthcare, jobs. This is becoming more and more urgent and, while the reforms are important and have to take place, people can’t wait for the reforms to finish before services improve.” [The Yemen Times, 4/22/2014]

Dozens jailed for debts
Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports that at least 142 people are being held in the Sana’a Central Prison in Yemen because of a debt or fine they are unable to pay. The prison director says he is holding 142 people for those reasons, though prisoners say there are many more. The prisoners include people who cannot pay a private debt, those who owe diya (blood money) to another family for committing a crime, and convicted criminals who remain imprisoned past the end of their term for inability to pay a fine. Many of these prisoners have been incarcerated for years without any possibility of release. [Human Rights Watch, 4/22/2014]

Protests in Sana’a over fuel scarcity
Thousands of Yemenis protested in the capital on Wednesday over the petroleum scarcity crisis that is gripping the country. Participants accused the government of corruption and condemned the notion of lifting subsidies on fuel derivatives, calling on the government to step down in favor of a more efficient, transparent government. The protests were organized by the February 11 Campaign. Houthis also participated in the protests, and called on the resignation of the minister of oil. [Barakish Net (Arabic), 4/23/2014]

Hodeida farmers protest diesel shortage
Hundreds of farmers in Hodeida province demonstrated outside the local council to protest diesel shortages. The protest came one day after a protest in front of the Yemen Petroleum Company office in Hodeida. Residents say the fuel shortage has forced many to shut down farms and that the shortage has devastated crops. Farmers in Hodeida rely on diesel to pump water to the surface in order to irrigate their crops. The political situation and resulting security vacuum has meant more attacks on oil refinery structure, which has further limited fuel supplies. Roadblocks set up by tribes also limited and shut off supply routes. [Yemen Times, 4/22/2014]