YemenSource | Six Regions Approved For Federal Transition

The Regions Committee assembled by President Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi has agreed on six regions for Yemen’s federated state. Some dissent has already surfaced, however, with Houthi representativerefusing to vote for the proposed federal divisions. Despite this, committee members affirm that the six-region model entails a broad consensus. A map of the regions, based on the current provincial boundaries that may yet change, can be viewed here. [Naharnetal-Masdar (Arabic); 2/10/2014]



Process Lessons Learned in Yemen’s National Dialogue by Erica Gaston
In a new publication from the US Institute of Peace, Gaston argues that Yemen’s experience with a national dialogue process can serve as a model to other transitioning countries pursuing a similar model, by learning that they “must balance the scale of the forum, the weight of the agenda, and the impact on other transitional processes that may be sidelined by a dialogue.” [USIP, 2/7/2014]

Yemen’s Insecurity Dilemma by Khaled Fattah
The deteriorating security situation in Yemen is compounded by internal struggles within security forces, poverty, and competition between intransigent social elites. Fattah warns of an implosion of structures of power in Yemen due to government paralysis, and calls on Washington to step back and reconsider its emphasis on security-oriented solution and focus on understanding Yemen’s complex social relations. [WRMEA, 2/10/2014]

Two of one, six of the other by Abubakr al-Shamahi
Al-Shamahi argues that despite the touting of federalism as a solution to Yemen’s ills, but worries that decentralization–though positive in many ways–may have the frustrating effect of dispersing Yemen’s chronic corruption issues. [Majalla, 2/5/2014]

Yemen’s Houthi-Ahmar sectarian framing by Abdullah Hamidaddin
“Framing matters,” writes Hamidaddin, as he probes the roots of the conflict between the Houthi and the Ahmar clan in northern Yemen, and criticizes the emphasis of the conflict’s sectarian framing as “an obscene distortion.” [al-Arabiya, 2/8/2014]

Yemen’s dream of a civil society suffocated by religion and tribalism by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad
In a weekly literary salon, journalists, pundits and lawyers gathered to discuss the outcome of the national dialogue; a dialogue that was supposed to help Yemen find a new way forward but instead has left them with great disappointment. They recall the optimism following Yemen’s uprising, while speaking somberly of the country’s regional, tribal, and sectarian divisions, which they believe elite, traditional power brokers continue to manipulate and exploit. [The Guardian, 2/6/2014]


Protesters commemorate third anniversary of uprising against Saleh
Ten of thousands of Yemenis gathered in Sana’a today, marking the third anniversary of the popular uprising that ousted former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. The protesters called for the implementation of the steps agreed upon at National Dialogue Conference such as stripping the militias of their weapons but also demanded trials for security personnel and officials who were involved in the killing of demonstrators in 2011. Protesters also demonstrated outside of President Abdrabu Mansour Hadi’s residence, demanding the release of dozens of revolutionary youth who are detained in prison. [BBC (Arabic), 2/7/2014]

Representatives talk NDC implementation
A forum was held in Sana’a on Sunday to discuss the implementation of the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) outcomes, featuring a former NDC delegate, the head of the General People’s Congress (GPC), and a leader of the youth movement. The youth leader pointed to Yemen’s economic distress as the foremost issue that NDC implementation must address. Another speaker criticized the state’s “complicity and silence” regarding armed groups and Yemen’s deteriorating security situation. The forum was one of several hosted in Sana’a in the past week. A 150 member national commission will oversee the implementation of NDC outcomes until a constitution is drafted and ratified and elections are held. [al-Masdar (Arabic), 2/9/2014]

Politician labelled terrorist says he is innocent
Abdulwahab al-Homayqani, head of Yemen’s salafist Rashad party, was accused of funneling money to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) by the United States in December of last  year, labeling him a “specially designated global terrorist.” Homayqani discussed the accusation in an interview, accusing factions loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh of funneling false intelligence to the United States. Homayqani further stated that battling AQAP was the duty of all Muslims and that the Rashad party rejects all forms of political violence. [Christian Science Monitor, 2/3/2014]


Yemen federation deal gives autonomy, not independence, to south
Some southerners have already rejected the six-region proposal, insisting on a separate state.  The two southern regions will be called Aden and Hadramawt and will comprise most of what was formerly the independent People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY). A former interior minister of the PDRY called the decision of six-regions “a coup against what had been agreed about in the dialogue.” Many southerners fear that the south’s two regions, richer in resources but with a legacy of discrimination, will be marginalized by northern Yemen’s four regions. The founder of the southern Hirak vowed to continue the movement’s “peaceful struggle,” saying that two independent states were the only solution as was the case until 1990. [Reuters, 2/10/2014]

Tribal alliance and army clash in Hadramawt
Gunmen associated with Hadramawt’s tribal alliance attacked military forces, leaving at least six soldiers dead and others wounded. The attack occurred while military forces were protecting engineers working to repair damaged oil pipelines. According to local sources, the military retaliated in force, including an aerial assault. The defense minister vowed to “deal firmly” with “disruptive elements.” The governor, for his part, said that the local government is striving to meet the “legitimate demands” of the Hadramawt tribes. Oil production in resource-rich Hadramawt has been paralyzed since a December 28 attack on the pipeline. [al-Mashhad (Arabic), Gulf News; 2/7/2014]

New power plant planned for Shabwa province
A ten million dollar project is being financed by the Dallas-based Hunt Oil company to develop a power plant in the southern Shabwa province. The project has the capacity to provide power for 150,000 people and address regular electricity shortages in the province. [Mareb Press (Arabic), 2/10/2014]


Katyusha missiles strikes, bombs rock capital
The week began with three explosions in Sana’a that security officials later confirmed were the result of strikes from Katyusha missiles that injured four people. On Tuesday morning, a bus transporting soldiers in Sana’a was the target of an attack; several soldiers were killed and wounded. On Sunday, a car bomb detonated outside of the oil ministry killing three people and wounding at least five others. Another explosive device was found in the capital and destroyed by security services without injury.

Hadi to HRW: politically too difficult to investigate security service abuses
President Hadi responded to Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) call to investigate security force abuses saying that political circumstances made it too difficult to investigate wrongdoing by security forces, and furthermore the government does not have the capacity to enforce an investigative committee’s findings. “A general issue with the Yemeni military is that each brigade is formed from the same tribe,” Hadi said. “I cannot remove a commander who commits an abuse because the commander will simply reject the decision and the brigade will stand by him.” [HRW, 2/10/2014]

Turbulent week between Houthis and Hashid ends with tentative calm, ceasefire
Clashes between Houthi militants and Hashid tribesmen have been waging across Yemen’s northern provinces in recent weeks, winding as far south as Irhab, a town just north of Sana’a. The al-Ahmar clan, closely tied to the Islamist Islah party, accuses the Houthis of opportunistically expanding their influence while acting as Iranian proxies. For their part, the Houthis claim the al-Ahmar and Saudi Arabia are backing extremists in the northern province of Sa’ada. A ceasefire brokered by the mayor of Sana’a became a contentious issue for the Ahmar clan, a prominent power broker within the Hashid tribal confederation, when fellow Hashid tribesmen agreed to the truce in spite of the Ahmar’s rejection. The details of the agreement, which tribesmen say favor the Houthis, secures a safe passage route from the Houthi stronghold in Sa’ada province to the capital in Sana’a, forbids the carrying of heavy weapons on major roads in northern provinces, and allows for the return of those displaced in the conflict. The truce broke down as Houthi field commanders, from Sa’ada and Harf Sufyan, refused to recall their fighters–in contradiction to Irhab’s local Houthi representatives, who had agree to such terms. The truce has since resumed over the weekend with the signing of a reconciliation agreement. The presidential delegation of negotiators remain in the area to oversee the process.

Foreign minister blames recent spate of kidnappings on ransom payments
Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, Yemen’s foreign minister, says that ransom payments for abducted foreigners is the reason kidnappings continue to occur. In recent days, a British national and a German student were abducted, with kidnappers demanding that the government release imprisoned family members in one instance. A South African national is also being held by al-Qaeda militants; his capture has lasted nearly ten months. [Mareb Press, 2/4/2014]


UN says humanitarian situation threatens stability, calls for international aid
“There will be no stability in Yemen if more than half of the population is waking up in the morning without the possibility to have food,” warns Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen. Ahmed went on to question the merit of elections and political progress amidst the current humanitarian conditions in the country. Half of Yemen’s 25 million citizens are in need of humanitarian aid and more than that lack access to safe drinking water. Ahmed called on international communities to address these humanitarian needs, a timely request as Yemen joins the International Aid and Transparency Initiative. [UN News Centre, Voice of America; 2/4/2014]

UN Security Council continues to consider sanctions
Sources from the UN have confirmed that the Security Council has begun drafting a resolution that would impose sanctions on certain parties in Yemen who are trying to derail the transition. There appears to be a consensus on the need to pass sanctions on political parties–particularly members of the former regime—obstructing the transition process, and a draft resolution is likely to be ready next week. [al-Masdar (Arabic), 1/5/2014]


LNG workers’ strike suspended; youth movement protests to scrap deal
Due to the intervention of the deputy minister of oil, a strike organized by a workers union that began on February 2 has been suspended. The French energy company TOTAL thanked the efforts of the government and released a statement about their respect for their employees. However, a youth movement citing TOTAL’s corrupt arrangement with the previous regime that sold Yemeni gas far below market prices held protests in throughout the country calling for the contract to be terminated. [Mareb Press (Arabic), 2/6/2014]

More than 1000 workers laid off from LNG facility in Shabwa
After facing a number of security incidents and attempted attacks, seven liquified natural gas (LNG) companies have decided to temporarily lay off more than 1,000 foreign and local national laborers for security reasons. Unless the government takes emergency action to help address the situation, the export of LNG may be halted indefinitely. [al-Masdar (Arabic), 2/5/2014]

UNOCHA says northern fighting has displaced over 80,000
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), clashes in the north have displaced more than 40,000 people from Amran province alone. There are currently more than 80,000 displaced persons residing in Amran that need assistance, though the current insecurity is preventing humanitarian response outside of the immediate boundaries of Amran city. [UNOCHA, 2/7/2014]

Yemen’s oil export revenue falls twenty-four percent in 2013
Comprising sixty-three percent of the country’s total exports and thirty percent of its GDP, the announcement that Yemen’s oil export revenue fell by twenty-four percent in 2013 signals the country’s ongoing economic woes. Imports of petroleum products in 2013 more than doubled when compared to 2012. The Central Bank attributed the decline in exports to a parallel fall in total production. [al-Masdar (Arabic), 2/10/2014]

Image: (Photo: Yemeni NDC website)