Wednesday, 29 July 2009

ااFour soldiers killed in ambush

By Nasser Arrabyee- Correspondent

Sana'a- Four security men were killed and another was injured in an ambush made by gunmen in Abyan, south of Yemen, said local sources Tuesday.

" About 10 saboteurs and outlaws fired this morning on the police patrol in Al Aein area along the road between Lawdar and Modya, Abyan province, killing four and injuring one ," said the local tribal Sheikh of the area , Al Khadher Al Barsha

Meanwhile, a prominent leader of the southern secessionist movement the tribal sheikh and former Jihadist Tarik Al Fadhli was told Tuesday to leave Yemen within three days maximum.

The vice speaker of the Parliament, Mohammed Al Shaddadi conveyed Tuesday an oral message to my brother Tarik, that he must leave the country within three days maximum," said Nasser Al Fadhli, brother of the secessionist leader.

The message also told him not to open tents for receiving condolences around his house and not to raise the flag of the south.

Tarik Al Fadhli said he would not leave the country to any other place and he would continue struggling for "liberating the south" and that he will never leave until he is dead as a martyr, said his brother.

"We are not from Somalia we'll die in our lands, and we'll never leave , but in our coffins," added Nasser Al Fadhli.

Last Thursday, July 23rd, 18 people were killed and more than 30 other injured (statistics of a local human rights group) when security forces clashed with armed supporters of Al Fadhil who were making an unit-unity rally around his palace in Zinjubar, Abyan province, south of the country.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Yemen arrested 30 kidnappers, 56 more still at large

By Nasser Arrabyee –Correspondent

Sana'a- A total of 30 men accused of kidnapping western tourists and Yemeni persons were arrested, and most of them were already put on trial, said the Yemeni Ministry of Interior Monday.

The Ministry said in a statement posted in its website, that 56 other men accused of kidnapping are still at large. The hunt down will continue until they are arrested and brought to justice, said the statement. The names and pictures of the 56 accused will be circulated soon, it added.

Hundreds of western and Yemeni people were kidnapped over the last 15 years in about 220 kidnapping incidents.

Kidnappers often used the hostages to pressure the government for development projects, or releasing jailed relatives, or for ransom.

All hostages were released safe and sound except for two kidnappings: one in the south of Yemen in 1999 when three western tourists were killed in a failed rescue operation.

The second in Sa'ada, northern Yemen in June 12th, 2009, when two German nurses and a South Korean nurse were found dead two days after they had been kidnapped along with six other people. The fate of the remaining six hostages, a British man and a five-member German family, is still unknown until now.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Al Jazeera reporters received death threats

By Nasser Arrabyee, 26/07/2009

Sana'a- The reporters of Al Jazeera Satellite channel in Yemen were threatened to be killed if they did not stop covering the protests in the south of the country, said director of the San'a-based office Sunday.

Murad Hashem, director of the office, said he received a telephone call at 10:30 am telling him to stop covering what's happening in the south.

"Your death has become very close, we swear, we'll come over to your house," said the caller from a ground line, number 311635. The caller identified himself as " a good doer".

Hashem said he and his colleagues would continue doing their duties in covering everything happening in Yemen. He sent letters to the Minister of Interior and Syndicate of Yemeni Journalists to take their responsibilities for protecting him and his colleagues.

Murad Hashem and his colleagues received many similar threats especially for the covering of the south protests.
Earlier this month, an MP from the ruling party called for closing the office of AlJazeera in Yemen.

Some 800,000 Somalis in Yemen

By Nasser Arrabyee, 26/07/2009

Sana'a- The Yemeni government appealed Sunday to the International Community to take its responsibility towards the continuous flow of Somalis to the impoverished Yemen.

There are about 800,000 Somali immigrants in the country, an official statement said.

With its limited resources, Yemen alone will not be able to face such continuous flow of immigrants, said the statement which was issued by the Ministry Interior.

More than 1000 Somali immigrants including women and children arrived in Thubab coast in Taiz province, south west of the country, since the beginning of July, said the statement.

The unrest and latest rising violence in Somalia increased the number of immigrants who seek a safe haven in Yemen, the statement added.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Three killed in South Yemen protests

By Nasser Arrabyee 25/07/2009

Three people were killed and four others injured in Al Dhale'a and Abyan, south Yemen where anti-unity protesters are rising, security sources said Saturday.

Armed protestors calling for disunity between south and north fired at patrolling security vehicles in Al Dhale'a killing a man and a soldier and injuring four others including three soldiers, security sources said.

The security sources also said that three gun men attacked the 45-year old shop owner, Mohammed Abdullah Qasem and shot him to death while working in his grocery in Al Joul, between Khanfar and Zenjobar in Abyan province.

The victim is from Taiz in the north and the attackers were southerners loyal to the former Jihadist and tribal chief Tarik Al Fadhli, said the security sources.

Hundreds of angry demonstrators chanting anti-unity slogan, and carrying flags of the former southern State also gathered in Al Habeelain, Lahj province, where three northerners from one family were killed earlier this month by gunmen who are still at large until now.

These developments came after at least 10 people were killed and 20 others injured last Thursday in clashes between security men and armed supporters of Tarik Al Fadhli who calls for separation of the south from the north.

Al Fadhli was a leading Jihadist in Afghanistan with Osama bin Laden in 1980s, and a prominent fighter with President Saleh's forces against the southern secessionists in 1994, before he switched sides with the latter early this year.

Bloody days in Yemen

By Nasser Arrabyee/23/07/2009

At least 10 people were killed and 20 injured when angry demonstrators calling for separation clashed with the security forces in Abyan south of Yemen, said officials and local sources Thursday.

The Yemeni government said the demonstrators were trying to storm the government's local prison to liberate tens of detainees by force.

"When the security forces tried to stop them from attacking the main office of the central security, they started to fire RPG on the office and firing bullets randomly killing 8 and injuring 18 others including six security men," said Ahmed Al Maisari, governor of Abyan province.

He added that the demonstrators set fire to a police car and damaged some governmental buildings and some neighboring private houses.

However, representatives of the demonstrators said the security forces fired randomly at them while gathering in a rally calling for separating the south from the north and establish an independent state.

Tarik Al Fadhli, a wealthy tribal chief and former Jihadist, was speaking to thousands of disgruntled southerners who gathered around his luxurious palace in Abyan to demand independence and release of some separation activists who were arrested earlier this month.

"When we finished the rally at about 9:30 am, the security forces fired at us randomly killing 11 and injuring a lot of others," Said Nasser Al Fadhli, brother of Tarik. He mentioned the names of seven dead people including two guards of his brothers' palace.

He denied that they were intending to storm the prison and liberate the detainees by force.

"The confrontation would happen there (in the prison) if we were to go to the prison," he said.

Tribesmen from Mareb and Al Jawf appealed to President Ali Abdullah Saleh to stop repercussions of this incident, which, they said, threatens the national unity.

Local sources who attended the rally said, Tarik Al Fadhli, who was one of President Saleh's advisors until early this year, told the angry demonstrators to go to liberate the detainees by force if the authorities did not release them when the rally was over.

The rally was held around Al Fadhl's palace which is close to the government's offices including the prison where the detainees were held.

The local sources added, after listening to anti-unity speeches calling for "separation and liberating the south from the occupation of the northerners", the armed and angry demonstrators started to move towards the prison to liberate the detainees. They clashed with the security men who were heavily deployed around the palace.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Yemeni Jewish girl married Muslim, sister married Israeli

By Nasser Arrabyee/16/07/2009

A Yemeni Jewish girl was wed to an Israeli citizen after her older sister converted to Islam and got married to a Muslim without the consent of her parents, sources close to the family said Thursday.

Saeed bin Saeed Al Naeti married off his 18-year old daughter Barakha to Mousa Shaghdari, a Yemeni Jewish who left Yemen for Israel in 1994. The condition of the father was that the Shaghdari should leave Yemen with his bride as soon as possible, the sources said.

The couple Mousa and Barakha is expected to leave Yemen for Israel next week, the sources said.

The older daughter of Saeed, Leyah, 20, was wed on the same day, Thursday July 16th, to her Muslim bridegroom, Abdul Rahman Al Huthaifi in Kharef, Amran province.

On June 29th, 2009, Leyah was wed from Kharef to her Jewish bridegroom Haron Salem, one of about 66 Jews who have been living in a luxurious compound in the capital Sana'a since they were expelled from Sa'ada by Al Houthi rebels in 2005.

About five days after the wedding, the Jewish bride escaped from her bridegroom's house in the compound, called the tourist city, to a chief of the tribesmen of Arhab in the northern outskirt of the Sana'a.

She was in love with her Muslim neighbor, but her parents did not like him to marry their daughter, a relative said.

On Wednesday July 15, the Jewish bride announced her conversion to Islam in Arhab district in front of a number tribal Shiekhs who took "the required" procedures for the new marriage and "cancellation" of the first marriage.

The first marriage was nullified by a court verdict after she converted to Islam.

"The new wedding was distinguished in terms of the number of cars accompanying the bride and the number of bullets that were fired to air," said Abdullah Nasser who attended the wedding.

The rabbi Yahya Mousa, who arranged the first marriage to one of his relatives, said the new marriage violated the rules of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity and all religions.

Commenting on her conversion to Islam, the rabbi said her Islam is not Islam; this is the Islam of love. "The real Islam is the love of the religion," He said.

"We are wronged, we are underdogs. But we hope President Ali Abdullah Saleh will stand with us and do justice to us," He said in a telephone call with Yemen Observer.

The father of the bride, Saeed Bin Saeed Al Naeti, said," We are tens of Jews among millions of tribesmen, if they want even to kill us, they will do that easily, no State will protect us and no one will stand with us,"

He said he does not know if his daughter was in love with Al Huthaifi whose house is only 2 km far. But he does not agree that Jews marry Muslims or vice versa.

The rabbi Mousa said the Jews are preparing to stage a sit-in in front of the Presidential Palace next Sunday to demand protection of the Jews. Only about 320 Jews are left in Yemen and more specifically in the capital Sana'a and Amran province.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Piracy cost Yemen US$ 350 million

By Nasser Arrabyee 15/07/2009

The piracy acts in the Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea has cost Yemen US$ 350 million, said an official report Wednesday.

About US$ 200 million was the estimated losses of the fishermen who stopped working in the Yemeni coasts because of the piracy, the report said.

The remaining US$ 150 million was spent by the government on developing the recently-established coastguards' authority and purchases of the boats, added the report which was published by the official media.

The government says it also bears the burdens of receiving about 700,000 Somali immigrants.

From January to May 2009, a total of 126 piracy incidents took place off the Somali coasts and Arabian Sea.

In those incidents, 29 ships were kidnapped, and 472 sailors were taken as hostages. From late 2008 until now, about 40 Somali pirates were arrested, some of them by international forces that handed them over to the Yemeni authorities. 20 of them were already put on trial last months.

In 2008, a total of 24 ships were kidnapped and 815 sailors were taken as hostages in 111 piracy incidents.
The first piracy incident in Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea was in 1995. The piracy increased in 2004- 2006 and it increased even more in 2007.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

U N body appeals to donors to rescue Yemen from famine

By Nasser Arrabyee/08/07/2009

SANA’A - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) called Wednesday for more international help to rescue Yemen from a possible famine.

"WFP is urgently appealing to partners for additional support to help the agency address critical levels of hunger and malnutrition in Yemen," said the Sana'a-based office of the WFP in a statement sent to media.

In 2009, WFP is working to improve the food security and nutritional status of more than 1.6 million vulnerable Yemenis at a cost of US $55 million, the statement said.

The WFP's ability to meet its commitments is being increasingly challenged by limited funding, and is currently facing a dramatic shortfall of US$ 23 million – about 42 per cent of the total needs for this year alone, added the statement.

“Volatile food and fuel prices combined with conflict and natural disasters over the past years have severely affected the country, leaving more than one in three Yemenis suffering from chronic hunger,” said WFP Representative in Yemen Gian Carlo Cirri.

“There is an urgent need for increased support so that WFP can continue to honour its commitments to Yemen’s most vulnerable people, especially at a time when the current global financial crisis is further compounding the situation."

WFP helps about 850,000 Yemenis people every year in field of health and education.

On October 2009, WFP will not have the resources to continue assisting more than 815,000 of the most vulnerable people including families displaced by the conflict in Sa’ada in northern Yemen and those who lost their homes and livelihoods during last year’s floods in eastern Yemen; families pushed deeper into poverty as a result of high food prices; and refugees who have fled turmoil in Somalia. These families depend on WFP food not only for survival, but to help them recover from tragedy and begin to rebuild their lives.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Breaking the wall of hatred between Yemen southerners and northerners

By Nasser Arrabyee 04/07/2009

The Yemeni opposition leader, Abdul Rahman Al Jafrey, said that the current unrest in the

southern part of his country is more dangerous than the civil war in 1994 when he was the second man in the leadership of the failed attempt to secede from the north which united with the south in 1990.

Al Jafrey, who came back to Yemen in 2006 after about 12 years in exile, said there is now a wall of hatred being built between the southerners and northerners.

Disgruntled groups in the south are now preparing for anti-unity demonstrations today, July 7th,, 2009 the day that marks the end of the peaceful unity in their view.

At the same time, governmental preparations are in full swing to celebrating the same date, July 7th, when President Saleh's army defeated the secessionists after 70 days of all-out war in 1994 , the day of confirming unity as they call it.

In an exclusive interview with Gulf News, Al Jafrey said Yemen now is living under two extremisms: one wants to keep corruption and chaos and the other wants the secession.

Al Jafrey, currently chairman of the opposition RAY party, called for a recognition of the crisis in Yemen, which he described as a problem of life or death for Yemen.

He spoke to Gulf News about reasons behind the crisis, and solutions and also the impact on the neighbouring GCC if Yemen collapses into chaos.

Interviewed by Nasser Arrabyee

The Excerpts:

You suggested federalism as solution to the current crisis, why now?

People do not feel that they are partners in the unity because it was established by element of force only. The force may establish a State but it is impossible to make this State stays for ever because the element of force itself is not stable. As soon as, the State’s power weakens, the basis of the State collapses. So, since the beginning, we were with the decentralization.

Now, we are between two extremisms: one supports the current way of ruling which is extremely central authority, rampant corruption, and chaos; while the other wants to treat this situation by secession. We say there is no good in this way of ruling neither in the secession.

Both extremisms will lead to blood and we want to stop the bloodshed. We think that the federalism is the solution in which everyone will become a partner in the unity.

What is the difference between federalism which you talk about and the full-power local governance which President Ali Abullah Saleh talks about?

Local governance is close to federalism. I mean, we should name the things with their clear and scientific names. You can say full-power local governance if there is a problem in the term of federalism. There is misunderstanding, some people think that federalism is a prelude to secession; no, federalism is a prelude to the stability of unity. I challenge you to give me three examples from history for a unity that was based on federalism and then it was failed, or three examples for a unity which was based on centralization and then it lasted, you will not find.

Well, could you please tell us about the reasons behind this crisis, in your opinion?

Briefly, the reasons are: the centralization; the unidentified system of ruling which is not a parliamentary, not presidential and not mixed. And also the weak and corrupt system of judiciary.

This all led to the absence of equal citizenship, which, we believe, should be based on equal distribution of power and wealth.

What is the impact of the unrest in Yemen on the GCC countries? And do you think there is concern with the Gulf people over what is happening?

This talk must be stopped. Maybe, there is media concern in the Gulf counties but I do not believe that the Gulf countries have the same concern. Why? Some senior officials say “give us or the situation will explode or famine and chaos will take place in Yemen”. What is this? We should reassure them: help us to achieve the stability and security in our country.

We hope this talk will stop and we should try to send reassurance messages to the Gulf countries: Help us to make a radical change in the State’s structure.

In your opinion, do the GCC countries do what should be done towards Yemen?

We should do our duty first, and I am sure that everyone will do his duty. Yemen is important for the Gulf counties and the whole world, but it is not important as a bugaboo. Yemen should be a positive factor in the region not an intimidating factor.

What could the GCC countries do to help Yemen to come out from this crisis?

Look, I wish you could leave alone the story of one helping us, this does not work. If we want to solve the problem, we have to take the first step by our own, which is recognition by all that there is a serious problem, and it is a problem of life or death for Yemen.

Second, we should look for a comprehensive solution to get out from this problem. We believe that the solution is the federalism. Third, we should take legal and constitutional steps to implement the solution. After that, we should determine what we need from the Gulf countries and the whole world, and I am sure that everyone will help Yemen.

How do you look at the opposition abroad, especially the former two Presidents? Ali Salem Al Beidh and Ali Nasser Mohammed?

They are partners in this country. All people with senior or junior positions are partners in this country. I hope the day will come when no Yemeni is exiled, and no reason remains for secession. All are partners.

We should also accept each other. Those who want secession, we don't care about them. But we should discuss with them friendly. If we have a strong logic, and I think we have strong logic, we will convince them.

Last month, there was talk about dialogue between Yemeni government and the opposition abroad and your name was mentioned as one of those involved that dialogue in Cairo, is that true?

These are press leaks, I'm an honest person and I hate to do anything secretly without informing people. This did not happen.

Ok, are you ready to mediate if you are requested?

I'm not a broker. I am a partner in this country. There is a difference between playing a mediation role and playing a role like any partner. We are partners.

Does it means you can you make a rapprochement between the different views?

As partners, yes, I have no problem. But, as merely a mediator no, at all. Mediator between whom and whom ? The country is not theirs. It is not owned by the ruler or by those who are abroad. The country is for all.

Do you think that the-self appointment of Ali Salem Al Beidh as a head for the so-called southern movement will strengthen this movement?

I can not judge the decisions of others. Any person has supporters and opposers. Even the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) was opposed. This would weaken the movement among those who do not like him (Al Beidh) and would strengthen it among those who like him.

Some say the secessionists were defeated in 1994 when they had army and weapons, and they will definitely be defeated now? What do think?

It is a very superficial argument. My assessment is that what is happening now is more dangerous than what happened in 1994. I said this to some officials a year and half ago. They said: why? I said, in 1994, the war was political, between of politicians; no wall of hatred between the southerners and northerners was built. Now, a wall of hatred is being built. This is more dangerous than the war of 1994.

Does the fact that 80 % of Yemen's resources coming from the south, where only 20 % of the population exists, cause a feeling of injustice?

In the whole world, this equation exists 80 % to 20 % ; the same equation of resources and population. Yes, this factor will lead to secession, if the people in the wealthy areas feel that they do not exist and that they are just an instrument of use and they are not partners in managing the resources of the country. This equation exists in America, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and in the whole world but no one called for secession and they do not feel injustice, rather they feel they are real partners in the management of resources.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Ready to new war, rebels' leader says

By Nasser Arrabyee /06/07/2009

The Yemen rebels' leader, Abdul Malik Al Houthi accused the government of planning to launch a new war on them in Saada north of the country.

He said in a statement sent to local media Monday that he had "serious information" that the government had decided the carry out a new round of war.

The statement said the government did not achieve any goals during the five rounds of war since 2004 and the troops would be also defeated if they implemented any new "aggression".

"We, with the help of God, are ready to confront any attack," the statement said.

Earlier in the week, the governor of Saada, Hassan Mana'a said that the war on rebels since the very beginning cost the government until now 150 billion YR. (200 YR is equivalent to one dollar).

The official said the war deprived the province of Saada from development, accusing Al Houthi rebels of destructing the province by obstructing "all efforts of peace" . On July 17th, 2008, the President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced that the war would stop for ever and Saada would be reconstructed.

Meanwhile, the State Security Court Monday sentenced to death seven supporters of Al Houthi and sentenced seven others to 15-12 years in prison for forming an armed gang and fighting the government.

The 14 convicts are the first batch from a bigger group of about 190 Al Houthi supporters now being tried before the same court for supporting Al Houthi by launching a war against the government in Bani Hushaish, at the northern outskirt of the capital Sana'a in 2008.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Yemen demands release of 102 detainees from Guantanamo

By Nasser Arrabyee 02/06/2009

Sana'a- Yemen repeatedly demanded the United States to release the Yemeni detainees in Guantanamo bay or in any other American detention.

"Yemen is ready to try whoever involved in any terrorist acts, if there is evidence against them," the defense Ministry website ( quoted unidentified official as saying Thursday.

A list of 102 men by names including 19 Saudi nationals was published by the same website as the total number of Yemenis who are still languishing in American detention in Cuba.

The official also said that his government was working on a rehabilitation centre to reintegrate the men and help them to give up extremism and violence once they are back in Yemen.

A total of 16 Yemenis were released from the detention since 2004 including Salem Hamdan, Osama bin Laden's former driver, and two other men handed over as dead bodies after alleged suicides.

About 100 Yemenis are still there forming the majority of the 239 remaining in the ill-reputed detention.

The United States wants guarantees from Yemen that the men will not get back to fight with Al Qaeda if they are released home.

The Yemen Foreign Minister Abu Bakr Al Querbi said this week United States refuses releasing the detainees because his government refused the American conditions for releasing them.

"We refused the American conditions for releasing the Yemeni detainees in Guantanamo, and if we agreed on those conditions, we in the government would be held accountable by the MPs," said Al Querbi Wednesday in Parliament where MPs asked him why Yemenis in Guantanamo are not released.

But AlQuerbi, who did not say what kind of conditions, said also that American officials were reviewing the files of about 100 Yemeni detainees to decide what to do with every one of them according to instructions from President Obama who is supposed to close the detention on January 10th, 2010.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

More than 3 million Euros compensation for Yemenia victims

By Nasser Arrabyee - Correspondent

Sana'a- A total of 3,060,000 Euros will be given as compensation to the families of the victims of Yemenia which crashed last Tuesday in the Indian Ocean nearby the Comoros coasts, said the board chairman of the Yemenia.

Each family will be given 20,000 Euros from the Yemenia as the first installment, said Abdul Khaleq Al Qadi in a press conference held at Sana'a international airport Wednesday.

Al Qaeda also said a person from each family will be chosen to go to the place of accident in Comoros to see the process of searching. He also said that the French Minister of Information will arrive in Moroni today Wednesday to know the latest developments in the searching process.

The black box of the stricken airbus 300-310 was located and efforts were exerting to get it out later today, the official confirmed.

He said that the black box will be transferred to France where the data and details of the accident will be read.

Two American planes and two French ships arrived in Comoros Wednesday to participate in searching for the bodies of the victims, the official added.

Al Qadi repeatedly said the accident had nothing to do with maintenance of the plane, which was made in 1990, has traveled 50,000 hours. The plane was inspected less than tow months ago according to the international standards and under the supervision of the manufacturer, the airbus company.

For nationalities of the passengers, he said 75 Comoros, 65 French, one Canadian, and one Palestinian in addition to the 11-member crew.

The official called upon the international agencies and European Union not to exaggerate in pressuring on his airliner saying the accident was out of their control.

On his part, Mohammed Abdul Rahman, spokesman for the Yemenia, deputy of the General Authority of Civil Aviation, said the survivor was a 14-year old girl not a 5-year old child as he said on Tuesday.