Thursday, May 5, 2011

Anti and Pro Government Protests will be Held in all Yemen's Provinces

By Fatik Al-Rodaini

Sana'a, May 5, 2011- Youth revolution and Yemen's opposition coalition, the Joint Meeting Parties, JMP, will hold huge protests in Yemen's capital and in the other provinces demanding the immediate ouster for the Yemeni embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The opposition and youth's Friday will be called the "Friday of Honoring the South" and expected to gather millions of Yemen in all over the Yemen's country. Tomorrow's Friday will be the twelfth Friday.

Yemen's opposition and youth revolution have been organized eleven Fridays since the beginning of February, these Fridays were called as following "the Friday of Beginning,'' "the Friday of Launching,'' "the Friday of Gathering,'' "the Friday of no return,'' "the Friday of Dignity," ''the Friday of Departure," "Friday of Liberation,'' ''the Friday of Stability," ''the Friday of Insistence,'' ''the Friday of Final Chance,'' and the "Friday of Honoring Martyrs.''

On the other hand, Yemen's ruling General People Congress party will hold its own Friday which it will be called the "Friday of Security and Stability.''

The Yemen's ruling Party was organized six Fridays in Sana'a and in the other provinces, Tomorrow's Friday will be called the "Friday of Security and Stability,'' which was preceded by ''the Friday of Solidarity,'' ''the Friday of Tolerance,'' ''the Friday of Harmony,'' ''the Friday of Dialogue,'' ''the Friday of Conciliation,'' and the "Friday of Constitutional Legitimacy.''

Yemen-based Al Awlaki may succeed OsamaBy IANS,

London: May 5, 2011- A Yemen-based Anwar al Awlaki is tipped to succeed Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden, who was killed earlier this week in Pakistan by US Navy Seals in a commando strike, a media report said.

US-born cleric Al Awlaki is dubbed the bin Laden of internet because he uses the web to spread his evil gospel.

The 40-year-old called for a Mumbai-style massacre during a sting operation carried out by The Sun.

He has already engineered a string of attempted outrages here and in the US, The Sun reported.

Al Awlaki allegedly brainwashed 21-year-old student Roshonara Choudhry into stabbing Labour MP Stephen Timms over his support for the war in Iraq. He also allegedly urged British Airways computer worker Rajib Karim, 31 - now in jail - to assist in a plot to blow up an airliner in a Lockerbie-style attack.

He was also allegedly behind last year's ink bomb plot to down cargo jets.

Al Awlaki preaches against vice, but has been arrested twice for using prostitutes - while married, the report says.

The US-born cleric was collared in San Diego in 1996 and 1997. He was fined the first time and put on probation the second.

His radicalisation started in 1993 when he visited Afghanistan during a holiday from Colorado State University, where he studied engineering. On his return, he began advocating holy war. By 1996, he was an imam (cleric) at a mosque with more than 300 followers.

Al Awlaki, believed by US detectives to be "at the centre of the 9/11 story", left the US in 2002. He spent two years in Britain, becoming well-known on the extremist lecture circuit, before heading to his family's native Yemen to continue his increasingly hostile rants.

He linked up with his tribe, whose motto is "We are the sparks of hell."

Source: Muslim World News

Anti-Saleh protests continue in Yemen

Sana'a, May 5, 2011- The Yemeni public continue their massive rallies in protest at unpopular President Ali Abdullah Saleh's defiant stay in power.

On Thursday, the demonstrators rallied in the southwestern cities of Bayda, Taizz and Aden, a Press TV correspondent reported.

Reports said the protests in Aden turned violent after Yemeni forces opened fire on demonstrators.

The people repeated their demand for an end to Saleh's tenure.

He has been in office for nearly 33 years with several opposition members arguing that he has not realized his long-promised reforms.

Some 40 percent of Yemen's population lives on USD 2 a day or less and one third is wrestling with chronic hunger.

In a popular revolution, hundreds of thousands of people have turned out for regular demonstrations in Yemen's major cities since late January, calling for corruption and unemployment to be tackled and demanding that the president step down.

The popular protests in Yemen have been confronted by riot police and supporters of Saleh armed with knives and batons.

The Thursday protests also showed opposition to an initiative by the regional Arab grouping of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council, which exempts Saleh from prosecution in return for his resignation.

[P]GCC Secretary General Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani is trying to revive the plan by persuading Saleh to agree with a clause which allows the opposition to form an interim national unity government after the president signs the deal.

The protesters say Saleh should be prosecuted for the death of some 150 civilians during the demonstrations.

Stifling Yemen's Revolution

By J. Dana Stuster

May 5 2011,

After three months of protests and street battles in cities throughout Yemen, opposition leaders announced on Monday, April 25, that they were prepared to sign a negotiated settlement with the regime. The agreement, brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), is supposed to usher in a transitional government that would be a mutually agreeable compromise between the current government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the opposition movement, which includes a variety of marginalized political groups. Reports of the settlement eagerly declared that the "political crisis" in Yemen was near its end.

It's not over. Not even close.

Despite their statements in support of the settlement, the parties could not even agree when to sign -- the opposition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) said the agreement would be signed on Saturday; President Saleh's political party, the General People's Congress (GPC) said Sunday. As of today, the agreement is still awaiting signatures.

On Saturday, GCC Secretary-General Abdel Latif al Zayyani arrived in Sanaa to escort Saleh to Riyadh for the signing ceremony. Saleh refused to go. He complained that he would not sign if Qatar was represented at the ceremony, as he blames Doha-based al Jazeera for inciting protests. He requested one of his ministers sign in his stead and told officials that he would not leave Yemen for fear of a coup while he was abroad. Al Zayyani told the press that he met with Saleh four times and each time Saleh insisted on a new condition for signing the accord. The Yemeni president appears to be, as he has from the start, buying time.

The GCC settlement actually settles nothing -- it hasn't even been able to provide a reprieve from the political violence in the streets of Sanaa, Ta'iz, and Aden. Wednesday, April 27, two days after both the regime and the opposition agreed to sign the deal, was the bloodiest day in Yemen in more than a month, with plainclothes gunmen in Sanaa firing into crowds of anti-government protesters. Bullet-pocked ambulances rushed the injured to official or makeshift hospitals. Twelve died, and al Jazeera now estimates more than 140 deaths in the past three months. That may be a conservative estimate. Last Friday's march, which filled the 60 Meter Road highway in the capital, was dubbed the Friday of Honoring Martyrs.

The GCC, a regional organization consisting of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman, has been eager to staunch the Arab Spring, which they fear could threaten their own regimes. One month after the first protests in Bahrain, the GCC bolstered the Bahraini regime with a Peninsular Shield force of 1,000 Saudi troops. Saudi Arabia, the most influential member of the council, has a particular interest in Yemen. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a Yemen-based affiliate of the wider al-Qaeda terror network, has attacked the Saudi royal family before and would like to again. The Saudis have had an understanding with the Saleh regime, even helping fight in the Yemeni government's war against rebellious northern tribes. Keeping Saleh is the best of all possible worlds for Saudi Arabia. They keep their ally and further illustrate what they began in Bahrain: the consequences of a failing rebellion.

The basic tenets of the settlement concede a great deal to the Saleh regime. Upon signing, a new legislature will be formed, in which Saleh's GPC party will retain 50%, the JMP, 40%, with an additional 10% to be decided later (probably filled by representatives from the military). Under the agreement, after 30 days the president must tender his resignation to the new "unity government," which would then swiftly pass immunity for Saleh, his relatives, and senior members of his government. Sixty days after Saleh's resignation, elections would be held.

The process would probably never get that far. According to the Yemen Times, the GPC has already announced its intention to decline Saleh's resignation; the Yemeni constitution requires an absolute majority to accept the resignation of the president, and under the apportionment of the GCC deal, the parliamentary opposition will not be able to override the GPC. And then there's the fact that the Republican Guard forces under the command of Saleh's son are still shooting protesters in the streets -- there's no reason for Saleh to escalate unless he's planning to stay.

Why would the opposition even sign? They wouldn't, at least not as a united front, but Saleh has always been skilled at political manipulation. He has stayed in office for three decades by playing tribal alliances against one another, and now he is doing the same with the factions within the opposition movement. The JMP itself is an illustration of the strange bedfellows of Yemeni politics. They represent a range of tribal, Islamist, and socialist interests that would be anathema to one another under other circumstances; they are united only in their marginalization by the regime. They are also the only political representation outside of the president's GPC, and as members of the existing government, are associated with status quo politics. Within the opposition, the JMP has the most to lose. As a result, they're the most eager to sign an agreement that maintains their political significance.

The agreement boxes out the youth movement, the most vocal advocates of Saleh's departure. In the GCC arrangement, they will have little, if any, representation in the interim legislature, and will have only sixty days to build a political infrastructure -- candidates, platforms, campaigns -- from scratch. The youth and much of the protest movement are refusing this deal, and a spokesman for the youth opposition called the JMP's stated intention to sign the agreement "political suicide." In particular, protesters have chafed at the prospect that Saleh would be granted immunity from prosecution. The Peaceful Youth Revolt, an opposition youth council, has stated their intention to continue protesting until Saleh's resignation, whether to hold him to any agreement that he makes or to continue to press for his ouster.

Saleh is still biding his time, searching for ways to fragment the opposition and hold onto his office to the end of his term in 2013, or longer. The GCC plan is more a political instrument than an accord, and it seems extremely unlikely that it will end the turmoil in the restive state. There is no agreement, not yet, and it does not look like there will be for some time to come.

Yemen claims two al-Qaeda leaders killed

By FT reporter in Sana’a

May 5 2011

An explosion in Yemen’s restive and largely ungoverned south killed two mid-level al-Qaeda leaders early on Thursday, according to the Yemeni defence ministry.

The dawn attack, which local witnesses described as a missile strike from an unmanned drone, killed the two Yemeni brothers, Abdullah and Musaad Mubarak al-Harad, as their vehicle was en route between two rural towns in the province of Shabwa.

Locals denied that the individuals were members of al-Qaeda.

Political analysts believe the incident has all the hallmarks of an airstrike by the United States, which had launched similar attacks in the area, including a notorious botched missile strike on December 17 2009 in the neighbouring province of Abyan, which claimed the lives of dozens of women and children.

“Given how the Yemeni military is concerned with protecting the presidency, there has been little action from their part against al-Qaeda recently,” said Gregory Johnsen, a Yemen expert at Princeton University. “Most signs point to it being a US strike.”

Yemen is home to the potent and active al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a franchise of the global terrorist organisation which has been implicated in failed attempts to down international aircraft and assassinate a prominent Saudi official. One of its most charismatic leaders, American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, has also been successful in encouraging American citizens to carry out attacks.

If it was a US attack, it is not clear if it was linked to the killing of Osama bin Laden, the al Qaeda leader, earlier this week.

The impoverished south Arabian nation has been engulfed in the massive unrest sweeping the region in recent months, as a determined protest movement has sought to unseat the country’s president of 32 years.

When the country’s military split in March, with some siding with the demonstrators, many loyal government units were withdrawn to Sana’a, the capital, from already sparsely-governed tribal areas in which al-Qaeda cells are thought to operate.

US airstrikes have ceased since May 2010, when a US operation accidentally killed a prominent government ally and tribal sheikh in Yemen’s oil-rich east, which almost resulted in a massive rebellion by his disgruntled followers.

“The US likely wants to strike while the iron is hot, after bin Laden’s death,” added Mr Johnsen, “but it needs to be very careful not to exacerbate the situation, which is now more volatile than ever.”