Monday, July 4, 2011

Yemeni opposition drafts transitional ruling council

SANAA, July 4 (Xinhua) -- Yemeni opposition coalition unilaterally released a draft on forming a transitional ruling council on Monday, saying "Gulf mediators were not serious enough about pressing the wounded President Ali Abdullah Saleh to implement the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) power transition plan. "

"Due to obstructions by Saleh's aides and the lack of seriousness of the Gulf mediators to press Saleh's followers to implement the GCC initiative and accelerate the power transition to Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in accordance with the Yemeni constitution, it has been imperative for the opposition to form a transitional ruling council as soon as possible," the opposition said in a statement.

In the statement, which was obtained by Xinhua, the opposition also said they were "in continuing meeting with their allies, including the protesters and political forces of separatist Southern Movement and Houthi-led Shi'ite rebels, in preparation to declare the establishment of post-Saleh transitional ruling council very soon."

In a quick reaction to the opposition's step, the ruling party' s spokesman Tarik al-Shami told Xinhua Monday that "what has been prepared by the opposition for unilaterally declaring a transitional ruling council is considered to be a coup against the Yemeni constitutional legitimacy and against the GCC-brokered peaceful power-transition initiative."

Al-Shami also warned the opposition leaders that "such council will not be recognized by the Yemeni government, nor by the international community, because President Saleh is still the legitimate leader of the country until 2013, and he will return within next few days to Sanaa to resume his duties as the president of Yemen."

Protests demanding ouster of Saleh and his sons and aides packed the streets across major provinces on Monday to hail the opposition's step of establishing the transitional council, calling for accelerating the process of announcing the council, said witnesses.

The frequent street protests almost paralyzed all the economic activities in the impoverished Arab country, which was in the grip of the deterioration in security situations and severe shortages in fuel, electricity, water, and medicine supplies.

Yemen protesters blame regime


July 4, 2011

SANAA - Tens of thousands of Yemenis protested in the capital Sanaa on Monday, accusing the authorities of plotting a takeover by extremists of the southern province of Abyan.

The demonstrators marched towards the residence of Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, chanting slogans accusing the authorities of "facilitating the takeover by Al-Qaeda elements" of Abyan.

A five-strong delegation representing the protesters was blocked by guards outside the residence from meeting the deputy of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Under the Yemeni constitution, Hadi replaced the president when he was flown to Saudi Arabia a month ago to be treated for wounds sustained in an explosion at the presidential palace.

In the letter, the protesters urged Hadi to bring an end to what they called "the joke" in Abyan and to take "all necessary measures to protect people" there.

They also demanded that the government reinforce troops fighting alleged Al-Qaeda militants in Abyan.

Yemeni forces have been engaged in heavy fighting with suspected Al-Qaeda militants in Zinjibar, the provincial capital, since late May.

A commander said on Saturday that 50 troops have been posted as missing after clashes with militants around Zinjibar. At least 135 troops have been killed in the clashes, according to military sources.

The commander accused the defence ministry of abandoning the 25th Mechanised Brigade soldiers to their fate in the face of repeated attacks by the Partisans of Sharia (Islamic Law) movement who seized much of Zinjibar in late May.

The Sanaa government says the militants are allied with Al-Qaeda, but the opposition accuses the regime of playing up a jihadist threat in a desperate attempt to keep the embattled Saleh in power.

Saleh had been a key US ally in its "war on terror," but has faced mass protests against his rule since January.

Meanwhile, witnesses reported that thousands of people joined a protest on Monday in the city of Ibb, 190 kilometres (118 miles) south of Sanaa, urging Saudi Arabia to prevent Saleh returning to power.

"Saleh will not return!" they chanted.

The veteran president, 69, who has been in power since 1978, has not appeared in public since the June 3 blast at a mosque in the presidential compound killed 11 people and wounded 124 others, among them senior officials.

In Saleh's absence, Hadi has come under pressure from the parliamentary opposition and the West to assume power, while protesters are demanding that he form an interim ruling council.

Hadi's grip on power is seen as shaky, however, as Saleh relatives hold main security posts. Key among them is his son Ahmed, who leads the elite Republican Guard.

Empty pipeline blown up in Yemen

04 July 2011

An empty oil pipeline in Maarib province has been attacked yet again by Yemeni tribesmen last week, adding another blow to the country’s energy sector. The secondary pipeline ran dry since an attack by tribesmen in mid-March, Reuters reported.

The lack of flow from the main pipeline had forced Yemen's 150,000-bpdAden refinery to halt operations. The refinery restarted two weeks ago when Saudi-donated crude arrived in the port.

The attack came a few days after a Yemeni official told Reuters the government was considering a military operation to take control of the area if local tribesmen did not allow the main Marib crude pipeline to be repaired soon.

“The repair of the oil pipeline will be carried out within the coming days in addition to the import of big quantities of import of crude oil and products,” said acting president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Al Qaeda seemed to be determined to declare the whole south of Yemen as Islamic Emirate

By Nasser Arrabyee/04/07/2011

Al Qaeda fighters vowed to seize the southern coastal city of Aden after they controlled a stadium and tightened the blockade on a military camp close to the city, said Sunday a tribal leader mediating between the government and Al Qaeda.

The tribal leader, Ali Abdul Salam, known as Mulla Zabara, said Al Qaeda leaders told him today Sunday “they are determined to enter Aden very soon” and that they would not accept any more mediation from now on.

Mulla Zabara failed for the second time in two days to get out dozens of dead bodies and injured soldiers who fell victims late last week when Al Qaeda fighters stormed the Stadium of May 22 at the outskirt of Al Qaeda held city of Zinjubar.

By such an attack, Al Qaeda apparently wanted to tighten the blockade on the military camps of 25 Mic, which is only less than 50 km from Aden.

Mulla Zabara is from Shabwah province and is a relative of one the Al Qaeda leaders who are now ruling the province of Abyan as an Islamic Emirate.

The army shelled Al Qaeda leaders who were supposed to meet Mulla Zabara on Sunday making them to disappear in trees at the outskirt of Zinjubar. Two days earlier, airplanes bombings on Al Qaeda sites thwarted efforts of the mediator Mulla Zabara to reach the Stadium to take the dead and injured soldiers.

After this second treacherous attack, Al Qaeda leader Fahd Al Qusu, called me saying (Do not mediate any more , do not believe them, they just want to kill us through you),” said Mulla Zabara who is cousin of Al Qusu.

Mulla Zabara said Al Qaeda told him they would not allow any mediators to come to take dead bodies or injured.

They already buried about 25 dead bodies,” said Mulla Zabara.

He said for humanitarian reason he would continue mediations with Al Qaeda, but with his own conditions.

I would tell those who ask me to mediate like the minister of defense, to bring their sons or brothers with me next time,” he said.

When asked why Al Qaeda trusts him and why it would trust him in the future, he said, “Al Qaeda people know me very well, they know I am not paid by the government, they know I want to do the good for the sake of God not for the money or any other thing,” He said.

I do not hate Al Qaeda, why should I,” he added.

In a previous meeting with Al Qaeda people earlier last month, Mulla Zabara said he met in Zinjubar important leaders of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular like Qasem Al Raimi, and Saeed Al Shihri, the Saudi leader. “I think ever one is there,” he said.

About the blockaded military camp of 25 Mica in Zinjubar, Al Qaeda said they ready to let them go but without any weapons or equipments.

We will keep imposing the siege on them until they surrender or die,” Mulla Zabara quoted his cousin Fahd Al Qusu, one of Al Qaeda leaders who is wanted by the CIA.

Meanwhile, the Yemeni army said in statement on Sunday, it is confronting Al Qaeda in Abyan, and the sympathizers of Al Qaeda in three other places nowadays.

In Arhab, 40km north of the capital Sana’a, Al Haima, about 60 km west of the capital, and Taiz about 260 km south of the capital.

The statement mentioned three tribal leaders from these places as the leaders of the popular army of the Islamist opposition party, Islah or brotherhood.

Mansour Al Hanik in Arhab, Rabish Wahban in Al Haima, and Hamoud Saeed Al Mekhlafi in Sharab, Taiz.