Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Botched Yemeni airstrike harms anti-militant fight

August 2, 2011

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — A Yemeni security official says airstrikes last week accidentally killed four army officers and a tribal leader, dealing a major blow to the effort to push Islamist fighters from a southern town.

Ali Gaadani, a regional security chief in Abyan province, said Tuesday that two colonels, a lieutenant colonel, a major and a powerful tribal sheik were among the 40 people killed in the airstrikes.

Al-Qaida-linked Islamist militants overran the provincial capital of Zinjibar in May, and security forces have been battling them since.

The airstrikes Saturday accidentally hit a group of tribal fighters and army soldiers — just days after they launched an offensive against the militants.

Gaadani said the strike caused the fighters to withdraw, allowing the militants to widen the area under their control.

President Saleh says dialogue is the best way to address current crisis

SANA’A, August 01 (Saba)- President Ali Abdullah Saleh has assured the Yemeni people on his health and the health of state officials who were injured with him in the 03 June attack on the presidential palace's mosque in Sana’a, asserting that they are recovering well.

in his address to nation on the advent of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, President Saleh thanked all honest people for the flood of feelings, love and loyalty they display towards him. He urged all political parties to resort to dialogue as it remains to be the only approach to get out and the best way to resolve crises, conflicts and differences.

The President reiterated his call on all parties to adopt calm and to renounce violence, extremism and subversion, and not to deal with reactions, whatever the reasons and justifications, stressing the necessity of all political factions to abide by the Gulf initiative and the statement of the UN Security Council as a platform to resolve the crisis in the country.

The president affirmed that the change which everyone seeks could not be reached through means of violence and coups and by promoting a culture of hatred and plotting conspiracies against the political rivals.

He urged all to move beyond the past and get this opportunity to meet for dialogue and tolerance, and to remove tensions from the cities, roads and squares and invest the spiritual climates which this Holy month provided for agreement on what maintaining the nation and keeping it away from tragedies.

Following is the text of address by President Saleh.

May prayers and peace be upon His honest and trustworthy prophet Muhammad - the last of all prophets and messengers - his household, and his companions.

On the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan, it is gives me the pleasure to send you my warmest congratulations and my best wishes from my medical treatment bed, here in Saudi Arabia.

I assure our loyal Yemeni fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters and all the great considerate people that I and all the officials wounded in the criminal, treacherous, and sinful incident are recovering well. This has been possible thanks to God's providence, the prayers of the honest and loyal Yemenis, and the care and consideration of the brothers in Saudi Arabia, particularly King Abdullah.

It is my pleasure to salute you whole-heartedly, with the greetings of peace and Islam! At the beginning of this speech, it gives me the pleasure to extend to you, Yemenis, and to the people of our Arab and Islamic nation my best wishes along with my prayers, as I ask God to prevent our Arab and Islamic countries, peoples, and nation from all hardships and dangers during this holy month of Ramadan.

We should make the Holy Koran our source of reference in all our worldly and religious matters, as ordered by God the Almighty. We should seek our decisions from the Koran and hold on to God's rulings because anything else will drag our countries and people into the shafts of perdition and sedition.

It gives me the pleasure to take this annual religious opportunity - which is dear and precious to our hearts - to discuss a number of issues that the homeland and the citizens are concerned with This way we can have a common vision about such issues and always look forward to positivity and achievements. In fact, despite the conditions and circumstances witnessed in our country, we should give free rein to our hopes and ambitions in welcoming the auspicious month [of Ramadan] which is the month of all good, beneficence, blessings, and charity.

We should consolidate our trust in the Almighty and express our beseeching to Him to have mercy on us, forgive our sins, guide us to the path of the righteous ones, and grant us the strength to perform the religious duty of fasting by submitting to and obeying Him, hoping to be receive His special reward.

Yes, I am addressing the believers, the wise ones, and the rational men of our nation, prompting their motivation, provoking their jealousy, and reinforcing their determination so that they can wake up and realize the dangers and challenges facing the country. This is due to the political situation in our country. It has become our duty to overcome the political, economical, and security crisis as well as the extremely difficult social conditions.

This blessed month, with its spiritual and fiducial atmospheres, represents an opportunity for one to review his deeds and return to God. It also represents a halt to purify the human soul which gets elevated over the mortal creatures of this world. We hope from our businessmen brothers to consider the specificity of this holy month and refrain from raising the prices as well as monopolizing the basic commodities and services catering to the citizens' needs.

We gave instructions to the concerned departments to perform their duties in all governorates in cooperation with local councils and security committees. These departments are expected to shoulder their national responsibilities of providing the citizens with their basic necessities during this blessed month.

They will take appropriate action against those who exploit the crisis that the country is experiencing by manipulating prices, commodities, and main services. Action will be taken too against those who attempt to take advantage of simple citizens amid the current political crisis, depriving them of the essentials, such as food, fuel, electricity, and water. Furthermore, we gave orders to the government to intensify its activities and take swift and appropriate action to provide oil derivatives and ensure the continuous supply of electricity in all governorates.

We request our brother citizens not to block the path of the fuel tankers carrying petrol, diesel, and gas, cooperate effectively with the government efforts to ensure conveyance of peoples' needs to all areas, and stop whoever tries to obstruct government efforts in providing essential public services.

On this religious occasion, we reiterate our call to all the forces from across the national political spectrum to resort to dialogue, as it is the only way out of the crisis and the most ideal means to resolve crises, disputes, and disagreements.

In fact, there is no alternative to a dialogue inspired from the national principles and the constitution. This is the civilized means followed by all free and living peoples on earth to achieve reform and change for the better. In addition, we renew our call to all the forces to achieve calm, renounce to violence, extremism, and sabotage, and refrain from dealing with the situation by displaying reactions, regardless of the reasons and justifications behind such reactions. In fact, violence can only breed violence and the simple citizen is always the victim.

On this occasion, we would like to stress the necessity for the active political forces to uphold the Gulf initiative as well as the UN efforts and statement as a platform for resolving the Yemeni national crisis. We would like as well to take this opportunity to express our gratitude and appreciation for the efforts exerted by the brothers in the GCC, the American friends, the EU states, and the UN Secretariat General.

The change that everybody seeks cannot be achieved through violence, disseminating the culture of hatred, the mentality of coups, concocting conspiracies, and killing political competitors. Such backward and immoral means will lead to further uncertainties, complicate further the situation, and exacerbate the crisis.

In addition, such means have become obsolete with the end of the totalitarian regimes and the advent of the new dawn of unity. Unity brought in political diversity, press freedom, the preservation of human rights, and consolidating the principle of transition of power through democratic mechanisms which are pre-approved by all democratic states in the world.

Such a transition of power will take place through the ballot boxes. Accessing to power cannot take place through spreading scare and chaos, blocking roads, harming the people's interests. It cannot take place either by increasing the people's suffering and depriving them from the basic requirements of life, such as food, water, electricity, and fuel.

The people lack security and safety. Facilities and great achievements accomplished by our people's efforts and hard work have sustained heavy damage. They were once inspired by the revolution, the republic, and the blessed unity. Unity has been achieved thanks to the great and valued sacrifices consolidated with freedom and democracy as a national option for our struggling and proud people, who cannot allow that their will, national options, accomplishments, and gains be dealt with lightly.

On top of all of these, there is unity which cannot be neglected. No one can afford failing to assume the responsibility of defending unity, security, and stability. No one should fail to preserve the people's freedoms and rights and maintain their democratic and diverse path.

This duty should be fulfilled regardless of the conspiracies fuelled by grudge, illegal aspirations to accede to power, and domestic rebellion against constitutional legitimacy. There are also various acts of incitement and enticements made by some malicious people abroad and targeting national security and stability. Yet, we will defend national unity with all our strength, just as we maintained revolution and its eternal republican regime.

We cannot allow ourselves or anyone - be him an individual, a group, or a party - to stand in the way of the legitimate aspirations of the people in achieving development and change. This can take place freely and democratically, away from any distortion of the people's awareness and truths and reliance on the despicable tribal sensitivities and blatant regional sentiment. We should all struggle to reflect the principle of peaceful transition of power, constitutionally and democratically.

Along this path, we should also struggle to support serious and responsible national efforts to achieve a comprehensive agreement which will be approved and upheld by all political forces to find a way out of the current political crisis. We should also struggle to address all pending issues and problems. We should achieve the desired change in the political regime, achieve reforms in the structures of the central and local state institutions, and achieve local governance with full powers.

Along this path, we commend the loyal national efforts exerted by Vice President Abdo Rabbo Mansur Hadi to resolve the crisis and the dialogue he is holding with the political forces. We hope that a positive response will be given to his constructive efforts, to prevent the suffering of the people and provide the basic public services. We also hope that the political forces will react seriously and responsibly to these efforts in order to mend the rift and step out of the current crisis.

We hope that everyone will give top priority to the highest national interests over all other partisan or personal and narrow ones. We hope that everyone will give priority to wisdom and reason and neglect trivialities, so that security, stability, tranquility, and civil peace will prevail countrywide. This way the feelings of compassion and fraternity will return among all Yemenis. In fact, with further dialogue, understanding, and rationalism, national harmony can be achieved, as well as the aspirations of reform and change for the better, as put forward by our youths and all the segments of our great Yemeni people.

There is no doubt that our people cannot be lenient and deviate an inch away from establishing righteousness and reinforcing the rule of justice against these against these criminals who intentionally and calculatedly committed the most heinous crimes of treachery, terrorism, and betrayal.

They plotted, planed, prepared, and executed their crime. They killed innocent souls, shed pure blood, and spread destruction and chaos. The hand of justice should reach such gutless criminals and the judiciary shall have the final word on their fate.

We ask Almighty God to forgive and have mercy on the souls of all martyrs and make them rest in His paradise with the prophets and righteous ones, so that they can live in the presence of their God. We also ask God to heal and protect all those wounded and injured, as God listens to our prayers and answers them. On this holy religious occasion, we salute the brave servicemen heroes with pride, admiration, and appreciation.

They remained steadfast in the battlegrounds of honour and heroism and during their preparations and training. They are the safety valve of the revolution, the republic, and unity. They are the protectors of the land and the constitutional legitimacy. They did not deviate from or renounced the values and principles for which they dedicated their lives. They promised God and their country to remain loyal to their beliefs, protect them, and make sacrifices for their sake. They were not lured by the temptations, deceptive campaigns, falsehoods, and frauds, which were displayed to entrap them into deviation and push them to give up their values, break their promises, and reject national legitimacy. They remained steadfast and will remain so in all circumstances while performing their sacred national duty and fulfilling their responsibilities. They defended sovereignty, independence, and national security and confronted terrorists, extremists, vandals, and outlaws. They will face anyone who tries to disrupt security and stability, disturb public tranquility, intimidate innocent people, spread chaos, or wreak havoc on the nation and citizens.

I would also like to extend my thanks and appreciation to all our loyal people including men, women, elderly, and children who showered me with love and displayed loyalty. This is not strange to the Yemenis, who were once described by the great Prophet - may God's prayers and peace be upon him - to be faithful and wise.

You - the sons of our proud Yemeni people - are the grandsons of Prophet's supporters, may God's prayers and peace be upon him, and the grandsons of the conquerors. History lined your noble stances, genuine morals, and legendary steadfastness on righteousness in bright letters. High mountains belong to you and your souls are uniquely proud and steadfast.

Moreover, I would like to extend great thanks and gratitude to my brother King Abdullah for his hospitality.

They have done whatever is in their power and provided all medical care needed to treat me and treat the parliament speaker, the prime minister, the head of the Shura Council, the two deputies of the prime minister, and all other civil and military officials targeted with us in the vicious and treacherous attack of the Al-Nahdayn Mosque. The latter are still receiving medical treatment in the hospitals of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

His Majesty was a good brother. He did not spare any effort in providing us with the best medical care and attention. This is not strange to him and his brothers, their majesty, the princes. He is well known for his Arab and Islamic genuine, noble, and principled stances and his unwavering courage and dignity.

We would also like to extend our thanks to all the brothers and leaders who stood by our side as soon as the heinous crime was committed, offering various support. We are referring here to our brothers in the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and all brothers and friends who kept on inquiring about us, following up our news, and expressing their support to the Yemenis, and their leadership, unity, freedom, security, and stability.

I extend thanks and gratitude on my personal behalf and on the behalf of the leadership, government, and all the loyal and noble Yemenis, who will never forget such stances and will be always grateful.

Once again, we call for letting bygones be bygones, and we hope that the holy month of Ramadan would be a chance for everyone to meet, talk, become tolerant, and remove the tension from the cities, roads, squares, and arenas. We call for taking advantage of the spiritual atmosphere that characterizes this holy month to reach an agreement on what protects and preserves the homeland and what spares it tragedies and horrors.

Yemen cannot witness the end of its ordeal as long as tension and entrenchment - considered to be barbarian and backward - are witnessed in Sanaa's streets. We look forward to overcoming such a situation as required by a genuine democracy where relevant practices are put in place, excluding any harm done to the citizens and any destruction of the homeland.

We praise God before anything else and at all times for all the blessings He granted us. We thank Almighty God for His blessings and ask Him for more righteousness, guidance, and blessings. God listens to our prayers and answers them. May you have a blessed month and I wish you many happy returns of this occasion. May God's peace, mercy, and blessings be upon you.

Yemen's Saleh not to transfer power for incapacity: spokesman

SANAA, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is being treated in Riyadh for injuries from a June attack, would not transfer power for the condition of incapacity set by the Yemeni Constitution, a government spokesman said Monday.

"The burn injuries of President Saleh do not mean he is under incapacity, which set by the Yemeni Constitution as a reason to transfer power to his deputy Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi," Abdu al- Janadi, who serves as the deputy information minister, told reporters at a press conference in Sanaa.

"But Vice President Hadi, who was assigned as the acting president by President Saleh before he left for a Saudi military hospital following the assassination attack on his palace in Sanaa on June 3, has all the authorities to lead and direct all military commanders and the government," al-Janadi said.

Al-Janadi also accused defected military commanders of attempting to ignite civil war by supporting opposition tribesmen in the fight against the government troops in the northern province of Sanaa and southern province of Taiz, where on-and-off clashes left hundreds dead from both sides.

The embattled president, who has faced six months of protests demanding an immediate end to his 33-year rule, vowed to return to power and lead a national conciliation dialogue with his opponents soon.

A close aide to Saleh told Xinhua that "doctors treating Saleh' s injuries in the Saudi military hospital could allow him to come back to Sanaa by the end of the first week of August to resume his presidential duties."

Saleh on Sunday delivered a speech, calling opposition to restart the Gulf-mediated dialogue to end the prolonged political crisis.