Monday, August 15, 2011

Rival militants killed in south Yemen clashes


15 August 2011

ADEN — Clashes between rival extremist groups on Monday left four fighters dead and seven others wounded in Yemen’s restive southern province of Abyan, witnesses said.

A group under the leadership of Abdellatif Sayyed, who has distanced himself from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, asked alleged members of AQAP to leave the town of Jaar.

But a witness said the latter, who are loyal to a local Al-Qaeda leader named Abu Ali Hadrami, refused, triggering a series of clashes that caused casualties on both sides.

Jaar is 12 kilometres (seven miles) north of the provincial capital of Zinjibar which was seized in May by Partisans of Sharia (Islamic Law), an organisation linked to the Al-Qaeda network.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is an affiliate of the global network accused of anti-US plots, including an attempt to blow up a US-bound aircraft on Christmas Day 2009.

Yemen is also the ancestral homeland of slain jihadist leader Osama bin Laden.

Fear for Yemen Jews as conflict continues

By Jennifer Lipman, August 15, 2011

Groups of Yemeni Jews are reportedly fleeing their homes as the conflict between the government and rebels, including those backed by Al-Qaida, shows no sign of subsiding.

According to an article in the Yemen Post, seven Jews from the Amran province have already left and another eight are planning to go as soon as possible. It is unclear where they plan to go.

Yemen's long-time president Ali Abdullah Salah has refused to relinquish power, despite six months of uprisings and protests in the already lawless state.

Yemen was once home to a thriving Jewish population, but after Israel gained independence many of its 60,000 Jews fled or were airlifted to Israel on Operation Magic Carpet.

The community has now declined to less than 300 people spread across the country. Many have been attempting to leave and start new lives in the UK, US or Israel for some time.

Despite campaigns in recent years by MPs Diane Abbot and Mike Freer, the government has not granted Yemeni Jews, with links to British families, permission to settle in Britain.

5 Al-Qaida Militants Killed, 8 Wounded in Airstrikes in South Yemen

Xinhua August 15, 2011

At least five al-Qaida militants were killed and eight others injured on Monday when warplanes of the Yemeni air forces raided several hideouts of the terrorist group in the southern province of Abyan, local army officers said.

Several government buildings and compounds seized by the al- Qaida militants late in May were pounded in the airstrikes in downtown Zinjibar city, the provincial capital of Abyan province, leaving five members of the terrorist group killed and eight others injured, the officer told Xinhua, asking to remain anonymous.

"Huge damages were caused to the government buildings and compounds, which used to be places of the al-Qaida militants for meetings and military operations," he added.

A source close to the al-Qaida militants told Xinhua on condition of anonymity that disputes broke out Monday among the leading members of the terrorist group on "managing the affairs of Abyan's second largest-city of Jaar."

"Disagreements on how to manage the affairs of the al-Qaida seized Jaar city led to clashes among themselves in the al-Ree neighborhood in Jaar," he said.

No information about casualties of the clashes was available, according to the source.

Abyan, some 480 km south of the capital Sanaa, has become almost under control of resurgent al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula since the militants seized Zinjibar and Jaar late in May.

Yemen official blames opposition chief for Saleh hit

Mon Aug 15, 2011

DUBAI (Reuters) - A prominent opposition leader is the main suspect in the attempt to assassinate Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a member of the ruling party said in comments published on Monday.

Saleh is clinging to power despite months of protests against his 33-year rule that have evolved in some regions into serious armed conflict, increasing fears of anarchy that could be exploited by al Qaeda militants entrenched in Yemen.

A bomb blast in Saleh's palace mosque in June forced him to seek medical treatment in neighbouring Saudi Arabia, where he is still convalescing from extensive burn wounds while impoverished Yemen churns in the throes of a political crisis.

"There is no longer room for doubt that Hamid al-Ahmar is the prime suspect in the sinful assassination attempt to which the president of the republic and a number of officials were subjected," Sultan al-Barakani told the Saudi-owned pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat on Monday.

"The results of the investigation indicate that the SIM cards used in the operation all belonged to the company Sabafon which is owned by Hamid al-Ahmar," added Barakani, head of the General People's Congress parliamentary bloc.

Sabafon is Yemen's leading mobile network operator.

Hamid al-Ahmar is a leading figure in the powerful Ahmar tribe and a wealthy businessman with a senior position in the Islamist opposition party Islah. He is the brother of Sadeq al-Ahmar whose forces engaged in heavy fighting with Saleh loyalists in the weeks before he was injured on June 3.

Ahmar on Sunday denied responsibility for the attack that also injured the prime minister, two deputy prime ministers and the speakers of both parliamentary chambers. In an interview with Asharq al-Awsat he said Saleh's sons and guards were behind it, in a bid to consolidate their inheritance of power.

U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks say that Ahmar told the then- U.S. ambassador that he wanted to draw up a plan in 2009 to force Saleh out of power involving mass protests around the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country.

The cable highlights Saudi and US scepticism about whether this would be possible.

Ahmar told the ambassador Saleh needed to guarantee the fairness of parliamentary elections that were scheduled for this year and to remove his sons, who he called "clowns," from positions of power.

Saleh's son Ahmed is head of the presidential guard.

The United States and Saudi Arabia want to ensure a smooth transition of power in Yemen to avert instability that would give al Qaeda militants more opportunity to solidify their position and use Yemen as a springboard for foreign attacks.

GCC Yemen Plan Sees Fresh Amendments – Paper

Sana'a, August 15, 2011- The GCC-brokered plan for power transition in Yemen has been modified for the sixth time amid mounting external pressure on President Saleh to sign it and amid growing concerns about the situation in the country.

The UAE Al-Bayan newspaper quoted Yemeni diplomats as saying that essential amendments had been made to the plan focused on the mechanism to implement it and approving a two-phase transition period that guarantees Saleh’s exit through elections.

The diplomats, who asked not to be identified, said the amendments had been suggested by the UN envoy who visited Yemen weeks ago to bridge the gap between the Yemeni parties and help bring a solution to the Yemeni crisis. “Under the fresh amendment the transitional period shall consist of two phases,” the paper reported on Sunday.

During the first phase that shall complete by the end of the year, the ruling party and the opposition shall agree to elect Vice President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi as head of Yemen.

And the second phase will be two years during which amendments to the constitution would be approved and the regime changed until new parliamentary elections are held,” the paper said.

President Saleh, convalescing in Saudi Arabia after a June assassination attempt in his compound, is facing mounting pressure by the U.S., the EU and Saudi Arabia to sign the deal, coinciding with reports that he had written the U.S. administration to show his readiness to do that and stay in Saudi Arabia.

The president, whose regime has been facing month-long protests seeking its ouster in most Yemeni cities, has also been warned not to return home, amid fears his return might lead to more violence.

Saleh had backed out of signing the GCC West-backed deal three times at the last minute.

Meantime, Saleh, who was reported days ago to have set new conditions to sign the deal, continued to maneuver as he refused a condition set by the opposition calling for restructuring the armed and security forces before holding any elections.

The Yemeni diplomats were also quoted as saying that Saleh will transfer power to his deputy, Hadi, from Saudi Arabia and that the opposition will be responsible for forming a national unity government.

But the Joint Meeting Parties, the opposition bloc, insists on restructuring the armed and security forces before any presidential elections or any procedure to start the transition period in Yemen to ensure there will be national forces to protect their agreement with the ruling party.

Related News :GCC Proposal to solve the Yemen Crises