Wednesday, October 12, 2011

US uses Qaeda to gain foothold in Yemen

Wed Oct 12, 2011

Interview with writer and researcher Ali Masfari from London

An analyst says that the US is using al-Qaeda as an excuse to gain entry into Yemen and take control of its wealth in the country's southern region.

Press TV interviews writer and researcher Ali Masfari to further discuss the current situation in Yemen.

Below is a rush transcription of the interview:

Press TV:The UNSC meeting on Yemen, the concerns about the humanitarian situation and the resolution calling on Saleh to sign the PGCC deal. Isn't this response a bit late in coming?

Masfari: I think that in spite of the fact that the [UN] Security Council came too late to discuss the matter, I still hope that they will reach a solution for two issues. First, to stop the famine and starvation in Yemen and secondly, to reach a solution for the two great issues there; the cause of the South and the current situation with the revolution in Sana'a. But I think that the resolution is going farther in spite of the veto that may be voted by Russia, but as I heard today the language of Russia is now better than a few days ago, that they are going to obey the resolution of the Security Council.

Press TV:Why has Saleh been so on and off about this deal? He's kept saying he's going to step down but doesn't. Is his latest announcement another "delaying tactic"? What does he want to achieve with a delay?

Masfari: You know, he's addicted to power for 33 years he has been ruling the country, and he is also finding himself as to so many journalists in Sana'a in 2000, that 'with this knife, I came to office and with this knife I will leave this office'. So, he says something now but he does not hold his promise. He says to the [Persian] Gulf states that he is going to obey and take more actions as to transfer power to his vice president and also to the new revolution.

But what he did until now, he is just forming more maneuvers according to the tribes or the military units to show that he is still holding control over them. And he still thinks that he has the power or the possibility in order to conquer the situation and also to come back to power again.

Press TV: According to the US, their presence in Yemen is because of the existence of al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula, the threat that they have named in Yemen. Tell us about that threat. Is this just something that the US has played up, or do you think that there is a real threat there and that the way to treat it and to deal with it is to extend drone strikes and to extend the military presence in Yemen?

Masfari: I think that according to the current situation in Afghanistan and *the way the US was defeated there, they want now to just find there extension in a new area. I think that according to their new search for oil and wealth particularly in the South, that has drawn the attention of many super powers to be also present there. Now we find 300 warships are roaming around the Gulf of Aden, and now the situation in the south as well as the North, is in chaos and al-Qaeda is only an excuse or justification, according to the plan or map which was already set up during the strength of Ali Abdullah Saleh in order to find a solution for the current situation.

If there is a revolution or demands in the South for liberation and getting their independence, they need that also as coverage in order to avoid this revolution in the North now and also the peaceful revolution in the South. This is the secret of the whole issue. Now you find that all the super powers are also in contradiction, confrontation, and also accommodation, according to their interests in the area. What they are behind is the national security of Israel is involved and included. So nobody can hold control over the whole country or what's called the Republic of Yemen. Secondly, the late response of the US and the international community has also given the base elements to make these flames now in the area.

So, the sparks now are not only in Yemen or the South. This spark is also going to the Southern African countries, which can also make huge explosions in the other areas.

Press TV: I'd like to focus on the future of Yemen and how a post-revolutionary Yemen would look like if there is a National Transitional (NTC) ruling council in Yemen. Some people have been saying that it would include all parts representing all parts of Yemen, including the representatives and the protesters, the youth, the southern movement, the Houthis movement. Now do you think that would be even possible, and if so, would it be threatening the interests of any parties even outside Yemen including the US, for instance.

Masfari: You are right. It is going in the interest of all parties. But first of all, if the international community now does not acknowledge and recognize the rights of our Houthis and the revolution of al-Herak in the South and their human and political rights now.

Yemen will be in chaos; not like Somalia, not like Afghanistan, not like Iraq, not like Lebanon. It will be mixed to the point where nobody can open it, and find a solution afterwards. So we are going to lose all the hope and also all the possibilities of finding a solution for that issue and this will be not only a danger for the peace in the region, but it will be extended to other southern countries.

Even though the US or international community now, thinking that remaining outside without holding their fingers together, with the political determination of the people there, and to crush their interests of the people, they are going to lose the whole issue and start back at the beginning.

UN: Millions face hunger in strife-torn Yemen

Oct 12, 2011

Rome/Sanaa, Yemen - The World Food Programme (WFP) said Wednesday it is scaling up efforts to feed 3.5 million people who are facing hunger in strife-torn Yemen.

'Rising food prices and political instability have left millions of people in Yemen hungry and vulnerable,' Josette Sheeran, the executive director of the Rome-based UN agency, said in a statement.

Food prices have risen 'dramatically' since the beginning of this year, with the price of bread doubling in the past six months, pushing even more people into hunger and food insecurity, WFP said.

Food shortages were particularly high in Yemen's governorates of Rayma, Amran, Hajjah and Ibb, WFP said.

'Even before the crisis, more than 50 per cent of Yemeni children were chronically malnourished and more than 13 per cent were acutely malnourished,' WFP said.

The UN food agency said it is also assisting over 70,000 people who have fled their homes due to ongoing fighting in the South and around half a million displaced in the North as a result of the seven-year long conflict in the governorate of Saada between Shiite rebels and government troops.

Security In Yemen 'Deteriorating Dramatically,' UN Envoy Tells Security Council


(RTTNews) - U.N. Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Yemen Jamal Benomar has said that the security situation in that Arab country has "deteriorated very dramatically."

The top United Nations official on Yemen was addressing a news conference after briefing the Security Council on Tuesday on the "very serious" situation inside the country as violent clashes continued between supporters and opponents of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, despite international efforts to promote a peaceful political transition.

Benomar told reporters that five or six provinces were out of government control. A large area in the north was controlled by al-Houthi rebels, and al-Qaeda militants had captured three cities and an important geographic area in the south, while capital Sanaa was divided between rival forces.

"The Yemeni people have suffered throughout this crisis," and it is high time that a "quick, peaceful and orderly transition can start as soon as possible," he said, and added that the Council meeting "is an expression of their anxiety" as they discuss what action they want to take.

Yemen is one of a handful of countries across Middle-East and North Africa where large numbers of civilians have risen up this year to call for greater democracy and freedoms. Several people have died in clashes and protests and U.N. officials have repeatedly warned about the humanitarian and human rights situation.

Benomar stressed that his work as Special Adviser was focused on using the good offices of the Secretary-General to support existing regional and international efforts to resolve the crisis.

Meanwhile, responding to a question at a news conference in the Danish capital Copenhagen, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said: "President Saleh should take immediately decisive political reforms so that people can live in a better world without fear of oppression and there must be full protection of human rights."

For her part, U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos called on the the international community to take steps to tackle the humanitarian crisis in the impoverished Arab country, warning that inaction could lead to a repetition of the dire situation afflicting Somalia.

She said a third of the Yemeni people go to bed hungry. Hospitals and clinics are overcrowded or not working at all, access to safe water is becoming increasingly difficult, and tens of thousands of children are losing their education due to school closures.

"Making matters worse, insecurity has forced U.N. agencies and other humanitarian organizations to cut back their staff or leave," she said and warned that "If we don't act now, the situation" in Yemen, which is the poorest country in the region, "could become a catastrophe."

Separately, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova condemned the killing of two Yemeni journalists early this month, and called on the authorities to ensure the safety of media workers.