Sunday, January 8, 2012

Restive Yemeni region fires security chief


January 8, 2012

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — A top official in Yemen's Taiz region says the regional council has fired the region's security chief, another blow to embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Council head Hamoud al-Sufi says the body voted to remove Brig. Gen. Abdullah Qairan after reviewing the province's security situation. Qairan commanded security during some the bloodiest crackdowns on anti-regime demonstrations.

Taiz has been a hotbed of protests during the 11-month popular uprising seeking to oust Saleh. Security forces have killed dozens of protesters there.

Qairan is one of a number of pro-Saleh leaders to lose their posts in recent weeks under mounting protests targeting those seen as corrupt.

Saleh signed a power transfer agreement but remains in office.

Yemeni opposition leaders says immunity for Saleh disputed

January 8, 2012

News Yemen

Sana'a, The spokesperson of the opposition Joint Meeting Parties on Saturday disclosed an argument between the General People’s Congress party and the Joint Meeting Parties over the content of the draft immunity law to Saleh and his aides.

Abdu al-Odaini said that the content suggested by the G PC party calls for immunity from prosecution for crimes that were committed and that will be committed in the future.

Al-Odaini said that reaching a national reconciliation instead of immunity law will solve many national problems, pointing that the JMP will present a proposal in this regard.

He said that the GP C party tries to escape its obligations regarding the implementation of the Gulf initiative and the presidential elections in 21 February.

al-Odaini said that the JMP is committed from the first moment of the signing of the Gulf initiative to the implementation of the initiative.

He stressed on the importance of the success of the coming presidential elections to transition from the stage of corruption and favoritism to the stage of civil state.

Do Islamic groups in Arab Spring nations threaten U.S. interests? Yes

By Lawrence J. Haas

January 8, 2012

At its best, U.S. policy toward the Middle East consists of a deft combination of short-term pragmatism and long-term idealism.

In the short term, Washington works to protect Israel and other U.S. allies, combat terrorism, rebuff Iran's hegemonic ambitions, and support regional stability, all of which ensures the continued flow of oil to power Western economies.

In the long run, Washington promotes the advance of freedom and democracy in the region and elsewhere to expand the circle of nations that share our values, reduce threats to U.S. national security, expand opportunity for hundreds of millions of people and create new markets for U.S. investment.

Unfortunately, the rise of Islamic movements in Egypt, Yemen, Libya and elsewhere threatens both our short- and long-run goals.

These groups, which include the Muslim Brotherhood and Nour Party in Egypt and al-Qaida- inspired jihadists in Yemen and Libya, are anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, anti-women, anti-Western and, indeed, anti-modern. At their most extreme, they seek to restore the region and convert the world to 7th- century life during the time of the Prophet Mohammad.

Consider recent Muslim Brotherhood- sponsored rallies in Egypt that featured calls to "one day kill all Jews," a wave of church bombings in nearby Nigeria by the group Boko Haram, whose motto is: "Western civilization is forbidden," and generalized violence against Christians across the region.

The ascendance of Islamic forces raises serious questions about whether they would scrap such key building blocks of regional stability as the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty and create more safe havens for anti-Western terrorists.

At the ballot box, in particular, experts fear that such groups will employ a "one man, one vote, one time" electoral strategy — secure political power legitimately and, with that power, impose strict, un-democratic shariah law on their societies.

The early returns are not encouraging.

In Egypt — historically the leading Arab state and the one from which others often take their signals — the Muslim Brotherhood won nearly 40 percent of the popular vote in recent parliamentary elections while the Nour Party that's affiliated with the more fundamentalist Salafis won almost 25 percent.

The Muslim Brotherhood wants to establish an Islamic state based on shariah and recognizes no right for Israel to exist or for Jews to live. The Nour Party would go further, creating a society akin to what the Taliban had established in Afghanistan — with all forms of modernity rejected and women reduced to slave-like status.

On the battlefield, al-Qaida-inspired militants in Yemen are capitalizing on the demise of President Ali Abdullah Saleh to expand their presence. Likewise in Libya, al-Qaida has deployed jihadists to create another safe haven for its operations.

Some U.S. foreign policy experts pine for the regional stability of pre-Arab Spring days. For Washington, however, the necessary path forward is to double-down on democracy and freedom — that is, to better assist the truly democratic forces that launched the Arab Spring and that seek a freer Middle East over the long term.

Yemen Cuts March Masila Crude Premium to $2.15 Over Brent

By Anthony DiPaola - Jan 8, 2012

Yemen cut the premium for March shipments of Masila Blend oil (PGCSMASI) by 27 percent from a month earlier, to $2.15 a barrel above the European benchmark Dated Brent crude, the state oil committee said.

The Middle Eastern state will sell 2.5 million barrels of Masila Blend to trader Arcadia Petroleum Ltd. at that price, according to an e-mailed statement today from the state oil committee. Yemen will issue a tender to sell the remaining 600,000 barrels of the grade available for purchase in March.

The March premium for Masila crude is lower than the price of $2.93 a barrel Yemen charged above the Dated Brent price for February cargoes. Yemen kept the premium for Marib Light grade crude at parity with Dated Brent, according to the statement.

7 dead as Yemen troops clash with militants

January 08, 2012

Agence France Presse

ADEN: Yemeni troops clashed with Al-Qaeda linked militants in a new attempt to regain control of Abyan province that left seven people dead, a military official said on Sunday.

A soldier and six militants were killed in the fighting, which erupted late on Saturday north of the southern province's capital Zinjibar, the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Three soldiers were also wounded.

Militants of the Partisans of Sharia (Islamic law) group overran much of Zinjibar last May and have retained their positions in the city and nearby towns despite repeated efforts by the army to dislodge them that have left hundreds dead.