Friday, March 2, 2012

Yemeni militant group says killed CIA agent in Aden

March 2, 2012
ADEN (Reuters) - A Yemeni Islamist group linked to al Qaeda said on Friday it had attacked and killed a CIA officer in the southern province of Aden, but a Yemeni security official said there were no casualties when a U.S. security team was attacked there.
In a text message sent to journalists in Yemen, Ansar al-Sharia said: "The mujihadeen (holy warriors) killed a CIA officer on Thursday while he was in Aden province, after tracking him and determining he was cooperating with the Sanaa government."
An earlier message from the same group said it had targeted a U.S. intelligence officer, without mentioning casualties.
A Yemeni security official in Aden, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a gunman fired on a U.S. security team involved in training Yemeni security forces on Thursday, but that the shots had hit their armoured vehicle without injuring anyone.

At least 22 people injured in Sa'ada Province in Bomb Blast

By Fatik Al-Rodaini
Sana'a, March 2, 2012 -
Sa'ada province, in Yemen's northern province witnessed on Friday a bomb blast hit an anti-U.S. protest, wounding at least 22 people.
No one claims its responsibility for the attack, but Houthi group accused in a statement the United States of standing behind the attack, without elaborating further details.
However, Houthis who control much of the north of the country, on Yemen's northwestern border with Saudi Arabia, have their real enemies and they are prime targets for AQAP and Sunni groups, who have a difference ideological, intellectual and doctrinal with Houthis.
Houthis always accuse the U.S intelligence agencies of carrying out attack against Shi'ite group. According to analysts the attack was intended to provoke sectarian divisions between Yemenis, and bore the hallmarks of the resurgent Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), because the AQAP carried out three similar attacks against the Houthi Group in Saada and Jawf provinces last the two years.
The Shiite rebels led by Saada-based Abdulmalik al-Houthi opposed the political-settlement deal that swore in the country's consensus President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and ended almost a year of protests against former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
In recent months, the region has seen bouts of fighting between the Houthis and Sunni Muslims espousing puritanical Salafi doctrines influential in Saudi Arabia. The Houthis have accused Riyadh of arming their foes.
The Houthi-led rebels have been engaging in severe sectarian conflicts for several months with Sunni fundamentalists in Saada and neighboring provinces of Hajja and Jawf that left hundreds of people killed and forced thousands of residents to flee their villages.
Yemen has witnessed sporadic battles since 2004 between government troops and rebels. The government has been accusing the rebels of seeking to re-establish the clerical rule overthrown by the Yemeni revolution in 1962 that created the Yemeni republic.

Yemen rebels say bomb wounds 22 at protest in north

March 2, 2012
SANAA (Reuters) - A bomb blast hit an anti-U.S. protest in northern Yemen Friday, wounding at least 22 people, a rebel group that controls much of the north of the country said.
In a statement, the leader of the Houthi movement - Shi'ite rebels that Yemen's military tried to crush in campaigns in 2004-2009 - said the bombing took place in the province of Saada, on Yemen's northwestern border with Saudi Arabia.
It did not say who it believed carried out the attack.
The region has seen bouts of fighting in recent months between the Houthis and Sunni Muslims espousing puritanical Salafi doctrines influential in Saudi Arabia. The Houthis have accused Riyadh of arming their foes.
The conflict with the Houthis is one of several facing Yemen's new president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, as he tries to implement a power transfer backed by Riyadh and Washington.
Al Qaeda's active Arabian Peninsula branch is based in Yemen, and claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in southern Yemen that killed at least 26 people last Saturday, the day Hadi was sworn in.
The transition plan is aimed at averting civil war among an army divided between foes and allies of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Mass protests against him last year were coupled with fighting between pro- and anti-Saleh units.
Saleh eventually became the fourth veteran Arab leader unseated by "Arab Spring" protests.
A key element of the plan is restructuring Yemen's military, which the United States wants as a reliable resource in its campaign against al Qaeda in Yemen, a group Washington fears could thrive amid Yemen's political turmoil.
John Brennan, the U.S. "counter-terrorism" chief, has called for a united Yemeni army to carry out that campaign, and the Houthi leader Abdelmalek al-Houthi said the protest was against similar remarks made recently by the U.S. ambassador in Sanaa.
Thousands of protesters gathered near Hadi's residence in the capital - site of a brief gunbattle between rival military units Thursday evening - demanding the military be shaken up to exclude Saleh's relatives and loyalists, witnesses said.
The transition plan calls for Hadi and an interim government made up of Saleh's party and opposition blocs to lead Yemen to elections and write a new constitution within two years.
The plan did not include the Houthis, who have held talks with the U.N. envoy attempting to implement the deal aimed at bringing them into a political process.

Yemenis rally for restructuring of army

March 2, 2012
SANAA — Thousands demonstrated across Yemen on Friday to demand that new President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi restructure the army,, in the first such rally since he took office less than a week ago.
 The people want the army restructured,” they chanted in northern Sanaa. “The people want a new Yemen.”
Similar protests took place in 17 other provinces, including Yemen’s second-largest city Taez, witnesses said.
Yemenis have gathered every Friday for the past year to demand the ouster of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh who formally handed over power to Hadi on Monday, under a Gulf-brokered transition plan.
The power transfer deal stipulates that during a two-year interim period, Hadi will oversee a restructuring of the army.
On Friday, state news agency Saba said Hadi has named General Salem Ali Qatan to head the 31st Armoured Brigade in south Yemen, a post which General Mahdi Maqola, known for his close ties to Saleh and accused of corruption, had held for decades.
Hadi also appointed a new governor and new intelligence chief for the main southern city of Aden, a separatists’ stronghold.
Anti-corruption strikes have spread across several military and government departments in the impoverished Arab country over the past two months.
Saleh had appointed relatives to head the country’s military and security apparatus.
Air force soldiers have been staging protests calling for the ouster of their commander General Mohammed Saleh al-Ahmar, a half-brother of Saleh.
Saleh’s son commands the elite Republican Guard troops while his nephew Yehya heads the central security services and Tariq, another nephew, controls the presidential guard.

President Hadi Issues his First Four Decrees

By Fatik Al-Rodaini
Sana'a, March 2, 2012 -In his first decrees after his constitutional oath before the parliament as Yemen's new President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi dismissed one of the closest and loyal to the former President Saleh and appointing another one in a new step to solve problems in the south according to observers interested in Yemeni affairs.
The first four decrees were issued on Thursday assigning some military leaders and a governor for Aden province.
Republican decree No. (9) for 2012 appointed Waheed Ali Rashid as a governor for Aden province.
Republican decree No. (10) for 2012 assigned Mahdi Makulah as Deputy Chief of General Staff for Manpower.
Republican decree No. (11) for 2012 appointed Salem Ali Qhotn as a Commander of the southern region, Commander of 31st armored Brigade.
From the other hand, the Prime Minister's decree No. (8) for 2012 was issued appointing Sadiq Saleh Haid as a security director of Aden governorate.