Monday, April 23, 2012

Yemen al-Houthi wants to take part in national dialogue

Chiara Onassis | 23 April 2012
SANA’A: In yet another shift in its position, al-Houthis, a group of Shia rebels, which seeks a break from the republic and a return to the ancestral rule of the imams, announced on Monday that it wished after all to take part in Yemen up and coming national dialogue.
The event, which is being overlooked by the Joint Meeting Parties, is meant to gather all of Yemen’s political factions and groups to enable the nation to have a comprehensive dialogue, aiming at bringing back political harmony in Yemen and finding common solutions to the country’s main issues.
At first, Sheikh Abdel Malek al-Houthi, the group leader told that since he was still opposing the GCC brokered agreement which saw the departure of President Ali Abdullah Saleh from power he had no intention in participating in the exercise saying he would follow his own agenda.
 “The group, which is seeking to transfer its claims directly onto Yemen’s political arena by setting up a political party of its own, eventually decided to join in, hoping to position itself at the heart of the debate and defend its point of view against al-Islah [Yemen’ Sunni Islamic faction],” said Ahmed al-Sofi a political analyst in Sana’a.
Al-Houthis, whose militants are believed to be financed by Iran, have used Yemen’s power vacuum to its advantage, having gained control over three northern provinces, Sa’ada, Hajjah and al-Jawf, making Saudi officials extremely nervous as they fear, Teheran’s agenda lies will soon come knock in its southern borders.

Saudi diplomat may be freed soon-Yemen tribal leader

Apr 23, 2012
ADEN, Yemen (Reuters) - A Saudi Arabian diplomat who was kidnapped last month in Yemen is in good health and could be released within "the coming hours", according to a Yemeni tribal leader who said on Monday he had been negotiating with the abductors.
Abdallah al-Khalidi, the kingdom's deputy consul in the southern Yemeni port of Aden, was seized outside his residence there on March 28.
Riyadh said last week a suspected al Qaeda militant had claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and had threatened to kill Khalidi unless a ransom was handed over and militants were freed from Saudi prisons.
Sheikh Tareq al-Fadli, a tribal head in Yemen's southern Abyan region and prominent leader of the area's separatist movement, told Reuters he had been negotiating with the kidnappers for Khalidi's release.
"Things are going well ... The man is fine. He is in good health," Fadli said, adding that Khalidi would be released "within the coming hours".
Fadli did not go into further detail about his contact with the kidnappers, or whether he had made them any offer in return for the diplomat's release.
Islamist insurgents and separatist groups have been emboldened by more than a year of turmoil in Yemen that was sparked by mass protests which eventually ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The United States, and Yemen's neighbour Saudi Arabia, have been especially alarmed by the rise of militants allied to a regional wing of al Qaeda that has sworn to bring down Saudi Arabia's ruling family.
The impoverished Arabian Peninsula state of Yemen lies close to key shipping lanes through the Red Sea.
A Saudi government spokesman last week said the man claiming responsibility for the kidnapping had been identified as Mishaal al-Shodoukhi, who was named on a list of fugitive al Qaeda militants by Saudi authorities in 2009.
Shodoukhi said his group would "prepare the knives" unless their demands were met and threatened further attacks, including an embassy bombing and the assassination of a Saudi prince, the Saudi spokesman said.
Riyadh, which has substantial influence among Yemeni tribes, rejected any negotiations with al Qaeda for the release of Khalidi.

7 al-Qaeda militants killed in Yemen

By Fatik al-Rodaini
SANA'A, April 23, 2012- An officer was killed on Monday in Yemen's southern province of Hadhrmout by armed group believed to be al-Qaeda suspected militants.
According to a security source in al-Mukalla, Adnan Okeish, an officer in intelligence division was killed on Monday afternoon by unknown gunmen in Raes Hoela district, east of al-Mukalla. "They opened fire on him while he was driving," the source added.
Meanwhile, at least 7 al-Qaeda militants were killed in two airstrikes in the south where militants are controlled swaths of town there.
Sources said that U.S. drone hit a vehicle in Yemen's southern province of Shabwa, killing three al-Qaeda militants, while a Yemeni strike killed four militants near Lawder city in southern Abyan province.
On Sunday at least three al-Qaeda militants were killed in an air strike conducted by Yemeni air forces in Yemen's eastern province of Mareb.
The air strike took-out a vehicle believed to be carrying al-Qaeda militants on al-Sanda district near Obeida valley, killing at least three passengers.
In Yemen's southern province of Abyan, where fierce clashes between Yemeni troops and militants linked to al-Qaeda,  at least 17 militants were killed on Sunday in an air raid near Lawde, about 150 km northeast of Zinjibar, Abyan's provincial capital.
Earlier this week Yemeni air force carried out two airstrikes in the province of Abyan against al-Qaeda hideouts, killing scores of militants. According to the Defense ministry, the attacks also left five people wounded.
Yemen's military regained part of a strategic southern city yesterday after an intense battle with al-Qaeda militants left 19 people dead as the government tries to purge the insurgents from their strongholds.
More than 250 people have been killed in the fighting and airstrikes in southern Yemen over the past two weeks. US drones and Yemeni warplanes have regularly targeted southern regions.
The war on al-Qaeda is one of the most challenging tests facing the country's new president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. He took power after Saleh stepped down in February as part of power-transfer deal brokered by Arab Gulf countries and backed by the United States.