Wednesday, May 16, 2012

U.S. targets threats to Yemen transition

WASHINGTON, May 16 (UPI) -- President Obama signed an executive order Wednesday freezing U.S.-based assets of those who obstruct a November agreement on transition of power in Yemen.
The executive order said the Treasury Department could target individuals or entities that "have engaged in acts that directly or indirectly threaten the peace, security or stability of Yemen."
The order does not include names of individuals or organizations but said it applies to those who "have materially assisted, sponsored or provided financial, material or technological support" for such acts.
The United States supported the transition from former President Ali Abdullah Saleh to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who took office in February.
"This executive order will allow the United States to take action against those who seek to undermine Yemen's transition and the Yemeni people's clear desire for change," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.
"The president took this step because he believes that the legitimate aspirations of the Yemeni people, along with the urgent humanitarian and security challenges, cannot be addressed if political progress stalls."
The United States looks to Yemen as an ally in the fight against the al-Qaida-affiliated terror group al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen.
The United States also has increased the use of drones targeting militants in Yemen.

Yemen Interior Ministry monitors AQAP militants in Taiz and Mareb

By Fatik al-Rodaini
SANA'A, May 16, 2012- Yemen's Interior Ministry said on its website that it monitored a remarkable presence for al-Qaeda militants in two cities of the Yemen's northern provinces.
The ministry reported on Wednesday that the first group was discovered in Yemen's eastern province of Mareb in al-Jaref district between Raghwan and al-Sameda cities, while the other group was discovered in Yemen's southern province of Taiz, in Mawya district.
The Interior Ministry has ordered security forces in Mareb and Taiz to go on high alert after it learned an AQAP militants had discovered in the cities in order to carry out potential attacks.
The ministry's website stated that security apparatus in Taiz had received information that at least 20 al-Qaeda militants were present in Mawya district, which until now has seen no militant activity. According to the ministry, security is working to pursue these elements and arrest them.

In Yemen, two journalists face trial for covering uprisings

New York, May 15, 2012-Yemen's Press and Publications Court must drop charges against two Al-Jazeera journalists for their coverage of last year's uprising, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
CPJ also urged the Cabinet not to revive a restrictive Audio-Visual and Electronic Media bill that has been pending in Parliament since 2010.
Two Sana'a-based Al-Jazeera correspondents, Ahmed al-Shalafi and Hamdi al-Bukari, were summoned Monday to appear before the special Press and Publications Court on May 21 for "operating outside the bounds of the law," according to news reports. The government of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh-who stepped down in February following popular protests-filed a case against the two journalists in June 2011, claiming they broke the law by broadcasting news of the uprising after the government pulled Al-Jazeera's accreditation. Despite the Ministry of Information having withdrawn the charges, the Press and Publications Court has chosen to revive the case, news reports said. A 2010 CPJ report found that the court is politicized and arbitrary and fails to accord journalists the minimal legal protections. Many local lawyers described it as unconstitutional.
Saeed Thabit, Al-Jazeera's Yemen bureau chief, told CPJ that the move is part of a campaign against Al-Jazeera and press freedom in Yemen. In April 2011, security forces raided and shut down Al-Jazeera's Sana'a offices; the government pulled the station's accreditation; and several of its journalists faced harassment, death threats, and assault for their coverage of the uprising. Saleh had accused the station of conspiring against Yemen and using its broadcasts to topple the regime. Thabit said none of the perpetrators of the 2011 attack on Al-Jazeera have been brought to justice.
"The court's revival of a politicized case from the Saleh era sends a clear message to all journalists in Yemen that nothing has changed for the press," said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator.
In late May, the Cabinet is due to discuss an Audio-Visual and Electronic Media bill proposed by former President Saleh's government in 2010, according to local press freedom group Freedom Foundation for media freedom, rights, and development. Local and international human rights and press freedom groups had condemned the bill as an attempt to restrict the press.
CPJ's 2010 review of the proposed legislation found that it would impose exorbitant registration fees on private broadcasters and subject online outlets to licensing fees and state regulation, among other restrictions. The Sana'a-based Freedom Foundation is calling for the drafting of a new audio-visual bill or at the least a significant revision of the proposed one, said Khaled al-Hammadi, president of group. He told CPJ that the government is trying to restrict reporting with this legislation.
"As if hauling journalists in front of an extraordinary tribunal on trumped up charges were not enough, the authorities are now also reviving a media law that was so restrictive, it could not even pass during Saleh's near-absolute grip on power," Abdel Dayem said.

Yemen's President hails success of army in Abyan

By Fatik al-Rodaini
SANA'A, May 16, 2012- Yemen's new President Abdu Raboo Mansour Hadi hailed Tuesday the success have been achieved by Yemeni forces against al-Qaeda militants in Abyan.
According to Saba news the president hailed the battles conducted by Yemeni forces as he saying the 26th Republican Guard Brigade, the 111th Mika Brigade, Central Security Forces and the popular committees succeeded in defeating terrorist elements in Lawder district.
The military troops with the support of popular committees have managed to cost insurgent elements huge losses either in lives or equipments, saba added.

China to participate in friends of Yemen meeting

By Fatik al-Rodaini
SANA'A, May 16, 2012
China will participate with a high-level delegation in meeting of friends of Yemen to be held in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on May 23.
In a meeting gathered Yemen Foreign Minister Abu Baker al-Qirbi with Chinese Ambassador to Yemen Liu Denglin, the two officials reviewed cooperation sides between the two countries and means of developing them, Saba'a news agency reported on Wednesday
Al-Qirbi noted to the deep-rooted relations tying Yemen and China, affirming Yemen's keenness to promote these relations.
For his part, Denglin asserted his country's support for Yemen during the transitional phase in order to achieve security and stability.
A meeting by the Friends of Yemen donor group has been twice rescheduled and now is to be held in Riyadh on May 23. Whether it will deliver economic relief remains to be seen.