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Archive for January 2012

Extremism In The Home

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While the Yemeni revolution has its squares, marches and protest camps, it also has many unseen supporters who pray for success but are unable to actively participate in the revolution.

On the other side, Ali Abdullah Saleh still has his regime supports – despite the fact that he has handed over power to vice president, and soon-to-be-president, Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi. Like those seeking the downfall of the regime, Saleh has men who march in his name and those who support him from their homes.

Often those who “participate” from home are more fanatical about their beliefs than those who actually go out onto the streets and give voice to their views.

Friends have even fallen out over their political views. The extent of some people’s extremism has seen some call their friends killers for supporting Saleh’s regime. In another case, a mother threatened to disown her daughter if she stood by the revolutionaries and against Saleh’s regime.

Two brothers were once watching TV and fighting over which news channel to watch. One was pro-government and wanted to watch state TV while the other supported the revolution and wanted to watch Suhail – in the end they broke the television.

Professor Salah Al-Jumai, professor of psychology and social services, commented that such extreme acts are a normal reaction to suppression and disorganization.

“The main reason behind rejecting another’s point of view and taking extreme action against your loved ones is suppression. There are many reasons that prevent some people from participating in the squares, even though they strongly believe in the cause and this makes them frustrated and often more extremist,” said Al-Jumai.

“When one is disorganized he is not mature enough to have a healthy political conversation; so they try to force others to think like them, making them even more extremist in their opinions,” he added.

The reasons why some people cannot participate also affects their views, he added. “Many are governmental employees, and if they join the protests their salaries will be cut. Others are those who cannot afford to join as they are busy trying to earn a living.”

Youth involvement

Despite popular rejection of a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) power transfer deal, it was finally signed by Saleh in Riyadh on Nov. 23, 2011. However, the agreement was made between the regime and the opposition coalition, the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) – leaving out the youth, who at that time had spent 10 months camped out in protests squares across Yemen.

Since then, youth groups have started to come to terms with the reality of Yemen’s situation – that the GCC deal has been signed and that they need to use the opportunities offered by the International community to involve themselves in the transitional process.

While the youth in the squares have begun to get more involved in a bid to influence Yemen’s future, those who support the revolution from their homes continue to reject the GCC.

Some youth groups have begun campaigns to encourage public participation in the coming presidential election, despite the fact that it is a one-man race, with Hadi as the sole candidate.

Other activists are using social media to call on the parliament to simply announce Hadi as the president, rather than spend huge amounts of money on a pre-decided election.

Khalid Rajah, one of the first anti-government protesters on the streets, lost one of his brothers in clashes between thugs and protesters, while another was shot in the knee.

“I announce my participation in the next elections, not as a betrayal to my martyred brother’s blood, but to demand that the new president prosecute those who killed him,” he said. “And to see Yemen headed by a new president. My brother gave his soul to build a new Yemen and I promise that we will build the new Yemen”

However, Amal Al-Himiary, 24, says the youth should not be supporting the election. “I know I am too taken by the revolution and that I take any word against those in the squares or the revolution as a personal offensive,” she said. “But the Gulf Cooperation Council deal is a game to stop the revolution; the youth should not give up the squares until their demands are met, with the first being the prosecution of Saleh.”

Although the parliament voted to grantee Saleh immunity from prosecution in Yemen – something that has been widely rejected by people on the streets and in squares – many youth groups are now trying to be realistic, while less active supporters simply reject the law.

Reem Ali supports the revolution, and says she gets almost fanatical about it – despite the fact she has not had the chance to participate in person, as her family did not allow her to protest. She says that because of this, she feels she was not able to contribute as much as the protesters, so she keeps talking about how the revolution will continue and denying that anything could be wrong – including the fact that squabbling sides sometimes fight each other in the squares.

“When someone is in his house and does not have the chance to experience the thing he supports, he thinks of it in ideals to keep his spirit high,” she said.

Saleh supporters

At the same time, pro-government “advocaters” provoke the opposing side by refusing to listen to their point of view and by glorifying Saleh after any new step he takes.

Some of his supporters even go as far as to claim that Saleh has the right to kill protesters because they disobey him; some say that Yemen is worth nothing without Saleh.

“He should have killed all the protesters but he is too democratic. That’s what led the country to this chaos,” said a 60-year-old woman in support of Saleh.

The media also plays a role in fostering extremist opinions. “When people get their information from the biased media without trying to get another point of view, they become extremist,” claimed Nabeel Ahmed, who fell out with her mother because of their opposing political opinions.

“My mother is a Saleh supporter – even though he left the country, she is still passionately defending him. Her information comes from the state media and it is hard to convince her that these are lies.”


Written by shatha

January 31, 2012 at 6:59 pm

EU Warns Saleh’s Relatives Of Creating Obstacles To Elections

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SANA’A, Jan. 28 – President Ali Abdullah Saleh finally arrived in the US for short-term private medical treatment on Saturday night, according to the Republic of Yemen Foreign Press Office. Saleh, along with a number of family members, left to Oman last Sunday, on route to the United States. Meanwhile, preparations were ongoing for the coming one-man election, which will see Vice President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi officially sworn in as president for the coming two years. Saleh’s absence will easy the election process according to political analysts. Hugues Mingarelli, Deputy Director-General for External Relations at the European Union, said that in order to complete preparations for the coming presidential elections the Yemeni government would establish a “communication committee” to liaise with those groups left out of the power transition deal signed in November. “We are focusing on the next election, the most important thing now is that the election is held on time and for this election to succeed, all the segments in Yemen have to be included, all Yemenis, not only the Joint Meeting Party and the General People’s Congress,” said Mingarelli. The Southern movement, the Houthis and Youth movements were not included in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) agreement, despite being considered as powerful players in Yemen’s political sphere. He also stressed the importance of a united Yemen. Mingarelli pointed out the important role the media has to play in the run up to elections by highlighting the efforts made to make it happen and also by encouraging Yemeni people to vote for Hadi and give him the “acceptable legitimacy” that will ease his work in the transitional period. The Gulf agreement stated that a new draft constitution should be written by the end of the two year transitional period. Mingarelli said that in order to write the new constitution, a national dialogue should be established to pave the way for truly democratic, free and impartial elections after those two years. While he added that would be obstacles, he said that the first step was to elect Hadi on February 21. Commenting on the widely condemned immunity law, granting Saleh freedom from prosecution, Mingarelli said it was necessary and the price to pay in order to reach real democracy later. In accordance with the GCC agreement, a military committee was formed in December, tasked with unifying the armed forces, removing tanks and sandbags from the streets and returning soldiers to their camps. While this was successful in some areas, parts of Yemen’s major cities that saw the most fighting, such as Hasaba in Sana’a, have seen little change. Mingarelli stressed the need for security reforms in order to stabilize the country, adding that economic issues also needed to be resolved. He also said that if Saleh’s relatives create any obstacles to next month’s elections, that it would be necessary to remove them from positions of power. Moreover, Mingarelli commented on the worker strikes, or “institutional revolution” against corruption in institutions, saying that it is a positive move. “It is not a surprise that the workers are striking; working conditions are difficult and salaries are low so going on strike is not a crime,” he said. However, he pointed out that Yemen was already the poorest country in the Arab region before last year’s political crisis so people should not expect change overnight.

Written by shatha

January 31, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Posted in Yemen's news

UNICEF To Grant $140 Million To Yemen

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SANAA, Jan.25 — The Number of the malnourished children of those under the age of five grown as the result of 2011 unrest to be 750,000 children according to the UNICEF. 500,000 of them are at the risk of Dying or at the risk of physical or mental disability as a result of malnutrition.

An estimated 149 children were killed, 24 of them were girls and the youngest were three months old in 2011 unrest. 568 children were wounded by live ammunition.

Moreover, many children were affected by physical violence; hundreds have been affected by teargas suffocation.

The UNICEF director for Middle East and North Africa, Maria Calivis, promised on Tuesday  that the UNICEF will grant Yemen US$ 140 million to be spent in the next four years  on Children health, education and protection.

“There is a very big risk that nobody will do enough, and not enough will be done and there is another priority of the government and these crises will be forgotten” she said.

Calives conclude a two days visit to Yemen on Tuesday. Saying that the malnutrition problem is not only about food, it is also about water, sanitation, hygiene, health and education.

“I came to draw the attention of the authorities and the international community that there is another crisis that has not been addressed” she said.

Calives on Monday met with some ministers including the prime minister Mohammed Salem Basundwa in which they signed the agreement and discussed how to address the negative effect on 2011 events on children.

Calives stressed on the importance of prioritize Malnutrition problem by the National Unity Government.

“Now that there is peace and the government is discussing their priorities of the future, it is important that they discuses the crises of malnutrition” she said.

As locals complained of no access to food in Abyan, and the risk of fights between militants and the state in other governorate is there, the UNICEF commented that “As soon as there is peace in these governorates” they will be the first to help, encouraging other NGOs.

Explaining that two months ago they hardly could access to Sa’ada in the north but today the situation is different and by the help of their partners the UNICEF started working in Sa’ada.

Gert  Capilery  the Excutive Director of the UNICEF office in Saana’, told the Yemen Times UNICEF gave help to nine distracts in Abyan except two districts in which the state use militant who belongs to al-Qeada.

“We gave help to nine distracts in Abyan except Zunjubar and Khanfer, in access to water, in ministration and other fields “he said.

The effects of last year’s events have to be dealt with on different scales according to the UNICEF.  Before 2011, only 70% of the children were able to go to schools, currently 90,000 students unable to access to schooling.

“After the crises of last year, half million child were deprived from schooling,” said Capilery. Adding that some of the schools were occupied by security forces, others were occupied by displaced people moreover; when things were better people were still afraid to send their children to schools.  92 schools have been occupied by armed forces in Sana’a only. Preventing over 150,000 children from attending schools.

AP reported that Yemen’s Education Ministry said at least 54 schools had been occupied by military forces and militias from both the pro and anti-Saleh camps during the height of clashes.

Another kind of help the UNICEF gives to children in Yemen is psychological rehabilitation after the violence increased last year.   “It is happening now that support is given to Children and their parents to tackle traumas”.

Many children participated in pro an anti government protests which increased their exposure to violence and the psychological effects of witnessing violence

Written by shatha

January 28, 2012 at 9:18 am

Posted in Yemen's news

Saleh Asks Forgiveness And Leaves

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FILE - In this Friday, April 8, 2011 file photo, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh reacts while looking at his supporters, not pictured, during a rally supporting him, in Sanaa,Yemen. Yemeni officials say outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh will leave soon to Oman, en route to medical treatment in the United States. Washington has been trying to get Saleh out of Yemen _ though not to settle in the U.S. _ to allow a peaceful transition from his rule. However, there appear to be differences whether Saleh would remain in exile. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen, File)
SANA’A, Jan. 22 — President Ali Abdullah Saleh has left Yemen On Sunday to Oman after giving a farewell speech on Yemen TV.

In his speech he also asked his people for forgiveness and announced that he is leaving to seek medical treatment in the USA after being granted immunity from persecution.

“I will travel and return for the next president’s swearing-in ceremony,” said Saleh. Elections are due to be held on February 21, though the parliament has already named Vice President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi as the sole candidate.

In the conference aired on Yemen TV, Saleh announced that all his authorities are now delegated to Hadi as well as promoting him to Field Marshal, head of the Yemeni military.

“I promote Hadi to the rank of Field Marshal as a reward for his loyalty,” said Saleh in his farewell speech.

Associated Press reported that Saleh will now head to Oman, en route to the United States for medical treatment. While, the US is not willing to offer him permanent leave to remain, it is reportedly trying to find a country willing to take the ousted president.

On Saturday the Yemeni parliament finally approved Saleh’s controversial immunity law, after it was repeatedly postponed, and finally amended, since December. Prime Minister of the interim government Mohammed Salem Basundwa gave a brief, tearful speech prior to the vote, designed to motivate MPs to vote in favor of immunity for Saleh.

“I know that by asking you to approve this law I will be cursed by some people, and some others will be blessed but as I told you before I am ready to be killed in the street for this country,” said Basundwa.

Following the law’s approval, independent youth marched in Change Square, voicing their rejection of any immunity on Saturday night. A video produced by the SupportYemen campaign, called “take a wake in my shoes”, sought to highlight their demands to the international community, and explain why they cannot accept the immunity law.

However, before being approved, the law was amended to remove the blanket amnesty for Saleh’s aids and regime over the last 33 years. The final version of the law limited the immunity to officials only, and only for “politically motivated” crimes committed while conducting official duties.

UN envoy Jamal Benomar welcomed the law in a press conference on Saturday but made it clear that the immunity does not cover certain crimes.

“The UN cannot condone a broad amnesty that covers UN classified crimes against humanity, genocide, war crimes, gross violations of human rights, and sexual violence,” said Benomar.

But according to the law, Saleh’s now enjoys full immunity from prosecution in Yemen. However, the immunity only extends to the date that the law was passed. Even Saleh is accountable for any crimes committed from January 22.

A National Reconciliation and Transitional Justice project will also be set up by the government to offer compensation to victims’ families.

“The immunity includes everything, even Al-Nahden explosions that targeted Saleh, as no blood is more expensive than another,” said MP Ali Abd Rabu Al-Qadhi of the independent bloc. “The National Reconciliation project will consider those who lost relatives or properties.”

On Sunday, the air force protested at Sana’a International Airport, demanding the removal of Saleh’s half-brother, Mohammed Saleh Al-Ahmer, chief of the air force. Many high-ranking officials are also members of Saleh’s family – and campaigners have been calling for their removal as well.

Flights were delayed due to the protests, while arriving flights were diverted to Taiz, Hodeida and Aden, according to Colonel Ahmed Saleh.

“We will never give up our demands, if General Mohammed Saleh Al-Ahmer listened to us and gave us our rights we would have accepted, but now it is too late, we demands his departure above anything,” said the Colonel.

According to Saleh, Al-Ahmer stole billions of rials under the name of air force employees’ bonuses, nutrition packs and weapons. He also deprived them of promotion opportunities for years.

Minister of Defense Mohammed Nasr Ahmed met with Al-Ahmer to solve the situation, while Hadi promised to respond to their demands within two days.


Written by shatha

January 23, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

نص خطبه الوداع لعلي عبدالله صالح

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FILE - In this Friday, April 8, 2011 file photo, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh reacts while looking at his supporters, not pictured, during a rally supporting him, in Sanaa,Yemen. Yemeni officials say outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh will leave soon to Oman, en route to medical treatment in the United States. Washington has been trying to get Saleh out of Yemen _ though not to settle in the U.S. _ to allow a peaceful transition from his rule. However, there appear to be differences whether Saleh would remain in exile. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen, File)

نص الكلمة :
أتحدث معكم في القنوات الفضائية اليمنية حول آخر المستجدات ، وهو ما حدث يوم أمس في مجلس النواب من إقرار قانون الحصانة وكذلك تزكية الأخ الفريق عبدربه منصور هادي نائب رئيس الجمهورية لرئاسة الجمهورية للفترة القادمة حتى 2014م يعد إنجازا طيبا ، و يبدو أن هناك سوء فهم حول قانون الحصانة وهو بأن المستفيد الأول من القانون هو الرئيس أو أقربائه وهذا غير صحيح وفهم خاطئ جدا .

إن المستفيد من القانون الذي صدر بموجب المبادرة الخليجية المشكورين عليها،هم كل من عمل مع الرئيس خلال فترة الـ 33 عاما سواء في مؤسسات الدولة المدنية أو العسكرية أو الأمنية وان حدثت أخطأ ، فهي أخطاء غير مقصودة، لأن الرئيس عنده حصانة من شعبه، الذي أفنى حياته خدمة لهذا الوطن لا طمعا في جاه ولا في كرسي ولا في مال ولكن خدمة لهذا الوطن في مجال التنمية وبناء اليمن الجديد ، بناء يمن سبتمبر وأكتوبر والـ 22 مايو وهذا ما كنت اطمح إليه أن أقدم نفسي لهذا الوطن وأن أقدم خدمة لهذا الوطن، جاءت هذه الخدمة في مجال التنمية والبنية التحتية وفي مجال استخراج النفط والغاز والمعادن وعلى رأسها أهم أنجاز في حياة علي عبدالله صالح،وهو إعادة وحدة اليمن في الـ 22 من مايو 1990م الذي اعتبره تاج على رأس كل اليمنيين، والذي قبل تحقيق هذا الانجاز التاريخي اليمني كانت هناك فرقة امتدت أكثر من 135 سنة من التشطير ، وكان ظلم الإمامة في الشمال وظلم الاستعمار في جنوب الوطن في حين كانت الأسرة اليمنية مرتبطة ببعضها البعض.
و رغم وجود الاستعمار ووجود الحكم الكهنوتي في شمال الوطن، لكن كان اليمنيين مرتبطين ببعضهم البعض في الشمال والجنوب ولذلك جاءت الوحدة نتاج طبيعي دون أي مشاكل.
انا أقول بهذه المناسبة وأنا قد وقعت على رحيل علي عبد الله صالح من رأس السلطة في الرياض على المبادرة الخليجية وأوكلت كل صلاحياتي إلى نائب الرئيس الدستوري وهو يتحمل المسئولية حتى يتم انتخابه في 21 فبراير وأدعو كل أبناء الوطن الالتفاف معه والتعاون معه ومع حكومة الوفاق من اجل مصلحة الوطن لإعادة ترميم وإصلاح ما دمر خلال 11 شهر أما بالنسبة للسنوات القادمة فسيكون لنائب الرئيس برنامجه وهو الرئيس المستقبلي .
اتمنى أن يقف الجميع إلى جانبه لأن وقفتهم إلى جانبه وإلى جانب الحكومة هو وقفة مع الوطن ووقفة مع شهدائنا شهداء سبتمبر وأكتوبر ..والشهداء الذين كانوا ضحية (ما يسمى بثورة الشباب والإعتصامات التي حدثت خلال 11 شهر.. لا داعي لنسترسل في هذا الأمر، لأنه في 11 شهر قطعت الطرقات والشوارع وأنقطع التيار الكهربائي وفجر أنبوب النفط، هذه ثورة الشباب التي سرقها من سرقها، ومن كانوا محسوبين على المؤتمر الشعبي العام وخرجوا منه لأنهم فاسدين واتجهوا إلى ساحة الاعتصام ويحسبون أنفسهم الآن منتصرين، سندع هذا جانبا ونرمي هذا التاريخ وراء ظهورنا.
أدعو الجميع من هذا المكان والى جانبي قيادة المؤتمر أبناء الوطن أبناء سبتمبر وأكتوبر والـ22 مايو أن يلتفوا حول بعضهم البعض وأدعو إلى المصالحة والمصارحة ما عدى ما يخص جانب الإرهاب لأن هذا له وضع أخر لكن مصارحة ومصالحة من خلال المرحلة التالية للمبادرة الخليجية في إطار مؤتمر وطني عام ليتصالح الناس وتنتهي المظاهر المسلحة وتفتح الطرق وتنتهي المظاهر العسكرية والمليشيات ونبني يمناَ جديدا.

مساكين الشباب 11 شهر في الاعتصامات، وفي شباب أرجعوا إلى مساكنكم، عودوا إلى بيوتكم، عودوا إلى أسركم أنا أشفق عليكم وأدعوكم بالعودة إلى مساكنكم وتبدءوا صفحة جديدة مع القيادة الجديدة، وأدعو قيادات المؤتمر الشعبي العام وأعضائه وأنصاره وأحزاب التحالف الوطني الديمقراطي إلى الوقوف وقفة جادة أمام الانتخابات الرئاسية القادمة في 21 فبراير وأن يبذلوا كل جهودهم.

لأنه ليس انجاز لعبد ربه منصور وإنما إنجاز لكل اليمنيين.. إنجاز لكم يا مؤتمريون يا من حققتم هذا الانتصار الديمقراطي، وأني أدعوكم إلى التوجه إلى صناديق الاقتراع دون تباطؤ لانتخاب مرشحكم الذي هو مرشح الوفاق وفي ذات الوقت مرشحكم كمؤتمريين.

لقد جربنا ثمار التنسيق مع بقية الأحزاب في الانتخابات السابقة ورغم وعودهم بانتخاب مرشح المؤتمر الشعبي العام والوقوف إلى جانبه كشفت لنا صناديق الاقتراع الفارغة حقيقة نواياهم وأنا أعول عليكم أيها المؤتمريين بأن تكون صنادقيكم مملؤه بكروت الاقتراع أنتم واحزاب التحالف الوطني الديمقراطي .
اشكر شعبنا رجالا ونساء على المواقف الصادقة وعلى ما تحمله خلال 11شهرا من جوع وانقطاع للكهرباء ونقص في الخدمات ومن أشياء كثيرة واحيي هذا الشعب الصامد الشعب البطل الشعب المناضل شعب سبتمبر وأكتوبر، واطلب العفو من كل أبناء وطني رجالا ونساء عن أي تقصير حدث أثناء فترة ولايتي الـ33السنة، واطلب المسامحة وأقدم الاعتذار لكل المواطنين اليمنيين واليمنيات، وعلينا الآن أن نهتم بشهدائنا وجرحانا.
مرة ثانية تحياتي وتقديري لكل أبناء الوطن في الداخل والخارج على الصمود الرائع وادعوهم إلى العودة إلى مساكنهم والتزام الهدوء.
وان شاء الله سأذهب للعلاج في الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية وأعود إلى صنعاء رئيسا للمؤتمر الشعبي العام، وننصب الأخ عبدربه منصور هادي رئيس للدولة بعد 21 فبراير في دار الرئاسة ونعزف السلام الوطني والنشيد الوطني ويحضر كبار المسئولين في داخل قصر الرئاسة ويستلم النائب سكن الرئاسة وعلي عبدالله صالح سيأخذ حقيبته ويودعهم ليذهب بعدها إلى مسكنه وهذا هو البرتوكول المعمول به.


المسؤولية الآن موكلة إلى الأخ عبدربه منصور هادي.. وأعلن من هنا احتراما وتقديرا لمواقفه وجهوده الوطنية ترقيته إلى رتبه المشير.

 النص منقول من البيضا برس

Written by shatha

January 22, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Posted in Yemen's news

Parliament Postpones Immunity Vote

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SANA’A, JAN. 15 – The Yemeni parliament postponed its vote on Ali Abdullah Saleh’s immunity law on Saturday, after being approved by the cabinet for the second time last month.

Sheikh Ali Abdrabu Al-Qadhi, MP of the independent bloc, told the Yemen Times that the discussion was postponed as the ministers of Justice and Legal Affairs were both absent.

“The parliament is demanding that the cabinet be present, when the cabinet has already done their part by approving the law,” said Al-Qadhi.

“The Minister of Legal Affairs is supposed to be present when the discussion on the law is opened, but the Justice Minister has nothing to do with the law so demanding his presence is a waste of time,” he added.

Al-Qadhi suggested on Sunday that the parliament form a committee to handle the proposed law. “We need to decide which issue comes first, is it the elections or the immunity law, as it was not verified in the GCC deal,” he explained.

On Saturday and Sunday protesters marched from Change Square to the parliament calling for the law to be dropped. The march was twice blocked by soldiers, though it was unclear whether they were defected or pro-government troops.

“We chose the day the discussion on the law was supposed to start at the parliament but the soldiers did not allow us to continue – they even prepared their guns to shoot,” said Eman Ali, who participated in the march.

Talks on the immunity law are not new, as it was first suggested back in March when the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initially proposed its power transition deal in Yemen, but is only now coming up for vote.

A source close to negotiations told the Yemen Times that one of the disagreements on a political level stemmed from the fact that Saleh did not want the law to include his opponents Major General Ali Mohsen and the leaders of the Hashid Tribal confederation. Both were accused of the June 3 attack on the presidential compound, which left 12 dead and injured president Saleh and other key government figures.

In December, the Yemeni revolution turned towards institutions as employees of government institutions protested and went on strike, commonly demanding the prosecution of “corrupt” officials and mangers – many of whom are members of the General People’s Congress.

The proposed immunity law goes against their demands if it is approved in its current form. It suggests that seeks to grant immunity not only to Saleh, but also to all who worked with him in state, civil, military and security institutions during his rule.

Law expert Nabeela Al-Mufti, said: “The problem is that the law is too general, giving immunity to all who worked with Saleh for 33 years. This gives it a dangerous dimension.”

Another issue is the proposal that the law be implemented both inside and outside Yemen. “The Yemeni parliament cannot dominate the world parliaments and force them to implement the immunity,” said Al-Mufti.

Many Yemenis wonder whether or not Saleh or his fellows can be prosecuted outside of Yemen. According to Al-Mufti Saleh can be prosecuted outside of Yemen but his crime must have been committed in the prosecuting country.  However, the International Criminal Court (ICC) can still receive cases against Saleh for crimes committed in Yemen – but any case must meet the ICC standards as a humanitarian or war crime.

“It is possible that a Yemeni person could raise a suit against Saleh for a crime that was committed in Yemen in any of the 81 countries that signed the Roma Law and became a member of the ICC,” Al-Mufti explained, adding that ICC procedures are complicated and lengthy but still possible.

Issues with the immunity law led to the idea of a Transitional Reconciliation Conference. The brainchild of UN envoy Jamal Benomar, the conference would serve as a way to bring together Yemen’s conflicting parties for a new beginning, forgetting past crimes but also proposing compensation to victims and their families – an idea that worked both in Morocco and South Africa

“The law denies individuals their right to prosecute; the concept of reconcilement should be by satisfaction not by force,” she added. “Any reconcilement should offer something to the victims’ families and whoever was harmed by Saleh’s regime.”

Written by shatha

January 16, 2012 at 9:25 am

Posted in Yemen's news

The Yemeni National Council: An Overview

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Yemen’s National Council is different from the others that have appeared around the Arab world since the beginning of the Arab Spring.

Yemen’s National Council is unlike Libya’s – set up to lead the country in its transitional period and direct its foreign policy. It is different from the Syrian National Council founded in Istanbul, Turkey, by Syrians in exile. It is not the military councils of Egypt and Tunisia that have vowed to oversee transitions without replacing the government.

To start with, Yemen’s National Council was formed later that most others in the Arab world this year. The Yemeni National Council was founded on August 17, seven months after the beginning of the revolution in Yemen. When it was created, another entity, the Transitional Council, had already been formed by female activist and later Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakul Karman.

It all started after an assassination attempt against President Ali Abdullah Saleh on June 3. After the president fled to Saudi Arabia for treatment of his injuries, a conflict emerged among revolutionary entities in Yemen as to how best to lead the country during his absence.

The independent youth insisted on a transitional council to do this, but the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), the traditional political opposition who were part of the revolution, were against the idea because they feared that it would lead to an escalation in violence similar to that in Benghazi, Libya.

Karman however went ahead and founded the Transitional Council on July 17. Exactly a month later, the National Council followed.

“The National Council was formed by the JMP as a direct a result of Karman forming the Transitional Council, to block her way, so that they could be the main player in the country,” said Sultan Al-Rada’ai, the coordinator of the independent youth at Change Square. “The JMP said that Karman’s council was a stillborn, but we say that the JMP’s council was a hysterical pregnancy.”

He added that, when it was founded, the National Council was not the same as originally suggested. In the end, it contained more members to satisfy different groups, but the large number that was added was not taken seriously in making decisions.

“Mid-July, the JMP contacted us secretly and gave us the proposal,” said Al-Radai. “We had a meeting. We were six representatives from the main actors in the square: one from Islah, one from the Socialists, one from the Nasserites, one from the civil society movements, one from the Houthis, and me as the  independent.” Al-Ridai notes that although Islah, the Socialists, and the Nasserites are technically already part of the JMP, they were however approached as independent parties and offered remaining seats to bolster the JMP’s presence in the council.

On August 17, when the National Council was formed, two main players in Yemeni politics, the Houthis and the Southern Movement, announced their withdrawal from both the JMP’s National Council and Karman’s Transitional Council in protest at unfair representation. The Houthis are supporters of a rebellion against the regime in the Sa’ada governorate in north Yemen, and the Southern Movement have been protesting for the independence of the south since 2007.

The Southern Movement, for example, had been allocated 35 representatives in the National Council but felt that the latter did not truly represent them, according to Al-Radai.

The National Council was made up of three parts: 1,500 people in a general assembly, 281 National Council members, with 35 decision makers on a an executive board headed by Mohamed Basundwa, now the prime minister of the National Unity Government.

When it was formed, many protesters complained that, like Saleh’s regime before it, the council had empowered tribal figures and reproduced the same power structures that had been around for years.

The independent youth who started the revolution were almost entirely absent from the council, as the youth’s share was taken up by politically-affiliated youth who were not independent although they were presented to the public as such.

When the GCC-brokered power transfer deal was later signed on November 23, the public learnt for the first time that the JMP had signed it as the National Council, rather than as a coalition of political parties.

This has made protesters believe that the only reason the council was formed in the first place was so that the deal could be signed by a body that sounded like it was backed up by the protesters, although they said that it was not.

When the deal was signed, some figures from the 281 members of the council announced their resignation in protest at not having been consulted about the deal.

“Members did not vote for this decision, everyone was surprised, the council had not gathered for almost two months!” said Al-Radai.

“The National Council was founded to kill the revolution,” said Amar Al-Assadi, a protester in Change Square. “Protesters across the country had rejected the deal for months, and then the JMP went ahead and signed it in the name of the council.”

Protesters had been opposed to a deal that would give Saleh and his follower’s immunity from prosecution, as well as bring the JMP and traditional ruling party to power with no real gains for the revolutionaries.

On her Facebook page, Amal Al-Basha, a leading human rights activist and a member of the National Council, called for the council to be dissolved after a National Unity Government was set up as part of the GCC deal.

She told the Yemen Times that the council should play no more than a monitoring role: “The council should simply act as a monitor,” Al-Basha told the Yemen Times, pointing out that the JMP and its partners in the end joined the regime and failed to bring about a peaceful end to the revolution.

Written by shatha

January 14, 2012 at 6:27 am

Posted in Yemen's news

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