I’ll be trying to make this a regular thing, let me know if there’s any stories I’ve missed, and if there are any websites you think I should be looking at.
National Dialogue Conference:
Tuesday saw the opening of the final session of the National Dialogue Conference, which has now overrun its planned end date, to the surprise of precisely no one. The session was held at the Presidential Palace, rather than the Movenpick Hotel.
President Hadi opened the session, announcing that the Yemeni people are watching the conclusions of the NDC, and that those who think that they can deviate the dialogue from the path that it is headed for their own personal or party goals is mistaken, reports Masdar Online. “We want great men and women, who can be part of the solution, not part of the problem.”
Hadi also added that the Dialogue will reformulate the contract between the North and the South, by creating a united federation. He threatened members of the Herak, saying that “those who trade with the Southern issue will find themselves on the wrong side of history.”
Also at the Presidential Palace was the UN’s special representative to Yemen, and honourary Yemeni citizen (surely?), Jamal Ben Omar. He assured Yemenis that the UN and the Security Council would continue to aid Yemen, so that it could get through its current difficulties.
“The National Dialogue is a prominent example, not just for Yemen, but for the whole Arab world, and has achieved great successes for Yemen as it emerges from its many crises … Those who think they can bring back the past are dreaming, as the wheels of history do not move backwards.”
Well, who wasn’t at the Presidential Palace yesterday? Herak and the Houthis. They were back in the more comfortable surroundings of the Movenpick Hotel having a press conference explaining why they were throwing a spanner in the works at this crucial stage.
Mohammed Ali Ahmed, the leader of the Herak faction present at the NDC, told the press conference that there were two options for the structure of the state, either their preferred two-province solution, or five provinces, but with the Southerners holding the right to ‘decide their fate’ and secede should they wish. Ahmed said that the Herak and the Houthis would continue to boycott the NDC until the Southern issue is resolved to the satisfaction of the Herak and the Sa’dah issue to the satisfaction of the Houthis.
Meanwhile, Aden al-Ghad is reporting that legal sources have said that the final session of the NDC is illegitimate without the presence of Herak and the Houthis.
The two-province solution is supported by both Herak and the Socialists. Mareb Press reports that the Socialist leader, Yassin Saeed Noman, denies reports of pressure from within the Socialist Party to abandon it. He stressed that the Socialists are united against any plan to divide the South, and that this is not just his own personal position.
In an interesting interview reported on by Barakish Net, Dr Ulfat al-Duba’i, NDC delegate and Islah member, said that some Islah leaders should also be included in the proposed ‘political isolation’ law, as well as criticising prominent Islamic cleric Abdulmajeed al-Zindani.
Al-Duba’i said that members of the GPC, the Socialist Party, and the Islah Party, who committed political crimes in the past should be prevented from running for office in the future, specifically referring to fatwas given by figures in the Islah Party prior to, and during, the 1994 Civil War. Asked about the proposed quota for female participation in political office, she said that the Salafi Rashad Party is against the quota, and that Islah members are divided. She criticised al-Zindani by saying that he presented his opinions as if they were official Islamic dogma, and that he focused on minor issues, instead of the country’s main issues, thereby causing extremism to grow.
A leader of the GPC, Yasser al-Yamani, revealed to al-Tagheer a plan to gather 10 million signatures supporting the candidacy of Ali Abdullah Saleh’s son, Ahmed Saleh, in the next presidential elections, whenever they may be.
Yasser al-Yamani says that a petition will begin circulating soon calling for Ahmed Saleh to run for the presidency of the country, directly challenging attempts to bar him from any future political office. The petition will be called
Tamarod “The Youth’s Initiative for Yemen”, and will get under way soon.
Hassan Zaid, the head of the Haqq Party, told Azal TV that the government were slandering Saleh and blaming its failure in the security and economic sectors on him. He considers the political isolation (of Saleh & co) to go against Yemen’s political settlement.
Youth Revolution & Herak Welfare Fund:
Sara Abdullah al-Yafi’i has been appointed head of the Administrative Board for the February Revolution & Herak Martyrs’ Families Welfare Fund. al-Yafi’i is a journalist and was a member of the Council for the Youth of the Revolution.
Foreigners’ Fears in Sana’a:
Sources told Masdar Online that most foreign embassies and international NGOs in Sana’a are taking precautionary measures following recent events. Most foreign embassy workers did not go to work on Monday, and this may continue till after Eid. They can only travel to their workplace if they must, and to the airport. UN workers have been told to stay at home. No group has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s killing of a German embassy bodyguard, or the abduction of a Sierra Leonian who worked for UNICEF.
Boxing Champion’s Father Released By Authorities After Two Months:
Al-Homayqani Snr, who has Belgian citizenship, is wanted in Djibouti over the 1995 killing of a French judge in the East African state, where al-Homayqani Snr served as a commander in Djibouti’s Presidential Guard. The charges are believed to be politically motivated, and Yemen had promised Belgium that it would not hand al-Homayqani Snr over to Djibouti. al-Homayqani Jr had called for his father’s release after his championship victory in Sana’a, and members of the Homayqani tribe entered Sana’a to protest in recent days, with the goal of securing the release of al-Homayqani Snr.
A Yemeni youth movement is attempting to get into the Guinness Book of Records by making the world’s largest candle, in order to highlight the plight of the Yemeni people after continuous electricity cuts, reports Barakish Net.
Unfortunately for them, a source in the Public Electricity Corporation told Hona Aden that there had been a fresh attack on the Marib Power Plant, plunging many cities, including the capital Sana’a, into darkness at 1:30am on Wednesday.
Displaced return to Abyan despite the absence of security [Masdar Online] … 31 people commit suicide in Yemen within the last month, mostly male youths; Sana’a has the most victims. ‘No future’ cited amongst reasons [Masdar Online] … Security Forces seize 1KG of hashish and counterfeit money in Sana’a [Masdar Online] … Three East African workers die after inhaling toxic gases whilst working in Sanaa’s sewers. Civil Defence Authority says that the workers did not take the correct safety measures [Mareb Press] … Father of two missing since last Wednesday, family plea for information [Mareb Press] … Herak calls for Arab and foreign press to cover ‘biggest protest’ in Aden [Aden al-Ghad] … Two men returning from Saudi Arabia abducted on their arrival in Aden [Aden al-Ghad] … No power for days in Bayhan, Shabwa, after armed men capture fuel tanker in Hadhramaut [Aden al-Ghad] … Iranian Official: Tehran supports Yemeni unity [al-Tagheer]