Yemen: “Mujahideen” returning from Afghanistan plan to create political party
BBC Monitoring Middle East
December 04, 2012
Unattributed report: “Yemeni Mujahideen returning from Afghanistan plan to create a political party”
The Yemeni mujahideen returning from Afghanistan have announced the creation of their own political party, a project which is now under preparation and formation.
The leader of the jihadist group, nicknamed Abi-al-Fida, stressed that the idea of setting up a party crystallized before the onset of the Yemeni political crisis, in early 2011. Abi-al-Fida noted that the circumstances were not adequate back then to announce publicly this idea, which partially “came to maturation thanks to the revolution.”
In an interview with Yemen al-Yawm newspaper, Abi-al-Fida said that the “revolution which erupted against the regime of President Ali Abdallah Salih facilitated and even stepped up the emergence and maturation of this idea.”
The jihadist leader emphasized that the political project of the returning mujahideen “is not led at the expense of someone, neither it is a wing representing a particular side,”
The jihadist leader denied claims that the mujahideen may be linked to the former regime of President Salih, saying: “There have never been and there will no be relations with Salih.”
The jihadist leader also considered the claim that Al-Qa`idah emerged from the Yemeni presidential palace - in a hint to Salih`s regime - as “weak and comes as part of the ongoing political bickering.”
Commenting on the stand of the returnees about the military option, Abi-al-Fida stressed that the jihad is a Shari`ah-based obligation to fulfil until Doomsday, one that has canonic tenets and takes place in the relevant time and place, as required by the circumstances.
Source: News Yemen website, Sanaa, in Arabic 3 Dec 12
© 2012 The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
Yemen Salafi figure urges reconsidering national dialogue representation slots
BBC Monitoring Middle East
December 04, 2012
Unattributed “exclusive” report: “Expressing Fear That the Dialogue May Experience a Setback, Al-Maqtari Describes the Representation Ratios in the Dialogue as Unfair, and Calls for Reconsideration”
Dr Aqil al-Maqtari, the head of the scientific committee at Al-Hikmah Al-Yamaniyah [Yemeni Wisdom] Society, has called for reconsidering the representation ratios given to participants in the National Dialogue. He also called for finding a solid ground for the [National Dialogue] Conference [NDC].
Speaking to Akhbar al-Yawm, Al-Maqtari considered the representation ratios unjust and a kind of marginalization of many powers active in the community. He also warned of a setback for the NDC.
In his statement to Akhbar al-Yawm, Al-Maqtari expressed his surprise that some political forces were given a representation ratio bigger than their size, while other forces were marginalized despite playing an active role in the political course of events and the dialogue. He pointed out that some forces were completely marginalized despite being active in the political scene, and that some socially-oriented preaching organizations were also excluded from the dialogue.
He said that the representation ratios make it seem as if the dialogue concerns specific parties and political entities, even though it was established to accommodate all Yemenis.
He pointed out that the criteria applied in assigning the representation ratios seem to disregard the popular weight of each party. Rather, they gave high ratios to the ones who took up arms and wreaked havoc in the country, which is unfair.
Al-Maqtari noted that giving a high ratio of representation to some parties, that is not commensurate with their real size, does not contribute to finding a common denominator for achieving security and stability in the country. He added that those people are concerned with making their own gains only. He also pointed out that there are some who are trying to foil the dialogue; they wave with one hand, and hold arms in the other.
He added: “I do not know how the dialogue will go when those bearing arms are being praised, as did Benomar when he praised those who are still shedding blood and encouraging the secession of the south.”
He wondered how those bearing arms would accept the results. He said that they would approve if the results come up in their favour; otherwise, they would just press ahead with their own schemes with the power they enjoy.
Dr Al-Maqtari called for reconsidering the representation ratios and for enforcing new mechanisms and criteria that would establish a link between the dialogue and the issues. He added that a mechanism for decision-making should also be put forth. He said that terms of reference should be established to settle issues under dispute, while binding all participants in the dialogue to accept the results without evasion, as he put it.
Dr Al-Maqtari said that it is a real problem that the executive committee evaded and delegated the establishment of representation criteria to UN Envoy Jamal Benomar. He wondered: “Has Benomar become the [Paul] Bremer of Iraq?” He pointed out that the candidates for the dialogue should be qualified, impartial, and keen on getting the country out of the impasse. He called for establishing committees to bring closer the different views, and to set up the mechanisms that will govern the dialogue and how it is run; whether by consensus or otherwise.
Dr Al-Maqtari said he was not optimistic about the success of the dialogue, as long as some forces are still refusing to participate and others are still wreaking havoc; and as long as Iran keeps on injecting billions of dollars to push for the secession of the south. He also said that there are some parties who are expanding their influence by force and arms, while pretending to be working for the sake of the dialogue; not to mention the division within the army.
Al-Maqtari stressed the need to pave the ground for the dialogue, end the tension in Sa`dah, and tackle the issue of the south. He said that people need to see some solutions before starting the dialogue.
Al-Maqtari expressed fear that the dialogue may experience a setback which may have dire consequences, calling on the state to find a solid ground for the dialogue, and to lay down regulations and rules to govern it. He added that there would be no harm if the dialogue were to be postponed for a month or two, so as to guarantee that Yemen finds a way out of this deadlock.
Source: Akhbar al-Yawm online, Sanaa, in Arabic 4 Dec 12
© 2012 The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
Yemeni southern secessionists demand Hadi`s ouster to negotiate federalism
BBC Monitoring Middle East
December 03, 2012
Report by Yahya al-Sadmi: “Yemen: SMM stipulates Hadi`s ouster as condition to negotiate federalism”
The secessionist Southern Mobility Movement [SMM] has announced willingness to negotiate and discuss federalism with northern Yemen as an alternative to the unity established between both halves of the country 21 years ago. However, the SMM set some conditions, among them the ouster of President Abd-Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and the disbandment of the Islamic “Al-Islah” Party.
Leading SMM figure Hasan Zayd Bin-Yahya said to Al-Siyasah yesterday that federalism might be up for negotiation if there is a trustworthy and ready side in northern Yemen, provided that this side is not involved in the 1994 war.
He added: “We do not trust the warlords of the said war, such as President Abd-Rabbuh Mansur Hadi; Muhammad Salim Ba-Sindwah, the prime minister of the national unity government; Al-Islah Party Secretary Gen Abd-al-Wahhab al-Ansi; and Shaykh Hamid al-Ahmar. We do not trust the anti-southerners either, such as Sheikh Abd-al-Majid al-Zindani and Abd-al-Wahhab al-Dulaymi, because they are all involved in the war on the south and are not statesmen. They cannot be trusted and should be ousted.”
Bin-Yahya stipulated the disbandment of the “Al-Islah” Party, describing it as takfiri [one who holds other Muslims to be infidels], as condition to hold any dialogue between north and south Yemen in order to agree on federalism.
Bin-Yahya accused Nasir Mansur Hadi, the president`s brother, of being on top of those who looted Aden Governorate, calling for the dismissal of the unity government and all the northern and southern ministers within the government until the arrival of modern, progressive, and civilized powers. He said that when those powers arrive, an agreement can be reached with them to build a civilized federal state or to restore the prior status of the two-state system.
In other developments, the National Security apparatus arrested Muhammad Taha Yasin Ramadan, son of former Iraqi Vice-President Taha Yasin Ramadan. Al-Ula Newspaper stated that a National and General Security force surrounded Ramadan`s home in Haddah region and then took him to detention. He has been living in Yemen as a refugee since the collapse of Saddam Husayn`s regime.
A military source, who requested to stay anonymous, said to Al-Siyasah that Ramadan was detained because he was suspected of drug smuggling.
On a different note, Brig-Gen Mahmud al-Subayhi, senior Yemeni army commander of Al-And area, survived an assassination attempt in an armed ambush yesterday in the afternoon, in downtown Al-Hawtah, capital of Lahij Governorate.
A military source reported that a gunman from the Al-Qa`idah organization fired a barrage of bullets on Al-Subayhi`s car near the Political Security headquarters. The source added that Al-Subayhi`s bodyguards exchanged fire with the gunman, leading to the injury of a motorist and the capture of the gunman, who was injured during the attack.
Source: Al-Siyasah website, Kuwait, in Arabic 3 Dec 12
© 2012 The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
Yemeni Official Says Absence of State Behind Government`s Ineffective Performance
Yemen Times Online
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Interview by Mohammed Al-Samei With Former leader of the Joint Meeting Parties Dr. Mohammed Abdul-Malik Al-Mutawakil: “Former leader of the Joint Meeting Parties Dr. Mohammed Abdul-Malik Al-Mutawakil talks to the Yemen Times”
A prominent politician, academic and former leader of the Joint Meeting Parties (JMPs), Dr. Mohammed Abdul-Malik Al-Mutawakil sat down with the Yemen Times to discuss the JMP, the General People`s Congress (GPC) and what has been achieved in the one year since the GCC power transition deal was signed.
Al-Mutawakil said the JMP and the GPC are hindering the political process in the country because they do not care about building Yemen. He also said he thinks Yemenis are not impressed by what`s changed in the past year, adding that for Yemenis, the real achievement will be the creation of a civil, democratic and fair state.
What has changed a year after the signing of the Gulf Initiative?
So far, we agreed on many things that prepare the framework for development. Since the signing of the Initiative, Ali Abdullah Saleh has left his position, early presidential elections were held and a reconciliation government was established. These are all preparations for what must be done and not things that have already been done.
Do you think Yemenis are contented with what has been achieved?
No, they are not satisfied because in the end the real achievement must be the establishment of a fair and democratic civil state. All the problems that are currently happening, from the issues in Sa`ada and the south to the economic problems and corruption, have resulted from the absence of the state.
If the state and good governance are absent, nothing will be achieved. People are waiting for the fair, democratic civil state that reflects their aspirations.
Do you think the current regime and the government are working effectively on establishing a civil state?
Firstly, we mustn`t forget that the government is one of the state`s institutions and not the whole state. The state must be composed of several institutions that work simultaneously such as the military, the parliament, political parties and the civil service; otherwise, the cabinet won`t be strong enough.
But some say the former regime is the reason behind the problems Yemenis are currently suffering from?
The problems are the result of the absence of a state and good governance. To overcome these results we mustn`t pay attention to the results but to the reasons and factors that created these results.
I have told many people not to pay attention to corruption and the problems of Sa`ada because when the state is absent, nothing will be achieved. I have also discussed with several southerners who are interested in federalism and told them that federalism is a part of the state and it may be given to them, but without democracy, it will simply result in more fighting.
Do the political bodies that signed the Gulf Initiative agree on the construction of a civil state?
Unfortunately, they pay no attention to this issue.
Both the General People`s Congress (GPC) and the Joint Meeting Parties (JMPs)?
Yes. The JMP only paid attention to job distribution, and I criticize them for that because jobs are for all people. They have to pay attention to state construction and development. When we develop a fair state, a fair judiciary system and military institutions based on the correct foundations, we can move to the rule of law and constitution, and everything will fall into place.
Some say they were excluded from their posts in the past, but all they do is want to marginalize others in return. They should file a case when we establish a fair judiciary system, but they shouldn`t do the same thing that the former people did to them because it will entrench backwardness.
Many JMP leaders say Ali Abdullah Saleh and his regime obstruct political reform?
I don`t know who hinders the political compromise, but I think that all of them are obstructing it since they don`t pay attention to the state`s construction. Frankly the GPC will have no future if it doesn`t develop a new project and political agenda. I have told Saleh to participate in the National Dialogue with the fair democratic state project because it will help the GPC to remain a political party.
Even foreign countries are ready to support this with the U.S and its partners wanting Yemen to stabilize to protect their interests in the seas and the Gulf. I once asked the Americans whether it is possible for Yemen to be stable without the construction of a fair, civil, democratic state, and they said no, asserting their willingness to help any people working on this issue.
In an interview with a political analyst, Saleh said Yemen became a field for external powers that care only for their interests?
I assert that they don`t pay attention to the good of Yemen but they want Yemen to be stable so that their interests won`t be negatively affected, as the Americans told me. Fortunately, their interests are connected to Yemen`s stability, and stability is connected to the construction of a fair and democratic civil state.
Are you contented with what has been politically achieved after signing the Gulf Initiative?
So far, not many things have been achieved, but frankly, the fundamental focus should be the construction of the state. If no attention is paid to the construction of the state, nothing will be achieved, and fighting will continue.
What hinders leaders of political parties from building the state, though they are continuously calling for that?
After I received treatment in Jordan, I came back longing to see the reconciliation that had been achieved in Yemen, but when I met with sheikhs and leaders of parties, I found that they still focus on insulting one another. I told them that insults result in nothing and detract from the necessity of agreeing on the state we want to form in the future.
Some of them said they want to reorganize the military, but when I asked them about the method they wanted to use, they said by excluding Saleh`s relatives and Ali Mohsen. For me, this doesn`t solve the problem or military reorganization and could cause issues.
There is a disagreement regarding whether to start the reorganization before or after the National Dialogue. What do you think?
I suggested we start the dialogue and discuss the military reorganization and its standards and procedures as the first issue. The military should be used to protect the state and not individuals.
Pro-revolution people are continuously calling for military restructuring. Do you think the current regime can work on that without obstructions?
I suggest that we start the dialogue and then establish a core committee composed of neutral military and civil forces to set-up the foundations of the army and agree on an independent judiciary system and constitution. Others, outside of this core committee, can help in the deliberation process.
At the time of Saleh, specifically in 1994, clergy men came to Saleh and told him that they will agree to his presidency instead of the establishment of a presidential council on the condition that he inserts what they wanted in the constitution. As they said Yemen`s constitution at the time stipulated that all people are equal in their responsibilities and their rights without prejudice based on gender, thought and ideology. The clergy wanted to delete “without prejudice” to take away women`s and non-Muslims citizenship rights. They said that women have the rights mentioned in the Sharia, but I personally think it`s their own version of Sharia.
The United Nations warned of sanctions against those obstructing the political reconciliation in the country. What do you think?
At present, everyone obstructs the political reconciliation unless they agree on the way the state will be built. I have never seen anyone striving to build-up the state. Thus, I cannot mention particular names. I say: if they don`t care about the state, they are all obstructers.
Are you optimistic about the National Dialogue?
Honestly speaking, I am. There is no alternative to the dialogue. God told us all: God will not make the villages perish if they are righteous. Where are the honest and the righteous? If they do exist, the dialogue will succeed.
Are the political parties earnest to make the National Dialogue successful?
Let us wait. At the moment, I cannot accuse anyone of obstructing the dialogue specifically. Frankly, we should all be striving to build a civil state.
The constitution will be discussed in the National Dialogue as a main issue. How do you see the suspension of the membership of the two members of the committee, namely Majed Al-Madhaji and Radia Al-Matwakil?
I read their statements. I agree they were suspended without justifications. It is true they trust [U.N. Special Envoy to Yemen] Jamal Benomar, but this trust should not prevent them from adopting or voicing their viewpoints. They should have the right to their own opinion.
With regards to the issue of representation in the National Dialogue, the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh raised an objection and called for 50 percent for the GPC. Is this an obstruction to the dialogue?
Just like the Opposition Coalition Parties, the GPC has rights. There must be equality. I cannot side with this or that. I say they must agree to reach a united stand. Do they want their own interests or the interests of the nation? Do parties serve the country or just themselves?
What are the major issues that you want to be discussed in the National Dialogue?
For the dialogue to be successful, it must discuss the military forces restructure, the country`s security apparatus, the independent judiciary alongside the development of the constitution and the rule of law. If we agree on these things, we will have no further rifts.
There were widespread criticisms about your visit with the former president. The opposition and the revolutionary youth deemed such an act undesirable and unacceptable.
Those who criticize him today used to visit him when he was in office. Now why don`t they visit him after relinquishing power? They behave on the basis of self-interest. My behavior is not based on self-interests. I used to criticize Saleh when he was president. You can have a look at my articles. I went to Saleh because he is no longer president. Furthermore, as the head of the GPC, I wanted to suggest to him that he should convince the GPC to adopt the civil state in the dialogue. Those who criticize me don`t know my values or my morals. Differences must not spoil intimacy.
Some say you have had disagreements with some leading figures from the opposition parties.
I have had no rifts with anyone. Today, I refuse to have disagreements with anybody. It is normal to have a different opinion, but I don`t conceal enmity. I frankly refuse antagonism as I consider it backwardness. I have no enmity with Ali Abdullah Saleh or the opposition coalition. It is a matter of a variety of opinions.
They have asserted that you are exempted from leading the Popular Powers Union, a party in the opposition coalition, because you have developed a closeness to the former regime.
I don`t know what the motives were, but I say they did a good job in exempting me because I did not attend the meetings of the general secretary. They have the right, for I didn`t do my job. They are free to take their decisions. The supreme committee contacted me to appoint me as deputy head of the committee, but I told them that I want to be with all parties for the sake of the country and against all parties for the sake of Yemen.
How do you evaluate the performance of the reconciliation government?
The government can do nothing unless it builds a genuine state. Where is the parliamentarian apparatus? Where are the parties, the army and free media? Where is the security? This is just a temporary government. I don`t blame or thank it.
Has the government achieved something important so far?
As long as the absence of the state continues, the performance of government offices and ministries will be ineffective. How will the ministries work in line with the absence of a state, the army and resources? How will the ministers work in the absence of a parliament that holds them responsible and parties that criticize their performance?
Description of Source: Sanaa Yemen Times Online in English -- Website of independent twice-weekly, Yemen`s largest-circulation English-language newspaper; URL: http://yementimes.com/)
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