Helen Lackner on Current Events


Helen Lackner has just published an informative article on the recent political events in Yemen.  It is published on Open Democracy.

Helen Lackner has worked in all parts of Yemen since the 1970s and lived there for close to 15 years.  She has written about the country’s political economy as well as social and economic issues.  She works as a freelance rural development consultant in Yemen and elsewhere and is currently also engaged in research on hydro politics in Yemen. Her latest book as editor:  – Why Yemen Matters, Saqi books 2014

Destroying Yemen’s Islamic Past

The shrine of Sufyan ibn Abdullah in al-Hawta

The madness goes on.  It is reported that 30 al-Qaeda gunmen on 30 motorcycles blew up the 800 year old shrine of the Sufi  scholar Sufyan ibn Abdullah.  Not only did they demolish this famous shrine but also destroyed graves and removed the bones of the dead.  Sacrilege knows no bounds.

The rubble that was the shrine.

جماعه مسلحة تهدم اهم معلم إسلامي بحوطة لحج عمره ثمان مائة سنة
عدن الحدث
٢٨ يناير

اقدمت عناصر مسلحة على هدم اهم معلم إسلامي بمدينة الحوطة بمحافظة لحج يضم ضريح ومسجد العالم الجليل سفيان بن عبدالله ونبش قبره الذي مضى عليه أكثر من 800 عام وتسوية القبة وملحقاتها بالأرض.

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Trailing Yemen’s last leopards


Tailing Arabia’s Last Leopards: An Environmental Reporting Road Trip through Yemen (Part V – Final Installment)

by Gaar Adams, Beaconreader.com, January 9


In early 2014, I joined a weeklong expedition through Yemen’s Haraz Mountains and Western Highlands to track the Arabian leopard – one of the rarest animals in the world. This is the conclusion to my five-part series detailing the 1,000-kilometer journey that took me from rusted-out pickup trucks with rifle-wielding mango farmers to cave-homes hewn out of sheer cliffs in search of the elusive big cat. With stories of extremism and conflict dominating media coverage of Yemen, take a rare inside look at the ecological surprises nestled amidst the country’s isolated valleys as I investigate the barrage of threats assailing some of the most remote and least studied natural environments on the planet.

Click here for the article

British-Yemeni Society Annual Lecture

Conservative MP Alan Duncan, Shadow Secretary for Trade, Industry and Energy.

The British-Yemeni Society Annual Lecture: Yemen: The Fight for Stability and Hope

The Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan MP will give the 2015 British-Yemeni Society Annual Lecture on 4 February at 6pm at the Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, SOAS, University of London, Thornhaugh Street, WC1.

The title is Yemen: The Fight for Stability and Hope.

Sir Alan Duncan played a key role in Britain’s relations with Yemen in his period as Minister of State in the Department of International Aid from 2010 to 2014.  During that time he visited Yemen several times and was closely involved in the UK’s co-chairmanship of the Friends of Yemen process and in shaping the UK’s assistance programme to Yemen.  In 2014 he was appointed the British Government’s Special Envoy to Yemen in which role he works to help deliver the government’s Yemen Strategy, which includes security, stability and development objectives..

Sir Alan is thus in a unique position to discuss Britain’s role in supporting Yemen through its current transition process.

This event is jointly organised by the London Middle East Institute (LMEI) and SOAS with generous support from the MBI al Jaber Foundation.

New from Barāqish

Right to left: Alessandro de Maigret, Sabina Antonini and Francesco Fedele, discussing the extramural excavations
at Baraqish, Yemen, in 2005

Camels, donkeys and caravan trade: an emerging context from Barāqish, ancient Yathill (Wadi al-Jawf, Yemen)

No Accessby Francesco G. Fedele, Laboratorio di Antropologia, Università di Napoli ‘Federico II’, Naples, Italy (retired), current address: via Foligno 78/10, 10149 Torino (Italy)

Citation: Fedele F. G. 2014. — Camels, donkeys and caravan trade: an emerging context from Barāqish, ancient Yathill (Wādi al-Jawf, Yemen). Anthropozoologica 49 (2): 177–194.


Work at Barāqish/Yathill in 2005–06 has produced sequences encompassing the Sabaean (13th-6th centuries BC) and Minaean/Arab (c. 550 BC-AD 1) occupations. Abundant animal remains were retrieved and contexts of use and discard were obtained. Camels and donkeys are studied together as pack animals, the camel being the domestic dromedary. Their zooarchaeological and contextual study at Yathill is justified from this city’s location on the famous frankincense caravan route of the 1st millennium BC. An extramural stratigraphic sequence documenting the relationships between the city and the adjoining plain from c. 820 BC to the Islamic era was investigated to the northwest of the Minaean wall. Domestic camels were present by 800 BC, the earliest well-documented occurrence in Yemen; wild dromedary herds were still in the area during the 7th century and perhaps later. The study of the archaeological context links these Sabaean-age camels to campsites possibly formed by non-residents. This pattern greatly developed during the Minaean period, with trade-jar handling posts outside the walled city and frequent stationing of camels and donkeys on the upper talus. Such data directly support the role of Yathill in the overland caravan trade and suggest that the extramural area was functionally important in this respect.

Honoring the new Minister of Culture


AIYS honored the Minister and Undersecretary Minister of Culture in recognition of their significant contribution to preserving the Yemeni cultural heritage and folklore.  A large number of academics, scholars, government officials and activists attended the ceremonial function held at the AIYS premises on Tuesday, January 13, 2015. The deputy Minister of Culture Hodda Ablan also attended, as did the cultural attaché in the Egyptian embassy in Sana’a, Mr Mostafa al-Sheikh.

Dr. Salwa Dammaj, the Director of the AIYS, praised the Minister of Culture Arwa Othman and Undersecretary of the Ministry Dr. Amat Al-Malik Al-Thawr for their contribution to the preservation of Yemeni cultural heritage and folklore. She said “the two ladies had played key role in preserving significant portion of Yemen’s cultural heritage and folklore”. Dr. Dammaj went on saying: “Mrs Othman has worked hard and contributed effectively toward preserving a significant part of the Yemeni folklore. She established the House of Folklore, collected a great deal of folklore articles and organized exhibitions and carnivals to celebrate Yemeni traditional habits and customs. Similarly Dr. Al-Thawr has made substantial contributions to preserving Yemen’s cultural heritage. She has worked devotedly to preserve Yemen’s manuscripts. As a Director of the House of Manuscripts, she helped in restoring and maintaining hundreds of rare manuscripts”.

“Recognizing their leading role in serving Yemeni culture and folklore, AIYS is pleased to honor Mrs Arwa Othman and Dr. Amat Al-Malik Al-Thawr,” Dr. Dammaj said.

A famous Yemeni poet Ameen Al-Mashriqi recited a folk poem applauded by the audience. Dr. Al-Thawr  expressed her pleasure to be honored by AIYS, and deeply appreciated this gesture. For her part, the Minister made a short comment, expressing thanks to AIYS for the important efforts it has made to support Yemeni cultural projects, research and studies​.  A number of the attendees asked the Minister of Culture about her Ministry’s plan and programs. The Minister answered the questions raised and briefed the audience on the Ministry’s policy and difficulties.

Scholarship Available for Yemeni Students


The LSE Middle East Centre Emirates Scholarship offers financial support for students from Arab states studying for a Master’s degree at LSE and who intend to focus their studies on the Middle East. The programme is funded by the Emirates Foundation.

The scholarship has a value of £30,000 which will cover full tuition fees with the remainder available to support living expenses in London.

Three scholarships will be offered each year. The scholars will also be affiliated to the Middle East Centre for the duration of their degree and will be encouraged to participate in the Centre’s research activities.



The scholarship will cover the tuition fees for any one year full-time Master’s programme at LSE (taught or research).

Applicants must be from the following countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine (West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, UAE, Yemen.

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