Obama calls it a “model” for fighting terror. So why didn’t anyone notice last month’s coup?
By CHARLES SCHMITZ, Politico Magazine, October 15, 2014
Nobody saw it coming. On Sept. 20, Yemen’s Huthi movement executed a political coup so stealthy that the world hardly noticed, and so momentous that local commentators are dividing modern Yemeni history into before and after the Huthi assent to power. The Huthis, a Shiite-led rebel group with a power base in Yemen’s far north, have been waiting for this moment since the early 2000s, when their civil rights campaign was forced to take up arms in self-defense.
The Huthi coup is not only reshuffling the Yemen political deck, but also regional political calculations, particularly in the Arab Gulf, because the Huthi maintain good ties with Iran. And it poses problems for President Obama’s war against Yemen’s al Qaeda affiliate.
Over the last six months, Huthi militias extended their control over regions adjacent to the Huthi stronghold in Saada, 230 kilometers north of the Yemeni capital Sanaa. They wrested leadership of the powerful Hashid tribal confederation, destroyed military units allied with the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Islah Party, and ousted their Salafi opponents from the Dammaj Valley, a few miles southeast of Saada. Finally, the Huthi descended upon Sanaa, destroyed the last remaining military units loyal to Gen. Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar, the once-powerful commander of the 1st Armored Division, and his allies in the Islah Party, and took control of the Yemeni government without much resistance – and surprisingly little international coverage.
Continue reading Who Lost Yemen?
Sama’a al-Hamdani was recently interviewed on the Huffington Post about the recent events in Sanaa, where the Huthis have effectively taken control and there are intense diplomatic efforts. Check out her analysis here.
Human Rights Watch, September 16, 2014
Human Rights Watch’s Alison Des Forges Award celebrates the valor of individuals who put their lives on the line to protect the dignity and rights of others. Human Rights Watch collaborates with these courageous activists to create a world in which people live free of violence, discrimination, and oppression.
Arwa Othman is a writer, journalist, anthropology researcher and leading advocate working to end child marriage in Yemen.
Women in Yemen face severe discrimination in law and in practice. More than half of Yemeni girls are married—often to much older men—before age 18, making them more likely to drop out of school, die in childbirth, or experience physical and sexual abuse. During the mass protests that erupted in Yemen in 2011—ultimately ending then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 33-year rule Othman was among the most outspoken activists calling for human rights and gender equality.
Continue reading Human Rights Watch Honors Arwa Othman
This photograph of shari‘ Jamal in Sanaa was taken in 1963. Courtesy of Dr. Muhammad Gerhoum, from the Facebook page of ‘Abd al-Hamid al-Hajj.
لذكرى 15 لرحيل الشاعر والمؤرخ والمفكر عبدالله البردوني
بمناسبة الذكرى 15 لرحيل شاعر اليمن الكبير وضميرها الإنساني الأستاذ/ عبدالله البردُّوني، تنظم جبهة إنقاذ الثورة السلمية الصباحية الموسيقية للفنان/ عبدالفتاح القباطي، التي يغني فيها عدد من قصائد البردُّوني. ومعرض الصور للفنان/ عبدالرحمن الغابري، الذي يستعرض ما إلتقطته عدسته من صور تعبر عن مراحل عدة من حياة الأستاذ عبدالله البردُّوني.
تقام الفعالية، العاشرة صباح السبت 30/8/2014م ببيت الثقافة/ شارع القصر/ صنعاء
[Illustration, Guests in Turkey, from John Clark Ridpath, Ridpath’s History of the World (Cincinnati: The Jones Brothers Publishing Company, 1899), vol IV.]
[Note: Arthur John Byng Wavell (1882-1916) was a British soldier and adventurer who traveled in disguise to Mecca in 1908 and went on to Yemen in 1911 to witness fighting between the Zaydi imam’s troops and the Ottoman Turks. This account was originally published in 1912. For Part One of this series, click here.]
The hour was late and the smoking room almost deserted when the conversation about to be reported took place. My companion the Pasha was a tall, heavy man, on whose sunburned and lined countenance a long life in the open air and many hard-fought campaigns in tropical countries had left their traces. He had been a field marshal once, but that was in the days of Abdul Hamid, when as some one said after the American civil war, “you could not spit out the window without hitting a major-general.” It was to this latter rank that the reshuffle which followed hard on the constitution had reduced him…
The Pasha regarded me with some curiosity.
Continue reading Wavell in Yemen: #2
One of the classic late 19th century travel books on Yemen was by the Italian Renzo Manzoni. In addition to an informative account of his trip to Sanaa, the illustrations are fantastic. The original Italian version, El Yèmen: Tre Anni nell’ Arabia Felice, was published in 1884 and is available as a pdf online at archive.org. Recently the Social Fund for Development has sponsored an Arabic version, also available for free in pdf online.
Ashrafiyya Mosque, Taizz
One of the most important sources, if not the most important, on the history of the madrasa in Yemen was written by Qadi Ismail al-Akwa‘. An article based mainly on what Qadi Ismail collected is available online in Arabic. Another study by Dr. ‘Abd Allah ‘Abd al-Sallām al-Haddad is available here.