Category Archives: Sanaa

Who Lost Yemen?

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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.
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Hirak and the Houthis

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Southern Yemen After the Fall of Sanaa

by Susanne Dahlgren | MERIP, October 7, 2014

The mysteries in the September events in Sanaa loom large. Who decided that security forces should not try to stop the Houthis from entering the Yemeni capital? Why didn’t Hashid tribes, closely tied to the political elites of Sanaa, stop them? These are questions that southerners are asking when trying to make sense of what happened on September 21 when Ansar Allah, the militia of the Houthi political group, stormed the largest city in the north.

What many believe is that the Houthis were used by former president ‘Ali ‘Abdallah Salih to dislodge Maj. Gen. ‘Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar, a long-time player in the Yemeni political elite and his former righthand man, and to weaken al-Ahmar’s political affiliate, the Islamist party known as Islah. For decades, the Sanhan tribe to which Salih and al-Ahmar belong has monopolized power in Sanaa, excluding not only the Houthis but also the biggest tribal confederation, the Bakil. These tensions have hindered state building in northern Yemen since the 1960s, but have very little to do with the south, where the hirak, a movement for autonomy from the capital, continues to build momentum.

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Human Rights Watch Honors Arwa Othman

Arwa-Othman

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.

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In honor of Abdullah al-Baradduni

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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

Wavell in Yemen: #2

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[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.

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Manzoni’s Travel Book in Arabic

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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.

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