Press Review [Archives:2001/03/Press Review]

January 15 2001

Several topics and issues headed newspapers last week. The main development covered in local press was the explosion that rocked the Dhale branch of the Yemen Socialist Party, leading to tremendous material loss. This was accompanied with the news relating to the local administration elections and the stand of YSP in this regard.
The newspapers issued after Friday covered the latest devastating blast the killed more than 7 people in Amran. Opposition newspapers concentrated on the potential of the possible violations that may occur in the local elections and referendum for the constitutional amendments, as they accused the authorities of not being unbiased in their stand regarding candidacy, etc.
As usual, here you will find excerpts from the most recent headline stories of main newspapers published during last week.
Al-Usboo, January 11, 2001 – Independent Weekly

6 Killed, and 10 injured
Inaugurating Local Elections with an Armed Attack Challenging Al-Ahmars Will
Six men were killed and 10 injured after an armed conflict emerged on Tuesday in one of the provinces of Amran Governorate because of a dispute over the candidates for the local administration elections to be held next month.
The conflict occurred in the Thi bein area in the province of Kharef after a dispute between the men of Abdullah bin Hussein Al-Ahmar and his opposition. Eyewitnesses confirmed that the dispute turned into an armed conflict between the same tribe in one of the mosques in the area. Five men were instantly shot and killed, while eleven were hurt, one of them died at the hospital afterwards.
This is the first conflict occurring during the preparation for the local administration elections, and is also the first violent event challenging the will of Al-Ahmar from within the center of his own party Hashid.
An Arrest Campaign Targeting Islamists after the Aden and Dhale Explosions
Police forces continued its intensive arrest campaign targeting extreme Islamists for the third week in Aden, Abyan, Shabwa, and Dhale. Among the arrested was Mohsin Ahmed Seif of the Yemeni League Party.
The arrests came after a series of explosions in Aden and Dhale and included individuals who have already been arrested after the USS Cole incident and later released.
Al-Thouri, January 11, 2001, mouthpiece of YSP – Weekly
YSP Central Committee Calls upon Yemenis to Reject Constitutional Amendments
The Central Committee of the YSP called upon Yemenis to reject and say NO to the constitutional amendments that will be voted for in the coming elections on February 20, 2001. This was clearly stated in the concluding statement at the decisions that came out of the second session of the Fourth General Assembly of the party. The statement mentioned that it is essential for all the Opposition Coordination Council members to take a solid stand against the constitutional amendments. It also stated that YSPs participation in the democratic process of the local elections does not mean ignoring or retreating from the continuous struggle of the party for a fully true local administration with complete authority.
The party also expressed its sadness for the biased role of the party affairs committee, and its efforts to dissolve the YSP by launching a vigorous campaign calling for hatred against the party. This actually happened mid December 2000, when the committee gave public statements calling for antagonizing the Yemeni people that is against the main theme of the committee of independence, neutrality.
Hussein Arab Describes the Explosions as Terroristic While Ignoring the YSP Dhales Office Bombing
Minister of Interior, Brigadier Hussein Arab gave a statement on Wednesday at the House of Parliament describing the dangerous security flaws the country is witnessing, and which have developed rapidly within the last few months. Th lack of security was the main reason behind the USS Cole Explosion incident, last October, the bombing of the British Embassy, the explosions that rocked Aden City just after the new year celebrations took place, and finally the YSP office at the Shuaib Province.
The minister responded to inquiries by members of parliament about the mentioned incidents by stating that 6 suspects are being interrogated, three of who are accused of arranging the USS Cole bombing. As for the British Embassy explosion, he said that the main offender and his two partners are being sought after. Coming to the Aden incidents, he stressed that security forces were able to capture four of the culprits, who did confess to committing the bombing.
However, the ministry mention nothing about the YSP Dhale explosion, and preferred to ignore it.
Al-Balagh, January 9, 2001 – Independent Weekly

USA Offers Helping Yemen Secure its Marine Passages
The USA offered our country the protection of Yemeni strategic marine passages in local and regional waters.
Media sources stated that the offer has been presented by US security officials and diplomats as a complete project under the title National Project to Combat Terrorism, which is expected to be launched in the middle of this year. The project will be a under European and US supervision, will include the sponsorship and training of Yemeni security forces, and will also include the construction of the major structures as part of the first phase, which will include the construction of a modern communication network as a measure to protect US ships arriving from the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea for refueling.
Local political analysts related this offer to the requests by US security officials demanding that the US Government act to secure its ships and marine forces all over the world, after they realized that they were the target of terrorists.
Al-Sahwa, 11 January 2001, Mouthpiece of Islah – Weekly
The first of its kind if it happens
Coordinating the Coordination for Local Elections
The Supreme Opposition Coordination Council had an initial agreement of coming up with a common list of candidates for the Local Council Elections to take place on 20 February 2001.
An official source representing the coordination council told Al-Sahwa that all parties of the council approved the decision of participating in the elections with a common list of candidates. The council called upon all its branches all over the governorates to coordinate among themselves and come up with a common list of candidates as to not cause any competition between them.
The source confirmed that the council had sent an order to all its branches explaining the conditions and requirements in the candidates to join the list, and in the case a suitable candidate was not found, an independent figure could be nominated as long as he/she is close enough to the views and ideas of the council.
Analysts predict that if this unique step is properly taken, a major change may take place in the current political arena, as some collations may emerge causing significant competition against the PGC.