Review of Yemen 2001s Major Events [Archives:2002/02/Law & Diplomacy]

January 7 2002

Faruq al-Kamali
Mohammed Ben Sallam
The year 2000 started with holding the Local Council Elections and approving the Election Law plus the formation of the Election Supreme Committee (ESC).
It also witnessed the formation of a new government, the appointment of new diplomatic missions, as well as members of the Shura Council. In the security field the kidnapping and explosion incidents continued to take place amid several tribal conflicts.
The September 11 terrorist attack on the WTC heavily cast its shadows on Yemen as 20 soldiers were killed in Mareb during a hunt down of some suspected supporters of al-Qaeda network.
The tribal clashes repeatedly occurred in areas such as Mareb, Amran, Beidaa, Sanaa and Hajja. The reasons for clashes varied from confrontations over ownership of land to tribal blood feuds, etc. The clashes that took place between Jahm and al-Jedaan tribes in July resulted in the killing of several people from the two sides. The war was also renewed in October as a result of a dispute over a piece of land located between the two tribes.
The fierce confrontations between Wadeaah and al-Ussaimat tribes in Amran over a piece of land in July and August resulted in the death of 25 people and injury of 100 others. Similar tribal conflicts also took place in different areas of Amran and Hajja claiming the lives of many people.
The President of the Republic ordered the Shura Council last July to set up an ad hoc committee to tackle tribal feuds, especially after the expansion of the tribal war zone. Later, the committee discussed many issues related to tribal blood feuds and issued many recommendations in this respect, but could not reach a general reconciliation among the warring tribes.
Security-related incidents
The acts of explosions and armed confrontations continued to take place in Aden. Many explosions took place during the new year celebrations of 2001. Three different explosions occurred targeting the night club of the Continental Hotel, the building of the state-owned Saba News Agency and a church, but no casualties were recorded.
In May, a booby trapped car exploded in Aden while the President was attending the 11th anniversary celebrations of re-unification of Yemen. In the same month a dynamite warehouse exploded in al-Suaida district resulting in the death of 17 persons, the injury of many others plus the destruction of a truck and 11 shops close to the place of the incident.
In July, 8 persons were killed and 5 others were injured in Sanaa during armed confrontations between Aal Nashtan tribe and persons loyal to Sheikh Abdulah bin Hussein al-Ahmar, speaker of the parliament.
Madbah district in Sanaa witnessed heavy fighting between the residents of the area and some military officials who attempted to forcibly take pieces of land belonging to some citizens. Also, in June fierce armed confrontations took place between the security forces and the retired colonel Yahya al-Muharess and his sons. The clashes killed 5 persons and injured 3 others. Al-Muharess was said to have commanded a gang which had perpetrated tens of crimes.
The circle of kidnapping continued to take place. The acts of abduction included Yemeni citizens this time. In January an armed group from Bani Dhabian tribe kidnapped the eldest son of the former Mayor of the Capital-Secretariat. The kidnappers demanded the implementation of a number of development projects in their tribal areas. Businessman Ali Mohammed Numan al-Qubati was also abducted in January from the city of Hudeida as a result of a dispute between him and the Military Economic Corporation in Hudeida. At the end of May, al-Zaidi tribes of Mareb kidnapped Carl Christian, a German national, who was studying Arabic in Sanaa, and took him to Mareb. Carl was then released on June 11 after the mediation of some tribal figures. In the same month the same tribe abducted five persons from Sanhan, the hometown of president Saleh. Following the incident contingents of the armed forces heavily shelled the area, where the hostages had been held captive.
On July 27, a group of al-Zaidi tribe kidnapped the German Commercial attaché, Rainer Berns, from Sanaa. He was released two months later.
On 28, a tribal group from al-Zaidi tribe kidnapped German Carl Lienart, 55, to their tribal area in Mareb. The abduction of Mr. Carl coincided with the visit of president Saleh to Germany. Carl was then released on December 8 after a contingent of the Yemeni special forces besieged the hideout of the abductors and arrested one of them.
Jabbir Ali Satir failed in February to hijack a Yemenia airplane after the airplane crew foiled his attempt and arrested him.
The ruling party, General People Congress (GPC), won the local council elections while the Islah party ranked second. Following consultations with the opposition parties, the newly amended Election Law was lastly approved and the ESCwas later formed in November. The ESCincluded 7 members appointed by the President and 15 others who were nominated by the parliament.
New Government
Following the local council elections the new government of Abdulqadir Bajamal was formed on April 4. It replaced the government of Dr. Abdulkareem al-Iryani. The newly appointed government included one female minister, Dr. Waheeba Fareaa who was given the Ministry of Human Rights. Three new ministries were created. These were the Ministry of Human Rights, Ministry of Higher Education & Scientific Research and the Ministry of Technical Education & Vocational Training.
Yemeni-Saudi Relations
The Yemeni-Saudi relations witnessed good development after the signing of the Jeddah Border Treaty in June 2000. Crown Prince, Abdulah bin Abdulaziz headed a large Saudi delegation in his visit to participate in the anniversary of Yemens reunification celebrations. The visit was followed by president Salehs visit to Riyadh. President Saleh, during his visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, repeated his invitations to Saudi businessmen to invest in Yemen, affirming that they would be rendered care and assurances.
Sheikh bin Shajea, a leading Sheikh of Dahm tribe, continued warning the German company, entrusted with the demarcation of the Yemeni-Saudi borders, not to approach the borders of his tribe. Dahm tribe claimed that it would be deprived of 10000 km of its land according to the agreed on border treaty.
On security, the Yemeni-Saudi committee, in charge of implementing the border treaty, held its last meeting in Sanaa last October.
Yemen and combating terrorism
The September 11 incidents have had a strong impact on both the Yemeni people and government. Yemen has already been suffering from terrorism. However, the Yemeni government has been up to the occasion and has denounced all kinds of terrorism including the Israel terror against the Palestinian people. It has also called for extraditing Abu Alhamza Almissri suspected of masterminding acts of terror in Yemen.
With the view of clarifying the stance of Yemen towards terrorism, President Ali Abdulah Saleh paid visits to Germany and France after holding a summit with the US president George Bush in Washington. President Saleh had earlier pointed out that Yemen was a victim of terrorism and that the Yemeni economy had greatly been affected by the suicide crash against the WTC and the Pentagon on September 11.
In Brief
January 2001
-Tribes in Mareb seized a number of oil tankers and threatened not to allow any others to go to Mareb. The seizure of the tankers is a message to authorities to prompt recruiting tribesmen in the army and oil companies operating in the region, a tribal source pointed out.
-Prior to the local council elections, 6 people were killed and 10 others were injured during an armed confrontation in Amran governorate to the north of Sanaa.
-Unidentified men exploded the al-Shuaaib Telephone Central with TNT materials leading to the collapse of the entire telephone network in the neighborhood.
-Three persons were killed and many others were injured when a person opened fire on a group of people performing prayers in a mosque in Amran.
-More than 30 persons were reportedly killed and tens of others were wounded during mishaps accompanying the local council elections.
-Abdulah Saleh Al-Hammami held a number of foreign tourists captive in Shabwa.
-Kuwaiti Development Bank re-started activities in Yemen.
-Yemen short-story writer, Arwa Abdu Othma, won the Sharja prize for artistic creation.
-Mouth-and-feet disease was discovered in different parts of Hudeida and Hajja
-Yemen showed solidarity with Iraq and sent a civil airplane to Baghdad. The plane carried some officials and dignitaries as a challenge to the decade-old sanction on Iraq.
-Mohammed al-Mujahed, Director-General of the Tourism Office in Taiz died in a car accident.
President Saleh visited Eritrea for discussing issues pertaining to the demarcation of the maritime borders between the two countries.
-Unidentified men opened fire at the house of Dr. Abdulah Abdulwali Nashir, former Minister of Health.
-Sixteen Yemeni journalists returned to the country after seven-year self-imposed exile in Syria.
-Brigadier Mohammed Abdulah Saleh, Commander-in-chief of the Central Guards and brother of president Saleh, died of a stubborn disease.
-The Yemenia, Yemen Airways, headquarters in Sanaa burst into flames leading to the destruction of the upper five stories of the building and great finical losses.
-The Cabinet prohibited building inside the ancient city of Zabid.
-President Saleh issued a decree to scrap the Military Compulsory Service and to, instead, open the way for the voluntarily military recruitment.
-Government announced 70 percent increase in diesels prices.
-Abu Bakr Saeed Jayol and Ahmed Massud Musharaf, responsible for bombing the British Embassy in Sanaa, were sentenced to 15 years imprisonment. The other defendants were sentenced to terms of imprisonment ranging from 4-year to 6-year.
-Arab parliamentarians met in Sanaa for discussing the Palestinian issue.
-Muqbel Hadi Al-Wadei, Sheikh of the Salafi movement in Yemen, died.
-Former Minister of Immigrants, Ahmed Al-Bishari and Ahmed Al-Marwani died.
-AKuwaiti cultural week was organized in Sanaa.
-Commander-in-Chief of the US Central Forces in the Middle East arrived in Sanaa to review the outcomes of investigating the USS Cole incident.
-Twenty persons were killed in a traffic accident in Haradh-Hudeida road.
-Yemen condemned the suicide attacks against the USA.
– An army colonel kidnapped an accountant working for a Chinese company in Sanaa.
-Anti-US demonstrations were staged in Sanaa to protest the US-led war against Afghanistan.
-USA accused a honey trader in Yemen of running assets belonging to al-Qaeda leader.
-The Yemen Times, in cooperation with al-Jazeera & Khaleej Center for Studies, held a seminar on the future of the Yemeni-US relations.
-Confrontations erupted between university students and security forces during the university student elections.
-Abdulsalm Nuraddin, a Sudanese national, and his Yemeni friend, Ahmed Saif, were subjected to harassment by the Political Security Police on charges of espionage.
-Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Maqaleh won the al-Sharjah prize for artistic creation.
-Tribes from the southern governorates met to present their demands to president Saleh. President Saleh visited Aden to ease the tension.
-20 soldiers of the Yemen Special Forces were killed by tribesmen during their search for allegedly al-Qaeda supporters in the region. Twenty tribesmen were also killed.