Yemen’s Hadi Reappears in Aden, Denounces Houthi “Coup”

Yemen’s ousted leader, Abd Rabbuh Mansur al-Hadi, reappeared in the port city of Aden on Saturday and said he was still the country’s president, raising the chance of a territorial breakup with the Shiites who control the capital, Sana’a.

Hadi had been put under house arrest when Houthi rebels from the north of Yemen stormed Sana’a in September.

Earlier this month, the Houthis formalized their takeover by dissolving parliament and forming an interim assembly to elect a presidential council.

Leaders from various political groups, including the former defense and interior ministers, attended a ceremony in the presidential palace in Sana’a during which the measures were announced, suggesting that the Houthi usurpation had been endorsed by other factions.

However, Hadi said the Houthis had staged a “coup” and described their political maneuvers as illegitimate. He reiterated his commitment to constitutional reforms that would split Yemen up into six autonomous regions. Read more “Yemen’s Hadi Reappears in Aden, Denounces Houthi “Coup””

Yemen’s Houthi Rebels Dissolve Parliament, Take Over

Yemen’s Houthi rebels cemented their takeover of the country on Friday when they announced the dissolution of parliament and the formation of an interim assembly to elect a presidential council that would rule the impoverished Arab state for up to two years.

Leaders from various political groups, including the former defense and interior ministers, attended a ceremony in the presidential palace in Sana’a on Wednesday, suggesting the Houthis’ takeover was endorsed by other factions.

The Houthis, a Zaidi Shia rebel group that advocates autonomy for the north of Yemen, had been in talks with other factions since President Abd Rabbuh Mansur al-Hadi resigned last month, deepening a political crisis that was triggered when the Houthis first stormed the capital in September.

Hadi’s resignation seemingly deprived the the United States of any ally in Sana’a. However, airstrikes against terror suspects in Yemen have continued. Al Qaeda said a prominent cleric associated with the organization was killed in a drone attack this weekend. Read more “Yemen’s Houthi Rebels Dissolve Parliament, Take Over”

Hadi Resigns, Leaves Yemen’s Fate in Houthi Rebels’ Hands

Yemen’s president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur al-Hadi, resigned on Thursday, leaving Houthi rebels from the north in control of the capital and possibly the country’s political future.

constitutionally, Hadi’s resignation hands the presidency to the speaker of Yemen’s parliament until new elections can be called. But de facto, the Houthis, a Zaidi Shia rebel group from the former Yemen Arab Republic that is supported by Iran, seemed in control.

The Houthis first seized Sana’a, the capital, in September and had held Hadi a virtual prisoner in his palace since. Read more “Hadi Resigns, Leaves Yemen’s Fate in Houthi Rebels’ Hands”

Houthi Rebels Storm Yemen’s Presidential Palace

Houthi rebels from the north of Yemen stormed President Abd Rabbuh Mansur al-Hadi’s residence in Sana’a on Tuesday after some of the worst fighting in the capital in years.

On Monday, security forces loyal to Hadi fought artillery battles near the presidential palace with militias from the north that first seized the capital in September.

The Houthis, a Zaidi Shia rebel group from the former Yemen Arab Republic, forced Hadi to appoint a new government at the time and fought off Sunni tribesmen allied to the international terrorist group Al Qaeda in the west and south.

The Houthi takeover fueled rumors of an imminent southern insurgency. Hadi’s government deployed troops to the Aden and Lahij Governorates, both situated on the Gulf of Aden, in anticipation of a separatist uprising there. Read more “Houthi Rebels Storm Yemen’s Presidential Palace”

Houthis Endorse Government as South Yemen Prepares to Secede

Shia Houthis from the north of Yemen endorsed a new government last week after months of fighting, but separatists in the former South Yemen remain determined to break away.

According to a report in the Yemen Times, the Southern Movement intends to declare independence by the end of November. Defense sources told the newspaper Yemeni troops had been flown into the Aden and Lahij Governorates, both situated on the Gulf of Aden, in anticipation of a separatist uprising there.

The possibility of a southern secession comes as the Shia insurgency in the northwest finally appears to have subsided. Houthi rebels from what was the Yemen Arab Republic before unification in 1990 marched on Sana’a, the capital, in September and forced the government of Prime Minister Mohammed Basindawa to step down. The unrest led to clashes south and west of the capital with Sunni tribesmen allied to Al Qaeda.

Last Thursday, the Houthis accepted the formation of a new government. But they did not withdraw their forces from Sana’a. Read more “Houthis Endorse Government as South Yemen Prepares to Secede”

Obama Escapes Nixon Treatment for Holiday Bombings

Richard Nixon Joseph Luns
American president Richard Nixon of the United States and King Baudouin of Belgium listen to a speech by NATO secretary general and former Dutch foreign minister Joseph Luns in Brussels, June 26, 1974 (NATO)

In the fall of 1972, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and a North Vietnamese peace delegation led by Lê Đức Thọ reached a preliminary peace agreement in Paris that would eventually lead to the end of the Vietnam War, at the time America’s longest war. Kissinger had deliberately kept South Vietnamese negotiators in the dark and when he arrived in Saigon to deliver the agreement for their approval, South Vietnamese negotiators had not been involved in the process.

Saigon rejected the plan, which was effectively the death warrant for thousands of South Vietnamese in the South, and asked its views be included in the ceasefire agreement. South Vietnamese president Nguyễn Văn Thiệu accosted Kissinger, “Are you trying to win the Peace Prize?”

Conversely, the North Vietnamese government in Hanoi flatly refused to make even minor concessions, setting the stage for the December 1972 bombing of North Vietnam and the mining of Haiphong harbor by the United States. Formally known as Linebacker II, the operation became known as the “Christmas Bombings” by Richard Nixon’s critics.

Kissinger indeed later won the Nobel Peace Prize and, eventually, the North Vietnamese agreed to allow South Vietnamese input and an eventual ceasefire. Read more “Obama Escapes Nixon Treatment for Holiday Bombings”

Yemen Federation Plan Fails to Satisfy Southern Separatists

Separatist leaders in former South Yemen rejected political reforms signed into law by President Abd Rabbuh Mansur al-Hadi on Monday that give the region more autonomy.

“We will continue our peaceful struggle until we achieve independence,” said Nasser al-Nawba, founder of the southern Hirak separatist movement.

Under the system Hadi approved after months of negotiation, the country, which is perched on the southwestern edge of the Arabian Peninsula, will be split into six autonomous regions. The formerly communist South Yemen is to be divided into two regions: Aden in the west and Hadhramaut in the east. The more populous former North Yemen will be split into four regions.

Southerners fear that the division will dilute their authority, especially over oil reserves in the Hadhramaut area. Read more “Yemen Federation Plan Fails to Satisfy Southern Separatists”

United States See Rise in Iranian-Sponsored Terrorism

After a delay of several months, the United States State Department’s annual report on terrorist activities worldwide — a document that was much anticipated in Washington DC — was released last week. If the final report is anything close to the summary, analysts will discover some interesting trends in the data.

Although the report is long and dense at times, there are a few noteworthy developments that need to be highlighted in order to fully understand how terrorism has adapted in the last year. Read more “United States See Rise in Iranian-Sponsored Terrorism”

Yemen Succeeds Pakistan as Ground Zero in Drone War

America’s use of unmanned aerial vehicles to hunt for terrorist suspects is best known in the skies over Pakistan. Since Barack Obama was first sworn into office in January 2009, the country has launched hundreds of drone attacks in North and South Waziristan, killing thousands of Islamic militants in the process. In the most celebrated cases, drone strikes tracked and killed some of Al Qaeda’s most senior commanders, including the group’s number two official last June.

However, Pakistan’s tribal areas, a swath of hilly territory that was once seen as the world’s most active breeding ground for terrorism, is no longer the primary focus of American counterterrorism efforts. Yemen, the poorest state in the Arab world, and one awash in guns and terrorist related violence, now holds that title.

For the first time in America’s covert war on terrorists, there have been more drone attacks in Yemen than along Pakistan’s western frontier, a fact that demonstrates just how important the small Arabian Peninsula state has become to Al Qaeda’s existence as an organization. Read more “Yemen Succeeds Pakistan as Ground Zero in Drone War”