lala describes ali mohsen al-ahmar, the army commander who's squared off against saleh in the streets of sanaa. it does not sound like a good dilemma.
"he was the commander during the war with the south when they killed hundreds of thousands and piled them up for the vultures to eat and he has been the commander during 7 sa'ada wars during one of which he ordered the gassing of whole villages there."
from lala in sanaa, where events are breaking very quickly:
The parliament approved a state of emergency this morning, which means we basically have no rights (i am copy/pasting the translation of the law below, for your reference). We also have had almost no power throughout the past couple of days and very very short spills of internet, which i assume will go away completely as of tonight. The protestors have vowed to march towards the presidential palace this friday no matter how much blood is spilled. Another cool thing is the fact that the Presidential Guard and Special forces (pro-saleh) have taken over half the city, as the other half is taken over by the First Armed Division (pro-Mohsen) and things aren't looking too good...they seem to think they just own our town. My friends have already fled to their villages this morning, but my family and are are staying put since we really dont have a place to go and definitely unable to afford a move. I am gonna put the website thing on hold for now, and I will try to email you from work, as i am doing now, as often as possible.
Article (1) This law is called (The Emergency State Law)
Article (2) A State of Emergency may be declared in case of a war or a looming war, or when the public security and order in the territory of the Republic or in part of it is in danger because of disturbances or internal strife or natural disasters or a pandemic. Article (3) A state of Emergency should be declared by a presidential decree, and shall contain the following: - A statement indicating the reason to declare the state of emergency - Define the area covered. - Date of entry into force of the situation and its duration.
Article (4) The presidential decree on the State of Emergency should be referred to the Parliament within the seven days following its issuance, and if the Parliament is not in session the President of the Republic shall invite it to convene, but if the Parliament was dissolved, the dissolved Parliament should be invited to convene, and if the seven days deadline passes without referring the bill to the Parliament or without inviting the Parliament to convene, the State of Emergency should be ended by virtue of the Constitution. Article (5) The State of Emergency ends when the period specified in the decree comes to an end, and this period may be extended only with the consent of the Parliament. Article (6) This Law applies when every State of Emergency is declared without being bound by the provisions of the ordinary laws in effect.
Article (7) The National Defense Council is entrusted with the application of the provisions of this law, and after the approval of this law, the President of the Republic may issue written orders to take the following measures:
1. Impose restrictions on the freedom of people in meetings or moves or living or moves in places or at certain times, and the arrest of suspects or those deemed dangerous to the security and public order, and licensing to search people, places and means of transport without being bound by the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure or any other law, and ordering the use of as much force as necessary in the case of reluctance or resistance.
2. Schedule times to open and close public shops, as well as order the full closure of all these shops or some of them.
3. Monitor all types of correspondence and all various media outlets (print and broadcast) and theaters and the like, networks and multi-media information, communication and literature, brochures and all means of expression and advertising, ban, seize and confiscated them and close their premises and the places where they are being printed.
4.Temporarily takeover of any facility or any real estate, safeguard the companies and institutions and seize funds as well as postpone paying back debts and due or overdue obligations regarding the seized or safeguarded things.
5. Abolish licenses of firearms, ammunition, explosives, explosive materials or materials used in manufacturing any of these and ban manufacturing, importing, sale, purchasing, transferring, disposing, carrying or possessing them, and ordering their seizure and handed them over to concerned security authorities, and impose censorship or control of the places of their manufacture, supply, sale and storage.
6. Evacuate or isolate some areas and impose a curfew in these areas and close public roads or some of them and organize the means of transport and specify their moves in different regions.
7. Mandate persons to do any work or perform any service within their respective capacities. 8. Increase rates of daily working hours for workers in the public service units and facilities, both at central and local levels, or under any of them or within the unit or units of specific management.
Article (8) The National Defense Council may expand the circle of constraints and measures set forth in the preceding article, or apply them according to the nature of the situation that led to the declaration of a state of emergency and the circumstances surrounding it.
Article (9) The security forces carry out orders issued during the state of emergency, and the President may after the approval of the National Defense Council mandates the armed forces to implement those orders or some of them where warranted, and in this case, the officers of the armed forces at the rank determined by the order of reference have the authority to set records of the violations of those orders.
Article (10) Violators of this law and its provisions may be arrested immediately, and those arrested or detained should be informed about the reasons of their arrest or detention immediately, and they have the right to communicate or inform anyone of what has happened to him.
Article (11) The regular minutes about the offenses of the orders issued under this law are authoritative in evidence both before the judicial authorities or other authorities until proven otherwise, and every public employee in his/her area of specialty should help those responsible for those records and enable them to perform this task perfectly.
Article (12) Specialized courts look into specialized crimes, regardless of the status of the perpetrators or instigators and assailants, and the prosecution shall handle these cases before these courts.
Article (13) A person who is arrested or detained in other crimes provided for in Article (14) of this Act may appeal the warrant of arrest or detention upon the expiry of three months from the date of arrest or detention without release, and the appeal shall be done as a request to the specialized criminal court, and the court shall consider the appeal promptly, and those whose appeals are refused may request a new appeal after the passage of three months from the date of refusal, and the court may issue a provisional release of those arrested or detained.
Article (14) Those arrested or detained for crimes harmful to the national unity or the security of the State or which shall be determined by a decree from the President of the Republic after an approval of the national Defense Council may appeal the warrant of arrest or detention in a request that is exempt from fees and submitted to the court during its consideration of the case, and the decision of the court to provisionally release those arrested or detained in such crimes shall be effective only upon approval of the President of the Republic.
Article (15) A person whose property is under guardianship in accordance with the provisions (7 / 4) of this law, can present a free of charge appeal to the Specialized Criminal Court against the guardianship or against measures of implementing the guardianship. The case shall be between the body responsible for implementing the guardianship and the owner of the property. The court shall decide on the appeal, to uphold it or amend it. The court’s decision to cancel or amend the guardianship order shall be valid only after the president of the republic approves it. If the grievance is rejected, the owner of the property can re-appeal through four months from the date of rejection.
Article (16) all sentences by the Specialized Penal Court on violations of this law shall be applied only after the final ratification by the President of the Republic. The president can decide the following:
- Reduce the penalty or replace it with a light one.
- Cancel all or some of the penalties, original or supplementary or dependency.
- Stop the implementation of all or some of the penalties.
- Abolish the ruling with the conservation of the case.
- Refuse the ruling and allocate reasoned order to the Supreme Judicial Council to re-trial before three judges selected by the Council from members of the Supreme Court. If the re-trial results in an acquittal sentence, the sentence shall be ratified. In case of conviction, the President of the Republic shall be able to consider mercy and reduce the penalty as mentioned in the preceding paragraphs of this article.
Article (17) The provisions of the specialized criminal courts for crimes committed in violation of the provisions of this Law and orders issued pursuant thereto final only after ratification by the President, and the president, sentences are provided to him for ratification, shall decide the following: - Commute sentences or replace them with lesser penalties. - Cancel all or some of the sentences whether original, supplementary, or dependent. - Halt the implementation of all or some of the sentences. - Abolish verdicts with the conservation of the case. - Refuse verdicts and refer them to the Supreme Judicial Council to re-trial before a jury of three judges selected by the Council from among the members of the Supreme Court, and if the sentence is issued after the trial judge acquittal shall be ratified in all cases and, and if convicted, it is permissible for the President of the Republic to replace these convictions with more lenient sentences.
Article (18) death penalty is excluded from the scope of powers of the President of the Republic set forth in the preceding article.
Article (19) Without prejudice to any severer penalty provided for in the laws in force, any person who violates orders issued by the President of the Republic in accordance with the provisions of this law, shall receive a penalty that should not exceed an imprisonment for ten years or a fine of (1.500.000), million and five hundred thousand riyals. In case the period of the penalty is not mentioned in the presidents’ command, the violator shall be punished by imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months and a fine not exceeding (250.000) two hundred and fifty thousand riyals or either penalty.
Article (20) after the approval of the National Defense Council, the President of the Republic can assign a representative to represent him in all or some of his powers under this law, whether at the level of the Republic or in a particular area or areas.
Article (21) The implementation of this law shall not breach the following: - The rights and powers of commanders of the military forces in the military operations zone during the state of war. - The rights and powers of security officers in the field when troops were attacked during armed confrontation or armed rebellion by outlaws.
Article (22) The Specialized Criminal Courts, after the end of the state of emergency, continue to consider the remaining cases in accordance with the provisions of this law, whether these cases had been referred to them or not, and these courts shall follow normal procedures when considering these issues.
Article (23) The provision of the previous article applies to the case decided to be re-tried by the President of the Republic under the provisions of this law.
Article (24) After the end of the state of emergency the President of the Republic may exercise all his powers established under this Act in respect of the provisions set out as follows: - Sentences issued during the state of emergency which has had not yet ratified or those referred to him be he decided they be re-tried. - Sentences in the cases referred to in Article (22) of this law. Article (25) any power to authorize assigning orders issued to any public officer under this Act or orders issued pursuant thereto is added to the powers or its functions. Article (26) All that contradicts the provisions of this law is cancelled. Article (27) This law shall be brought into effect from the date of its issuance and shall be published in the Official Gazette.
violence in yemen today is at a whole new level. lala says dozens killed today, hundreds injured; 'security' forces are firing at demonstrators, and making medical care impossible. her uncle came in covered in blood, saying he'd seen people with their heads blown off. people want to flee, but it's a very poor country. i guess one hope i have is that actions in libya will make various fuckheads think twice. but i think we're still choosing our killers; we're a lot less likely to do anything worthwhile in yemen or bahrain, as disgusting as the regimes may be.
today does indeed seem to be the biggest day for protests in yemen. the question of whether they can keep from becoming a tool of the islamic party islah or other existing political factions is important, however!
dispatch from yemen: "the protestors have taken over the university square, looks like they plan on staying there 24/7 starting with the biggest slumber party tonight!! they have surrounded and blocked the area and volunteers are searching anyone entering their controlled area, they have set up tents for multiple tasks (documentation, media, food, etc). the police left at 9:00, and this looks promising. We won't know what happens until tomorrow morning!"
getting some reports from my friend in yemen. she's angry at the protesters for explicitly excluding women. she and her friend, they said, 'were causing a riot,' just by being there. she reports that just now police had barricaded the university in sanaa. protestors broke through and police opened fire. no clarity on deaths or injuries. she also says that the city of taiz is more organized and that there a tens of thousands of protesters.
Remember the Al-Fadhli guy we talked about? Former Al-Qaeda operative, nothern government ally against the south, President's relation, and currently leader of the southern seperatists movement. Not enough that he's got us all damn confused,he decided he wants to prove to everyone that he is NOT an Al-Qaeda guy at all. I find this pretty hilarious.
Yesterday all the men in my family went to the hospital to visit our neighbor's son. He is 18, and started his mandatory military service several months ago, which apparently made him qualified to go fight the Huthis. They were sent to Sa'ada city, which the Yemeni government claims has been "cleaned" a long time ago, but these teenage soldiers were open targets for the Huthi snipers. Our neighbor got two shots in him, and barely escaped death. The government has no idea what it's doing; and someone's son has to suffer for it.
yesterday at midnight Fares Mana'a was arrested out of his home in Sana'a, just a couple of days after the London summit. You might think, yeah so what, don't people get arrested there all the time? well, this guy is a real peice of work. He is a known illegal arms dealer, on top of a "blacklist" of warlords in Yemen, smuggling arms and selling them to whoever has the green. It only gets juicier; this man is the head of the mediating committee that was appointed by the President himself between the government and the Huthis. So, there is this guy, who makes money out of selling weapons, hanging out with these guys who want weapons and are willing to pay in gold for them, appointed by President right after he put him on a blacklist.
It has been quite a week. So here's my commentary on some of the stuff that went down:
1- Three gov soldiers were killed and at first it was said that the Southern Movement did it, then it was confirmed that it was the Huthis, then finally- whoever decides who's who- said that it is Al-Qaeda for sure. I have no bloody idea who did it, and it seems like no one actually does.
2- Links have been "found" between the Huthis and Al-Qaeda. Someone told someone who told someone who then told someone, i guess, coz let's face it, how the hell can we really tell anymore; there are factions withinboth groups now, and things are so damn hard to figure out now more than ever. Some people seem to think that there aren't all these groups; just one that really runs the show. interesting..and totally possible.
3- I have been going from one independent local website to the next- not reading the news, but really surverying people's comments; and seriously, that is the scariest shit for me, more scary than the bearded dudes in caves. People really believe in Al-Qaeda's mission, they really believe that they are doing the work of God, and are blessing them and praying for their success. That was scary thing number one.. as for number two, every Yemeni seems to fuckin hate all the other Yemenis. I guess I had been brainwashed by government "unity" propaganda like all the others, and failed to see this divide. Needless to say, the notherners and southerners would very much like to slit each other's throats- but that is not it. There are more divisions: the Hadramout people hate everyone else- they want all their oil revenues back, the South has the religious factions and the leftist factions, all fighting among themselves and with each other; add to that all the northern tribes, who are fighting wars over a well of water now and thinking of the wars for power to follow. It is really crazy. If this country is to ever be stable it wud have to become 6-12 seperate countries or so.
4- All the shit going down in the south is still in the shadows. I check their websites and they claim thousands of mid-night arrests, and tens of deaths either due to air raids or during demonstrations.
5- The Huthi leader who was claimed dead by the government showed up in a nice video that shows he only has a scartch on his knee. Again with the zombies! Oh, and he offered a truce with the Saudis after withdrawing from their land, but said that it is actually Yemeni land that was stolen, so do not question the legitimacy of his offensive or anything, that wud just make him sad.
8- One of the Al-Qaeda leaders in the ME made statements urging the faithful to kill and maim all the "infidenls" and those who work for/with them. This thing was all over the internet and spammed to e-mails. I worry about how many people wold actually answer his call.
7- The US confirmed that they're funding, planning, and sharing intelligence in the latest operation against Al-Qaeda in Yemen. Tell us something we don't know already. What people want to know is whether it's going to change anything.
8- Last but not least, the London wonderfulness, which is basically a bunch of different ppl promising the government a fat sweaty pile of cash to fight the evil terrorists. Of course, there are rules and conditions, etc etc. like the ones from all the previous times of anti-terror funds. People are so upset that the president and his gang are almost getting rewarded for being short-sighted, theiving idiots for the past 34 years. This is where conspiracy theory number two comes: there is no Qaeda, there are no Huthis; there is only opposition and people undercover whose job is to make opposition against a corrupt and oppressive government come across to the world as terrorists, so the government can milk as much money out of the world as possible. What people want is proof: that there is a threat from Al-Qaeda in the country, and that this money will indeed be spent on fighting them, and that actual results can be seen; are all of these donors going to monitor where their money will go?
9- I still hear bombarding almost every night, and checking the news the next morning, there is nothing about anything happening near the capital, so I am not really sure what's going on. Things are calm on the streets, people are not worried at all, and there is a HUUUUUGE "patriotism" campaign; if you ain't go a flag sticking out your car, you're a commie or a Huthi.
so if you don't already get this, spamiola is giving us updates from on the ground in yemen. and it actually helps; it's the only way i actually feel i have some sort of handle on the situation. obviously one worries - though not as profoundly as spamiola may worry - about whether all hell is about to break loose.
you might tell folks to link up, or draw this material to people's attention.
"If we don't act presumptively," warned U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman on Fox News, "Yemen will be tomorrow's war."
The U.S. has already been conducting covert strikes on Al Qaeda targets in Yemen and has pledged to double military assistance to the embattled government.
one thing our person in yemen is pointing out is that we're liable to be funding a general repression and the personal fortunes of the leadership: that we're liable to be very on the wrong side, and actually to occasion a full-on civil war that we will not clearly understand.
Well, if no one was sure whether the government is fighting on three fronts (in addition to war with the Huthis, and Al-Qaeda) today's events sure as heck got everyone's attention, and once again, we're in the headlines.
Today, the Peaceful Revolutionary Council called for civil disobedience in the Southern states, as a reaction to the closing of five southern opposition newspapers for their "inciting violence" and "jeoprodizing the unity of Yemen". The governors of the South though threatened whoever participates in this action a deduction in their monthly pay (about $50, which is 1/4 of most ppl's salaries). The "Southern Movement", called for all possible peaceful actions to demand seperation from the North, which many a souhern website calls a "military occupation". Things seem to be firing up in the South, a smart tactic from the southerners to seek international attention while the magnifying lense is still on the country. The demonstrations in the south ended in thousands of arrests and several deaths according to "The Southern Arabia" websites. Gov resources say there were hidden arms and explosives, but the Southern Movement leaders insist that these were planted to use as an exuse for the government's violence against peaceful demonstrators.
The real problem here is that there seems to be Al-Qaeda leaders in the South, who sometimes call for such demonstrations and such, these guys cause a hell lotta confusion, because the government uses them as a perfect excuse to just eliminate the southern seperation movements, while the leaders of these movements insist they have nothing to do with Al-Qaeda, do not support it, and sure do not get anything from it (there is a refernce to the obvious idelogical difference, as most of the south still roots for a Marxist state). But, one of the leaders of the Southern Movement who called for the strike today "Al-Fadhli" is said to be an ex-Al-Qaeda leader, and one of the people involved in the northern military invasion of the South during the 1994 civil war. Oh, and he is also a relative of the President's by marriage, used to be in the parliament, and his dad was kicked out by the Marxist gov of the South back in the day. What kind of confusinmg crap is this!
Things in Abyan went back to normal in the early afternoon. But this is sure getting more messy by the day!
People right now are divided in two groups as far as speculation goes when it comes to the current situation in Yemen: some believe that this whole thing is being blown out of proportion, and that the Huthi problem is under control, Al-Qaeda is just a phase that will pass, and that the government is in full control of the situation; others are freaking out, taking their savings out of banks and into chests under their beds, stocking on canned foods, gas, medicines, etc, especially those who lived through the 1994 war. This weird devide between the paranoid overreactors and the indifferent overconfident is very unsettling; you don't quite know who to believe and what to do. So i might not be buying cans of beans yet, but i'll probably put that money under my mattress.
The tricky part is that the situation is not really that easy to decipher because there are multiple piles of shit all hitting the fan at the same time: The Huthis are absolutely relentless, although one of their prominent leaders was killed about a week ago; Al-Qaeda is elusive and no one really knows how to track them down, and you could NEVER tell what their support base is like; the leftists are reactionaries and not very efficient or pressing with their demands as a valid political entity, but citizens of many a southern governorate are able to cause problems with assasinations, kidnappings, vandalism, etc. without the need for a political agenda; there is also a "mini" tribal war in Abyan that no one really is talking about, and the whole area has been sealed so those guys would keep their bullets for eachother. Not many expected that all of these issues would arise at the same time, but alot of people have been fearfully waiting for things to get out of hand because of the government's lack of foresight and planning. When all you've been doing is stuffing your pockets for 30+ years, at some point you'll look up to see urself in a big hole.
If you just ask people on the street, most would tell you that this is what happens when the government is too corrupt to actually play the political game which would insure a certain loyalty from different factions, and we're talking thousands of tribal leaders here. With repression, these concerns are always well-hidden, only the socialists et all in diaspora are talking about it from time to time, but everyone knows they have no power anymore, so their talk wil always remain talk.
As for the recent Al-Qaeda developments, everyone has a different opinion about it. Some people see a connection between them and the Huthis, some think such an idea is ridiculous (Huthis being Shiite and Al-Qaeda being Wahabi), some people believe in the theory that Iran and Saudi are the "masters of puppets" in this whole thing, but then also some believe that the whoel Huthi crisis has been created and played by the government for specific financial gain. But one thing that most people would agree with is that the deployment even of ten US troops would open the mouth of hell, for it would be the perfect excuse for whoever has any western intolerance to unleash their weapons, literally. The big problem wud be the fact that even people who are now denouncing the attacks on foreign interested would not feel so oblidged to do so if there is a US militray deployment in the country. Unfortunate as it is, it's still a fact that the hate for America, if not just out of sheeply ideological following, is either because some people are genuinly pissed that the US supports financially a government that is a tyrannical dictatorship, or because they believe that the US has a hidden agenda and an interest in the region and just wants in (conspiracy theory #1: it started with the whole somali pirates thing, and then with a guy wanting to explode from his boxers who did not even have a history of extremism). Either way, Al-Qaeda support would soar, and war wud not even begin to describe such a situation.
Now, alot of people say that there is already a military existance in the South, but no one can really prove it (other than the guys from all over on the look out for those pirates). But what I can confirm is that a couple of days ago, in borad daylight, people on the street saw huge rockets flying over the Sana'a sky heading towards Al-Qaeda targets, some resources claim those were US rockets.
Excuse me if issues and ideas are colliding in this post, i am just jotting down whatever i remember from the past couple of days.
So I am not sure whether the huge and sudden interest in the situation in Yemen should make me more worried or not about the shit my country has gotten itself into. Nevertheless, that's not going to stop me from bringing you my slightly subjective peices of news from Sana'a, the capital city, by sensing the vibe from the street and from the everlasting chain of people involved in hearsay which most of the time reflects real events better than news channels do. That being said, please do not take my "reports" as an official resource for information on the situation in Yemen, because sometimes nothing makes you more biased than living right in the middle of it all. I believe it's important to state that I do not have a loyalty to any of the political or religious parties/factions/groups in the country, except that I tend to be sympathetic towards the leftists sometimes. I will try to keep my personal opinions out of my posts here unless my rants are relevant to the subject.
obviously, the yemeni army is marching into the desert under u.s. urging/threat. but the complexity of the situation (which you can begin to understand here) should give us pause. they're dealing with a shiite rebellion. a leftist insurgency, a proxy war between saudi arabia and iran. now: where are they marching? against whom? it's not a matter of just kicking someone's ass. there are many, many ways this becomes an impossibly complex disaster.