Independent journalism, objective insight
Subscribe to National Yemen and Advertise for Free
NationalYemen 01 251650
01 238070 01 238380 01 251651
The Facts As They Are
Major Southern Leader Implicated in al-Wahda Stadium Bombing
The Deadly Struggle in Yemen’s Governorates: a Year in Review
Deadlock Over Looming Election Leads to Riots
SUNDAY , Dec 19, 2010 I ISSUE 24 PRICE : YER 30 WWW . NAT IONALYEMEN
Conference Promotes Yemen’s Forlorn Coffee Sector
Clashes in South Yemen Leave Five Dead National Yemen Staff A Yemeni army ofﬁcer and an enlisted soldier died from injuries incurred during recent clashes with southern militants in Lahij governorate, raising the total number of deaths to ﬁve, a security ofﬁcial said. Security forces are pursuing the gunmen who killed four military personnel in clashes that erupted in the town of Habilayn in the governorate of Al-Dhalea, a security ofﬁcial said late Thursday according to Saba state news agency. Serious unrest, which had been largely dormant since the Gulf 20 Tournament two weeks ago, reignited last week with the sentencing of alleged Southern partisans for the bombing of the al-Wahda stadium in October. Faris Abdullah Saleh received a death sentence for the crime, and his brother Ra’ed Abdullah Saleh ﬁve years in prison. Armed men said to be loyal to the Southern Movement abducted six soldiers in the Southern towns of al-Dhalea and Habilayn, but promptly released them on condition that the government guarantee a fair appeals process to the convicts. Habilayn was also the site of a Southernist protest which was forcibly dispersed during the recent Gulf 20 football tournament, where 70 protesters were detained by security forces. Subsequent security operations had sparked further protests in neighbouring Lahij
governorate in which three were killed outright, and two later died from injuries. A source within the Southern Movement revealed to the National Yemen that the recent dead included Major Ali Ghanem al-Amari, who was assassinated in a qat market in the southern city of Radfan. The defence ministry news website 26Sep.net had stated earlier that two soldiers were shot dead by militants after they killed Abbas Tanbah, a wanted member of the group. Tanbah’s group, which security forces are pursuing, calls itself “The Saboteurs” (Al‘Anasir Al-Taghreebiyya) and is composed of between 10-20 men who have been cutting off military transport routes to the South, a source in Lahij informed the National Yemen. “The Saboteurs operate around the Radfan directorate,” the source added. Radfan lies in the North of Lahij governorate, which neighbours Habilayn, in the South of Al-Dhalea governorate.” The 26Sep.net website also reported that eight others were wounded in the recent clashes in Lahij, including ﬁve soldiers, two militants, and one civilian. The Southern Movement, whose members want either independence or increased autonomy for the South, usually hold protests every Thursday to demand the release of detained activists.
Prominent Opposition MP Assaulted by Unknown Assailants Opposition and Ruling Parties Trade Accusations National Yemen Staff Sultan Hezam al-Atwani, a key ﬁgure in the opposition coalition, was attacked along with his bodyguards by a group of armed men in a Toyota Hilux at the al-Kumaim roundabout on Hadda Street Wednesday. The general secretary of the Popular Unionist Nasserite party was rushed to hospital after the group struck him in the face repeatedly with the butts of their riﬂes. He had been returning from daily business at the parliament building. The attacks came a day after opposition parties had announced a protest outside parliament, in response to a decision by the ruling party to continue with election planned for April despite persistent objections to electoral laws. An ofﬁcial statement produced by the Nasserite party condemned the attack, and
Detainees’ Relatives go on Hunger Strike
Families and Rights Advocates Criticize Abusive Arrests, Detentions By Saddam al-Ashmori Relatives of those detained during the Sa’ada War have decided to go on a hunger strike starting on Sunday, and vowed to continue the protest until their demands are answered and the alleged abuse of their loved ones in jail ends. This came after the Detainees’ relatives demonstrated outside the political security’s intelligence compound gate, protesting the treatment from which the detainees allegedly suffer. Prisoners’ relatives have claimed that prisoners detained during the most recent war in Saada have been exposed to abuse by prison guards. The family of Mohammed al-Gawili, while on a visit to his prison facility, allegedly found his face bloodstained and were told that prison guards had dragged him from the prison cell up to the visiting room. Housed in solitary conﬁnement, he had been severely beaten and had his nose broken. His condition was
relayed by his sister to the Yemeni Organization for Defending Rights and Democratic Freedoms, and to the detainees campaign of the Socialist Party in Sana’a. Other relatives of detainees have reported similar stories about the prison conditions of those detained in Political Security and about obstacles imposed by the Political Security prison to prevent organized visitation. Commenting on the cases, Ali al-Dailmi of the Yemeni Oranization for Defending Rights and Democratic Freedoms wondered how long the constitution and law would be abused. He explained that, despite receiving presidential decrees mandating their release, many detainees still remain imprisoned. He also estimated the total number of prisoners in Saada at three thousand, and the total number detained in relation to uprisings in the South at ﬁve thousand.
Al-Dailmi appealed to the president to apply the constitution and to release all political detainees. He questioned the role of Qatar as a mediator, which he claimed had coincided with 6 years of arrests and abuses, pointing to the recent detention of 22 individuals in the North on the charge of celebrating the Shi’ite al-Ghadeer day. The arresting ofﬁcer allegedly reported to the prosecution that he was motivated because he “doesn’t like the celebration of al-Ghadeer day.” Al-Dailmi added, “we appeal to everybody dealing with this subject to treat it as a humanitarian issue.” He appealed for demonstrations during the coming days in front of the Political Security prison demanding the release of all detainees. Ali al-Asimi, al-Gwali’s lawyer, discussing ofﬁcial detention policy with regards to the Southern Movement claimed, “the authorities
arrest the ones that participate in peace marches while those who carry weapons and call for liberation of the South are free.” He added, “the ones who get out of their cars with weapons, and are moving from one province to another violating all the security rules are, in practice, considered law-abiding.” At the demonstration outside Political Security, one of the detainees’ mothers shouted, “even this tree standing in front of the gate feels their suffering and sorrow while men standing behind it have lost their humanity and have no conscience. How can they arrest our families and torture them this way?” Detainees’ relatives have also submitted a complaint letter to the head of the political security’s intelligence demanding the respect of Yemeni law and international human rights agreements to which Yemen is a party that mandate the proper treatment of prisoners.
Hadda Restaurant Attack Struck CIA Agents accused the government of complicity: “This is a criminal act which aims at terrorizing effective work in the political sphere through a series of terrorist actions which have targeted the opposition leadership and the Joint Meetings Party. “The attacks are in response to the courage these men have displayed in defending their vision for the country. Continued on Page (3)
A US embassy vehicle attacked with an explosive device on Wednesday night contained four CIA agents, according a US ofﬁcial speaking on condition of anonymity to the Associated Press. The bombing, details of which remain unknown, consisted either of a grenade or an explosive-laden satchel planted under the armored Toyota Hilux pick-up truck, or in its rear bed. The explosion reportedly
occurred outside a pizza restaurant frequented by foreigners in the upscale Hadda neighborhood. The blast sent pieces of the car ﬂying, according to eyewitnesses, but left the occupants of the car unharmed. Previous press coverage of the incident had mentioned only the targeting of an “embassy vehicle” or “US embassy staff.” A “warden message” message issued by the US embassy in Sana’a conﬁrmed the incident, but withheld informa-
tion on the nature of the personnel in question: “foreign residents in Sana’a, Yemen were targeted for attack.” State Department spokesman PJ Crowley, speaking from Washington DC, conﬁrmed the incident and considered the deliberate targeting of US interests “likely.” The unnamed US source, however, maintained that there had been "no indication that the perpetrators knew speciﬁcally who they were targeting."
Yemeni security forces announced that it had begun an investigation and that several suspects, including a 28-year old Jordanian mechanic, had been detained in relation to the incident. Firearms and explosive materials were discovered in the suspect’s possession, according to the Yemeni police. The embassy statement urged U.S. citizens to “remain vigilant regarding their personal security.”
National Yemen Voter Attitudes Presented to Ruling Party, Opposition
Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010 Issue 24 www.nationalyemen.com
The Yemen Polling Center conveys polling data on Yemenis’ knowledge of and attitudes toward the electoral process in a two-day workshop at the group’s headquarters on Monday and Tuesday. The presentations, more or less covering the same subject matter, was separated into two separate days in which the opposition attended the first day and the ruling party the second, so that arguments between the two factions would not break out. In partnership with the European Union’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) initiative, the “Yemen Parliament Watch” project led by the YPC aims at educating officials, civil society advocates, and average citizens on the often confusing details of the Yemeni electoral process. Interestingly, the center’s polling revealed that barely half, or 54.9% of respondents believe that elections bring about actual positive change in Yemen. These and similar results tended to show a significant, if not overwhelming confusion about the details of the electoral system in the country and consensus over its ideal conduct. Significant discrepancies were also reported over the single constituency system
(or “winner-takes-all,” “first past the post”) as opposed to the use of proportional representation – a primary bone of contention between the ruling party and the opposition. Opposition Islah party MP Abdul Razaq al-Hababi, in attendance at the conference, offered his interpretation of the results and advocated for a system of proportional representation. “The electorate lacks education,” he said. “If the voter knows that his vote might not have any effect, he lacks encouragement and inspiration to participate in the process. The single constituency system ignores people’s votes, while proportional representation gives them confidence that their votes will come to something.” Along the same lines, Sameera Abdullah of the al-Yemeniyya newspaper spoke up in favor of a change in the electoral rules toward proportional representation. “Now, the tribes can assure the results they want with their weapons; the real issue here is that of force.” She continued, “A proportional representation system has the ability to reduce this influence, and has the potential to give the most marginalized segments of society, like women and the akhdam, more of a voice.”
Table 7: Does one have the right to vote if ….? Answer Not registered in Voters log Accused in a case connected to honesty and honor Yemeni Jews Resides outside Yemen He or she is married to a foreigner Not a member of a political party Belongs to marginalized groups (such as Khaddams) Women in general Does not own anything (poor)
62.7 68.8 83.4 90.9
35.1 60.4 65.7 82.2
48.9 64.6 74.6 86.6
Table 22: Why won’t you participate in the upcoming elections? Answer No use of the upcoming elections Elections does not concern me Not registered… does not have elections ID Family objections Outcome is known already Others Refused to Answer Feared of Problems Total
2.8 0 0 100
3.9 3.9 2.6 100
3.6 2.7 1.8 100
The Government and the Opposition: In Search ! of a Sheikh…
If democracy is a system of government which is implemented in a spirit of healthy competition, and for the sake of national development, you could rightly say that Yemen, which often brags of its democratic institutions, is not a democracy at all. But Yemen, officially at least, has considered itself democracy since its inception in the twentieth century and straight away after the Unity of Yemen in 1990. Elections, the Parliament, the Shoura council, parties, human rights, journalism rights, law and institutions by many other different names, all of which supposedly represent the democratic vitality of the country, do in fact exist, but their practical results are in far greater doubt. Yemen has achieved three parliamentary elections, two presidential elections, and local council and gubernatorial elections. In all these contests there were hot arguments on policy and development strategies, but throughout the government and opposition have been playing the same old songs to charm their traditional support bases. So what to do? Progress is generally lacking, and where present, has been painfully slow. Politicians rarely keep their promises unless its personal issue or related to some powerful sheikhs. The ongoing quarrel in between the government and the opposition parties in recent months has met with the justifiable disapproval of
“They reﬂect the authorities’ total failure at a national dialogue, and their determination to escalate a campaign of violence and terrorism against the ofﬁcial opposition.” The supreme council of the JMP convened a special meeting to discuss its response to the attack on its member. For its part, the ofﬁcial ruling party website almotamar.net bristled at the accusations in an article entitled, “Media Sources Surprised by Fabrications of JMP and its Partners Regarding Al-Atwani Affair.” The piece quoted a GPC source as saying, "These parties have always had a history of deceptive accusations and of fabricating stories. "We are used to these parties
Yemeni community. The Yemeni people watch on as each side accuses each other of neglecting their responsibility and violating the law. The opposition never admits what the ruling party is accomplishing and the government will never allow the opposition to put into practice some of its ideas for remedying the government and economy of Yemen. The people are the major victims of these political games, because their interests aren’t the ultimate prize, but rather politicians’ gain. On the whole, there have been no major changes and whatever will come next will likely not go far toward addressing the urgent problems of the country. If both parties had their way, obstruction and name-calling would continue ad infinitum, and no achievements would be made, keeping Yemen on the path of perpetual paralysis it has been on for decades. Last week’s protests in front of the parliament from the oppositions parties rejecting upcoming parliamentary election indicates a renewed spat of a disagreement, despite an accord on the issued inked on July 17th, when the President invited them to share in some of his power. Then, they seemed happy to be promised fifty percent of the seats in parliament. Now both are waiting for third party mediation as if it were a tribal problem that needs a sheikh to sort out the squabble. The Sheikhs will inevitably come from the European Union, the United States, or Qatar and will try to convince both not to resort to violence, which the opposing party leaderships have been edging their supporters toward. At the end of the day, these supporters will be the ultimate victims, and the troublemaking political class will leave the country safely and soundly, leaving the victims fight each other, as has been the case in Somali or Iraq.
exploiting incidents like this and using them for cheap gains at the expense of truth and the public interest, which only reﬂects the bankruptcy of their ideas and their desire to sow strife in society.” The party source’s comments to the website continued, “instead of making blind accusations, these parties should help the security services with the information they have on the identity of the perpetrators so as to enable these agencies to carry out their duties to pursue, apprehend, and prosecute them.” Sources in the interior ministry announced that minister Rashad Al-Misri have given orders to investigate the al-Atwani case and pursue the attackers.
Fakhri Hassan Al-Arashi Publisher & Chief Editor
Tel : 01 238070 Tel : 01 238380
Major Southern Leader Implicated in al-Wahda Stadium Bombing By Mohammed Al-Sha’abi, NY al-Dhalea Correspondent
The general prosecution has issued an arrest warrant against Ali Shai’a, a major leader in the Southern Movement, or “Al-Hirak Al-Junubi.” Shai’a was accused of direct involvement in the explosion at Al-Wahda stadium in Aden last October, which claimed four lives. Shai’a is considered one of the most effective leaders in the southern governorate of Aden in creating problems for both the government and the law. The verdict came as a result of the confessions of Faris Abdullah, who was accused of masterminding the stadium bombing, through the provision of explosive materials and bomb-making equipment. The court in Aden had recently issued a death
sentence for Abdullah. After the revelations from Abdullah’s court case, a warrant was issued for Shai’a’s arrest. So far, his whereabouts remain unknown and he has not been detained. Shai’a was born in Al-Jaleilah in al-Dhalea governorate in 1967 and graduated from military college in Aden in 1990. Shai’a was one of the active members in military operations of January 13 1986, which witnessed the assassination of prominent members of the Southern Government in Aden. Later, he was promoted to the rank of colonel in military intelligence in Aden. He then was nominated as an independent candidate for the parliamentary elections in 2003, but failed to gain a seat.
Shai’a allegedly has a direct link with some members in the Mawj movement, the Southernist movement created after the civil war of summer 1994, but later joined the famous Al-Hirak movement in 2007. He is an active political member who has reportedly incited violence and encouraged the use of force against the government. Shai’a is also known to have direct relations with Ahmed Omar Bin Farid, the
ﬁrst Secretary of Ali Salam al-Beidh, the ex-vice president of Yemen. He is a close friend to Tariq al-Fadhli, the leader of the al-Hirak movement in Al-Baida governorate, who supposedly supports him ﬁnancially and with military supplies. Shai’a has openly supported the more recent ideas of Ali Salam Al-Beidh on Southern secession in Yemen. Shai’a is married, with a son and two daughters.
Malnourished Children in Yemen Need Plumpy'nut By:William Lambers The most important aid Yemen needs right now is food to save its youngest children from dangerous malnutrition. UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP) are calling for arsenals of the nutritious peanut paste plumpy'nut to feed children in Yemen. Impoverished Yemen has one of the highest rates of child malnutrition in the world. WFP says "half of Yemen's children are chronically malnourished." When a small child does not receive proper nutrients in the first 1000 days of life, devastating physical or mental damage will occur. If a child suffers from severe acute malnutrition, a simple infection could lead to death. Even in more moderate cases, simple infections can descend the child deeper into malnourishment. This is what many children in Yemen face from birth. Low funding for both WFP and UNICEF has limited their ability to help Yemen. Both aid agencies depend on donations from the international community. Food security has simply not been given a priority among donors, a huge failure in the foreign policy strategy of many governments.
The conflict in Northern Yemen (Sa'ada) between the government and rebels has placed small children in even further danger. The chaos from the conflict is increasing the risk of malnutrition. A survey released by UNICEF found "Nearly half of the 26,246 children aged 6-59 months screened in five western districts of Sa’ada in July 2010 were found to be suffering from global acute malnutrition; in one area, the proportion was as high as three out of four children. Overall, 17 per cent of the children screened suffer from severe acute malnutrition and 28 per cent from moderate
acute malnutrition. " Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF's director in Yemen says, “Malnutrition is the main underlying cause of death for young children in Yemen, and therefore this grim situation could spell disaster for the children of Sa’ada. As winter approaches, thousands of children are at serious risk if we are not able to act immediately.” Dr. Wisam Al-timimi of UNICEF says "about $ 31 million will be needed to address both moderate and severe malnutrition countrywide." Does that sound like much? Well, when you
consider there was talk of the U.S. sending 1 billion in military aid to Yemen, the pricetag for plumpy'nut foods is hardly noticeable. Yet, tragically you are more likely to see a massive aid package for something else other than child nutrition. If it receives funding, the World Food Programme will launch a two year strategy to fight child malnutrition in Yemen. WFP's Georgia Warner says "included in the operation are 270,000 children (6-59 months) to receive targeted supplementary feeding (supplementary plumpy) and 412,000 children (6-24 months) to receive blanket supplementary feeding (plumpy'doz)." These are two variations of plumpy'nut meant to treat more moderate cases of malnutrition and save the children from descending into the most dangerous zone. About 23 million dollars would enact WFP's hunger fighting strategy. But like UNICEF, WFP has struggled to obtain funding for its Yemen programs. If this continues, another generation of children in Yemen will be lost. Courtesy of Blogscritics.org
Amnesty International Releases Urgent Reports on Yemeni Detainees Reports released by the human rights organization on Thursday and Friday treated the cases of two alleged juveniles sentenced to death, and the incommunicado detention of a female activist in the Southern Movement. “Fuad Ahmed Ali Abdulla,” the statement declared, “has been scheduled for execution on 19 December. He was sentenced to death Mohammed Al-Asaadi Editorial Consultant
after being convicted of a murder he was alleged to have committed while still under 18. “Although the court considered that he was over 18 years old at the time of the alleged crime, it is unclear how it determined this. Amnesty International has received information that he was... 16 or 17 years old at the time and around 22 years old now. He is being held in Ta’izz prison.
Fuad Al-Qadhi Business Editor
“In another case, Muhammed Taher Thabet Samoum was alleged to have committed a murder in May 2002. He maintains that he is aged around 24 years old, which would have made him around 15 years old at the time of the offence. He does not have a birth certificate.” A statement the following day read “Zahra Salih, an activist in the Southern Move-
ment in Yemen, has been held incommunicado since 8 November. She is at risk of being tortured or suffering other ill-treatment. Amnesty International is concerned that she may be held solely for the peaceful expression of her right to freedom of expression and assembly, and therefore may be a prisoner of conscience.”
Shukri Hussein Jihan Anwar Amel Al-Ariqi Aden - Abyan Correspondent Staff Journalist Social Editor
The Facts As They Are
Tel : 01 251650 Contact us at :
Will Carter Managing Editor
Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010 Issue 24 www.nationalyemen.com
Mohammed Abdul ghani Shabwah Correspondent e-mail: email@example.com website:www.nationalyemen.com address:al-qiada st.
Fax: 01 251651
Noah Browning Deputy Editor
Anatoly Kurmanaev Int’l Journalist Intern
Bushra Ashreef Translator
Saddam Alashmury News Journalist
Akram Almosbahi Technical Director
Wardah Al-shawesh Graphic Designer
Hind Al-Eryani P.R & Marketing
Mohammed Anees & Salah Othman
Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010 Issue 24 www.nationalyemen.com
The Jews Who Remain
Members of Depleted Community Persevere in Face of Recent Shocks By : Saddam Alashmury Jews once constituted a quarter of the Yemeni population before the emigration of 1948. Today a mere 290 Jews remain in Raidah, a city north of the capital Sana’a. According to Yahya Ya’eesh Yahya, one of the chiefs of a local Jewish Community Organization, “Nahria,” this number is decreasing. This is especially since Israel and international Jewish and American institutions have recently organized ﬂights to evacuate Yemen’s Jews. This is because, according to those same institutions, they are in danger if they stay in Yemen, particularly after the death of Mousa Yaish al-Nahari Yahyah, who was shot dead apparently simply for being Jewish in 2008. The spokesperson said that last year around 110 Jews have been evacuated. The majority of the remaining Jews in Yemen live in Raidah and its outskirts. According to Yahya, the reason why they stay in one city is their desire to perform their prayers, celebrate their holidays and Sabbaths together, as well as to build schools for their children to learn the Torah and the Book of Psalms. Unlike many Jews abroad, a deep faith prevails amongst the remaining Jews of Yemen. Yahya, son of the Jewish Rabbi Ya’eesh Bin Yahya, claims that the remaining Jews of Yemen do not wish to emigrate abroad and want to stay to protect customs and traditions that date back thousands of years. The remaining Yemeni Jews were not allured by the prospect of living abroad. Yahya Ya’eesh says that Jews coexist with Muslims and describes them as kind and not discriminating between Jew or Muslim in terms of esteem, accommodation, and political rights. He pointed out that the Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, declared in 1996 that the Jews have the right to exercise their political rights.
Yahya Al-Amri, a Yemen Jew, said that he does not want to emigrate. “Our Homeland is dear, and if they want to help us, they can do that by building schools and covering marriage cost, not by evacuating us. Neither I nor the Jews here want to leave Yemen,” he said. Al-Amri does not want to live in Israel because of the prevalent moral degeneration he says exists there. “Our environment in Yemen is totally conservative. In relation to “honor,” you can do nothing there. If you see your wife or daughter having a boyfriend, you can do nothing about it, which contradicts our customs and traditions as Yemeni Jews.” Yemeni Jews do not wear a jambia and can only be differentiated from Muslims by the locks of hair hanging down from their sideburns. Jewish women in Yemen are no different from Muslim women in regards to clothes and jewelry. Also, they do not wear gold and silver jewelry, and even the jambia although they are the most skilled makers of these for the reason that, according to Al-Amri, “We live in the protection of the Muslims and therefore it is not right to carry arms, even if it is just a jambia, and this is an old tradition that came down to us generation after generation.” He said that over the years there have not been any problems that are worth mentioning. In Yemen, the Jews do not get involved in wars, nor do they share paying money for a killing accident, in line with Yemeni customary law. Nor are they involved in any hard labor. They are protected by the Yemeni tribes, which, if anything bad happened to a Jew, are obligated to initiate a war to defend him. Indeed, this still occurs to the present day. The Jews’ Trades Al-Amri says that the Jews’ jobs have not changed. They are skilled in handicrafts and in the
trade of silver and gold artifacts in cities. In rural areas, they work in agriculture, though they continue to work primarily in trade. As for places of worship, Al-Amri says that in the past the Jews used to have 20 Jewish temples where they practiced their rituals in Easter holidays, the day of Atonement and the New Year’s Eve. “Now we have special places in our homes where we perform our worship.”
He said that after Yemen returned to the Imamate and Imam Yahya ruled in 1913, the Imam gave orders in the same year that the Jews are not to change their distinguishing marks of appearance (the locks hanging down from the sides of the face in front of the ears). The Jews were known by these long locks and the Imam forbade the cutting them off or shaving their beards. The Imam forbade their women from wearing jewelry or mixing with Muslim men and ordered that they only mix with Jewish men. The Imam also forced the Jewish women to only wear their traditional clothes known as “shokok.”
The Jews Spread in Yemen
The Jews move about and settle throughout Yemen, like any other Yemeni citizens, without any discrimination. Some of them live in cities and other live in villages. In Sana’a, the capital, most Jews lived in Qaa Al-Yahood, and among the Hashed tribes the Jews lived in many regions, especially in regions of Dhulaimat, Al-Madayer and Haboor cities. Some of them also lived in Ibb city in the neighborhood of Al-Ja’ah, south east of the city and in Al-Sayyaani in a village special for them called Al-Gadas. In Jiblah, 20 km from Ibb city, the Jews lived in the neighborhood of Al-Moka’dad, and in the district of Al-Naderah, they lived in a neighboring village called Hajzan, which they shared with some Muslims. In Aden city, most of them lived in the neighborhood of Crater in Hadramout in an area called Habban.
Jews in Memory
Since they used to live in various regions of Yemen, stories about them are still told by many of those who lived during the same period. Hamoud Al-Soraimi, from Hashed region, said that the
Jews were, and still are so clean that every Jew had his own utensil, although, he noted, they did not buy the best meat. They were keen to buy weak cattle or birds that could be slain by a straight knife, it is said. Only the respiratory tract of the animal, whether it is a cattle or a bird, is cut and then it is left until it dies.
“After we were forced to move out of our homes in Sa’ada, the state looked after us and enabled us to practice our religious rituals freely.”
He added that the Jews would not leave anything from the slain animal except the intestines, lungs, heart, liver, spleen and bones. They eat the meat and tan the skin, and skillfully make leather shoes, pipes and belts with holes for bullets. Al-Soraimi said that they did not work in the afternoon of Friday until Sunday morning and after that they went out with their clothes, which are mostly black in color, and would wear their red hats (made by the skilled craftsmen amongst them) around which they used to tie their long locks of hair. Currently, the Jews have two synagogues and two private schools in Raidah and Kharef, established by Jewish-American societies. The two schools
provide education for the children of the Jewish community in Hebrew, Arabic, and English languages, as well as Jewish religious lessons. The Jews are reluctant to publicize them and make them popular, for fear of acts of violence by some extremists. Last year, a Yemeni Jew, Moshei Ya’eesh, one of the “Nahria” community leaders, was killed at the doorstep of his home, while some other Jews were threatened. The local court issued gave a verdict, under the authority of Judge Abdul-Bari Abdullah Oqbah, that blood money in the amount of 5,500,000 riyals must be paid for the death of Moshei, and that the killer was suffering from a mental disease, according to a prosecution report, and that the defendant must be sent to a mental hospital. A few Jews used to live in Sa’ada, in a region called al-Salem. Seven families, constituting 45 persons, left the village of Haid Ghareer in Al Salem region in Sa’ada, after claims that last year they received death threats by members in the “al-Shabab alMu’mineen” or “Believing Youth” organization, lead by Abdul-Malek Al-Houthi, who gave them an ultimatum of only one week to leave the region. Abdul-Malek Al-Houthi, one of the rebel leaders, had conﬁrmed the threats made against the Jews threatening them with force to leave. He has said that the people of the region complain about Jews, saying that they interfere in regional affairs and also for their supposed corrosive moral inﬂuences on the Muslim population. In an attempt to soothe international fears about threats
against the Jews in Yemen, the authorities provided accommodation for these families before moving them to Sana’a to avoid the ﬁerce battles that took place between the rebels and government forces. The authorities housed the Jewish families in Sa’wan Tourist City, a residential city in the capital, and helped them celebrate the Passover holiday. The ofﬁcial media has covered the celebration of this religious holiday for the ﬁrst time. Yousuf Salem, a member of the Jewish community relocated from Sa’ada said to the Yemen News Agency, “After we were forced to move out of our homes in Sa’ada, the state looked after us and enabled us to practice our religious rituals freely.” He added, “The State provided us with the requirements of the celebration: the sacriﬁcial animals, costumes and other things. Israel and US institutions have recently organized ﬂights to evacuate Yemeni Jews because, according to them, these Jews are exposed to danger if they stay in Yemen. According to media sources, after the disturbances against the Jews in Yemen in the 1940s of the last century and when the Israel State was established in 1948, sixty thousand Jews used to live in Yemen and forty-eight thousand of them left Yemen on an airlift to Israel in the three years that followed. The Jewish Agency held negotiations with the Yemeni authorities for their departure in an operation known as “Magic Carpet.” This Yemeni Jewish community that remains however, has persevered through this mass evacuation and the many shocks and challenges that followed it.
Daughter Sues Father for Withholding Consent on Marriage By : Saddam Alashmury In the first incident of its kind in Yemen, according to the Yemeni Observatory for Human Rights, a girl, Rania, from Qofl Shammar district in Hajja province, who belongs to a well-known tribal family, has filed a lawsuit against her father for not giving his consent to her marriage. The would-be groom is Ala’ Al-Haj, a young man completing his doctoral degree in Medicine in the Islamic University, Malaysia and whose family works in butchery. The father’s excuse
is that Ala’ is socially unfit to marry his daughter, according to the tribal customs prevalent in most of the regions of Yemen. Lawyer As’ad Omar said that the Yemeni Observatory for Human Rights has received a call from the girl to legally assist her in this situation. He called on the authorities to protect the girl until the judiciary gives a verdict in this case, pointing out that she has been brutalized and stabbed with the Yemeni dagger, the jambia, by her family, which called for a surgery.
This caused her to flee on the first day of Eid Al-Adha from her father’s home to the home of one of the sheikhs and dignitaries of the region. Lawyer As’ad Omar said that the Qofl Shammar Court, Hajja province, North-west of Sanaa, decided to adjourn its session pending verification of Rania’s age. Omar As’ad, who works as an official for the Legal Assistance Unit in the Yemeni Observatory for Human Rights, pointed out that Rania has demanded the court to assign a custodian for her to marry her to Ala’, according
to the Yemeni law, after her father’s refusal. The court is supposed to assign a custodian in case the father or one of the relatives refused to marry her. The custodian could be one of the judges of the court. Rania’s case has raised a controversy in a tribal region that clings persistently to social traditions and is characterized by discrimination among the people of the same area because of lineage or profession. Sheikh Yaser Al-Shamri, one of the region’s dignitaries, said that the security forces
have launched a campaign for the arrest of the family members of Ala’, Rania’s suitor. The security authorities have detained three people of Ala’s family to force him to give up the idea of marrying her. As’ad noted that a deputygovernor of Hajja province has interceded to the sheikh with whom the girl has asked for protection in order to return her to her family. However, the sheikh refused to return her, after she threatened to commit suicide if she were returned to her father. The lawyer discerned tribal
pressures against the girl. The fact that she had to resort to a sheikh’s mediation, As’ad continued, represented a flagrant violation of the girl’s rights per the constitution and law, and ignores the power of the judiciary to which the girl has filed a lawsuit and in which she has had several hearings. The tribe’s lawyer hoped that the pressures will not influence the procedures of the judiciary. This case is a sensitive one in Yemeni society and the impact of similar situations has escalated over recent years.
Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010 Issue 24 www.nationalyemen.com
War with al-Qaeda in 2010 Drains State Resources The Deadly Struggle in Yemen’sGovernorates: a Year in Review Provinces / special Yemeni towns, especially in Marib, Abyan, Shabwa, Hadramout (the valley and the coast), and Aden and in other provinces outside the capital Sana’a have recently witnessed intense security measures and mobilization of the army and special forces under orders of the country’s central political leadership. Checkpoints in many cities have been set up to hunt down members of the Al-Qaeda organization, especially after the deaths of more than a hundred ofﬁcers and soldiers from the army in different security incidents in a number of cities. The authority accuses members of Al-Qaeda of these killings. Dozens of alleged members of the organization have been killed, and a sercurity campaign against the organization has been stepped up in these provinces. The perceived urgency of the security has been exacerbated by the recent parcel bomb affair, allegedly involving Yemenbased Saudi militant Ibrahim Al-Asiri. The campaign has been characterized by the bombardment of Al-Ma’jalah region and confrontations with Al-Qaeda elements in Mudyah directorate, and the towns of Lawdar and Zinjibar, which claimed the lives of dozens of soldiers in assassinations carried out by Al-Qaeda elements. Bombings and assaults against military checkpoints have also claimed the lives of a number of soldiers. Among the most serious operations credited to the group was the the assassination attempt on Abyan Governor Ahmed Al-Maysari and the killing of his brother, which missed the ofﬁcal but resulted in the incineration of many military cars and armored vehicles. Abyan is one of the provinces where the Southern Movement is active. In addition, many elements of the Al-Qaeda organization have been killed there and more than 28 of them surrendered. The security situation in the governorate remains highly combustible. Armed confrontations in Lawdar on Wednesday between al-Qaeda and the army led to the deaths of a number of soldiers. The Yemeni government has made desperate attempts to develop its military capabilities, which was clearly evident in the government’s purchase of four U.S. “Huey” helicopters which cost more than $27 million, as part of the U.S. military aid to Yemen against the Al-Qaida organization. Some political and military analysts believe that the Yemeni government is capable of imposing its control it wishes. The state’s military abilities were on display in Yemen’s hosting of the Gulf 20 Tournament, which passed without any security incidents.
Shabwah Shabwah province has witnessed several military operations against Al-Qaeda by the Yemeni army which resulted in the deaths not only of many elements of Al-Qaeda, but also a number of soldiers in Ataq, Al-Hootah, Al-Aqlah and AlSa’eed towns. Prominent operations of the organization have included assassination attempts on many
important leaders in the province, including Major General Salem Qahtan, ofﬁcial in the Yemeni Ministry of Defense; Dr. Ali Hasan Al-Ahmadi, Shabwah Governor and chief military ofﬁcer in Shabwa; Colonel Mohammed Al-Juma’ee, and Shabwah Security Director; and Brigadier General Ahmed Al-Maqdashi. The attempt on Mr. alJuma’ee’s life led to the death of one soldier and the injury of seven others. In a separate attack, the security director of alSa’eed was seriously injured and remains in hospital in Sana’a. Al-Sa’eed is the main stronghold of the Yemeni radical Islamist clerics Anwar Al-Awlaqi as well as Fahd Al-Qasa’, and government operations are in force there to eliminate their partisans. Related confrontations that took place in Al-Hootah region led to the death of a large number of alleged al-Qaeda ﬁghters, according to ofﬁcial statements. The government has signed an agreement with the Al-Awaleq tribe to recruit ‘Sahwa’ militias to ﬁght Al-Qaeda, after the fashion of the Iraq’s Sahwat, “Awakening Councils.”
A large part of the state’s general budget, a full 40% of the annual gross domestic product, has gone toward ﬁnancing the Yemeni army and its military operations. Hadramaut
Fua’h city in Al-Mukalla has witnessed from time to time military operations to track down Al-Qaeda elements, but Al-Qaeda in the largest cities of Mukalla and Say’oon has succeeded in using motorcycles in the assassination of many high-ranking ofﬁcers. According to ofﬁcial media, many Al-Qaeda elements have been detained. In Hadramout, the local authorities have pledged 20 million riyals to anyone who can provide information about those wanted for security reasons.
Sana’a Several Al-Qaeda operations took place in and around the
capital, including the targeting of embassies and foreign nationals. However, the group has not established a consistent presence due to the tightened security measures in the capital. Also, the Yemeni air force in Sana’a has bombarded some local regions where Al-Qaeda organization elements exist. The incident involving packages mailed through Dubai to the USA has terriﬁed the countries in Europe and the Gulf and drawn attention to the seriousness of the Al-Qaeda presence in Yemen. In response, the Yemeni foreign minister has repeatedly assured international audiences that the Yemeni state has the capability to counter the organization.
Marib Marib province is a known refuge of the group and authorities there claim to be in continuous pursuit of alleged terrorist elements. But the airstrike that led to the death of the Marib Deputy Governor and his escort, apparently by mistake, has led to tense relations between the tribes and the government leadership, but ended in the acquiescence of local tribal leaders in the parliament and formation of a committee to investigate the incident. The Yemeni state is mobilizing staggering resources to ﬁght the al-Qaeda organization. The provinces of Yemen have witnessed a stepped-up security campaign backed up by the Yemeni air force in a number of military operations and aerial bombardments throughout this year.
Aden Aden, the economic capital of the South, has witnessed tightened security measures in recent weeks. More than 30 thousand soldiers were deployed to Aden during the Gulf 20 Tournament to strengthen the government’s hand against the southern movement and Al-Qaeda. Many suspected elements of the two movements were jailed preemptively in order to forestall possible dsiturbances. Local and Saudi sources revealed that terrorist groups were planning to carry out terrorist attacks against Yemeni and Saudi interests during the event. The blast at the Wahdat Aden Club in October, blamed on the Southern Movement, revealed the ability of government opponents to target vital national infrastructure and personnel. Recent operations include the blowing up of oil pipes in Shabwah province, in addition to
the much-publicized mailing of parcel bombs via US shipping corporations, which aroused deep international concern. The Yemeni economy has suffered losses of a billion dollars as a result of the military operations against Al-Qaeda since 2009, as the state’s budget has massively shifted toward supporting a military campaign directed toward ﬁghting terrorism. A large part of the state’s general budget, a full 40% of the annual gross domestic product,
has gone toward ﬁnancing the Yemeni army and its military operations. International observers, within and outside of Yemen, have called for fundamental political reforms. Security analysts have commented that said that the country must perform basic political reforms in the form of laying off and replacing many government administrators, governors, and ofﬁcers who have failed to succesfully perform their security missions.
It has been said that said certain serious efforts are being made by the central government, but coordination with the governorates is lacking, and oftern reports and plans are being made spontaneously, or are even being conveyed by standard telephone. Generally, authorities have been accused of ignoring the citizens’ grievances, which has had a negative impact on the general situation and led to the spread of terrorist movements and other anti-government groups.
Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010 Issue 24 www.nationalyemen.com
DNO Yemen AS – Celebrating
Colin Kramer, GM of DNO Yemen AS
The Norwegian Oil & Gas, Exploration & Production Company, DNO Yemen AS, celebrated ten years of production in Yemen on Thursday 2nd December at the Mövenpick Hotel in Sana’a. Looking back, it emphasized the proud production of more than 50 million barrels of oil in Yemen. Looking forward, it highlighted its continuing to expansion of operations in Yemen. The celebrations also saw the award of long standing service recognitions to staff at the company –who had faithfully and diligently worked for DNO in excess of seven continuous years. The celebration was opened by Mr Sven Erik Lie, the Managing Director of DNO Yemen AS, who welcomed the company’s distinguished guests from the Ministry
Sven Erlk Lie, Managing Nassr Al-Homaidy, Chairman Director of DNO Yemen AS of PEPA
of Oil & Minerals (MOM), the Petroleum Exploration & Production Authority (PEPA), DNO’s Partners and DNO’s staff. Mr Sven Erik Lie gave a short account of DNO’s early introduction to Yemen and how its early operations came together. Mr Nassr Al-Homaidy, Chairman of PEPA, in his speech formally stated his high regard for DNO’s cooperation and professionalism, and the high for DNO’s continued coordination with PEPA, MOM and the government as a whole. “DNO is one of the few companies that can go in to blocks after big companies and make discoveries where others did not. We may disagree and argue sometimes but we know deep down that your commitment to Yemen is sincere,” Mr. Al-Homaidy said.
Al-Homaidy also spoke about the oil industry in general in Yemen. “Less than 20% of the country’s land has been explored. We have 80% still to explore. We have many (oil exploration) blocks open for investment. At least 80% of Yemen’s economy depends on oil,” Al-Homaidy said. “It’s well known that oil production in Yemen is declining. We used to produce almost 450,000 barrels of oil per day in 2002. Now we produce 290,000 barrels a day,” he added. Al-Homaidy said that Yemen is home to major oil companies from Europe, Korea, China and Malaysia, but it desperately needs more investment. On behalf of the guests, Mr Nassr Humaidy, PEPA Chairman, thanked DNO for all their efforts over the past 10 years and wished them every continuing success in Yemen in their progress forward. Al-Homaidy’s speech was followed by Mr. Colin Kramer, the Gen-
Arafat Abdul Malik
Mansour Ubadah Mansour Ubadah
Magne Norman, DNO’s Managing Director of the Kurdistan of Iraq
Alan McPhee, DNO Yemenisation Development Manager
eral Manager of DNO Yemen AS, who delivered a speech on the many projects that DNO has undertaken, along with the challenges and highlights of his 10 years in Yemen as DNO’s General Manager. The speech was laden with several amusing anecdotes. The Last speech was
Ahmed Al-Wazir, DNO QHSE Manager
Looking back, it emphasized the proud production of more than 50 million barrels of oil in Yemen. Looking forward, it highlighted its continuing to expansion of operations in Yemen.
Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010 Issue 24 www.nationalyemen.com
10 Years of Oil Production
by Mr Magne Norman, the Managing Director of DNO Kurdistan AS. The celebration was chaired by DNO’s Yemenisation Development Manager, Mr Alan McPhee, and DNO’s Quality, Health, Safety and Environment Manager, Mr Ahmed Al-Wazir. The DNO Yemen AS celebration was not only to announce the company’s success, but also to publicly extend praise and appreciation of its employees, most of which are associated with the Production Blocks 32 & 43, and Exploration Blocks 47 & 72. The celebrations continued with the presentation of Long Service Awards to those Yemeni employees who had completed more than 7 years of continuous and dedicated service to the company.
“DNO is one of the few companies that can go in to blocks after big companies and make discoveries where others did not.
“DNO Yemen AS is particularly pleased to recognise the efforts and commitment of these special employees who have helped ensure DNO’s success in Yemen,” Mr. Kramer said. The company has 260 employees in Yemen and only 6 percent are foreigners – thereby meeting its government-set “Yemenization” target of having less than 10% expatriate staff working in the company. Sven Erik Lie, Managing Director of DNO Yemen AS, said the Long Service Awards were handed to staff – from gardeners, guards, drivers to engineers – because “they are all important”. “We need guards, the cook and the gardener. We try, in this company, to have a ﬂat organisation and do not distinguish between the different layers. We give the same recognition to managers as we do to the gardeners,” said Mr. Lie. DNO further recognised the importance,
both in terms of human capital and sound business economics, of utilizing and further developing a stable and proactive Yemeni labour force as part of their development strategy, and emphasized that they are committed to a strategy of employing and developing local Yemeni employees across their business departments. Mr. Lie summarized DNO’s global standing, with operations in Mozambique and Iraq, assets in the UK, Norway, and it’s public-listing on the Oslo stock exchange. He went on to say that Yemen had been a proﬁtable investment – but not without heavy capital injection. “The money we have earned here has been spent here. We drill nine dry wells before we make a discovery with the tenth well. It costs money to ﬁnd oil,” said Lie. In addition, DNO Yemen AS offered its thanks and appreciation to Dr. Mohammed Al-Zubairy and Mr. Abdul Karim
Al-Domaini, and their respective team members, for their commitment to the development of these production blocks, thereby ensuring success for DNO, PEPA, MOM and the people of Yemen. “In our ﬁeld operations in Block 32 and Block 43, it is these people [the Yemeni employees], along with our colleagues within the Ministry of Oil and Minerals, within PEPA and those numerous others who have and continue to contribute to the success of DNO’s operations here in Yemen,” said Mr. Kramer. With the formal proceedings completed, a delicious dinner was served. The evening was concluded with a stunning cultural show of traditional Yemeni singers, performers and dancers.
DNO Yemen AS - Proﬁle DNO Yemen AS, a subsidiary of DNO International ASA, is an independent upstream oil and gas company, has operated in Yemen since 1998. It is the fourth largest oil production company in Yemen, which coincidentally is the country where its biggest operation is based – other ﬁeld operations are ongoing in Mozambique and Iraq. During this time DNO, has steadily grown its Yemeni
national employee complement, both in its Sana’a Headquarters and in its production ﬁelds in the Hadramout Governorate, in line with the MOM “Yemenization” guidelines. This has been achieved in parallel with the growth of DNO’s Yemeni asset portfolio, from one Block in 1998 to its current ﬁve Blocks, as well as in conjunction with their continuing exploration and development activities.
Adeeb Bin Shamlan
Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010 Issue 24 www.nationalyemen.com
2011 Budget: million barrel oil decrease,600 Bn YR salary rise By Foud Al-Kadi
The State’s general budget for the year 2011 faces big challenges in terms of the volume of revenues, represented in the decline of the oil quantity and other challenges. The financial statement, presented by the Minister of Finance, Amal Al-Suhaibi, last week to parliament, stated that the government share of oil will be only 52 million barrels – a decline of about 1 million barrels since this year. Expected revenues from Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), however, amount to 47 billion YR (US$230 M). Al-Suhaibi said that further challenges are posed by the planned financial support of oil derivatives in next year’s draft budget, of around 206 billion riyals, which still represents another large expenditure. The minister justified the sum of the support bill for oil derivatives in the next year’s budget had been made on the basis of the cost of crude oil would be US$55 per barrel, which is the same cost used for the calculation of other oil resources. The Minister of Finance has indicated that in case the cost of crude oil remained at its present levels or increased, any surplus resultant from that increase will be used to cover the difference in actual support, as happened during this year,
and what remains will be used to cover the financial shortfall planned in the budget. Al-Suhaibi went on to say that the draft general budget for the coming year will give priority to projects with huge labor demands, because of their importance in creating new work opportunities for youth. The capital and investment plans in the State’s draft general budget for 2011 are estimated at about 399 billion riyals. In relation to human development, in terms of both education and health projects, the education sector has witnessed a decline in expenditure by 6 billion riyals, where the total approbations included in the various drafts of the general budget for 2011 for the education sector were estimated at 373 billion riyals versus 379 billion riyals for 2010, while the approbations included in the various drafts of the general budget for 2011 for the health sector were estimated at 115 billion riyals this year, compared with the 113 billion riyals for 2010. The minister pointed out that next year’s budget for infrastructure projects has approved around 480 billion riyals, distributed amongst: electricity (236 billion riyals); roads (171 billion riyals), and; water and sanitation sectors (72 billion
riyals). The draft budget had targeted enhancing government policies by ensuring the raising of the economic growth rates that are based on mechanisms designed to limit the two phenomena of poverty and unemployment, as well as to achieve target growth for 2011, expected at 4.9% and supported by the high growth of the gas sector, to arrive at the targeted annual production to 6.7 million tons during 2011. The general resources in the draft of the State’s general budget for the 2011 fiscal year were estimated at 1.52 trillion riyals, generated mostly through oil revenues (593 billion riyals), and gas revenues (94.3 billion riyals).
the budget is expected to lead to total monetary deﬁcit of 313 billion riyals,
Budgets of Banks Soar as Oil Exports Decline Steeply By Fuad Al-Qadhi
The Central Bank of Yemen (CBY) has announced that at the end of September the increase in the bank’s reserve reached a trillion and 299 billion riyals, corresponding to an increase 6 billion and 55 million dollars over eight months of foreign returns of the banking system. The net assets until the end of last August had reached 1 trillion, 265 billion riyals, corresponding to 5 billion and 881 million dollars, covering 7.9 months of returns end of last month. The report, issued by the General Director of the Research and Statistics at the CBY, stated that the government share of oil exports had reached during September 189 million dollars, compared with 233 million
dollars last August, since the quantity of oil exports has dropped by 15% and the government share during the period of January to September 2010 was one million barrels for the total amount of 24.64 billion and (907) million dollars, with the average cost per barrel $77, compared with 21.12 million barrels at the cost of $1,235,000,000, at an $58 average cost per barrel during the same period last year. The CBY report revealed that the government has utilized most of these returns in ﬁnancing the imports of oil derivatives for local consumption, which, according to the report, reached $1,377,000,000. The report said that the local consumption during the same period from
January to September 2010 arrived at 18 million barrels and said that the total incorporated budget for commercial and Islamic banks has increased by 32.4 billion riyals, or 1.8%, to reach one trillion and 855 billion riyals. The total incorporated budget for commercial and Islamic banks had arrived at one trillion and 611 billion riyals by the end of last year, September 2009. In relation to the exchange rate, it has witnessed a decline, where it was stable at 214.60, after it experienced a continuous rise during the past period. The stability of exchange rate has led to stability of prices of foodstuffs in the local market as well as stability of the prices of steel and wood.
Taxes and customs duties generate much of the state budget too. The Tax Authority revenues are expected to arrive at 426.7 billion riyals and the Customs Authority revenues are expected to arrive at 82 billion riyals, whilst the government share of the profit surplus is expected at 86 billion riyals. The rest of the budget is generated through local resources (90 billion riyals) and foreign grants (100 billion riyals). The total expenditure estimated within the 2011 general budget amounted to 1.822 trillion riyals, although the costs of the operational budget were estimated to only reach around 1.385 trillion riyals, as wages and other remunerations were estimated at 559.7 billion
riyals. The products and services costs within this arrived at 362.6 billion riyals. Important to note that social welfare assistance funds and grants are reported to amount to 390.8 billion riyals. The Deficit in the Draft Budget In light of the estimations of both the resources and utilizations, the budget is expected to lead to total monetary deficit of 313 billion riyals, and a net monetary deficit of 302 billion riyals, by 3.7% and 3.6% consecutively of a GDP of 8,410,389 trillion riyals. In relation to rectifying the imbalances in internal and external budgets, the Minister of Finance said that
the government has made an agreement with international financial funds and institutions to provide around US$640 million dollars to support the general budget and rectify such imbalances. The government has subsequently held dialogues with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) and the World Bank (WB) that focused on the challenges facing the country. Funds were secured from the IMF of about US$370 million, covering the period of the next three years, and from the AMF of about US$200 million. In addition, Yemen has obtained a support grant to the amount of US$70 million from the World Bank.
National Yemen Educated Reactions
Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010 Issue 24 www.nationalyemen.com
Sana’a British School and the Expat Family Community By: Will Carter
“We’ve experienced a 35% increase in the student population since August,” Gary Gibbons, the headmaster at Sana’a British School says. It’s a statistic one doesn’t really expect to hear in Yemen’s current climate, which this past year has seen many foreign ministries advise people against having their families here with them – so what’s the story? It isn’t another security story, that’s for sure. “Families are relocating to Sana’a – people know the truth now. Yemen is a safe and incredibly hospitable country,” Mr. Gibbons adds. The National Yemen met the headmaster at their school BBQ. Loud music, three-legged races and a smoking barbeque were a sentimentally reminiscent sights. Sadly there were no hot dogs on the grill. There was, however, lobster. A pair of girls hopped past, whilst a young mother trailed by with a pram. There was a hidden sense of relief; Yemen can be a tough place for younger families
who are accustomed to more accommodating climates. “There’s no real place [for families] to socialise in Yemen,” said George Vega, one of the parents at the event. It’s true; there aren’t many places for families with young children to gather, socialise and relax in Sana’a – there aren’t any cinemas or petting zoos or skate rinks. “[Expat] parents compare what’s available in Sana’a with the things that they grew up with, and see the difference. Children don’t know the difference,” he added. This is the ﬁrst time for four years which Sana’a British School has had such a community event. But the children’s wide grins reveal more than pearly-white teeth – they also show the importance of having community events. In contrast, another international school in Sana’a was constantly opening and closing due to security arrangements. The atmosphere that created meant many parents transferred their children to Sana’a British School. So whilst the sense of parental relief in having a stable school and attached community feeling is subtle in the grand scheme of things, it is undeniably important. A number of the recently transferred pupils were Frenchspeakers, so the school upped its French-teaching capacity, responding to the new pupil and parent needs. “We’re a reactive school,” Mr. Gibbons says. But it seems that it is similarly proactive. It continues to develop itself as an
educational establishment – the school’s results testify to that; student exam results, in line with British educational curriculum, are favourable and trump UK national averages. “That’s no mean feat considering English is usually a pupil’s second or third language,” the headmaster reminds. However, raising the school as a ‘centre of excellence’ means something different when framed against a disconcerting backdrop of education in Yemen. A World Bank report released in June 2010 calculated that only 74% of Yemeni children were enrolled in basic (primary) education, and 35% studied in secondary education. It would be easy to stigmatize high-proﬁle private schools if only for their success, but Sana’a British School has shouldered the ethical responsibility
of helping not only their students succeed, but also the Yemeni education system, which is struggling under the burden of a youth bulge amidst a population boom. “We are not separate or in isolation – we are part of a wider Yemeni community,” Mr. Gibbons explains. The school is actively exchanging ideas on best practice with the Ministry of Education so that both can beneﬁt and help formulate a relevant educational and pedagogical strategy. The same World Bank report also highlighted criticisms that teacher preparation in Yemen lacked practical pre-service training, and over-emphasised the history and philosophy of teaching. Subsequently there is ongoing cooperative work between Sana’a British School and other Yemeni schools in
which other teachers can actively beneﬁt from completing the Sana’a British Schools professional development program. The medieval Islamic philosopher Ibn Sina (Avicenna) often cited the importance for education of interaction, competition and emulation, and so his teachings, whether consciously or obliviously, seem to be well applied to not just students but to teachers as well, in this regard. The tender snapshot of a simple school BBQ was more telling of Yemen’s actual struggles and successes – security was not the dominant issue of the day, however, re-establishing a rooted, inclusive community atmosphere was. The strains and solutions of educational institutions
freighted with the hopes of a nation and its mothers and fathers were also apparent. Moreover, it was heartening to understand that the successful school was not simply rising above the rest, but also helping raise local standards of education. Despite the gourmet barbeque being ﬁnished, the school continues indulging in a much richer program of events; after the winter holidays there is a digital arts week. “Whether it’s a junior taking snaps with a mobile phone, or an older pupil making computer animations, anyone can take part in the week,” Mr. Gibbons said. “Inter-school sports events are also on the timetable,” he added. Two students hopped past together in an imaginary threelegged race – sufﬁce to say, they crossed the ﬁnish line together.
A Cultural Revolution for Yemen
GlobalChangeMakers Program Aims to Promote Literacy, Access to Books By: Jihan Anwar This is a group of young, passionate and determined Yemenis of which you never hear enough. They don’t make the headlines of the international news, yet they are involved in a very important mission: recruiting youth and changing their lives, armed only with books. Knowledge has often been compared with power, and who’s more in need of knowledge then a child? The GlobalChangeMakers is a youth international organization; in Yemen they are bringing forth a campaign that aims to promote not only a mere habit, but a lasting love for reading. They speciﬁcally target children to build a generation of readers, learners, discoverers and ultimately, achievers. The GCM emerged in 2008 at the World Economic Forum. Students were chosen from different parts of the globe to gather, discuss and develop solutions to tackle various issues in their home countries. GCM is a British Council program which has its headquarters in Switzerland. The group is internally specialized in advocacy, research, and awareness programs. The MENA region GCM meets every 6-7 months to attend workshops, training sessions, and exchange experiences and solutions. The Yemeni team has chosen to promote education and reading. A workshop in Jordan encouraged the young leadersto-be to develop their skills and
effectively manage their projects. Hitham Al Doubaibi, ﬁnancial manager of GCM in Yemen, explained that their ﬁrst goal was to open a Public Library for children of international standards. The library is to have a rich collection of books, full-time intern, theatre, audio-video facilities, and a design appealing to children. They initiated the “I Love My Book” campaign. In 2009 for the ﬁrst phase of the project they decided to collaborate with schools and open or furnish libraries inside the schools. Kifah Abdul Majed Al-Areeqi, from the Capital Secretariat, explained that the selection of the schools was based on the existing need of funds, the awareness and care of the administration to develop their libraries, and the presence of motivated and trustworthy bookkeepers. Suad Hassan Al-Yaﬁe, of the Capital Secretariat, observed that in the previous year only schools situated in the center of the capital were chosen while those in the peripheral areas were excluded. In the second year, the project plans to include them as well. Evaluating the results of the ﬁrst phase of “I Love My Book” program, Mrs. Al Areeqi noted that there was not only an increase of children in libraries, but also the number of them who returned and borrowed books was on the rise. As Soad Al-Arhabi, a GCM member, observed, the availabil-
ity of books and readable material increased, especially thanks to the Internet, but what is lacking in Yemen is the recognition of reading as a fundamental activity for progress. Curiously, being an assiduous reader or demonstrating intelligence is perceived negatively; mostly as a sign of arrogance. In fact “muthaqqaf,” meaning educated, learned, intellectual” is used as a joking insult. This could give a new dimension to understanding the 47% illiteracy rate in the country. “Reading is also discouraged because it’s said to endanger one’s sight…whilst hours of computer, play stations, and movie watching is perfectly acceptable,” commented Soad
and Hitham. Generally speaking, it is rare to ﬁnd those who reads for simple pleasure or to broaden one’s knowledge in a subject not directly related to their ﬁelds of study or job. This is well reﬂected in the 27th Sana’a Fair Book when a member of the Ministry of Culture reported most buyers to be males who purchased texts for study or work. Mrs. Al-Areeqi also stated that some school libraries, despite being well supplied, lacked stories for children, or suffered from a scarcity of textbooks that matched with their level of understanding or range of interests. Mohammed Yahya Al-Shahethi, a GCM, remarked, “We often speak
about spreading reading habits among children, but honestly we want every single person to be inﬂuenced by this campaign.”
being an assiduous reader or demonstrating intelligence is perceived negatively... “muthaqqaf,” meaning educated, learned, intellectual” is used as a joking insult. Also, GCM has directed their efforts in explaining the value of books to mothers and
fathers too. “The truth is that our campaign cannot succeed fully unless parents take responsibility and cooperate with us”, afﬁrmed Ehlam Al Gohaly, the British Council project supervisor for GCM. “My message goes to the businessmen/women and important people in our countries: anyone who truly loves Yemen and cares for its development would support and fund this campaign,” stated Hitham. He also added that there were young people willing to carry on this project at its best but that they often lacked the means to effectively do so. “In other countries it is not unusual that entire libraries are funded by a particular individual or company, but this is not the case in Yemen yet.” There is good news, though. The GCMs announced that a location for the public library was chosen to be next to the Sabafon headquarters, on Zubairy street. The opening would need an additional 6 to 12 months. Mrs. Al-Areeqi and Al-Yaﬁe admitted the great demands of the task but expressed their desire that more groups taking interest in this kind of initiative would appear. “A very personal reason I decided to join this project is because I felt it would change me ﬁrst of all. I felt the responsibility to gain more knowledge and compelled to share with others what I learned”, confessed Soad.
National Yemen Deadlock Over Looming Election Leads to Riots
Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010 Issue 24 www.nationalyemen.com
By Saddam Al-Ashmouri Security forces faced down a demonstration of Yemeni opposition supporters in front of Parliament in Sana'a on Tuesday. The protest was called by opposition parties against the ruling party’s approval of an amendment to electoral law. The incident follows a decision last week by the ruling General People’s Congress (GPC) Party to proceed with an amendment to electoral law despite a parliamentary sit-in organized by opposition parties. The ruling party has insisted that elections will proceed in April next year, despite opposition calls for comprehensive dialogue on the conduct of the election process, be agreed upon first. Disagreements focus on the composition of the electoral oversight bodies and the opposition’s lobbying for a system of proportional representation. The GPC had recently ratified a presidential recommendation to have the elections supervised by nine judges, selected by the president from a list of 15 candidates forwarded by parliament. The opposition coalition objects to the continued single constituency, or “first past the post” system favored by the GPC, and has been advocating for a system of proportional representation. According to human rights activist Twakul Kerman, a number of reporters and journalists were subjected to harrassment and confiscation of their cameras and mobile phones by security forces during the event. Witnesses reported tight security deployed next to Parliament Square, Tahrir Square and the roads leading to them on Tuesday morning. Armored vehicles, police in riot gear, and water hoses were mobilized to dispel the rioters, and hundreds of soldiers with batons and firearms gathered, anticipating the opposition Joint Meeting Party’s (JMP) planned demonstration. The current disputes among political forces have reached new heights recently as the JMP, composed of al-Islah, the Yemeni Socialist Party, the Nasserite party, and other opposition parties, issued an appeal for just conduct in the upcoming elections in response to the ruling GPC’s move. The statement called for a balanced national dialogue, and appealed to their supporters and people of all different parties for ongoing, comprehensive efforts to restore legitimate democratic procedure. Also in the communiqué was an affirmation of citizens’ right to change and share in power, wealth, social justice, equal citizenship and participation in a pluralistic democratic project without fear of official reprisals. Previous talks between the government and the opposition have failed to reach satisfactory realization of their comprehensive deal which was agreed in February 2009, which concerns conduct of the parliamentary elections which had been scheduled for
April of last year. The basis for implementing the February agreement was further solidified by the two sides in a road map agreement inked last July, but the dialogue has since deteriorated. The GPC’s second vote on the draft amendment of electoral law irritated the opposition parties, which decided to go onto the streets and organized a series of protests in front of parliament aimed at forcing a meeting to discuss comprehensive national dialogue.
Disagreements focus on the composition of the electoral oversight bodies and the opposition’s lobbying for a system of proportional representation.
The opposition called for such a meeting to include its partners, as well as representatives from all political parties, national figures, and social movements which were involved in the preparatory committee for national dialogue. Dr. Yassin Said Numan, Secretary General of the JMP stated, “we are not interested in accepting a game designed by extremists within the ruling party. Taking to the streets is a practical reaction to the intransigence of the authorities. “The JMP rejects the government’s intentions to amend electoral law and form the Higher Committee for the Elections according to its own terms. The ruling party has embarked on a course toward wholesale theft of the political process. “They are on a course toward stealing the elections and falsifying the results to retain their power and sustain their monopoly on parlia-
ment, wealth, and the sources of decision-making, thereby closing all hope for peaceful and democratic change.” According to Dr. Mohamed Abdul-Malik al-Mutawakkil, league president for the JMP, “Yemen is different, and for those who think they can repeat the experience of neighboring countries are dreaming. “The Yemeni case is completely different from those of Egypt and Lebanon. If the GPC tries to replicate the recent elections in Egypt, or capitalize on the success of Gulf 20, it will show that it is oblivious to the people's wishes.” Opposition parties affirmed their commitment to a dialogue to reach political consensus on the amendments to the general elections, the reform of the electoral system, and the implementation of the recommendations of the European Union on the integrity of elections, signed off on by all parties after the 2006 elections. It also mandated that such a dialogue must affirm the creation of political and legislative atmosphere of holding a free, fair, and equitable election. Deputy Sultan Al-Atawani of the Nasserite party condemned the alleged exploitation by the GPC of the Gulf 20 tournament to escape its political obligation. “They offer the illusion that the conflict is between the authority and opposition, but it has become a struggle between power and the people,” Al-Atwani said. Mr. al-Atawani discerns a plot to grip full control over the electoral process, or to postpone it at will, especially out of fear by the ruling party’s of electoral setbacks in southern provinces. “So,” he continued, “the GPC cites – as an excuse – national crises, such as prevailing tensions with the Houthis and in the southern governorates, as well as the effects of the economic problems suffered by the coun-
try in general.” Mohamed Salem Ba-Sendwah, President of the Preparatory Committee for National Dialogue, claimed, “the ones who delay the elections today will drag the country into a bigger crisis tomorrow, and they are adding fuel to the fire. It’s clear that the GPC’s actions are part of a plan to extend the government’s authority for the next five years.” "Because of the danger of what the GPC has done in the past, it is natural that the JMP will work hard to obstruct their policies now,” said to Sheikh Hamid al-Ahmar. “Yemen must be governed by legitimate authority, and popular legitimacy must govern Yemen,” he added. “We gave the Authority a chance not to isolate itself, but it refused, calling for the Southern Movement to be within the national consensus. “The GPC just accuses the opposition of setting impossible conditions in order not to reach an agreement, and of not having a clear vision beyond minor whims and political obstruction.”
“The Yemeni case is completely different from those of Egypt and Lebanon. If the GPC tries to replicate the recent elections in Egypt, or capitalize on the success of Gulf 20, it will show that it is oblivious to the people's wishes.” He retorted, “they seek to complicate matters and fabricate crises. They constantly search for suspicious political deals outside the scope of the results of the constitution, law, ballot boxes, and the rules of the democratic game.”
He went on to express concern over some efforts to depict the opposition as obstructionist, countering that the ruling party was the real force behing constitutional disputes, fabricating crises, and creating chaos in the country. Al-Ahmar threatened that those who irritate the Yemeni security situation must be subject to legal accountability.
“any real dialogue needs the will of citizens and politicians not to put pressure on others but to agree with them on a solution that would be of beneﬁt for all.”
The press secretary of the GPC, Tariq al-Shami, rejected the allegations that his party refused demands imposed by opposing political forces, specifically the JMP, as a condition to enter into a political dialogue. His comments came during a political development forum, organized by the German Friedrich Ebert Foundation entitled, “National Dialogue for Difficult Choices.” Al-Shami also confirmed his party's position on supporting the participation of all political parties in the national dialogue. He claimed that his party is cooperative with every party, and joined in the call – also called for by various opposition parties – for the European Union to mediate outstanding political disputes between the parties on major disagreements. Al-Shami said that calls for international mediation following the visit of an EU parliamentary mission were accepted by the ruling party. But, he continued, the JMP’s objection to the recent electoral amendments, passed
with a legal majority, and its determination to boycott parliamentary sessions, showed its lack of commitment to consensus. Al-Shami also called the opposition’s actions a violation of the spirit of the “Friends of Yemen” group which met earlier this year in New York, which had announced its full support to the national dialogue as the basis for establishing security and stability. The “Friends of Yemen” also considered national dialogue the most effective means to ensure free elections, which, in alShami’s view, does not mean undercutting the elections for the sake of one party, not just out of concern for political stability, but on the very political legitimacy of the government. “The opposition considers the democratic system the fundamental and constant pillar of legitimacy, yet it negotiates outside its bounds,” he added. Resident Representative of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Achim Vogt, commented on the difficulty of promoting democratic structures in the Middle East, noting that the political process often becomes a monologue of the State towards its citizens instead of a dialogue . He continued, “any real dialogue needs the will of citizens and politicians not to put pressure on others but to agree with them on a solution that would be of benefit for all.” “This does not just pertain to reconciliation among people in the North and South, but also to conditions for more general popular reconciliation. “National dialogue aimed at discussing all matters which are sources of conflict and disagreement in the country will set the rules that could be used to build fair elections, as well as address broader political and economic crises,” Mr. Vogt concluded.
FEATURE National Yemen Conference Promotes Yemen’s Forlorn Coffee Sector
Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010 Issue 24 www.nationalyemen.com
Sponsors Bravely Optimistic as International Attendees Hint Doubts By Noah Browning & Fakhri al-Arashi Yemeni ofﬁcials, farmers, international diplomats, and experts from all over the coffeeproducing and –consuming world descended on the Movenpick hotel Monday and Tuesday for the 2nd Arabica Naturals international coffee conference. The hopes invested in the conference were manifold. First and foremost, there was a desire to promote the beleaguered national economy with a promising commodity craved in the rich West. Second was a plan, subtle but repeatedly conveyed throughout the conference, to undercut the unchecked rise of qat as Yemen’s cash crop, whose social and economic threat to Yemen is well-documented. Also, there was a sincere wish to lure attention away from Yemen’s many security woes, and project a more optimistic vision of the country to foreign guests and audiences. Organizers proactively booked journalists’ attendance at the event, and implored those in attendance to write a positive view. “You can write your other stories, but please make a good report on this event, which represents the good, real side of our country,” a press coordinator was heard saying to a foreign journalist. So the pageant commenced, with attendees milling around stands set up by al-Kabous coffee, Mokha Bunn café, Hamdani Distributors, and others, receiving enthusiastic product pitches and complementary bags of coffee. A salutatory video boomed in the main conference hall showing starry vistas, terraced farms, and wrinkled ﬁsts clutching native coffee beans. Proud old farmers were interviewed describing their daily routines: waking up, followed by al-Fajr prayers, then hard work among the coffee trees, during which attentive family members would bring daily meals. The screen dimmed and the lights ﬂared, revealing the satisﬁed looks on the faces of about two dozen or so actual coffee farmers in attendance, distinct for their ma’wazs and headscarves among the dapper business-casual crowd. The USAID-funded event brought with it an introductory speech of perpetually-smiling and up-beat US ambassador Gerald Feierstein, who just recently ﬁlled the post. His address began instructively, “Yemen’s an ideal venue for growers and distributors of Coffee: it is home to rare and unique phenotypes of the plant.” “I’m extremely pleased,” he went on, “to see international and local attendees at this conference, and I believe it truly represents the spirit and power of the international coffee industry. I encourage you to build long-term relationships for the sake of Yemeni coffee.” Beaming, he and his entourage were later welcomed by those manning the nearby coffee stands, including a little girl in traditional dress with a ﬂower in her hair, as news cameras closed in and ﬂoodlit the scene. With great fanfare and a large retinue, Yemeni Prime Minister Dr. Ali Muhammad Mujawir entered the event and delivered a speech proudly trumpeting the virtues of Yemen’s prized crop. “There is no better coffee than those of Yemen’s moun-
tains, and we thank the farmers, who raise the name of Yemen high in the world through their efforts. For us, coffee is an original, national symbol,” he declared. The Prime Minister continued, more soberly, “Our greatest concern is to face the environmental and humanitarian challenges which stand in the way of developing this sector. In order to build on the Yemeni expertise in cultivating this tree, we must conform to international standards of producing coffee – this requires cooperation among government, international, and expert ofﬁcials.” “Our thanks goes to the international development sector,” he concluded, “for your assistance in these initiatives.” Later presentations sketched the hazy outlines of coffee’s original history, which quickly became a football of competing national biases. A presentation by a local expert, citing the work of Arab historians, conﬁdently refuted the widespread belief that the coffee plant crossed the Red Sea from Ethiopia.
tors, such as “sour, burnt, rancid” which tend to characterize certain natural coffees, and make them unacceptable on the global market. Upbeat and humorous in his presentation, Mr. Petracco quietly conﬁded on the sidelines of the conference that poor quality control of Yemeni product made the occurrence of “stinker” beans too prevalent, and essentially barred Yemeni coffee from effectively entering the global market. Judith Ganes, a coffee consultant from the United States, launched into a description of the global coffee market notable for the obvious absence of Yemen. In a bar graph of global production, a massive tower of Brazilian discussion dwarfed the output of competitors Vietnam, Indonesia, and Kenya – Yemen’s output was so tiny, it was not even included. The farmers in attendance tuned out and removed their simultaneous translation sets, as Yemen’s ferocious competition in the global market was presented at length. Visiting Kenyan, Ehtiopian, and Indonesian delegations were seen to be
irrigation, and an exchange of current knowledge on cultivation techniques if the sector is to develop,” he implored. The disagreement continued some points from the presenters in the history of coffee as well the un-satisfactory results of the cupping comment. The Yemeni exhibitors and participants has rejects the results on their cupping to the Yemen coffee.
Coffee-Taste Rankings Infuriate Yemeni Coffee Traders “The beans were conveyed from Yemen to the court of King Louis of France, and to Africa, and to South East Asia, the Caribbean, and beyond,” the massive power point presentation stated, matter-of-factly. Marcino Petracco of Italianbased coffee giant Illy, politely disagreed in his presentation on the same subject. “Coffee must have begun when ancient men sniffed the tempting smell from coffee trees struck by lightning. I must disagree with the previous presenter and say that, while cultivation of the coffee tree probably did begin here in Yemen, the origin of the plant, according to clear scientiﬁc evidence, lies somewhere in Central Africa.”
ﬁercely scribbling notes. While Brazil’s dominance was clear, rising prosperity in the country meant local consumption might soon meet production, giving competitors like Yemen a better chance to compete. Still, Yemen currently consumes the vast majority of its coffee supply. But international consultants were not alone in expressing their frustration with the desperate condition of Yemen’s crop. “We receive almost no help from
The discussions of the conference were complemented by visits to the coffee shops of Sanaa’s old city, followed by a ﬁeld trip to the historic “Dar al-Hajar” the following day. Foreign visitors were treated to a ﬁeld trip of several days to coffee-cultivating regions east of the capital. A coffee-tasting or “cupping” competition at the end of the two-day conference saw Yemeni coffees ranked poorly against international competitors, as
the government for our crop, whether in terms of money, irrigation, or expertise,” complained Abdul Rahman al-Zakati and his colleagues, growers from Amran, during a lunch break. “Yes, qat requires more water, and renders the land dry, but it yields three consistent harvests a year, and provides a good return,” he continued. “We have stores of water and means of irrigation, but they are not modern; if at the time of ﬂowering the conditions are dry, the coffee withers immediately, and nine months of cultivation are wasted.” “We need assistance from the government, modern forms of
Ethiopian and Indonesian blends came out on top. The results, the product of an alleged mix-up of coffee samples by the sponsoring organization, left Yemeni businessmen aghast. Mr. Ibrahim al-Kabous protested, “we are the oldest coffee ﬁrm in Yemen and our volume of the local market share is 70%, and 50% of the Yemeni export market to the United States, Japan, Europe, and the Gulf. “The cupping result was disappointing and we will not stay quiet while Yemeni coffee is given a bad reputation,” said al-Kabous. “We will address the chairman of the conference and the international coffee associa-
“We receive almost no help from the government for our crop, whether in terms of money, irrigation, or expertise,”
Other ﬂamboyant statements delighted the audience: “the coffee tree takes nine months to ﬂower, just like the woman,” and, “we each have our specialized link in this production and distribution process, and we must all love our link, or lose our love!” A section of the presentation focused on the negative descrip-
tion with our lawyers.” Ramzi al-khayat of Yemen Coffee Processing Co. said that the coffee conference and the exhibition were of little use for Yemeni producers at the sector’s current state of development. “Supporting farmers, modifying crops, developing the coffee tree, and educating farmers on the harvest process should be the priorities of Yemen, not a conference.” Said al-al-khayat. “The conference should rather promote Yemen’s coffee by investing in improving infrastructure like roads and irrigation, as well as addressing farmers’ problems and needs,” he continued. “The conference would be much better if it were postponed another two years and all this money was used to build a modern water network; the conference was supossed to be a second phase.”
“Supporting farmers, modifying crops, developing the coffee tree, and educating farmers on the harvest process should be the priorities of Yemen, not a conference.”
Mohammed al-Hamdani, general manager of al-Hamdani Coffee, one of the main participants at the exhibition expressed his disappointment at not being ranked among the top coffees at the competition. “The cupping committee mixed up the samples. I have participated with the same samples in Denmark and Holland, where we received a 99% favorable rating. We are well known to the market and they should reconsider the results, otherwise we will sue them,” al-Hamdani protested. “We have rejected the result and will send our samples to world-renowned coffee expert David Kindy in the United States. The conference was no good and the results were totally disappointing.” “The results will negatively affect the Yemeni coffee industry, but the conference was supposedly convened to promote Yemeni coffee! The cost of Yemeni Coffee is $15 to $17 per kilo, while Ethiopian goes at $2.5; does this mean that American companies do not know the value and cost of the Yemeni Coffee?!” “The Yemeni Coffee used to be called the Green gold in Europe. In the future we will boycott the micro-ﬁnance funds and any upcoming conference because they are working for the kind of NGOs that cheated us today.”
Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010 Issue 24 www.nationalyemen.com