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Posts Tagged ‘Yemen’

Yemen’s Jews Celebrate Bit of Inclusion in Dialogue Conference

Monday, December 17th, 2012

Five seats have been allocated to Yemen’s Jewish community in the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) by President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi.

The Sawa’a Organization for Anti-Discrimination published the announcement in a press release on Saturday, according to a report by Yemen Times.

The head of the organization, Fuad Al-Alawi, told the Times that the allocation of seats to Yemen’s Jewish community may be a step toward the inclusion of Yemeni Jews in the country’s political and governmental system.

The conference will discuss constitutional reforms and other matters, and will include 565 delegates.

Yemen’s constitution currently bans the nomination of Jewish electoral candidates.

Approximately 400 Jews live in Yemen, 75% of whom live in the Riada area of the Amran province.

US Embassy Stormed in Yemen (Video)

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Protesters attacked the US Embassy in Yemen on Thursday. The protesters breached the gates, took down and burnt the US flag, smashed windows, and burned down they security office at the entrance.

They did not manage to enter the main office building, and security guards opened fire on the protesters.

Murdered Yemenite Jewish Leader Buried in Israel

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

The body of a Yemenite Jewish leader who was stabbed to death in an anti-Semitic attack was brought to Israel for burial.

Aaron Joseph Zindani, 46, was stabbed in the neck and stomach in a market in the capital city of Sana’a in May.

His Muslim assailant accused Zindani of casting a spell on and ruining him, according to reports.

Zindani’s wife and five children accompanied the body to Israel, according to reports. The complicated operation was undertaken by the Jewish Agency with the assistance of the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Some 200 to 300 Jews still live in Yemen, down from a high of 60,000. Most live in government housing in Sana’a, after they were evacuated from other areas for fear for their safety.

A  Yemenite Jew was killed in Yemen in December 2008 by a Muslim man who ordered Jews to convert or be killed. The killer was sentenced to death.

Leader of Yemenite Jews Stabbed to Death in Market

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

A leader of Yemen’s Jewish community was stabbed to death at a market in the capital of Sana’a.

The victim, identified in media reports as Harun Yusuf or Aaron Joseph Zindani, 50, reportedly was stabbed in the neck and in the stomach. He died Tuesday.

His Muslim assailant accused him of casting a spell on him and ruining him, according to reports.

Some 200 to 300 Jews still live in Yemen, down from a one-time high of 60,000. Most live in Sana’a in government housing after being evacuated from other areas of Yemen over fear for their safety.

In an interview with CNN Arabic, Yemen Chief Rabbi Yahia Youssef Moussa called on the country’s president to allow the Jewish community and other minority groups to have seats in the country’s parliament.

Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Natan Sharansky said Tuesday that Zindani was murdered solely for being Jewish.

“We must do everything to protect the Jews of Yemen and Iran, and all the Jews of the world,” Sharansky said.

He was speaking at an event in Jerusalem for thousands of Jewish young adults from around the world who are in Israel as part of JAFI’s Israel Journey.

A  Yemenite Jew was killed in Yemen in December 2008 by a Muslim man who ordered Jews to convert or be killed. The killer was sentenced to death.

Released from Guantanamo, Al Qaeda Terrorist Launched Kidnapping Business

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Tag this one under Road, Hell, and Good-intentions…

According to the pro-Saudi publication Asharq Al-Awsat, suspected Al Qaeda terrorist Mishaal al-Shadoukhi has contacted the Saudi embassy in Yemen to claim responsibility for the kidnapping of Saudi diplomat Abdullah Al-Khalidi on behalf of the Al Qaeda organization, demanding an unspecified ransom, as well as the release of prisoners held by Riyadh, in exchange for the diplomat’s release.

Mishaal al-Shadoukhi, who is on the Saudi government’s list of most wanted fugitives, was at one point a prisoner in Guantanamo Bay, and among the first detainees to be repatriated to Saudi Arabia.

Following his repatriation, he underwent a state-approved “Munasaha” rehabilitation program and was released.

Saudi Arabia’s “Munasaha” program is designed to get at the roots of terrorism in that country. It looks into the content of sermons, lectures, and religious gatherings in order to persuade people that extremism is not the way to move forward. As Saudi Gazette/Okaz reported, “the program combines the wisdom of a range of academics and experts in Shariah law to explain the ‘proper principles of Shariah law’ and includes women as advisors.” The program travels to areas targeted by the government due to their recent experiences and incidents of terror-related extremism.

Too bad that once al-Shadoukhi was fully rehabilitated, he fled to Yemen, rejoined Al Qaeda, and started kidnapping Saudi dignitaries for ransom.

Air Strikes in Yemen Kill 45 Al-Qaida Terrorists

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

Reuters reports that on Saturday the U S drone attacks killed at least 25 al-Qaida fighters, including one commander, while a Yemeni air force raid killed 20 more in the south, sources said on Saturday. These were the biggest air strikes since Yemen’s new president took office.

Al-Qaida forces have increased their operations in southern Yemen while the country was in political turmoil during months of turmoil, anticipating the resignation of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was replaced in a February election by Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Two al-Qaida fighters were killed late Friday while attempting to set off a bomb at a security checkpoint near the town of Mudiyah in the southern province of Abyan.

J.E. Dyer: Strategic Ambiguity Watch – The Maritime Version

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

No sooner do we establish that (a) Iran wants strategic ambiguity, and (b) Iran’s got it, than we see a fresh round of strategic ambiguity busting out.  Strategic ambiguity looks to be the gift that will keep on giving.

You might think the big news from the last 24 hours would be the report that Iran declined to load a Greek tanker with oil for Greek refineries, thus sparking concerns that the Iranians will cut off oil to hard-pressed Greece entirely.  Tehran has already officially stopped deliveries to France and the UK.  The Europeans are worried that a cut in Iranian oil could sink any hope of a recovery for the Greeks – and that Iran might threaten to extend the embargo to Italy, which also depends on Iranian oil.

In the wake of this report, the Iranian government hastened to announce that it hasn’t cut off shipments to Greece.  So it isn’t clear what’s going on, and strategic ambiguity can check another item off the to-do list.   Gasoline has surged to about $8.10 a gallon in the UK (not yet the $9.00 a gallon being trumpeted by Iranian media), so – check, check!

But that’s not really the big news.  The big news is that the Iranian parliament is working on legislation that would require foreign warships to obtain permission from Iran to pass through the Strait of Hormuz.  How could Iran enforce such a requirement?  Well, that’s exactly the fun of strategic ambiguity.   Maybe they’ll try, and maybe they won’t.  As the Iranians say, ‘it will depend on us.’

Apart from a last-ditch resort to something like mining the Strait of Hormuz (SOH), the most likely Iranian approach would be to take advantage of an incident in the SOH, or even create one, to justify cranking up Iranian oversight of “safety and security” by half a notch or so.  A diplomatic win on that exploratory probe could be leveraged to increase Iran’s effective control incrementally – unless each new measure was directly challenged.  If the US were unwilling to do the challenging, strategic ambiguity would be a lot more fun for Iran than for the rest of us.

You do need a quiescent partner on the other side of the Strait for an oblique approach of this kind.  And sure enough, besides conducting a naval exercise in the Strait of Hormuz (SOH) in mid-February, Iran concluded a new naval cooperation agreement with Oman on the 12th, and plans to conduct a joint naval exercise with Oman in March.  Earlier in February, moreover, the Iranian navy’s commander stated that the Iranian naval task force in the Red Sea would visit the port of Salalah, Oman in March.  That would be a first since the 1979 revolution, and would put the Iranian navy in the company of all the other global navies in the region (including the US Navy), which visit the major port of Salalah on a regular basis.  Iran is establishing a new naval posture as we speak.

The new Iranian naval posture extends its strategic ambiguity to Saudi Arabia.  During the Iranian task force’s triumphal sideswipe at Syria – where the ships reportedly entered port, although the Pentagon “has no evidence of it” (see my comment at this link for a summary of data points on the question) – an Iranian parliamentarian announced that Iran was displaying her naval power in the region, as a warning and a portent.  The ships had stopped in Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea port of Jeddah on the way to the Mediterranean, so this saber-rattling didn’t sit well with the Saudis.

Therefore, the Saudi ministry of defense has just issued a statement clarifying the basis on which it authorized the Iranian warships to visit Jeddah.  And the salient point is that Saudi Arabia wasn’t down for the “naval warning” business.  The Saudis understood they were agreeing to a port visit for ships on a training cruise.

In general, the Saudis are feeling squeezed by Iran; a Die Welt report from 15 February, summarized at the al-Akhbar website on the 21st, indicated that Riyadh sponsored a Gulf States  meeting in January to discuss Iran’s continued arms sales to Hezbollah.  The Saudis didn’t openly disclose anything we don’t already know about the Iranian smuggling routes, but apparently they excluded Qatar from the meeting, because they don’t consider the emirate “reliable on issues related to Iran.”

Meanwhile, down south of the Saudi border, Iran continues to supply the Houthi rebels in Yemen – a Shia group that operates as a scourge of Riyadh as well as Sana’a.  On 15 February, Yemeni authorities reported intercepting another ship from Iran carrying heavy weapons for the Houthis.  It is accepted fact in the Arabian Peninsula that Iran’s paramilitary operates from islands in the southern Red Sea, supporting activities in both Yemen and Eritrea.  In a recently translated al-Arabiya interview from June 2011, a Kuwaiti professor stated that Iran leases three islands from Eritrea and uses them for military training.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/j-e-dyer/j-e-dyer-strategic-ambiguity-watch-the-maritime-version/2012/02/28/

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