RT News

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Iraqis plan dig at possible Sumerian site

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Archaeologists will soon begin a dig at a site in the southern Iraqi province of Muthanna that may date back to the Sumerian period, local heritage chief Tawfiq Mohammed said on Thursday.

The excavation will take place in hills near Rumetha, just north of the provincial capital Samawa, Mohammed said, referring to an area on the banks of the Euphrates River.

"This place is a very important heritage site," he said. "The exploration could lead to the discovery of orginal architecture that can be added to the heritage of Mesopotamia"

What is now Iraq is often described as the cradle of civilisation, with some of the first evidence of complex urban life appearing within its borders around 3,000 BC.

Baghdad is keen to capitalise on some 10,000 historic sites across the country to attract tourists.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

America sees immigration slowdown

updated 12:07 a.m. ET, Tues., Sept. 23, 2008
WASHINGTON - The wave of immigrants entering the United States slowed dramatically last year as the economy faltered and the government stepped up enforcement of immigration laws.

The nation added about a half million immigrants in 2007, down from more than 1.8 million the year before, according to estimates being released Tuesday by the Census Bureau.

"The U.S. is still a beacon for many people who want to come here for all kinds of reasons," said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution who analyzed the numbers. "But what this shows is that the economy plays a big part in it."

Story continues below ↓


The U.S. has added an average of about a million immigrants a year since 1990, including those in the country legally and illegally.

At more than 38 million, the number of immigrants in the U.S. is now at an all-time high. Immigrants made up 12.6 percent of the population in 2007, the largest share since 1920, when the U.S. was nearing the end of its last immigration boom, one that brought millions of people from Europe to the United States.

That wave of immigrants ended with the Great Depression and the onset of World War II.

Looking for jobs
The immigration figures released Tuesday were from the 2007 American Community Survey, the government's annual survey of about 3 million households. The survey, which is replacing the long form from the 10-year census, yields reams of demographic, social and economic data about the nation.

Because the estimates come from a survey, each includes a margin of sampling error that makes year-to-year comparisons inexact. Annual immigration changes for many states and cities were within the margins of error, but the national trend was statistically significant: The nation's immigration boom slowed substantially in 2007.

Fourteen states showed declines in the estimated number of immigrants from 2006 to 2007, including New Jersey, New Mexico, Vermont and South Dakota. Several major cities also posted decreases, including Atlanta, Las Vegas and Oakland, Calif.

Other cities continued to show gains, including Phoenix, Boston and Denver.

Census data
Highlights of Census Bureau report

_Median home values increased 2 percent from 2006 to 2007, a significantly lower rate than in recent years.

_Hawaii had the highest median home value, at $555,400, while West Virginia and Mississippi tied for the lowest, at $96,000. The national estimate was $194,300.

_The average commute to work increased from 25.0 minutes in 2006 to 25.3 minutes in 2007. Commuters in New York state had the longest average journey to work, at 31.5 minutes; workers in North Dakota had the shortest, at 16.1 minutes.

_Immigrants made up 27.4 percent of the population in California, the largest of any state. West Virginia has the lowest percentage, at 1.3 percent. The national average was 12.6 percent.

_Nearly 43 percent of Californians spoke a language other than English at home, the highest rate in the nation; West Virginia had the lowest rate, at 2.3 percent. The national share was 19.7 percent.

_Wyoming had the highest share of high school graduates, at 91.2 percent of the population age 25 and older; Mississippi had the lowest, at 78.5 percent. The national share was 84.5 percent, up slightly from 2006.

_The District of Columbia had the highest share of those with a bachelor's degree, at 47.5 percent, while West Virginia had the lowest, at 17.3 percent. The national share was 27.5 percent, up from 27.0 percent in 2006.

_Alaska had the highest share of veterans, at 15.4 percent of the population, while New York had the lowest, at 7 percent.

_South Carolina had the highest share of housing that was mobile homes, at 18.2 percent, while the District of Columbia had none.

Source: Census Bureau's 2007 American Community Survey.

"Immigrants have always come to the United States for jobs, but before they went to big immigration magnets to be with family or other immigrants," Frey said. "Now the geography of where these people move is much more tied to the economy than ever before."

Much of the nation experienced a housing boom in the first half of the decade, providing jobs that attracted immigrants. The housing bubble burst last year, sending housing markets tumbling and contributing to a slumping economy that some economists believe is in recession.

The Census Bureau's' estimates for immigrants include those in the country legally and illegally because the agency does not ask about legal status. Government and private estimates put the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. at about 12 million.

A little more than half of U.S. immigrants are from Latin America and about a quarter are from Asia. About 13 percent are from Europe and 4 percent from Africa.

The latest immigration boom has sparked political and social turmoil in many communities unaccustomed to large influxes of foreigners. About one in five U.S. residents spoke a language other than English at home in 2007, about the same share as a year before.

Immigration reform
The issue, however, has been muted in this year's presidential election in part because both Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama support comprehensive immigration packages that include increased enforcement and an eventual path to citizenship for many illegal immigrants.

Obama and McCain aren't talking much about immigration reform — at least not in English. Both, however, are running Spanish-language TV ads accusing the other of derailing comprehensive immigration packages supported by many Hispanics.

Voters say other issues are more important to them than immigration policy, including the economy, gas prices and education, according to the latest AP-Yahoo News poll.

In many communities, though, immigration is an important issue.

Federal agents started conducting more high-profile immigration raids the past several years. The effects on local immigration levels have been mixed.

For example, a leather goods manufacturer in New Bedford, Mass., was raided in March 2007, and the number of immigrants living there dropped for the year. At the same time number of immigrants in Boston, about 50 miles away, jumped.

A temporary employment agency in Baltimore was raided in March 2007, and the number of immigrants in the city dropped slightly for the year. But a meatpacking plant in Greeley, Colo., was raided in late 2006 and the number of immigrants increased in 2007.

Some communities have tried to get tough on illegal immigration with local ordinances.

In Northern Virginia's Prince William County, officials debated a crackdown for months before directing local police to check the immigration status of everyone they arrest. The county experienced a small drop the number of immigrants last year despite overall population gains.

"In our county there is a tremendous amount of fear," said Nancy Lyall, legal coordinator for Mexicans Without Borders, an immigrant advocacy group. "The people who can leave Prince William County have."

Monday, September 22, 2008

Eid Al Fitr Moon , A detail Calculation

Sun and Moon Data for One Day

The following information is provided for Toronto (longitude W79.4, latitude N43.7):

30 September 2008 Universal Time - 4h

Begin civil twilight 06:46
Sunrise 07:14
Sun transit 13:07
Sunset 18:59
End civil twilight 19:28

Moonset 18:50 on preceding day
Moonrise 08:43
Moon transit 14:02
Moonset 19:12-Hard to see in Toronto,So Eid-Oct02 of
Moonrise 09:50 on following day

Phase of the Moon on 30 September: waxing crescent with 2% of the Moon's visible disk illuminated.

New Moon on 29 September 2008 at 04:12 (Universal Time - 4h).

Sep 30, 2008 5:39 AM 8:35 PM 6:12 AM 8:01 PM 6:46 AM 7:28 PM 7:14 AM 6:59 PM 93°Map direction East 266°Map direction West 11h 45m 04s − 2m 58s 1:07 PM 43.2° 149.783
Astronomy for September 30, 2008:
Rise: Set:
Actual Time: 7:15 AM EDT 7:00 PM EDT
Civil Twilight: 6:46 AM EDT 7:29 PM EDT
Nautical Twilight: 6:13 AM EDT 8:02 PM EDT
Astronomical Twilight: 5:39 AM EDT 8:35 PM EDT
Moon: 8:43 AM EDT (9/30) 7:12 PM EDT (9/30)
Length Of Visible Light: 12h 42m
Length of Day:
11h 45m

Moonsighting for Shawwal 1429

The Astronomical New Moon is on Monday, September 29, 2008 at 8:12 GMT, 4:12 am EDT, 1:12 am PDT). It will not be visible on September 29 except small possibility in Ploynesian Islands. On Tuesday, September 30, it will be visible in New Zealand Australia, Indonesia, South Asia, Africa and Americas. In North America on September 30, it can be seen in Southern belt states. So, Eidul-Fitr is expected on Wednesday, October 1, most of the world, Insha-Allah. Also, according to Saudi Ummul-Qura calendar, Fiqh Council of North America, and European Council for Fatwa and Research, the first day of Shawwal is on Wednesday, October 1, 2008.

In UK moon cannot be sighted on Sep 29 or Sep 30, 2008. Sighting in UK could only be on October 1. However a new Fatawa from Deoband, India, is that even if moon is seen in as far south as South Africa, UK will accept that sighting. According to this criterion Eid in UK will be on October 1, Insha-Allah, because the moon should be easily visible in Australia and South Africa on September 30.

In Pakistan, moon may not be seen on Septmber 30, except by high powered telescope. So, Eid in Pakistan is expected to be on Octber 2, 2008.
Visibility Predictions for the New Crescent Moon
Longitude W079 25
Latitude N43 42
Time Zone + 05h 00m
Times are in Standard Time = GMT - 05h 00m

New Moon Birth Date Sun Moon at Sunset Moon Lag BEST Code
+ Set Az Age Alt Az DAZ Mag El Set Time TIME
year mth day h m d mth day h m o h m o o o o h m m h m
2008 Sept 29 03 12 Mon
0 Mon Sept 29 18 01 267 14 49 -3 258 8 -4.3 8 17 50 -12 17 56 F
1 Tues Sept 30 18 00 266 38 48 1 247 19 -5.5 20 18 12 12 18 05 F
2 Wed Oct 1 17 58 266 62 46 5 236 30 -6.6 31 18 37 39 18 15 A
A means easily visible on Oct01, So it means Eid will be on Oct02/2008.
A Easily visible
B Visible under perfect conditions
C May need optical aid to find the crescent Moon
D Will need optical aid to find the crescent Moon
E Not visible with a telescope
F Not visible, below the Danjon limit

But I am ready to fight and die

Iraq's Mehdi Army at crossroads as U.S. scales down

By Mohammed Abbas 37 minutes ago

NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) - Forced off Iraq's streets and with diminished political clout, what anti-American Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mehdi Army militia do next will be crucial if they are to remain relevant.
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The rallying cry of the Mehdi Army and Sadr's political movement since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 has been to kick American soldiers out of Iraq. With a 2011 deadline for a U.S. troop withdrawal possibly in sight, Sadr must find another cause to give his movement purpose and cohesion.

Sadr has largely frozen the Mehdi Army, which led two uprisings against U.S. forces in 2004, and has shifted to cultivating the cultural wing of his movement.

The cleric has huge support among Iraq's Shi'ite poor, and similar movements in the Middle East have traditionally replaced or bolstered armed struggle with cultural and charitable works that have fed into votes at the ballot box.

But the cleric has decided his movement will not compete in upcoming local elections under the Sadr banner. Sadrists will instead join independent candidate groups.

The move could be a way of keeping a hand in politics without giving legitimacy to elections held while U.S. forces are still in place.

But the move could limit their influence in increasingly powerful provincial councils, where they hold little sway after largely boycotting the last local elections in 2005, and rob them of momentum in national polls due at the end of 2009.

Sadrists took part in the previous parliamentary elections, but control only 10 percent of seats. They withdrew their six cabinet ministers from the government in 2007 in protest at Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's refusal to set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq.

Sadr's movement is unlikely to survive as a purely cultural and charitable organization with no military or political clout, said Toby Dodge, an Iraq specialist at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.

"They'd disappear almost overnight if they did that. It would go against every model they're copying ... If they don't run (in elections) and demobilize their militia, what's the point of them? What's the unifying ideology?" he said.


Sadr spokesmen say the cleric froze his militia partly to give Baghdad and Washington space to agree a security deal, now in its final stages of negotiation, that is likely to pave the way for a large-scale U.S. troop withdrawal by the end of 2011.

"If the agreement has positive points and a defined deadline then I'm sure we will support it," chief Sadr spokesman Salah al-Ubaidi said in an interview at the cleric's headquarters in the holy Shi'ite city of Najaf.

Ubaidi last month suggested the Mehdi Army would dissolve if the United States withdrew according to a defined timetable.

With violence in Iraq at four-year lows, the Pentagon will pull 8,000 soldiers out by February, leaving 138,000 troops.

But the Sadr movement will only outline its next move after the U.S. presence ends, not before, Ubaidi said.

Meanwhile, rival political groups are consolidating power, while a series of crackdowns by an increasingly assertive Maliki has forced the Mehdi Army from many of its former bastions.

Attacks on Shi'ites by Sunni militants, which drove many to Sadr's militia for support, have plunged. Criminal elements among the Mehdi Army's ranks have also frustrated Sadr.

"Moqtada may be beginning to feel that the Mehdi Army is becoming more of a liability than an asset," said Reidar Visser, an Iraq expert and editor of the www.historiae.org website.

Luwaa Sumaisem, head of the Sadr parliamentary bloc's political committee, said the movement had future political ambitions and wanted to be central in efforts to rebuild Iraq.

Focus on the Sadrist cultural wing, which defines itself as an "army of cultural and religious doctrine" that wages jihad on the "western and secular tide," could be considered a political move in preparation for the departure of U.S. forces, he said.

"That we don't have political ambitions, that may be for the moment. It's not our priority," he told Reuters.


Greater religious authority could be one way Sadr intends to retain relevance. Widely believed to be studying in Iran, Ubaidi said it would not be long before Sadr would enter the ranks of the Marjaiya, or senior Shi'ite Islamic clergy.

"The next key step for the Sadrist movement may relate to Sadr's religious status, and in particular whether he is going to make an attempt to act as a scholar with the ability to issue his own fatwas (religious edicts)," Visser said.

In Shi'ite-majority Iraq the Marjaiya have huge influence, although frosty ties with Iraq's top Shi'ite clergy mean it is unclear how much weight would be given to Sadr's fatwas.

Often ambiguous and sometimes contradictory, many of Sadr's frequent statements give few clues to his thinking.

Making few public appearances, Sadr may next appear when the U.S.-Iraqi security deal is signed, Ubaidi said. Until then, the support of at least some of Iraq's Shi'ite poor remains strong.

"Of course we hope for no more violence. Look at all these young men," said Abdul-Zahra Darwish, the brother of a slain Mehdi Army fighter as he stood among graves at a Sadrist cemetery in Najaf. "But I am ready to fight and die."

(Editing by Dean Yates and xxx)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

What is politics?

I got this from cafearabica.com.


Son: Dad, I have a special report for school. Can I ask you a question?

Dad: Sure son, what's the question?

Son: What is politics?

Dad: Well son, let's take our home for example. I am the wage earner, so
let's call me the management. Your mother is the administrator of the
money, so let's call her the government. We take care of you and your
needs, so let's call you the people. We'll call the maid the working
class and your baby brother the future. Understand?

Son: I'm not really sure dad, I'll have to think about it.

That night, the boy is awakened by his baby brother's crying, so he went
to see what was wrong. Discovering that the baby had a heavily soiled
nappy, the boy went to his parent's room and found his mother fast
asleep. He than went to the maid's room, where, peeking through the
keyhole, he saw his father in bed with the maid. The boy's knocking went
totally unheard. The boy went back to his room and to sleep.

The next morning...
Son: Dad, I think I understand politics.

Dad: That's great son, explain it to me in your own words.

Son: While the management is screwing the working class, the government
is fast asleep, the people are being completely ignored and the future
is full of @!#$.

While the nation of sheep is asleep, the government is allowing the Jewish Financial Mafia to screw up the economy and the army is in deep sheet in Iraq.

But does the military know who is in the bedroom upstairs before throwing a hand grenade? It is like carrying a machine gun and mowing down students or shoppers in a shopping mall. Or an Israeli placing a bomb in a Palestinian car and detonate it from afar killing many innocent people. Sdism characterises the USraeli killers.
Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times

Similarities:Hurricane Shlomo and Katrina!

Author: Adnan
Date: 20-09-08 12:28

Similarities between Hurricane Shlomo and Hurricane Katrina!
The first similarity is that Both Hurricane Shlomo and Hurricane Katrina caused $billions of damages to the US economy that will be covered by the American taxpayer. The second similarity is that no-one is there to be blamed. Hurricane Katrina was caused by angry God/nature and no-one in his right mind can possibly complain. Similarly, Hurricane Shlomo was caused by the greed of the Jewish financial mafia and no-one is powerful enough or in his right mind who can complain let alone ask for them to be exposed and punished. The message from Bush remains to be: the Jews can make wrong investments, cash hefty bonuses and commissions but the taxpayer will pay for the losses if something goes wrong.
One hopes that a bankrupt America will discourage the USraeli war mongers from launching more wars besides an early end to the US hated occupation of Iraq.
Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times

Imam Ali A.S Aliph to Ya

ألف *** أهواك أيا حيدر يا ساقينا عند الكوثر

باء *** باب مدينة علم من يأتيها يأتي حيدر

تاء *** تكفيك شهادته انك مولانا بل أكثر

ثاء *** ثق يا نبض فؤادي عن حبك لا لن أتغير

جيم *** جندلت أكابرهم فسل الاحزاب وسل خيبر

حاء *** حارت فيك عقول حق لها بك أن تتحير

خاء *** خابت نفس لئيم لم يتوالاك أبى شبر

دال *** دامت راية نصر ما دامت في كفك حيدر

ذال *** ذللت رقابهم ونسفت الشيطان الاكبر

راء *** ريحان وزهور عشقك كالمسك أو العنبر

زاء *** زينت لنا الدنيا بسنا وجهك وهو الانور

سين *** سيفك لمايبرح يفلق هامات ويشطر

شين *** شيدت باصرار صرح الاسلام وذا مفخر

صاد *** صمت أذن بغي من جحد الكرار وأنكر

ضاد *** ضم اليك فؤادي كي يحضى بالفوز الاكبر

طاء *** طابت نفس محب بولاكم في يوم المحشر

ظاء *** ظلك كم يحمينا من عرصات الفزع الاكبر

عين *** عميت عين حسود من ليس الى فضلك مبصر

غين *** غصبوك وهم أدرى أن لاغيرك فيهم أجدر

فاء *** فصبرت على ألم لو لاقى جبل لتكسر

قاف *** قادوك أيا عجبي أين الصولات وأين الكر

كاف *** كسروا ضلع الزهراء وأنت بما فعلو مبصر

لام *** لطموا وجه القرآن وهل لنفسك أن تصبر

ميم *** من حلمك أنهلني يا نور الرحمن الازهر

نون *** نورت دياجينا ومن الشمس سناكم أنور

هاء *** هامت فيك قلوب هيمها وجدك يا حيدر

واو *** واليتك لا طمعا في مال أو جاه يذكر

ياء *** يا ربي ثبتني بولاية من صام وكبر

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Rare holy Quran exhibition in Held Kashmir from 22nd Sep

NEW DELHI: The Indian-held Kashmir government is organising a week-long exhibition of rare Quranic manuscripts in Srinagar, from Monday. Talking to reporters, Academy of Culture, Art and Languages Secretary Zaffar Iqbal Khan Manhas called the exhibition the first of its kind, and said rare centuries-old manuscripts by world-renowned calligraphist and scholars, including Usman Qadri, would be displayed. A saffron-ink calligraphy manuscript, dating back to 1594 AD, 35 hand-written manuscripts and nearly two dozen printed copies of the holy Quran will also be exhibited. The organisers say the main attraction will be a Persian calligraphy manuscript done with a thumbnail, called “Khat-e-Nakhun”. The margin of the manuscript is decorated with pictures of men, birds and animals. The oldest available manuscript of the holy Quran in Kashmir, dating back to 1237 AD, 83 years before en-mass Kashmiri conversions to Islam, will also be displayed. Fatehullah Kashmiri is credited for the work. iftikhar gilani


Fri Jan 14, 10:01 am ET
Teacher stumbles across 340-year-old Bible
By Liz Goodwin
Fri Jan 14, 10:01 am ET
A sixth-grade teacher in Bonduel, Wis., discovered a 340-year-old German Bible in an old safe in a small Lutheran church school where she works.

The 1,500-page Bible, a copy of Martin Luther's translation, was printed in Germany in 1670, researchers told WLUK-TV, the local Fox affiliate.
Debra Court found it while searching for old baptism records to show her students, but she thought it was just an old book. That was two years ago.

[Related: Archaeologist may have found Blackbeard's sword]

Eventually the church's pastor, Timothy Shoup, sent it to researchers at Concordia Seminary Library in St. Louis, who have now identified it. The library's Lyle Buettner said only about 40 copies are known, though it's likely many more are undocumented.

Describing the hand-illustrated text, Buettner told WLUK-TV: "Each time I see an illustration like this, I just think of how beautiful it looks and how much of a labor of love it must have been for the person who actually drew it."

[Discovered: Massive caves with room for jungle, skyscrapers]

Stroup told the Associated Press that the church has no idea how it came to possess the Bible. "We don't know how it got into the safe. We've been asking some of our elderly folks and people in the nursing home and nobody seems to remember." The church will be 150 years old in 2013.
Watch the video report below, courtesy of WLUK:

WLUK Story: 340-Year-Old Bible Found @ Yahoo! Video

Officials say gunmen kill cleric in southern Iraq

By MAZIN YAHYA, Associated Press Writer Sat Sep 20, 2:27 AM ET

BAGHDAD - Iraqi officials say gunmen have killed a cleric loyal to U.S. foe Muqtada al-Sadr in the southern city of Basra.

Police say Sheik Oday Ali Abbas al-Ajrish was killed Friday evening near his home.

A Basra police officer and a medic from the city's morgue confirmed the killing. They requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media.

Al-Ajrish's brother, Mohammad al-Ajrish, is a member of the tribal council for southern Iraq.

Al-Sadr lives in Iran but retains significant clout in Iraq. His Mahdi Army militia battled U.S. and Iraqi forces for years, but al-Sadr declared a cease-fire last year and his militia is largely disbanded.



Here is what happened

* Suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden truck into the main gate of Marriott Hotel around 8pm

* The explosion left a 25-foot deep and 30-foot wide crater

* Entire area turned to rubble

* Gas pipeline burst keeping the hotel building ablaze for hours

* Buildings within a 3-km radius were damaged, including Frontier House and PTV building

* Powerful explosion heard as far as 30 kilometres away

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Rescuers work in the dark as fire rages

By Atif Khan

ISLAMABAD: The deadly attack on Marriott Hotel was an acid test for security agencies and civic services to tackle such tragedies with concerted efforts. Pathetically they have flunked it straightaway.

Forensic experts told Daily Times that the blast left a 17-feet deep and 34-feet wide crater. An estimated 112 rooms of the hotel were occupied by guests, locals and foreigners. As the explosive-packed dumper rammed into the entrance gate and exploded, it killed all employees and passers-by present on the spot, according to eyewitness account.

Eyewitnesses said most guests were busy breaking fast on Aftar dinner. “I went to bed early as I had to catch a flight tomorrow morning. But then there was a big bang and fire all around,” an employee of the British High Commission told Daily Times. He said he was on second floor at the time of explosion and could manage to escape by escalators only hardly.

The forensic experts said it seemed that the dumper was carrying over 1,000 kg of explosives. They said the explosion disrupted electricity and gas pipelines, setting off a huge fire.

The blast was so powerful that it completely damaged the cars parked opposite the hotel. It has been learnt that a guard standing near Frontier House died due to impact of the explosion.

No top-level management official was found on the scene even after 15 minutes of the explosion and the rescuers were fumbling for information but no one was there to guide them.

Lack of coordination between rescue teams and security agencies was observed and the way into the hotel was clogged with uprooted trees and debris.

Pumps of fire brigade engines were not working, letting the fire leap from room to room, storey to storey.

A crane to plant rescuers on top of the building came after one hour but it took at least 30 minutes for the technicians to put it in place.

No arrangement for lighting the venue was made by any of the civic service body. The rescuers were lacking rescue equipment like safety nets, first aid kits etc.

Most survivors were roaming on roads to take help but no one was there to take care of them. Already under mental and physical trauma, if there could have been a need for soothsayers and sympathizers, it was then. But who cares?

Pakistan’s 9/11’ kills 60, injures 200; Nation mourns; Terrorists hit back hours after Zardari’s warning

This is Pakistan's War

* Explosives-laden truck rammed into Marriott Hotel
* US national among the dead, several foreigners injured
* Nearby Frontier House, Chief Justice’s House, IT Towers and PTV building damaged
* Rehman Malik says government received intelligence reports two days ago
* 14-year-old suspect arrested from the scene

ISLAMABAD: A suicide bomber detonated a truck packed with explosives at the Marriott Hotel in a brazen attack in the heart of Islamabad on Saturday, killing at least 60 people.

At least 200 people, including a PPP legislator, were injured in the massive explosion, which ruptured a gas pipeline and triggered a huge blaze.

A US national was killed and several foreigners were injured, hospital officials told AFP. Many victims leapt to their deaths from the upper floors of the hotel to escape the fire, a senior security official said. Officials were worried that the hotel, a key meeting place for foreigners, would collapse.

Nearby buildings: The explosion was heard throughout Islamabad and left a 25-foot crater. Some of the victims were in the adjacent Frontier House, Chief Justice’s House, IT Towers and the PTV building, which were severely damaged.

Sixteen US nationals were inside the hotel at the time of the attack, an official said, adding they included diplomats. The PIMS spokesman said four Germans, two Saudis and two British nationals were injured. Hotel owner Sadruddin Hashwani told Geo News most of the foreigners were rescued through the rear exit.

President Asif Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the attack.

Intelligence reports: “We had intelligence reports two days ago that some incident might take place,” Interior Adviser Rehman Malik told reporters.

Suspect: ARY One World said police arrested a 14-year-old suspect outside the hotel. fazal sher/ agencies/daily times monitor

Panic grips twin cities after blast at Marriott Hotel

Terror strikes heart of capital

By Sajjad Malik

ISLAMABAD: Panic blanketed the capital city Saturday evening after a huge suicide blast almost destroyed the Marriott Hotel giving it the look of some derelict building.

The hotel is located in the high security zone, with Pak Secretariat, Parliament House, President House, Supreme Court building, the Punjab House, Balochistan House, Frontier House, and Kashmir House standing within a radius of almost a kilometer.

The blast was heard as far as 30 kilometers. The hotel building could be seen engulfed in flames, with dozens of firefighters locked in a fierce battle with the leaping flames. The windowpanes of the nearby houses and shopping malls came crashing down. Some of the trees located near the hotel were also uprooted.

There were pools of blood all around. At some places rescuers were seen removing people buried under the rubble. Blood-soaked bodies of visitors and hotel staff were seen scattered here and there. Some of the victims were hit by silvers from the broken windowpanes while other became direct victim of the blast.

Around 100 cars parked in the parking of the hotel and outside were reduced to a total wreck.

People rushed out of their houses soon after the blast. Some of them raced to the hotel and assisted the rescue teams in carting off the injured to the nearby hospitals.

The blast also damaged the buildings of the adjacent Evacuee Trust Board, Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) and PTV. Traffic came to a halt for a while after the incident and traders put up their shutters for fear of a similar attack.

“I was in the Evacuee Trust Building when I heard the sound of a deafening blast that knocked me down. I had a blackout that last a few moments. However, soon after gathering my senses, I got up and started running until I was far away from the scene,” Ihsan told Daily Times. Akhtar, an employee of PTV, said that he and some of his friends were standing in the lawn of the PTV building discussing some issue when the blast took place.

“It was a huge blast that made me go weak at the knees. However, I gathered myself and the next moment I was running to a safer place,” he said.

Ahmad, a common citizen, who visited the blast scene soon after it took place, said that he had not seen destruction of such a vast magnitude in his life.

Eyewitness account

ISLAMABAD: We had just begun our Iftar when the bomb went off. Around 300 people had just begun their dinner. Along with dozens of panic-stricken Pakistanis and foreigners, we waded through the devastated building. We could only imagine the damage’s extent on finally finding our way out through the back of the hotel – the front walls of the hotel, dozens of concrete blocks, and about two dozen cars, including mine, were destroyed and charred beyond recognition. imtiaz gul

20 Sep 2008 15:16:46 GMT
Source: Reuters

ISLAMABAD, Sept 20 (Reuters) - At least 40 people were killed on Saturday in a suspected suicide car-bomb attack on the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad and the death toll was expected to rise, a senior police officer said.

"A car laden with explosives rammed the gate at the Marriott and so far we have brought out 40 dead bodies, but the number could well be higher," police chief Asghar Raza Gardazi said. (Reporting by Kamran Haider; Editing by Simon Cameron-

Those killed include five women. 257 wounded, some of them critically were shifted to the local hospitals after the deadly explosion. The death toll is feared to rise further.

The powerful explosion caused fire in many parts of the hotel besides shattering the windowpanes of the buildings around the hotel.

According to details, a small vehicle broke through the security barrier outside the hotel before an explosives laden dumper truck was struck with the hotel causing a huge explosion.

This caused the gas pipelines to burst triggering fire which engulfed the entire building of the luxury hotel.

The explosion left a 20 feet wide and 25 feet deep crater on the ground.

According to police, 1000 kilograms of explosive material was used in the deadly explosion.

This hotel in Islamabad is a favorite place for foreigners to stay and gather, and it has previously been targeted by militants.

Ambulances rushed to the scene, where a fire also burned, smoke hovered and the carcasses of vehicles were scattered.

According to senior correspondent of Geo News, Hamid Mir, about 100 people are feared dead in the attack.


By Zeeshan Haider

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Video footage was released on Sunday showing the last moments before a truck laden with 600 kg of explosives blew up outside Islamabad's Marriott Hotel, killing at least 53 people and wounding more than 260.

"The truck was stopped at the barrier and there was an altercation between the attacker and the guards," said Rehman Malik, the top official in the Interior Ministry, which released the images, told a news conference.

"A doctor was on an emergency call and was standing behind the truck. He asked the guards to remove the truck so that he could drive in to attend a patient," Malik continued.

Sniffer dogs then detected something wrong and guards shouted to people to run.

The footage showed the truck driver tried to ram the retractable metal barrier and bar at the security checkpoint at the entrance to the hotel's forecourt and parking area.

Some accounts given earlier had suggested that there had been an exchange of fire between the truck driver and the security guards on duty, but that wasn't clearly evident from the closed circuit television images.

Most of the guards retreated when the truck tried to ram the barrier.

What happened next appeared to have been a small explosion in the cabin.

Flames were seen spreading from the front to the rear, of the hydraulic dumper truck as cars passed by on the road behind.

After the explosion some guards moved in before retreating once again, and finally one came back with a fire extinguisher, but failed to make an impression on the blaze.

Then the screen turned blue, presumably as the final explosion let rip, killing immediate bystanders. Other victims were felled by flying glass and from the subsequent fire that swept through the building.

Malik said he expected the investigation to point to the tribal areas used as bases by Taliban and al Qaeda fighters on the border with Afghanistan.

"Preliminary investigations revealed that 600 kg explosives were used," Malik said. "High explosives RDX and TNT were used."

"Unlike previous attacks, aluminium powder was also used... When the fire balls hit the building, the aluminium powder fueled the fire," he said, explaining the ferocity of the blaze.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

No U.S. embassy staff hurt in Yemen blast-source

17 Sep 2008 08:54:10 GMT
Source: Reuters
SANAA, Sept 17 (Reuters) - No American embassy staff were hurt in a suspected car bomb attack on the U.S. embassy in Yemen on Wednesday, a source inside the heavily-fortified compound said.

The source, who declined to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media, said that U.S. embassy staff had been gathered into a safe area.

Source: Reuters
SANAA, Sept 17 (Reuters) - The U.S. embassy in Yemen confirmed on Wednesday that a car bomb exploded outside its heavily-fortified compound and said there were reports of casualties.

"This morning a car exploded at the main gate of the embassy in Sanaa. There was an initial explosion and several secondary explosions," a U.S. embassy spokesman told Reuters by telephone.

"We do have reports of casualties. Right now, I cannot confirm the number, nor the nationality nor the severity of the casualties." (Reporting by Lin Noueihed, Editing by Janet Lawrence)

Blast, gunfire near U.S. embassy in Yemen
17 Sep 2008 09:28:24 GMT
Source: Reuters
(Adds claim, details)

By Mohammed Ghobari

SANAA, Sept 17 (Reuters) - A suspected car bomb followed by heavy gunfire targeted the U.S. embassy in Yemen on Wednesday and at least two people, including one of the attackers, were believed to be killed, witnesses and police said.

Smoke was seen rising from the heavily fortified U.S. compound in Sanaa and ambulances and fire engines raced to the scene, which was cordoned off by police, witnesses said.

A U.S. embassy official declined to comment but a source inside the compound said no American embassy staff were hurt.

A group calling itself Islamic Jihad in Yemen claimed responsibility for the bombing and threatened attacks in other countries of the Gulf Arab region, Al Arabiya TV reported.

It called on the Yemeni president to release some of its members from jail.

Reuters was not immediately able to confirm the authenticity of the claim.

A police source said an initial blast was caused by a suspected suicide car bomber. The full count of dead and wounded was not yet known, but police sources said they believed at least two, including one attacker, had been killed.

Yemeni officials were not immediately available to comment.

Yemen, the ancestral home of Osama bin Laden, has grappled with a spate of al Qaeda attacks this year, including one on the U.S. embassy, another near the Italian mission and others on Western tourists.

An al Qaeda-affiliated group claimed responsibility in March for a mortar attack that missed the U.S. embassy in Sanaa but wounded 13 girls at a nearby school.

The United States ordered non-essential staff to leave Yemen in April, a day after an attack on a residential compound.

The Yemeni government joined the U.S.-led war against terrorism following the Sept. 11 attacks on U.S. cities in 2001.

It has jailed dozens of militants in connection with bombings of Western targets and clashes with authorities, but is still viewed in the West as a haven for Islamist militants.

The government of the poor Arab country has also been fighting Shi'ite rebels in the northern province of Saada since 2004 and faced protests against unemployment and inflation. (Reporting by Abdul-Rahman Alansi in Yemen and Raissa Kasolowsky in Dubai; Writing by Lin Noueihed; Editing by Matthew Jones)


TIMELINE-Saleh's 32-year rule in Yemen
27 Mar 2011 11:30

Source: reuters // Reuters

March 27 (Reuters) - Here is a timeline of President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 32-year rule in Yemen:

July 1978 - Saleh takes power in the former North Yemen.

Feb. 1979 - Saleh crushes an attempt to overthrow him.

May 1990 - Pro-Western North Yemen and socialist South Yemen merge after 300 years of separation to form a powerful new republic dominating the strategic entrance to the Red Sea.
-- North Yemeni leader Saleh proclaims unification in Aden after the parliaments of both states elect him president.

July 1994 - Northern Yemen declares the almost three-month Yemeni civil war is over after gaining control of Aden, its southern foe's last bastion. -- Sanaa declares that former vice-president Ali Salem al-Baidh and his supporters who tried to secede from a four-year merger with the north have been defeated that unity is assured.

-- Southern leaders led by Baidh, who set up a breakaway southern state on May 21, are forced to flee into exile.

Oct. 2000 - The bombing of USS Cole in Aden harbour kills 17 sailors and blows hole in navy vessel's hull. Nov. 2001 - Saleh declares support for U.S. "war on terror". Feb. 2008 - A fragile truce is signed with North Yemen's Houthis, a Zaidi Shiite tribes, but the four-year revolt soon resumes in the northwest region of Saada. Saleh unilaterally declares the war over in July 2008, but full-scale fighting resumes a year later.

Jan. 2009 - Al Qaeda's Yemeni and Saudi wings merge in a new group called al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) led by Nasser al-Wahayshi.

Nov. 2009 - Saudi Arabia launches a military offensive against rebels after a cross-border incursion.

-- The Houthi deny accusations that infiltrators entered Saudi territory and call the offensive against the group "unjustified", accusing it of mainly targeting civilians.

Jan. 2010 - A meeting of Western and Gulf foreign ministers in London aims to bolster Yemen's fight against al Qaeda.

Feb. 2010 - Yemen and northern Shi'ite rebels agree to a truce aimed at ending the war.

Feb. 3, 2011 - A day of anti-government protests attracts more than 20,000 people on to the streets in Sanaa.

March 2, 2011 - The opposition presents Saleh with a plan for a smooth transition of power, offering him a graceful exit.

-- Saleh, hoping to defuse increasingly violent protests, says he will draw up a new constitution to create a parliamentary system of government. An opposition spokesman swiftly rejects the proposal.

March 18 - Snipers kill 52 protesters among crowds that flocked to a sit-in at Sanaa University after Friday prayers. The killings prompt Saleh to declare a state of emergency for 30 days. The tourism minister and head of the ruling party's foreign affairs committee quit in protest.

March 20 - Saleh fires his government.

March 21 - Senior army commanders say they have switched support to pro-democracy activists, including General Ali Mohsen, commander of the northwest military zone and a Saleh ally.

March 22 - Opposition groups reject Saleh's offer to leave office after organising parliamentary elections by Jan. 2012.

March 23 - Saleh offers to step down by the end of 2011. He also proposes to hold a referendum on a new constitution, then a parliamentary election and then a presidential poll. Saleh makes the offer to the opposition and to Mohsen.

March 25 - Saleh says he is ready to cede power to stop more bloodshed in Yemen, but only to what he called "safe hands" as thousands rally against him in "Day of Departure" protests.
March 26 - Saleh says he is prepared to step down if allowed a dignified departure.

-- Foreign Minister Abubakr al-Qirbi says discussions between the two sides are focusing on the time frame of a transition, among other issues.

March 27 - The ruling party and its leader President Saleh will meet for crisis talks.
-- More than 80 people have been killed since protests started in January.

(Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit, Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)


Blasts at Yemen bullet factory kill at least 11028 Mar 2011 13:37

Source: reuters // Reuters

* Blast believed to have been caused by cigarette

* Explosion took place a day after army, militants clashed

* Dead include women and children

(Updates death toll, adds details, provincial official)

By Mohammed Mukhashaf

ADEN, March 28 (Reuters) - A series of blasts at a bullet factory in south Yemen killed at least 110 people on Monday when residents broke in to steal ammunition a day after clashes between militants and the army in the town, doctors said.

Witnesses said the blasts, possibly triggered by a cigarette, caused a massive fire in the factory in the town of Jaar in Abyan province, where al Qaeda militants and mainly leftist southern separatists are active.

"This accident is a true catastrophe, the first of its kind in Abyan," said one doctor at the state-run hospital. "There are so many burned bodies. I can't even describe the situation."

Doctors put the death toll at 110, but said that even arriving at a figure was difficult because the charred remains were difficult to count. They said some victims, including women and children, would be buried in a mass grave.

Scores were wounded, many suffering from burns, doctors said, and many bodies remained inside the factory, which also contained stores of gunpowder.

Clashes broke out in Jaar on Sunday between militants and the army, feeding Western and Saudi fears that chaos in Yemen would benefit al Qaeda's Yemen-based arm while President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 32-year-old rule is in crisis.Saleh is facing pressure from tens of thousands of protesters demanding his removal. Talks on a transition have stalled, although sources close to the discussions said a deal was still within reach.


Militants who a provincial government official said were suspected to be from al Qaeda seized control of several buildings on Monday in the town of several hundred thousand residents, including the bullet factory.

The army tried to dislodge them, but later appeared to have deserted the town for the provincial capital of Zinjibar, where security was tightened after militants fired rockets at state buildings, witnesses said.

One soldier was killed on Sunday and aircraft flew over Jaar.

By early on Monday, Islamist gunmen appeared to be in control of Jaar and had left the bullet factory. But they did not prevent residents from streaming in to see the factory or steal from an ammunition depot on the site, witnesses said.

"The factory is surrounded by these terrorist elements who did not permit fire trucks to enter to extinguish the blaze in the factory, nor did they allow ambulances to transport the dead and wounded to hospitals," a provincial official said.

Doctors said they were later allowed in to retrieve the remains, and the governor of Abyan announced an investigation, state media said.
Washington, which has been involved in the transition talks in Yemen, and Saudi Arabia have seen Saleh as a strongman to keep al Qaeda from extending its foothold in a country which many political analysts say is close to collapse.

Yemen's al Qaeda wing claimed responsibility for a foiled attempt in late 2009 to blow up an airliner bound for Detroit and for U.S.-bound cargo bombs sent in October 2010.

With central control weak, Saleh's government has relied on tribal allies to maintain order but in recent years has faced rebellions by Zaidi Shi'ites in the north and a separatist movement hoping to recreate the state of South Yemen that united with the north under Saleh's rule in 1990. (Reporting by Mohammed Mukhashaf; Writing by Cynthia Johnston; Editing by Diana Abdallah)


FACTBOX-Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh
23 Apr 2011 23:22

Source: reuters // Reuters

April 23, (Reuters) - Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed on Saturday to step down in weeks in return for immunity from prosecution, becoming the third veteran Arab leader this year to be toppled by a wave of public revolts. [nLDE73M039]

Here are some facts about Yemen's long-serving leader:


-- Saleh, in power for more than three decades, uses internal conflicts with Houthi Shiite rebels in the north, Marxist rebels in the south and al-Qaeda operatives to the east to draw in foreign aid and military support and solidify his power base. Al Qaeda has already used Yemen to attempt attacks in Saudi Arabia and the United States in the past two years.

-- Saleh presided over the unification of North Yemen and South Yemen in 1990 and has been fighting to prevent Yemen sliding into becoming a failed state.

-- He was elected president by parliament in Oct. 1994, and first directly elected president in September 1999, winning 96.3 percent of the vote. Most recently, he was re-elected in September 2006 to a seven-year term.

-- A string of Saleh's allies have defected to the protesters, who are frustrated by rampant corruption and soaring unemployment. Some 40 percent of the population live on $2 a day or less, and one third face chronic hunger.

-- Born in March 1942 into a tribe living near Sanaa, he received only limited education before taking up a military career, beginning in 1958 as a non-commissioned officer.

-- His first break came when North Yemen President Ahmed al-Ghashmi, who came from the same Hashed tribe as Saleh, appointed him military governor of Taiz, North Yemen's second city. When Ghashmi was killed by a bomb in 1978, Saleh replaced him as leader of the North.
-- However, the severity of his rule aggravated tension with the South, and sporadic clashes escalated into open conflict between the two states in 1979. The brief war went badly for Saleh.

-- However Saleh was seen as a survivor. He crushed an attempt to overthrow him only months after he took power in North Yemen, and swept to victory when southerners tried to secede from united Yemen in 1994.
-- Saleh has made many verbal concessions during the recent protests, promising last month to step down in 2013 without bequeathing power to his son and offering a new constitution giving more powers to parliament. But until now he had rejected opposition plans for a quicker transition.

Sources: Reuters/Globalsecurity.com


Yemen's Saleh agrees to quit in return for immunity23 Apr 2011 22:51

Source: reuters // Reuters

* Saleh accepts Gulf plan

* President would hand over power a month after deal signed

* Opposition welcomes plan, which gives Saleh immunity

(Updates with minister saying Saleh accepts plan, U.S. comment)

By Mohamed Sudam and Mohammed Ghobari

SANAA, April 23 (Reuters) - Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed on Saturday to step down in weeks in return for immunity from prosecution but it was unclear if the move, also agreed by opposition heads, would stem a tide of street protest.

Scores of protesters demanding Saleh's overthrow after almost 33 years in power have been killed in months of unrest among young Yemenis inspired by the wave of rebellion in the Arab world. The formal opposition coalition's influence over them is limited.

They accuse him of corruption and mismanagement of an impoverished state of 23 million people that analysts say could descend into anarchy.

After years of backing Saleh as a bulwark against instability and the activities of al Qaeda's active Yemeni branch, powerful neighbour Saudi Arabia and the United States had begun pressing him to negotiate to hand over power.

A plan drawn up the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) grouping of Gulf Arab states including Saudi Arabia proposes that Saleh hand over power to his vice-president a month after an agreement is signed with the opposition, and be granted immunity from prosecution for himself, family and aides.

"The president and the (ruling) GPC party agree with this initiative with all its items," Deputy Information Minister Abdoh al-Janady told reporters. "Under this final approval, there are no reservations."

There was no immediate comment from the GCC.

But the United States welcomed the announcements.

"We encourage all parties to move swiftly to implement the terms of the agreement so that the Yemeni people can soon realize the security, unity and prosperity that they have so courageously sought and so richly deserve," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.


More on Yemen protests [nLDE73C0OF]

More on Middle East unrest: [nTOPMEAST] [nLDE71O2CH]

Interactive graphic http://link.reuters.com/puk87r


The opposition coalition said on Saturday it would now agree to the main elements of the plan. It had previously rejected the idea of immunity for Saleh.

"The opposition welcomes the initiative with the exception of the formation of a national unity government," said the current chairman of the opposition, Yassin Noman.

Opposition spokesman Mohammed Qahtan told Al Jazeera television that a necessary basis of trust was lacking for the opposition to join a national unity government, but made clear the opposition did not see this as a fundamental obstacle to the implementation of the plan.

"The vice-president will take over for a certain period and then we will see what happens," he said.


But the opposition coalition has only loose influence over the turmoil on Yemen's streets.

"I'm not optimistic that the problem will end," said activist Mohammed Sharafi.

"There is still one month until the president resigns and we expect him at any moment to change his mind.

"We will not leave the arena until Saleh goes and we achieve our goals of setting up a modern, federal state. Ibrahim al-Ba'adani, an opposition activist in the city of Ibb, said he was "surprised" at the formal opposition's acceptance of the principle of immunity for Saleh

"We will continue sit-ins until the president goes," he said."

Yemen is an aid-dependent state overwhelmed by rapid population growth, the shrinking of its oil reserves and an apocalyptic water crisis.

It is threatened by a separatist movement in the south and rebellion in the north as well as the activities of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which has used Yemen as a base to launch attacks on the United States.

Earlier on Saturday, Saleh called on young people to form a political party according to the constitution.

"They (the opposition) want to drag the area to civil war, and we refuse to be dragged to civil war," Saleh said.

"Security, safety and stability are in Yemen's interests and the interests of the region." (Writing by Andrew Roche; Editing by Kevin Liffey)


Yemen's Saleh to go to Saudi for treatment-source

04 Jun 2011 18:04

Source: reuters // Reuters

(Adds quote, details)

RIYADH, June 4 (Reuters) - Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh is expected to arrive in Saudi Arabia on Saturday for treatment for wounds he suffered a day earlier in an attack on the presidential palace, a Saudi government source said.

"Saleh is expected to come to Saudi Arabia tonight for treatment for neck and chest wounds," the source, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.

Global powers have been pressing Saleh to sign a Gulf-brokered deal to end his nearly 33-year rule over one of the Arab world's poorest states.

Seven other people were killed in the attack that wounded Saleh, who is facing mounting pressure to step down.

Leaving Yemen at a time of such instability, even for medical care, could make it hard for Saleh to retain power and be seen as the first step in a transfer of leadership. (Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Jon Boyle)


FACTBOX-Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh

04 Jun 2011 23:34

Source: reuters // Reuters

June 5 (Reuters) - Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh has flown to Saudi Arabia for treatment of wounds sustained in a rocket attack on his presidential palace on Friday.

Here are some facts about Yemen's long-serving leader:


-- Saleh, in power for more than three decades, has used internal conflicts with Houthi Shi'ite rebels in the north, Marxist rebels in the south and al-Qaeda operatives to the east to draw in foreign aid and military support and solidify his power base. Al Qaeda has already used Yemen to attempt attacks in Saudi Arabia and the United States in the past two years.

-- Saleh presided over the unification of North Yemen and South Yemen in 1990 and has fended off rebels and separatists to prevent Yemen sliding into becoming a failed state.

-- He was elected president by parliament in Oct. 1994, and first directly elected president in September 1999, winning 96.3 percent of the vote. Most recently, he was re-elected in September 2006 to a seven-year term.

-- A string of Saleh's allies has defected to protesters, who are frustrated by rampant corruption and soaring unemployment. Some 40 percent of the population live on $2 a day or less, and one third face chronic hunger.

-- Saleh has made many verbal concessions during the protests, recently promising to step down in weeks in return for immunity from prosecution. The opposition agreed to the peace plan, which was negotiated by the Gulf Cooperation Council.

-- However, Saleh has yet to sign any plan and the latest refusal, on May 22, has sparked more street battles in Sanaa this time between his security forces and a powerful tribal group, the Hashed tribal alliance, led by Sadeq al-Ahmar whose family has backed protesters demanding Saleh's overthrow.

-- The fighting forced thousands of residents to flee Sanaa and raised the prospect of chaos that could benefit the Yemen-based branch of al Qaeda and threaten neighbouring Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter. More than 370 people have been killed around Yemen since January when the protest movement began.

-- Saleh was wounded when shells struck his palace on Friday. The government blamed the tribesmen but Sadeq al-Ahmar blamed the government to help justify its escalation of street fighting in the capital.


-- Born in March 1942 into a tribe living near Sanaa, he received only limited education before taking up a military career, beginning in 1958 as a non-commissioned officer.

-- His first break came when North Yemen President Ahmed al-Ghashmi, who came from the same Hashed tribe as Saleh, appointed him military governor of Taiz, North Yemen's second city. When Ghashmi was killed by a bomb in 1978, Saleh replaced him as leader of the North.

-- The severity of his rule aggravated tension with the South, and sporadic clashes escalated into open conflict between the two states in 1979. The brief war went badly for Saleh.

-- However, Saleh was seen as a survivor. He crushed an attempt to overthrow him only months after he took power in North Yemen, and swept to victory when southerners tried to secede from united Yemen in 1994.

Sources: Reuters/Globalsecurity.com (Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)


ANALYSIS-Is Yemen's Saleh facing last chapter in Saudi Arabia?

05 Jun 2011 03:28

Source: reuters // Reuters

* Medical treatment in Saudi Arabia may ease Saleh's exit

* Saudi Arabia, reaction in Yemen, may offer signals

* Events could mark beginning of end to Yemen upheaval

By Reed Stevenson

DUBAI, June 5 (Reuters) - Every minute Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh spends away from his country is one step closer to the end of his three-decade rule.

Wounded in a rocket attack on his palace in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa on Friday, Saleh is in Saudi Arabia seeking medical treatment at a pivotal moment in the five month-long public uprising in impoverished Yemen, a near-failed state on the tip of the Arabian Peninsula.

Amid conflicting reports, several things remained unclear: the degree of Saleh's injuries, whether he left behind any sons or nephews to try and keep a grip on power, and whether he would return at all.

"All we know is we are at a very, very dangerous moment," said Sanaa-based political analyst Ali Seif Hassan.

There are two scenarios to consider, he said.

One is that Saleh, 69, left a vacuum that his relatives will rush to fill, leading to clashes against Saleh's tribal foes and civil war.

Two, that Saudi Arabia may have brokered a face-saving agreement that allows Saleh to leave the country and transfer power.

Much depends on how Saudi Arabia, the Arab world's most influential state, positions itself in the coming hours and days. It is Yemen's biggest financial donor, bankrolling Saleh's government, supplying the military and supporting hospitals.

The world's top oil exporter shares a 1,500 km (1,000 mile) border with Yemen, and until recently with the United States had backed Saleh as an ally against a Yemen-based arm of al Qaeda.

As it became clear in April and May that anti-government protesters on Yemen's streets had no intention of ending their call for Saleh's departure, the Saudi government and Gulf Arab states stepped in three times to broker a deal between Saleh and the opposition. All fell through at the last minute.

But Saudi Arabia, which also funds tribes to fight against Al Qaeda, had not yet taken the decisive step of pulling the plug on its financial support, most likely because of the uncertainty of how a power vacuum would be filled.

If Saleh stays, he would become the second Arab leader to find refuge in Saudi Arabia after Tunisia's President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fled to the kingdom on Jan. 14 after protests forced him out. He would also be third to fall in the "Arab Spring" that has also seen the downfall of Egypt's Hosni Mubarak.

Saudi political analyst Khalid al-Dakhil said Saleh would not have travelled to Saudi Arabia unless he had intended to seek an exit.

"The Speaker of Parliament, Prime Minister and President are here so effectively the government is here," Dakhil said. "This is going to facilitate the arrangement for Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down."

Rival clans and political elites took their battle to the streets of Sanaa two weeks ago. About 200 people were killed in the fighting and thousands have streamed out of the city.


The rocket attack on Saleh two days ago, which killed seven people and also wounded the prime minister, two deputy prime ministers and the speakers of both parliamentary chambers, was marked by its precision, skill and inside knowledge.

Saleh and the others were in a mosque inside his palace and only a betrayal by an insider could have pinpointed his location, Stratfor analysts said.

In other words, it was an assassination attempt.

Saleh, speaking only via audio after the attack, blamed it on an "outlaw gang" but it most likely a coup attempt, although no one has stepped forward to claim responsibility.

"This was not the job of tribesmen, but of military men, supported by members of the regime thought to be close to Saleh," they said.

"For that reason, Stratfor suspects that Saleh's most formidable opponent within the military, Maj. Gen. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, who has been conspicuously quiet over the past few days and who commands a great deal of respect among Yemen's old guard, was involved in the apparent coup plot."

Ali Mohsen, along with other generals, threw their support behind protesters on March 21 after snipers shot dead 52 protesters in a Sanaa square.

In another sign that Saleh may be preparing to exit, he also took 35 relatives with him to Saudi Arabia, although it was not clear how many sons and nephews went with him. Many were installed in the Yemeni government apparatus.


Saleh has said all along that he was seeking an "honourable exit" and, in negotiations with Gulf Araba states over a power transfer deal, had insisted on -- and received -- guarantees that he would be immune from prosecution.

A signal may also come from how Yemenis, from renegade generals to the tribes and anti-government protesters, react to Saleh's departure.

A calming of the violence that has pushed Yemen to the brink of civil war could persuade Saudi Arabia that Saleh's permanent departure offers the best chance for Yemen to claw back some peace and stability.

"(The demonstrators) wanted the president to leave the country. This (Saleh's departure) will, maybe, respond to one of the requests of the demonstrators," said Mahjoob Zweiri, history professor at Qatar University. "I think we have to look at what has happened in the last few days, it has changed the whole dynamic within the Yemeni political scene."


NEWSMAKER-Yemen president Saleh survived years of upheaval

05 Jun 2011 07:24

Source: reuters // Reuters

* Saleh came to power in 1978

* Popular uprising against him gathers force

* Ally of West and Arab states against Qaeda threat

SANAA, June 5 (Reuters) - Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh overcame a myriad of challenges to his nearly 33 years as leader of an unruly and poor country that has endured civil war, uprisings and militant campaigns.

He once described running the mountainous country at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula as akin to "dancing on the heads of snakes".

But his departure for Saudi Arabia for treatment of wounds sustained in a rocket attack on his presidential palace on Friday may mean that his dancing days are over.

Yemen has seen steadily intensifying street protests against Saleh's rule since January, culminating in clashes between forces of the Hashed tribal group and troops loyal to Saleh in the capital and elsewhere.

The United States has talked openly of its concern about who might succeed Saleh, an ally in the fight against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a Yemen-based wing of the militant group.


For Yemen stories click on [ID:nLDE73R1DP]

For a main news story click on [ID:nLDE7520A1]

For graphic on economy http://r.reuters.com/myv79r


Last year, supporters were pushing for constitutional changes to allow Saleh unlimited five-year terms as president and speculation was high that he was grooming one of his sons as a possible successor.

But a popular uprising that began in distant Tunisia in December came to scupper the plans.

After Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fled on Jan. 14, Egyptians began their own uprising that led to Hosni Mubarak's resignation as president on Feb. 11.

By then, tens of thousands of Yemenis had begun daily protests outside Sanaa University and Saleh had begun to offer verbal concessions.

First he said he would not stand for re-election in 2013 and dismissed the idea of his son succeeding.

In March, when the opposition had gathered more momentum, winning the backing of tribal leaders, Saleh offered a referendum on a new constitution by the end of the year and a shift to a truly democratic "parliamentary system".

He continued to reject the street calls for a handover of power this year.

But the death of 52 protesters mostly hit by sniper fire in Sanaa on March 18 proved to be a turning point, prompting a string of generals, tribal leaders, diplomats and ministers to resign or declare their public allegiance to the protesters.

Many were from the al-Ahmar and Sanhan tribes, kinsmen whom Saleh placed in key military and other positions, skewing state building in a tribal society and stirring resentment among ordinary people in one of the world's poorest nations.

Saleh appeared to realise the gravity of the bloodshed, sacking his cabinet and declaring a 30-day state of emergency. But he continued to stall in negotiating a transition of power.

Since then, he came tantalisingly close three times to signing a power transfer deal brokered by Gulf Arab states, only to slip out of it at the last moment, prolonging the standoff.


Opponents often complained that Yemen under Saleh failed to meet the basic needs of the country's people, where two of every three live on less than $2 per day. Oil wealth is dwindling and water is running out, though liquid natural gas exports began in 2009.

Yet Saleh managed to keep Western and Arab powers on side.

After the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks against U.S. cities, Yemen came on to Washington's radar as a source of foot soldiers for Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network. Bin Laden himself, though born in Saudi Arabia, originated from Yemen's Hadramaut region.

Saleh cooperated with U.S. authorities, and the CIA carried out a successful drone attack against a wanted figure. But by 2007, militants had regrouped in Yemen and in 2008 they announced that their Saudi and Yemeni wings had united under the banner of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

From 2009, the resurgent group made ever bolder attempts to stage attacks on Saudi and U.S. targets beyond Yemeni soil, as well as targeting foreign tourists at home. At the same time, northern Shi'ites rebelled against Saleh's rule and southerners, feeling marginalised, began a new separatist drive.

Saudi Arabia, the United States and other allies responded by stepping up with financial support to bolster Saleh's rule.

If Saleh has been a determined survivor, he has also been a charismatic and often popular ruler who understood well the workings of Yemeni society.

Born in 1942 near Sanaa, he received only limited education before joining the military as a non-commissioned officer.

His first break came when President Ahmed al-Ghashmi, who came from the same Hashed tribe as Saleh, appointed him military governor of Taiz, North Yemen's second city. When Ghashmi was killed by a bomb in 1978, Saleh replaced him.

In 1990, an array of domestic and regional circumstances propelled North Yemen under Saleh and the socialist South Yemen state into a unification that Saudi Arabia at first opposed.

He angered Riyadh by staying close to Saddam Hussein during the 1990-1991 Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, leading to the expulsion of up to 1 million Yemenis from Saudi Arabia. Before the crisis, Kuwait had given Yemen financial aid.

But Saleh then won plaudits from Western powers for carrying out economic reforms drawn up by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and made efforts to attract foreign investors.

He swept to victory when southerners tried to secede from united Yemen in 1994 and drew closer to Saudi Arabia, which he allowed to spread its radical Wahhabi form of Sunni Islam. (Writing by Andrew Hammond; Editing by Reed Stevenson and Angus MacSwan)


ANALYSIS-Yemen crisis puts Saudis in powerbroker's bind

18 Jun 2011 13:35

Source: reuters // Reuters

* Saudis host wounded president, reach out to his rivals

* U.S. counter-terrorism squares with Riyadh's conservatism

* Yemen opposition lose "Arab Spring" burnish in talks

By Joseph Logan

DUBAI, June 18 (Reuters) - Fearing both civil war and sweeping political reform as results of the crisis in Yemen, Saudi Arabia is struggling with its role as regional kingmaker.

While publicly backing Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, still in a Saudi hospital after being wounded in fighting in the capital Sanaa after months of protests aimed at ousting him, Riyadh has also tried to broker a succession on its own terms.

That has entailed forging relationships with tribal chieftains, politicians and army officers long cultivated by the Saudis as counterweights to Saleh's 33-year rule, but who are too many and too fractious to provide a ready-made successor.

And the very process of negotiating a political exit for a neighbouring ruler it no longer supports has raised talk of representative government, feared by the kingdom that is the world's No. 2 oil exporter.

"It (Saudi Arabia) will try to stop a move to any real democratic system in the country," political analyst Ahmed al-Zurqa said. "This is the problem."

The Saudi-dominated Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) mediated three aborted deals with Yemeni opposition parties under which Saleh would step down and be spared prosecution for misconduct including bloody crackdowns on protesters who took to the streets as pro-democracy activism swept the Arab world. Each time, Saleh backed out at the last minute. His last demurral, in May, triggered two weeks of fighting with the al-Hashed tribal confederation led by the al-Ahmar family, culminating in a June 3 attack on Saleh's palace.

That may have sealed Saleh's fate for the Saudis, said Sheila Carapico, a Yemen expert and political science professor at the American University of Cairo.

"We don't even know if he'll be well enough to go back (from Saudi Arabia), but apart from that, I think they've lost faith in him," she said.


Saudi and Yemeni state media still stress Riyadh's relationship with Saleh but the flirtation with his enemies is evident. Sadeq al-Ahmar, a leading al-Hashed figure, said after a round of clashes which devastated parts of the capital that he was keeping a truce only out of respect for Saudi King Abdullah.

Opposition parties ranging from socialists to Islamists of both the Sunni and Zaydi Shi'ite sects, and which signed off on the GCC deals, lost credibility with "Arab Spring"-inspired youths who have emerged as a separate Yemeni constituency.

"We believed, and still believe, that the Gulf states do not want the youth revolution to succeed in Yemen, so that its effects won't spread to the other states of the region," said democracy activist Omar Abdelqader.

Those opposition parties have participated in negotiations with Yemen's acting leader, Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, in which the absent president's fate was not broached.

U.S. diplomats helped broker those talks. But with Washington apparently preparing to pursue attacks on al Qaeda in Yemen with more use of CIA-operated drones, analysts believe it may have satisfied its real needs in Yemen, and will leave kingmaking to the Saudis.

"I don't think the U.S. has a policy on Yemen," Carapico said. "One part is we back the Saudis and whatever they want is good enough for us, and then the other part of it is we really, really don't like al Qaeda."

The balance of forces on the ground suggests no one contender will simplify the task of succession by emerging stronger than the others.

Though Saleh's ruling party suffered high-profile defections, several of his relatives -- including a son, Brigadier-General Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, who leads the Republican Guard -- retain command and seem to have achieved military parity with the president's enemies.

"I don't think you're going to see many more people jumping ship at the moment," said James Spencer, a defence and political risk consultant. "Saleh's son and nephews have hung on ... Ahmed Ali has made it clear he's not going to go meekly." (Additional reporting by Mohammed Ghobari in Sanaa, Andrew Hammond and Isabel Coles in Dubai; Editing by Dan Williams)


Tuesday, July 5, 2011 - 13:52 - Yemen

AFP reports that Yemeni authorities arrested the head of a Shia opposition party, Hassan Zaid, at the airport in Sanaa on Tuesday as he was headed for the Saudi city of Jeddah, according to Zaid's son.

"My father was detained," Mohammed Hassan Zaid told AFP. "He was travelling to Jeddah when he was detained and not allowed to leave."

Zaid said the whereabouts of his father, leader of the Al-Haq party, remained unknown although "everybody knows the reason is political".

He pointed a finger at "national security and those behind it," apparently referring to relatives of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was flown to hospital in Riyadh last month with wounds sustained in a bomb blast.

Saleh has not appeared in public since the attack on his Sanaa palace compound, raising uncertainty over his return to power following anti-regime protests which have gripped Yemen since late January.

However, members of his family retain a firm grip on the impoverished state's security services.

The Al-Haq party is part of an alliance of parliamentary opposition groups and represents Yemen's Zaidi Shias, based in the north of the mainly Sunni Muslim country.

Armed Zaidi rebels have been engaged in sporadic fighting with government forces in northern Yemen since 2004. A ceasefire between the rebels and government forces went into effect on February 12, 2010.


مقتل 30 بانفجار المكلا في أول تحد لهادي في الحكم
هادي كان المرشح الوحيد ليحل محل صالح ضمن اتفاق لنقل السلطة
السبت 03 ربيع الثاني 1433هـ - 25 فبراير 2012م

الجيش الحر يستهدف دبابة للجيش النظامي في حمص
المرأة قادرة على إنتاج بويضات طوال مرحلة البلوغ
نشرة القاهرة: 25-02-2012
شاهدة جديدة لكشف العذرية أمام محكمة مصرية
قيادات حزب النور: رئيس مصر القادم سلفي

عبدربه منصور هادي يؤدي اليمين الدستورية
عبدربه منصور هادي يؤدي اليمين الدستورية

قتل 30 شخصاً بانفجار سيارة قرب دار الرئاسة في المكلا شرق اليمن، وذلك بعد ساعات من تأدية عبد ربه منصور هادي للقسم. وفق ماذكر مراسل "العربية" في نفس الوقت الذي قالت فية رويترز إن عدد القتلى 20.
منفذ العملية سعودي

وأكد مراسل "العربية" في صنعاء حمود منصر أن 30 قتيلا وثمانية جرحى من جنود الحرس الرئاسي سقطوا في هجوم انتحاري على بوابة القصر الرئاسي في مدينة المكلا في محافظة حضرموت.

وأكد مصدر أمني يمني أن الهجوم وقع الساعة الواحدة والنصف بواسطة ظهرا سيارة تويوتا هيلوكس، حيث اقترب بها من بوابة القصر وفجر نفسه مع السيارة حيث كان حراس البوابة يتناولون طعام الغداء.

وأوضح المصدر أن منفذ العملية يدعى محمد علي الصيعري سعودي الجنسية وينتمي إلى تنظيم القاعدة.
هادي يؤدي اليمين الدستورية

وقد أدى هادي، اليوم السبت، اليمين الدستورية ليصبح رئيس اليمين الجديد بعد تصويت أجري الأسبوع الماضي كان هو المرشح الوحيد فيه ليحل محل علي عبدالله صالح، ضمن اتفاق لنقل السلطة توسّط فيه مجلس التعاون الخليجي ودعمته الولايات المتحدة.

وتجعل الانتخابات التي شارك فيها أكثر من 60% من الناخبين المسجلين، صالح رابع رئيس عربي تطيح به انتفاضة شعبية خلال ما يزيد على عام.

ومن المقرر أن تجري مراسم تنصيب هادي يوم الاثنين التي سيحضرها صالح بعد عودته إلى اليمن أمس الجمعة، في أعقاب سفره للولايات المتحدة لمواصلة العلاج بعد إصابات لحقت به في محاولة اغتيال تعرّض لها العام الماضي.
Al Qaeda says responsible for car bomb in Yemen's south

25 Feb 2012 12:43

Source: reuters // Reuters

ADEN, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for a car bomb attack in southern Yemen that killed at least 26 people and injured dozens when it was driven towards a presidential palace in the city of Mukalla in Hadramout province on Saturday.

"Al Qaeda is responsible for the suicide bombing in Mukalla in retaliation for the Republican Guard's crimes," an al Qaeda source told Reuters.

Yemen's newly sworn in president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, had taken the oath of office hours earlier in the capital Sanaa. (Reporting by Mohammed Mukhashaf in Aden; Editing by Janet Lawrence)


Car bomb in Yemen's south kills at least 26

25 Feb 2012 11:26

Source: reuters // Reuters

ADEN, Feb 25 (Reuters) - A car containing explosives blew up while trying to attack a presidential palace in southern Yemen on Saturday, killing at least 26 people and injuring several others, according to witnesses and medics.

The attack, apparently by a suicide bomber, happened in Hadramout, far from the capital of Sanaa, where Yemen's new president took an oath of office on Saturday.

Yemen's south is a turbulent region where secessionists are seeking to revive a socialist southern state and where an active wing of al Qaeda has taken root.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
‘US troops in Yemen island for Iran war’

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 07:32:21 GMT

A report has revealed that thousands of US troops have arrived in the Yemeni island of Socotra for a possible military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The troops built up comes a few months after the announcement of the creation of a US Army base near Yemeni waters, Islam Today website reported.

This is while Yemen had said that it rejected a deal with Washington for having a temporary military base in the island.

Socotra, which is situated 80 kilometers east of the Horn of Africa and 380 kilometers southeast of the Yemeni coastline, lies athwart the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

The United States has been quietly building giant air force and naval bases on Socotra since 2010 with facilities for submarines, intelligence command centers and take-off pads for flying stealth drones.

The secret Socotra facilities are never mentioned in any catalogue listing US military facilities in this part of the world, which include Jebel Ali and al-Dahfra in the United Arab Emirates; Arifjan in Kuwait; and al-Udeid in Qatar.

The US and Israel have repeatedly threatened Tehran with the "option" of a military strike, saying Iran's nuclear program may include a covert military aspect, a claim strongly rejected by Tehran.

Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has never found any evidence indicating that Tehran's civilian nuclear program has been diverted towards nuclear weapons production.
(Reporting by Mohammed Mukhashaf)


Air strikes in Yemen kill 45 suspected Qaeda militants

10 Mar 2012 15:17

Source: reuters // Reuters

* Strikes kill 25 in city of Bayda, 20 more in Jaar

* Tribal sources say Bayda strikes launched by U.S. drones

* Two al Qaeda militants also killed trying to bomb checkpoint

* UNHCR says Yemen faces new wave of internally displaced (Adds strike in south, updates militants killed)

By Mohammed Ghobari and Mohammed Mukhashaf

SANAA/ADEN, March 10 (Reuters) - U.S. drone attacks killed at least 25 al Qaeda-linked fighters including one of their leaders while a Yemeni air force raid killed 20 more in the south, sources said on Saturday, in the biggest airstrikes since Yemen's new president took office.

Militants have expanded their operations in southern Yemen during months of turmoil which paralysed the country and eventually unseated former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was replaced in a February vote by Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Local residents in Jaar, a southern town seized by militants in March last year, said Yemen's air force had killed 20 al Qaeda-linked fighters at a military base, also destroying weapons and military equipment.

Last week, the fighters had seized the base from the government and confiscated weaponry and military equipment.

However, a spokesman for Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law) denied its fighters were killed in the raid.

"There was nobody killed in the air strike," he told Reuters by phone.

In a separate incident, a government source said the number of militants killed in an air strike launched late on Friday in Bayda, about 267 km (166 miles) southeast of the capital Sanaa, had risen to 25. He said Hadaar al-Homaiqani, a local al Qaeda leader, was among the Islamist fighters killed.

Tribal sources said the Bayda attacks were carried out by U.S. drone airplanes, but this was not possible to independently confirm. The United States, working with the Yemeni authorities, has repeatedly used drones to attack militants.

"The bodies were recovered on Saturday morning after the cessation of the attacks carried out by U.S. drone airplanes, and the search for the remaining victims is still under way," one of the sources told Reuters on Saturday morning.


Residents earlier said fighter planes had raided the western outskirts of Bayda town where the Ansar al-Sharia militants, who have been fighting Yemen's security forces since mid-2011, had been based.

"Flames and smoke could be seen rising from the area," one resident told Reuters by telephone.

Ansar al-Sharia is inspired by al Qaeda but the precise nature of its ties to the global network are unclear, although the Yemeni government says they are one and the same.

The United States has used its drones repeatedly to attack militants from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, described by CIA Director David Petraeus last year as "the most dangerous regional node in the global jihad".

In late January, at least 12 al Qaeda militants, including four local leaders, were killed in a drone strike in southern Yemen, which a tribal chief said was a U.S. attack.

The United States and Saudi Arabia, Yemen's neighbour and the world's No. 1 oil exporter, have been deeply worried about the expansion of al Qaeda in Yemen, where the group controls swathes of land near oil shipping routes through the Red Sea.


In another incident, a local security official said two al Qaeda militants were killed late on Friday as they tried to set off a bomb at a security checkpoint at an entry point to the town of Mudiyah in the southern province of Abyan.

The violence in the south highlights one of the many challenges Hadi faces as he tries to stabilise Yemen after a year of political upheaval that ousted Saleh after three decades in power. On Monday, he vowed to pursue militants linked to al-Qaeda to their last hiding place.

The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR warned on Friday Yemen is facing a new wave of internal displacement as tens of thousands of civilians flee tribal clashes in the north and fighting between the government and militants in the south.

It said in the past two weeks alone, 1,800 people have been displaced by the latest escalation in fighting between government troops and militants in the Abyan governorate.

UNHCR said it wants $60 million in 2012 for some 216,000 refugees and almost half a million displaced people in Yemen. (Writing by Martina Fuchs; Editing by Sophie Hares)


U.S. senses threat from Iran in north Yemen, a new hot spot
By Iona Craig, Special for USA TODAY
Updated 13h 12m ago


AL-KHAMISAIN, Yemen – Yaseen Sultan's dark brown eyes welled up when he recounted the moment before he and his family fled their home.

Women take shelter in tents on the grounds of a school turned IDP camp in Hajjah province, north Yemen.

By Iona Craig, for USA TODAY

Women take shelter in tents on the grounds of a school turned IDP camp in Hajjah province, north Yemen.


By Iona Craig, for USA TODAY

Women take shelter in tents on the grounds of a school turned IDP camp in Hajjah province, north Yemen.
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Bullets were flying through the house, shells exploding in the street as Shiite Muslim rebels battled Sunni tribesmen in Yemen's remote northern highlands. The 14-year-old boy was so scared, he says, he threw up.

Yemen is beset by three insurgencies, two in the south and one in the north, which borders Saudi Arabia. U.S. counterterrorism efforts have been centered in the south, where al-Qaeda's presence has grown and secessionist groups still launch attacks.

But the United States believes the north may be the latest place where another adversary is seeking to influence events.

"We see Iranian efforts to increase their activities and take advantage of the political upheaval and build up their own presence," said Gerald Feierstein, the U.S. ambassador to Yemen, in a recent interview.

The Yemeni military has fought several wars in the north in recent years against a rebellion named for its founding commander, Hussein Badr Eddin al-Houthi, who was killed by Yemen forces in 2004.

The movement's grievances include the corruption and cronyism of the 33-year dictatorship of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who recently agreed to leave office. But his family and longtime regime members remain in power in the capital, Sanaa.

The political unrest has created opportunities for Yemen's rebellions to gain power. They have been met largely by violence from a military controlled by Saleh's eldest son and other relatives.

In the north, hundreds of thousands are being made homeless. The United Nations said last week that the number of those displaced during the past three months of fighting in Hajjah province is 52,000, adding to the more than 300,000 people from the neighboring province of Sa'ada already left homeless by wars over the past eight years.

Some believe the violence may be hurting chances for a negotiated settlement that meets grievances and ends extremist influence from outside.

"Without adequately addressing the grievances of the Houthis and the Southern movement, Yemen won't be able to function as a state that controls all of the territory within its borders," said Gregory Johnsen, a Yemen specialist at Princeton University. "There is no military solution to either the Houthi conflict or the brewing one in the south. Both are political problems that require political solutions."

Yemen's northern conflict has remained largely hidden from the outside world. Saleh restricted humanitarian access and journalists were banned from the war zone.

In 2009, Saudi Arabia became involved in the conflict as clashes spread across their border. The Saudi air force joined in airstrikes by Saleh's air force. Saleh responded to concerns about the conflict by insisting the Houthis were pro-Hezbollah and sponsored by Iran. The Houthi motto is "God is great, death to America, death to Israel."

The Houthis say their goal is autonomy and protection for their Zaydi Shiite religious practices. Iran is a nation of largely Shiites; Saudi Arabia is largely Sunni Muslim. The Houthis were fighting Yemen troops into 2010, and since have been battling various tribes backed by a Sunni political party. Thus far, the Houthis have gained control over most of the province of Sa'ada and are fighting in adjacent provinces.

The Houthis have not been made part of Yemen's new period of political transition that began with the inauguration of Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi as the country's new leader, having boycotted his unopposed election.

Under the terms of the U.N.-sponsored transition deal agreed to by Saleh, a period of national dialogue is to take place to address multiple grievances including those of the Houthis. But the fighting persists and an increasing number of Yemenis are becoming reliant on foreign aid for food, water and shelter.

"The government has no authority in the area," says Taklu Nagga, head of the Hajjah office for the U.N. High Commission for Refugees. "It's a battleground for tribesmen, and the situation is deteriorating."

Two months after they fled their homes, Yaseen and sister Asmar are in their first day of school in al-Khamisain district, where hundreds of families now live in tents pitched under the shade of thorny trees along a dry riverbed. Pupils are packed in a cinder-block classroom of about 40 children, more than half of whom have fled the sectarian clashes in Yemen's province of Hajjah.

Women and children ride donkeys through the wadi to collect precious water, trucked in by aid agencies. The Houthi have shut the mountain passes, the main access route for water supply trucks.

"I was loading up my car to leave when three bombs hit my house right behind me," said Yahiya Abdullah, a father of nine.

Abdullah fled, and now his goats and cattle wander through the sand, munching at gorse bushes between the guide ropes of tents supplied by humanitarian organizations.

"We have nothing," Abdullah says. "Not enough food, not enough tents, not even a mat to sleep on. No person can live like this with children who are going hungry."

Suicide Bomber Kills 96 at Yemen Military Parade
14:20 21/05/2012
MOSCOW, May 21 (RIA Novosti)
Tags: suicide bomber, terrorist attack, Sanaa, Yemen
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A suicide bomber killed at least 96 soldiers and injured 300 during a rehearsal for a military parade on Monday in the capital of Yemen, Sana'a, Al Arabiya news agency reported.

The bomber was dressed in a military uniform and blew himself up in the middle of the battalion that was rehearsing for an army parade marking the 22nd anniversary of the unification of north and south Yemen.

Al Arabiya reported earlier on Monday the number of casualties at around 50 killed.