Thursday, March 31, 2011

YemenWatch: Thursday March 31, 2011

Human rights organizations are growing increasingly concerned over the situation in Yemen.

President Saleh is calling for a "Friday of Solidarity" in support of his rule.

Several hundred protesters were injured by non-uniformed government forces.  Live bullets were fired at the crowd and nerve gas may have been used as well.

Yemen Post reports that was blocked (I got redirected to, and the Islah Party site was hacked.  Other sites that have been previously blocked are, and  I went to earlier to see what they had to say, but I got a "bandwidth exceeded" message.

Apparently AQAP has decided that Abyan province is now an Islamic State.  I mention Abyan because a landmine was set to kill "experts" for the Canadian Nexen Petroleum company there.  And jihadists may or may not have taken over a radio station in Abyan, and declared the Islamic State.  There are reports of Jihadi groups running all over Abyan, and I'm not completely sure what's happening there.

The JMP (a coalition of opposition political parties) is accusing President Saleh of working with groups like AQAP and for being responsible for the explosion at the weapon's plant in Abyan.

The JMP, opposition leader Hameed Al-Ahmar, and former Yemeni president Ali Nasser Mohammed are all calling for Saleh's ouster.

The first GPC MP to resign had his house burned down.

Saleh has removed Republican Guard forces from some provinces in order to prevent a coup from taking place in Sana'a.

Anwar Al-Awlaki is all for new regimes in the Arab countries, even secular regimes, because they won't be as strong as the previous rulers so it should be easier for Al-Qa'eda to make inroads.

The chairman of Islah Party met with the US Ambassador yesterday.

This seems almost like a side note given the deteriorating situation in Yemen, but the men who kidnapped 4 Czechs were sentenced to jail terms.

New Blogger Stuff

Blogger has added some new views to its system.  You can check out how this blog looks with them here.  It's set for "sidebar" view, but there 4 other ways to see the blog.  Some of them are quite interesting!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

YemenWatch: Tuesday March 29, 2011

Yemen has been under emergency law since Wednesday.  The vote itself is under question, as many MPs were not there for it.  Human Rights Watch has more.

HOOD (Yemeni rights organization) says that a teenager was beaten to death by policemen using their rifle butts.

The Sheikh of the Hashed tribe claims that an assassination plot is the works, targeting high-ranking figures.  This comes after the UAE police stopped smugglers from sending pistols to Sa'ada province in Yemen (that's the Houthi area).

Over 100 people, including several children, were killed when a weapons plant exploded in Abyan province.  The cause is not known.

Seven soldiers were killed by AQAP in an attack in Mareb province.

You may remember President Saleh saying he would leave by January 2012, but his political party, the GPC, is now saying he will remain until his term expires in 2013.  Saleh is calling for the youth of Yemen to form their own political party.

The US government and USAID is providing money to Yemeni hospitals, who are treating wounded protesters.  Unfortunately, the US has also given the Yemeni government a lot of anti-terrorism money, which can now be used as anti-protester money.  Human Rights Watch has called for the suspension of military aid from the US.

The Yemen Observer is reporting that Al-Jazeera is lying about Yemeni officials resigning.  Don't forget, in 2009 the Observer was owned by Saleh's secretary.  It probably still is.

Some GPC politicians are resigning, following a "massacre" on Friday.  The government is blaming an Islah party leader for the event.

Some MPs and military and academic sources claim Saleh is using AQAP as a bogeyman to stay in power.  Which is usually how it's done.  You must keep me in power - I will protect you!

Six foreign reporters were deported last week and one freelance reporter died during the protests.  The Yemeni Journalists' Syndicate has also been attacked.  Full report from the International Federation of Journalists.  More from Reporters Without Borders.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Top Stories March 28, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Shoura Council approves mortgage law - The council is trying to help the housing shortage.

Lebanon Daily Star:  Government to be formed by end of this week, source says - Mikati's government is almost ready.  It's tough to balance out all the different factions.

Haaretz (Israel):  Report: Netanyahu failed to report all campaign contributions to State Comptroller - The PM scandals continue.  Some donors reportedly gave the maximum campaign contribution several times.  Netanyahu says they were returned.

Turkish Daily News:  Lebanon faces perfect storm of crises - Things in Lebanon have been crazy, what with the recall of former PM Hariri and incoming PM Mikati getting his cabinet together.  The current situation could deteriorate into Sunni-Shi'ite fighting, instead of Muslim-Christian fighting.  And the ongoing rebellions across the Middle East may give it more impetus.

Gulf Daily News (Bahrain):  New mall timings as curfew relaxed - Looks like the malls are going to be open more now.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Welcome New Readers

Welcome to my new readers!  I usually post every day, but I've had a few health problems recently and I'm still working back up to my daily postings.  I try to cover the entire Middle East, which is especially chaotic right now.  I also look more in depth at Yemen.  I hope you find my blog useful and informative.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

YemenWatch: Tuesday March 22, 2011

Yemen is undergoing a lot of chaos now.  This morning President Saleh even offered to leave office by the end of 2011, but the protesters aren't buying it and more of the military is defecting to their side.  On Monday several army commanders left the government and joined the protesters; one of them is from Saleh's clan.  This follows the shooting of dozens of protesters on Friday.

Saleh is now saying that Yemen could descend into civil war.  And he's probably right.  There are already problems with AQAP, the Houthis in the north, and separatists in the south.  The Houthis would face problems from Saudi Arabia if they split off.  The Separatists might be able to make a go of it.  And AQAP would be busy terrorizing everyone.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Top Stories March 21, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Rival tanks deploy in streets of Yemen's capital - Several army commanders have joined the protesters against the Yemeni president.

Lebanon Daily Star:  Thousands in Beirut rally against sectarianism - It looks like the Lebanese people are getting tired of all the sectarianism.

Haaretz (Israel):  New round of coalition strikes in Tripoli, Libya state TV says - The rebels are trying to capitalize on the airstrikes against Gadhafi.

Turkish Daily News:  Alliance of the unaligned split on Libya intervention -  France and Turkey are having disagreements over how to act in regards to Libya.

Gulf Daily News (Bahrain):  Terror Plot Foiled - The Bahraini government claims to have "foiled a major terror plot aimed to jeopardise national security of GCC states."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Crisis in the Middle East: Bahrain

Well, I'm feeling better.  Or at least I was until I started looking at the news.  The Middle East is going up in flames.  Things are really getting bad in Bahrain.  The Saudis sent troops there (GCC Peninsula Shield troops), and now the king has declared a "three-month state of emergency."  This after 200 people were shot.  One of the big reasons for the unrest in Bahrain isn't just having a king with little democracy.  It's the fact that the king and most of the rulers are Sunni, while most of the population is Shi'ite.  Does that sound familiar to anyone?  It should.  That's how Iraq was under Saddam Hussein.  And look how well that turned out!

The GCC is supporting Bahrain, which makes sense.  Even the UAE is sending some troops.  The GCC is paranoid that if Shi'ites take over, they'll be under the control of Iran.  So this battleground is a lot more complicated than some crazy dictator oppressing his people (like Libya).  The US is also supporting the rulers of Bahrain.  Things are probably going to get worse before they get better.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Top Stories March 14, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Bahrain lawmakers push for martial law; GCC forces arrive - Things are still heating up in Bahrain.

Lebanon Daily Star:  The second  Cedar Revolution - Saad Hariri is part of the March 14 coalition, which held anti-Hizbollah rallies yesterday.

Haaretz (Israel):  Ehud Olmert to be indicted for Holyland corruption affair - Olmert is a former prime minister and was involved with a housing project in Jerusalem called "Holyland."

Turkish Daily News:  Former Turkish President Demirel warns of 'empire of fear' - Demirel is worried about the free press and even the judiciary being "stifled."  Apparently the Economist recently did an article about journalism in Turkey after 2 investigative reporters were jailed.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

America Hates Islam

What the hell is going on with the USA these days?

1)  There are legislators in Tennessee who want to ban parts of the Sharia; following it would be a felony.  But the bill is worded so weirdly.  Sharia is referred to as (quoted directly from the House and Senate bills):
the set of rules, precepts, instructions, or edicts which are said to emanate directly or indirectly from the god of Allah or the prophet Mohammed and which include directly or indirectly the encouragement of any person to support the abrogation, destruction, or violation of the United States or Tennessee Constitutions, or the destruction of the national existence of the United States or the sovereignty of this state, and which includes among other methods to achieve these ends, the likely use of imminent violence.
So if this bill passes, Sharia would officially become terrorism in Tennessee.  In fact:
“Sharia organization” means any two (2) or more persons conspiring to support, or acting in concert in support of, sharia or in furtherance of the imposition of sharia within any state or territory of the United States
The attorney general and reporter is authorized to designate an organization as a sharia organization in accordance with this subsection (a) if the attorney general and reporter finds that:
 (A)  The organization knowingly adheres to sharia;
 (B)  The organization engages in, or retains the capability and intent to engage in, an act of terrorism as defined in § 39-13-803; and
 (C)  The act of terrorism of the organization threatens the security or public safety of this state's residents.
Apparently Muslims follow this Sharia thing, which wants to destroy America, and all people who follow Sharia are terrorists.  Of course, they already think all Muslims are terrorists.

2)  Representative Peter King of New York is holding hearings on Islam.  The White House has already given their statement out, about how Muslims are NOT the problem.  So has the attorney general.

3)  Only "one member of local law enforcement" will be at the meeting, and he has some interesting information.  As quoted in the article:
Since 9/11, 77 extremist efforts or attacks have been carried out by non-Muslim extremists in the United States,” said Baca. In addition, of the last 10 terror plots attempted by Muslims, seven of them have been thwarted by Muslims coming forward. (emphasis mine)

4)  In keeping with the non-Muslim extremist attacks:  A white man tried to put a bomb along the parade route for a Martin Luther King, Jr. parade in Spokane, Washington.  That was almost 2 months ago, and yet this is the first I've heard of it.  I guess since this seemed an obvious case of white supremacy, it just wasn't newsworthy.  But you can bet that if there was any indication at all that a Muslim was involved, it would have been on the news as soon as the bomb was discovered.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Top Stories March 7, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Rebels repel Misrata attack; Saudis evacuated from Libya - Misrata is 200 km east of Tripoli and now appears to be under rebel control.

Lebanon Daily Star:  Hariri holds first talks in Saudi Arabia since fall of his Cabinet - Saad Hariri is in Riyadh to discuss the situation in Lebanon and the ongoing Arab protests in the Middle East.

Haaretz (Israel):  Clashes reported in Cairo for first time since Mubarak ousted - People protesting outside the state security offices were violently attacked.

Turkish Daily News:  Questions for Turkish journalists raise more questions - Two journalists were arrested for belonging to an illegal organization, but then were questioned about their articles and a book that hasn't been released yet.

Gulf Daily News (Bahrain):  Dialogue only solution says Crown Prince - We should find common ground, etc. etc.  ArabNews reports 20,000 new jobs in the Interior Ministry.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

We Love Bahrain!

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullen, met with King Hamad of Bahrain last week.  Apparently the US supports Bahrain, or at least the king.  Too bad the US doesn't support democracy.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

UK-Yemen Plot

A man who worked for British Airways was arrested last year for terrorism and recently convicted.  The government just finished decrypting his e-mails, which contained correspondence with Anwar Al-Awlaki.  Apparently Al-Awlaki wanted to get a person or package on board a plane heading for the United States.  This is from e-mails in February of 2010, months before the AQAP bombs found in late October of 2010.  Unfortunately, it took nine months to decrypt all of these e-mails.