U.S. envoy praises Yemen on militants despite embassy attack

By Andrew Hammond

SANAA | Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:56pm BST

(Reuters) – The U.S. ambassador to Yemen says the government is fighting an effective war against al Qaeda militants but he is concerned about security lapses during an attack on the U.S. Embassy.

Ambassador Gerald Feierstein said in an interview with Reuters that Washington would not change its policies after the embassy attack. He did not believe most Yemenis held anti-American sentiments, he said. Continue reading U.S. envoy praises Yemen on militants despite embassy attack

Yemenis paint disappeared activists on Sanaa streets

Tue, 25 Sep 2012 13:40 GMT

* Artists paint activists in “The Walls Remember” project

* Youth activists, political opponents among those missing

* Govt asks families to come forward with cases from 2011

By Andrew Hammond

SANAA, Sept 25 (Reuters) – Yemenis are using street art to lobby the government to tell what happened to hundreds of people who disappeared in years of political turmoil, but even their images on the walls have troubled powerful figures who sought to remove the graffiti. Continue reading Yemenis paint disappeared activists on Sanaa streets

Yemen minister says Saleh trying to spoil transition

Sat, 22 Sep 2012 14:27 GMT

By Andrew Hammond

SANAA, Sept 22 (Reuters) – Ousted Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh is interfering in the Arabian Peninsula state’s transition process but Western countries are still reluctant to cut him off completely, a Yemeni government minister said on Saturday. Continue reading Yemen minister says Saleh trying to spoil transition

Yemen to investigate abuses during anti-Saleh uprising

By Andrew Hammond

SANAA | Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:56pm BST

(Reuters) – Yemen will investigate alleged human rights violations that occurred during an uprising last year, officials said on Wednesday, possibly opening the way to prosecution of ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his relatives. Continue reading Yemen to investigate abuses during anti-Saleh uprising

Analysis: Yemenis ask “Where’s the catch?” in familiar Saleh vow

By Andrew Hammond

DUBAI | Sat Oct 8, 2011 2:22pm EDT

(Reuters) – Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s declaration in a speech on Saturday that he would leave power “in the coming days” is yet another act of brinkmanship from a leader who has spent much of the “Arab Spring” claiming he is about to step down.

Saleh’s words were taken almost universally as a ruse by Yemenis who have seen the famed wily operator survive through thick and thin since he took power in 1978. Continue reading Analysis: Yemenis ask “Where’s the catch?” in familiar Saleh vow

Saleh’s vow to return keeps Yemenis guessing

DUBAI (Reuters) – Burned, wounded and forced into medical exile in Riyadh, Ali Abdullah Saleh had seemed down and out, but a bravura speech by the Yemeni leader suggests he might yet return home to a country convulsed by months of unrest, violence and economic misery. Continue reading Saleh’s vow to return keeps Yemenis guessing

Analysis: Saleh’s vow to return keeps Yemenis guessing

By Andrew Hammond and Isabel Coles

DUBAI | Wed Aug 17, 2011 1:00pm EDT

(Reuters) – Burned, wounded and forced into medical exile in Riyadh, Ali Abdullah Saleh had seemed down and out, but a bravura speech by the Yemeni leader suggests he might yet return home to a country convulsed by months of unrest, violence and economic misery.

Saleh, visibly healthier than the gaunt, scarred figure who appeared in a televised speech five weeks ago, vowed in his address Tuesday to come back, hinting he will track down those behind an attempt to assassinate him in June. Continue reading Analysis: Saleh’s vow to return keeps Yemenis guessing

SaudiLeaks: Yemen as vassal state, weapons for Saleh

An arresting set of US diplomatic cables from the Sanaa embassy have been released recently by Wikileaks concerning Saudi-Yemeni relations. They paint a picture of Yemen as a country President Ali Abdullah Saleh has reduced to vassal status with the “big brother” Saudi Arabia, which comes off as a spoiler that has done little good for the country. Many might wonder why Saleh as a Zaydi Shi’ite would facilitate Wahhabi (Salafi) influence in Yemen. An opposition academic seems to nail it in this comment – Wahhabi obedience to a “just” (Sharia-friendly) ruler (square brackets are mine): Continue reading SaudiLeaks: Yemen as vassal state, weapons for Saleh

Saudi Arabia: The realm of rigor mortis

It’s summer in Saudi and that means one thing: Saudi ‘foreign policy’, such as it is, is on hold. The Saudi foreign ministry amounts to the minister, Saud al-Faisal and … well, that’s about it. Except that the king appointed this week his son Abdelaziz as Saud al-Faisal’s deputy, which suggests that the portfolio will eventually pass out of the hands of the Faisal branch of The Family to Abdullah’s. Both are seen as representing the more liberal wing of Al Saud and there’s no leading prince to represent the Faisal’s any more, since all are merely grandsons of the kingdom’s founder Ibn Saud. Despite his best efforts to charm the Westerners, Saud’s brother Turki continues to be haunted by suspicions that he cut a Family deal with Bin Laden when he was intelligence chief in the 1990s. Continue reading Saudi Arabia: The realm of rigor mortis

Analysis – Saudi policy on Yemen and Syria seen floundering

By Andrew Hammond

DUBAI | Wed Jul 13, 2011 7:13am BST

(Reuters) – Saudi Arabia has helped damp down democracy movements sweeping the Arab world but is waiting now to see how events play out in places like Syria and Yemen for fear of overplaying its hand.

After witnessing the sudden collapse of rulers in Egypt and Tunisia this year, the Al Saud family that monopolises power in Saudi Arabia orchestrated Gulf Arab moves to stop the unrest from spreading through the Gulf region. Continue reading Analysis – Saudi policy on Yemen and Syria seen floundering