#AceNewsServices – PENTAGON – Nov.23 – According to a recent Press Statement from the Pentagon the Department of Defence (DOD) is transferring five detainees from the Guantánamo Bay detention centre to Slovakia and the Democratic Republic of Georgia.
The five are among the 55 cleared for release by President Obama’s Guantánamo Review Task Force in 2010, and includes the first Yemeni detainee released in years.
In a statement Thursday, the Pentagon thanked both countries for their “willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.”
Obama has tried to close the detention centre since he took office, but has been blocked by Congress. Both the House and the Senate have voted to keep it open.
The Centre for Constitutional Rights, a group that represents Yemini Abdel Ghaib Ahmad Hakim, praised his release.
“We are grateful to the Republic of Georgia for offering our client a new home where he can begin to rebuild his life after more than a decade in Guantánamo without charge or trial,” the group said in a statement.
The centre noted that Hakim is the first Yemeni to be transferred out of the detention center since 2010 and that 84 of the 143 detainees still at Guantánamo are Yemeni.
The government has balked at sending Yemenis back to their country because of instability there.
Wells Dixon, an attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, though, said the turmoil in Yemen should not force detainees to be kept in Guantánamo any longer than necessary.
“As we welcome Mr. Alhag’s resettlement, we are reminded that the remaining Yemeni men should be sent home or resettled without further delay,” he said, using an alternate name for Hakim.
#AceWorldNews – YEMEN – Nov.09 – A new Yemeni government is set to be sworn in Sunday, despite opposition from the General People’s Congress (GPC), the ruling party in the country’s parliament led by former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and the Houthis, a powerful Shia rebel group that controls much of south Yemen.
After President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi announced his new government on Friday, the Houthis and GPC rejected it, with Saleh criticizing it as “unrepresentative.” GPC leaders announced they would pull their members out of the new cabinet, and have ousted President Hadi from the party leadership.
Saleh, who is thought to have tacitly supported the Houthi insurgency, accused Hadi of soliciting UN sanctions against him and two Houthi leaders for attempting to destabilize the country.
After seizing the capital, Sanaa, in September, the Houthis demanded that Hadi appoint a new government, criticizing the regime for its close cooperation with a conservative Sunni Islamist party.
Meanwhile, sectarian violence between Houthis and Sunni Al-Qaeda militias continues to ravage the country.
On Saturday, Al-Qaeda took responsibility for killing dozens of Houthis in twin attacks in central Yemen.
#AceWorldNews – YEMEN – September 20 – Yemen’s state-run television building caught fire on Saturday, with hundreds of employees trapped inside during three-day clashes between Shiite Houthi rebels and the Yemeni army on the outskirts of Sanaa, Reuters reported.
The building is close to a number of other governmental facilities.
Mortar fire was reported during the confrontation that has escalated after the weeks-long Houthi protest.
#AceNewsServices –UNITED STATES (Washington) – September 13 – While the Islamic State group is getting the most attention now, another band of extremists in Syria – a mix of hardened jihadis from Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and Europe –
poses a more direct and imminent threat to the United States, working with Yemeni bomb-makers to target U.S. aviation, American officials say.
At the centre is a cell known as the Khorasan group, a cadre of veteran al-Qaida fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan who travelled to Syria to link up with the al-Qaida affiliate there, the al-Nusra Front.
But the Khorasan militants did not go to Syria principally to fight the government of President Bashar Assad, U.S. officials say.
Instead, they were sent by al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to recruit Europeans and Americans whose passports allow them to board a U.S.-bound airliner with less scrutiny from security officials.
Known as Lashkar-e-Khorasan (LeKh), the group’s only purpose is to identify, capture and execute people allegedly working for what is described as a web of local spies created by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
#AceWorldNews – YEMEN – May 11 – Three gunmen killed in attack on checkpoint in Yemen
The attack comes a couple of days after gunfire near the presidential palace in Sanaa and an apparent assassination attempt on the defense minister.
- Americans killed 2 Yemenis during attempted abduction, US says(stripes.com)
- Militants attack presidential palace in mounting Yemen turmoil – Reuters(reuters.com)
- State Dept.: Americans killed 2 Yemenis last month(news.yahoo.com)
- Two US embassy officers involved in Yemen firefight, left Sanaa(trust.org)
#AceWorldNews – YEMEN – May 09 – Yemeni Presidential Guard in gunfight with militants and a gunfight has broken out between security guards at the Yemeni presidential palace and militants in the capital Sanaa, according to Reuters.
Witnesses said the clashes were ongoing and heavy gunfire could be heard in the area surrounding the presidential place. An explosion was also heard near a government building housing political security staff, although the cause of the explosion was not clear. Yemen has been plagued by secessionist and religious insurgency for the last decade.
#AceWorldNews – YEMEN – May 08 – Yemeni armed forces on Thursday swept Al-Qaeda fighters out of a district in the country’s south, one of the main goals of the major offensive waged by the military the past two weeks, AP reported.
The Defence Ministry said that dozens of suspected militants have been killed and captured in the past week as troops and allied tribal fighters have seized a string of Al-Qaeda-held areas along a highway snaking through desert mountains of the south, starting from the Mahfad region.
On Thursday, they took over militant positions in the district of Azzan, seizing control of the district’s centre, the ministry said.
AP – RT – AFP – Yemeni Post
#AceBreakingNews – DUBAI – May 06 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday it had uncovered an al Qaeda militant group with links to “extremist elements” in Syria and Yemen that had been plotting to assassinate officials and attack government and foreign targets.
The cell comprised 62 members, including 59 Saudi militants, a Yemeni, a Pakistani and a Palestinian, Interior Ministry spokesman Major General Mansour al-Turki said in a televised briefing.
An investigation into social media postings “led security forces after months of hard work to pinpoint suspicious activities that unveiled a terrorist organisation through which the elements of al Qaeda in Yemen were communicating with their counterpart elements in Syria in coordination with a number of misguided people at home in various provinces of the kingdom,” he said.
#AceWorldNews – YEMEN – April 28 – Yemeni forces have launched an operation to drive Al-Qaeda fighters out of southern towns, the military said on Tuesday.
Last week, air strikes killed nearly 60 militants in the area. After being forced out from major cities in Abyan in 2012, Al-Qaeda jihadists established strongholds in the Arabian Peninsula, in the provinces of Abyan and Shabwa.
Government forces clashed on Tuesday with Islamist gunmen in the Lahmar area and near Al-Saeed as militants confronted advancing government forces.
“There has been an official decision to uproot Al-Qaeda from Abyan and Shabwa,” said Hussein al-Wuhayshi, a leader of the Popular Committees armed groups that fought alongside government forces.
AP – AFP – Reuters – Yemeni News
#AceWorldNews – SANAA, Yemen – Yemeni military officials say thousands of troops, backed by tanks and war-planes, have launched a major offensive in a southern province to rout Al-Qaeda militants from the area.
The officials say the operation in Hadramawt began at dawn on Wednesday, involving more than 10,000 troops, backed with tanks and artillery. Helicopter gunships and jet-fighters are providing air support.
They said the fighting was taking place in farmlands and that civilians have been instructed to stay indoors.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
The United States sees Al Qaeda in Yemen as among the world’s most active branches of the terror network.
Its fighters overran large swathes of southern Yemen in 2001 but they have been pushed back with U.S. help.
AP – Fox News
#AceWorldNews- SANAA – April 24 – (ALKABAR) – Al-Qaeda militants have seized hospitals in southern Yemen to treat wounded comrades following blistering air strikes that killed scores of gunmen in two days, medics said Thursday.
An intensive aerial campaign by US drones and Yemeni jet fighters on al-Qaeda bases in the rugged mountains of nearby Abyan province killed some 70 people over the weekend, many of them believed to be militants.
On Sunday, militants stormed the hospital of Azzan, in Shabwa province, as well as two smaller medical centres in nearby districts, the sources said.
#AceWorldNews – RIYADH – April 13 – (ALJ) – A Saudi court has sentenced to death the “chief strategist” of a wave of al-Qaeda violence that erupted in the kingdom in 2003, a decade after his reported arrest.
Faris al-Zahrani had been in custody ever since his detention near the Yemeni border in 2004, the Al-Madina newspaper reported on its website.
The official Saudi Press Agency gave neither his name nor the date of his arrest in the south-western city of Abha, saying only that he had shown no remorse while in custody.
The trial, in which 16 co-defendants were also sentenced to prison terms of up to 20 years, was the latest in a series of prosecutions that begun in July 2011 for alleged offences committed during the peak of al-Qaeda violence in the oil kingpin between 2003 and 2006.
#AceNewsServices – WASHINGTON DC – April 13 (HRW) – The US should expedite the return of Yemeni detainees cleared for release from Guantanamo Bay, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to President Barack Obama. Human Rights Watch released a video showing the plight of families of Yemeni detainees. All Guantanamo detainees should be returned or resettled, or charged and prosecuted in US federal courts.
Obama imposed a moratorium on returning Guantanamo detainees to Yemen after the arrest of the “Christmas Day bomber,” who had trained in the country. Although he lifted the moratorium in May 2013, no Yemeni has been returned, and currently 56 of the 76 Guantanamo detainees recommended for transfer are Yemeni.
“President Obama lifted his moratorium on returns to Yemen nearly a year ago, yet the Yemenis OK’d for release remained trapped in Guantanamo largely because of their nationality,” said Andrea Prasow, senior national security counsel at Human Rights Watch. “If the president truly intends to close Guantanamo, he needs to repatriate the Yemenis, some of whom were cleared more than four years ago.
Letter to President Obama dated the 08 April 2014 by Human Rights Watch – Director – Kenneth Roth.
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
RE: Repatriation of Guantanamo Detainees to Yemen
Dear President Obama:
We write to urge you to expedite the repatriation of Yemeni detainees at Guantanamo Bay to their home country of Yemen.
Five years ago, on your second full day in office, you pledged to close the Guantanamo detention centre, and in your State of the Union address this year you reaffirmed that pledge. The return of Yemeni detainees to Yemen is an essential component of any plan to close the detention facility.
As you know, of the 76 individuals your administration has recommended for transfer from Guantanamo, 56 are citizens of Yemen. These include Mahmud Abd Al Aziz Al Mujahid, the first detainee whose status was reviewed by the new Periodic Review Board on November 25, 2013 (the remaining 55 were recommended for transfer by your interagency task force in 2010). One reason so many Yemenis remain at Guantanamo is that in January 2010 you imposed a moratorium on transfers to Yemen after the arrest of the “Christmas Day bomber,” who had trained in Yemen. We were pleased that last year you lifted that moratorium, and that your administration successfully urged Congress to alter conditions it had previously imposed on transfers of detainees, resulting in significant changes to the law in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014. Yet no detainee has been returned to Yemen since 2009.
We recognize that Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula poses a security threat in Yemen. But the detainees in Guantanamo who have been recommended for transfer pose no greater threat than many other people at large in Yemen. Speculative concern that these men could join militant groups in the future, as so many others in Yemen might do by comparable speculation, is no reason to keep them detained without charge or trial. The continued detention of people based solely on their country of origin runs counter to US values and sets a dangerous example for other countries.
Prolonged indefinite detention without charge or trial violates international human rights law. We have long urged the United States either to prosecute detainees in fair trials that comport with international due process standards, or to release them. The continued detention of those recommended for transfer by your administration more than four years ago is particularly troublesome.
We urge you to commence the repatriation of Yemenis as soon as possible; to transfer to US federal court any detainee against whom there is sufficient evidence of criminal conduct; and to continue repatriation or resettlement, as appropriate, of the rest.
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch
#AceWorldNews – ADEN – April 02 – A suicide bomber tried to storm the main gate of the Yemeni army’s southern command headquarters in the port city of Aden on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
Militants in a separate vehicle also attacked the compound from another side in the al-Tawahi area of Aden, using rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons, according to witnesses.
At least three soldiers and one of the attackers were killed in the incident, local media reports said.
ABYAN – February 2014 – (DWN) Last month a gun battle in Abyan province left two suspected Al Qaeda militants and a pro-government militiaman dead, after a failed attack on the head of a militia that backs the government.
The militias, who recruit from the area’s heavily armed tribes, fought a fierce war alongside the army in mid-2012. They helped to drive Al Qaeda militants out of the main cities of Abyan, after the extremist network had held them for a year.
#AceWorldNews – MOSCOW – March 26 – Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov discussed the Syrian crisis and the situation around Ukraine at an Arab-League Summit in Kuwait, Foreign Ministry sources reported on Wednesday – Tass
“An address of Russian President Vladimir Putin was conveyed to the participants of the Arab League summit,” the ministry said.
Bogdanov met on the sidelines of the summit with Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sabah al-Khalid al-Hamad al-Sabah, Arab League’s Secretary General Nabil Elaraby, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Libyan Foreign Minister Muhammad Abdelaziz, Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr Abdallah al-Qirbi, Lebanese Foreign Minister Gibran Bassil, UN Special Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi and opposition Syrian National Coalition chief Ahmed Jarba.
They discussed “issues on the agenda of the Arab League summit with an emphasis on a need for an early political settlement of the Syrian crisis and a just settlement of the Palestinian problem in line with principles of international law and the UN Charter, as well as certain issues concerning bilateral relations,” the ministry said.
Russian News and Media Sources
#AceWorldNews – YEMEN – March 25 – Gunmen in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, have kidnapped two Western nationals working at the United Nations’ office, a local police source said Tuesday, Reuters reports.
Kidnapping is common in Yemen where the government is fighting an insurgency from separatist movements in the north, Al-Qaeda-linked Islamists and armed tribes.
#AceWorldNews – YEMEN – 24 March – Twenty Yemeni soldiers were killed in an attack on a military checkpoint in the eastern province of Hadramout, state news agency Saba said on Monday.
The country has been in turmoil since mass protests forced President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down in 2012.
Middle East News
#AceWorldNews Yemeni inmate at Guantanamo Bay has introduced a landmark lawsuit challenging the practice of force-feeding at the US military prison camp.
The case represents the first time a US court will hear allegations of detainee abuse at Gitmo.
The plaintiff, Emad Abdullah Hassan, says he has been force-fed more than 5,000 times since 2007 as part of the military’s efforts to break his hunger strike, the UK-based human-rights organization Reprieve said Tuesday, citing court documents.
The 34-year old has been held at Guantánamo Bay since 2002 without charge and is said to be gravely ill.
“All I want is what President Obama promised – my liberty, and fair treatment for others. I have been cleared for five years, and I have been force-fed for seven years.
This is not a life worth living, it is a life of constant pain and suffering. While I do not want to die, it is surely my right to protest peacefully without being degraded and abused every day.”
Hassan claims detainees are force-fed up to a gallon of nutrients and water at a time, while another inmate said that feeding sessions have been sped up, sometimes compressed into as little as 20 minutes, AP reports.
“When liquid is forced into him at excessive speed, [Hassan] vomits on himself. The feeding process starts again, but the vomit remains. With the nutrient mix comes the forcible administration of medication to counteract his inevitable constipation.
The most humiliating aspect of the whole process, he says, is when he defecates on himself and is forced to remain seated for an hour or more before being returned to his cell — where he will be refused clean clothes,” Clive Stafford Smith, the founder and director of Reprieve who is representing Hassan, wrote in an op-ed for Al-Jazeera.
AP – Al-Jazeera – RT – AFP – News Sources
#AceWorldNews says nine people were reportedly killed and 14 soldiers kidnapped on Tuesday after a clash between gunmen and Yemeni troops in the southern city of Dalea.
Gunmen attacked a truck carrying food supplies, Reuters reported, citing defence ministry officials.
In the ensuing clash, four soldiers and one officer were killed and 14 others were abducted by the gunmen. Four civilians, including a child, were also killed in the incident, according to witnesses.
Dalea is considered a stronghold for separatists demanding restoration of the former state of South Yemen, which merged with the North in 1990.