By TRG Alerts Admin
The Rendon Group Snapshot Report
Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at Alert@Rendon.com or +1-202-745-4900.
Thousands of supporters of the Houthi movement in Yemen came out in the streets of the capital Sanaa to protest the reduction of fuel subsidies and political reforms instituted by the government. The President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi said he would reform his cabinet to improve representation of the Houthis, however efforts at constructive dialogue have been stop-and-go and protests continue.
News Summary of events during the week of 18AUG – 24AUG:
18AUG14: Tens of thousands Yemenis protested against the government in Sanaa. (AFP)
19AUG14: The Group of 10 Ambassadors, an informal body of Western and Gulf countries and international organizations involved in political reform in Yemen, wrote to the Houthi leadership voicing concern at recent statements it described as antagonistic and militaristic. (Reuters)
20AUG14: Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi said that he would reform the cabinet to include members of the Shiite Houthi rebels. (Xinhua)
21AUG14: Rebel Commander Abdulmalik al-Houthi said the presidential delegation had “shown its understanding of some of our demands”, but that negotiations and protests would continue. (Al-Jazeera)
22AUG14: Jamal Benomar, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Yemen, urged constructive cooperation to end crisis in Yemen. (Xinhua)
23AUG14: Yemen government offered to resign within a month to end Houthi protests. (Reuters)
24AUG14: A presidential negotiating team Sunday abandoned talks with Shiite rebels, accusing them of seeking to ignite a war, as the tension-filled Yemeni capital braced for rival protests. (AFP)
Sample of Twitter handles regarding the Yemen Protests:
@ionacraig– Iona Craig, Independent journalist based in Yemen
@saeedalBatati – Saeed Al-Batati, Freelance journalist based in Yemen
@hashemahel – Hashem Ahelbarra, Correspondent for Al Jazeera
@TikRoot – Tik Root, Freelance journalist focusing on Yemen
@altoflacoblanco – Peter Salisbury, Journalist
Sample of Third Party Validators regarding the Yemen Protests:
April Longley Alley, Yemen specialist, International Crisis Group
“The Houthis are capitalising on widespread frustration with the government and the recent rise in fuel prices to rally support and extract political concessions. What is happening now appears to be increasingly dangerous political bargaining as part of the Houthis’ bid to become a dominant political force in the north and in the national government.”
– Who are the Houthis in Yemen?, 21AUG14, Al Jazeera
Ahmed Addaghashi, Professor, Sanaa University
“The group started as a gathering called the ‘Believing Youth Forum’ in the early nineties. Then, it fell into internal strife between two lines; the first called for more openness, while the second urged sticking to the traditional legacy of the Shia sect. The movement turned to arms in 2004 on grounds of self-defence when the first war with the government erupted.”
– Who are the Houthis in Yemen?, 21AUG14, Al Jazeera
Danya Greenfield, Acting director, Atlantic Council’s Hariri Centre
“Its appeal is certainly broader than religious affiliation, in part because they are anti-establishment, and in part because of perceived nepotism and corruption [in the government]. Their rallying cry is really drawing support among those who are frustrated and disgruntled with government performance in action.”
– What is the Houthi Movement and Why Does it Want to Topple Yemen’s Government?, 22AUG14, International Business Times
Tawakkol Karman, Yemeni activist and Nobel Peace laureate in 2011
Karman, a member of Islamist party Al-Islah, a Sunni bloc and rival to Ansarullah, slammed the “armed” rebels “who are surrounding the capital and carrying out sit-ins in the city.”
– Rival Yemeni protests as talks with Shiite rebels fail, Yahoo News
Abdul Salam Mohammed, Head of ABAAD Studies and Research Center
“Hadi and the government have been acting without a real supervision on their performance and a real opposition, an attitude that has resulted in the emergence of armed groups as partners in the political process.”
– Analysts say Houthi rebels seek power under change slogans, 20AUG14, Yemen Post
Sample of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to the Yemen Protests:
1. Tens of thousands in Yemen Shiite protest
Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Date: 18 August 2014
SANAA, Aug 18, 2014 (AFP) – Tens of thousands of people joined an anti-government rally in Sanaa on Monday in response to a call by Shiite rebel commander Abdulmalik al-Huthi, an AFP journalist reported.
The protesters assembled in Change Square then paraded in the centre of the capital, where supporters of the rebels, who are known as Huthis or Ansarullah, had converged during the morning after travelling from outside the capital.
A tight security cordon was thrown up around Sanaa, with increased security along the main roads, though no incidents had been reported by the middle of the day.
The demonstrators chanted slogans against the government, which has struggled to manage the political transition since the ouster in 2012 of veteran president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
They also protested against a petrol tax increase brought in at the end of July.
In a speech on Sunday night, Abdulmalik al-Huthi called on his followers to march on Sanaa and demand “the fall of the government, which has failed”.
2. Yemen on alert over rebel supporters’ protests
Media: Associated Press
Date: 19 August 2014
SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Tanks and armored vehicles have deployed in Yemen’s capital in the face of protests by tens of thousands of supporters of Shiite rebels who are demanding the government change.
Protesters were responding to a call by Abdel-Malek al-Hawthi, the top leader of the heavily armed Hawthi group that overran northern cities. He has given the government until Friday to meet their demands of reinstating fuel subsidies.
Yemen’s Supreme Security Committee, its most senior security body, warned Tuesday it will take “all measures to ensure the safety and security of the country.”
Ten of Yemen’s Western and international allies said in a joint statement that the Hawthi moves are “antagonistic, militaristic and disrespectful.”
3. BLOG: Trouble is brewing
Media: The Economist
Date: 20 August 2014
Is a showdown brewing in Yemen? On August 17th the Houthis, a Shia rebel group based in northern Yemen, issued an ultimatum to the government in Sana’a. Yemen’s president, they said, had five days to cut fuel prices and dissolve the government—or face a rerun of the 2011 revolution that unseated his predecessor.
The Houthis have long been unhappy about being ruled by central authorities in Sana’a and accuse the current government of being ineffective. But their demands for change have grown louder since they helped Yemen’s security forces to rout tribal and Islamist militias, as well as a rogue unit of the army, from Amran province in July.
4. UN envoy urges constructive cooperation to end crisis in Yemen
Media: Xinhua (China)
Date: 22 August 2014
UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) — Amid escalating tensions and ongoing political instability in Yemen, the UN envoy to the country has called for constructive cooperation among all the parties to move the political process forward, a UN spokesperson said on Friday.
Jamal Benomar, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Yemen, said that he is doing his utmost to help address the roots of the current unrest in the country, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters at a daily news briefing.
Benomar has urged all parties to maintain a spirit of national partnership and constructive cooperation to overcome the current challenges and move the political process forward, the spokesman said.
The envoy has been closely coordinating with Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and other political leaders to reach a sustainable political solution through dialogue, Dujarric said.
5. Yemen government offers to resign within a month to end Houthi protests: source
Date: 23 August 2014
SANAA (Reuters) – Yemen’s government offered on Saturday to resign within a month and to review an unpopular decision to cut fuel subsidies in an attempt to end protests by the Shi’ite Houthi movement, a government source told Reuters.
Tens of thousands of Yemenis massed in the capital Sanaa on Friday in a protest called by the Houthis to demand the government’s resignation and a reversal of the subsidy cuts.
The rally came at the end of a week of demonstrations that have piled pressure on President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who has struggled to keep order in the U.S.-allied country which borders major oil exporter Saudi Arabia.
The source, who is from Yemen’s presidential committee, said officials had handed to the Houthis a draft proposal that includes an offer to form a new government within a month and to set up an economic committee to review the fuel subsidy issue.
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