February 21st, 2012
01:23 AM ET

Yemen holds presidential election with 1 candidate

There is only one name on the ballot Tuesday as Yemen goes to the polls to replace longtime ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh. And yet, the election is a historic one because it signifies the formal end of Saleh's 33-year reign.

Vice President Abdurabu Mansur Hadi, who took over when Saleh stepped down in November after months of protests, insisted on standing for election. He has said he wants to make his presidency official.

Security around the capital and elsewhere was tight Tuesday. Around Sanaa, posters of Hadi has replaced images of Saleh.

"A New President for a New Yemen," read a large banner that hung from Change Square, which had been the epicenter of the anti-government movement last year.

Some who took part in the protests said they were not particularly excited about Tuesday's vote.

"Maybe you can call them elections," said Nadia Abdullah. "But for me, elections should have more than one candidate."

Abdullah said she would stand by Hadi as long as he made good on his promises.

"If he goes through with it, we will stand hand-in-hand with him," she said. "If he doesn't, or if we see a lot of game-playing between him and the government, I believe the youth will remain in the squares. They would say, 'Leave,' as they did to Ali Abdullah Saleh."

The 65-year-old Hadi is a British-, Egyptian- and Soviet-trained army officer, recently promoted to the rank of field marshal. He has served as vice president since 1994 and is running for a two-year term as president on pledges of improving security and creating more jobs.

But he's never had much of a power base of his own, and Yemen's problems will take much longer to fix than the two-year mandate he's expected to receive. It's the poorest country in the Middle East, with a severe shortage of water and rising levels of malnutrition among its population of about 25 million.

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January 21st, 2012
06:46 AM ET

Yemeni President Saleh granted immunity

Yemen's parliament approved a controversial law Saturday that ensures President Ali Abdullah Saleh complete immunity from prosecution.

The law was delayed for weeks as Saleh insisted on specific changes guaranteeing his aides partial protection from legal actions.

In return, Saleh will step down from power in Yemen next month after ruling the country for more than 33 years.

Since the president signed a power transfer deal in November, tens of thousands of young activists have marched in provinces across Yemen. They have vowed to have Saleh tried for the deaths of hundreds of unarmed protesters.

The largest protests Saturday took place in Sanaa, where many continued pushing for Saleh's prosecution.

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January 9th, 2012
05:46 AM ET

Yemen cabinet approves amnesty law for Saleh

The Yemeni cabinet has approved the draft of a law that will give President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his aides immunity from prosecution.

The draft was submitted to parliament for approval and is expected to be approved within days, said Yahya al-Arasi, a senior vice presidential aide.

Ghaleb al-Odaini, the spokesman for the opposition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), said the law will pass but expect lawmakers to make changes to it before approving it.

Under the terms of a Gulf Cooperation Council-brokered deal, Saleh has agreed to step down as president on February 21 in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

The law, if approved in its current form, will also give immunity to officials who worked under Saleh during his 33-year rule.

A day after the draft was approved, thousands of protesters rallied Monday in more than a dozen provinces against the proposal.

Some waved banners that showed a picture of Saleh holding a butcher knife in his bloodied hands.

Other, however, saw the merit in the proposal.

"We are against the immunity bill, but it will play a big role in ending the Saleh family rule in Yemen and give us a chance to build a new nation," said Abdullah al-Kuraimi, a youth activist in Sanaa.

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Eruption creates new island in Red Sea
December 29th, 2011
02:49 PM ET

Eruption creates new island in Red Sea

The Red Sea appears to have a tiny new island, courtesy of an underwater eruption.

The island - essentially lava that cooled after breaking through the water's surface - began forming this month between Yemen and Eritrea among the Zubair archipelago, a group of small islands that come from a submarine shield volcano, according to NASA and the Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program.

NASA’s Earth-Observing-1 satellite captured an image (above) showing the new mass with a plume - perhaps volcanic ash and water vapor - rising from it on December 23, NASA’s Earth Observatory website says. The island appeared to be less than one-third of a mile in diameter, according to the Global Volcanism Program.

The image came four days after local news reports said fishermen saw an eruption in the sea, with lava rising up to 90 feet in the air, according to NASA.

The shield volcano from which the Zubair islands stem (the largest of which is 5 kilometers long) last erupted in the 19th century, according to the Global Volcanism Program.

Wordwide, new islands emerge from volcanic eruptions about once every few years, and not all of them survive beyond three years, because waves can break them apart, GVP volcanologist Rick Wunderman said Thursday. It's not clear whether the new Red Sea island will last, but the material that emerges from the Red Sea typically is more structurally sound than other areas, Wunderman said.

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U.S. decision on Yemen risks worsening violence
December 27th, 2011
01:52 PM ET

U.S. decision on Yemen risks worsening violence

Embattled Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh will be allowed to come to the United States for medical treatment in New York, a senior Obama administration official said Tuesday.

While the White House hopes the move could ease tensions in Yemen, analysts said it could incite further violence, weaken U.S. standing, and potentially help empower al Qaeda.

The official, who was not authorized to speak on the record because of the sensitivity of the issue, acknowledged that there was a debate within the administration.

The United States does not want to come across as providing safe haven to a dictator responsible for a violent, deadly crackdown on an uprising, the source said.

The decision was made in hope that Saleh's departure from Yemen could ease tensions in the country and help pave the way toward elections next year, the official said.

But it could have the opposite effect, said Brahma Chellaney, professor of Strategic Studies at the Center for Policy Research based in New Delhi.

"For the United States to give him refuge only incites more violence in Yemen," said Chellaney. "And it unnecessarily whips up anti-American passions. The last thing the United States should be doing is giving the impression that it is actually sheltering Saleh."

On Monday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said U.S. officials were considering Saleh's request to come to America "for the sole purpose of seeking medical treatment."

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2011: Controversial figures meet their demise
Newspaper headlines announce the death of Osama Bin Laden on May 2, 2011.
December 27th, 2011
05:23 AM ET
December 17th, 2011
04:45 PM ET

Clashes leave 10 dead in Yemen

Clashes between government troops and suspected al Qaeda militants in Yemen left at least 10 people dead Saturday, according to two senior security officials.

The dead included three soldiers and seven suspected militants, the officials said.

At least four government-armored vehicles were also destroyed in the violence, according to the officials.

The clashes took place in four different districts of Yemen's southern Abyan province in a sign that suspected militants have not been weakened by recent government raids.

Residents in Abyan said that troops conducted house-to-house searches and arrested two suspected militants.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Telecom • Yemen
December 13th, 2011
11:14 AM ET

Yemenis capture six al Qaeda operatives

Six al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula operatives - including one high-value target - were captured by Yemeni security forces, the country's embassy in the United States said Tuesday.

Musaed Al-Barbari, an AQAP leader who authorities say attacked the Sanaa International Airport in 2009, was among those captured, the embassy said.

"The terrorism suspects have been carrying out surveillance, and planning missions aimed at targeting government and high ranking security officials," the embassy said. "Furthermore, the cell was planning on orchestrating attacks on foreign missions and critical state installations."

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November 26th, 2011
03:40 PM ET

Yemeni leader calls for elections to be held in February

Yemen's vice president called Saturday for presidential elections to be held in February, state media reported.

Vice President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi issued a presidential decree for the vote to be held February 21, according to the state-run SABA news agency.

The decree comes three days after President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to step down from power after months of protests against his 33-year rule. He became the fourth leader to leave office as a result of the Arab Spring unrest that has roiled much of the Middle East and North Africa this year.

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State TV: Yemen's president signs power transfer deal
President Ali Abdullah Saleh has appeared several times to be on the verge of agreeing to hand over power.
November 23rd, 2011
11:24 AM ET

State TV: Yemen's president signs power transfer deal

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh signed a deal aimed at ending Yemen's months-long political crisis Wednesday, video broadcast on Saudi Arabian and Yemeni state television showed.

His executive powers would be transferred to Vice President Abdo Rabu Mansour Hadi "effective immediately" once Saleh signed the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative, a spokesman for Yemen's embassy in Washington said before the signing.

The GCC-brokered accord, which is backed by the United States and the European Union, would allow Saleh to resign from power in exchange for immunity from prosecution. But the agreement also allows Saleh to retain his title as Yemen's president for 90 days, until elections are held, according to a Western diplomat in Yemen.

Yemen has been the scene of violent protests for months as Saleh's opponents demanded he leave power after 33 years in office.

Saleh told United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon that he will come to New York City for medical treatment after signing an
agreement to end his 33-year rule, Ban said Wednesday.

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November 23rd, 2011
08:39 AM ET

Embassy: Yemeni president in Saudi Arabia to sign deal

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh arrived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday to attend a signing ceremony for a Gulf Cooperation Council proposal aimed at ending Yemen's months-long political crisis, a Yemeni official said.

Once Saleh signs the agreement, executive powers will be transferred to Vice President Abdo Rabu Mansour Hadi "effective immediately," Mohammed Albasha, a spokesman for Yemen's embassy in Washington, said in a statement.

"This monumental agreement will hopefully bring an end to the 10-month long turmoil in the homeland," Albasha said.

Saleh will remain permanently in Saudi Arabia after he signs the deal, a presidential source said.

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Filed under: Arab unrest: developments • Saudi Arabia • World • Yemen
November 23rd, 2011
07:41 AM ET

Yemen president to give up powers, embassy says

Executive powers in Yemen will be transferred to Vice President Abdo Rabu Mansour Hadi immediately after President Ali Abdullah Saleh signs an agreement in Saudi Arabia, a spokesman for the Embassy of the Republic of Yemen in Washington said in a statement Wednesday.

Saleh arrived in Saudi Arabia Wednesday for the signing ceremony, spokesman Mohammed Albasha said.

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November 23rd, 2011
02:13 AM ET

Report: Yemeni president in Saudi Arabia to sign deal

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh arrived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Wednesday to attend the signing of a Gulf Cooperation Council proposal aimed at ending the country's months-long political crisis, Yemen;s state-run news agency SABA reported.

Last week, Saleh told France 24 television that he would leave office "within 90 days" of an agreement with the council.

The proposed Gulf council-brokered accord, which is backed by the United States and the European Union, would allow Saleh to resign from power in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

Yemen has been the scene of violent protests for months as his opponents demand he leave power after 33 years in office.

He was wounded in an attack on his compound earlier this year and spent weeks in Saudi Arabia being treated for burns.

Saleh has appeared several times to be on the verge of agreeing to hand over power, only to change course.

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October 30th, 2011
04:17 PM ET

Blast near Yemeni airport diverts flights

Flames and thick black smoke filled the skies above Sanaa International Airport on Sunday after an explosion struck a nearby air base, senior officials said.

Two senior security officials at the airport said a mortar shell landed at Dailami air force base, two miles west of the airport, provoking a massive blast.

However, a senior official with the Interior Ministry said the explosion was caused by a bomb planted near the airport. He declined to speculate who might have planted the explosive device.

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October 28th, 2011
12:32 PM ET

Car bomb kills head of Yemeni counterterrorism unit

A car bomb exploded in Aden on Friday, killing the commander of a Yemeni counterterrorism unit and seriously injuring two children, according to a Yemeni government official who is not authorized to speak to the media.

Major Gen. Ali Al-Hajji commanded a battalion of Central Security Forces troops, which includes counterterrorism units, the official said.

The bomb was planted in Al-Hajji's car and exploded while the vehicle was traveling near the 22 May Soccer Stadium, according to the official.

Two children standing near the car when it exploded, ages 5 and 14, were seriously injured by the blast and were taken to a hospital, the official said.

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October 26th, 2011
08:17 AM ET

Yemeni women burn veils in protest

Yemeni women defiantly burned their traditional veils Wednesday in protest of President Ali Abdullah Saleh's brutal crackdown on anti-government demonstrations.

Thousands of women gathered in the capital, Sanaa, said witnesses. They carried banners that read: "Saleh the butcher is killing women and is proud of it" and "Women have no value in the eyes in Ali Saleh."

They collected veils and scarves in a huge pile and set it ablaze in an act that is highly symbolic in the conservative Islamic nation.

More than 60 women were attacked in October alone by the government, said protester Ruqaiah Nasser. Government forces are raiding homes and also killing children, she said.

"We will not stay quiet and will defend ourselves if our men can't defend us," she said. "

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October 17th, 2011
05:00 AM ET

Women march in Yemen's capital

Thousands of women marched toward Yemen's foreign ministry in the capital, Sanaa, Monday, demanding U.N. intervention in the ongoing unrest in the Persian Gulf nation, residents and eyewitnesses said.

The protest comes a day after a female protester became the first woman killed in a demonstration against the government, according to opposition activists.

The women called for sanctions against President Ali Abdullah Saleh and asked that he be tried by the International Criminal Court.

The women also alleged that snipers were on the rooftop of the foreign ministry Sunday.

The protests came hours after gunfire and loud explosions reverberated throughout the capital early Monday.

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October 16th, 2011
04:42 AM ET

Witnesses: Security forces fire on Yemen protesters

Yemeni security forces opened fired on demonstrators gathering for a planned march in Sanaa on Sunday, killing four people and injuring 37 others, according to a medic on the scene.
The reported violence comes a day after at least 10 people were killed and 38 others wounded in clashes in the capital, said Mohammed Al-Qubati, who works at a field hospital in Change Square, the center of the protests.
Molhim Saeed, another medic in Change Square, called Saturday "a sad day for the revolution."
"The marches were peaceful and the youth were unarmed. They refused to even fight back when they were being shot at," Saeed said.
There was no immediate comment from the government. Demonstrators have taken to the streets regularly to call for an end to the rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

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Security forces fire on protesters in Yemen
October 15th, 2011
05:35 AM ET

Security forces fire on protesters in Yemen

Yemeni security forces opened fire on anti-government protesters Saturday, killing 10 and wounding 38 others, a medic said.

Mohammed Al-Qubati, who was at the scene of the protests in Sanaa's Change Square, said forces opened fire to disperse demonstrators who planned to march to the city center from the square.

Demonstrators have taken to the streets regularly to call for an end to the rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

On Wednesday, tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Sanaa, marching, chanting and calling for the United Nations to come out with a firm resolution in support for change in the country.

For its part, the government says it is trying to come up with a solution to end the political stalemate.

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October 15th, 2011
05:18 AM ET

Official: Drone attack kills Al-Awlaki's son in Yemen

he son of U.S.-born militant cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki was among those killed in a trio of drone attacks in southern Yemen on Friday night, a security official said.

The attacks, carried out in the Shabwa district, killed seven suspected militants, the defense ministry said. It would not confirm that Abdul Rahman Anwar Awlaki was among them.

The senior security official in Shabwa, who did not want to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media, said the younger Awlaki had been hiding in the mountains of Shabwa for more than eight months. He had first-hand knowledge of the death, he said.

The Awlaki family did not want to comment.

On September 30, a U.S. drone strike killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born miltant cleric who was a key leader of the terrorist group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

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