Yemen. In January-June, battles raged in the province of
Sada between government troops and the Shiite militant Young
People's Organization (Shabab al-Mumin), also known as the
al-Huthi group. In March, it was reported that 416
government soldiers and 136 rebels had been killed so far
during the fighting. In June, Qatar intervened and
established a ceasefire. According to the agreement, the
rebel leaders would go into exile in Qatar where they would
be prohibited from engaging in political activities directed
against Yemen. Other rebels would be granted amnesty in
CountryAAH, eight Spanish tourists and two Yemenites were killed on
July 2 in a suicide attack at the Queen of Saba's temple in
Marib. Yemeni security forces were reported July 14 to have
killed one of the culprits and another four in August. At
least one of the five was said to have been in contact with
the Islamist terror network al-Qaeda.
In November, 32 men were sentenced to between two and 15
years in prison for having planned attacks on Yemen's
petroleum industry in 2006.
In December, the UNHCR reported that over 1,400 Somali
and Ethiopian refugees had drowned in 2007 as they tried to
cross the Red Sea to Yemen. Many overloaded boats on their
way from Africa capsized and it happened that smugglers
forced refugees into deep water.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh issued a decree on March 31
appointing Ali Muhammad Mujawar as new prime minister
instead of Abd al-Qadir Bajamal. The government was also
The February 2001 local elections were characterized by
violence. Parallel to the election, a referendum was held to
extend the presidential term to seven years. Thirty people
were killed as a result of fighting between different clans
or killed by police. The referendum affirmed the extension
of the presidential term, allowing Saleh to sit for 7 years.
Without stating the reasons, in May the President
reshuffled the government and removed Prime Minister
Abdul-Karim al-Iryani. He was replaced by former Foreign
Minister Abdul Kader Bajammal. The government had 23 new
ministers, including Wahiba Fare, who became minister in the
newly formed Ministry of Human Rights. She thus became the
country's first female minister.
In November, Saleh traveled to Washington to confirm to
George Bush Yemen's participation in the US "coalition
against terrorism ". In March, the government expelled over
100 religious students - including French and British - as
part of its general campaign against terrorism and
specifically against members of the al-Qaeda terrorist
network. That same month, the United States decided to send
military advisers to the country to "train Yemeni security
forces in the fight against terrorism". Acc. Washington
could now, like former Afghanistan, become a refuge for
At least 5,000 demonstrated in April, burning the United
States and Israeli flags, as well as images of George W.
Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. At the same
time, they demanded the US embassy closed. Before then, a
bomb explosion and a grenade attack had been carried out
against the embassy.
In October 2002, a French oil tanker exploded off the
coast of Yemen, at the same time as the United States put
tremendous pressure on France to abandon its opposition in
the United Nations Security Council to the United States'
planned war on Iraq. In order to prevent any US
interference, while at the same time ensuring continued
financial assistance, the government launched a witch-hunt
on al-Qaeda supporters. In November, the United States with
rockets fired from a driverless plane attacked a car a few
hundred miles from the capital. 6 were killed in the
terrorist attack, including one accused by the United States
of being the leader of al-Qaeda in Yemen.
In April 2003, 10 people suspected of participating in
the attack against the USS Cole escaped in October 2000.
This prompted the Yemeni authorities to launch the largest
police operation to date to capture the escaped. In March,
two of the attackers, Fahd al-Qusaa and Jamal al-Badawi, had
been captured in Albyan province south of Sana'a following
an intense gunfire with security forces. The two prisoners
and one member of the security forces were injured during
the action. Badawi was suspected of having close ties to