The POMED Wire

Yemeni President Urges Houthi Retreat, Restart of Negotiations

Photo Credit: Arab News

Following failed negotiations between the Yemini Government and the Houthi rebels, President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi wrote a letter to Shiite rebel leader Abdelmalek al-Houthi on Tuesday with the following requests. He urged him to withdraw his militant followers from Sanaa – where they have been camping for the past week – and called on the rebels to “complete their exit from the Amran province,” which they have been in control of since July. Additionally, the President demanded a ceasefire in the neighboring Al-Jawf province between the army and the rebel forces. In exchange, the President offered to resume talks with the rebels who are demanding that the government resign, a decrease in fuel prices, and broader political representation. In his letter, Hadi emphasized the need to ”remove the causes of tension” in order to be in a position to negotiate, referring to aforementioned requests. In addition, he warned the rebels that the U.S. and other world powers oppose the demonstrations.

Meanwhile, the Houthis faced additional pressure as their biggest political rival, Sunni Islamist party Islah, organized a counter-protest in the capital. Al-Jazeera reported that “although the Islah march on August 24 was ostensibly aimed at …

Libya Political Crisis Deepens as Airport Changes Hands

Photo Credit: Middle East Eye

Tensions and violence in Libya have escalated over the weekend as Islamist-aligned militias seized the international Tripoli airport on Saturday. This followed a month of heavy fighting between aforementioned militias and militias aligned with the city of Zintan, who had previously controlled the airport. Meanwhile, the newly elected House of Representatives was challenged by the outgoing General National Congress (GNC), who refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new legislature. On Monday, the GNC voted to replace the current interim government with an Islamist-backed candidate.

Through the fighting, Islamist-aligned forces were hit by airstrikes on key posts near the airport, though the aggressors had not been identified. Islamist leader Salah Badi  accused Egypt and Saudi Arabia of backing the strikes. Egypt President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi denied Egyptian military involvement in Libya during a press conference with major Egyptian newspapers. The New York Times reports that the UAE and Egypt were behind the airstrikes.

The Tripoli airport crisis is rooted in the regional rivalries that increased following the fall of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. Increasingly however, it appears that the dynamics in Libya are changing.  The different factions, tribes and their militias are now increasingly …

Government, Houthis Remain Far Apart in Negotiations; Protests Surge

Photo Credit: Reuters

Yemen’s Shi’ite Houthi revolutionaries have rejected negotiations posed last week by envoys to President Abd Rabbuh Hadi offering to resign within six months. Pro- and anti-government protesters took  to the streets of Sana’a this weekend after the  Houthi leader, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, called for the Yemeni government to reinstate fuel subsidies and resign. In addition to these two demands, the Houthi rebel group has called for more representation in new state structures.

The recent military conquests against Sunni tribesmen by the Houthis have sparked concerns by Western leaders that Yemen’s steps toward a democratic political transition are in jeopardy. Abdel-Malek al-Hawthi publicly condemned foreign intervention in Yemen, stating that “America and the West seek nothing but serve their own interests not the interest of Yemen.” In response to this statement, the Gulf Cooperation Council said it “rejected any attempts ‘aimed at undermining the political process in Yemen’ and condemned the ‘unfortunate events taking place in Sanaa and the threat of using escalating measures.’”

In addition to instability produced by the Houthi revolutionaries, Yemen is also facing an insurgency by militants of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). In past months the AQAP has used Yemen to launch …

Davutoglu Nominated for Prime Minister; Kurdish Peace Talks Threatened

Photo Credit: Hurriyet Daily News

Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) has nominated foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu to replace president-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan as prime minister. Following an AKP meeting, Erdogan announced that party leaders had chosen Davutoglu to become the party’s new chairman and prime minister. Davutoglu has played a key role in Turkish foreign policy both as foreign minister and as Erdogan’s adviser beginning in 2003. Erdogan is expected to continue to play an active role in leading the country as president, a role that has historically been largely ceremonial.

Meanwhile, peace talks between Turkey and Kurds have been marred by recent violence that threatens to derail the process. Attacks by the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) against Turkish security forces in the last week have complicated talks, and the PKK has yet to issue comments about the violence. The Kurdish population was recently incensed when Turkish authorities demolished a statue of a PKK founder, and one person was killed in subsequent protests. Kurds make up approximately 18 percent of Turkey’s population, and Erdogan has vowed to reach a peace agreement. In related news, the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq has increased its output of crude oil piped directly …

Libya Oil Exports Rise as Fighting Rages

Photo Credit: NBC News

Libya’s largest oil terminal at Essider has resumed producing and exporting oil after a blockade was finally lifted that began in July 2013, according to the Libyan government. Production has reached approximately 560,000 barrels per day, a 400 percent increase from the previous few months when oil exports slowed significantly. The increase has occurred despite simmering violence in both Tripoli and Benghazi. Islamist loyalists clashed with the militias of General Khalifa Haftar in Benghazi, killing five, while recent airstrikes in Tripoli killed six earlier this week. Ongoing security concerns have caused both Egypt and Tunisia to halt flights to Libya in recent days.

Libyan authorities have also shuttered two television channels affiliated with Islamists due to their support for Misrata-based militias, according to the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI). ANHRI condemned the action as an “egregious violation” of free expression.

Finally, the Washington Institute has released an extensive profile on General Khalifa Haftar. The report suggests, “Although Haftar’s campaign poses risks to Libya’snascent democracy, allowing the government to neglect the country is an even greater threat to its well-being. The challenge facing Washington and its allies lies in balancing Haftar’s aspirations against the …

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