Speaking of reform, here’s a Yemen update from the estimable Jane Novak in Religion Journal:
So did you hear the one about Yemen? They are “reforming” the press law. The proposed law now includes the death penalty for journalists.
How about this one? To unify the country, the government is confiscating Shia religious material.
How about this? This ally in the War on Terror is perpetuating an al-Qaeda jihad.
Recent public statements about Yemen paint a dire picture. Ayatollah al-Sistani and the religious establishment in Najaf, Iraq said there is a “brutal massacre” of Shiites going on. The defecting Yemeni Ambassador has stated that high ranking members of the Yemeni government and military are affiliated with al-Qaeda. Putting together the massacre with the al-Qaeda, it’s like another 9/11 unfolding slowly in the mountains and cities of Yemen.
The Yemeni Ambassador to Syria, Ahmed Abdullah al-Hasani, is attempting to defect to the UK. He says that members of Al-Qaeda are in the highest ranks of Yemen’s military and security forces. Al-Hasani says that it is very likely that President Ali Abdullah Saleh “knew in advance of the Cole explosion” which killed 17 U.S. servicemen. Indeed, Freedom House in 2003 reported that Saleh refused to even investigate the Cole bombing until the United States threatened military action. Also in 2003, al-Qaeda praised President Saleh as the only Arab and Muslim leader who is not an agent for the West or the East.
Currently President Saleh is refusing to act against terrorist financing, probably earning him more praise. Only one bank account in Yemen was frozen in response to a 2003 UN Security Council Sanctions Committee directive to freeze 144 terrorist affiliated accounts of persons, companies, and organizations. The other 143 terrorist associated bank accounts in Yemen remain fully functional. In 2004, the UN Sanctions Committee list of al-Qaeda owned Yemeni bank accounts was not even issued by the Yemeni government to Yemeni banks…
Read it all.