Tag Archives: Yemen

Speculations on what happened to the adopted Yemeni children by Jay Gutman

I am about to give away a scoop. Some would say drop an H-bomb, given the history and nature of the scandal. But since no one really pays attention to all the other stuff I do, no one will pay attention to this one.

Part I

In the 1950s and 1960s and beyond, 1,053, mainly Israeli children of Yemeni descent, disappeared. The parents were told that the infant died. The parents were not given the child for burial and were sent home from the hospital. No death certificates were given.

The parents were struck with grief and incomprehension. Most parents being recent arrivals to Israel, they thought it was customary in Israel for the government or the hospital to bury stillborn or dead children, when the custom would be the burial by family with all the traditions that go with it. Some mothers and fathers had their doubts, and thought mistakes were made, as the child was born healthy. Some husbands even accused their wives of killing the baby because they had suspicions it was an adulterous baby.

yemeni001_400Over the years, grief struck families more or less organized, and protests were held in 1994, led by a Yemeni rabbi. The protests turned violent, led to the exchange of gunfire, one protestor was killed by snipers, and a dozen protestors, including the rabbi, were sent for lengthy terms in jail. The rabbi got 8 years.

5 Yemeni children resurfaced out of the 1,053, adopted by Ashkenazi families, whose foster families were specifically told not to tell their Yemeni child that he or she was an adopted child. It was mostly male babies who were given up for adoption. Another 60 or so are said to have been found, with question marks on the rest.

Where did the Yemeni children go? Here’s the scoop. They were adopted by Arab families from the Middle East. You heard me, Arab families from the Middle East. And I am one of them.

To avoid raising suspicions, the children were given up for adoption to Arab Muslim or Christian families from the Middle East who were expats living in Europe or North America or elsewhere, mostly diplomats. Adoption is illegal in all Muslim countries, and the Arab families’ extended families were to be kept in the dark about the adoption as adoption is illegal. So the children were given up for adoption to Arab expat families in Europe, North America, South America, who would tell their families back home that they had been pregnant.

Why Yemeni children? Because physically Yemeni children have the same complexion as Arabs from the Middle East, the Yemeni children could easily be confused as being the biological children of the Arab families.

The Yemeni children would often grow up as outcasts in their foster families from the Middle East, anywhere from Mauritania to Morocco to Algeria to Tunisia to Libya, Egypt or Jordan, Lebanon or Syria. Saudi Arabia tended to be avoided because Saudi Arabian diplomats tend to be posted for lengthy amount of periods abroad, never to move back to Saudi Arabia.

The rest of the Article, HERE!

Leave a comment

Filed under culture, history, ovi magazine

Yemen: Two Assassinations and Potential Changes by Rene Wadlow

The assassination of Jamal Khashoggi on 2 October 2018, a day designated by the United Nations as the Day of Nonviolence, and especially the wide reaction to that assassination may result in a change of Saudi Arabia’s policy in the Yemen war. The assassination and the reaction may have weakened the power of the Crown Prince Mohammed Ben Salmane, the chief promoter of the Saudi war in Yemen. Jamal Khashaggi was opposed to the war in Yemen as not serving Saudi Arabia’s interests. While there are probably a number of reasons that Khashaggi was put on a “hit” list, opposition to the war and its U.S. support may have been an important reason.

The situation in Yemen is tragic in its humanitarian aspects but is somewhat more fluid due to the second assassination.

yeme000_400The assassination on December 4, 2017 of former Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh has potentially opened a new chapter in the ongoing struggle for power in Yemen. There might be a possibility that with a major actor pushed off the stage, the lesser actors might accept the good offices of the United Nations (UN) mediator I and form an inclusive central government. There is also a real possibility that the armed conflict becomes even more protracted as factions see increased opportunities to advance their interests.

The Saudi Arabian leadership had expected a quick victory when in March 2015 they launched their operation at the time called “Decisive Storm”. Despite limitless weapons from the USA and Great Britain, including the use of U. S.-made cluster weapons now banned by world law, the Saudi-led coalition made relatively few territorial gains beyond those tribal areas within Yemen that were already favorable to the Saudis, tribes that often existed on both sides of the frontier.

Both Saudi Arabia and Iran have been backing separate and opposing factions. The lack of progress as well as the costs of the military operations may create a climate favorable to stopping the fighting. However, Saudi Arabia and its coalition are directly involved in the fighting while Iran only supplies some weapons and political support to its allies. Thus, of the outside actors, most responsibility for a change lies with the Saudi decision-makers.

There are two major issues that shape the future. The first is the possibility or not of forming a decentralized but relatively inclusive central government. Yemen remains largely a tribal society with political decisions made by the tribal head. Tribes usually have a specific geographic base. Thus, a central government requires participation by members from the major tribal groups. However, through economic development, people from different tribes now live in the cities and larger towns. These more urbanized populations do not depend as much on the decisions or views of tribal chiefs.

The relative strength of the central government has been based on patronage strategies, offering major tribal leaders some economic advantages. Until March 2011, most people had little say as to government policy. In March 2011, in the spirit of the “Arab Spring”, there were popular demonstrations throughout the country demanding jobs, the end of corruption and some respect for all citizens. By the end of 2011 Ali Abdullah Saleh, who had been in power for 33 years, was pushed out and replaced by his Vice-president Abdu Rabbu Mansur Hadi who has the same governing style but who was considered as a change without upsetting too much the governing pattern.

Saleh, however, never really accepted the idea of giving up power and its material benefits. He formed an alliance with a religious movement that drew its members from the same geographic region. Saleh had combated this Huthi movement, including by force of arms, when he was president. But for a time, the alliance seemed to be mutually beneficial. The alliance broke sharply in November 2017. Fighting among the Huthi forces and those loyal to Saleh broke out in the capital Sana’a thatNovember and on December 4, Huthi troops shot Saleh in his auto as he was trying to leave the city.

The second major issue concerns the ability of Yemen to remain as one State or again to split into two with Sana’a as the capital of one State in the north and Aden as the capital of another State in the south. The two States were the political structure until 1990 when the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, with its center in Aden, combined with the Yemen Arab Republic in the north to become the Republic of Yemen. Leading up to 1990, there was wide hope that the union of the two States would lead to increased economic well-being. In practice, there has been little improvement. If there has been an improvement, it is because of external economic factors and not directly linked to the union. The lack of improvement in the south has led to resentment in the south and on the part of some persons, a desire for southern separation. Now, some in the south have formed militias. It is difficult to know how far they will push for separation and the creation of an independent State. Already in 1994, there had been armed attacks to push for a return to an Aden-based State.

The Association of World Citizens (AWC) has been concerned with three issues in the Yemen conflict:

1) The violation of international humanitarian law, involving attacks on medical facilities, medical personnel and the use of weapons banned by international treaties, especially cluster munitions. The AWC had been particularly active in promoting a treaty on the prohibition of cluster munitions.

2) Humanitarian relief, especially food aid. With the Saudi-led blockage of ports and air fields, it has been difficult for the UN or relief organizations to bring in food supplies. It is estimated that some eight million people suffer from famine-like conditions and that some 17 million others are in conditions of food insecurity. The fighting makes certain roads unsafe, preventing the delivery of food and other relief supplies.

3) The creation of a Yemen confederation. While the form of State structures depends on the will of the people of Yemen (if they were able to express themselves freely), the AWC proposes con-federal forms of government which maintain cooperation within a decentralized framework as an alternative to the creation of new independent States. In 2014, a committee appointed by then president Abu Hadi proposed a six-region federation as the political structure for Yemen. The AWC believes that this proposal merits close attention and could serve as a base of a renewal for an inclusive Yemen government.

Today, the choice between an end to the armed conflict with negotiations for a renewal of a Yemeni State on the basis of the con-federal system proposed and continued fighting in the hope that one faction become a “winner-take-all” is relatively clear. The AWC is resolutely for an end to the armed conflict with serious negotiations on the structure of a future State. We encourage others to support such a policy.

Leave a comment

Filed under ovi magazine, politics