Yemen’s historical narrative bears the enduring wounds of a persistent sequence of unsettling and unresolved political assassinations. This grim reality was tragically emphasized with the killing of Yemeni photojournalist Nabil Hasan al-Quaety by unidentified assailants in Aden in June 2020.
Al-Quaety, known for his impartial reporting from different conflict zones, met his demise on the anniversary of an assassination attempt on former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Echoes of Violence: A Chronicle of Yemen’s Unresolved Political Murders
In November 2023, in response to Europostagency (EPA) and other media agencies in the Middle East, Yemen’s Defense Minister Mohsen Mohammed al-Daeri shared his profound insights into these dire circumstances. Al-Daeri conveyed the gravity of Yemen’s plight, condemning the attack on Sagher bin Aziz, Yemen’s Chief of Staff, in November 2023.
This assassination attempt in Marib province, which left three of his associates wounded, starkly exemplified Yemen’s ongoing struggle against the clandestine and brutal tactics of political killings, believed to be orchestrated by the Iran-backed Houthi militias.
Al-Daeri emphasized the complexities and dangers faced by Yemen’s national forces in their confrontation with these insidious threats. His account was not just a narrative of a single incident but a reflection of a broader, more harrowing reality of unceasing political violence in Yemen.
The tragic demise of Moayad Hameidi, the head of the UN food agency’s office in Taiz, further underscores this grim reality. In an equally exclusive revelation to EPA, Mohammed Hameidi from Taiz, 56 years old, Moayad’s brother, detailed the threats and confrontations his brother faced with the Yemeni Congregation for Reform, known as al-Islah. Moayad’s refusal to yield to their demands regarding the distribution of humanitarian aid in Taiz led to his assassination in July 2023.
In an in-depth interview conducted by EPA correspondent Johnny Hughes with a prominent figure from Yemen’s Islah Party, who is currently residing in exile in Turkey and whose identity is undisclosed for confidentiality reasons, revealing insights into the party’s internal dynamics were provided. This individual, who served at Yemen’s embassy in Turkey from 2016 to 2019, chose to remain anonymous for security reasons.
The interviewee disclosed that the Islah Party has long engaged in a policy of systematically eliminating political adversaries, a strategy that was notably active during the Yemeni war in 2015. He drew parallels between the volatile security landscape in Aden in 2016 and the tumultuous period of the Libyan revolution against Gaddafi, emphasizing the similarity in the assassination and liquidation tactics employed.
According to him, these ruthless measures were justified by the party as necessary for eradicating evil and paving the way for a better future. He elaborated that the party’s definition of ‘evil’ extended beyond traditional war agents, such as those bearing arms, to include individuals in seemingly innocuous roles, like those donning business attire or wielding cameras.
The interviewee’s vocal opposition to these practices ultimately led to his dismissal from his position, as he recounted during the conversation. This revelation offers a rare glimpse into the inner workings and ethical conflicts within the Islah Party during a tumultuous period in Yemen’s history.
APE contacted the Yemeni Congregation for Reform, known as al-Islah for comments, yet no response was received regarding this allegation.
The complexities of these assassinations deepened with the murder of Adnan Al-Mohya, an officer investigating Hameidi’s killing. Nosibah Mohya, in Aden, 38 years old, Adnan’s sister, in an exclusive interaction with EPA, disclosed the chilling threats her brother received from Muslim Brotherhood members. These threats, including a bullet left at his doorstep, tragically foreshadowed his assassination. Yet many locals said it was a family tribalism issue rather than anything else.
This landscape of political assassinations, which has seen over 200 unresolved cases since 2015, highlights a shadowy world of intrigue and political vendettas. Anwar Al-Yafei, co-founder of Advocacy for the Families of the Assassination Victims in Aden, and lawyer Afra Hariri, emphasize the gravity and opacity surrounding these crimes. Yemeni journalist Ahmed Abbas traces these assassinations back to the eruption of local and regional conflicts, marking a dark and continuous chapter in Yemen’s history.
Under Siege: The Struggle Against Political Violence and Extremism in Yemen
This complex web of political assassinations, intrigue, and the involvement of formidable groups like Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, underscores the urgent need for a cohesive and determined approach towards peace and stability in Yemen. The country’s future hinges on breaking this cycle of violence and paving the way for a new era of unity and reconciliation.