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tv   News  Al Jazeera  January 20, 2015 12:00pm-12:31pm EST

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houthi fighters are in complete control of yemen's presidential palace after new fighting in the capitol, sana'a. ♪ you are watching al jazeera live from our headquarters in doha. also coming up nine policemen killed in iraq as isil attacked the come pound of an influential tribal leader. voters in zambia choose a new president, following the death of michael sata. plus millions of homeless people suffer across northern india
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with temperatures dipping close to freezing point. ♪ hello, we begin in yemen where the presidential palace has come under the control of shia houthi fighters. another presidential house south of the capitol sana'a has always been raided. houthi fighters have also ransacked the headquarters of the presidential guard. what is the latest you are hearing from the capitol sana'a? >> reporter: i am hearing that is quite calm outside of the president's house in sana'a with regards to the presidential palace over the last hour or so it came under the full control of the shia houthi fighters.
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they took apparently all of the weapons in the military bases there. this is a big compound. it has a few mountains, this is where the presidential guards are based. we're talking weaponry including rockets, heavy weapons, as well as tanks. one of the president's top advisors is holding a meeting with other advisors and political players. it's not clear if it includes the houthis. they are trying to figure out what is happening and where to go next. >> so that's the question. the next couple of hours, what will they look like in sana'a? >> reporter: well in about an hour from now, we are expecting the leader of the houthis to be
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making a speech. we expect there will be some sort of details if you will in his speech. certainly he will be talking about the events that are unfolding in sana'a over the last 48 hours. there are strong reports coming that sana'a that there is already a dialogue going on as we speak, and that dialogue focusing about the fate of the president. everybody seems to think the whole thing is done and dusted and the president will no longer be in his position and there are talks that there could be preparation to form some sort of council, military or civilian or a presidential body to rule yemen at a later stage could declare elections. >> if that were to happen can we assume the country is headed in the direction of a coup?
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>> reporter: yes, absolutely. this is also what the description is coming from the government itself the minister of information, the -- the spokesperson for the prime minister also indicated that this is a coup attempt by the houthis, and they are in full control of the presidential palace. they are sieging the prime minister's office but also it is very important to remember that the houthis are in fact in control of sana'a since september, and they -- probably they didn't want to go all the way to control the presidential palace and force their own government even on their own system but everybody knows that the de facto rulers of yemen since september are the houthis. >> okay. ahmad, thank you very much for
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that update reporting for us from aden. crossing own to sana'a now and speaking to a lebanese on youralist joining us on the telephone from the capitol to tell us what you witnessed over the last two hours or so. >> yeah what happened in the last few hours was not new at all. what the big thing happened yesterday. houthi took control over the presidential palace yesterday. 100 persons. today they just entered without any clashes -- they entered the presidential palace and all of the guards all of the forces inside the guards got out with their [ inaudible ] weapons only. no heavy weapons. and this is what happened today
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in the presidential palace. >> we are hearing that there have been casualty though at least two republican guards have been killed. that is what we're hearing. but why would behouthis enter and fully control the presidential palace at this particular point? >> we don't know why they did this. i think it is [ inaudible ] with the houthis who [ inaudible ] december 21st when they [ inaudible ] sana'a with the operation with the consent of the [ inaudible ] so we can't even call this a coup because [ inaudible ] was in a meeting with the houthis today and they talk about a new road map. so -- and they didn't say anything about a coup or something like this. and the [ inaudible ] has been
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continued between them. but why they -- they entered? they entered with the unity that was formed yesterday with hadi or with the order of president hadi. they entered the president palace. and then of course very different between the presidential palace and the personal house of hadi where there were clashes there with -- with the defense minister. >> nasr let me just ask you what you want to hear what you expect to hear from the houthi heard who is expected to speak in less than -- or in about an hour's time. >> the big thing for houthi to [ inaudible ] administration council, because yemen has no authority now, has no president, has nothing, unfortunately, and
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the only man in the arena of yemen is houthi since september 21st not from today or yesterday. >> okay. thank you very much for speaking to us. while all of this is happening on the ground the u.n. security council is holding a meeting discussing what is going on in yemen. james bayes tell us what they have been talking about and what they plan to do. >> reporter: well an urgent meeting of the u.n. security council taking place behind closed doors. they have been listening to the special advisor of the united nations not currently in sana'a he is on his way to new york. he gave some details to the security council that i think we weren't aware of before making it clear that he believes most military units didn't take part
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in any fighting at all. the only fighting from the government side was done by the presidential guard alone. this meeting of the u.n. security council called by the united kingdom, their ambassador spoke to me ahead of the meeting. >> we are deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in yemen. and that's why we have called this emergency meeting. we will hear a briefing from the special envoy, and we need his advice really on how the security council can react to what has happened in the last 48 hours. but at the very least we feel we need to express a united view we issued a statement in the course of today which condemns the ongoing violence makes it clear all parties should be standing by president hadi and the government and making clear that the international community will not tolerate action by
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spoilers which undermines that political transition. >> reporter: i'm told that security council meeting is coming to an end. i'm told there is a draft statement they are working on. and they will read that statement backing i think president hadi. but you have heard from our coverage on the ground in yemen really unclear whether he is still pulling the levers of power in yemen. we had a statement come in from the secretary general of the united nations he has called on all sides to take maximum steps of restraint and restore all peace peaceful resolutions. the but ambassador is supposed to present his credentials to
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ban ki-moon. his status of course today is not known, so we are going to get a new yemeni ambassador whether the government that gave him the position is still in charge is the question. >> yes, indeed. thank you, james. hashem there is some talk of this announcement that the houthi leader is going to make in less than an hour's time. and some people expect him to come out and announce some sort of military council. what would that entail? >> well there has been some rumors circulating around that. that they might appoint a military council, which is a replacement of rabbuh mansur
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hadi. but i doubt it. a military council would pave the way to more anarchy. the only man that has international legitimacy is rabbuh mansur hadi. but we do know from our sources that negotiations are still underway as we speak, between representatives of president hadi and representatives of the houthis. if they can come to an agreement within this hour then he might turn down a little bit his rhetoric and -- which are to different factions saying that we're looking forward to a much better future. if the situation remains as it is now, i expect him to further escalate, lash out at the president. the houthis said it is going to
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leak new phone conversation between hadi and his advisors where he was trying to undermine the houthis. this shows you the tension which is mounting in yemen. >> okay. i'll come back to you in just a moment, but we're going to cross over to the united states. in the u.s. kimberley is joining us live from washington, d.c. there seems to be news about two yemeni nationals who have been charged with conspiring to murder americans abroad. what do you know about that? >> reporter: that's exactly right. the u.s. justice department has just released a statement in the last hour or so saying they have announced charges against two yemeni nationals, a 36 year old, and a 30 year old. it is alleged by the justice department that these two
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individuals not only carried out attacks on u.s. military personnel in afghanistan, but also helped -- provided support to recruit a u.s. national to go into pakistan where that individual trained allegedly and then into afghanistan to also participate in an attack. these attacks were carried out between the period of 2003 and 2008, but they were arrested more recently in saudi arabia brought to the united states facing these charges today. if convicted they could face life in prison. >> and the united states of course conducts drone strikes in yemen as we know. they must be watching very closely the situation that is unfolding on the ground right now. have we heard anything official? >> reporter: well i can tell you, officially no but of course we work our sources and i can tell you there are very high-level security discussions
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taking place right now with regard to the u.s. person thael are in sana'a. there haven't been any announcements or plans to evacuate the embassy right now, but there certainly is an awful lot of concern. and that is because yemen is a key ally of the united states in his counter terrorism efforts against al-qaeda. it considers the al -- al-qaeda branch in yemen as very powerful. up to this point, of course president hadi has been supportive of the u.s. effort but we know the houthis on the other hand are not supportive. and so that is why the united states is watching this so closely. there is concern about the future of that counter terrorism
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effort. if there is waning support for president hadi and if the houthis took control that would put the u.s.'s mission in yemen at risk. >> okay. thank you. bringing in hashem once again. we're seeing these developments unfold on the ground but i think it's worth also taking a step back and looking at yemen since 2011, since the revolution took place. it was the third arab spring. really yemen has been in serious turmoil since 2011. >> absolutely. those thousands of vibrant young yemenese fought for a fresh democracy in yemen. but then they couldn't defeat the establishment. at that point any international community, particularly
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united states and saudi arabia were of the view that it's better to implement a deal that would bring the former regime with the opposition together move fora period of two years and then pave the way for genuine democracy in yemen. it didn't work. because when the opposition along with remnants of the old regime were in that transitional period the houthis emerged. and they say we're not going to accept some of the stuff that has been agreed upon in that period particularly the federation which is a federal system of six provinces. they said we are the ones to dictate now. we are more organized and powerful than any other political group in the country. this is something that the opposition are resisting. they said i am the legitimacy and only authority in the
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country, therefore, we have to come to some sort of agreement. what you see today is just another example of the problems that yemen faces, which is yemen is unable to bring the opposition, the new president hadi and the houthis together to agree on a road map for -- until the transitional period comes to an end. it was supposed to come to an end in 2014 but because of the problem yemen faces, al-qaeda disagreements over the federation system is not fully completed, cessation is on in the south and the right, and they said let's expand the tenure of president hadi and force more of an ininclusive government. this happened in 2014, but the houthis still think that hadi is just trying to buy time.
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>> all right. thank you very much. let's just recap. the capitol of sana'a is now under complete control of shia houthi righters. the houthis also ransacked the headquarters of the presidential guard south of the capitol. on monday they took control of state television as well as the official news agency. crossing over to sana'a and speaking to a visiting scholar at the middle east center and his research has focused on yemeni and gulf politics. can you tell us what you are seeing now in the capitol of sana'a. what is the situation? >> yeah right now there is -- you know again it is quiet. they are fully in control of the presidential palace. i know also that at one point the streets were blocked [ inaudible ] that even those who were injured in the fighting
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could be treated outside of his house, and they are still there. the negotiations are still there. and the underen -- u.n. envoy was suppose arrive today at 3:00 p.m. but he flew instead to new york. and [ inaudible ] negotiated right now. between the parties and the president, and it is unclear how this will end. >> do you expect to see any positive results from these negotiations? >> no. because [ inaudible ] was saying [ inaudible ] not responding to the causes of the roots of the problem. there will be another ceasefire, a one week or one month ceasefire, so there will not be much of a change unless there is a clear positive change on
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the leadership of the country, which obviously is not clear at the moment or possible at this moment. >> okay. thank you very much for that update. crossing back to aden and bringing in a person following developments from there. are you hearing about any clashes that are still going on right now near the presidential palace in sana'a and update on the casualty figures if there have been more deaths. >> reporter: well the situation is pretty calm now in sana'a especially outside of the president's house and also at the presidential palace. it has been quiet for over an hour and a half because the palace is under complete control of the houthi fighters. with regards to the death toll we have two confirmed deaths
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from the presidential guards. there are another eight casualties we are told. they are killed or injured. so we don't have a clear indication with regards to the eight, but we do have confirmed two deaths from the presidential guards doreen. >> ahmad do we know the -- the -- whether the aim here of the houthis by fully capturing the presidential palace were they directly targeting the president? >> reporter: it's not quite clear if they were deliberately targeting or directly targeting the -- the president. his house came under heavy bombardment. the presidential palace was also under heavy bombardment. i don't think they were trying to perhaps kill the -- the president because i think that will mean it will take it a step too far for them.
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they want the president probably alive. what we are getting -- what we are hearing that -- from sana'a that there are talks ongoing from the president on the one hand the houthis and all of the political players in the country, and all of those talks are focused on the future and it's a future without the president. so we'll have to wait and see what will develop in the next minutes or even hours. the key here to look for is the speech we're expecting from the leader of the houthi which we believe it will be in about 40 minutes from now. >> oh omar thank you very much for that update. ♪ isle -- i'll bring you other news now. fighters of islamic state of iraq and the levant have ceased the compound belonging to a
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influential tribal leader in iraq. he lead the sunni awaken when tribes fought with the u.s. military against al-qaeda. jane has the latest from bagdad. >> reporter: it's a very powerful message from isil. he is one of the senior anbarry leaders, the tribal leaders now in washington trying to lobby u.s. officials for more arms and more support for the tribes in their fight against isil. the attack lasted for hours. late sunday night, isil gunmen attacked a compound the guest house, basically, a sprawling compound on the edge of ramadi. belonging to the head of one of the clans of one of the largest tribes in that western province. after killing 9 policemen, they moved into the come pound, laid explosives and blue up the
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buildings. this also marks an incursion by isil around ramadi the capitol. the capitol itself is largely under control of iraqi police most tribal members and other iraqi security forces. but in that huge province even government officials admit they have lost 70% of it. and that's what this delegation in the u.s. is trying to address. they say unless they get direct arms from the united states and other allies they don't stand a chance. they say while iran are arming the shia militias no one is backing the tribes. the u.s. has said it will try to recreate the group it had when it fought successfully against al-qaeda, but this time around it's a much tougher prospect.
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and japan's prime minister says saving the lives of two japanese hostages held captive by isil is his top priority. isil is demanding $200 million for the release of the japanese men. the armed group is threatening to kill them within 72 hours if its demand didn't met. japan has declined to say whether it would pay the ransom. speaking in west jerusalem, the prime minister said he would do all he could to save their lives, but he won't give into terrorism. >> translator: it is unacceptable act to threaten us in exchange for human lives and i feel angry about it. i strongly urge them to immediately release the hostages without harming them. syrian regime forces have killed 11 people in an air strike. activists posted this video of the bombing. an entire family was reportedly among those killed.
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the barrel bomb attack also injured 15 people. in the northeast at least 60 people have reportedly been killed in government shelling here a city considered an isil strong hold. israel has deployed one of its iron dome anti-missile batteries to its northern border with lebanon. and security has been tightened. tensions are high after six hezbollah fighters were killed in syria by an israeli strike on sunday. egypt has opened the rafa crossing with gaga for three days. this is the third time it has been reopened since it was shut in and it will october. it's gaza's only border crossing not controlled by israel. in niger a regional meeting
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is being held to try to determine how to tackle the problem of boko haram. they are trying to come up with a coordinated approach to fight boko haram. they are discussing the possibility of setting up a multinational task force, but the bigger issue has been the lack of coordination between nigeria and itself neighbors. over the weekend, chad deployed troops to help cameroon in its effort to help fight the armed group. our correspondent has the latest. >> reporter: the presence of 19 countries, including international organizations shows the urgency of the situation on the ground. but the general feeling is that much time has been wasted with these conferences going on and on and no particular force is on the ground to tackle boko haram. people think people are losing time especially in countries affected by boko haram violence. there has been little coordination between countries
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affected by boko haram violence countries like cameroon nigeria, chad and niger, there has been some formal military alliance between nigeria, chad and niger. they set up a task force to deal with cross-border crimes but there seems to be little coordination among all of them. on the side of nigeria and cameroon there has been some form of coordination unfortunately individual countries are tackling the problem the way they think best. what came up at this meeting is that there is little coordination between these member countries fighting boko haram in the region as explained by the nigerian ambassador to niger. >> the rule of the military contingents from chad and niger would [ inaudible ]. in the [ inaudible ] in the lcdc will have affected adequate [ inaudible ]. >> reporter: now people will want to see more action quickly
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on the ground to solve the problem, and to stop the humanitarian crisis developing in both nigeria and cameroon. for other developing stories head to hi, i am lisa fletcher and you are in the stream. >> the first two years of community college free. >> the president goes social for his community college program plan. what's the pay off though, for taxpayers footing the bill? plus from government-funded tuition relief for a sugar daddy. a new way young women are paying for college raises some eyebrows. and this artificial intelligence goes where only the movies once did dozens of prominent scientists and (accucapnt trial version) investigators warn that more attention must be paid to safety. why they are concerned about the risks to humanity. ♪