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Cablegate: Embassy Sana'a Commemorates First Anniversary Of

VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHYN #1688/01 2621305
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 191305Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY SANAA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 2785

UNCLAS SANAA 001688

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER KPAO YM
SUBJECT: EMBASSY SANA'A COMMEMORATES FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF
SEPTEMBER 17 ATTACK

1. SUMMARY: On September 16, post held a ceremony
commemorating the first anniversary of the September 17, 2008
attack on the Embassy compound. Visiting DAS Janet Sanderson
conveyed regards from State Department colleagues in
Washington and commended Embassy personnel for their
perseverance in the face of danger and hardship. Ambassador
Seche delivered remarks recalling the day of the attack,
honoring the sacrifices of the fallen, and voicing the
renewed commitment of the Embassy community to its mission in
Yemen. The ceremony also included the dedication of two
plaques honoring the security personnel killed during the
attack and the bravery of all Embassy personnel. END SUMMARY.

2. On September 16, post held a ceremony commemorating the
first anniversary of the September 17, 2008 attack on the
Embassy compound. The ceremony was held in front of the
Chancery entrance and was attended by American and locally
employed staff, as well as the family of Mukhtar Ahmad Ahmad
al-Faqih, the Local Guard Force (LGF) employee who was killed
during the attack.

3. The ceremony began with remarks by visiting DAS for
Maghreb and Gulf Affairs Janet Sanderson. She conveyed to
the Embassy staff "the regards and best wishes of your
colleagues in Washington ... (who) salute your courage, your
determination, and your endurance in the face of much
difficulty to continue to do the important work before you.
That you are willing to stand up to terrorism, that you
continue to work hard and selflessly for better relations
between our two peoples, despite grave challenges and great
loss, is a tribute to your personal and professional
commitment and your respect for those who have served here
before."

4. Ambassador Seche then delivered remarks, recalling a day
one year ago "that started out pretty much like any other: we
awoke to a blue sky, another sleepy Ramadan morning. We came
to work. Everything changed at 9:13 that morning, however."
He recounted the 26-minute assault, the smoke and gunfire
that enveloped the Embassy compound, and in the aftermath of
the attack "being stunned by the extent of the damage, and
the number of people who had died." He honored those who
fell defending the compound that day. LGF employee Faqih
"was the first to die that morning, as he refused to let the
terrorists' vehicle onto the compound. Six members of the
Central Security Force were gunned down in the minutes that
followed. We gather to remember, and to show our respect for
these individuals, who made the ultimate sacrifice on our
behalf."

5. Ambassador Seche then spoke to the perseverance of the
Embassy community and the importance of its mission. "We
gather today to re-commit ourselves to our mission here in
Yemen. This is a difficult environment in which to work.
The challenges are many and they can be daunting ... This may
frustrate us, but it should not diminish our resolve. In
fact, it is the enormity of the challenges in this country
that demands the very best from each of us." He reflected
that the mission's success will be measured "by the
difference our efforts make in the lives of the people of
this country ... In our success lies the greatest tribute
that we can pay to those who died here one year ago, and the
most resounding rejection of the message of intolerance and
violence carried by those responsible for their murders."

6. Ambassador Seche then dedicated a plaque to be placed
inside the Chancery, which reads in English and Arabic:
"Dedicated to the brave men and women of U.S. Embassy Sana'a.
Your bravery and sacrifice on September 17, 2008 when the
Embassy compound came under attack from armed assailants and
vehicle-borne explosive devices will not be forgotten. Your
continued perseverance and dedication to America's security
and the cause of freedom are an inspiration to colleagues
around the world."

7. Following the observation of a minute of silence,
Ambassador Seche, joined by Mukhtar al-Faqih's father, led a
procession outside the Embassy to place flowers on a plaque
remembering those who were killed. The plaque, to be placed
near the pedestrian entrance to the Embassy where it will be
visible to all visitors, reads in English and Arabic:
"In lasting tribute to those brave individuals who made the
ultimate sacrifice on September 17, 2008, defending the
American Embassy in Sana'a, Yemen against a terrorist attack.
Mukhtar Ahmad Ahmad al-Faqih - U.S. Embassy LGF
Yahya Thabet Ahmed Mohammed al-Samwai - CSO
Zayd Yahya al-Samawi - CSO
Nu'man Ahmad al-Hamili - CSO
Isma'il Ali al-Anisi - CSO
Mansur Hassan al-Hamudi - CSO
Ali Saleh Murshed al-Jawfi - CSO"
With the dedication of the second plaque, the ceremony
concluded.


COMMENT

8. One year after the attack, the Embassy commuity continues
to mourn the loss of Mukhtar al-Faih and the others who died
defending the compound. The attack remains a painful memory,
and the scurity environment is as daunting as ever. But
hrough this ceremony, the Embassy community drew srength
from its shared sacrifices, and from the aith that, in its
mission to improve the lives of the people of Yemen, it will
triumph over the idology of hatred that spawned the attack.
END COMENT.
SECHE

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