Secrecy, Drone Strikes, and Rule of Law

Drone strikes have become an inevitable part of warfare over the past decade. However, accountability and transparency have not. According to the new report Out of the Shadows, the lack of transparency in US targeted killing operations increases ill will towards the United States, undermines the advancement of human rights and rule of law, and decreases American credibility. The harm this causes is counterproductive to American strategy abroad and causes untold amounts of human misery, and yet, a lack of accountability persists. While greater transparency is not a panacea to resolve these issues, it does matter to the families of the victims, to the voting public of the United States, and to international partners who rely on the United States.

The Role of Women in Yemen's War

Saferworld, along with the Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient (CARPO) and the Yemen Polling Center (YPC), has released a report analyzing how the conflict in Yemen affects the lives of the country’s women. It finds that although the war brings great insecurity about livelihoods and security, many women feel empowered by their new roles in war efforts or peacebuilding, such as first aid, child protection, and psychosocial support. Despite restrictions and anxieties, Yemeni women have made important contributions to civil society. The report recommends that the international community support these women-led initiatives financially and institutionally.

NGOs welcome UN Security Council Statement on Yemen: Words Must Now be Turned into Action

On Monday, 19 June 2017, the Yemen Peace Project, along with 10 other humanitarian and human rights organizations, released a joint statement commending the UN Security Council presidential statement on Yemen. The statement urges the UNSC to turn their words into action to end Yemen's suffering and find an immediate political solution to the conflict. 

Sana'a Center on Iran's Role in Yemen

The Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies has published an article attempting to accurately depict Iran’s involvement in the Yemeni conflict. The author, Farea al-Muslimi, points out that, while Iran is in fact supporting the Houthis in some capacity, the Saudi response has been disproportionate compared to the scale of Iranian commitment. He argues that Iran’s support for the Houthis is an attempt to force the Saudis into yet another conflict, thereby weakening the Saudi government’s military and financial capacity as a whole.

The upside-down days of Ramadan

We're pleased to present another guest post by our contributor in San'a. This post explains how life during the holy month of Ramadan traditionally differs from the rest of the year for Yemenis.

The holy month of Ramadan is an occasion to live differently, in the full sense of the word. Thirty days of extraordinary nights and days. Everything about this month is exciting: receiving it, living it, and finally bidding farewell.

June 12-19: Senate Resolution of Disapproval Nearly Passes; Airstrikes on Market Kill 25

Monday, June 12

The Intercept reported that the Trump administration made its argument in favor of an arms sale of over $500 million to Saudi Arabia in a top-secret briefing organized by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Yemen Peace Project Advocacy Director Kate Kizer said of the meeting, “It’s really unfortunate that Senate majority leadership decided to hold this briefing in secret. Americans deserve to know the conduct of our allies, especially when the U.S. is intimately involved in starving potentially millions of Yemeni civilians by continuing to provide unconditional support to the Saudi-led coalition.”

Prison diary: The 64th Day

We're pleased to publish this guest post by Dr. Abdulkader Alguneid, a physician and activist from Ta'iz. Dr. Abdulkader was kidnapped from his home by Houthi fighters in August 2015; he was released after 300 days of illegal imprisonment and torture in May 2016.

It was mid-day, and I was in a tight, dim cell with two companions.

The clanging sound of the iron door being unlocked came suddenly and loudly, startling and unnerving us. These doors never opened, day after day and month after month, except for the most unusual, or for taking an inmate out for interrogation or something unpleasant.

UNSC issues Presidential Statement on Yemen

The United Nations Security Council released a presidential statement today regarding the conflict and humanitarian crisis in Yemen. The statement expresses concern about the humanitarian impact of the conflict, highlighting the cholera epidemic and the risk of famine. It calls on all parties to the conflict to adhere to international humanitarian law, emphasizing the importance of distinguishing between civilians and combatants in selecting targets, of allowing unhindered access for the distribution of humanitarian aid, and of ending the recruitment and use of child soldiers.

Fractures in the Houthi-GPC alliance

We're very pleased to publish the second of two guest posts on the tensions within the Houthi-GPC alliance. The author is an activist based in San'a, who writes anonymously for personal and professional reasons. The views of the author do not necessarily represent those of the YPP.

Yemen is in the midst of the third year of its civil war. Starvation and disease are rampant in the poorest country in the Middle East; there is still no light on the horizon. In seeking to understand this war, we cannot find satisfying and logical answers without first asking the right questions. Hence, this piece will be humbly dedicated for laying bare some personal thoughts, as an ordinary citizen in this perplexing war-torn country, and specifically in San’a. 

UAE implicated in crimes & sanctions violations in Yemen

The Just Security forum urges the United States to reconsider its support to the United Arab Emirates’ operations in Yemen due to concerns over apparent violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. Rahma A. Hussein, a human rights lawyer and writer for Just Security, states in her recent report that the UAE’s actions in Yemen raise important legal and policy concerns. Another piece by Ryan Goodman and Alex Moorehead points that the UAE military and the UAE-backed forces have potentially violated international humanitarian law through enforced disappearances and the mistreatment of detainees.

Short-Term Economic Recommendations for Yemen

On June 5th, the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies published a policy brief containing a series of short-term recommendations as a part of their larger “Rethinking Yemen’s Economy” initiative. The Sana’a Center based the brief on the outcomes of a recent meeting of the Development Champions Forum, a group made up of Yemeni politicians and scholars, during the World Economic Forum in Amman, Jordan. The brief emphasizes the need for a varied international approach focused on stimulating the collapsed Yemeni economy. The recommendations are divided into three categories: the food security crisis, the insecurity of the banking sector, and the absence of basic public services.

Growing support for Senate resolution to block Saudi bomb sale

Next week, the US Senate will vote on Senate Joint Resolution 42, a resolution that blocks the planned sale of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia. Human Rights Watch and the UN Panel of Experts have documented numerous instances of Saudi Arabia targeting civilians in Yemen with US-sold weapons. The Obama administration suspended this sale of precision-guided munitions because of its concerns over Saudi Arabia’s actions in Yemen. S.J.Res 42 seeks to reinstate that suspension. Several organizations and individuals have pledged their support for the resolution, emphasizing the importance of avoiding additional US complicity in a war riddled with violations of international law and promoting the peace process rather than escalating a military campaign that has little chance of success. Below are a number of organizational statements and op-eds making the case for S.J.Res 42.

Congress must investigate military's use of humanitarian logistics networks in Yemen

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Scott Darden, an American citizen who served as Yemen country coordinator for logistics firm Transoceanic Development, maintained secret ties to the United States military during his time in Yemen.

Darden, who was detained for several months by the Houthi militia in 2015, worked on behalf of the New Orleans-based company to manage shipments for humanitarian organizations including UNICEF and ICRC. He also oversaw Transoceanic’s offices in San’a, Aden, and al-Hudaydah. At the same time, he and his employer secretly worked with the American military to assist with logistics for Special Operations units.

41 NGOs to Senate: Block PGM sales to Saudi Arabia. Vote for S.J.Res.42

The YPP, along with 40 other national and local organizations, sent the below letter urging Congress to vote in support of S.J.Res.42 to block the pending $510 million arms sale of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia. Recently, bipartisan members of both the Senate and the House of Representatives introduced joint resolutions of disapproval to block the sale of these weapons due to their repeated use against civilians and civilian infrastructure in Yemen. 

Risks to Gulf states posed by Yemen's civil war: Incentives to invest in reconstruction

A recent report from the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, authored by senior resident scholar Karen Young, discusses the Yemen civil war and its cost for Yemen’s Gulf neighbors, urging Gulf Cooperation Council states to end their contributions to the cycle of violence in Yemen. The report notes that the future cost of the ongoing war for Gulf states may be greater than GCC states anticipate due to the reverberations that civil wars tend to have in neighboring states. The author makes policy suggestions for GCC states that seek to minimize the impact of the war in Yemen both on Yemeni society and on Yemen’s neighbors.

May 30-June 5: Government blocks press access; intra-coalition skirmish in Aden

Tuesday, May 30

Adam Baron of the European Council on Foreign Relations writes about the state of affairs in southern Yemen, and listed three actions that European governments can take to help stabilize Yemen. The first is reaching out to the secessionists in the south of Yemen, and recognizing them as key players in the conflict. The second is to bolster law and order in the city of Aden.Finally, Europe should increase coordination with the Gulf States on both stabilization and mediation efforts.

UN Relief Chief and Mwatana Chair address UNSC meeting on Yemen

Stephen O’Brien, the United Nations Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, delivered a statement to the United Nations Security Council during last Tuesday’s Council meeting on Yemen. O’Brien spoke of the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen, warning that the situation there had become the world’s largest food security crisis and that lack of access to food and clean water created the conditions for the cholera epidemic. While he lauded the United Nations and its partners, along with medical personnel in Yemen, for their work to stem the spread of cholera and other diseases, he criticized the parties to the conflict for putting their own interests above the needs of the Yemeni people, explaining that both lack of access to food and disease are, in the case of Yemen, man-made phenomena that could be avoided if the parties were willing to negotiate an end the conflict.

The dynamics of the Houthi-GPC alliance

We're very pleased to publish the first of two guest posts on the tensions within the Houthi-GPC alliance. The author is an activist based in San'a, who writes anonymously for personal and professional reasons. The views of the author do not necessarily represent those of the YPP.

The intensifying conflict in Yemen has created a complex political situation with overlapping factors imposed by the nature and structure of the conflicting forces within Yemen. We believe that this political situation can only be understood by analyzing the contexts in which these events and reality were born, as well as the reasons behind them. This article presents a perspective on the political situation in Yemen and the role of the conflicting parties within Yemen, particularly in areas under the control of the Houthis.