According to a report by the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies, US military assistance and counterterrorism policies in Yemen have destabilized the country and produced effects counter to US interests. US military aid to the Yemeni government, under both President Saleh and President Hadi, has allowed the presidents to undemocratically consolidate power through appointing family members and allies to military positions. It has also contributed to the current war in Yemen; the Houthi-Saleh alliance use weapons that the US gave to Yemen previously, and counterterrorism military aid to the government is often used to maintain the government’s fight against the Houthis. Meanwhile, counterterrorism efforts against AQAP are undermined by the continuing chaos of the war and by the government’s prioritization of the fight against the Houthis which, at times, leads to cooperation between the government and AQAP.
Monday, August 7
The State Department released a report on terrorism in Yemen, which argued that the ongoing civil war benefits al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Read more here.
Science News published an article describing the work of Rowa Mohammed Assayaghi, a medical microbiologist at San’a University, in combating the spread of cholera in Yemen.
Deep Root has published its Yemen Trend report for the month of July. The report focused on three components of the Yemeni crisis. The worsening cholera epidemic, the political turmoil and the ongoing military conflict.
Jacqueline Hazelton published a report in Lawfare magazine examining the merits of America's use of armed drones through the lens of the American grand strategy of restraint. The study is comprehensive, however it must be noted that due to the secrecy surrounding drone programs and the varying contexts in which drone strikes are carried out, it is difficult to empirically attribute public discontent and radicalization to drone strikes. While this is a limitation of study it is also Hazelton’s chief criticism of the US’ drone program. She argues that:
Monday, July 31
Yemen expert Peter Salisbury penned an article for Chatham House warning that the country’s war economy, in which President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, militia leaders, and others have stakes, is undermining efforts toward a diplomatic solution to the ongoing civil war. Read more here.
Tuesday, August 1
Reuters reported that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps has begun using a new route to transport weapons to the Houthis. The route, which was selected in order to evade the blockade on Yemen, reportedly runs through Kuwaiti waters. The Kuwaiti foreign minister denied the report.
An article in the Washington Post analyzed the complicated relationship between the US and the UAE. The UAE’s desire for influence has driven it to enhance its international credibility by building up a sophisticated, capable military and increasing its involvement in conflicts. Much of the time, the UAE sides with the US: it leads in the fight against AQAP in Yemen and it has contributed troops in Western-backed conflicts such as in Somalia or Afghanistan. However, the UAE’s support for autocrats, its efforts in resisting peace, and its alleged illegal actions in conflict zones that risk US culpability have undermined the alliance between it and the US.
n his book The Army and Political Power in the Arab Context: Theoretical Problems, Azmi Bishara discusses Arab politics through the lense of the region's historical context . The writer examines these problems in the context of several Arab countries, including Yemen. Where he analyzes the relationship between society, the military and politics. His analysis is the basis for this examination of the de facto authorities that currently control Yemen.
In a Chatham House article, Yemen expert Peter Salisbury warns that the flourishing war economy that sustains militia leaders, the Hadi government, and local stakeholders poses a threat to a diplomatic solution. Militia and political leaders fund their war efforts by taxing or establishing monopolies on resources. War has empowered militia leaders on all sides, and a peace process would strip these groups of their main source of authority.
Balkan Insight reports that Saudi Arabia continues to be the top destination for Montenegrin sales of ex-Yugoslav arms, despite an investigation by a prosecutor of organized crime into the end-use of the weapons.
Just Security published an op-ed today by YPP executive director Will Picard, warning of the dangers of a deal currently being negotiated in secret that could return former president Ali Abdullah Saleh to power. Saleh was ousted in late 2011, after a lengthy popular uprising and a schism within the regime. In 2014 he allied himself with the Houthi movement to orchestrate a coup, sparking the ongoing civil war in Yemen. While the UN-led peace process has stalled, it appears that that the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are negotiating with Saleh's party to form a new government and end the Gulf states' military intervention. The new government would reportedly include Saleh's son and other members of the pro-Saleh branch of Yemen's ruling GPC party.
In an article in Just Security over the weekend, Stephen Seche and Eric Pelofsky provided recommendations to US policymakers regarding efforts to restart the peace process in Yemen, based on their meetings this month with Yemeni and Saudi officials in Riyadh. Stephen Seche, a former US ambassador to Yemen and the executive vice president of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, and Eric Pelofsky, a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a former special assistant to the president and senior director for North Africa and Yemen at the National Security Council, warned that “today, there appears to be no viable path to peace in Yemen.” They pointed out several challenges, including internal tension between actors on both major sides of the conflict and Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s refusal to endorse the UN Roadmap for Yemen as a basis for negotiation
The Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) has released a report detailing the impact President Trump’s proposed budget will have on the Middle East and North Africa. Overall, the Trump administration’s budget request for FY18 proposes a 30% cut to foreign affairs funding. The budget is indicative of the Trump administration’s focus on the use of military force, with 80 percent of all foreign aid marked for military assistance. Humanitarian assistance faces a four percent funding cut, even as a number of conflicts spiral out of control and famine and disease ravage nations such as Yemen. The current budget requests only $35 million for Yemen, a nation that is currently dealing with massive food insecurity and the worst cholera crisis in the world. This represents a 37 percent decrease from FY17. According to the report, a decline in spending “may reduce the United States’ ability to respond to Yemen’s growing crisis.”
Search for Common Ground, an organization dedicated to conflict resolution, published a report outlining recommendations for securing peace in Yemen. The current conflict has deepened regional, political, religious, and tribal divisions, and has eroded the capacity of the centralized government to address disputes and needs. In the absence of state control, local organizations, such as civil society groups, have arisen to take responsibility. In order to establish peace and stability in Yemen, the international community must empower local leaders in their dispute resolution and peacebuilding efforts, which will facilitate social cohesion and bridge the divisions that prevent peace.
Last week, UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed announced the details of a plan to effectively remove the governorate of al-Hudaydah from the Yemeni civil war. The plan does far more than propose a ceasefire for the vital port city; it also includes the payment of salaries to civil servants, and spells out the role of the international community. If implemented, the “al-Hudaydah Plan” could serve as a model for a nation-wide peace agreement. The Government of President Hadi and the Government of Egypt have reportedly announced their support for the plan, it is not yet clear whether any of the other warring parties will agree to the plan. Below is the YPP’s English translation of the plan, as presented by the UN Special Envoy to the Arab League.
Yemen’s cholera cases have passed the 300,000 mark, according to the ICRC. Though the daily growth rate of the epidemic has halved, outbreaks in new areas have spread rapidly. Yemen’s economic collapse means over 30,000 healthcare workers remain unpaid, and the UN has stepped in with “incentive” payments as part of an emergency campaign.
Doctors Without Borders published an article detailing the conditions of a hospital in Abs as it attempts to deal with the cholera epidemic.
A UK high court ruled that arms sales to Saudi Arabia are lawful despite concerns from multiple human rights organizations.
WASHINGTON, DC - Last week, the US House of Representatives passed three amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would provide much-needed transparency into the performance of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen and potentially end US participation in the civil war. The coalition, to which the US has provided arms, refueling, and targeting assistance without congressional authorization, has created a humanitarian disaster in Yemen. The Yemen Peace Project (YPP) applauds the House’s decision and calls on the Senate to also adopt these three provisions.
The United Nations Security Council convened on Wednesday for a meeting to address the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Yemen. United Nations Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien addressed the Council, emphasizing the food security crisis and the cholera outbreak in Yemen. He stressed that the Yemeni health system has collapsed, pointing to the facts that 65% of health facilities in the country have closed and that 30,000 health workers have not received their salaries in nearly a year. He also noted that UNOCHA’s Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan is only 33% funded. Finally, he called for more serious international action to hold the parties to the conflict accountable for violations of international humanitarian law and to demand the opening of the airport in San’a and the protection of the port in al-Hudaydah
The Yemen Peace Project (YPP) calls on Members of Congress to support a National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) amendment that prohibits unconditionally refueling the Saudi-led coalition’s warplanes in northern and western Yemen. The coalition uses these planes to conduct airstrikes targeting civilians and critical infrastructure in Yemen, violating international humanitarian law (IHL) and perpetuating a conflict with no possible military solution. The Saudi-led coalition’s attacks have killed thousands of civilians and left millions in need of humanitarian aid, food assistance, and medical help. The United States cannot continue to aid and abet the coalition’s violations of IHL by refuel coalition warplanes unconditionally. Through this amendment, Congress can provide oversight of and introduce transparency into the process of refueling coalition missions.