We need your help to end this war!

The people of Yemen are trapped in the world’s worst humanitarian emergency. As the Houthi-Saleh alliance and the Saudi-led coalition continue to kill civilians with impunity, and Saudi Arabia maintains an illegal blockade, seven million Yemenis are at risk of starvation, and 17 million don’t know where their next meal will come from. Yemen’s grain supplies will run out in roughly 100 days. The worst cholera epidemic in history continues to rage, alongside other deadly diseases. And this entire disaster is man-made. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and the United States are deliberately starving Yemen.

Humanitarian aid alone can’t solve this crisis. As the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Yemen said earlier this year, the only way to prevent widespread famine “is for weapons to fall silent across the country and for the parties to the conflict to return to the negotiating table.” And that will only happen when the United States withdraws its military support for the Saudis and their allies and pressures them to make peace.

To end the humanitarian suffering, we have to end the war. And to end the war, we need to end America’s participation in it. Help us end it today!

Congress Establishes Oversight Over US Role in Yemen

On November 14, the House passed the conference bill of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018. The finalized bill includes two provisions led by Congressman Ted Lieu that provide much-needed congressional oversight over the US’ role in Yemen, seeking to limit US participation in the war. The YPP applauds the passage of these provisions and thanks Representative Lieu for his tireless efforts to rein in US military involvement in Yemen’s civil war.

November 6-13; Coalition Institutes Full Blockade on Yemen, Exacerbates Humanitarian Crisis

11/6

In a phone call on Saturday, President Trump and King Salman discussed the attempted Houthi missile attack on the Riyadh airport, and Trump stated that he supported selling more military equipment to Saudi Arabia.

HRL and IHL Violations - October 2017

HOUTHI-SALEH ALLIANCE

Najran, Saudi Arabia

On October 27, 2017, Houthi forces fired a ballistic missile towards civilian populations in the Saudi village of Najran. This incident violates Customary IHL Chapter 3 and Chapter 6.

San’a Governorate

On October 22, 2017, the bicentenary of the birth of Baha’u’llah, Houthi authorities raided a Baha’i home and arrested a local Baha’i. This incident violates Customary IHL Rule 88.

The Houthis have been accused of severe, on-going torture within their Habra prison. This incident violates Customary IHL Chapter 37 and Chapter 90.

YEMENI GOVERNMENT AND SAUDI-LED COALITION

Ports on the Red Sea

The Saudi-led coalition maintains a de facto blockade of Yemen’s ports on the Red Sea, which has blocked essential aid from entering the country. The denial of humanitarian relief to civilians in need violates customary IHL Rule 55.

Governor of Ta'iz: Lack of Funds Exacerbates Deteriorating Economic and Security Situation

The governor of Ta’iz, Ali al-Mamari, recently described the economic and military conditions of Ta’iz in an interview with Farea al-Muslimi of the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies. The Houthis stormed Ta’iz in 2015, and fighting between Houthi-Saleh forces and local resistance groups supported by the Hadi government and the Saudi-led coalition has continued since. The Houthis control Ta’iz’s industrial areas of major economic activity, and in order to keep control of these revenue-generating areas, the Houthis blockade and shell Ta’iz. Al-Mamari details how the central government, particularly the Central Bank of Yemen, neglects Ta’iz - and how the lack of funds contributes to the deteriorating security, education, and public health situation.

November 1-6: Coalition bombs market, Saudis blame Iran for Houthi missile

11/1

The BBC reports that a coalition airstrike in Sa'dah killed approximately 26 people. The strike targeted a crowded market of civilians, including children.  

The BBC reports that a ballistic missile fired from Yemen was intercepted near Riyadh. No casualties were reported.

Joint Statement on House Leadership's Decision to De-privilege H.Con.Res.81

On November 1, the House leadership removed the "privileged" status of H.Con.Res.81, the Khanna-Massie-Pocan-Jones resolution invoking the War Powers Resolution to end unauthorized U.S. participation in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. That privileged status, as mandated by the War Powers Resolution, would have guaranteed H.Con.Res.81 a floor vote. It is now expected that this resolution will not get a vote on the House floor this month.

October 23-31: Widespread Use of Child Soldiers in Yemen

A new report from the Congressional Research Service shows that the Trump administration has relaxed government standards for arms sales to countries with dubious human rights records. A recent arms sale to Saudi Arabia, despite the country’s role in Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, is one example of the Trump administration’s willingness to ignore human rights concerns.

Congress Must End US Involvement in Yemen's War

Today the Yemen Peace Project (YPP), along with 64 other organizations, sent a letter to the United States House of Representatives to express their support for House Concurrent Resolution 81. The Resolution directs the President of the United States to end US military involvement in Yemen’s civil war, pursuant to the War Powers Resolution. Currently, the United States provides logistical, technical, and advisory military support to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen without authorization from Congress. The coalition has perpetrated war crimes, targeted civilians repeatedly using US-sold weapons, and created the conditions necessary for Yemen to become the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. Ending the United States military role in the conflict is essential to ending the notion that the coalition can win this war in the battlefield and push for peace.

Trump's New Iran Policy is Misguided

A policy analysis by Jay Solomon of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy describes how President Trump places Yemen “front and center” in his new strategy to counter Iran. The Trump administration’s plan focuses on limiting Iran’s regional influence, which it exerts by providing weapons and training to militias in other countries. Regarding Yemen, Trump is concerned about Iranian weapon transfers to the Houthis, the increasing danger the Houthis pose to neighboring countries, and Iran’s ability to threaten energy trade routes in the Red Sea. Since the Houthis have already fired missiles into Saudi Arabia, Trump views the Houthi threat as imminent, and his plan to counter the group includes further assisting the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, especially through intelligence and logistics support, reducing conditions on arms transfers to the coalition, and guarding the Red Sea against Iranian hostilities more forcefully.

October 17-23: US court blocks travel ban again, US strikes IS camp in Baydha

10/17

A federal judge in Hawaii issued a temporary restraining order preventing the government from implementing the Trump administration’s third attempted travel ban. The decision came just hours before the new policy was due to go into effect.

Atlantic Council: Iran's Fingerprints in Yemen Real or Imagined?

Elisabeth Kendall recently published an issue brief for the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security regarding Iranian involvement in Yemen. She begins by criticizing those who misinterpret the available data to confirm pre-existing biases or conclusions regarding Iranian support for Houthi forces. Kendall states that her goal is to examine the conflict in Yemen in a more neutral manner by eschewing any particular predisposition toward one conclusion or another.

International Crisis Group: Saudi Arabia Must Promote Political Settlement During Houthi-Saleh Tensions

International Crisis Group published a report on October 11, 2017 explaining that the ongoing tensions within the Houthi-Saleh alliance provide the opportunity for Saudi Arabia to resolve the war in Yemen with an inclusive regional initiative. The report suggests that Saudi Arabia should capitalize on this moment of heightened strain in the Houthi-Saleh relationship and promote peace, ending a war that is economically and diplomatically costly for Saudi Arabia itself and disastrous for the Yemenis.

Stimson Center Panel Discussion on US Drone Policy

On October 11, 2017, the Stimson Center and Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Clinic hosted a panel discussion on past US drone practices, recent developments, and future drone policy under the Trump administration. The discussion was moderated by Rachel Stohl, Senior Associate for the Conventional Defense Program at the Stimson Center. The panelists included Waleed Alhariri from the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies, Alex Moorehead from the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, and Luke Hartig from the National Journal’s Network Science Initiative.

UN Special Envoy Statement to the Security Council

On October 10, 2017, the United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen briefed the Security Council on the ongoing War in Yemen. The envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, reported that intense fighting continues on all major fronts including Ta‘iz, Marib, al-Jawf, al-Baydha, Hajjah and Sa‘dah governorates, and the Saudi-Yemen border areas. Civilian casualties also continue to mount due to a disregard for international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict. On August 25, 2017, an airstrike in San‘a killed fourteen civilians while injuring an additional sixteen. Shelling of residential areas by Houthi-Saleh forces also continues. The envoy reported civilian deaths, including eight children, in Ta‘iz from rocket fire.

October 3-9: UN report blacklists coalition & Houthis, US and Yemen claim progress against AQAP

10/3

AP reports that the World Health Organization could have acted faster and sent more vaccines sooner in order to stave off the worst of Yemen’s cholera crisis.

ReliefWeb reports that FAO and the World Bank are launching a $36 million initiative to combat the famine conditions in Yemen, aiding 630,000 and strengthening rural communities.

The Intercept reports that four members of the House of Representatives will force a vote on whether the US should continue its military involvement in Yemen’s war, where it supports the Saudi- and Emirati-led intervention.

Militant Salafism in Ta'iz: Three clusters and many differences

In the paper “The evolution of militant Salafism in Taiz,” activist and scholar Bushra Al-Maqtari argues that the rise of the Houthi movement and the outbreak Yemen’s armed conflict have driven a transformation of Salafi groups in Yemen.  Since the establishment of the first Salafist center in Yemen in the 1980s, most Salafi factions have focused on charity, relief, and intellectual institutions, and have been governed by the Islamic notion of Wali al-Amr that rejected the disobedience to the ruler and distanced the movement from political action

HRL and IHL Violations - September 2017

HOUTHI-SALEH ALLIANCE

Countrywide

The Houthi-Saleh forces continue to prevent essential humanitarian aid from reaching civilians throughout Yemen by blocking its transportation and confiscating it. The Alliance has prevented essential goods, such as fuel, from entering ports under their control. The denial of humanitarian relief to civilians in need violates customary IHL Rule 55.

Ta’iz Governorate

On September 15, three children were killed and nine others were injured during shelling by the Houthi-Saleh alliance in the Ta’iz neighborhoods of Shab Al-Doubba and Souk Al-Samil. This incident, which was corroborated by the ICRC and the UN OHCHR, violates Customary IHL Rule 71.

YEMENI GOVERNMENT AND SAUDI-LED COALITION

Countrywide

The Saudi-led coalition continues to impose restrictions on imports into Yemen, including lifesaving aid and fuel. As reported by Human Rights Watch, the restrictions on imports to Yemen have shut down a critical port, delayed aid and prevented the arrival of essential fuel. A recent analysis by the American Bar Association states that the Trump Administration is violating the Foreign Assistance Act by providing security assistance to states which are blocking the delivery of US humanitarian aid. The denial of humanitarian relief to civilians in need violates customary IHL Rule 55.

September 26-October 1: UNHRC adopts resolution, man killed in UAE prison

9/26

The AP reports that Saudi diplomats, lobbying at the UN Human Rights Council against the creation of a commission of inquiry into war crimes and rights violations in Yemen, has threatened economic consequences for states that support an inquiry.

Quartz reports that UN humanitarian coordinator Jamie McGoldrick sees little hope for Yemen, anticipating that conditions will get even worse due to a lack of political will to end the war. He anticipates the cholera epidemic will continue to spread, while further outbreaks of meningitis, Dengue fever, and other diseases will accompany January’s rainy season.