March 8-14: Civilian death toll rises in Hajjah, Senate passes war powers bill

Friday, March 8

People are protesting for a fourth day in Aden after Raafat Danbaa, who allegedly witnessed the rape of a seven-year-old boy by UAE-backed fighters, was found dead. The Yemeni government has set up a committee to investigate his death. The UAE has faced numerous accusations of various human rights abuses since taking control of southern Yemen.

In the al-Durayhimi area of Hudaydah, fighting broke out between Houthi and coalition forces. A coalition officer reported that the Houthis prompted the attack and that this was the second attack in 24 hours. Sporadic fighting has taken place since the Stockholm agreement, preventing the successful withdrawal of forces from Hudaydah.

Saudi Arabia shot down a drone that was flying over the kingdom. The Saudi-led coalition accused the Houthis of launching the drone and using it to target civilians.

Sunday, March 10

UNICEF says it has started paying over 136,000 teachers and school staff in Yemen. UNICEF believes an estimated 3.7 million children will benefit from this as 2 million out of 7 million school-aged children are already out of school because of the conflict and economic crisis.

Monday, March 11

Pro-Hadi news source Yemen Now tweeted on the Hadi government’s displeasure with the UN’s perceived silence concerning Houthi attacks on civilians in Hajjah province.

The Women’s Solidarity Network posted a statement on their Facebook page calling for humanitarian action in response to the intensification of conflict in the areas of Yemen not covered by the Stockholm agreements, such as the Kushar district of Hajjah.

There have been over 5,000 cases of child recruitment since the beginning of the conflict, according to a non-government source. The article also states that around 4 million children have been prevented from receiving an education due to the destruction of schools and infrastructure during the conflict.

Al-Masdar Online discusses water access issues in the city of Ta’iz. This article, citing a report from Al Jazeera, states that Houthi forces control the city’s main source of water east of Ta’iz and have been restricting access to water as part of a siege on the city. Meanwhile, qat farmers to the west of Ta’iz require large amounts of water for their fields and use a significant portion of the available water resources, leaving little for the city’s residents.

Aden al-Ghad reports that all communication systems in the Hajur tribal area have been cut off by the Houthis. This action was followed by two days of large-scale destruction of civilian homes in the area, according to journalist Faisal al-Shababi.

Tuesday, March 12

A prominent Yemeni Baha’i leader, Hamed bin Haydara, was sentenced to death in a Houthi court for espionage and apostasy charges. The international community is concerned that the Houthis are purposely targeting the religious minority group. Over 100 Baha’is are being held on false charges.

Twelve children and ten women were killed following Saudi-led airstrikes in Hajjah Governorate, while thirty people were injured. The strikes were intended to target Houthi forces attacking tribal fighters and civilians in the area.

A UN humanitarian agency has stated that Hajjah province has become another flashpoint in the country’s civil war. The district of Kushar in Hajjah province is only 31 miles from the Saudi border. The ongoing fighting has trapped civilians between the warring parties and the number of displaced people has doubled in the past six months.

The UN Security Council is urging Yemen’s warring parties to implement the peace deal in Hudaydah. The five permanent members released a statement saying they were “extremely concerned” that the agreement in Stockholm had not been implemented.

Al-Masdar Online reports that clashes erupted Sunday evening between tribal gunmen and Saudi forces in al-Mahrah province. Tribal elements in the area reportedly oppose the Saudi military presence in the province.

Baseem al-Jenani reports on continued shelling by the Houthis in Hudaydah, which continue to hinder the progress of Stockholm agreement implementations.

Aden 24 reports that Saudi-funded mine removal teams removed over 2,000 mines and pieces of unexploded ordnance in the first week of March.

Wednesday, March 13

The Senate passed S.J.Res.7, a war powers measure to end US military participation in the war in Yemen. The measure will now go to the House, where a similar piece of legislation passed last month. President Trump has promised to veto S.J.Res.7 if it passes the House as expected.

The Yemeni government has accused the Houthis of committing “acts of genocide” against civilians in Hajjah province. Yemen’s information minister states that the Houthis are using heavy weaponry, including ballistic missiles, to target civilian homes. The fighting has persisted for more than a month and thousands of civilians are unable to flee and lack access to basic necessities.

Amnesty International reports that several children have been sexually abused in the city of Ta'iz over the past eight months. Some of these crimes were committed by members of a coalition-backed, pro-Islah militia. The report calls on the Yemeni government to investigate these crimes and to protect the children and their families from militia retaliation.

Thursday, March 14

TeleYemen, Yemen’s largest telecommunications company, has relocated to Aden and is back under the government’s control. TeleYemen was previously headquartered in San’a, which gave the Houthis exclusive rights to provide international communications access. According to the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information, private telecommunications companies operating out of San’a are indirectly financing the Houthis’ war efforts through taxes. Between 2014 and 2017 the Houthis received $2 billion from telecommunication companies. The ministry is taking action to combat this.

Al-Masdar Online discusses the disconnect between the Central Bank of Yemen recognized by the international community, located in government-controlled Aden, and the San’a-based Central Bank that has fallen under Houthi control since their takeover of the city. While the official headquarters of the Central Bank was moved to Aden by the Hadi government in 2016, the San’a-based banking system now controlled by the Houthis continues to function, controlling currency exchange points and ATMs, often under policies which conflict with those instituted by the government in Aden. The article illuminates how this discrepancy contributes to the instability of the Yemeni financial system.

An article from al-Masdar Online discusses a protest today by the Mothers of Abductees Association in Ibb province. The protest was held to draw attention to the practice of blackmailing abductees’ families by Houthi militias in the area.

March 1-7: Fighting in Hajjah continues to escalate, pro- and anti-UAE protests rock Aden and Sey'un

Friday, March 1

Despite the partial ceasefire in al-Hudaydah, five children were killed in an attack in al-Tuhayta District, which is south of Hudaydah City. UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore says that “each day, eight children are killed or injured across 31 active conflict zones in the country.”

British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt began his visit to the peninsula in Oman, meeting with the Houthis’ chief negotiator Mohammed Abdul-Salam. The UK is worried that Saudi Arabia and the UAE will return to a military solution if the Houthis continue to delay implementation of the Stockholm Agreement. This comes after the Houthis failed again to withdraw from Saleef and Ras Isa ports.

Southern Yemen, where there is an ongoing secessionist movement, is not formally represented in the UN-mediated peace deal. A senior figure in the Southern Transitional Council--a popular government-in-waiting that claims to represent the Southern people--states that lack of inclusion could prompt a new conflict. According to Reuters, the STC and Special Envoy Griffiths have met three times, but no concrete progress has come from the meetings.

IHL & HRL VIOLATIONS - FeBRUARY 2019

ANSAR ALLAH/HOUTHI MOVEMENT

Hajjah Governorate

Houthi forces have killed at least 105 civilians from local tribes in Kushar District this past month in targeted attacks and indiscriminate shelling . Civilians are protected from attack by customary IHL rules 3 and 6.

Country-wide

Aid workers report that they are being threatened in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen. One aid worker was detained by Houthi forces in January and released on February 16. Impeding humanitarian aid is a violation of rule 55 section B, and rule 99 forbids the arbitrary deprivation of liberty.

February 22 - March 1: Houthis intensify attacks on Hajjah tribes, Hudaydah progress stalls

Friday, February 22

Yemen’s Ministry of Culture provided the government’s first official account of lost cultural property and artifacts since the war began. The government accuses Houthi rebels of smuggling stolen antiquities out of the country and selling them on the black market. Further, many documents and manuscripts have been destroyed and are missing, and some historical sites are under great threat. The government’s account only places blame on the Houthis for the destruction of Yemen’s cultural heritage, despite the fact that the Saudi-led coalition is known to have damaged or destroyed a number of cultural sites in airstrikes.

UNICEF Yemen reports that over 2 million children in Yemen are now out of school. Many schools across Yemen have been damaged or occupied by armed forces, or used to house displaced people. Teachers--like many civil servants--have gone without salaries for much of the war’s duration.

Earlier this month CNN released a report that stated that Saudi Arabia and The United Arab Emirates had transferred US weapons to unaccountable militias. On Thursday, presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren issued a letter with questions about the suspected arms transfer to acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Warren believes addressing the diversion of US weapons is crucial to holding partners accountable and protecting national security.

Houthi militias attacked the Yahiya tribe in Hajjah province today, according to al-Masdar Online

Saturday, February 23

The UAE backed Security Belt Forces took control of an al-Qaeda training base in Abyan Governorate. Abyan has a reputation as a stronghold for AQAP. On Friday night a military campaign to remove al-Qaeda from Aumaran valley was launched. Thus far, the Security Belt Forces claim to have driven AQAP fighters out of Hadhramawt, large portions of Shabwah, and “90%” of Abyan.

Clashes were reported between Security Belt Forces and al-Qaeda in a number of valleys in al-Mawdiah district, according to southern news outlet Aden al-Ghad.

Sunday, February 24

The Houthis are scheduled to withdraw troops from the ports of Saleef, used for grain, and Ras Isa, an oil terminal, on Monday as the first step in the UN-brokered deal. The second step, Houthi withdrawal from al-Hudaydah Port and a pull-back by coalition forces, will take place at a later time. Successful implementation of the deal is crucial to averting a renewed offensive by UAE-led forces, and guaranteeing commercial and humanitarian access to the ports.

Fighting between the Houthis and Yemeni tribes in Hajjah has intensified. Tribal sources confirm that 45 Houthi fighters have died as a result of the fighting.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and hosts Sweden and Switzerland will convene a pledging conference for the humanitarian response in Yemen. The UN is seeking international support for the 80% of the Yemeni population in need humanitarian assistance. In December the UN asked for $4.2 billion for Yemen. The World Food Program aims to help 12 million people a month in 2019 and will need $1.5 billion.

British Prime Minister Theresa May says the UK will pledge £200 million in aid to Yemen, but that their arms policy toward Saudi Arabia would not change. This comes after recent criticism of Britain’s arms exports to Saudi Arabia.  

Pro-government news site Yemen Now tweeted that a Houthi missile attack in Sa’dah killed and wounded more than 70 civilians.

Monday, February 25

H.J.Res.37 was expected to be considered by the Senate this week. However, Republican leadership has “de-privileged” the resolution, which means that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will not allow a vote on the legislation despite its passage in the House.

Human Rights Watch says that Qatar is threatening to expel a Yemeni national without considering his claim for asylum. The Yemeni national should qualify for asylum under Qatari law. However, for Qatar’s asylum law to go in to effect, a Committee for Political Asylee Affairs needs to be created, but there is no timeline for when this will be.

President Trump announced on Twitter that Danny Burch, and US citizen who had been held hostage in Yemen for 18 months, had been freed with the help of the UAE. Burch worked for the Yemeni Safer oil company at the time he was abducted.

Al-Masdar Online reports that according to human rights sources in Hajjah province, 105 civilians were killed in Houthi attacks on the Hajur tribes in Hajjah over the past month.

Tuesday, February 26

For the first time in six months, UN aid officials have been able to reach the Red Sea Mills, which holds a vital grain supply. Although this is a major breakthrough, the UN needs sustained access, which will come from progress in the implementation of the Stockholm Agreement.

In response to the decision on Monday that deemed H.J.Res.37 “de-privileged,” Senator Bernie Sanders is moving ahead with a plan to discharge S.J.Res.7, the same resolution that passed in the Senate in December. The bill has already been deemed privileged, and is identical to the pre-amendment version of H.J.Res.37. If the resolution can pass in the Senate a second time, House Democrats may still have trouble preventing another round of amendments.

It is believed that thousands of civilians are besieged and more than 100 inhabitants have died as a result of the ongoing fighting between the Houthis and local fighters led by tribal leaders in the Hajur area of Hajjah province. The Houthis have had control of Hajjah since they seized San’a in 2014. Residents in Hajur do not have access to medical treatment, food, or other essentials. The coalition has not intervened directly, but air dropped medicine, food, and weapons for the first time last Tuesday. However, residents say the supplies were only for fighters and that it was not enough to help them win.

The United Nations pledging conference for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen raised $2.6 billion of its $4 billion goal. Saudi Arabia and the UAE, primary actors in the conflict, pledged $500 million each. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated, however, that the humanitarian response will not be enough the end the crisis and that peace negotiations between the warring sides are needed.

Although phase one of the UN-brokered deal to withdraw from Hudaydah was agreed upon, implementation of the deal seems to have stalled. Mistrust remains an obstacle for the successful implementation of the deal.

After the Trump administration failed to meet the deadline invoked by the Magnitsky act, which required a verdict on whether or not the White House believed the Saudi regime has committed human rights violations, a group of US senators introduced legislation that would require the Director of National Intelligence to submit a public report on the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi.

A number of Houthi fighters, including an explosives expert, were killed by the popular resistance movement in al-Bayda province. The popular resistance is a term used to refer to local/tribal forces that have allied with the Hadi government in opposition to the Houthis.

Wednesday, February 27

Journalists have gathered evidence that German weapons are being used by the Saudi-led coalition despite Germany’s ban on arms sales to Saudi Arabia. During a press conference, the spokeswoman for Chancellor Angela Merkel refused to comment on the new reports and only repeated Germany’s current policy on arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

The UN Security Council authorized a one-year extension of the sanctions imposed on entities threatening peace, security, and stability in Yemen by Resolution 2140, which has been in place since February of 2014. The latest resolution also renews the provisions of an arms embargo imposed against the Houthis in 2015.

A feature by Al Jazeera highlighted Yemen’s water scarcity,  as around 20 million Yemenis do not have access to water because of the war and preexisting challenges. Yemenis contend with depleted wells, contaminated water, and inability to access aid. Therefore millions of Yemenis are left spending many hours of the day searching for clean drinking water.

Thursday, February 28

After more than two years, the government has paid the salaries of more than 30,000 state employees in Hudaydah.

British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt will travel to Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE to hold talks on the conflict in Yemen. Hunt plans to meet with both Houthi and coalition officials.

The Houthis blew up thirteen houses in Hajjah province and executed a man in the city of Ta’iz yesterday, according to Aden al-Ghad.

Friday, March 1

Representatives Lieu (D-CA) and Malinowski (D-NJ) have sent a letter to Secretary of State Pompeo, co-signed by 11 other members of Congress, demanding an investigation into reports that Saudi Arabia has recruited and deployed Sudanese children to fight in Yemen. US law prohibits the provision of military assistance to states that recruit minors to fight. The White House generally issues waivers for some countries known to violate international laws on child soldiers, including Yemen, but it has not granted a waiver to Saudi Arabia since the war in Yemen began.

February 15-21: UK House of Lords finds arms sales unlawful, Houthis and government agree on first phase of withdrawals in Hudaydah

Friday, February 15

statement by the Saudi-led coalition states that no significant progress has been made in the implementation of the Stockholm Agreement. The coalition accuses the Houthis of intentionally hindering the implementation of the agreement in order to strengthen their own military capabilities. The coalition also claims that the Houthis have made more than 1,400 ceasefire violations.

It was announced that the Houthis are expected to carry out the execution of Asmaa al-Omeissy on Monday, February 18. In regard to Asmaa al-Omeissy’s case, Amnesty International had previously stated that the Houthis are using the judiciary to settle political scores.

Yemen’s Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani is being criticized for interacting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the US-led summit in Warsaw. The Houthis denounced Yamani and accused him of trying to normalize ties with Israel.

February 8-14: House passes War Powers bill, Houthis clash with tribes in north and south

Friday, February 8

Morocco recalled its ambassador to Saudi Arabia and has withdrawn from the Saudi-led coalition. Saudi Arabia broadcasted a documentary calling Western Sahara “occupied” by Morocco after Morocco’s minister of foreign affairs told Al Jazeera that Morocco’s participation in the Yemen war had changed due to humanitarian reasons. Ties between the two nations have deteriorated since the rise of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the worsening of the conflict in Yemen.

Saudi state TV reports that the Saudi-led coalition has launched a “targeting operation”--an apparent euphemism for airstrikes--in San’a. The target location was allegedly an area for storing and preparing drones and launch vehicles.

The World Health Organization says 35,000 Yemenis have cancer and 11,000 are diagnosed every year. However, cancer clinics have been been closing, and attaining access to healthcare is becoming increasingly difficult.

Saturday, February 9

The Trump administration did not meet the Friday deadline to report to the Senate on whether or not the White House believed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman ordered the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

Sunday, February 10

The Hadi government hopes to escalate its crude oil production to 110,000 barrels per day in 2019, with exports reaching about 75,000 bpd, its oil minister reported. In 2018, Yemen produced an average of 50,000 bpd. The oil minister also reported that Yemen wanted to resume production of liquid natural gas.

Monday, February 11

The UN reports that the grain stored in the Red Sea Mills silos in Hudaydah is at risk of rotting. Aid workers have not had access to the Red Sea Mills facility for five months due to coalition military operations and Houthi landmines, and the urgency of accessing the grain grows every day.

Fighting between government forces and Houthi rebels in Yemen’s southern province of al-Dhali’ has continued for a third day. The fighting was prompted after the Houthis destroyed the house of the tribal sheikh Abdul Jaleel Al Hothaiyfi for allegedly working with the Saudi-led coalition.

Fighting has also escalated in the northern province of Hajjah between the Houthis and the Hajoor tribe, worsening the humanitarian situation there. According to local observers, additional forces from a neighboring tribe have entered that conflict on the side of Hajoor.

The Trump Administration threatened to veto the re-introduction of the war powers resolution, H.J.Res.37, which would end US military support for the Saudi-led coalition, should it pass in both houses of Congress.

Tuesday, February 12

Al-Masdar Online reports that the UAE-backed Abu al-Abbas Brigade, kidnapped a human rights activist, Abu Baker al-Breiky, in Ta’iz governorate and handed him over to UAE forces in Aden. The UAE and its proxies have kidnapped, detained, and tortured hundreds of civilians in southern Yemen since 2015.

Wednesday, February 13

The House of Representatives voted to end American military assistance for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. The House resolution, H.J.Res.37, invokes the 1973 War Powers Act, which gives Congress the ability to restrict military deployments undertaken without a formal declaration of war. The Senate is expected to vote within the next month.  H.J.Res.37 included an amendment introduced by Representative Buck (R-CO) that ensures that the US may continue intelligence collection, analysis, and sharing operations with other nations.

The Trump Administration will not certify to Congress that the Saudi-led coalition is attempting to reduce civilian casualties. Previously the State Department validated that the coalition had made a “good faith effort” to reduce civilian casualties, which allowed the United States to continue refueling operations. The certification, which was clearly at odds with evidence collected by observers on the ground, was a requirement imposed by lawmakers via the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act.

UK Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt says that saving Yemen’s ceasefire has “a shortening window of opportunity.” The US, UK, UAE, and Saudi Arabia will discuss Yemen on the sidelines of a summit in Warsaw, possibly focusing on an initiative to inject money into Yemen’s central bank.

In Riyadh, the Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) concluded in its most recent round of investigations that coalition military operations in Yemen followed procedures that were proper and safe, and acted in accordance with international humanitarian law. JIAT, the coalition’s internal investigation mechanism, has been criticized since the start of the war by experts and human rights groups for whitewashing illegal actions by coalition forces.

Thursday, February 14

Robert Malley, a key advisor on the Middle East under the Obama Administration and now president and CEO of the International Crisis Group, told TRT World that the Obama Administration gave too much support to partner Saudi Arabia and that military support should have been scaled back much sooner. In response to H.J.Res.37, Malley stated that the US needs to find ways to minimize civilian casualties when drawn into conflict.

Fatima Qoba is a displaced 12 year old girl who was carried into a Yemeni malnutrition clinic at 10kg (22 lbs). Fatima’s situation is the latest example of the crisis occurring in Yemen with around 10 million people on the brink of famine. A doctor at the clinic told reporters about the problem of severely malnourished pregnant women who are expected to give birth to underweight children.

Houthi media reports that coalition airstrikes targeted a group of fishermen today in Hudaydah governorate. MSF confirmed that a local hospital treated several fishermen for injuries sustained in the attack.

IHL & HRL VIOLATIONS - JANUARY 2019

ANSAR ALLAH/HOUTHI MOVEMENT

Hajjah Governorate

On January 26, Houthi forces shelled a camp for displaced persons in the Hajjah Governorate, killing eight people wounding thirty. This is a violation of rules 3 and 6, which protect civilians from attack.

San’a Governorate  

Over one hundred members of the Baha’i faith community remain detained by Houthi forces. On January 1, six prominent members were charged with further crimes that critics argue are being used as justification for religious discrimination. The Houthis continue to refuse to exchange the Baha’i detainees in the UN-facilitated prisoner swaps. Rule 99 forbids the arbitrary deprivation of liberty and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief called the persecution of the Baha’i faith a violation of religious liberties

IHL & HRL VIOLATIONS - DECEMBER 2018

ANSAR ALLAH/HOUTHI MOVEMENT

Al-Hudaydah Governorate

Houthi forces continue to place land and sea mines in densely populated areas and in civilian facilities around al-Hudaydah Governorate. This is a violation of rule 22, which requires combatants to take precautions against harming civilians. Rule 81 requires parties to be discriminatory with their placement of landmines, so as not to harm civilians.

Country-wide

In December, the World Food Programme (WFP) discovered that food aid was not reaching civilians in Houthi-controlled territories. Instead, the WFP said the food is being stolen and sold by Houthi elements. This is a violation of rule 55, which forbids interference with access to humanitarian relief.

February 1-7: Coalition illegally diverts US arms to non-state forces, agreement on Hudaydah withdrawal may be near

Friday, February 1

The Daily Beast interviewed two ex-detainees who were held in the UAE’s prisons in southern Yemen. The report indicates that there was American involvement in the torture that occurred in the prisons. The Pentagon acknowledge that US military personnel operate in the prisons, but deny any knowledge of torture or abuse.

European representative for Yemen’s Southern Transitional Council, Ahmed bin Fareed, believes the inclusion of the South is crucial to peace talks. Citing the central role of Southern forces in the fight against the Houthis, Fareed writes that “without genuine inclusion and participation of all key legitimate actors, it is inconceivable that our constituency would accept the terms of a settlement that excludes them.”

Yemenis on social media are calling for justice after the Houthis sentenced Asmaa al-Omeissy and two others to death, in addition to being detained and tortured, because of their alleged association with the coalition. Amnesty International states that the Houthis are using the judiciary to settle political scores.

Sunday, February 3

Al-Masdar Online reports that a civilian was killed by Houthi shelling today in southern Hudaydah governorate. Additionally, two women and two children were killed by Houthi shelling of an IDP camp today in Hajjah governorate; the report states that this is the second attack by the group on this camp.

Monday, February 4

An outbreak of the swine flu was recently detected, with 419 reported cases and 86 deaths so far. Health centers are running out of medicine and many people are unable to access health centers because of the war.

Reporter Fuad Rajeh reports that the Houthis will try Yemen country manager of Saferworld, Awfa Al-Naami, on charges of “harming national security.” Al-Naami was detained on Monday, January 28.

Graham Jones, Labour MP and the most senior parliamentarian overseeing Britain’s arms control regime, stated that NGO’s claims about civilian deaths in Yemen from airstrikes were exaggerated. He also claimed that the primary blame for the war was with Iran and that NGOs misunderstand the region’s problems.

Faculty at Hadhramawt University are protesting because the university has not upheld its  financial obligations. The faculty have previously gone on strike but their demands have thus far been ignored.

Clashes broke out in the Old City of Aden today between pro-government forces and an unspecified group of gunmen, according to Aden al-Ghad.

Tuesday, February 5

Amnesty International accused the United Arab Emirates of supplying unaccountable militias with weapons purchased from western states, including the United States. Some of these militias have ties to AQAP or other extremist groups. The transfer of US arms to third parties violates the end-use agreements mandated by all US arms sales. The YPP raised the issue of illegal arms diversion with State and Defense Department officials in April 2018, but officials denied any knowledge of such practices.

An investigation by CNN found that the Saudi-led coalition has transferred US-manufactured weapons to unaccountable third parties. In doing so, US-manufactured weapons have come into the possession of extremist groups and Iranian-backed rebels. A US defense official confirmed there was an ongoing investigation following CNN’s reports.

Houthi-run news channel al-Masirah says that the Houthi delegation in Amman have proposed a prisoner release of 400 individuals from both parties to the conflict, and are waiting on a response from Riyadh. This proposal comes despite the agreement by both parties to release all prisoners as part of the recent Stockholm Agreements.

In San’a, Mothers of Abductees protested outside the Houthi detention center where a number of civilians are being held. The association claims that the Houthis are denying medical access to the prisoners. They are appealing to the UN and the UN special envoy to secure their release.  

Wednesday, February 6

The House Foreign Affairs Committee voted to send the war powers resolution, H.J.Res.37, to the full chamber of a vote. The resolution would require President Trump to withdraw US forces from the war in Yemen. A companion bill passed the Senate last December, and has been reintroduced in the upper chamber as well. The House Rules Committee will consider the bill shortly; a vote on the House floor is expected within the month.

Government forces reopened  the Dhubab Road, the primary entrance to the city of Ta’iz, after it had been blocked by a rival local militia. Most other entrances into the city are still blocked by Houthi forces, which have maintained a siege on the city since 2015. The Dhubab entrance is crucial to the survival of the city’s inhabitants; it is often closed by militias as part of the ongoing power struggles between anti-Houthi groups.

Oxfam reports that Yemen’s food shortage has left  1.1 million childbearing women malnourished and that there is evidence that child marriage is rising so families can buy food.

According to al-Masdar Online, the real estate sector in Yemen is experiencing an unusual boom, in contrast with other sectors of the Yemeni economy. According to the article, this may be due to a large number of Yemeni expatriates returning from Saudi Arabia, as well as money laundering operations and internal displacement of Yemenis from Houthi-controlled areas to those controlled by the government.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), launched projects to create and support jobs in the Tarim area of Wadi Hadhramawt. KSRelief has been criticized by NGOs in the past for placing restrictions and conditions on aid funding, in violation of UN requirements.

Thursday, February 7

Senators Menendez (D-NJ) and Young (R-IN) announced a new resolution, the “Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act of 2019.” The bill would prohibit arms transfers to Saudi Arabia, prohibit refueling of coalition aircraft, require the US government to present a strategy for ending the war in Yemen, and place sanctions on individuals responsible for blocking humanitarian aid, among other measures.

Following three days of talks, Yemen’s warring parties have reached a preliminary compromise regarding the ceasefire in Hudaydah. The compromise will undergo further consultation, and talks are expected to continue next week in order to finalize details. The UN did not give further information on the agreement.

Negotiations over the UN-sponsored prisoner exchange between the warring parties in Yemen could drag on for months. Both parties have failed to recognize or confirm all of the prisoners named on their opponents’ lists.

Southern news outlet Aden al-Ghad reports that the Houthis are using their all-female auxiliary force, the Zaynabiyat, to abduct women in San’a, a practice which has increased over the past few days.

Al-Masdar Online reports that according to local sources, Houthi gunmen attacked a village in central al-Baydha province, abducting a number of people.


January 25 - February 1: US lawmakers introduce new Yemen bills, Houthi mines keep WFP from accessing grain stockpile in Hudaydah

Friday, January 25

The Center for American Progress announced that it would no longer accept funding from the United Arab Emirates. Funding from the UAE ranged between $500,000 and $1m. This decision came about due to increasing public scrutiny of authoritarian governments’ financial support for think tanks in Washington.

Saturday, January 26

Though most European leaders have been reluctant to join the US-organized summit on confronting Iranian aggression, UK foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has agreed to attend on the condition that the US, UAE, and Saudi Arabia also participate in talks about Yemen during the summit.

Wheat silos in Hudaydah have been damaged in a fire caused by suspected mortar shelling. The World Food Programme needs access to the mills to assess the damage, however, the WFP has not had access since September. The Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition both deny responsibility.

Pro-coalition sources report that Houthi forces shelled an IDP camp in Hajjah, killing seven displaced civilians.

Monday, January 28

The Guardian reported that UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths said that the deadline for the withdrawal  of Houthi troops from Hudaydah had been extended. Griffiths expressed that the timeline for the UN-brokered deal, which included a ceasefire in Hudaydah, the withdrawal of all forces from the governorate’s three ports, and a prisoner exchange, was ambitious. Additionally, the agreed prisoner exchanges have not yet been implemented.

On Monday evening, Gulf News reported that a Houthi bomb attack in al-Mokha killed six civilians and injured 20.

Wednesday, January 30

Reuters reported that the Houthis released a Saudi prisoner, who was repatriated by the ICRC. In response, Saudi Arabia released seven Houthi prisoners.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in Washington announced in a press conference the reintroduction of resolutions invoking the War Powers Act, which would end American military support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. If passed, the legislation will likely prompt a veto from President Donald Trump.

US Representatives Lieu, Yoho, and Malinowski introduced a bill in the House of Representatives to prohibit US refueling support for coalition air missions in Yemen.

A bipartisan group of US senators, some of whom have voted against previous efforts to limit US support for the Saudi-led coalition, introduced the “Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act of 2019” as an amendment (S.A.69) to Senate Resolution 1, a bill on security assistance to Israel and Jordan. The amendment includes a prohibition on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, a prohibition on refueling for coalition air missions, and new sanctions on any party obstructing humanitarian assistance. The amendment also calls on government agencies to review US security assistance to Saudi Arabia and investigate war crimes in Yemen, and imposes sanctions on those responsible for the murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi.

Thursday, January 31

Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television reported that the Saudi-led coalition attacked a storage site for drones east of San’a.

Martin Griffiths concluded his visits to Riyadh, San’a, and Hudaydah, during which he discussed the importance of implementing the Stockholm Agreements with Saudi, Yemeni, and Houthi leaders.

ACLED recorded at least 267 fatalities since 2016 as a result of Houthi-planted mines and IEDs that are largely unmapped. Casualties from mines have gradually increased, and December 2018 and January 2019 were recorded as the deadliest months since ACLED began recording violent events in Yemen. This increase can be attributed to the offensive launched by Emirati-backed forces in Hudaydah. The use of explosive devices is also adversely affecting economic activity by destroying grazing lands and threatening commercial shipping and fishing.

A recent report by the NGO coalition Control Arms UK called for greater oversight and accountability for UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other states involved in conflict. The British government, between 2015 and 2017, authorized 18,107 open license deliveries of arms and dual-purpose equipment to Saudi Arabia; current regulations do not require the UK government to disclose details of what each delivery includes or what its intended use is.

IHL & HRL VIOLATIONS - NOVEMBER 2018

ANSAR ALLAH/HOUTHI MOVEMENT

Al-Hudaydah Governorate

In November, fighting continued between the Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition in Hudaydah City. Houthi fighters fortified their positions around a hospital, a violation of rule 22, which requires combatants to take precautions to protect civilians.

Ta’iz Governorate

The United Nations Security Council released a report stating that the Houthis concealed weapons and fighters around civilians in al-Makha deliberately to avoid attack. This amounts to using civilians as human shields, a violation of IHL rule 97.

IHL & HRL VIOLATIONS - OCTOBER 2018

ANSAR ALLAH/HOUTHI MOVEMENT

San’a Governorate

On October 25, officers from the Houthi-controlled National Security bureau detained eighteen journalists participating in a civil society event in San’a. Fifteen were released shortly thereafter and three were held for twelve hours. Journalists are granted civilian status in IHL by rule 34, and are offered civilian protections. Their detention is a violation of rule 99, which prohibits the arbitrary deprivation of liberty.

Pictures posted on October 26 from Sanhan, a suburb of San’a, appear to support claims that the Houthis are using children as human shields. In addition to rules protecting civilians, this is a violation of rule 135, which provides special protections to children affected by armed conflict, and rule 136, which prohibits the recruitment of child soldiers. Human shields are specifically forbidden under rule 97.

January 19-25: Houthi landmines claim multiple victims, warring parties at standstill in Hudaydah

Saturday, January 19

According to AP, UN experts have found that fuel shipped illegally from Iran is being used by the Houthis to finance their operations.

ReliefWeb published a November 2018 Water, Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH) analysis of the Shara’b al-Salam district of Ta’iz province today. The analysis concludes that 20% of internally displaced persons and 31% of host community households in the district had not been able to meet their water needs in the month prior to the assessment. Furthermore, 76% of IDPs and 70% of host community households in the district reported that leaving garbage in public spaces where it was left uncollected was the most common method of disposal.

Al-Masdar Online reports that two of Ta’iz city’s most wanted individuals were killed today by the Abu al-Abbas Brigades, an armed group with ties to AQAP and the UAE that controls parts of Ta’iz.

Al-Masdar Online tweeted a video in which the mother of activist Zakariya al-Qasim demands to know the fate of her son, who has been imprisoned by UAE forces for approximately one year.

January 12-18: UN Official Fired upon in Hudaydah, Conflict Parties meet in Jordan

Saturday, January 12

According to government sources, 37 civilians were killed and 312 injured by Houthi violations of the Hudaydah ceasefire agreement since it was put in place on December 18. The government is calling on Martin Griffiths to pressure the Houthis into complying with the ceasefire.

Reporter Baseem al-Jenani, meanwhile, tweeted that medical sources say 27 civilians were killed or injured in the city of Hudaydah by Houthi vehicles.

Sunday, January 13

The Guardian reports that the Houthis have threatened to continue drone strikes after the attack on a military base in Lahij province last week.

January 5-11: UN officials report on ceasefire implementation, Houthis launch drone attack on government base

Saturday, January 5

Independent journalist Baseem al-Jenani reported that four factory workers were injured in al-Hudaydah when their factory was shelled. He also described Houthi practices in Hudaydah of repressing local community organizations and NGOs and looting their assets.

Sunday, January 6

President Trump has confirmed that Jamal al-Badawi, one of the al-Qaeda operatives responsible for the 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, was killed in an airstrike in Marib Governorate on January 1.

Monday, January 7

The UN Secretary General's report was released on the implementation of the Stockholm Agreements as of today. The report notes that the Houthis have delayed the opening of key roads, and mutual ceasefire violations have been reported but not verified by the UN. Meanwhile, the Houthis have also failed to issue visas and clearances for UN personnel and equipment intended for Hudaydah. Meetings continue to be held with both sides.

December 27-January 4: Houthis obstruct aid & fail to implement ceasefire terms, coalition recruits Sudanese child soldiers

12/27

An interactive feature in the New York Times illustrates the Saudi-led coalition’s efforts to destroy Yemen’s food-production infrastructure, including airstrikes on farms and fisheries.

12/28

According to an investigative report by the New York Times, Saudi Arabia has recruited thousands of child soldiers from Sudan for the war in Yemen, many of them survivors or victims of the brutal civil war in Darfur. “In interviews, five fighters who have returned from Yemen and another about to depart said that children made up at least 20 percent of their units. Two said children were more than 40 percent.” Under US law, it is illegal for the government to issue arms export licenses or provide military assistance to states that recruit child soldiers.

12/29

Houthi leadership reported that it had removed its forces from the port of al-Hudaydah and handed over control of the port to local administrators and the Coast Guard, as required by the UN-monitored Stockholm Agreements. Government officials, however, said that the Houthis had placed loyalists inside the Coast Guard and local port administration, making their claims of compliance meaningless. “It’s a stage play in which the Houthis handed over the port to their fighters after they put on coast guard uniforms,” Hudaydah’s governor told the AP.

UN officials responsible for monitoring the implementation of the ceasefire in al-Hudaydah reported that the Houthis had failed to remove their forces from the Hudaydah-San’a highway, which has been designated a “humanitarian corridor.”

December 17-21: UNSC bickers over new resolution as Stockholm agreements come into force

12/17

A UN monitoring mission will be sent to al-Hudaydah this week to oversee the fragile ceasefire that was negotiated last week.

The Office of the Special Envoy to Yemen has published the agreement reached on the release and exchange of all prisoners.

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has signalled that Canada will be reconsidering its current arms export agreements with Saudi Arabia, primarily looking to terminate its planned delivery of armored vehicles to Riyadh.

To address its strategic concerns, US needs to back the peace process

In recent weeks, the introduction of legislation in both houses of Congress to invoke the War Powers Resolution, as well as the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, have drawn considerable attention to the US administration’s unwavering support for Saudi Arabia, especially in regards to its involvement in Yemen. Before it was blocked on November 14 (and again in early December), [1] H.Con.Res.138 had garnered the support of over 80 House members. [2] On the other side of the Capitol, Senate Joint Resolution 54 passed with an unprecedented 56 votes in favor of removing the US from hostilities in Yemen. [3]

The proposed legislation has helped to garner public acknowledgement in Congress and the media of how America’s actions have exacerbated Yemen’s humanitarian crisis. However, there remains strong hesitation, primarily among Republicans, to support a full withdrawal of US assistance to the Saudi-led coalition. President Trump appears to be predominantly focused on the importance of maintaining strong relations with Saudi Arabia in order to secure billions of dollars in arms sales, which Trump portrays as a crucial part of the US economy. [4] [5]

December 8-14: Houthis and government sign ceasefire, Senate passes S.J.Res.54

12/8

The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) survey found that roughly 53% of Yemen’s population is currently experiencing food insecurity at the Phase 3 or “Crisis” level or worse. The survey groups individuals into five phases, from Phase 1, “Minimal” to Phase 5, “Catastrophe.” The percentage of people in phases 3 through 5 is roughly the same in Houthi-controlled San’a Governorate (47%) and in government-controlled Aden (46%).

12/9

Speaking at an event in Abu Dhabi, US Assistant Secretary of State Timothy Lenderking said that the US administration “strongly opposed” congressional and public pressure to withdraw support from the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

Senate Passes S.J.Res.54

WASHINGTON--This afternoon, 56 US senators voted in favor of Senate Joint Resolution 54, formally titled “A joint resolution to direct the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress.” The Yemen Peace Project--along with a broad coalition of advocacy organizations and NGOs--has been working to generate support for this measure for more than a year, and we applaud the bipartisan majority that passed the resolution for taking courageous and unprecedented action to end US support for the Saudi-led coalition’s intervention into Yemen’s civil war.