In Italy, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), the Yemen-based Mwatana Organization for Human Rights, and the Italian-based Rete Italiana per Il Disarmo jointly filed a criminal complaint in a public prosecutor's office. The complaint names both an Italian arms manufacturer and the Italian government agency that approves arms exports. The organizations want to prove that Italian weapons were used in an illegal airstrike in Yemen and investigate Italy’s criminal liability for the attack.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) held a hearing this morning on US policy in Yemen, the first such hearing in over a year. To help prepare committee members for today’s hearing, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) produced a special report on the situation in Yemen, authored by the CRS’ long-time Yemen specialist, Jeremy Sharp. The report begins with a sober overview of the war in Yemen and a measured assessment of Iran’s limited role as the Houthis’ main foreign supporter, which is a welcome contrast from the rhetoric both the Trump administration and the Saudi-led coalition employ concerning Iran’s involvement. However, Sharp’s analysis, while couched in the voice of objective expertise for which the CRS is known, has several shortcomings that, perhaps unintentionally, obscure the nature of Yemen’s crisis and the context of increasing congressional dissatisfaction over US participation in the conflict.
Last week, the Houthis killed dozens of Sudanese troops in an ambush, which provoked intense fighting between the coalition and the rebel group. The coalition now claims it is close to driving the Houthis completely out of Midi, a district in Hajjah. The Coalition made this same claim in 2016.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) recently released a plan of action to enhance food security in Yemen between 2018 and 2020. Right now, 17.8 million Yemenis are food insecure and 8.4 million are severely food insecure.
As part of a series of articles on international law and the war in Yemen, Just Security recently published a piece by several legal scholars regarding the War Crimes Act and the US federal statute on aiding and abetting. The authors conclude that US government personnel face limited legal risk of prosecution for aiding and abetting violations by the Saudi-led coalition under the War Crimes Act. It would likely be difficult to establish the requisite mens rea--proof of intent--due to the fact that US military support for the Saudi-led coalition is ostensibly accompanied by training on law-of-war compliance and civilian protection. This is debatable, however, because some observers argue that the deep, systemic problems in the Saudi military render it incapable of carrying out independent air operations without violating international humanitarian law principles. The applicability of these federal laws is important because, although other international venues exist for the prosecution of war crimes, the US generally will not allow foreign or international courts to try US officials or military personnel. The article concludes that another case, the participation of US personnel in the torture and abuse of detainees held by the UAE at sites in southern Yemen, would be easier to prosecute. Those US personnel face greater potential liability for violating the War Crimes Act by aiding and abetting UAE crimes.
A coalition airstrike killed 14 civilians and wounded 9 in a residential area in al-Hudaydah. The majority of the victims were women and children trying to escape the heat in their homes. The coalition said these strikes targeted a Houthi military gathering.
In a February report published by the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED), Nadwa Al-Dawsari describes the dynamics of the relationship between Yemeni tribes and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
“If the warring sides care about Yemen, they should make concessions and save us from this plight,” says Suha Salem, a Yemeni woman, in an al-Jazeera article reporting female civilians’ experiences with the war.
A YouGov poll in France showed that 75% of French people want President Macron to suspend arms exports to Saudi Arabia and other countries involved in the Yemeni war.
An International Rescue Committee report found that the Saudi-led coalition is depriving civilians in Yemen of basic healthcare, killing far more than the fighting itself. According to the report, 9.3 million Yemenis are denied life-saving health services, while only half of health facilities in Yemen are operational.
Peter Salisbury warns about growing southern autonomy in a new Chatham House report titled “Yemen’s Southern Powder Keg.” He urges the international community to integrate southern voices into the peace process. He classifies Yemen as a “chaos state,” which means it consists of warring mini-states. One such de-facto state is the south, which has gained greater autonomy as the war has progressed.
Kristine Beckerle, Yemen and UAE researcher at Human Rights Watch, wrote an op-ed in the Huffington Post urging Congress to call out Saudi Arabia for their human rights violations while Mohammed bin Salman is in Washington.
Originally, we at the Yemen Peace Project had decided to refrain from commenting on the third “anniversary” of the Saudi-led coalition’s intervention in Yemen. Mostly this is because we recognize March 26, 2015 as the severe escalation, but not the beginning, of Yemen’s civil war. That dishonor goes to the Houthis and Ali Abdullah Saleh, who took a faltering transitional government hostage by occupying San’a on September 21, 2014.
WASHINGTON - In response to today’s Senate vote on the joint resolution to direct the president to withdraw US armed forces from participating in the Saudi-led coalition’s hostilities in Yemen, the Yemen Peace Project’s director of policy and advocacy, Eric Eikenberry, issued the following statement:
President Hadi has reportedly offered the Chinese government the opportunity to manage the port of Aden.
WHO, UNICEF, and Yemeni organizations have immunized 2.7 million children across the country. Since it was first reported in October 2017, the disease has spread quickly, killing more than 70 people so far.
S.J.Res.54 invokes Congress’ Article I authority to end U.S. military support for the Saudi-led coalition’s intervention in Yemen’s civil war. This document counters superficial arguments some have made to oppose the resolution, demonstrates the larger implications S.J.Res.54 can have for future Congressional oversight over war-making, and explains how the resolution can play a positive role in pushing for an end to the coalition’s the intervention in Yemen.
CNN highlighted the recently introduced Senate Joint Resolution 54 as a long overdue effort to end US support to the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman embarked on a controversial three-day visit to the United Kingdom that was met with widespread protests over the ongoing Saudi military campaign in Yemen. During this visit, UK Prime Minister Theresa May urged the Saudis to allow full humanitarian access in Yemen.
On February 27, 2018, Acting General Counsel of the Department of Defense (DoD) released a letter explaining the legal grounds for the DoD’s opposition to Senate Joint Resolution 54, binding legislation that directs the President to remove US armed forces from unauthorized hostilities in Yemen within 30 days. The DoD letter both misrepresents the content and constitutional basis of S.J.Res.54 and seeks to undermine longstanding congressional war powers more generally. The Yemen Peace Project’s advocacy director, in conjunction with the organization’s legal advisors, has prepared the following response to the DoD letter.
Peter Salisbury outlined why the UN-led peace process in Yemen has been unsuccessful thus far, and what steps Martin Griffiths, a former British diplomat who takes over the post of UN special envoy at the end of this month, can take to be more successful than his predecessors.