JULY 7 - JULY 16: PAUSE IN HUDAYDAH OFFENSIVE CONTINUES TO ALLOW TIME FOR NEGOTIATIONS

07/07

Hasan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah, strengthened his rhetorical support for the Houthis, announcing in his June 29th speech that he wished to be with those fighting on the west coast [AR]. The Iraqi al-Shuhada Brigade has offered to send fighters to the west coast, as well[AR]. Observers say that a small number of Hezbollah advisors are working with the Houthis in San’a and Hudaydah.

The role of women transforms during wartime, AWAM Development Foundation study finds

In May 2018, the Awam Development Foundation, in partnership with Oxfam and the Youth Leadership Development Foundation, produced a report titled The  Impacts of War on the Participation of Women in Civil Society Organizations and Peacebuilding. The study explores the ways in which the war in Yemen is affecting women across various industries and regions. A study team conducted interviews in the San’a, Aden, Hudaydah and Ibb governorates, examining the life of average Yemeni women and their roles, or lack thereof, as peace builders in their communities. The evidence gathered from these interviews culminated in new recommendations intended for both national and international policymakers.

Before 2014: Yemen's Economy Before the War

Yemen has suffered from economic woes since the unification of the North (Yemen Arab Republic) and South (People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen) in 1990. Months after unification, Yemen—then on the UN Security Council—voted against the authorization of use of force against Iraq after the invasion of Kuwait. The vote not only provoked the US and Saudi Arabia to cut off all aid to the new state, it also spurred the expulsion of nearly 750,000 Yemenis from Saudi Arabia, many of whom had worked there for decades, sending remittances to their families still in Yemen.[1] As external funding flowing into the nation trickled to a stop, the 1994 civil war and subsequent political crises decreased investor confidence, racked up reconstruction expenses, and sent Yemen's economy spiraling.

July 2-July 9: UAE extends pause in Hudaydah offensive

7/2

UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash announced an extension of the pause in the Hudaydah offensive, citing its support for UN Special Envoy Martin Griffith’s efforts to broker a deal that would prevent an assault. The parties still seem far apart, however, with the UAE expecting an unconditional withdrawal from the city and the Houthis stating they are negotiating to hand control of the port over to the UN.

The Yemen Peace Project Condemns Department of Homeland Security Refusal to Re-Designate TPS for Yemenis

July 5, 2018 -- Today, United States Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen extended Yemen’s Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, but did not re-designate TPS so that other eligible immigrants from Yemen can apply for its protections. While the Yemen Peace Project is relieved that the administration has refrained from returning an estimated 1,200 Yemenis to a destructive civil war and humanitarian crisis, we condemn the decision to not re-designate, effectively shutting all domestic doors to Yemenis seeking to escape a conflict that the US government has a hand in perpetuating.

Established in the 1990s, TPS offers temporary residency and work permissions to residents of countries experiencing armed conflicts or extraordinary conditions (such as famine or natural disaster) that prevent safe return, renewable for periods up to 18 months. TPS was first granted to Yemen in September 2015, roughly a year after the start of the country’s civil war; it was extended and re-designated in early 2017 due to both the worsening of the civil war and the onset of the country’s complex humanitarian crises. At the same time, however, the Trump administration pushed forward multiple iterations of a travel ban on nationals from Yemen and a number of other Muslim-majority nations. In June 2018, the Supreme Court upheld the third iteration of this Muslim ban on fallacious national security grounds, even as several justices recognized its clear anti-Muslim animus.

The Supreme Court's ruling has placed a sharp limit on the effect that TPS can have for Yemenis attempting to find some respite from conflict. In this context, the refusal to re-designate TPS, paired with its unjustifiably harsh restrictions on refugee resettlement and asylum, means that the administration has effectively shut all doors to Yemenis seeking shelter in a country that, by materially supporting one side of the civil war, contributes to the devastation from which they are leaving. This failure to re-designate has particularly inhuman repercussions for current Yemeni TPS holders. Over the last several months, the YPP has had conversations with multiple TPS recipients who were hoping to reunite with family members living in limbo in Europe, neighboring countries, or Yemen itself. For now, the Muslim ban’s laughable waiver policy notwithstanding, the administration has closed all legal avenues to the reunification of parents and their children, siblings, and spouses.

Given the Trump administration's seemingly systematic revocation of TPS for residents from other countries experiencing armed conflict and humanitarian crises, we recognize that Yemeni TPS holders have fared better than other TPS recipients in the United States. Additionally, the same xenophobic calculus that determined these decisions also tears children from their parents, militarizes borders, and seeks to revoke citizenships. Against this onslaught, only patient, determined organizing among Americans of all backgrounds, done in solidarity with our immigrant neighbors, can shift both the substance of US policy and the political climate which informs it. Even in a time of significant setbacks, we stand ready to continue this work.

Finally, we want to applaud the work of Yemenis, Yemeni-Americans, and domestic advocacy organizations that brought public pressure to bear on the administration and did secure the full 18-month extension for current TPS holders.

June 25-July 1: Hadi pressures Houthis, coalition halts attack on Hudaydah

6/25

Yemeni officials report that coalition airstrikes have killed a family of eight in Amran, north of San’a. An additional twenty were injured in the attacks.

Coalition forces are moving closer to the Hudaydah city center, as fierce fighting has broken out out near Hudaydah University.

The Al Jazeera Listening Post dissects how the US and the UK media are misrepresenting the war in Yemen as a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, rather than a conflict that the two countries are deeply involved in.

YPP calls on Congress & the American people to act after Supreme Court upholds Muslim Ban

Today the US Supreme Court, in a five-to-four decision, upheld President Trump’s executive order preventing individuals from Yemen and several other countries from entering the US. Lower courts previously found that this policy was inspired by anti-Muslim bias. Trump has made numerous public statements making clear his xenophobic and Islamophobic feelings, and his desire to prevent foreign Muslims from entering the US. The Supreme Court’s majority did not dispute these facts today; rather, they found that the latest version of Trump’s “Muslim Ban” sufficiently camouflaged this hatred under the guise of national security. After listing many of the President’s anti-Muslim statements in their opinion today, the Justices then describe the bureaucratic steps the administration took to make its discriminatory policy more palatable, and ultimately conclude that the text of the executive order is “facially neutral.” In other words, the five Republican Justices found that although the President of the United States is a bigot, his lawyers did not include any openly bigoted language in their third revision of an order expressly designed to keep Muslim immigrants out of this country.

National security experts call on Administration to extend TPS for Yemenis

Today, more than 30 former US federal government officials sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Nielsen and Secretary of State Pompeo, urging them to extend and re-designate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Yemen. The full text of their letter is below.

Dear Secretary Nielsen and Secretary Pompeo:

We, the undersigned national security experts, many of whom are former United States officials, have watched Yemen’s ongoing civil war and humanitarian crisis with grave concern. We write to affirm that the country’s ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions, which justified the extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to people from Yemen living in the United States in March 2017, persist. These conditions demand both the extension  of TPS for an estimated 1,200 individuals in the United States and its re-designation for Yemeni immigrants who seek to reside here without fear of deportation and separation from their families. We urge you to take these steps as a small but vital protective measure that neither they nor the United States can do without. 

YPP joins 50 NGOs in calling on administration to extend TPS

WASHINGTON -- Today the YPP and dozens of other local and national organizations sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Nielsen and Secretary of State Pompeo, calling on them to redesignate Yemen for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and to extend TPS for Yemenis in the US. As the letter explains, Yemen first received a TPS designation in September 2015 in response to the war that erupted in 2014. Since the original TPS designation for Yemen and its subsequent extension and redesignation in January 2017, Yemen’s armed conflict and humanitarian crisis have only intensified. 

June 19-24: Fighting continues amid further peace talks

6/19

UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths has left San’a without a peace deal. This was his second visit to the capital in two weeks.

The United Nations reports that 26,000 have been displaced due to fighting in Hudaydah Governorate. Fighting is centered around the airport compound and residential areas to the south of Hudaydah city. Over forty airstrikes have been reported in other areas across the country as well.

NGOs condemn coalition's detention of Mwatana founders

YPP joins 17 other organizations in calling on the Saudi- and UAE-led coalition to immediately release human rights defenders Radhya Almutawakel and Abdulrasheed Alfaqih

The undersigned human rights and civil liberties organizations urge the Saudi and UAE-led coalition to immediately and unconditionally release Radhya Almutawakel and Abdulrasheed Alfaqih, two prominent Yemeni human rights defenders with Mwatana Organization for Human Rights who were detained in Yemen today.  

June 13-18: Hudaydah offensive displaces thousands, Griffiths seeks a last-minute deal

6/14

Civilians are fleeing Hudaydah as the Saudi-led bombardment intensifies near the airport, which lies south of the city.

President Hadi and other government officials arrived in Aden after being in exile for over a year. The trip follows Hadi’s recent visit to the UAE.

More than six months after his assassination, a video of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh recorded hours before his death has been released. In the video, Saleh gives his last speech, criticizing the Houthis and blaming Yemen’s crisis on them.  Saleh calls on all Yemenis to revolt and join the fight against the Houthis. The speech was broadcast to coincide with the start of the Hudaydah ground offensive, part of which is being led by Saleh’s nephew, Tariq.

6/16

Civilians continue to evacuate the districts surrounding Hudaydah’s airport as coalition forces move through the area.

The UN special envoy for Yemen arrived in San’a for crisis talks on Hudaydah.  Houthi officials deny the government’s claim that coalition forces have captured the airport.

6/18

The Houthis have responded to Saudi airstrikes by launching drone attacks in western Yemen.

UAE foreign minister Anwar Gargash called for an unconditional withdrawal by the Houthis from Hudaydah, potentially undercutting the UN special envoy’s latest efforts in the capital.

June 5-13: Coalition launches Hudaydah assault despite warnings of humanitarian disaster

6/5

Regardless of months of warnings from humanitarian agencies, the UN, and foreign governments, Yemeni forces backed by the UAE are advancing toward the port and city of al-Hudaydah.  

UN Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths held talks with the Houthis to cede Hudaydah Port to the UN. However, the Houthis launched another ballistic missile into Saudi Arabia after his departure, suggesting that things may have gone very poorly.

Griffiths' brief statement upon leaving San'a was optimistic, but had no details.

A UAE-backed Yemeni offensive commanded in part by Tareq Saleh has secured the main coastal road to Hudaydah, advancing roughly 30 miles within less than four days.

YPP Endorses Open Letter to UN Secretary-General António Guterres

The Yemen Peace Project is proud to endorse a letter to UN Secretary-General António Guterres requesting greater scrutiny on the Saudi Arabia-led coalition’s violations of the rights of children in armed conflict. The YPP was one of 24 organizations to ask that Secretary-General Guterres recognise the insufficiency of coalition measures to protect children, and to place the coalition within Section A of Annex 1 of the forthcoming 2018 Annual Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict. This move would explicitly identify the coalition as a party that has not taken measures to protect children.

The Magical Thinking Behind An Attack On Hudaydah

YPP Director of Policy & Advocacy Eric Eikenberry has an op-ed on LobeLog today about the many flaws with the coalition's plan to capture Hudaydah, and with the arguments put forth by the coalition's apologists in Washington.

Over the last several days, the Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post have independently reported that the Trump administration is softening on a potential United Arab Emirates-led assault on Hudaydah, Yemen’s largest port and a major logistics hub for the international response to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. International humanitarian NGOsUN agencies, and even the US government have repeatedly stated that an attack on Hudaydah could seriously deepen the crisis, precipitating a long-warned-of famine, displacing hundreds of thousands of people, and leading to unconscionable human casualties from direct fighting in and around the city.

May 31-June 4: US weighs support for Hudaydah attack

5/31

Facing a manpower shortage, Houthi militias are reportedly forcing government employees to fight alongside them on the front lines.

Amid several defeats in Sa’dah and Hudaydah, the Houthis have reportedly turned to Oman to help put forward an urgent initiative to reach a political solution to the conflict.

The Yemen Data Project released statistics on civilian casualties resulting from Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in April 2018, finding that the targeting of civilian vehicles intensified while overall air raids decreased by 12% from the monthly average.

On a visit to Marib, the Saudi Ambassador to Yemen announced reconstruction and development projects that include a regional airport. Previous Saudi promises, such as commitments to improve the ports of Aden and Mukalla, have not been honored.

May 21-30: Coalition continues toward Hudaydah as UN officials express concern

5/21

Oxfam’s Scott Paul was featured on an episode of UN Dispatch podcast, explaining the impact of the Saudi-led coalition’s restrictions on shipping on people in southern Yemen.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs released a statement on the situation in Yemen expressing concern about escalating hostilities in the Tihamah coastal region.

An Update On Our 2018 Arwa Fellows

An Update On Our 2018 Arwa Fellows

Back in December we selected three extraordinary women for our inaugural cohort of the Arwa Fellowship. These women are on their final stretch in completing their degrees and are preparing to become civil society leaders. Here’s a look at what two of our fellows, Haifa and Reem, are doing in hopes of someday bettering their communities:

May 15-20: Intense Fighting in al-Hudaydah; UN Envoy Works Toward Peace Negotiations

5/15

UK Aid just completed the first phase of a cholera vaccination campaign in five districts around Aden. The upcoming rainy season increases the risk of cholera, but these vaccines are expected to protect 455,000 people.

A US airstrike reportedly killed three alleged al-Qaeda agents in the southern province of Shabwa.