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.