Feb 27-March 6: US ramps up airstrikes, medical supplies reach Taiz

Monday, February 27, 2017

Foreign policy published an article critiquing the US administration’s approach to the Yemeni civil war. They warn against treating the Houthis as though they are tightly allied with Iran and against greater military involvement in Yemen, stressing that this will likely only strengthen the relationship between the the Houthi movement and Iran.  

Tuesday February 28, 2017

Jamie McGoldrick was accused by the Yemeni government of taking the Houthi side in his position as the UN Humanitarian Coordinator, an accusation which McGoldrick rejects.

Amnesty International published a report on the use of child soldiers by Houthi forces on the front lines of Yemen’s civil war, and other violations of children’s rights in the country.

The Saudi-led coalition conducted airstrikes in Sa’dah and Marib today, while Reuters reports that Yemen’s food reserves are nearly exhausted, with only 2-4 months of food remaining.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

There are reports of Houthi-laid mines in Bab al-Mandab strait.

Oxfam reports on the impact of the US travel ban on people fleeing the countries from which immigration and travel have been blocked.

The humanitarian group Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict urged the United Nations to add the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen to the list of countries and armed groups responsible for violations against children.

US officials stated that the infamous January raid in al-Baydha province yielded valuable information, including intelligence on al-Qaeda’s training methods, targets, and explosive manufacturing.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

AP reports more than 20 US airstrikes carried out today in al-Baydha, allegedly targeting al-Qaeda positions. This is the largest US attack in Yemen since the January raid in the same province that killed at least 25 Yemenis and led Human Rights Watch to call for an investigation. The Washington Post reports that a total number of 25 strikes were conducted in the most recent attacks, as well as ground raids by US Special Operations Forces. US officials deny that these forces conducted raids, contrary to Yemeni reports.

President Trump is considering giving the Pentagon greater authority to conduct raids independently; this is the most recent development in the Trump Administration’s tendency to rely more on the military to conduct national security policy.

Medicins sans Frontieres has been able to resume work in Haydan hospital, located in Sa’dah Governorate. The organization was forced to withdraw from Haydan last August due to the airstrike on Abs hospital.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Another wave of 10 to 15 airstrikes was conducted in Shabwah and Abyan Governorates. There are conflicting reports between locals who say that there were gun battles between US ground troops and AQAP, and US officials who say no troops on the ground were involved in firefights. The Associated Press reports that seven alleged members of AQAP were killed in the recent strikes, which a Yemeni official referred to as “open-ended,” while a Pentagon spokesperson described them as a “sustained operation.”

The brother-in-law of regional AQAP leader Osama Haidar confirmed to NBC that Haidar was killed along with four others last night in Abyan province in an airstrike on the vehicle they were driving.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

More air raids were conducted in southern Yemen overnight in which more civilians were wounded, according to tribal sources in the area. Reuters reports that at least two more people suspected of being al-Qaeda militants were killed by US drone strikes in Yemen today, after more than 30 airstrikes over the last two days according to the US military.

According to al-Arabiya, Arab coalition forces shot down a drone in San’a and have destroyed two weapons caches belonging to the Houthis.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The United Nations was able to deliver much-needed medical supplies to the besieged city of Ta’iz, using a direct route for the first time since the start of the conflict. The supplies included 8 tons of medicine, trauma kits, and pneumonia kits.

Reuters reports that Yemeni troops were attacked by suspected AQAP militants today, killing six Yemeni soldiers. The Associated Press states that five more Yemeni soldiers were killed in Hadramawt province by al-Qaeda as well.

Local authorities in Shabwah province have declared a state of emergency due to the potential for a Cholera outbreak in the area. More than 20 people have fallen ill in the past week, says Aden al-Ghad.

The Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies released its most recent report on the state of affairs in Yemen. It notes that OCHA now has 2.3% of the funding it needs to address the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. War crimes have been committed by all parties to the conflict, Hadi forces captured the city of Mokha but have also suffered from infighting, while AQAP has increased attacks on both pro-Hadi and Houthi targets.

Monday, March 6, 2017

President Trump signed a new version of his executive order banning travelers and immigrants from Yemen and five other countries, and suspending refugee resettlement in the US. The YPP calls on Congress to overturn the order.

According to Reuters, at least one US airstrike was carried out overnight, in addition to several others since Saturday. The location was not specified, however. There were also two separate drone attacks on al-Qaeda targets today by the United States, one of which hit central Baydha province. There were no reports on casualties at this time.