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.

Saturday, March 2

Around 37,000 Yemenis who have fled Yemen’s war are currently in Djibouti. 2,200 Yemenis are are currently registered at the Markazi refugee camp. However, located in the Djiboutian desert, there are many stories of snake, scorpion, and baboon attacks. Al Jazeera found that while Saudi Arabia built new facilities, many Yemenis refuse to be relocated to the new units for political reasons, or because they are too small. The Saudi-build housing units also lack a reliable power supply. Without air conditioning, the metal boxes turn into “ovens” in Djibouti’s extreme heat.

Sunday, March 3

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt reports that the UN-brokered deal that would implement troop withdrawal from Hudaydah “could be dead within weeks” unless outside actors pressure the parties to implement its terms.

Experts say that young girls are being married off for food because of the severity of desperation that the Yemenis are facing. Further, the humanitarian crisis is having a heavy impact specifically on women and girls

Monday, March 4

Jeremy Hunt states that the Houthis must cut ties with Hezbollah in Lebanon to ensure peace in Yemen. The UK believes Iran and Hezbollah have hindered progress in the implementation of the peace process.

The Houthis believe that Jeremy Hunt has misrepresented what was agreed upon during the UN peace talks in Sweden. In regard to Hudaydah, The Houthis deny that handing the port of Hudaydah to a neutral party was agreed upon.

In Hajjah Governorate, several tribes that were previously neutral have joined the fight against the Houthis. A source from one of these tribes indicates that the Houthis are sending more fighters in to crush local resistance.

Tuesday, March 5

Saudi Arabia has begun making payments on its purchase of the Terminal High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) missile system. Saudi Arabia has paid $1 billion as the first installment towards $15 billion, according to the Pentagon.

Protesters supporting the Southern Transitional Council blocked roads and staged demonstrations in Say’un, Hadhramawt, calling for the withdrawal of pro-government forces and their replacement by armed units affiliated with the STC and UAE.

Wednesday, March 6

A report released by the human rights organization Mwatana suggests that American and British bombs have been responsible for killing or injuring around 1,000 civilians. The report includes detailed investigations of 27 coalition airstrikes between April 2015 and April 2018 that were all against civilian targets and involved US- or UK-made ordnance.

Southern leader and Yemeni National Dialogue Conference member Ali al-Bajiri has stated that the UAE is responsible for killing 32 Yemeni clerics. Additionally, he claims that the UAE brought an Islamic State leader from Iraq to Yemen for political purposes.

Yemeni officials have asked the Trump Administration to issue an emergency order that bars the import of Yemeni artifacts without special documentation. This would help prevent the scattering of Yemeni artifacts.

Germany is under pressure to lift their arms ban on Saudi Arabia. However, Germany announced that it would extend its arms ban until the end of March.

Thursday, March 7

In Hajjah, the coalition claimed to have killed 30 Houthi rebels through airstrikes. In addition to air dropping supplies, the coalition says this was the seventh airs strike conducted in the area. Some observers have criticized the coalition for ignoring the Houthis attacks on civilians in Hajjah.

Yemeni expert Baraa Shiban provides a detailed look at the origins and course of the conflict between the Houthis and local tribes in Kushar District of Hajjah (the article mistakenly refers to the district as Hajour, which is the name of the prominent tribe occupying the area). After failing to take the district by force, the Houthis have imposed a total siege on the area, preventing food, medicine, and water from entering. According to Shiban, the situation in Kushar is an important reminder that the Houthis do not enjoy widespread support within the areas they control. International Crisis Group offers an even more in-depth look at the Hajour-Houthi conflict in their latest weekly update.

Al-Masdar reports that street protests and firefights have erupted in Aden following the killing of a soldier by members of the UAE-backed Security Belt Forces. The soldier had reportedly witnessed the rape of a child by pro-UAE forces. Unidentified gunmen clashed with local police and Security Belt Forces in the Mu’alla and al-Mansurah neighborhoods, while protesters closed major roads.

A UNHCR report  showcases that about 100 civilians deaths or injuries occured in a week in 2018. The largest number of casualties occurred near al-Hudaydah.