March 21-26: Laptop ban on flights, protests on conflict anniversary

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The New York Times reports that both the US and Britain have banned electronic devices larger than a cell phone on flights from 10 Muslim-majority countries.

The United Nations stated that the warring parties in Yemen are responsible for preserving civilian infrastructure and lives. This statement comes in response to the Saudi-led coalition’s calls for UN oversight of the port of Hudaydah after an airstrike on a boat of Somali refugees, reportedly by coalition forces.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The ICRC says that only three to four months remain to avert famine in Yemen and save millions of lives. $300 million in funding is still needed from the international community to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe. Oxfam states that the parties to the conflict in Yemen, as well as those that back them, are knowingly and willfully forcing the country toward the brink of famine.

The International Crisis Group published a list of policy recommendations for the Trump administration related to its anti-terrorism efforts. Primarily, the recommendations emphasize the importance of avoiding pitfalls such as angering local communities, or aggravating other conflicts in the Middle East that could further destabilize the region. They also warn against the neglect of diplomacy and the peace process in combating terrorist groups.

Iran is increasing its support for the Houthi-Saleh alliance, which includes advanced weapons as well as military advisors, according to Reuters. Such an increase is in line with the warnings that experts have issued that increased US military involvement in Yemen and support for the Saudi-led coalition could drive the Houthis closer to Iran.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Intercept weighed in today on the disparity between US funding for weapons for Saudi Arabia and funding for USAID and other humanitarian efforts. Aid officials are urging the US Congress to provide more aid funding to Yemen, in the wake of the Trump administration’s budget proposal which would cut USAID funding by 28% overall.

The United Nations Population Fund released an article on the toll on women and girls of Yemen’s war. While the conflict deeply impacts the entire Yemeni population, women and girls often pay the highest price, the article states, with one of the highest maternal death rates in the world and only 35% of health facilities able to provide maternal services or newborn care.

Kuwait, in the meantime, has launched a program through the Yemeni-Kuwaiti Relief Agency to provide $500,000 worth of water projects in Yemen.

Medecins Sans Frontieres announced its withdrawal from al-Thawra hospital in Ibb.

The Economist calls the Yemen war “a study in futility and self-harm” and emphasizes that a wartime economy that has replaced Yemen’s formal economy, leaving those who benefit from this new economic system uninterested in conflict resolution. The article is also critical of Saudi Arabia’s insistence on attempting to defeat the Houthis in Yemen, noting that this approach has only worsened the threat that Iran poses.

Reuters reports on the decline of the trade routes through the ports of Hudaydah and Salif, which have been used for centuries, and how this intensifies the food crisis in Yemen. Yemen relies on imports for 90% of its food, and the conflict near these ports has exacerbated the already-high levels of food insecurity in the country.

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Intercept released a report voicing criticism of reporting that echoes the Trump administration’s claims that the “Muslim laptop ban” is based on information from the Yemen raid conducted in January.

The UNHCR reached the city of al-Mokha with humanitarian aid today, delivering non-food assistance to over 3400 individuals. Reuters reports that 100 civilians have been killed per month on average in the war, most by the Saudi coalition, according to the United Nations.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

A pro-Houthi court in San’a sentenced President Hadi and six other officials to death for treason today.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

According to Foreign Policy, the Pentagon is considering increasing spending on military support for the Saudi-led coalition’s campaigns in Yemen. This goes against the advice of many experts on the region, who have repeatedly warned against military support for Saudi Arabia as the primary approach to resolving the war, which may actually strengthen both al-Qaeda’s and Iran’s influence in the country.

UNICEF released a statement today emphasizing the influence of Yemen’s civil war on the country’s children. Over 1500 children have been killed in the conflict, and more than 2450 injured. Nearly half a million children are suffering from malnutrition, worsened by the limitations on humanitarian aid into the country. UNICEF urges working toward an immediate political resolution to the conflict and an end to the violations of children's’ rights. Meanwhile, the Kuwait Red Crescent Society launched a campaign today to raise money for and improve the living conditions of those affected by the war in Yemen.

There were large protests in San’a today, AP reports, marking the second anniversary of the Saudi-led coalition’s involvement in the civil war. The protests were led by supporters of the Houthi-Saleh alliance.

Stephen Snyder of PRI’s “The World” released a set of recordings from Yemeni citizens today that illustrate the experiences of Yemenis who have managed to survive the war.