May 1-7: Yemen-UAE tensions build over Soqotra, controversy in US over role of Green Berets


Pro-government sources say that the Yemeni National Army has regained control of all official government buildings in the city of Ta’iz, including military and financial offices. According to the Middle East Monitor, these buildings were previously controlled by Salafist groups led by Abu al-Abbas.

UAE Foreign Minister Dr. Anwar Gargash met with UN special envoy Martin Griffiths. During the meeting, they discussed political developments in Yemen and ongoing efforts to reach a peaceful resolution to the crisis in accord with legitimate international referents, according to the UAE state press.

The US Department of State issued a statement confirming its continued support to the Central Bank of Yemen and applauded the efforts by the bank’s management to improve their technical capacity.


The United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) released their weekly Yemen Humanitarian Update, highlighting that over 130,000 Yemenis have been displaced in Hudaydah and Ta’iz Governorates since December 2017 alone.

The United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) issued a “Request for Information” (RFI) for third-parties that would have the capability to undertake aircraft and helicopter-based personnel recovery, casualty evacuation, and medical evacuation in Yemen. This could be a indication that US ground raids in Yemen are likely to increase.  

Afrah Nasser highlights the inherent contradictions that exist in humanitarian assistance to Yemen; most of the major humanitarian donor countries, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and the US, are also support ongoing military operations that increase humanitarian needs.

The UAE is increasing their presence on Soqotra Island, resulting in local resentment. The Emirati government is currently at odds with President Hadi as it continues to expand its presence in southern Yemen.  


In late 2017, a dozen US Army Green Berets were deployed to the Saudi Arabia-Yemen border to locate and destroy caches of ballistic missiles that Houthi rebels are using to attack Saudi Arabia. This operation contradicts previous statements made by the Pentagon that US support to Saudi Arabia is limited to aircraft refueling, logistics, and intelligence sharing.


The New York Times editorial board argues that the Trump Administration and the Pentagon are misleading the American public regarding US involvement in Yemen. This deception limits the public’s ability to hold the Pentagon accountable for the negative consequences of US policy in Yemen.


As the next rainy season begins, Yemen is bracing for a new major cholera outbreak. Fortunately, humanitarian actors are now better equipped to deal with this type of outbreak.

The situation in Soqotra continues to escalate as the UAE deploys more troops to the island. A Yemeni government official has cited this as an “act of aggression.”


Airstrikes by the Saudi-led Coalition hit the Presidency building in San’a, leaving at least six people dead and thirty wounded. Eyewitnesses say most of those killed were civilians. The Presidency compound is in the middle of one of the city’s busiest neighborhoods.

Two rights groups, Droit Solidarite and Aser, are launching campaigns urging the French government to stop weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.