June 19-25: HRW reveals torture of Yemenis in UAE-run prisons

Monday, June 19

Abdul-Raqib Saif Fath, Yemen’s minister of local administration, stated that Houthi forces and their allies have been blocking humanitarian aid from entering Yemen. The minister alleged that Houthi militias have previously burned trucks carrying humanitarian cargo, and in other cases they have allegedly blocked dozens of aid ships and have stolen aid supplies. These actions are regarded as violations of international humanitarian law and raise the concerns of the international community, the minister stressed.

Senator Manchin of West Virginia was one of the five Democrats who voted against the resolution to block the sale of Precision Guided Missiles to Saudi Arabia last week. His primary opponent recently criticized him harshly for voting to arm “terrorists” and hurt civilians in Yemen.

A combination of terror, global conflict, and European uncertainty regarding President Trump has increased defense spending in many countries, according to an article published by Bloomberg.

Tom Malinowski, a former State Department official, spoke with Politico about human rights policy in the Trump administration. Malinowski said that Trump’s criticism of Cuban human rights is hypocritical because of Trump’s high regard for other autocrats, such as his unconditional support for Saudi Arabia which ignores many human rights abuses. The US shift to stepping away from speaking out on behalf of human rights is dangerous, in his opinion.

Tuesday, June 20

Cholera has killed 1,146 Yemenis in the past two months and continues to spread throughout Yemen. Yemen’s health institutions, according to the UN, are incapable of containing the outbreak as they have been significantly weakened by the civil war.

Huffington Post writes that Trump’s close relationship with Saudi Arabia could destabilize the Middle East. Other Middle Eastern countries worry that Trump’s encouragement of Saudi Arabia’s decisions, such as isolating Qatar, could encourage further aggression, especially toward Iran. One example of this aggression is in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia falsely claims the Houthis are running a proxy campaign for Iran.

Clashes in Aden between Yemen security forces and unidentified gunmen killed 6 civilians in the city of Aden.

Critical Threats wrote a piece analyzing AQAP’s base in Yemen: AQAP has recently been focusing on local operations to expand its base. AQAP is participating in the fight for Ta’iz, and is controlling institutions and even neighborhoods that it has seized therez. The piece recommends that the US change the conditions of the war, the sectarian divisions, lawlessness, and corruption that have allowed AQAP to flourish.

Wednesday, June 21

The Sudanese government has agreed to represent the interests of the Yemeni government in Qatar. This comes hours after the Yemeni ambassador to Qatar was expelled.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman named his son Mohammed bin Salman to be his successor. Bin Salman has led the coalition’s  intervention in Yemen and has released aggressive statements toward Iran.

President Trump doesn’t have a strategy in the Middle East besides flooding it with arms sales, according to a BBC analysis.  

Thursday, June 22

The Wire reports that conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Yemen have accounted for half of the world's civilian deaths in recent years. The conflicts have also increased the the world’s migration levels and left many displaced, said the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Middle East Eye is reporting on a number of informal detention centers in the south of Yemen that are being run by the UAE. Both the Associated Press and Human Rights Watch have issued reports detailing the prevalence of torture in these centers and the possible involvement of US personnel in the detention, interrogation, and abuse of Yemeni prisoners..

The Trump administration’s partnership with Saudi Arabia may force the US into conflicts or put the US in a difficult position because of Saudi Arabia’s misguided foreign policy, according to ex-CIA analyst Raul R. Pillar.  

Mohammed bin Salman’s rise to crown prince may devastate Yemen further, as he is responsible for leading the the war there and turning the conflict into a regional crisis. He decided to actively engage in the conflict with airstrikes.

The US military claims to have killed an AQAP leader and two other militants in an airstrike in Shabwa Governorate. The killed AQAP leader was ‘’planning and leading efforts to exacerbate instability in southern Yemen’’, the military said.

Saudi Arabia is the top non-US destination for Canadian arms exports. Human rights groups in Canada are fighting to halt a sale of $14.8 billion of light armored vehicles to the Saudis.

Friday, June 23

US Senators John McCain and Jack Reed, the leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee, sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis demanding that the Department of Defense investigate claims that UAE-affiliated forces have tortured Yemeni detainees in southern Yemen, and that US forces may have been involved in detention, interrogation, and abuse.

Saturday, June 24

The Yemeni government announced that it had set up a panel, led by the justice minister, to investigate allegations of abuse in detention facilities in “liberated” parts of the country.

Monday, June 26

The US Supreme Court decided today that it would hear arguments in the fall on the Trump Administration’s executive order banning travel to the US and refugee resettlement from Yemen and five other countries. The Court also partially reversed lower courts’ injunctions against implementation of the travel pan, allowing the government to forbid entry of Yemeni, Somali, Sudanese, Syrian, Iranian, and Libyan nationals who do not have “a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”