July 13-19: WFP and Houthis near agreement on aid to San'a, protests against Saudi presence in al-Mahrah continue

Saturday, July 13

The Houthi rebels and the World Food Program may have reached an agreement that would allow the resumption of aid deliveries to San’a, which WFP suspended recently due to the Houthis’ obstruction and theft of aid shipments. Meanwhile, representatives from Ansar Allah and the coalition-backed government met as members of the Redeployment Coordination Committee on a UN ship in the Red Sea for talks over the weekend. The body was established by the UN and chaired by Danish Lieutenant-General Michael Lollesgaard, head of the UN mission for Hudaydah. 

Independent journalist Baseem al-Jenani tweeted that the Houthis arrived late to the joint meeting on implementation of the Stockholm Agreements, held on a ship off the coast of Hudaydah.

The United Nations human rights office reported that a Houthi court sentenced 30 academics, students, and politicians "critical of the Houthis" to death, adding that "credible" allegations show many were tortured during their detentions. These charges appear to have been "politically motivated," announced spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani last week.

Sunday, July 14

Aden al-Ghad reports that Houthi militias have closed 20 private schools in San’a. The article states that the Houthis also imposed high fees on the schools in order to allow them to continue operating, and notes that control of the educational system is a key aspect of the Houthis’ strategy in areas under their governance.

Monday, July 15

According to al-Masdar Online, protests over electricity shortages blocked the main streets today in the city of Mukalla, in Hadhramawt.

Tuesday, July 16

Mwatana for Human Rights released a notable report Tuesday that declared civilians have sustained the most significant impacts of the Yemeni crisis. Humanitarian aid blockage has prevented civilians from moving through the country freely and has caused a severe famine. Mwatana has reported on 74 cases of obstructing aid or access, largely blaming the Houthis.

Al-Mahrah post tweeted that the Sons of al-Mahrah, organizers of a peaceful protest against the Saudi military presence in Yemen’s eastern-most governorate, expressed their condemnation of a recent government statement on the situation in the governorate, saying it was misrepresentative.

Southern news outlet Aden al-Ghad reports clashes between southern forces and Houthi militias in the northern part of al-Dhali’ province.

Al-Masdar Online reports that local security forces managed to repel a group of gunmen attempting to seize territory in western Aden. 

Wednesday July 17

Mareb Press reports that the Houthis attacked a residential neighborhood in the city of Ma’rib with rockets today. Several buildings were damaged but no one was injured, according to local sources.

Al-Masdar Online reports on this week’s protests in al-Mahrah governorate over Saudi military presence in the area. According to the article, the protesters demand that Saudi Arabia withdraw militarily from the area and that governor Rajih Bakreet be removed, citing corruption as well as neglect of public services. Government sources, meanwhile, accuse the protesters of serving Houthi interests in al-Mahrah.

The US House of Representatives passed a series of measures that would block billions of dollars’ worth of American weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The passage sets President Trump up for a third veto on such measures, but it most strongly rebukes the President for his circumvention of Congress to help Persian Gulf allies prosecute a disastrous war in Yemen.

Thursday, July 18

United Nations humanitarian aid chief Mark Lowcock criticized Saudi Arabia and the UAE for paying only a “modest proportion” of the hundreds of millions of dollars they pledged months ago toward humanitarian appeal for Yemen. Riyadh and Abu Dhabi both pledged $750 million at a $4 billion fundraising event in February, but KSA so far has paid only $121.7 million and the UAE about $195 million.

Al-Mahrah Post tweeted that the brother of journalist Yahya al-Siwari was kidnapped in al-Ghita, al-Mahrah Governorate.

Al-Masdar Online reports that the Houthis executed a boy at a checkpoint east of Ta’iz, whose age was not specified, accusing him of being affiliated with Islamic State. 

Friday, July 19

The Security Council heard today that while the ceasefire in al-Hudaydah is holding, faster progress is needed to fully implement the 2018 Stockholm Agreements between the government and Ansar Allah. Delegates including Mark Lowlock and David Beasley implored parties to rapidly implement the Stockholm Agreement in full. They also called for the death sentences in San’a to be revoked, condemned Houthi attacks into Saudi Arabia, and appealed to member states to follow through on their pledges to aid humanitarian response projects.