August 14-27: Civilians killed in Durayhimi, government-UAE tensions ratchet up again


Yemeni journalists on social media reported intense fighting between Houthi and coalition forces in the streets of al-Durayhimi, just south of Hudaydah City. Journalist Baseem al-Jenani reported multiple civilian casualties and heavy damage to residential neighborhoods.


The AP reported that fighting in al-Durayhimi killed at least 13 civilians in 24 hours. Sources also say Houthi shelling killed five civilians in Hajjah, where the Houthis face resistance from some local tribes as well as the coalition.

The AP quoted US officials who confirm that the UAE has paid money to Yemeni tribes to facilitate the withdrawal of AQAP from certain areas. This follows an earlier AP report that detailed the UAE’s practice of accommodating AQAP, and incorporating AQAP members into pro-government forces.

UAE military leaders told The Independent that the Emirati military intends to remain in Yemen for as long as it takes to “crush” AQAP, even after the Houthis are defeated. Many Yemenis believe that the UAE has colonial ambitions in southern Yemen, and its methods in the fight against AQAP have been criticized.


The Guardian covered a new report from Human Rights Watch, which reveals the failings of the Saudi-led coalition’s self-administered “investigations” into airstrikes on civilians. According to the report, the strike in early August that destroyed a school bus full of children was just “one of 50 strikes on civilian vehicles this year.”

UAE proxy forces and the Yemeni government have recruited AQAP “foot soldiers,” according to The Independent. UAE commanders say the recruitment deprives AQAP of manpower.

In a revival of tensions between the Yemeni government and the UAE, a Yemeni official has accused the UAE of supporting an “armed rebellion” on the island of Soqotra.


President Hadi accused the Security Belt and First Brigade forces--units trained and equipped by the UAE--of attacking a graduation ceremony at a pro-government military college in Aden. Hadi announced that he was holding the commanders of those forces responsible, and called for them to be arrested and prosecuted.


Local press reported that President Hadi has been admitted to a hospital in Riyadh due to deteriorating health conditions.


Houthi authorities reportedly prevented a major currency exchange in al-Hudaydah from issuing salary payments to local public servants.

An investigation by CNN revealed that the bomb that killed 40 children on a school bus on August 9 was an American-made 500-lb guided bomb. The US sold bombs like this one to Saudi Arabia under President Obama, and the Trump administration is attempting to arrange an even larger transfer. CNN’s report also showed that the munitions used in several other attacks on civilians were US-made.


US officials announced that AQAP’s “chief bombmaker,” Ibrahim al-Asiri, was killed by a US drone last year. Despite complaints from experts and considerable evidence to the contrary, US authorities have long portrayed al-Asiri as a uniquely-talented craftsman of explosives. As is the case with many high-ranking AQAP members, his death has been erroneously reported before.

The independent Egyptian news site Mada Masr reported on the increasing difficulty faced by Yemenis attempting to obtain visas in Egypt.

According to Al Jazeera, Saudi Arabia is planning to build an oil-exporting port in Yemen’s far eastern governorate of al-Mahrah.

The Independent reported on the struggle to clear hundreds of thousands of landmines from areas across Yemen.


General Joseph Votel will soon step down as commander of US Central Command. He is set to be replaced by Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie. US Special Operations Command is also slated for a change of command.

The Saudi-led coalition claimed that it had killed a Houthi commander and 20 other Houthi fighters in an airstrike in al-Hajjah.

Local press reported that the Houthis released several prisoners of war, including a formerly prominent tribal leader, in a deal brokered by tribal authorities.


Al Jazeera reported on the difficulty of obtaining cancer treatments from Yemen’s devastated healthcare system.

Abu al-Abbas, the al-Qaeda-linked commander of one of the most powerful anti-Houthi military forces in Ta’iz, announced that his forces would withdraw completely from the city, and hand over their positions to the government. The Abu al-Abbas brigades, funded by the UAE, have been fighting other pro-government forces in the city for some time, to the detriment of their mutual efforts against the Houthis.


The commander of US Central Air Command made unusually harsh statements about the need for more transparency in investigations of coalition strikes on civilians.

CNN reported that the US Department of Defense and State Department have warned Saudi Arabia that the US could reduce military assistance unless the coalition takes steps to ensure the protection of civilians. While many members of Congress are working to end US support for the coalition, this is the first time since President Trump took office that warnings like this have come from the executive branch.