The US Supreme Court ruled that President Trump’s travel ban could be fully enforced while challenges to the ban proceed in lower courts. “The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, will be holding arguments on the legality of the ban this week.”
US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis told reporters that the humanitarian situation in Yemen is likely to worsen following Saleh’s assassination. Mattis’ statements were vague, but signalled an increased concern among American officials for the humanitarian crisis.
Houthis reportedly arrested Abdulaziz bin Habtour, the prime minister of the Houthi-GPC government in San’a, along with other GPC ministers.
In a move that surprised nearly everyone, President Trump issued a brief statement calling on Saudi Arabia to end its blockade of Yemen. Some observers interpreted the statement as a reprisal for Saudi Arabia’s criticism of Trump’s announcement declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel.
International Crisis Group released an analysis examining the repercussions of Ali Abdullah Saleh’s assassination. The report concludes that the Houthis have won a short-term military victory in San’a, that Saleh’s party, the GPC, is in disarray, and that the future of the Republican Guard under Saleh’s son Ahmed is in question. ICG evaluates the current prospects for peace talks as “slim to none.”
The Guardian reports that Houthi forces detained more than 40 journalists and staff working for the pro-Saleh TV channel Yemen Today. The Committee to Protect Journalists called for the journalists’ immediate release. The move is part of a wider roundup of suspected Saleh loyalists and GPC officials. According to The Guardian, street fighting in San’a has ceased but residents are preparing for further conflict.
Pro-government media announced that pro-government and coalition forces have entered Hudaydah governorate from the south. This marks the beginning of a new coalition offensive to drive Houthi forces out of the Red Sea coastal region. The offensive’s ultimate goal is the city of Hudaydah and its port. Some pro-Saleh military units in the area are rumored to have joined up with the coalition forces.
Human Rights Watch called on the UN Security Council to place sanctions on Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman and other Saudi leaders. The Saudi blockade of Yemen violates UNSC resolutions, under which Houthi and pro-Saleh leaders have been sanctioned. No sanctions have been applied to anyone on the government or coalition side.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, speaking to press in Paris today, called for a “complete end” to Saudi Arabia’s blockade of Yemen. He also said that Saudi Arabia should “be a bit more measured and a bit more thoughtful” about its actions in Yemen, and its interference in Lebanon.
Following President Trump’s brief statement from Wednesday, the White House Press Secretary issued a longer statement today condemning the Houthis’ campaign of repression in San’a, and accusing Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps of “arming, advising, and enabling the Houthis’ violent actions.” More surprisingly, the statement called on Saudi Arabia to completely end the blockade, and urged all sides to return to the UN-led peace process.
Local officials told the AP that coalition airstrikes in Sa’dah killed at least 23 civilians today. The pace of airstrikes has increased since the Houthis routed pro-Saleh forces and took full control of San’a.
Coalition forces have taken control of the town of al-Khokha, and areas to the north and east of the town, as they continue to advance toward Hudaydah, according to pro-coalition media. The coalition claims it has also cut off a crucial Houthi supply route between Sa’dah and al-Jawf in northern Yemen.
The Houthis have blocked all social media sites, and have reportedly cut off internet service entirely in some parts of the country.
Houthi forces are shelling homes belonging to the Bani Sira’ tribe in Hajjah. The tribe has reportedly opposed Houthi control of the area. Houthi attacks have reportedly killed several civilians, including women and children.
The European Union’s foreign affairs spokesperson released a statement expressing concern about arrests and killings carried out by the Houthis in San’a following Saleh’s assassination. The statement also urges all parties to work toward a political solution.
UAE state press reports that Emirati tanks and mobile artillery are playing a key role in the campaign to take the Red Sea coast.
A pro-coalition news source confirms that an Emirati general is in command of the Hudaydah offensive. The article says that Emirati and Sudanese forces are involved in the campaign, along with Yemeni army elements, members of the pro-Saleh Republican Guard, and Southern Resistance fighters.