December 8-14: Houthis and government sign ceasefire, Senate passes S.J.Res.54


The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) survey found that roughly 53% of Yemen’s population is currently experiencing food insecurity at the Phase 3 or “Crisis” level or worse. The survey groups individuals into five phases, from Phase 1, “Minimal” to Phase 5, “Catastrophe.” The percentage of people in phases 3 through 5 is roughly the same in Houthi-controlled San’a Governorate (47%) and in government-controlled Aden (46%).


Speaking at an event in Abu Dhabi, US Assistant Secretary of State Timothy Lenderking said that the US administration “strongly opposed” congressional and public pressure to withdraw support from the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.


In a special feature produced by the New York Times and the Pulitzer Center, journalist Jeffrey Stern traced the path of an American-made bomb from the production line to its final destination, a poor village in northern Yemen.

ACLED released an updated casualty estimate, reporting that “over 60,000 people have been killed in the Yemen War since just 2016.” More than 10% of those killed have been civilians. The report also stated that “November 2018 has been the most violent month since ACLED started tracking violence in Yemen, with 3,058 reported fatalities.” These figures only include deaths caused directly by violence, not by hunger or disease.

The Yemen Data Project released its monthly update on air raids in Yemen, reporting that total air raids had increased by 57% from October (146) to November (230). Al-Hudaydah Governorate “saw the second highest number (103) of air raids* in a single month in the governorate since the beginning of the Saudi/UAE-led coalition air campaign in March 2015.”

Scholar and journalist Mohammed al-Qadhi tweeted that Houthi authorities had purged 117 members of its faculty in an order dated December 2.


At preliminary peace talks in Sweden, Houthi and government representatives reached an agreement to reopen San’a Airport, which the Saudi-led coalition has kept closed since March 2015. Flights to and from San’a will stop at another airport, in government territory, for inspections.

The US Senate voted overwhelmingly to approve a “motion to proceed” on Senate Joint Resolution 54. This motion allows the Senate to vote on the substance of the resolution itself, which, if passed, would direct the president to remove all US armed forces from the conflict in Yemen.


The Yemeni government and the Houthi leadership signed an agreement this morning in Sweden, brokered by the UN special envoy, that includes an exchange of prisoners, a withdrawal of forces from al-Hudaydah, and a loosening of the siege of Ta’iz. This is a substantial step toward a larger peace agreement.

The Senate voted today on Senate Joint Resolution 54, passing the unprecedented War Powers measure 56-41. A companion bill will come to the floor of the House of Representatives in the new year. The Senate also unanimously approved a nonbinding measure expressing support for the peace process in Yemen and holding Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Mohammed bin Salman, responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.


UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths briefed the UN Security Council on the situation and recent agreement in Yemen, calling for the deployment of UN monitors to al-Hudaydah.