November 13-20; US House Says US Military Assistance to the Coalition is Unauthorized; Saudi Blockade Continues


Saudi Arabia announced that the Saudi-led coalition would open the ports controlled by the Hadi government, including Aden, Mokha, and Mukalla. However, the coalition wouldn’t open ports such as al-Hudaydah in Houthi-controlled territory until the UN sends experts to ensure that weapons aren’t being smuggled through them. Leaders of the Houthi organization vowed to retaliate against the Saudi-led coalition over the blockade.


Alireza Nader wrote in a RAND Corporation article that Saudi Arabia and Iran may be heading for war. Although such a war would be destabilizing, recent events such as the power struggle in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia’s retaliation against the Houthi missile could escalate into a military conflict, according to Nader.


The US House of Representatives passed a nonbinding resolution that states that “US military assistance to Saudi Arabia in its war in Yemen” is unauthorized by Congress. However, the resolution doesn’t include any steps to roll back US involvement in Yemen.


The US military conducted three drone strikes against ISIS in the al-Baydha Governorate in Yemen and killed five suspected militants.


Nineteen NGOs submitted a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and NSA Advisor H. R. McMaster asking them to use all diplomatic means to end the Saudi blockade on Yemen and to condemn all attacks on civilians.



Although the House vote on the resolution stating that the US role in Yemen is unauthorized has no practical consequences, Representative Khanna states that it’s an important step, since it’s the first time the House has acknowledged the US role in the war in Yemen.


Saudi Arabia conducted an airstrike on the airport in San’a, destroying the navigation station and putting the entire airport out of service.


Islamic State killed six people in a suicide car bombing in Aden that targeted security forces.


An article in the Independent described how Marib is thriving despite the civil war relative to other parts of Yemen; despite an influx of IDPs, some businesses and schools are thriving and the city hasn’t been hit with the same level of destruction as other major cities.  


The German opposition party criticized the German government for its fivefold increase in arms exports to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Egypt, stating that the government was placing its commercial interests over its strategic interests.



According to Just Security, a recent US strike against AQAP in Yemen that killed two suspected militants could violate the US’ own rules regulating drone strikes. US drone policy states that an operation can only proceed if a capture is impossible and there are no alternatives to lethal force. However, according to the governor of the Marib, where the strike took place, the strike took place in an area where the governor’s security forces could have reached.


An article in The Independent describes the mental and physical costs that civilians endure due to the US’ raids in Yemen, particularly the botched January 2017 raid that left several civilians dead.


An article in Bloomberg detailed the story of Mohammed al-Jabry, a Yemeni who now resides in Jordan. Al-Jabry returned to Yemen so that he could help his grandfather, who was stricken with cancer, leave the country to access life-saving medical care. However, the restrictions on transportation in and out of Yemen prevented al-Jabry from being able to access a plane out of Yemen on time, and his grandfather died.


The US unfroze Yemeni Central Bank funds. The government should now be able to access this cash to pay some salaries.



According to The Guardian, the UK government plays an active part in the humanitarian disaster in Yemen; its arms exports to Saudi Arabia enable them to conduct a devastating bombing campaign in Yemen.


According to the aid group Save the Children, 130 children die in Yemen every day due to disease or starvation, and 150,000 malnourished children are at risk of death in the coming months if the blockade continues.


The UN stated that if the Saudi-led blockade on Yemen continues, Yemen will run out of fuel for its hospitals in less than three weeks and diphtheria vaccines in two weeks.



Djibouti has passed a law that allows Yemenis who have taken refuge from the conflict there to work and live outside of refugee camps. Over 40,000 Yemenis now reside in Djibouti.


Saudi Arabia extracted two French freelance journalists from Yemen, according to France’s foreign ministry.


In an interview with Al Jazeera, Representative Khanna stated that he believes that the US is aiding Saudi Arabia in committing war crimes in Yemen.


An editorial in The Guardian stated that the UK’s diplomatic and military support of Saudi Arabia has made the UK government complicit in the Yemeni humanitarian crisis.


A press release by Amnesty International stated that the UK, France, and the US must stop supplying arms to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. Otherwise, they risk complicity in the coalition’s human rights violations and war crimes.


Because of the Saudi-led blockade, three cities in Yemen, Ta’iz, Sa’adah, and al-Hudaydah, have run out of clean water because they no longer have the fuel needed for pumping and sanitation.


UNICEF’s representative in Yemen stated that Yemen is one of the most dangerous places on earth for children because children there face starvation and infectious diseases.


Canada is set to vote on a bill that will sign Canada on to the Arms Trade Treaty. However, according to Huffington Post, the bill doesn’t go far enough; it exempts exports to the US from strict monitoring requirements and lacks an enforcement mechanism. In the light of Canadian arms exports to Saudi Arabia, the Canadian government should accede in full to the ATT.


Nathalie Weizmann writes in Just Security that international law is meant to prevent humanitarian disasters like Yemen’s; it prohibits using starvation as a method of warfare, prohibits attacking civilian assets, and gives other states a duty to protect IHL against violations by its own forces and forces of other countries.


Scott Paul writes in Just Security that Saudi Arabia’s blockade on Yemen has condemned thousands to death, as it prevents the distribution of humanitarian aid to millions of people who desperately need it.



Doctors Without Borders stated that it can’t deliver life-saving humanitarian aid to Yemen because the Saudi-led coalition hasn’t authorized its flight from Djibouti to San’a.



CBS News reported on how the Saudi-led coalition barred its reporters from accessing Yemen to report on the humanitarian crisis.



The SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties documented at least 716 cases of human rights violations in Yemen last month. It attributed around 500 of the cases to the Houthis and at least 100 to the Saudi-led coalition. The violations include extrajudicial killings, assaults, arbitrary detentions, forced displacements, torture, and violations of press freedom.