April 4-10: Government forces position around Hudaydah, UN calls for protection of Port

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Pro-Hadi forces in Yemen are gathering around the Port of Hudaydah and a senior military official reports that “only the timing remains to be decided” of an impending military operation in the area. It is possible that the Saudi-led coalition is waiting for approval from its Western allies before launching the offensive, according to Reuters. The International Rescue Committee, meanwhile, said that an attack on the port would have catastrophic effects on the Yemeni people.  

Meanwhile, CNN reports that US special operations forces have increased ground operations in Yemen in addition to the recent campaign of airstrikes in the country. The ground operations, which have not been publicly acknowledged by the Pentagon, are specifically aimed at covert intelligence gathering on al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), according to CNN.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The World Food Program announced that it has launched a year-long emergency operation in Yemen as of April 1, targeting 9.1 million beneficiaries. The organization has also developed a contingency plan in case of military operations in Hudaydah, and is calling for additional financial support in order to better achieve its goals.

Reuters reports that the United Nations has called on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to protect the port of Hudaydah as the Saudi-led coalition and pro-Hadi government forces plan an assault on the port on the grounds  that it is used by the Houthi-Saleh alliance to smuggle weapons and ammunition into the country. However, it is also relied upon for close to 80 percent of Yemen’s food imports.

Middle East Eye reports that the British government has plans to increase cooperation with Saudi Arabia, including increasing military ties to the Gulf country. These increasing ties are announced despite pressure on the UK to end weapons sales to Saudi Arabia due to the Saudi-led coalition’s responsibility for a large number of civilian casualties in Yemen.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Reuters released a piece today focusing on the implications for efforts against money-laundering of Islamic State’s (IS) military losses in Iraq and Syria. The military setbacks the group has seen in these countries are likely to drive a large number of fighters to Yemen, the news agency says. Many former IS members will likely join AQAP, whose position in Yemen has been strengthened by the civil war. Such changes in the dynamics of these extremist groups will also bring about changes to the finance paradigm that they utilize, and Reuters provides advice to anti-money laundering officials based on how these changes are likely to unfold.

Three alleged members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) were killed in what is suspected to be a US airstrike, according to the Associated Press.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Reuters reports that the ACLU has argued in court that State Department memos show that the most recent version of the travel ban on six Muslim countries is unconstitutional.

According to Sana’a Center’s monthly review of United Nations discussions on Yemen, during March the organization was largely focused on the potential for a military offensive by the Saudi-led coalition on the Port of Hudaydah and the humanitarian repercussions that such a move would have. Sana’a Center notes that there were indications that the Trump administration would support an offensive.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

According to the Associated Press, the son of the former Shah of Iran, Reza Pahlavi, whose father was exiled before the country’s Islamic Revolution, is calling for a parliamentary monarchy in Iran.

According to Al-Arabiya, Houthi militias have drained at least 750 billion Yemeni rials from the state’s General Authority for Insurance and Pensions and are attempting to remove the remaining $200 million from the state treasury.

Monday, April 10, 2017

US lawmakers have expressed concern to the Trump administration over civilian casualties by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, as the administration considers selling precision-guided munitions or “smart bombs” to Riyadh.