April 11-16: WFP ramps up food aid to Yemen, Congress skeptical of supporting Saudi campaign

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The UN said today that the risk of mass starvation is quickly growing in Yemen, as well as in South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria.

Norwegian Refugee Council’s press release today calls Yemen an “extreme situation for women,” emphasizing the importance of focusing on women’s issues and rights as women have been increasingly politically marginalized since the start of the war.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Civil liberties groups are suing the U.S. government over the most recent version of the travel ban.

Five Sudanese soldiers were killed today in southwestern Taiz province while helping the Saudi-led coalition fight the Houthis to take control of a mountain in the area, Reuters reports.

The World Food Program has announced that it will scale up its food deliveries to Yemen as nine million people teeter on the brink of starvation.

Associated Press reports that former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad plans to run for office in a move that would directly challenge the authority of Ayatollah Khomeini, who has advised Ahmadinejad against running. If the former president is allowed to run or is re-elected to office, it could inflame tensions not only within Iran but with Gulf countries and the US as well.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Human Rights Watch called today for the UAE to clarify their role in the recent airstrike near the Port of Hudaydah on a boat full of Somali refugees. The organization also called for the UAE to provide information on the role its forces played in other illegal attacks by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. Meanwhile, US lawmakers are skeptical of the Trump administration’s support for the Saudi-led coalition due to the continuing civilian casualties incurred. Members of Congress have taken several steps this month to discourage greater cooperation with the Gulf coalition in response to the administration’s indications that it plans to increase military support for Saudi Arabia.

A Houthi court has sentenced journalist Yahya al-Jubaihi to death, accusing him of spying for Saudi Arabia.

Over 20 inmates escaped from a prison in Aden, according to Associated Press.

Al-Arabiya took note of a social experiment by three young Yemenis in Sana’ who offered roses to strangers in an attempt to show the changes to Yemeni culture that the war has brought and to encourage a culture of love and forgiveness rather than hostility.  

Friday, April 14, 2017

Al-Arabiya reports that the Houthis have appointed a new Mufti, Beraas Shams ad-Din Mohammad Sharaf al-Din, educated in Iran.

Middle East Eye published a piece focusing on the plight of many teachers in Taiz; as their government salaries have been left unpaid for months, many have been forced to take up arms in order to support themselves financially.

Deutsche Welle notes that the German government has continued to supply the UAE with arms despite the humanitarian crisis caused by the continued conflict.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

A piece from The Atlantic by Andrew Exum, who served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Obama administration, discusses the risks that the Trump administration will take if it continues to escalate militarily in Yemen through support for the Saudi-led coalition. The article urges the administration to show its Gulf allies that it takes the Iranian threat to the Bab al-Mandab strait seriously while also encouraging them to de-escalate militarily in Yemen.  

Sunday, April 16, 2017

An article from al-Arabiya quotes an interview with Saudi General Ahmed Asiri, in which the general pointedly emphasizes a recent decision made to avoid unnecessary civilian casualties.