August 14-21: Reports that war has intensified; leaked memo acknowledges that coalition targeted civilians

Monday, August 14

Yemeni Central Bank Governor Mansr al-Qaiti accused the Saudi-led coalition of disrupting the flow of cash into Yemen. According to a report by The Independent, al-Qaiti said the coalition was “strangling” the Yemeni economy by preventing the government of Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi from paying the salaries of a million civil servants. He mentioned 13 instances of the coalition blocking flights from transporting cash via Aden.

A bomb set off in the southern Yemeni city of Qataba, in al-Dhali’ governorate, killed 13 people, according to the Associate Press.

Tuesday, August 15

Human Rights Action Center Jack Healey contributed an op-ed to the Huffington Post in which he argued that the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen is not aligned with American interests. He focused on the ways in which the war strengthens ISIS, which he identified as the party that should primarily concern the United States in Yemen.

A piece contributed to the Huffington Post described the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen, including the cholera outbreak and lack of medical supplies. It decried the lack of attention paid to those suffering in Yemen by the international community.

Wednesday, August 16

According to a Reuters report, the war in Yemen is growing more intense. The first half of 2017 has seen more airstrikes in Yemen than the entirety of 2016. At the same time, clashes on the ground have become more frequent.

Reuters reported that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will send a shipment of rice to the Houthi-held port at al-Hudaydah in order to “test the waters.” ICRC suspended its food delivery through al-Hudaydah in February.

Thursday, August 17

A report by Direct Relief warned that the cholera crisis in Yemen “could surpass the nearly 4,000 killed by Ebola in Sierra Leone.” The World Health Organization was forced to cancel a cholera vaccination campaign last month because of the rapidity with which the disease is spreading.

UNOCHA Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen Jamie McGoldrick expressed concern over “the shrinking humanitarian space in Yemen where parties to the conflict continue to obstruct the timely provision of humanitarian aid to people in need.” McGoldrick mentioned the looting of humanitarian goods in Ta’iz, delays by authorities in San’a, and other obstacles.

Save the Children CEO and President Carolyn Miles wrote an article in Foreign Policy described the humanitarian crises in Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria, and Yemen. She pointed out that “only 15 percent of Americans had ‘a lot’ of awareness of the ongoing global hunger crisis” and warned that “the daily onslaught of U.S. political news” made it difficult for aid organizations to hold Americans’ attention.

Friday, August 18

The Associated Press reported on an outcry by international human rights groups over the Houthi decision to detain prominent Yemeni activist Hisham al-Omeisy. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International both spoke out on behalf of the activist, who has been critical of the warring parties and who was detained earlier in the week in San’a.

Saturday, August 19

The Middle East Monitor reported on a leaked memo by United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the United States Yousef al-Otaiba in which he acknowledged that the Saudi-led coalition has targeted civilians. “The increased targeting of civilian sites (in Yemen), together with the lack of humanitarian support, have been translated into obstacles with Washington,” the September 2015 memo said.

Sunday, August 20

United Nations officials announced that “17 million Yemenis do not know if and where they would get their next meal,” according to an article in the Middle East Monitor. UNOCHA Chief Stephen O’Brien, in his address to the UN Security Council, said that, “these figures represent human faces and enormous suffering.”

According to a report in The Independent, a team of researchers from Queen Mary University found that American and British-backed forces have contributed significantly to the conditions that promote the spread of cholera in Yemen. “Saudi-led airstrikes have destroyed vital infrastructure, including hospitals and public water systems, hit civilian areas, and displaced people into crowded and insanitary conditions. A Saudi-enforced blockade of imports has caused shortages of, among other things, food, medical supplies, fuel and chlorine, and restricted humanitarian access,” they wrote.

An article in the Washington Post delineated the ways in which Donald Trump has contributed to food insecurity crises in several countries, including Yemen. Washington Post Deputy Editorial Page Editor Jackson Diehl wrote that Trump’s “pathological need to focus attention on himself has created the vortex into which public discourse on vital issues such as this disappears” and that “his love affair with the despotic regimes of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates” was “largely responsible for creating - and perpetuating - the food and cholera crises in Yemen.”

Monday, August 21

A letter sent from Norwegian Refugee Council Secretary General Jan Egeland to United Nations Secretary General António Guterres requested “immediate action in response to the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen.” It listed the cholera crisis and several other issues and warned that “Yemen is at the brink of becoming a failed state.”