August 8-14: Dozens of civilians killed in renewed Saudi airstrikes

Monday, August 8The end of the Kuwait talks on Saturday lead to a collapse of Yemen's already unstable ceasefire. Saudi-led coalition warplanes bombed Nehm near San’a over the weekend, killing 18 civilians, in an attack that reportedly aimed to drive Houthi forces out of the capital.

“They targeted only civilians,” a pharmacist who was witness to the attacks said. “There wasn’t a single gunman or military vehicle around.”

The Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies released its July review of UN efforts to resolve Yemen’s conflict. According to the report, the unilateral formation of a governing council by the Houthis and Saleh has undermined the peace process and the premature conclusion of the Kuwait talks will likely lead to increased fighting.

The review also states that the UN Security Council has “not shown the degree of political will and investment toward the crisis in Yemen commensurate with finding a solution.” Furthermore, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has to date "received only 27% of the US$1.8 billion it says it needs to implement its 2016 humanitarian crisis response plan in Yemen. "

Tuesday, August 9 At least 13 people were killed during a coalition airstrike on a chips factory in San'a. Residents say the factory was inside of an army maintenance camp that has repeatedly been hit by airstrikes. The majority of the deaths were women working at the factory.

The US has approved the sale to Saudi Arabia of 153 tanks worth $1.2 billion. Twenty of these tanks are replacements for the hundreds reportedly destroyed in battle in Yemen.

Wednesday, August 10 Spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, General Ahmed al-Asiri, defended Tuesday’s airstrike on a food factory in the capital, claiming that the coalition is “not striking Sanaa, we are providing air support for the loyal army to the government in Nehm and we strike the positions of the forces belonging to Ali Abdullah Saleh and to the militia's outer ring of the capital Sanaa.”

AP reported that there are no visible Houthi camps in the vicinity of the factory and their nearest post is a mile away, but other outlets report that the factory was located within an army maintenance camp.

Thursday, August 11 Khalid Abdullah, a 65-year-old Red Crescent volunteer, was shot and killed in Ta’iz where he was working to set up a food distribution center. Where the shot came from or whether it was deliberate is not known. Khalid is the tenth Yemen Red Crescent Society volunteer to be killed in the country since the war started in March 2015.

Middle East Monitor looks back on the Kuwait negotiations and explains some of the factors that led to their collapse. These include the absence of Yemen’s local actors and a disregard for the country’s socio-political environment, as well as a financial crisis and an unwillingness by both sides to come to an agreement.

Diana Alghoul writes, “It was obvious that the delegates were not there to find a solution for lasting peace, but to hold on to the most power. The fact that they were present without a clear motivation to work with each other and end the violence meant that they were still working against each other, but on a diplomatic front in the full view of the international community.”

The main bridge leading from the port city of al-Hudaydah to San’a was destroyed by a Saudi-led coalition airstrike. The bridge was the supply route for 90% of the World Food Programme’s aid from al-Hudaydah to the capital and its destruction will likely deprive many civilians of critical food supplies.

Friday, August 12 The UN human rights office says that civilian deaths in Yemen are “steadily mounting,” with more than 200 killed and 500 wounded in the previous four months, including 50 in just one week.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, released a statement condemning the intensification of violence. “Local media reports indicate that children and women are being killed and maimed, homes destroyed, and that a food factory and a market have been damaged or destroyed by both ground fighting and airstrikes, particularly in Sana’a city and the Governorates of Sana’a, Sa’ada, Taizz, and Al Hudaydah.”

Friday marked the fourth consecutive day of airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition following the collapse of peace talks. A presidential compound and a military base in San’a were the targets of Friday’s bombings.

Saturday, August 13 UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson issued a statement on the escalating violence in Yemen and called for a renewed ceasefire. He also condemned the recent move by the Houthis and Saleh to unilaterally form a governing council.

A coalition airstrike on a school in Sa’dah killed 10 children, ages 8-15, and wounded 38 others. The reason behind the targeting is unclear, but coalition spokesman General Ahmed al-Asiri released a statement claiming that the airstrike in fact hit a Houthi training camp and that children were present there as recruits. Local outlets reported that the children were taking an exam at the time.

Sunday, August 14 Yemeni forces backed by coalition aircraft have pushed al-Qaeda out of Zinjibar and Jaar and have "taken complete control of both cities,” according to Abyan Governor Al-Khader Mohammed al-Saidi. Forty members of AQAP were said to have been killed in the fighting. This is not the first time that Hadi’s government has claimed to have defeated AQAP in Abyan province, so it is unclear whether they have in fact been expelled from both cities.

Senator Rand Paul is considering forcing a vote to block a US arms sale to Saudi Arabia worth $1.15 billion. Paul explained his protest of the sale saying, “Saudi Arabia is an unreliable ally with a poor human rights record. We should not rush to sell them advanced arms and promote an arms race in the Middle East.”

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency says that the sale, “conveys US commitment to Saudi Arabia’s security and armed forces modernization.”