December 26-January 1: Disagreement over proposed UN peace deal continues into 2017

Monday, December 26 Al Jazeera’s closed bureau in San’a was raided by Houthi forces hours after the network aired a program about the group’s looting of heavy arms. Saeed Thabit, head of Al Jazeera's Yemen office, said in a statement on Facebook that the Houthis stole what was left of office equipment and furniture.

During a trip to al-Mukalla, Hadi expressed his dissatisfaction with a recently proposed peace deal by the UN and US Secretary of State John Kerry, saying that he will not accept any agreement that does not also include a power transition deal from the Gulf Cooperation Council and national reconciliation talks, requiring the Houthis to hand in them weapons and withdraw from seized territory.

Tuesday, December 27 Airstrikes and shelling in Yemen has not only claimed lives, but has also profoundly impacted Yemen’s economy and the country’s already small middle class. With every factory that is bombed, hundreds of Yemenis lose their jobs and their families lose what is sometimes their sole income. As the Washington Post reports, “Yemen’s economy shrank by 34.6 percent last year, according to U.N. estimates, and is expected to contract an additional 11 percent this year.”

Doctors Without Borders issues a statement calling on all actors in Yemen’s war to respect international humanitarian law and cease targeting civilian infrastructure and hospitals, and allow the wounded access to medical care. Hospitals operated by MSF, along with the organization’s personnel, have repeatedly been the targets of coalition airstrikes.

“All armed actors involved in the conflict—including the Saudi-led Coalition and the Houthis—are conducting this war and carrying out indiscriminate attacks without respect for civilians or essential civilian infrastructure like hospitals.”

Al Arabiya reports that sources from Hadi’s government have approved a revised roadmap for peace proposed by the UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.

“The sources explained that the amendments were the results of extensive meeting between the ministers of the international Quartet in Riyadh, which includes Saudi Arabia, Britain, the United States and the UAE, and in accordance with the three references for a political solution...which shall be initiated by the withdrawal of the [Houthi] militia and surrendering arms in order to reach a political solution.”

Wednesday, December 28 The Israeli government has published online 200,000 previously classified documents pertaining to the disappearance of about a thousand Yemeni children in the early days of Israel’s founding. The documents were released in the hope of shedding light on a decades old mystery, but many families are still left unsatisfied with the explanation that their children had simply fallen ill and died after immigrating to Israel.

Thursday, December 29 Jalal al-Seydi, an al-Qaeda chief from Abyan province, and his guard were killed in a suspected US drone strike, according to a security official. The two were targeted in their vehicle in al-Bayda province.

Many of the countries that joined the two-year-old Arms Control Treaty (which was intended to prevent weapons from being sold to groups violating humanitarian law) are failing to uphold the agreement, especially when it comes to selling arms to Saudi Arabia in the coalition’s war on Yemen.

“The big disappointment is the countries that were in the forefront of calling for the treaty – and indeed who still champion it as a great achievement in international disarmament and security – are now prepared to violate it by persisting in their arms sales to Saudi Arabia,” says Anna Macdonald, director of Control Arms, an organization dedicated to the treaty.

Friday, December 30 NPR speaks with New York Times journalist Ben Hubbard about his recent trip to Yemen to cover the war and visit camps for those displaced by the conflict.

“I think the U.N. is working very hard to try to provide services [in Yemen]. But I think because people have not seen this conflict wash up on their own shores the way that they have the conflict in Syria, it's much easier to not think about it.”

The Washington Post’s Sudarsan Raghavan visits al-Jamhuri hospital in Yemen’s northwestern city of Hajjah, which is struggling to provide care for the many residents in need of medical attention, including pregnant women and the war wounded.

“The hospital has just one defibrillator. Ventilation machines and other vital equipment are broken down, including some of the incubators in the maternity ward...There is only one machine to sterilize surgical instruments in the entire hospital, and it does not work properly.”

“The problem we are facing now is we don’t have cash,” said Abdul Malik Jahaf, the deputy governor. “We are incapable of providing even the simplest service here with the means we have.”

Saturday, December 31 Deutsche Welle reports on the seemingly endless conflicts in Yemen and Syria, and predicts the course that each conflict may take in 2017.

“The hunger crisis in Yemen is also a result of the economic crisis. There is food, but the people simply cannot afford it anymore,” says Volker Schwenck, Cairo correspondent for German public broadcaster ARD who recently visited Yemen. “The war is worsening the situation,” and people in Yemen have given up all hope of peace, he added.

Sunday, January 1 Cross-border fire from Houthi forces killed a Saudi soldier in Jazan, according to the kingdom’s interior spokesman.

In Yemen’s Sharma Protectorate, two hours east of al-Mukalla, a dwindling population of green turtles is being destroyed by hunters reportedly selling the meat to local restaurants. Two hundred fifty of the the critically endangered turtles have been killed in the past month, according to local officials.

“Mohammed Abdullah al-Dohail, the head of the Department of Marine Biology at Hadramout University, told Al Jazeera that hawksbill turtles have already died off in the area and that the green turtles will face the same fate, if their killers are not stopped.”