January 10-17: UN envoy visits Aden, coalition advances in Tihamah

Wednesday, January 11The AP reported heavy fighting between coalition forces and Houthi-Saleh forces near the Bab al-Mandab, with dozens of casualties on both sides. Under “Operation Golden Spear,” coalition and pro-government forces are attempting to advance along the Red Sea coast toward the ports of Mokha and al-Hudaydah. The AP also reported that coalition airstrikes in Nihm, near San’a, killed six civilians, including children, on Tuesday.

Thursday, January 12 In an op-ed published on a Labour Party website, British comedian/activist Eddie Izzard applauded the work of Labour MPs to highlight the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen, and urged the UK government to work harder to advance the peace process and address humanitarian needs. Izzard was born in Aden when the city was still a British colony.

Friday, January 13 The US military told press that US airstrikes on December 29 and January 8 in al-Baydha reportedly killed three members of AQAP, including ‘Abd al-Ghani al-Rasas, identified by the US as a “senior leader.”

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization called for more support for Yemen’s farmers. UNFAO officials did not specify what additional donations would be used for, but said that farmers need to produce more food and provide jobs. Many farmers in Yemen are unable to afford irrigation; some farmland has been rendered unworkable due to landmines and unexploded ordnance.

Sunday, January 15 The Saudi Interior Ministry announced that a soldier was killed in the Najran region during cross-border firing and shelling on Saturday, January 14.

Monday, January 16 UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed visited President Hadi and his cabinet in Aden to discuss the peace process and call for a new ceasefire. ‘“I asked the President to act swiftly and engage constructively with the UN's proposal for the sake of the country's future,” Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed said, stressing that a peace agreement, combined with a well-articulated security plan and an inclusive government formation is the only way to end the fighting.’

Oman has agreed to temporarily resettle ten men detained at the US detention facility at Guantanamo bay. The transfer is part of the Obama administration’s last-ditch effort to release as many Guantanamo inmates as possible before Donald Trump takes office. Neither the US nor Oman have announced the names or nationalities of these ten men.

Andrew Mitchell, a UK politician and former International Development Secretary, stated that the UK's "confused" policy toward Yemen will create a "further generation of terror" affecting Europe.

Tuesday, January 17 Speaking to journalists in Amman on Tuesday, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen Jamie McGoldrick said that the UN would request roughly $2 billion from donors this year to help those most at risk in Yemen. Last year’s appeal for $1.8 billion in aid for Yemen’s most vulnerable, then about 8.6 million people, was only 60 percent funded, he said. “I don’t think this is enough, given that Yemen is a very critical emergency on the global stage,” he said in an interview in Jordan. “I don’t think it has gotten the (appropriate) attention. It has almost been a secret, a hidden emergency, and I think that is unfortunate, it’s unfair.”

In an interview about his legacy as Secretary of State, John Kerry claimed that President Hadi has “accepted” the UN peace plan for Yemen. President Hadi has repeatedly rejected the plan in the past; neither the Yemeni government nor the UN special envoy’s office has confirmed this assertion.