Monday, May 16A weekday ban on the sale of qat went into effect in Aden on Monday, with checkpoints set up around the city to block its shipment. The crackdown was reportedly due to social and health concerns. Qat was last banned 26 years ago in south Yemen, before unification in 1990.
An anonymous diplomatic source in Kuwait spoke to Reuters about progress in the negotiations, saying, "There is an agreement on the withdrawal from the cities and the (Houthi) handover of weapons, forming a government of all parties and preparing for new elections. The dispute now only centers around where to begin."
The wave of terrorist attacks in Yemen briefly appeared to have brought the two sides closer together, with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir tweeting last week, "Whether we agree or disagree with them, the Houthis are part of the social fabric of Yemen ... The Houthis are our neighbors. Al Qaeda and Daesh are terrorist entities that must be confronted in Yemen and everywhere else.”
Tuesday, May 17 Hadi’s government withdrew from peace talks on Tuesday in response to what it says is the refusal by the Houthis to implement UN resolution 2216, which would require them to withdraw from seized territory and hand over their arms. The resolution has been one of the major sticking points in the negotiations.
Only 16% of the $1.8 billion needed to provide humanitarian aid in Yemen has been funded, the UN reported on Tuesday. UN aid operations director John Ging said that over the past few months there has been “a shocking fall off in terms of donor funding for basic humanitarian support,” adding, “We're only asking for the minimum that is required to keep people alive in these awful circumstances."
Wednesday, May 18 Amnesty International says that Houthi forces have been arbitrarily arresting opposition activists, journalists, academics, and politicians. Those detained are often tortured and held without charge for as long as 18 months.
"Eighteen individuals featured in the report are still being held, including 21-year-old student Abdul Ilah Saylan, who was arrested outside a Sanaa cafe last August."
Thursday, May 19 The US added ISIS affiliates from Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen to its list of designated terrorist organizations on Thursday. These groups were previously considered sympathizers rather than formal affiliates of terrorist groups.
“The State Department, working with the Justice and Treasury departments, also placed the groups on a list of global terrorists that allows the Obama administration to sanction anyone who knowingly helps or provides material support to these groups -- freezing any property, bank accounts or other interests they might have in the US.”
Saturday, May 21 Yemen's government agreed to resume peace talks after Qatar's foreign minister and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon succeeded in convincing Hadi to return to the negotiating table following Tuesday’s suspension.
Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdul-Malik al-Mekhlafi said on Saturday that the Yemeni government will give the peace talks one last chance after receiving regional and international guarantees.
Sunday May 22 UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said that Kuwait talks are making progress as the truce largely holds. This is despite the previous days’ airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition.
Meanwhile, Ali Abdullah Saleh continues to reject Hadi’s legitimacy and called the talks a “waste of time.”
Yemeni troops backed by the Arab coalition reportedly killed 13 al-Qaeda fighters in a raid outside of Mukalla on Sunday.
"A search confirmed that these fighters were about to carry out a surprise terrorist attack on some military command centres at dawn this morning."
Three more fighters were later killed as a car bomb they were preparing detonated in the courtyard of a house in the Rawkab area where the raid had taken place, according to residents and a security official.
Police in Aden opened fire on protesters on Sunday who were demonstrating against the city’s recent power cuts. At least one protester was killed and others wounded.
"Our life is a real disaster," said 20-year-old Aden resident Mohammed Abdulhakim. "We are unable to sleep" because of the heat, which has reached over 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
"The war has destroyed everything and the aid arriving in Aden is not enough to restore power.”