November 7-13: Increase in deadly clashes along Yemen-Saudi border

Monday, November 7UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed addressed reporters in San’a to reiterate his calls to end the conflict and highlight the need for increased humanitarian aid. "People are dying...the infrastructure is falling apart...and the economy is on the brink of abyss."

The World Health Organization released a statement on the same day, reporting that more than 7,070 people had been killed and over 36,818 injured as of October 25, while another 21 million people are in urgent need of health services.

The WHO also reports that more than half of all medical facilities in Yemen are closed or are only partially functioning and there is a critical shortage of doctors in 40% of all districts. A lack of access to healthcare means that many Yemenis are deprived of life-saving operations and treatments.

Tuesday, November 8 For election day in the United States, Al Jazeera interviewed citizens of Tunisia, Yemen, and Gaza about their opinions of this year’s candidates and US policy in the Middle East.

“We hope the upcoming US administration--be it Clinton or Trump--pays due attention to Yemen and is interested in resolving the current conflict, especially the humanitarian conditions that are deteriorating,” said one Yemeni man.

Another added, "I expect no change in US foreign policy, namely towards the Muslim world; especially with Trump. As for Hillary Clinton, I believe she will follow the same policies of Obama, namely to cause a rift among the Arabs and cause them to fight each other, while they stand as spectators."

During a visit to Lebanon, Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called for a political solution to the conflict in Yemen.

"We should admit that there is no military solution, neither for the Yemeni crisis nor for the Syrian crisis," Zarif said. "We believe that continuing to use military methods in order to win the Yemeni and Syrian crises will only lead to more fighting and bloodshed."

An analysis in the Huffington Post attempts to explain why Saudi Arabia continues its military campaign in Yemen despite the steep costs. One of the chief motives for pushing forward with the war is the kingdom’s desire to rally the public around a common Shi’i enemy, simultaneously distracting the Saudi populace from serious economic problems at home while inciting hatred of the kingdom’s regional rival.

An official in Hadi’s government reportedly told Anadolu News Agency that the exiled president considers a plan proposed by the UN to be “a betrayal of the blood of [Yemen's] martyrs.” The roadmap put forward by Special Envoy to Yemen Ould Cheikh Ahmed would marginalize Hadi's role in a proposed transitional period.

Wednesday, November 9 Pro-government forces in Yemen claimed to have killed 30 al-Qaeda suspects at a farm west of Mukalla. Four soldiers were also killed in the clashes.

The Sunday Times reports that the UK has deployed its most advanced warship, the HMS Daring, to the Red Sea to protect critical shipping lanes. Both US and UAE vessels have been targeted by Houthi forces in the Red Sea over the past month, while an oil tanker was attacked by pirates.

Thursday, November 10 Houthi military sources told Saba News Agency that their forces have captured the two Saudi towns of al-Kars and al-Dafiniya, killing dozens of Saudi soldiers. The sources claimed that this was a military response to the Saudi-led coalition’s continued targeting of Yemen’s infrastructure.

Friday, November 11 The sub-governor of the Central Bank of Yemen, Ibrahim al-Nahari, was dismissed by Hadi’s government following the relocation of the CBY from San’a to Aden. Al-Nahari was fired on the pretext of forging reports to foreign financial institutions, though no evidence for this accusation has been made public.

Saudi press reports that Houthi missiles fired into the kingdom’s southern Dhahran province injured 14 civilians. The same report claims that Houthi forces launched failed attacks in Al-Qabbaytah region of Lahj province, southeast of Ta’iz.

Sunday, November 13 UK Ambassador to Yemen Edmund Fitton-Brown writes for Al-Arabiya to explain a prospective roadmap for peace in Yemen:

“The terms of the roadmap would see the Houthi militia and Saleh loyalists withdraw from areas they have occupied, including the capital Sana’a and the cities of Taiz and Hodeidah. They would also be required to hand over their heavy weaponry.

“In return, a new Vice-President enjoying extensive national acceptability and credibility will be appointed who assumes full Presidential authority and oversees the formation of a new Government of National Unity. And it will be this Government which takes forward the political transition envisaged for Yemen back in 2012, leading to democratic elections and a new Constitution chosen by the Yemeni people.”

More than 350,000 Yemeni children were unable to resume their education in the past school year, bringing the total of out-of-school children in the country to over two million, according to UNICEF.

Thousands of students in Ta’iz now study in homes rather than at their former schools, over 2,000 of which have been either destroyed or repurposed as military facilities or humanitarian shelters.

An excellent article by Ben Hubbard in the New York Times offers insight into life on the ground in San’a and surrounding areas. Hubbard interviews average Yemenis who are facing extreme hardships including unemployment, malnourishment, and a lack of medical supplies.

The Yemeni army said in a statement that its forces and the Saudi-led coalition had struck Houthi sites in the districts of Midi and Harad in Hajjah province, killing “scores” of Houthi fighters.