European Union

November 27-December 4; Former President Saleh is Killed Amidst Violence Between Houthi and Saleh Forces


The UN, after completing a delivery of 1.9 million diphtheria vaccines shortly after the Saudi-led coalition reopened Yemen’s airspace to humanitarian flights, stated that the successful delivery through the San’a airport “cannot be a one-off,” because nearly every Yemeni child is in need of further humanitarian assistance.

July 31-August 6: Military offensive opens against AQAP in Shabwah; civilians killed in Sa'dah

Monday, July 31

Yemen expert Peter Salisbury penned an article for Chatham House warning that the country’s war economy, in which President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, militia leaders, and others have stakes, is undermining efforts toward a diplomatic solution to the ongoing civil war. Read more here.

Tuesday, August 1

Reuters reported that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps has begun using a new route to transport weapons to the Houthis. The route, which was selected in order to evade the blockade on Yemen, reportedly runs through Kuwaiti waters. The Kuwaiti foreign minister denied the report.

February 21-27: airstrikes kill dozens of civilians, EP recommends arms embargo on KSA

Sunday February 21This week began, and ended, with airstrikes resulting in over 30 deaths each and dozens of injuries. The first took place in Sa’dah on Sunday, with Sputnik news reporting that a coalition assault killed 31, including 10 women and 12 children. Al-Arabiya also reported this airstrike, but claimed that those killed were members of the Houthi militia.

Monday February 22 On Monday, President Hadi appointed General Ali Mohsin al-Ahmar, former commander of the First Armored Division, as deputy supreme commander of Yemen’s armed forces. Al-Ahmar previously served as Hadi’s advisor for military affairs. Military sources say Hadi's decision is an attempt to win the confidence of tribal leaders and army commanders in the San’a governorate, where al-Ahmar is an influential figure. However, the Houthis defeated al-Ahmar’s forces in a series of battles in 2013-2014 with the help of those local tribes.

A three-day conference on Yemen’s humanitarian crisis started on Monday in Doha. The conference organizers estimated that $2.5 billion is needed for urgent relief in Yemen. By Wednesday, the Qatar Charity Society and the Kuwait-based International Islamic Charitable Organisation each pledged $100 million while the Qatari Red Crescent pledged $10 million. Unfortunately, these funds will likely be distributed without coordination with the UN and may take the form of military aid.

Meanwhile, photo evidence surfaced showing that Houthi forces have seized a number of Canadian-made weapons that were originally exported to Saudi Arabia. More than $28 million worth of Canadian-made guns have been shipped in the past decade to Saudi Arabia, Canada’s second largest weapons customer after the U.S.

A BBC Arabic-language documentary by Safa al-Ahmad on living conditions in Ta’iz was released on Monday. The documentary contains footage and commentary indicating that coalition and Southern Resistance troops are fighting alongside al-Qaeda militants against Houthi forces near the city.

Tuesday February 23 Human Rights Watch published a letter on Tuesday reiterating calls for investigations into serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed by all parties to the conflict in Yemen.

Wednesday February 24 The UAE has reportedly pulled its troops out of the port city of Aden on Wednesday, according to an anonymous official. The Emirates are still believed to have troops in other parts of the country. Hadi government officials have denied these reports.

Thursday February 25 The European Parliament voted on Thursday to approve a resolution recommending an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia over the coalition's indiscriminate bombing of Yemeni civilians. Before the motion was passed, Saudi Arabia launched an intense lobbying campaign to convince members of the European Parliament to reject the resolution. The resolution is not binding; EU member states can still legally make weapons deals with the Kingdom.

Saturday February 27 Saturday’s coalition airstrike on a market in Nihm, near San'a, killed at least 30 people and injured dozens more, most of them civilians. Saudi officials later claimed that these reports were fabricated by the Houthis.

EU Parliament condemns violence by Houthis, Saleh, KSA

The plenary session of the European Parliament adopted today a resolution on the current conflict in Yemen. Beyond the standard "expressions of concern" and calls for restraint, there are a couple of clauses in this resolution that are particularly noteworthy. Overall, it's a more impassioned and strongly-worded document than we usually expect to see in such cases.  The most striking thing about this resolution is that it positions the EU, as a body, outside the conflict. It does this by criticizing the Saudi-led coalition as well as the Houthi-Saleh alliance. Here's a key paragraph (#3, emphasis mine):

[The European Parliament] Condemns the destabilising and violent unilateral actions taken by the Houthis and military units loyal to ex-President Saleh; also condemns the air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition and the naval blockade it has imposed on Yemen, which have led to thousands of deaths, have further destabilised Yemen, have created conditions more conducive to the expansion of terrorist and extremist organisations such as ISIS/Da’esh and AQAP, and have exacerbated an already critical humanitarian situation;

Compare that to, for example, the UN Security Council's Resolution 2216, which condemns the Houthis' actions, but implicitly approves of the Saudi-led intervention. What makes the paragraph above really interesting is that a number of EU member states--specifically the UK, France, and Belgium--are involved in the Saudi bombing campaign in one way or another. In fact, the voting record for today's resolution shows a very interesting amendment, which will be added to the finalized version of the text:

[The European Parliament] Expresses its concern regarding the intensive arms trade of EU Member States with various countries in the region, as in the case of the United Kingdom, Spain, France and Germany; calls on the Council in this connection to verify whether there have been breaches of the EU Common Position on Arms Export Controls and to adopt measures to ensure that this common position is fully respected by all the Member States;

You can find a provisional PDF copy of the full resolution here.