Iran

August 8-13: Airstrike on school bus draws international attention; new report details prison abuses

8/8

International aid groups protested the "symbol of aggression and oppression" the San'a airport has become. There have been 56 coalition airstrikes on the airport in the past two years, an average of one every two weeks.

Yemen’s ambassador to the US, Ahmed Awad Bin Mubarak, argued Wednesday that the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal would “contribute to the end of the war in Yemen.”

February 28- March 6: Senators introduce Joint Resolution 54; US, UK, France, and Germany condemn Iran

2/28

Peter Salisbury outlined why the UN-led peace process in Yemen has been unsuccessful thus far, and what steps Martin Griffiths, a former British diplomat who takes over the post of UN special envoy at the end of this month, can take to be more successful than his predecessors.

November 13-20; US House Says US Military Assistance to the Coalition is Unauthorized; Saudi Blockade Continues

11/13

Saudi Arabia announced that the Saudi-led coalition would open the ports controlled by the Hadi government, including Aden, Mokha, and Mukalla. However, the coalition wouldn’t open ports such as al-Hudaydah in Houthi-controlled territory until the UN sends experts to ensure that weapons aren’t being smuggled through them. Leaders of the Houthi organization vowed to retaliate against the Saudi-led coalition over the blockade.

Trump's New Iran Policy is Misguided

A policy analysis by Jay Solomon of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy describes how President Trump places Yemen “front and center” in his new strategy to counter Iran. The Trump administration’s plan focuses on limiting Iran’s regional influence, which it exerts by providing weapons and training to militias in other countries. Regarding Yemen, Trump is concerned about Iranian weapon transfers to the Houthis, the increasing danger the Houthis pose to neighboring countries, and Iran’s ability to threaten energy trade routes in the Red Sea. Since the Houthis have already fired missiles into Saudi Arabia, Trump views the Houthi threat as imminent, and his plan to counter the group includes further assisting the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, especially through intelligence and logistics support, reducing conditions on arms transfers to the coalition, and guarding the Red Sea against Iranian hostilities more forcefully.

Atlantic Council: Iran's Fingerprints in Yemen Real or Imagined?

Elisabeth Kendall recently published an issue brief for the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security regarding Iranian involvement in Yemen. She begins by criticizing those who misinterpret the available data to confirm pre-existing biases or conclusions regarding Iranian support for Houthi forces. Kendall states that her goal is to examine the conflict in Yemen in a more neutral manner by eschewing any particular predisposition toward one conclusion or another.

The UAE’s Actions in the Middle East Strain its Alliance with the US

An article in the Washington Post analyzed the complicated relationship between the US and the UAE. The UAE’s desire for influence has driven it to enhance its international credibility by building up a sophisticated, capable military and increasing its involvement in conflicts. Much of the time, the UAE sides with the US: it leads in the fight against AQAP in Yemen and it has contributed troops in Western-backed conflicts such as in Somalia or Afghanistan. However, the UAE’s support for autocrats, its efforts in resisting peace, and its alleged illegal actions in conflict zones that risk US culpability have undermined the alliance between it and the US.

Sana'a Center on Iran's Role in Yemen

The Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies has published an article attempting to accurately depict Iran’s involvement in the Yemeni conflict. The author, Farea al-Muslimi, points out that, while Iran is in fact supporting the Houthis in some capacity, the Saudi response has been disproportionate compared to the scale of Iranian commitment. He argues that Iran’s support for the Houthis is an attempt to force the Saudis into yet another conflict, thereby weakening the Saudi government’s military and financial capacity as a whole.

April 11-16: WFP ramps up food aid to Yemen, Congress skeptical of supporting Saudi campaign

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The UN said today that the risk of mass starvation is quickly growing in Yemen, as well as in South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria.

Norwegian Refugee Council’s press release today calls Yemen an “extreme situation for women,” emphasizing the importance of focusing on women’s issues and rights as women have been increasingly politically marginalized since the start of the war.

April 4-10: Fighting continues in lead-up to Sunday ceasefire

Monday, April 4Following Hadi’s unexpected cabinet reshuffle on Sunday, a 10-member group of Yemeni politicians said in a statement that they “completely support” the appointments of General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar as the new vice president and Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr as the new prime minister, who are replacing Khaled Bahah in both posts. The signing parties included The Southern Movement and The General People's Congress.

Weapons reportedly being shipped from Iran to Yemen were seized on March 28, according to a US Navy statement released on Monday. The weapons were hidden on a small boat and included AK-47s, RPGs, and .50 caliber machine guns.   The seizure comes eight days after another cache of weapons heading to Somalia was confiscated by French authorities.

Tuesday, April 5 Yemen's former vice president and prime minister Bahah, who was sacked by Hadi on Sunday, says that his removal is a "coup against legitimacy" that undermines the cabinet and its efforts to end the war. An unnamed Yemeni government official also said the shake-up might undermine the peace talks scheduled to start in Kuwait on April 18.

According to AlAraby, the leaked Panama Papers reveal that a number of offshore companies used as tax havens were founded by the family of Yemen’s prominent businessman, and close friend of Saleh, Shaher Abdulhak.

Thursday, April 7 Human Rights Watch released a report on Thursday which revealed that remnants of US-supplied weapons were found at the site of the Saudi coalition’s March 15 attack on the Hajjah market, which killed 97 civilians, including 25 children. Evidence of US-supplied MK-84 2,000-pound bomb mated with a JDAM satellite guidance kit, also US-supplied, were found at the site. The attack was the war’s deadliest so far.

Al-Masirah and a number of other outlets in Yemen reported airstrikes on Thursday in San’a, Bayda, Ma’rib, and Hajjah. These strikes came three days before the ceasefire was set to begin.

Friday, April 8 In comments to Middle East Eye, Houthi sources explain why Hadi will never be accepted as Yemen’s leader or as part of the post-war government. Hadi’s recent dismissal of his former prime minister and vice president Bahah isolates Hadi further, as Bahah’s supporters see this move as an attempt by Hadi to cling to power at the expense of upcoming peace talks.

Reuters reports that al-Qaeda in Yemen is one of the main benefactors of the Saudi-led war. As a result of the country’s destabilization, the group has managed to establish an “economic empire” in the port city of Mukalla and has gained over $100 million in stolen bank deposits and revenue, earning $2 million per day from taxes on goods and fuel.

Saturday, April 9 At least 20 pro-Hadi government soldiers were kidnapped and executed and 17 others were injured in southern Yemen’s Abyan province on Saturday, according to local officials. A military source says the killings were carried out by al-Qaeda, but the group denies these accusations, claiming that a local armed gang led by a man named Ali Aqeel is responsible for the incident.

An American man held in San'a was reportedly released by the Houthis after Omani negotiators interceded on his behalf. The man was flown from San'a to Muscat, according to a statement by Oman's foreign ministry. No details about the man have yet been provided.

Sunday, April 10 Hours before the ceasefire was due to start, clashes between pro-Hadi forces and Houthi fighters broke out north of Sana’a, in Ta’iz, and in Bayda province, where 20 people were killed. The ceasefire was postponed, however, by 24 hours and began midnight on Monday.