January 5-11: UN officials report on ceasefire implementation, Houthis launch drone attack on government base

Saturday, January 5

Independent journalist Baseem al-Jenani reported that four factory workers were injured in al-Hudaydah when their factory was shelled. He also described Houthi practices in Hudaydah of repressing local community organizations and NGOs and looting their assets.

Sunday, January 6

President Trump has confirmed that Jamal al-Badawi, one of the al-Qaeda operatives responsible for the 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, was killed in an airstrike in Marib Governorate on January 1.

Monday, January 7

The UN Secretary General's report was released on the implementation of the Stockholm Agreements as of today. The report notes that the Houthis have delayed the opening of key roads, and mutual ceasefire violations have been reported but not verified by the UN. Meanwhile, the Houthis have also failed to issue visas and clearances for UN personnel and equipment intended for Hudaydah. Meetings continue to be held with both sides.

May 8-14: Tensions rise in Soqotra; Coalition launches Hudaydah Offensive


Turki al-Maliki, Spokesperson for the Saudi-led Coalition, gave a lengthy press briefing claiming that the strike on the Yemeni Presidential Palace was aimed at taking out prominent Houthi leaders Mahdi al-Mashat and Mohammed al-Houthi. Okaz believes both of these men to be dead alongside sixty-six other Houthis. Local sources reported mainly civilian casualties from the strike.

October 17-23: US court blocks travel ban again, US strikes IS camp in Baydha


A federal judge in Hawaii issued a temporary restraining order preventing the government from implementing the Trump administration’s third attempted travel ban. The decision came just hours before the new policy was due to go into effect.

October 3-9: UN report blacklists coalition & Houthis, US and Yemen claim progress against AQAP


AP reports that the World Health Organization could have acted faster and sent more vaccines sooner in order to stave off the worst of Yemen’s cholera crisis.

ReliefWeb reports that FAO and the World Bank are launching a $36 million initiative to combat the famine conditions in Yemen, aiding 630,000 and strengthening rural communities.

The Intercept reports that four members of the House of Representatives will force a vote on whether the US should continue its military involvement in Yemen’s war, where it supports the Saudi- and Emirati-led intervention.

UNSC discusses Yemen's humanitarian crisis

United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien addressed the United Nations Security Council on Friday to appeal for relief funding for Yemen. “The Yemeni people’s suffering has relentlessly intensified,” he said, noting that 7 million Yemenis were on the brink of famine and that 16 million lacked access to water

The wrong peace deal could mean more war for Yemen

Just Security published an op-ed today by YPP executive director Will Picard, warning of the dangers of a deal currently being negotiated in secret that could return former president Ali Abdullah Saleh to power. Saleh was ousted in late 2011, after a lengthy popular uprising and a schism within the regime. In 2014 he allied himself with the Houthi movement to orchestrate a coup, sparking the ongoing civil war in Yemen. While the UN-led peace process has stalled, it appears that that the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are negotiating with Saleh's party to form a new government and end the Gulf states' military intervention. The new government would reportedly include Saleh's son and other members of the pro-Saleh branch of Yemen's ruling GPC party.

UN Relief Chief and Mwatana Chair address UNSC meeting on Yemen

Stephen O’Brien, the United Nations Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, delivered a statement to the United Nations Security Council during last Tuesday’s Council meeting on Yemen. O’Brien spoke of the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen, warning that the situation there had become the world’s largest food security crisis and that lack of access to food and clean water created the conditions for the cholera epidemic. While he lauded the United Nations and its partners, along with medical personnel in Yemen, for their work to stem the spread of cholera and other diseases, he criticized the parties to the conflict for putting their own interests above the needs of the Yemeni people, explaining that both lack of access to food and disease are, in the case of Yemen, man-made phenomena that could be avoided if the parties were willing to negotiate an end the conflict.

OCHA Releases New Humanitarian Response Plan

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) released their most recent Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for Yemen last month. The document outlines the objectives OCHA hopes to achieve in the coming year, the number of people in need of assistance in Yemen, how many the organization will target for humanitarian assistance, and what resources are required to do so.

Crisis Group: Can the Kuwait peace talks break Yemen’s deadlock?

Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for the Arabian Peninsula, April Longley Alley, explains in a Q&A why she is cautiously hopeful that this week’s negotiations in Kuwait may see the return of a political process to Yemen. According to Alley, both parties to the war are facing increased pressure to end the conflict. The Houthis have been pushed back on several fronts and are encountering serious economic challenges, making them more open to negotiations. Meanwhile, the Saudis are facing both a tightened budget and pressure from the international community and humanitarian rights organizations to end the war.

What we can say for sure is that this is the best chance that Yemen has had since the beginning of the war to return to a political process. For the first time, the two protagonists with the capacity to end major combat, the Houthis and the Saudis, seem more willing than ever to do so.

Despite the clear advantages of ending the conflict, there are many potential spoilers to a deal. The ongoing ceasefire, which began on midnight on April 11, was quickly violated by both parties, although it is still holding better than previous ceasefires.

Furthermore, former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and President Abdu Rabbuh Mansour Hadi both pose threats to the peace process. Saleh, who has consistently been excluded from talks with the Saudis despite his allegiance with the Houthis, is likely to be a spoiler for current negotiations. Hadi, meanwhile, insists on fully implementing UN Security Council Resolution 2216, which would unrealistically require the Houthis to disarm and withdraw from all seized territory.

As it stands, the ongoing talks in Kuwait do not represent all Yemeni factions relevant to the conflict. As Alley explains, the talks would need to be broadened to ensure an extended ceasefire and resolve political issues such as the timing of elections, transitional justice and state structure.

Of the five focus points of the negotiations outlined by the UN, the most critical, according to Alley, is an agreement on mutually acceptable interim security arrangements, which could provide an environment that facilitates the return of a government.

This opportunity to end the war in Yemen and find a political resolution cannot be missed, say Alley.

“If this chance is not seized, we might be back to a situation where Yemen is off the radar again...with continuing devastating consequences for the civilian population.”

June 30–July 6: UN envoy pushes for humanitarian pause, civilian toll rises

Following last month’s failed peace talks in Geneva, the past week started with renewed efforts by UN special envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed to achieve a humanitarian pause during the holy month of Ramadan. Last week the envoy met with the exiled government in the Saudi capital Riyadh, where a seven-point proposal was tendered; on Sunday Ahmed arrived in Sanʻa to discuss the proposal with Houthi and GPC leaders. But a Scud missile, which was fired late on Tuesday night at a Saudi airbase outside Riyadh, added new tension to the process of the political negations. Saudi forces have traded missile attacks across the border with Houthi-Saleh units, which have also carried out hit-and-run assaults on Saudi military sites outside Jaizan and Najran cities near the boundary. The Houthi leadership reportedly refused the exiled government’s first cease-fire proposal, which called for the deployment of regional observers.

Toward the end of the week, the UN—along with both US State Department and EU officials—attempted to put pressure on Saudi Arabia to reach a deal. But Saudi airstrikes intensified in several cities, where dozens of civilians have been killed, a move that was seen as a Saudi response to the UN-backed efforts. The capital Sanʻa has since been hit by heavier bombardment, after a lull of nearly five days. On Monday, a Saudi airstrike reportedly hit a public market in Lahj, just north of Aden, killing 45 civilians and injuring dozens more.

Over the weekend, Houthi delegates in the Omani capital, Muscat, met with the UN envoy; “a humanitarian pause was discussed,” according to press accounts. On Sunday, the Houthi supporters in Sanʻa staged a mass rally, condemning “the Saudi aggression and the UN’s careless position on the humanitarian situation,” hours after Special Envoy Ahmed arrived at the city’s international airport.

While the Houthis mull over forming a new government or a presidential council, Saleh’s GPC party and the Yemeni Socialist Party have both refused such a move.

June 9–15: Geneva talks start without Houthis; Aden refinery shelled; airstrikes continue

As Yemen’s war continues, media coverage over the last week focused on UN-sponsored negotiations, originally set to begin on Sunday. The three-day talks in Geneva, billed as “preliminary inclusive consultations,” which aim at ending the months-long war in Yemen, began on Monday, June 15, following week-long quibbles over the representation and the mechanism for talks. But the talks were inaugurated with only delegates of the exiled government in Riyadh in attendance, while the Yemeni delegates from Sanʻa—representing the Houthi movement and its allies—were stranded in Djibouti for nearly 24 hours. The talks were supposed to start Sunday, but were postponed after the delegates did not board the UN airplane at the Sanʻa International Airport on Friday.

Although the talks between the conflicting political parties were delayed, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has already called for an immediate two-week ceasefire during the holy month of Ramadan, which is expected to begin on Thursday.

Over the past week, Saudi warplanes conducted airstrikes in at least 12 cities including the capital, Sanʻa, where both residential areas and pro-Houthi/Saleh figures were targeted.

On Friday, a neighborhood in the Old City of Sanʻa—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—was hit by airstrikes, flatting at least five houses and killing seven civilians. On Saturday, the home of former special forces commander Yahyah Mohammed Abdullah Saleh was hit along with other nearby houses of his relatives. Strikes continued past the official start of the Geneva talks; Sanʻa was reportedly struck by several airstrikes on Monday.

In cities where the civil conflict is intensifying, the Saudi-led airstrikes continue to provide air cover for the so-called “Popular Resistance.”

In the eastern city of Marib, two main tribal encampments, Nakhla and Suhail, were captured by the pro-Houthi/Saleh forces. In the neighboring Jawf province, these forces also captured the provincial city, Hazm, after weeks of heavy clashes. In southern city of Aden, the oil refinery was forced to halt operations, while fierce clashes took place in Maʻalla and Buraiqah areas. The central city of Taʻiz has seen the fiercest clashes in two months as mortar and tank shells have reportedly hit several downtown residential areas.