January 19-25: Houthi landmines claim multiple victims, warring parties at standstill in Hudaydah

Saturday, January 19

According to AP, UN experts have found that fuel shipped illegally from Iran is being used by the Houthis to finance their operations.

ReliefWeb published a November 2018 Water, Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH) analysis of the Shara’b al-Salam district of Ta’iz province today. The analysis concludes that 20% of internally displaced persons and 31% of host community households in the district had not been able to meet their water needs in the month prior to the assessment. Furthermore, 76% of IDPs and 70% of host community households in the district reported that leaving garbage in public spaces where it was left uncollected was the most common method of disposal.

Al-Masdar Online reports that two of Ta’iz city’s most wanted individuals were killed today by the Abu al-Abbas Brigades, an armed group with ties to AQAP and the UAE that controls parts of Ta’iz.

Al-Masdar Online tweeted a video in which the mother of activist Zakariya al-Qasim demands to know the fate of her son, who has been imprisoned by UAE forces for approximately one year.

War and Water Insecurity in Yemen

Yemen faces many problems in the years to come; often forgotten is the increasing threat of climate change. The country has long faced issues of water insecurity and scarcity, desertification and overgrazing, but these issues are set to get worse given the global climate and, even more so, the war in Yemen.

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.

Mafraj Radio Episode 6: US Intelligence, Addressing the Water Crisis, and Celebrating Ramadan

On this episode, we get an inside look at the US intelligence system with journalist and former intelligence analyst Joshua Foust, we discuss Yemen's water crisis with UNDP advisor Walid 'Ali, and we learn about Ramadan traditions from the creator of Yemen Kitchen, Wigdan al-Guneid. 

This is probably the longest episode we've done so far, and I think that's a good thing. The interview with Joshua Foust, which opens the episode, covers subjects that aren't discussed in any discussion of the US counter-terrorism program that I've seen elsewhere, and I think it's very valuable for both critics and supporters of US policy to understand how the intelligence system works. I didn't edit much out of that interview because it's so important, and because Josh's personal insights are such an asset to the discussion. We'll definitely be returning to different aspects of US policy in future episodes.

The water crisis is another subject that we'll be exploring in multiple episodes. On this episode we talk to Walid 'Ali, who oversees the environmental portfolio for UNDP in Yemen. Our interview includes a discussion of some of the possible solutions to the water shortage.

To wrap up the episode, we talk to Wigdan al-Guneid, the creator of a unique blog where she writes about Yemeni food and Yemen's cultural history. Wigdan tells us about how Yemenis observe the holy month of Ramadan and the holiday of 'Eid al-Fitr.

About our guests:

Joshua Foust: Joshua Foust is freelance journalist with a broad background in counter-terrorism and foreign policy. He currently edits the “State of Play” collection at Medium, a new platform for writing online, which covers foreign policy issues. For its entire production run, April 2010 to May of 2013, he was the national security columnist for PBS Need to Know, a weekly magazine show.

Joshua has also written for The Atlantic, the New York Times, the New York Daily News, the Christian Science MonitorForeign PolicyThe American Prospect, and the Columbian Journalism Review. In November of 2010 he published his first book, Afghanistan Journal: Selections from Registan.net, which was praised by the New York Times as “an attuned observer of the American-led effort in Afghanistan.”

From January 2011 to March of 2013, Joshua was a Fellow at the American Security Project. Before that fellowship, he was a senior intelligence analyst for the U.S. military, a civilian adviser to the U.S. military in Afghanistan, a political analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency in Yemen, and the in-house futurist for the U.S. Army’s Intelligence and Security Command.

Joshua tweets at @JoshuaFoust

Walid 'Ali: Walid Ali is climate change and environmental policy advisor at the UNDP office in Yemen. He oversees a number of projects relating to environmental and natural resource management.

Wigdan al-Guneid: Wigdan al-Guneid is from the city of Ta‘iz in lower Yemen. Currently residing in the US, she is an architectural designer, and is passionate about Yemeni food, culture, and history.

Follow her on Twitter at @YemenKitchen