drones

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.

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.”

Stimson Center Panel Discussion on US Drone Policy

On October 11, 2017, the Stimson Center and Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Clinic hosted a panel discussion on past US drone practices, recent developments, and future drone policy under the Trump administration. The discussion was moderated by Rachel Stohl, Senior Associate for the Conventional Defense Program at the Stimson Center. The panelists included Waleed Alhariri from the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies, Alex Moorehead from the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, and Luke Hartig from the National Journal’s Network Science Initiative.

Just Security: Trump administration to announce new drone policy

 In a recent piece for Just Security, Former NSC Senior Director for Counterterrorism Luke Hartig recently analyzed the Trump administration’s new drone strike policies and their implications for human rights, national security, and U.S. foreign policy. According to The New York Times, President Trump is considering a new policy for drone strikes recommended by his national security team. The administration is expected to publish a Principles, Standards, and Procedures (PSP) document, which will replace the Presidential Policy Guidance (PPG) that was drafted during President Obama’s administration. The revised policy could substantially impact counterterrorism operations around the world, particularly Yemen.

Lawfare Questions the Effectiveness of America's Drone Program

Jacqueline Hazelton published a report in Lawfare magazine examining the merits of America's use of armed drones through the lens of the American grand strategy of restraint. The study is comprehensive, however it must be noted that due to the secrecy surrounding drone programs and the varying contexts in which drone strikes are carried out, it is difficult to empirically attribute public discontent and radicalization to drone strikes. While this is a limitation of study it is also Hazelton’s chief criticism of the US’ drone program. She argues that:

Secrecy, Drone Strikes, and Rule of Law

Drone strikes have become an inevitable part of warfare over the past decade. However, accountability and transparency have not. According to the new report Out of the Shadows, the lack of transparency in US targeted killing operations increases ill will towards the United States, undermines the advancement of human rights and rule of law, and decreases American credibility. The harm this causes is counterproductive to American strategy abroad and causes untold amounts of human misery, and yet, a lack of accountability persists. While greater transparency is not a panacea to resolve these issues, it does matter to the families of the victims, to the voting public of the United States, and to international partners who rely on the United States.

April 17-24: "Famine-like" conditions evident, aid organizations call for more funds to prevent catastrophe

Monday, April 17, 2017

According to the Emirates News Agency, the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) will provide 53 Yemenis affected by the war with medical treatment at hospitals in India.

Gulf News reports that Yemeni government forces have gained control of a military base north of al-Mokha. Houthi-Saleh forces had used the base to launch missile attacks against coalition forces along the coast.

An article from AP focuses on the work of Fadia Najib Thabet, a student in Vermont who recently received the Secretary of State's International Women of Courage Award for her work as a child protection officer in southern Yemen.

December 19-25: Use of UK, Brazil manufactured cluster bombs in Yemen confirmed

Monday, December 19- Saudi General Ahmed al-Asseri and UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon have confirmed that the Saudi-led coalition has used UK-manufactured cluster bombs in Yemen, which were believed to be purchased in the eighties.

October 17-23: Three-day ceasefire begins and ends, airstrikes resume

Monday, October 17Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir announced that the coalition is prepared for a ceasefire: "We would like to see a ceasefire yesterday...Everybody wants a ceasefire in Yemen, nobody more so than the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the coalition members," Jubeir told reporters in London, adding that he was skeptical that a truce would hold.

Houthi publications show evidence of Spanish-made weapons being used by the rebels in Yemen, including a C90 grenade launcher manufactured by Instalaza and a BMR-600 military vehicle made by the Spanish company Enasa. El Pais reports that the weapons likely found their way into Houthi hands via Saudi Arabia, Spain’s biggest arms purchaser outside of Europe.

PBS NewsHour interviewed former US ambassador to Yemen Barbara Bodine in a segment on last week’s repeated targeting of the USS Mason in the Red Sea. Bodine says that the failed attack was “probably a direct retaliation for the Saudi bombing of the funeral hall,” but to the US, it was a “narrow act of self-defense”.

Tuesday, October 18 UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed announced a 72-hour ceasefire for Yemen starting Wednesday night. The ceasefire is subject to renewal and there are hopes that it will be the first step to resuming peace talks. 

There are reports that Egypt’s air force has withdrawn from the coalition in Yemen, but no official statement has been made confirming this.

Laura Kasinof writes for Slate, explaining why the widespread portrayal of Yemen’s crisis as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran is misleading.

“The war in Yemen is more of an ongoing domestic power struggle that has spiraled out of control and was exacerbated by the political upheaval of the Arab Spring. When outside countries became involved militarily, Yemen was wedged into the pressure cooker of Middle East geopolitics, making it even harder to reach a modicum of peace.”

Wednesday, October 19 A 72-hour ceasefire began just before midnight on Wednesday following a day of intensified airstrikes on army barracks in the capital by the Saudi coalition. The coalition says it will respect the ceasefire if the Houthi forces do as well, and will allow humanitarian aid to be delivered.

The UN says it is ready to deliver aid as soon as ceasefire begins, but humanitarian coordinator for Yemen Jamie McGoldrick is calling for an extension to the ceasefire, emphasizing that three days is not nearly enough time to deliver the necessary aid.

Deutsche Welle provides an outline of Yemen’s conflict and the various players while presenting possible outcomes for this week’s ceasefire. Vincent Durac, Middle East expert at the School of Politics & International Relations in Dublin told DW, “...there is a certain fatigue on both sides, and that could lead each to the conclusion that continued fighting will not create new advantages.”

The press secretary for Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs attempted to assure the public that there is no reason to believe that Canadian weapons are not being used in the commission of war crimes by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, allowing the country’s billions of dollars worth of arms sales with the kingdom to continue.

Britain’s minister for the Middle East Tobias Ellwood says that Saudi Arabia did not authorize the October 8 attack on a funeral hall in San’a, saying that an individual deliberately “breached” procedure and will now be disciplined.

Speaking to BBC’s Daily Politics about criticism of the UK’s relationship with the kingdom, Ellwood said that, "We do sell arms to Saudi Arabia, this is a legitimate war that's taking place, endorsed by the UN resolution 2216.”

Prime Minister Theresa May was questioned by a member of parliament about the UK’s role in Saudi war crimes, but she declined to give assurances that British-made weapons have not been used by the coalition to target civilians. May claimed that “the Saudi Arabian government have properly investigated these issues,” adding that “we press for proper investigations into what has happened on those incidents before we reach a decision or a conclusion on what has happened in relation to those incidents. We do have a very strong relationship with Saudi Arabia that is important for this country – it is important in terms of dealing with counter terrorism and a number of other issues.”

Thursday, October 20 On the first day of the ceasefire, Saudi Arabia claimed that the Houthis committed dozens of violations of cross-border shelling, with one attack killing two Saudi citizens. Meanwhile, Houthi officials charged the coalition with launching an airstrike that killed three civilians.

Al Jazeera reports that a total of at least 11 people were killed in the first day of the ceasefire, undermining the truce that was meant to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid. Those killed include five pro-government fighters in Sa’dah and Hajjah provinces and three rebels who died in attacks in al-Hudaydah.

A number of American, Yemeni, and other officials told Reuters that Iran has stepped up its weapons shipments to the Houthis using smuggling routes in Oman. One US official said that they are bringing “anti-ship missiles, explosives... money and personnel.” None of the officials quoted, including an Iranian diplomat confirming the claims, were named.

Oman’s Foreign Minister Yousef bin Alwi said last week that there was "no truth" in the claim.

Meanwhile, spokesperson for the US Department of State John Kirby evaded a question about Oman allowing the smuggling of weapons, saying that “we’ve been very clear about our concerns with all of the partners in the region, including Oman, regarding the risks that these weapons used in these kinds of attacks pose to maritime traffic in the Red Sea, and also the risks that future incidents could inadvertently expand the conflict in Yemen.”

Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop has confirmed that Craig Bruce McAllister, a football coach working in San’a, has been kidnapped by an unnamed group. A video was released following his capture, showing McAllister saying he was kidnapped and that the group is demanding a ransom.

Friday, October 21 Accusations of ceasefire violations continue, with Saudi Arabia saying that the Houthis have fired rockets into Saudi territory and launched attacks inside Yemen, while the rebels claim that the coalition has struck a number of sites in the border region of Shad.

The UN sanctions monitors told the Security Council that the Saudi-led coalition violated international humanitarian law when it used a “double-tap” airstrike on a funeral gathering earlier this month, killing over 140 people.

"The second air strike, which occurred three to eight minutes after the first air strike, almost certainly resulted in more casualties to the already wounded and the first responders," the UN monitors said.

State department spokesperson John Kirby was repeatedly questioned at a press conference about the outcome of the US review of support for the Saudi-led coalition. Kirby did not reveal details of the the review, but claimed it is ongoing.

The US Department of Defense announced that military strikes in Yemen have killed eight alleged al-Qaeda operatives. The first strike, on October 6, killed two operatives, while another on October 16 killed six. Both strikes took place in Shabwah governorate in central Yemen.

Saturday, October 22 The UN is seeking an extension to the three day ceasefire, which was scheduled to end at midnight on Saturday. An extension of the truce seems unlikely amid accusations of violations by both sides. General Ahmed al-Asseri, spokesperson for the coalition and commander of the Saudi 4th Brigade on the border in Najran, told Reuters his forces were defending against an attack by the Houthis.

"The violation of the truce was not from our side. It was from the other side. We are continuing to thwart them," Asseri said. "In the last 48 hours there was an enormous push by the enemy against our territory."

The Liberal Democrat party revealed that the UK has been training the Saudi Air Force, adding another dimension of British support to the Saudi-led coalition’s campaign in Yemen. Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the Royal Saudi Air Force was helped in order to “improve their targeting processes.”

Sunday, October 23 Coalition airstrikes and cross-border shelling by the Houthis resumed at dawn following the end of the ceasefire. Military sites in San’a in the Hafa camp to the east and in the Nahdein area in the south were targeted, along with radar positions in al-Hudaydah and in Ta’iz, residents reported.

UN humanitarian coordinator in Yemen Jamie McGoldrick commented on the ceasefire, saying that the UN, the Red Cross and MSF have, for the first time, had three straight days to provide food and health support to San’a without the threat of airstrikes.

Robert Fisk writes about the Saudi coalition’s intentional targeting of Yemen’s farmland and the destruction of rural livelihood.

“...there is substantial evidence emerging that the Saudis and their “coalition” allies...are deliberately targeting Yemen’s tiny agricultural sector in a campaign which, if successful, would lead a post-war Yemeni nation not just into starvation but total reliance on food imports for survival.”

October 3-9: Airstrike at San’a funeral kills 140; US and UAE vessels targeted in Red Sea

Monday, October 3French-Tunisian aid worker Nourane Houas, who was kidnapped last December outside San’a by unidentified armed men, has been released and transported to Oman. Houas was working with the International Committee of the Red Cross. The organization says it will not comment on the identity of the men who abducted her.

A senior State Department official commented anonymously to the Washington Post about criticism by lawmakers and human rights groups of coalition abuses in Yemen.

“It’s that offensive warfare that raises a lot of questions in policymakers’ minds. Does an ally have to give you a blank check for everything you’re doing in a war?”

“When we see civilian casualties, it puts us in an extremely awkward position, because Saudi Arabia is a close ally,” another US official remarked.

US officials also said that repeated Saudi strikes on civilians are “errors of capability or competence, not of malice.”

Tuesday, October 4 The Houthis have expressed their unwillingness to pursue a deal unless it includes “an agreement on the new presidential institution,” meaning the removal of exiled president Hadi from the political process.

"If the proposal does not include an agreement on the new presidential institution, then it [the UN peace plan] becomes merely a partial and incomplete vision, which cannot be a foundation for discussion,” the statement published by Saba news agency read.

Two articles in the Guardian this week describe the scenes of starvation and illness in San’a and al-Hudaydah. UN humanitarian aid chief, Stephen O’Brien, visited the Red Sea port city, where he met “very small children affected by malnutrition."

“It is of course absolutely devastating when you see such terrible malnutrition,” he said, warning of “very severe needs."

According to Unicef, there are 370,000 children in Yemen enduring severe malnutrition that weakens their immune system. One and a half million are going hungry and half of children under five are stunted because of chronic malnutrition.

One alleged al-Qaeda militant was killed and another wounded during a US drone strike in Baydah province on September 29, a week after another US attack in Baydah killed two other suspects.

Wednesday, October 5 UAE officials say that Houthi forces attacked a civilian ship off Yemen’s southwest coast in the Bab al-Mandeb Strait early on Saturday, October 1. UAE’s foreign ministry claimed the ship was carrying aid, wounded Yemenis, and passengers.

The UN and EU have condemned the attack on the vessel as “unacceptable” and called for “the respect of the freedom of movement and navigation security in the Bab Al-Mandeb Strait at all times in accordance with international law.”

Stephen O’Brien, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, traveled to Saudi Arabia and met with defense and foreign ministry officials to discuss the situation in Yemen and the facilitation of humanitarian access.

“We all agreed that the utmost must be done to save and protect lives in Yemen in accordance with international humanitarian law,” O’Brien told reporters.

The threat of famine in Yemen is growing, due in part to the freezing of the country’s trade system and an inability to process payments.

"We have begun to cancel our forward contracts - it's just impossible to trade when there is no financial system in place," said one source.

"The politicization of the central bank and attempts by the parties in the conflict to use it as a tool to hurt one another ... threaten to push the poorest over the edge," said Richard Stanforth, humanitarian policy adviser with Oxfam.

Thursday, October 6 A pro-government officer reports that four Houthi soldiers and three loyalist forces were killed in clashes between Lahj and Ta’iz provinces near the Bab al-Mandeb Strait.

Friday, October 7 Sudarsan Raghavan of the Washington Post interviews Yemeni activist Tawakkol Karman five years after she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Raghavan asks her about Yemen’s current situation and what went wrong following the 2011 revolution.

“The first and foremost mistake is granting ousted president Saleh impunity against all crimes he committed in the past, and allowing him [to be involved] in political activities. . . . The other serious mistake is allowing the Houthi militia to expand control over other territories with force and oppression,” Karman said.

Following a meeting with Houthi representatives in Oman, UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said that he hopes to announce a 72-hour ceasefire within a few days. The envoy said that the Houthis “are convinced of the need for a ceasefire,” but he still needs to speak with Hadi.

Saturday, October 8 In one of the deadliest attacks since the war began, a Saudi-led coalition airstrike targeted a funeral in San’a, killing at least 140 and wounded a staggering 525 others. The funeral was being held for the father of Houthi interior minister Jalal al-Roweishan.

"The aggression continues to shed blood in an uncommon savagery and with international collusion that reaches the level of direct participation," Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam said in a statement.

The coalition is denying the strike, but eyewitnesses and UN humanitarian coordinator Jamie McGoldrick say the destruction was caused by airstrikes. A video of the attack corroborates these claims.

NSC Spokesperson Ned Price issued a White House statement on Saturday’s devastating airstrike saying, “U.S. security cooperation with Saudi Arabia is not a blank check. Even as we assist Saudi Arabia regarding the defense of their territorial integrity, we have and will continue to express our serious concerns about the conflict in Yemen and how it has been waged. In light of this and other recent incidents, we have initiated an immediate review of our already significantly reduced support to the Saudi-led Coalition and are prepared to adjust our support so as to better align with U.S. principles, values and interests, including achieving an immediate and durable end to Yemen's tragic conflict.”

An article in the Huffington Post argues that President Obama could end the war in Yemen at any moment by blocking the transfer of weapons and withdrawing strategic support from the Saudi-led coalition.

“There’s no question that American refueling, providing tankers, greatly enables the bombing of Yemen. If the Saudis had to do it without our tankers, the level of bombing would be enormously reduced, probably by a factor of three,” former Pentagon official Pierre Sprey said.

Unicef reports that a cholera outbreak has hit Yemen, with eight cases reported recently in one neighborhood of San’a.

"Children are at a particularly high risk if the current cholera outbreak is not urgently contained especially since the health system in Yemen is crumbling as the conflict continues."

Sunday, October 9 Although the Saudi-led coalition, as of Sunday, has not admitted responsibility for Saturday’s airstrike that killed at least 140, the coalition is launching an investigation into the attack, likely in an attempt to curb further criticism of the kingdom's military campaign.

Thousands of Yemenis marched in San'a to protest Saturday's airstrike. Meanwhile, Iran's foreign minister asked for the UN to arrange for an Iranian shipment of humanitarian aid to Yemen following what he described as the "horrendous and heinous attack" on mourners.

Two missiles were fired at American warship USS Mason while it was passing through the Red Sea for “routine operations in international waters.” The missiles, which were reportedly launched from Houthi-held territory, did not reach the ship. A spokesman for the Houthi forces denies targeting any warships. The incident comes eight days after Houthi forces were accused of attacking a UAE vessel in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.

CNN interviews UN humanitarian coordinator Jamie McGoldrick and Chatham House’s Peter Salisbury about an apparent indifference of the international community and media outlets towards the crisis in Yemen. The lack of coverage may be attributed to the country’s inaccessibility and the absence of a clear narrative, but Salisbury adds that the US and the UK are happy to continue backing Saudi Arabia for political and financial reasons.

"There have been one or two occasions where the British arms industry wouldn't have been able to survive if it hadn't been for massive orders from Saudi Arabia," Salisbury said.

"Basically, policymakers in the West see the world as a giant game of Risk, and they see more value to maintaining their relationship with Saudi Arabia than getting rid of bad PR over Yemen."

September 12-18: Deadly clashes near Ta'iz, Hadi orders relocation of CBY to Aden

Monday, September 12UN humanitarian coordinator Jamie McGoldrick says that he is deeply disturbed by “unrelenting attacks on civilians and on civilian infrastructure throughout Yemen by all parties to the conflict,” after Saturday’s coalition airstrike on a well in Arhab district killed 30 civilians.

Pro-government fighters are growing increasingly frustrated by the coalition’s inability to pay their salaries. Some soldiers are now being granted a few weeks leave from the army to find paid work elsewhere.

“The coalition had promised each recruit a minimum of about $270 a month — the prewar salary of a university professor with a master’s degree. But once on the front lines, according to several officers, most of the young men found themselves penniless for months on end.”

Three soldiers in Qatar’s armed forces were killed during operations in Yemen on Monday. Doha News later reported the soldiers’ names, but noted that their nationalities are unknown, as Qatar’s army includes soldiers from other countries.

According to Al Jazeera, Qatar has sent 1,000 ground troops to Yemen to support the coalition.

Tuesday, September 13 More shocking images of starving, emaciated Yemeni children are being circulated, drawing some attention to the country's critical food shortages. ABC and other outlets published these pictures along with statements from aid organizations.

Out of the 1.5 million children who are suffering from malnutrition, according to UNICEF, 370,000 suffer from severe acute malnutrition, a life-threatening condition that requires urgent treatment.”

The Saudi-led coalition bombed an industrial site in San’a, targeting plants making pipes and building materials. The coalition claims the plant was being used to manufacture missile parts. The managing director of an Italian company affiliated with the factory says that the strike caused a fire that destroyed half the premises and resulted in several million dollars worth of damage. There were no casualties.

A US drone strike in Bayda province on Tuesday killed five suspected members of al-Qaeda, according to Yemeni security officials and a tribal chief. The alleged militants were traveling by car in the town of Rada.

Wednesday, September 14 Military sources told AFP that 12 Houthi fighters and three pro-government fighters were killed during fighting in Lahj and Ta’iz provinces, including clashes in a mountainous area in southwestern Yemen near the Bab al-Mandeb strait.

Thursday, September 15 Houthi forces have seized two oil tankers at the port of al-Hudaydah due to a payment dispute earlier this month. The two ships, owned by Singaporean company Ocean Tankers, have been held at the Red Sea port for months, according to Reuters. The seizure stems from a disagreement between Yemen Oil and Gas Company and CruGas, the company’s regular supplier. The seizure could disrupt the import of fuel and other essential goods to Yemen if companies see the country as too risky to trade with.

Forty fighters, including 27 Houthis and 13 pro-government forces, were killed during clashes near Ta’iz, says spokesperson for the government forces Colonel Sadeq al-Hassani. AFP reported the comments by the spokesperson, but the death toll could not be independently verified.

An important piece in the Guardian outlines a division in British parliament over arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Crispin Blunt, the Conservative chairman of the foreign affairs select committee, blocked a vote on the suspension of weapons sales to the kingdom after two select committees issued a joint report calling for an inquiry into alleged war crimes committed by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

The committee says Saudi Arabia is “obstructing efforts to investigate the alleged violations,” adding that sales by the UK may have “the effect of conferring legitimacy” on Saudi Arabia’s actions.

Doctors Without Borders issued a statement on increased fighting in Yemen and the impact it has on civilian access to healthcare. The resumption of intense airstrikes across the country means that seeking medical care is now much more hazardous.

“The indirect victims of conflict are numerous. They include people who are unable to access medical facilities for treatment – for example, patients requiring blood transfusions or women requiring emergency caesarean sections. Even where a medical facility is functioning, it will likely lack the capacity to provide medical care due to shortages of key supplies, personnel or medicine, or have no fuel to run its generator. Some health facilities are simply too dangerous to reach, so people have to make do without.”

In Thursday’s press briefing, deputy spokesperson for the US state department Mark Toner addressed reports that Under Secretary of Political Affairs Tom Shannon met with Houthi representatives in Muscat this week to present a US proposal of a cessation of hostilities. Although Toner did not confirm Shannon’s travel to Muscat, the spokesperson said that the proposal is part of efforts by Secretary of State John Kerry to forge an agreement between the warring parties.

Friday, September 16 A survey conducted by human rights advocates and published in the Guardian shows that one in three Saudi-led air strikes in Yemen have hit civilian sites, such as schools and hospitals. Despite these findings, which support the accusation that the coalition is in violation of humanitarian law, the UK government is unlikely to suspend its arms sales to the kingdom. Since the war began in March 2015, the UK has sold 3.3 billion pounds worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia.

Al-Hudaydah’s residents, especially children, are facing famine and a lack of essential medical aid due to the ongoing war and blockade. In June, the UN listed the coastal city as the area of Yemen with “the highest malnutrition prevalence.”

“Here you won’t find a school, a medical center ... drinking water is from the wells. They are already deprived of everything,” said Ibrahim al-Kaali, a local social worker.

Yemen’s al-Islah party renounced the Muslim Brotherhood in a statement posted on its Facebook page: “No organizational or political relations link us to the international organization of Muslim Brotherhood, especially that the priorities of al-Islah as a political party are patriotic, and all the efforts exerted with its Yemeni partners lie in ending Yemen’s current crisis…”

A leader of al-Islah told Asharq al-Awsat that there has been “political confusion” in the region regarding the party’s connection with the Muslim Brotherhood.

A source close to the Houthi negotiating team in Oman says that US Under Secretary of Political Affairs Tom Shannon presented a proposal for a ceasefire in Yemen to Houthi representatives last week. The source did not disclose details of the proposal, but the US state department says it is an “extension of efforts” made by Kerry last month.

The Houthi negotiating team has been stuck in Oman since leaving Kuwait negotiations in early August. The group was prevented from returning to San'a by the Saudi-led coalition, which controls Yemen’s airspace. Saudi authorities say, however, that they will now allow the team to return to the capital.

Saturday, September 17 Hadi’s exiled government says that it will not enter into another round of peace talks with the Houthis until there are “clear assurances” that the governing council in San’a, formed by the Houthis and former president Saleh, has been dissolved.

Sunday, September 18 Hadi has ordered the relocation of the headquarters of the Central Bank of Yemen from San’a to Aden and has appointed Finance Minister Monasser al-Quaiti as the bank’s new head. The move is an attempt by Hadi’s exiled government to regain control over the country’s most important financial institution.

Last month, the government requested that international financial institutions prevent bank officials from accessing funds overseas, in the hopes of putting economic pressure on the Houthis. Restricted access to funds would also impact millions of Yemeni citizens, including teachers and doctors.

July 4-10: AQAP storms Aden base, Hadi makes brief visit to Marib

Monday, July 4Saudi Arabia intercepted a ballistic missile fired across the border from Yemen early Monday, the Saudi-led coalition reported. The missile, which was launched by Houthi forces towards the southern Saudi city of Abha, was intercepted with no injuries after the missile launcher was destroyed by the kingdom’s air defenses.

Gulf News reports that it was at least the fourth ballistic missile launched across the border since the ceasefire and UN-brokered peace talks began in Kuwait in April between the Houthis and Hadi’s government. The Saudi-led coalition has similarly violated the ceasefire with continued airstrikes.

Yemen’s Central Bank refused to pay government employees on Sunday due to its severe shortage of funds. The bank is reportedly facing a daily deficit of 94 billion rials, "resulting from a lack of tax revenue and a 200% reduction in the country's revenues."

A governmental report submitted by Yemeni Finance Minister Munser al-Quaiti to ambassadors of donor countries within the context of the Kuwait peace talks two weeks ago said the Houthi militias seized $1.6 billion of foreign exchange reserves during the past 16 months under the pretext of “war efforts.”

Tuesday, July 5 Rockets launched by Houthi forces killed seven children and wounded twenty-five other civilians in Marib. One rocket reportedly struck a courtyard where the children were playing while two other rockets hit a home and a storefront. The number of casualties was provided by the director of Marib’s main hospital, which received the victims.

Wednesday, July 6 An attack by al-Qaeda at Aden’s Solaban military base in Khormaksar killed at least fourteen soldiers and wounded dozens more. Six attackers were also killed.

The militants detonated a suicide car bomb at the gate, allowing more fighters onto the base. They exchanged gunfire with troops for hours, only withdrawing after Apache helicopters carried out a series of strikes on the base.

AQAP called the attack revenge for government assaults elsewhere in southern Yemen.

The Washington Post reports on an increase in the marriage of underage girls in Yemen as a result of the conflict. Organizations that have worked in Yemen to end this practice say that before the war, instances of underage marriage were decreasing. As more families are now being displaced and facing extreme poverty, many of them marry off one of their daughters, sometimes as young as eight, in order to support the rest of the family.

Friday, July 8 US Central Command reports that four al-Qaeda operatives have been killed in two strikes in Shabwa province on July 1 and July 4. The report states that “The U.S. will not relent in its mission to degrade, disrupt and destroy al-Qaida and its remnants,” claiming that, “Strikes conducted by the U.S. in Yemen continue to diminish AQAP’s presence in the region.”

The release comes a week after the Obama administration reported the number of civilians killed in American strikes in non-combat zones in the past seven years. The tally was reported at 116, but independent organizations estimate that the civilian death toll is much higher.

Yemen’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Abdul Malik al-Mekhlafi told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Saudi-led coalition’s Operation Decisive Storm was “launched for the sake of Yemen and the Arab and Islamic World,” and denied any intention to back off “until legitimacy is achieved in Yemen.”

He added that UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed “betrayed the Yemeni government’s trust when he submitted the roadmap project without discussing it with the government delegation.”

Al-Mekhlafi said that Ould Sheikh Ahmed will meet with President Hadi and government members following Eid al-Fitr to discuss the roadmap.

Saturday, July 9 Since the war began in March 2015, most of Yemen’s 1,200 foreign doctors have been forced to flee. The lack of practitioners has left critically-injured patients, especially those in need of specialized medical attention, with nowhere to turn.

Doctors working in Yemen, even those affiliated with Doctors Without Borders and other international organizations, face the ongoing danger of airstrikes. Many hospitals have been bombed, and doctors have been killed while attempting to provide medical assistance to those wounded in airstrikes.

In another part to The Washington Post’s recent series on Yemen’s conflict, Sudarsan Raghavan reports on the use of American-made cluster bombs by the Saudi coalition. The use of these bombs not only has tragic consequences for innocent civilians, including children, but has further damaged the reputation of the United States in the eyes of many Yemenis, who struggle to understand why a country with “principles of democracy and human rights” is participating in the indiscriminate bombing of their country.

Sunday, July 10 President Hadi arrived in Marib for his first visit since Houthi forces were expelled from the area a year ago. Hadi, along with Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar and other officials, is said to be monitoring the military and security situation there. In today's speech, Hadi said that he will not allow the United Nations to implement decisions that would form a coalition government, adding that he will not return to Kuwait if the UN issued such a decision. Hadi also said he would not allow the Houthis “to establish a Persian nation in Yemen,” referring to the rebels' limited ties with Iran.

These threatening comments by Hadi could undermine the peace talks, which by all accounts have been making slow but steady progress to end Yemen’s 15-month-long war.

During Hadi’s visit, a suspected US drone strike wounded four alleged members of al-Qaeda in Marib province. Neither Hadi’s government nor the US have commented on the strike.

The US has released from Guantanamo Bay Fayiz Ahmad Yahia Suleiman, a Yemeni held at the prison for 14 and a half years without charge. Although Mr. Suleiman was cleared for transfer six years ago after being falsely accused of connections with al-Qaeda, he is only now being resettled in Italy.

“Like many low-level Yemenis on the list, [Suleiman] remained stranded because the administration deemed his home country too chaotic to accept repatriated detainees.”

June 27-July 3: IS attacks kill dozens, Kuwait talks adjourn for Eid

Monday, June 27Three bomb attacks by the Islamic State group on Yemeni government forces killed 38 and wounded 24 in Mukalla on Monday, according to medics and security sources.

The first explosion occurred as an attacker detonated his suicide vest at a checkpoint near Mukalla, while the second blast was from a car bomb at the city’s military intelligence headquarters. The last was an improvised explosive device which went off as soldiers were preparing to break fast for Ramadan.

Representatives from the Houthi delegation and the Hadi government announced plans to suspend talks in Kuwait in time for Eid al-Fitr, the end of the holy month of Ramadan. They will reportedly return to talks in mid-July.

One of the negotiators, a minister in Hadi’s government said "the return to the talks is meant to save face after reaching a deadlock."

The deadlock he is likely referring to is the refusal of the Houthis to meet the demands of the Hadi government and UN Security Resolution 2216 which would require them to relinquish their seized weapons and territory before a unity government is formed.

Tuesday, June 28 A Saudi-led airstrike in Houthi-controlled Ta’iz killed upwards of 25 people, including at least 10 civilians, according to security officials. The strike also wounded eight civilians. Most of the victims were shoppers or storekeepers in the area.

A report by Reuters explains how the UAE’s role in Yemen has evolved from targeting the Houthis to implementing what some see as an effective new strategy in counterterrorism. The UAE has apparently proven itself to be one of America's most important allies in fighting Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

“Retired General Anthony Zinni, former chief of U.S. Central Command, told Reuters the UAE was ‘a top military’ in the region and ‘exponentially more capable than its size might indicate...It has also shown the ability to hang in there despite casualties ... (The UAE) has proven its willingness to fight alongside the U.S. and coalitions.’”

Wednesday, June 29 Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are calling for the removal of Saudi Arabia from the United Nations Human Rights Council due to the country’s “gross and systematic violations of human rights.” The groups accuse Saudi Arabia of obstructing justice for possible war crimes and demand that the country’s membership be revoked until it ends its “unlawful attacks in Yemen.”

Both groups, among a number of other organizations, have documented violations of humanitarian and international law committed by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, including the targeting of civilian areas and the use of internationally-banned cluster bombs.

Peace talks in Kuwait, which started two months ago, adjourned for two weeks for Eid al-Fitr, and are set to resume on July 15.

"The two delegations will use the coming two weeks to meet their respective leaderships," UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said in a statement.

"(They) will then return to Kuwait with practical recommendations on how to implement the necessary mechanisms that will enable them to sign a peace accord and thus end the conflict in Yemen."

Thursday, June 30 In response to the demand by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International that Saudi Arabia be suspended from the UN’s Human Rights Council, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the council Faisal Trad said that his country is “keen” to abide by international law and assist humanitarian organizations.

"With regard to Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the coalition (are) keen to abide by international humanitarian law and apply the highest international rules of engagement which corresponds with international regulations," Ambassador Trad wrote.

Saudi Arabia was recently charged in a UN report with being the group responsible for the highest number of child deaths in Yemen in the past year, but was quickly removed after Saudi officials threatened to withdraw funding from UN-sponsored programs if it was not taken off the blacklist.

The Houthis and Hadi’s government have exchanged a total of more than 700 prisoners, including more than 50 children, since the start of the peace talks two months ago, the UN special envoy for Yemen said. Most of these prisoner exchanges have been coordinated by local and tribal officials. Details of each exchange, including the number released by each side, was not provided.

Friday, July 1 The Obama administration released on Friday internal estimates showing that up to 116 civilians have been killed during US strikes against suspected terrorists in the past seven years. The estimates, which have not previously been released, include strikes by manned and unmanned aircraft outside combat zones, such as Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, and Libya. Estimates by independent organizations of civilian casualties as a result of such strikes place the death toll much higher.

The number of civilians killed in strikes in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan were not announced by the government. Between 2,372 and 2,581 so-called “combatants” were killed in the non-combat zones over the same period.

The report comes as security officials and Yemeni tribesmen say that at least three suspected al-Qaeda militants were killed in a drone strike in Shabwa on Thursday.

Saturday, July 2 Seven Houthi fighters and three pro-government forces were killed in clashes in Nihm district, east of San’a, according to security officials.

Houthi-run Yemen News Agency said the violence erupted when Houthi forces "repulsed an attempt by pro-government forces to advance to Yam Mount, east of Nihm district.”

Al Jazeera reports on the 200,000 civilians impacted by the 15-month-long Houthi siege on Ta’iz. The city is experiencing a severe shortage of food, water, fuel, and medical supplies. Thirty-seven out of the 40 hospitals in Ta’iz have been forced to close and aid organizations say they are regularly prevented from delivering essential supplies to the city.

Sunday, July 3 Mareb Press reports that Yemen’s government has announced that, in the case of the Kuwait talks failing, peace will be imposed by force. Meanwhile, a prominent member of the Houthi delegation foresees a military escalation in the coming days.

“Spokesman for the Yemeni government Rajeh Badi said in an interview with Al Jazeera that the Houthi militias and forces loyal to ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh only understand the language of force, adding that the Yemeni government realized that the Houthis only came to Kuwait to legitimize the coup.”

A member of the Houthi delegation reportedly expects the military escalation during Eid al-Fitr, which would "aim to undo the progress of the Kuwait talks."

The unintended consequences of the war on AQAP

The war on terror waged by Western governments in Yemen has not only failed to achieve its goals, but has in fact strengthened the exact groups it hoped to defeat. A recent piece in Foreign Policy by Jack Watling and Namir Shabibi explains why military training and financial incentives provided to Yemen’s government by the US and the UK to defeat al-Qaeda have brought about disastrous unintended consequences. In the eight years that Western governments have provided military training to troops in Yemen, al-Qaeda has expanded its territory and increased its membership. For a year up until last month, AQAP ruled a mini-state in Yemen’s port city of Mukalla. Local officials estimate the group earned $2 million a day from taxes on fuel and goods, illustrating both AQAP's financial success and the utter failure by Western governments to defeat the militant group.

But the counter-terrorism push by Washington and London was not always a failure. The early years of the fight against AQAP, from 2001 to 2005, were so successful that the two governments considered the group defeated and cut back significantly on aid to Yemen. Shortly thereafter, 23 senior militants escaped from a Yemeni prison, renewing the al-Qaeda threat and the aid money.

The response set the worst possible precedent. It effectively tied millions of dollars in aid — and the corresponding support for President Saleh — not to al Qaeda’s elimination, but to its continued presence. From that moment, Yemeni efforts to confront the insurgency lost their previous vigor.

The strategy of direct military assistance presented its own challenges. Upon the creation of Western-trained Yemeni anti-terrorism units, the amount of operations against al-Qaeda notably decreased. This was in part due to an unwillingness of Yemeni troops to interfere in tribal areas, but also represented the troops' understanding that, if their aim was achieved and al-Qaeda was defeated, their unit would no longer be needed.

Independent efforts by Western governments to defeat AQAP, such as drone strikes, have also had unintended consequences. The numerous civilian deaths resulting from drone attacks roused anger among average Yemenis, facilitating recruitment by al-Qaeda. Ultimately, all of these efforts to defeat AQAP were a waste of time, money, and lives, and should serve as a lesson for any future attempts to defeat the group.

May 9-15: Mukalla struck by series of IS bombings, UN talks push forward

Monday, May 9Over 800 workers were evicted from Aden by local pro-secessionist security forces on Sunday. Those forcibly removed from shops, restaurants, and homes in the southern city were mostly from Ta’iz, which is located in north Yemen according to the pre-1990 borders. The security forces, who were appointed by Hadi, deemed the northerners "a threat to security," but Hadi himself quickly condemned the evictions, calling them “unacceptable.”

Mukalla’s airport was reopened following the withdrawal of al-Qaeda forces, who occupied the port city for a year. The first flight reportedly arrived Sunday from the UAE carrying Red Crescent medical supplies.

Tuesday, May 10 US Central Command News Release announced recent drone strikes against al-Qaeda in Yemen. This update was issued at the same time as the Pentagon admitted to deploying “military advisors” in Yemen to assist the UAE in fighting al-Qaeda. “The U.S. military has conducted four counterterrorism airstrikes against the al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula terrorist organization in Yemen in recent weeks, killing 10 al-Qaida operatives and injuring one…”

Saudi coalition spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed al-Asiri has accused the Houthis and Saleh of direct cooperation with al-Qaeda. This is despite numerous reports within the last year that Saudi coalition forces have fought alongside al-Qaeda in their battle against the Houthis. Al-Asiri later said that if peace talks in Kuwait fail, the Saudi-led coalition is prepared to launch a military operation to enter San’a.

UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said that both sides to the Kuwait talks reached an agreement to exchange half of all prisoners within the next 20 days. The number of total prisoners involved is unclear, and may range from a few hundred to a few thousand.

Wednesday, May 11 At least 10 troops were killed in three different attacks by IS militants who detonated car bombs outside military and naval bases in Mukalla. The attacks come a month after the city was retaken from al-Qaeda by Yemeni and UAE forces.

Thursday, May 12 The UN reports that Yemen’s food situation is on the verge of humanitarian disaster unless urgent funding is accessible for the Food and Agriculture Organization. The report states that agriculture must be an integral part of the humanitarian response plan, as aid organizations will not be able to provide the amount of food needed for the 14.4 million Yemenis urgently in need of assistance.

Friday, May 13 UN Envoy Ould Cheikh Ahmed reported that the Houthi and government delegations discussed proposals to bridge the gap between their respective visions, reaching consensus on some issues. He added that “progress is being achieved, albeit at a relatively slow pace.”

Sunday, May 15 The second IS suicide bombing in Mukalla in one week targeted a police base Sunday morning, killing 31 recruits who were waiting outside the building. Sixty were left critically injured.

March 21-27: Parties agree to ceasefire and talks; US strikes kill AQAP suspects

Monday, March 21Talks in San’a on Sunday between Houthi rebels and UN Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed resulted in an agreement on a ceasefire prior to upcoming talks in Kuwait. Later on in the week it was revealed that the ceasefire is set to begin on April 10 while negotiations will commence on April 18.

Nineteen Yemeni Jews were airlifted to Israel from Raydah and San’a over the weekend in an operation organized by the Jewish Agency, which has brought approximately 200 Yemeni Jews to Israel in recent years. Approximately 50 Jews remain in Yemen, many of whom live in a compound close to the US embassy in San’a. The new arrivals in Israel brought with them a Torah scroll believed to be between 500 and 600 years old.

Human Rights Watch released a statement on Monday urging all countries, especially the US, the UK, and France, to suspend all weapons sales to Saudi Arabia until it ceases carrying out unlawful airstrikes in Yemen, which have led to the deaths of hundreds of civilians. HRW also demands that Saudi Arabia conduct credible investigations into these repeated violations of international humanitarian law. https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/03/21/yemen-embargo-arms-saudi-arabia

Tuesday, March 22 At least 50 alleged al-Qaeda militants were killed in a US drone strike on their training camp west of al-Mukalla. The mass-casualty strike was announced by the Pentagon, and later confirmed by local medics and a Yemeni official who reported that those killed were members of al-Qaeda.

Wednesday, March 23 The UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, confirmed on Wednesday that all parties to the Yemen conflict have agreed to a cessation of hostilities set to begin on midnight on April 10, preceding peace talks in Kuwait on April 18.

Ould Cheikh Ahmed said that the talks will be carried out “under the umbrella of three pillars: the GCC initiative, the National Dialogue, and UN resolution 2216” and will work towards ”reaching a comprehensive agreement, which will end the conflict and allow the resumption of inclusive political dialogue in accordance with resolution 2216 and other relevant UN resolutions.”

Friday, March 25 Three suicide bombings killed 26 people in Aden on Friday. IS claimed responsibility for the attacks, which targeted military checkpoints, two of which were near a coalition base.

Saturday, March 26 Saturday marked the one-year anniversary of the Saudi-led coalition’s military intervention in Yemen. Mass demonstrations, which former president Saleh called for in a speech on March 23, were held in San’a to protest the coalition’s ongoing war in Yemen. Mareb Press, however, reported that celebrations in Aden and Ma’rib celebrated the one year anniversary.

Sunday, March 27 The Independent reported on Sunday that the UAE fighter jet which crashed into a mountainside near Aden on March 14 was in fact shot down by al-Qaeda using a Russian-made surface-to-air missile. This contradicts earlier reports that claim the jet experienced a technical malfunction, leading to the crash which killed both pilots aboard.

US airstrikes killed 14 suspected al-Qaeda militants on Sunday in Abyan province, according to local medics and residents. The aircraft reportedly bombed buildings used by al-Qaeda and destroyed a government intelligence headquarters in the provincial capital Zinjibar that the militants had captured and were using as a base.

January 31–February 6: Assassinations continue in Aden, resistance gains ground in San‘a

January 31The Saudi-led coalition announced the formation of a “high-level independent committee” to examine charges of possible abuses against civilians in the conflict. The announcement came days after the AFP reported on a leaked report by the UN Sanctions Committee’s panel of experts, which documented 119 violations of international humanitarian law by the coalition. The formation of the committee has been met with understandable skepticism regarding the objectivity of the coalition’s investigation into its own crimes.

Also on Sunday, influential salafi cleric Samahan Abdel-Aziz was abducted and killed in Aden shortly after delivering a sermon against Al-Qaeda and ISIS. His assassination follows a string of attacks on government officials and local activists in the southern city, which is both the center of the Southern independence movement and the provisional capital of the Hadi government.

February 1 The minister of human rights for Hadi’s government in exile, Azzedine Al-Asbahi, announced preliminary statistics on the war that indicate the death of over 10,000 people, with 15,000 wounded, and 2.5 million displaced since the beginning of last year. In the minister’s interview with Al-Hayat, he states that pro-Houthi forces “have caused the largest societal fracture in Yemen, one that poses the threat of another war that could destroy the fabric of society.”

February 3 Forty Houthi fighters were reportedly killed and 30 captured, as clashes continued in Fardhat Nihm, near San’a. Six pro-Hadi fighters and five civilians were also killed. By Friday, pro-Hadi forces strengthened their hold on Fardhat Nihm, a strategic area northeast of the capital.

Twelve alleged jihadi militants were killed in Shabwah and Abyan governorates late Wednesday night in two airstrikes apparently carried out by US drones. One of those killed was Jalal Bal’idi al-Marqashi, the commander of Ansar al-Shari'ah in Abyan and Shabwah. His death was reportedly mourned by Al-Qaeda members who distributed a statement on his death on social media.

February 6 The World Bank released a report on Saturday February 6 outlining the economic impacts of ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. Regarding Yemen, the report states that 80% of the country’s population--or 20 million out of a population of 24 million--is now considered poor, an increase of 30% since April 2015, when fighting escalated.

January 26-February 2: Talks continue, Houthis issue new ultimatum

Editor's note: This week we welcome a new contributor to the YPP blog, Shuaib Almosawa. Shuaib is a freelance journalist based in San`a; his reporting is regularly featured in The New York Times, among other publications. Over the next few months he'll be providing our readers with weekly summaries of ongoing and emerging stories. You can also find him on Twitter at @shuaibalmosawa. Yemen’s political parties have for the past week been holding UN-brokered talks to fill a vacuum caused by Houthi forces’ January offensive, which led to the resignation of both the government and President Hadi. The Houthis, who stormed the capital in late September taking control of all government buildings, had objected to a constitutional draft that divides the country into six regions. On January 17 they kidnapped Ahmad Awadh bin Mubarak, President Abdu Rabu Mansur Hadi’s office director. Two days later, Houthi Popular Committees clashed with Hadi’s Presidential Guards. The Houthis have since put Hadi and key ministers under house arrest.

The sudden takeover by the Houthis, as well as increasing demands by Hirak factions for southern secession, have necessitated another round of UN-brokered talks that include the Houthi leadership and other main political powers. Talks aim to agree on a presidential transitional council that will address the constitutional draft and prepare for elections.

Concerned over the Huthis’ tightening grip on power, the GCC countries, which sponsored the 2011 agreement that installed Hadi as president, have called the recent events a coup. The events have also led France’s embassy in Sana’a to close to the public this Monday; the US and UK embassies have also reduced their staff and services.

University students and youth activists have also staged rallies denouncing the Houthi coup. Protests have been met with violence, and arrests of activists and journalists by Houthi militiamen.

In his recent speech after Hadi’s resignation, the group’s leader, ‘Abd al-Malik al-Houthi, called for a peaceful transition of power, echoing a US White House official who commented on the Yemen situation. After speculation that recent events could bring the US drone campaign to a halt as America’s preferred ally is out, eastern regions of Yemen have over the past week seen three drone attacks against suspected al-Qaeda militants. There have been no public talks between American officials and Houthis.

Simultaneously with the UN-brokered talks, the Houthis held three massive meetings of supporters and allies in capital, the last of which ended on Sunday. It gave a three-day ultimatum for the political powers to come up with a solution. “Otherwise,” read the meeting’s final statement, “the Revolutionary Committees will take necessary actions.”

Mafraj Radio Episode 15: UK Strategy, and Reprieve on Multiple Kills

On this episode we speak with Sir Alan Duncan, the British government’s Special Envoy to Yemen, about UK foreign policy and his thoughts on Yemen’s precarious transition. We also talk to Jennifer Gibson, a staff attorney for the London-based NGO Reprieve. Her recently-published report reveals damning details about the American targeted killing program. Sir Alan Duncan is the United Kingdom's Special Envoy to Yemen and Special Envoy to Oman. He has served as a Member of Parliament since 1992.

Jennifer Gibson is a staff attorney at the NGO Reprieve, where she leads the organization's program on issues related to US drone strikes in Pakistan. She tweets at @jennifermgibson.

You can read more about Jennifer's report on multiple kills here. Gregory Johnsen's piece on a December 2013 strike, which killed 12 members of a Yemeni wedding party, is here.

I close this episode with a brief segment on the tragic death of American photojournalist Luke Somers. The segment is a condensed version of a recent blog post.

New study says US kills as many as 28 people for each drone "target"

If you follow the news about the US-led war against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), you're probably familiar with the phenomenon of the zombie mujahid. In several cases, US or Yemeni officials have announced the death of certain AQAP operatives, only to have the men in question appear alive and well weeks or months later. A recent study by the UK-based NGO Reprieve looked at this issue, and also tried to figure out who the US had actually killed in place of the intended targets. Reprieve released a report based on the study on Monday. Among their key findings, Reprieve identified 41 individuals who appear to be US-designated "high-value targets," and who have each been reported killed multiple times. "Each was targeted and/or reported killed more than three times on average before they were actually killed. In one instance, a person was targeted seven times before eventually being killed. Two others were killed six times and one is believed to still be alive today."

Reprieve staff attorney Jennifer Gibson collected data on US air strikes in Yemen and Pakistan for the study, which also found that:

Strikes targeting the above [41] individuals killed on average 28 other people each before they actually succeeded in killing their target. In total, as many as 1,147 people may have been killed during attempts to kill just these 41 men, accounting for a quarter of all possible drone strike casualties. Yet, evidence suggests that despite multiple attempts, at least seven of these forty-one men are likely still alive and a further individual died not from drone strikes but rather natural causes.

Seventeen of the high-value targets the study identifies were/are in Yemen. According to Reprieve:

Missile strikes on these men killed 273 other people and accounted for almost half of all confirmed civilian casualties and 100% of all recorded child deaths. Each [of the 17 HVTs] was killed on average well over three times each. Strikes against these 17 targets accounted for almost half of all confirmed civilian casualties in Yemen. Yet, evidence suggests that at least four of these 17 men are still alive (Qassim al-Raimi, Nasser Abdul Karim al-Wuhayshi, Ibrahim al-Asiri, and Abdulraouf al-Dahab).

Of course, reliable data on US air strikes are hard to come by, since the targeted killing program is covert. In particular, it's hard for researchers to determine who is a civilian and who is a "militant." You can read the methodology section of the report to get a sense of how Reprieve arrived at these numbers, and how they established who was killed in which strikes. Reprieve's press release, with a link to a PDF of the full report, is here.