The Saudi-led coalition has announced plans to finance and install four cranes in the ports of Aden, Mukalla, and Mokha as part of its unilateral humanitarian plan for Yemen, which has been criticized by several NGOs. The YPP pointed out the plan’s shortcomings in a recent blog post.
In a new report, Stacey Philbrick Yadav argues southern fighting is evidence that Yemen’s civil war is actually a series of mini-wars. This fracturing is not considered in formal diplomatic processes, which is a major cause of the diplomatic standstill.
The Economist published an article on the recent movements of the Yemeni National Army. The Army had previously been trapped in a year-long stalemate, but have recently started making progress toward Hudaydah, as well as making gains in al-Jawf in the north and Shabwah in the south. The Economist attributed these recent movements to the opportunities that have been created from shifting alliances since Saleh’s death in December.
Afrah Nasser asserted in an article published by openDemocracy that Yemen continues to be the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. One point of particular concern to Nasser is the face that the number of civilian deaths reported is inconsistent with the level of suffering that is occurring on the ground.
Al Arabiya identified four members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard who have allegedly been advising the Houthis in San’a.
In the international arena, President Bashir of Sudan confirmed the Sudanese government's continued support of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.
The Office of the Governor in al-Mahrah issued a statement asking local customs to refuse the entry of materials such as trucks, fertilizers, pipes, and motorcycles, which could have long-term negative economic effects on farmers as well as food production.
In another sign of the collapse of the Houthi-Saleh Alliance, Critical Threats reported that forces loyal to deceased President Saleh have stopped supporting the Houthis and have begun supporting the Emirati-led offensive to retake the Red Sea coast.
The Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, released a statement claiming there were 136 verified civilian deaths caused by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes from December 6th to December 16th. These deaths took place in San’a, Sa’dah, al-Hudaydah, and Ta’iz governorates.
A pro-coalition article asserted that the United Arab Emirates is in command of the coalition/National Army/Southern Resistance offensive advancing toward Hudaydah.
Al Arabiya reported that Tehran evacuated 40 military advisors, as well as UN workers, from San’a following the death of an Iranian Missile expert who was killed last Saturday.
US Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Ted Poe (R-Texas), senior members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, are calling for new sanctions on Iran for its destabilizing activities in Yemen. They have introduced a bill they claim will hold Tehran accountable for their support of the Houthis.
The US Supreme Court ruled that President Trump’s travel ban could be fully enforced while challenges to the ban proceed in lower courts. “The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, will be holding arguments on the legality of the ban this week.”
US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis told reporters that the humanitarian situation in Yemen is likely to worsen following Saleh’s assassination. Mattis’ statements were vague, but signalled an increased concern among American officials for the humanitarian crisis.
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.
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.
In a phone call on Saturday, President Trump and King Salman discussed the attempted Houthi missile attack on the Riyadh airport, and Trump stated that he supported selling more military equipment to Saudi Arabia.