Old man in Old Sana'a, Sep 8 2016
: The Yemeni government’s decision in September to relocate the central bank and replace its governor has left the country without an institution capable of providing basic economic stabilization. While all the belligerent parties to Yemen’s armed conflict have sought to leverage economic factors, the incapacitation of the central bank may represent an unprecedented escalation in this regard and the international community must act to ensure the starvation of millions of people is not employed as a tactic of this war. In July this year the United Nations elevated the humanitarian crisis in Yemen to Level 3 – the highest…
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Yemen at the UN - September 2016 Review
Summary United Nations efforts to end the conflict in Yemen made no effective headway in September, while political developments both at the UN and on the ground in Yemen will likely complicate future UN peace efforts. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ recommendation to establish an independent international commission to investigate war crimes by all sides to the Yemeni conflict was turned down by the UN’s Human Rights Council, which instead adopted a resolution to increase assistance to a controversial Yemeni committee investigating war crimes. In addition, the internationally-recognized government’s decision in mid-September to relocate the Central Bank of…
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The Essential Role of Local Governance in Yemen
Yemen’s local councils are responsible for the day-to-day provision of basic public services to 26 million Yemenis and are amongst the most crucial institutions of governance in the country. However, the outbreak of civil war in 2014 and the subsequent Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen in March 2015 has devastated local councils’ ability to provide these services: financial resources have evaporated, armed militias challenge their authority, and extremist groups such as Al Qaeda and the Islamic State have assassinated council members. Despite the challenges, local councils have been generally resilient and continue to operate in some form in most parts…
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Yemen at the UN - August 2016 Review
August 2016 in Review United Nations-mediated peace talks aimed at resolving the conflict in Yemen stalled during the month of August, while divisions regarding Yemen became increasingly apparent at the UN Security Council and violence escalated around the country. The negotiations between the warring parties, held in Kuwait, ended in early August over an impasse regarding so-called “sequencing concerns” related to the UN-sponsored peace plan; these were essentially a disagreement over whether the Houthi rebels and allied forces should be required to cede capture territory and disarm before, or after, their place in a new unity government was established. In…
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Yemen at the UN - July 2016 Review
July 2016 in Review United Nations efforts to resolve the Yemeni conflict were marked by disputes and setbacks during the month of July. Days before the originally scheduled conclusion of peace talks in Kuwait on July 31, the Houthi rebels and their allied General Popular Congress (GPC), led by former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, unilaterally established a governing council in Yemen that both leaves out the internationally-recognized Yemeni government and undermines the UN-led peace process. Although the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, was subsequently successful in extending the peace talks through to August 6, they were…
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Yemen at the UN - June 2016
June 2016 in review United Nations efforts to bring about a cessation of the conflict in Yemen witnessed limited progress in June, and were marked by setbacks and controversies. It is uncertain whether any major breakthroughs will be achieved in the near term. That being said, the UN continued to play a role in a number of conflict-related issues, such as prisoner exchanges, facilitating commercial imports and confidence building measures between the belligerent parties. On June 30th, the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, adjourned the two month long peace-talks between the main warring parties in Yemen.…
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The politics driving Yemen’s rising sectarianism
The current armed conflict in Yemen began, essentially, as a domestic struggle for power between political and tribal factions. This reality ran contrary to the conventional narrative in the international news media that Yemen was another sectarian arena in the proxy war between the Middle East’s two great Sunni and Shia rivals, Saudi Arabia and Iran, respectively.
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How Yemen’s post-2011 transitional phase ended in war
The Gulf Cooperation Council and the international community brought together Yemen’s various political power brokers in 2011 to help end the crisis the country had entered following the so-called “Arab Spring” uprisings. These negotiations resulted in an agreement that became known as the GCC Initiative, which ushered Yemen into a “transitional phase”. This period was intended to pave the way for a peaceful transfer of power away from President Ali Abdullah Saleh, address citizen demands for democratic reform and transitional justice, empower the Yemeni state, curb the use of violence by political actors and prevent a return to authoritarianism.
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