Analysis

  • The Riyadh Agreement: Saudi Arabia Takes the Helm in Southern Yemen

    The most important aspect of the Riyadh Agreement that was signed in the Saudi capital today between the internationally recognized Yemeni government and the Southern Transitional Council (STC) is that, if fully implemented, it will mean that Saudi Arabia will assume ultimate responsibility for southern Yemen politically, militarily and in terms of security, with the United Arab Emirates relinquishing its authority over its Yemeni proxies there.

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  • A Yemeni Travel Odyssey: Unpredictable Airports and Risky Roads

    Passengers board a Yemenia airplane preparing to depart on September 8, 2018, from Sayoun International Airport in the Hadramawt governorate, about 600 kilometers east of Sana’a, Yemen // Photo Credit: Sala al-Sakkaf. By Aisha al-Warraq Sitting in departures at Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, a backlog of WhatsApp messages ping in upon connecting to…

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  • How Yemen Brought Saudi Arabia and the UAE to the Brink of Divorce

    Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates’ military intervention in Yemen, born out of limited planning and ill-defined objectives, has grown ever more complex and protracted. Geopolitical fragmentation, shifting alliances and sub-conflicts have accelerated in Yemen since the Saudi-led coalition entered the fray in 2015. 

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  • Seen Only in a Saudi Shadow: Why the US Misunderstands and Missteps in Yemen

    The United States does not have a Yemen policy. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise: the United States has never had a Yemen policy. What it has – what it has always had – is a Saudi policy that dictates and determines its actions in Yemen. For the US, Yemen is an add-on country, small enough and unimportant enough to be out-sourced. Periodically, of course, there are moments of crisis that demand more focused attention from US policymakers.

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  • Yemen’s Al-Mahra: From Isolation to the Eye of a Geopolitical Storm

    Mahri Tribesmen and local protesters, who had been demonstrating against Saudi forces seizing control of the al-Ghaydah City airport in al-Mahra governorate, celebrate after reaching an agreement with Saudi officers to return the airport to civilian control, July 13, 2018. The Saudi forces later reneged on the deal. Text & photos by Yahya al-Sewari Edited…

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  • Yemen’s Role in Moscow’s Mideast Comeback

    Russia, unlike many Western countries, is in direct contact with all parties to the Yemen war. It accepts the internationally recognized Yemeni government, yet does not condemn the armed Houthi movement. Russian diplomats affirm support for a unified Yemen but are willing to meet with southern separatists. Moscow rejects Saudi accusations that Iran is arming Houthi forces. At the same time, it is increasingly courting Gulf Arab monarchies, deepening its economic and defense partnerships with the Saudis and their key…

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  • Al-Bayda’s Tribal Dynamics Continue to Elude US Counterterrorism Policy

    Yekla, al-Bayda governorate, the site of a botched 2017 US Special Forces raid that left many civilians dead // Photo Credit: Iona Craig By Farea al-Muslimi A mountain towers over hilly farmland, where the cash crop is Yemen’s finest qat and rugged dirt roads are precarious not just because of the steep cliffs they skirt.…

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  • The Historic and Systematic Marginalization of Yemen’s Muhamasheen Community

    Introduction No community in Yemen has suffered the consequences of the current war as harshly as the Muhamasheen (Marginalized), a Yemeni underclass that has experienced centuries of discrimination, exploitation and poverty. The Muhamasheen (sing. Muhamash) are commonly referred to in Yemen as the Akhdam (servants). While there are no official statistics on the size of…

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  • An Unending Fast: What the Failure of the Amman Meetings Means for Yemen

    By Spencer Osberg and Hannah Patchett After three days of United Nations-mediated meetings in Amman with representatives from Yemen’s divided central bank, the delegations from Sana’a and Aden arrived at no agreement aside from a commitment to meet again. Both before and during the talks, which began on May 14, the Sana’a Center met regularly…

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  • The UN and Yemen: The Need for Precisely Guided Diplomacy

    Martin Griffiths, UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, briefs the Security Council on the situation in Yemen on May 15, 2019 // Photo Credit: UN Photo/Manuel Elias Dr. Gregory D. Johnsen Introduction The conflict in Yemen is now in its fifth year with no end in sight.[1] Like most of the world’s seemingly…

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