Yemen at the UN – July 2018 Review

At the end of July the Yemen conflict seemed poised to take on much broader regional and global dimensions, as Saudi Arabia halted oil shipments through the Bab al-Mandeb Strait off Yemen’s Red Sea coast. Iran declared the sea “no longer secure,” and Israel threatened military intervention if Houthi forces attempted to close the strait to shipping (see ‘Riyadh Halts Bab Al-Mandeb Oil Shipments After Houthi Attacks’).   Earlier in July, the Saudi-led military coalition and associated ground forces had temporarily halted their campaign to dislodge Houthi fighters from Hudaydah city and capture Yemen’s busiest port. The United Nations… Continue reading…

Yemen at the UN – June 2018 Review

In June, the Saudi-led military coalition and associated ground forces began their long-anticipated offensive against Houthi-held Hudaydah city. The ports of Hudaydah and nearby Saleef, along Yemen’s Red Sea coast, are the entry point for the majority of the country’s commercial and humanitarian imports. This creates the potential for catastrophic humanitarian fallout from the offensive given that 8.4 million Yemenis are already on the verge of famine. United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, spent most of June engaged in shuttle diplomacy with the belligerent parties to the conflict, and in consultations with the UN Security Council (UNSC),… Continue reading…

Yemen at the UN – May 2018 Review

In May, Houthi forces were clearly on the defensive across most of Yemen, in particular losing ground in Hudaydah governorate as various anti-Houthi groups, backed by Emirati airpower, advanced on Hudaydah city. A Saudi-led coalition plan for a military offensive on the city last year was derailed due to a lack of US support and international outcry over the likelihood of massive humanitarian fallout. Last month, however, a Western official confirmed to the Sana’a Center that Washington and London had given the green light for the current offensive to take Hudaydah city, but with the caveat that the ports… Continue reading…

Yemen at the UN – April 2018 Review

In April, Saleh Ali al-Samad, a senior Houthi official and the head of the Supreme Political Council in Sana’a, was killed by an air-to-ground missile strike in Hudaydah city. Al-Samad was one of the most prominent political figures within the Houthi leadership structure and is the group’s most senior member to have been killed thus far in the conflict. His death will likely have far reaching implications for both the Houthis and the UN’s renewed mediation efforts to end the Yemen conflict (see ‘The Killing of Saleh Ali al-Samad’). Just prior to al-Samad’s killing, Martin Griffiths, the new United… Continue reading…

Yemen at the UN – March 2018 Review

In March, the Saudi-led military coalition intervention in Yemen, dubbed ‘Operation Decisive Storm’, entered its fourth year. To mark the occasion, Houthi forces fired seven ballistic missiles into Saudi Arabia shortly before midnight on March 25, which the Saudi military claimed its defense systems intercepted. Riyadh responded by accusing Iran of having supplied the Houthis with the missiles and warned that Saudi Arabia had a right to “strike back” (see ‘Military Developments’). The United Nations Security Council adopted a wide-ranging new Presidential Statement regarding Yemen calling for, among other things, the full and sustained opening of all of Yemen's… Continue reading…

Yemen at the UN – February 2018 Review

In February, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) formally adopted a highly politicized UN Panel of Experts report on Yemen. The report – one aspect of which asserts Iran is in non-compliance with the UN arms embargo on Yemen – was seized upon by the United States and its allies at the UNSC as an opportunity to push for council action against Iran (see ‘UN Panel of Experts Report’).Russia led the opposition to this push at the Security Council, eventually exercising its veto power to quash a United Kingdom draft resolution that Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said would have “dangerous,… Continue reading…

Yemen at the UN – January 2018 Review

In January, widespread violence erupted in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden between ostensible allies in the coalition of forces fighting on behalf of the country’s internationally recognized government. On January 21, the Southern Transition Council (STC), a secessionist group backed by the United Arab Emirates, issued an ultimatum to Yemeni President Abdo Rabbu Mansour Hadi to dismiss his prime minister and other cabinet members for alleged corruption. On January 28 the ultimatum expired and clashes broke out between the Presidential Protection Forces and STC-allied armed groups, with STC forces quickly routing Hadi-allied units from positions across the city… Continue reading…

A Year of Hunger and Blood: Yemen at the UN / Special Issue – 2017 in Review

In early 2017 the United Nations (UN) declared that Yemen was enduring the single largest humanitarian crisis in the world. By year’s end, UN agencies estimated that 17.8 million people in Yemen were food insecure and 8.4 million were at risk of famine. Economic and public service collapse left more than 16 million Yemenis without access to safe water and sanitation, and 16.4 million without proper healthcare. All of these factors played into an outbreak of cholera in 2017 that surpassed 1 million suspected cases by December – the largest cholera epidemic ever recorded in a single year. The… Continue reading…

Yemen at the UN – November 2017 Review

Summary: In November, long-simmering tensions between the Houthis and the allied forces of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh erupted into armed clashes on the streets of Sana’a. Sana’a Center analysis identified a decisive factor in the battles being that the tribal groupings surrounding the capital largely abandoned Saleh; this helped Houthi fighters seize the entire city and kill Saleh in early December. The death of the country's long-time strongman threw vast new complexities and uncertainties into the Yemeni conflict, though several near-term consequences appeared likely, including: the dissolution of the General People’s Congress (GPC) party in its current… Continue reading…

Yemen at the UN – October 2017 Review

Summary: In October, the annual United Nations Children and Armed Conflict report stated that Saudi Arabia was guilty of grave violations of the rights of children for its military actions in Yemen. This placed Saudi Arabia on the report’s so-called “child killer” list. Other belligerent parties to the Yemeni conflict named to the list were Houthi militants and the allied forces of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemeni government forces, pro-government militias and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Proposed legislation in the United States House of Representatives to end American support for the Saudi-led military coalition intervention in Yemen… Continue reading…