The third Yemen Exchange conference, hosted by the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies was held in Beirut, Lebanon, from June 26 to July 1, 2018.
The conference offered a platform for a diverse range of Yemeni speakers to present their views and expertise on Yemen-related subjects and recent developments. Speakers included political and military representatives of local parties to the ongoing armed conflict, government officials, senior representatives of political parties, former diplomats, economic, political, security and religious experts, human rights activists, tribal leaders, former governors, journalists and archeologists. Participants, in turn, included diplomats, representatives of international organizations, civil society actors, scholars, security experts and journalists from Europe, North America, Australia and the Middle East. Frank and unfettered discussions were guaranteed by Chatham House rules and the fact that all speakers individually had the floor to themselves.
Discussions dealt with Yemen’s internationalized civil war and the country’s multivariate crises, providing participants with objective assessments of nonpartisan experts as well as external and internal narratives of parties to the ongoing conflict. Speakers and participants notably paid attention to the offensive on Hudaydah city, backed by the Saudi-led military coalition and launched about two weeks prior to the conference. They further discussed the role of the various local, regional and international actors involved in the conflict and related mediation efforts, while elaborating on the relations between these actors and their respective internal dynamics. Actors discussed included Yemen’s internationally recognized government, the Houthi movement, the General People’s Congress party, the Islah party, the Southern Movement, tribal groups, provincial officials and local stakeholders, forces involved in the Hudaydah offensive – such as the National Resistance Forces led by Tariq Saleh – al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Salafi militias, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Qatar, Turkey, the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and the UN Special Envoy.
Also covered were recent economic and humanitarian developments, prospects for peace, the situation of human rights, the political and security situation in several governorates such as Aden, Marib, Hadramawt and Socotra, and security threats posed by Salafists and extremist groups, among other subjects.
The next Yemen Exchange will take place Winter 2018, with exact dates and the opening of applications to be announced soon.
Day One – June 26
|Introduction and house rules||Farea al-Muslimi & Adam Baron||Sana’a Center for Strategic Center|
|Developments in Yemen – Keynote Speaker||Jamila Ali Raja||Former diplomat|
|Who is fighting whom, where, and why?||Maged al-Madhaji||Executive Director of the Sana’a Center|
Day Two – June 27
|State of the economy in Yemen||Mansour Rageh||Chief Economist at the Sana’a Center|
|Yemen’s natural resources||Dr. Ismail al-Ganad||Former head of the General Authority for Mineral and Geological Resources|
|Political mapping||Ammar al-Aulaqi||Analyst, Deputy Minister of Water|
|Current political process||Abdulghani al-Eryani||Researcher and analyst|
|The Gulf dynamics in Yemen||Mustapha Noman||Former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs|
Day Three – June 28
|Salafis, al-Qaeda and ISIS in Yemen||Hussam Radman||Research fellow with the Sana’a Center|
|Islah point of view||Ali Ashal||Islah Member of Parliament|
|The Battle for Taiz||Ali al-Mamri||Former Governor of Taiz|
|The Battle for Hudaydah||Representative of Tarik Saleh||Office of General Tarik Saleh|
Day Four – June 29
|Yemen’s tribal system in peace and war||Abdulkarim al-Maqdashi||Tribal sheikh|
|The case of Hadramawt||Abdulkader Bayazeed||General secretary of the Hadramawt Collective Conference|
|The struggle for al-Mahrah and Socotra||Sheikh Essa Salem al-Socotry||Tribal sheikh from al-Mahrah|
|Human rights case study||Abdullah Ali||Journalist|
|The status of Yemeni refugees||Dr. Mohammed Baobaid||Executive Director of the Muslim Resource Centre for Social Support and Integration, Canada|
Day Five – June 30
|Opportunities and challenges for the STC||Huda al-Attas||Southern Hirak|
|Mapping of security forces in Aden||Ghaidaa Alrashidi||Assistant researcher at the Sana’a Center|
|50 years of Yemen’s history in 50 pictures||Abdulrahman al-Ghaberi||Photographer|
Day Six – July 1
|The Houthis’ point of view||Abdulmalik al-Ejri||Member of the Houthis’ political bureau|
|The GPC’s points of view||Sheikh Fahd Dahshoosh||Member of the GPC General Committee|
|The Houthis – An insider look||Mohammed Ayesh||Editor in chief of the Al-Oula newspaper|
|History of Zaidism||Maysaa Shujaa al-Deen||Researcher and writer|