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The Yemen Review, August 2022 Showdown in Shabwa Shakes Government

Reinforcements from the UAE-backed Giants Brigades prepare to seize a Special Security forces camp in Ataq city, Shabwa governorate, on August 10, 2022, // Sana'a Center photo

Long-running tensions between the Islamist Islah party and UAE-backed groups in Shabwa erupted into open conflict in August, with the Giants Brigades and STC-aligned Shabwa Defense forces driving Islah-aligned military and security forces from the governorate. The expulsion of Islah from Shabwa and the STC’s subsequent takeover of much of neighboring Abyan governorate raised questions about the ability of the Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) to resolve tensions between anti-Houthi parties and the nature of any future peace deal. Despite being extended on August 2, the UN-brokered truce between the government and the Houthi movement saw its first major violation later in the month when Houthi forces attempted to take control of the last major government-controlled road out of Taiz city, prompting widespread international condemnation and the government’s withdrawal from UN-facilitated talks in Amman.

Although the pledged Saudi-Emirati financial aid to the government remains stalled, the exchange rate in government-held territory has remained relatively stable, with the rial even appreciating somewhat following PLC head Rashad al-Alimi’s visits to Abu Dhabi and Riyadh in the middle of the month. Despite this, and news of the resumption of grain shipments from Ukraine under a UN-backed deal, issues remain around food price affordability and fuel availability.

This issue of the Yemen Review was prepared by (in alphabetical order): Ryan Bailey, Nick Brumfield, Casey Coombs, Andrew Hammond, Khadiga Hashim, Abdulghani Al-Iryani, Yazeed Al-Jeddawy, Maged Al-Madhaji, Farea Al-Muslimi, Elham Omar, Spencer Osberg, Ghaidaa Al-Rashidy, Susan Sevareid, Maysaa Shuja Al-Deen, Ned Whalley and the Sana’a Center Economic Unit.

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