Government Employees Continue to go Unpaid in Yemen, April 12, 2017
The government employee lives a difficult situation in the city of Taiz, Yemen, after the financial institutions had failed in paying salary for government employees in both civil and military. A government employee is uncertain about their rights being caught between the opposing authority of the Houthi Militia in the capital Sana'a and the international recognized government in Aden.
The cessation of payment of salary to government employees is another traumatic humanitarian causes of Yemen, where more than 7 million people are living on state salaries in the civil and military sectors. The inability of the government to meet the salary obligations and regular payments is becoming a bigger reason for the lawlessness than the civil war.
Digest for the Month of August 2016 - #2 Andrew Martin (Seattle) Sep 12, 2016
As the war in Yemen continues, the UN has revised its estimate of the number of civilians causalities, since March 2015, to 10,000, with 2.8 million internally displaced. The World Food Programme (WFP) now estimates 7.6 million Yemenis, a quarter of the population, are at emergency levels of food need. Since the suspension of the peace talks on August 6, shelling, airstrikes, combat and violence have dramatically increased in many parts of Yemen.
Missile/Rocket Attacks Resume Across Saudi-Yemen Border
On August 11, Houthi-Saleh forces attacked Saudi military positions on the outskirts of Najran city, killing seven border guards. The forces temporarily captured positions, but where subsequently retaken by Saudi forces.
On August 16, the Houthi militia fired missiles across the border into the commercial district of the Saudi town Najran. Seven people were reported killed. Brig. Gen. Sharaf Luqman, spokesman for the Houthi militia, said that the missile attack was in retaliation for the airstrike on the MSF hospital in Sa’dah (Saada) the day before. General Lungman alleged the missile struck a military target and no civilians were killed, while the official Saudi Press Agency, citing the Defense Ministry, said four Saudi and three foreign migrant workers were killed.
On August 26, a Houthi missile struck the Saudi Electric Company power station in Najran, resulting in an diesel spill into surrounding lakes and streets.
On August 27, a Houthi missile struck a car scrap yard in Najran, killing five Saudis and two Yemenis who were driving by.
August 28, according to military officials, Houthi missiles targeted soldiers in Nhoukh, Abu Hamdan and al-Sudais areas, and military vehicles in al-Katra and Najran, resulting in several dead and injured.
Saudi Airstrikes Resume Across Yemen
On August 7, the Saudi-led coalition, in its first airstrike since the suspension of peace talks, launched an airstrike on Al Madeed marketplace in the district of Nehm, 35 miles northeast of the capital Sana’a. Tamim al-Shami, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health, said 18 civilians were killed in the airstrike. The international recognized government of Hadi subsequently announced that a Saudi-led coalition offensive had begun in Nehm to take back the capital.
On August 9, the Saudi-led coalition launched an airstrike in the Nahda district of Sana’a on a potato chip factory, which was near an army maintenance camp, killing 14, mostly women. The Abdullah al-Aqel, the factory director, said the strike set the factory ablaze and despite efforts by firefighters, the women died unable to escape the blaze.
On August 13, the Saudi-led coalition launched an airstrike on a school in the Hayden neighborhood of Sa’dah (Saada). Local officials reported that ten children died and another 28 were injured. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) confirmed receiving causalities of children from the airstrike. According to Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Asiri, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition the strike was against a Houthi training facility, and the children were there as recruits. Unicef officials in Yemen, however, concluded in an investigation that most of those killed were 6 to 8 years old.
On August 13, Another nine people, including children, where killed in the Razih district in Sa’dah from airstrike on the home of a school principal, Ali Okri, killing his wife and four children. A second airstrike on the home killed several rescuers. The causalities were confirmed by local hospital officials.
On August 15, the Saudi-led coalition launched an airstrike on a hospital run by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Abs district of Hajjah governorate, killing 11 and injuring 19, including one MSF staff. Teresa Sancristóval, MSF desk manager for the Emergency Unit in Yemen, said: “This is the fourth attack against an MSF facility in less than 12 months. Subsequently, MSF announced the pullout of all MSF support staff in six hospitals in Northern Yemen for safety reasons. The United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon subsequently commented that over 70 health facilities had been damaged or destroyed by one side or the other.
On August 16, the Saudi-led coalition launched an airstrike in the residential neighborhood of Nehem District, outside the capital Sana’a. Local health officials confirmed 17 bodies had been taken to hospitals. Local witnesses said some of the causalities came from a second airstrike after rescuers had arrived.
The following are additional Saudi-led coalition airstrikes reported by the Al-Matamar, a pro-Saleh/Houthi news agency: August 25 in al-Ghail district of Jawf province with damages to farms and houses, August 26 in Bani Matar district of Sana'a province with damages to homes, August 26 targeting two houses in Baqem district of Sa'ada province, killing eleven and injuring others. August 26 in al-Hada district of Dhamar province, injuring five. August 27 in al- Ghayl district, killing six mercenaries including leader of al- Ghayl Ahmed Abdullah Muhsin, while they were attempting to advance on al-Mgath area in al- Ghayl. August 27 in Dilaa and al-Madfon of Sana’a, damaging homes. August 27, completely destroyed an electricity power station in Amran province. August 27, in Qahzah area of Sa'ada province destroying a gas station. August 28, in the Hajaah border area.
Pro-Houthi Demonstration in Sana’a
On August 20, a large rally was held in Sana’a for support for the newly formed combined government between the Houthi’s political party Ansar Allah and Saleh’s General People’s Congress, named the Supreme Political Council. Sana'a-based political analyst Hisham al-Omeisy estimated to the BBC, the crowd size at 100,000.
Pro-Hadi Forces Attempt to Break Siege of Taiz
Fighting has resumed along parts of the lines of engagement between the Houthi militia, which has laid seize to three sides of Taiz, and army forces loyal to Hadi and the civilian militia, Popular Resistance, since the collapsed of the peace talks.
Pro-government forces loyal to Hadi launched an offensive against the Houthi militia and captured the Eastern district of Thabat. The Military Council of Taiz reported 27 government casualties and 11 al Houthi-Saleh casualties, and 27 civilian causalities.
Pro-government forces on August 17, launched a simultaneous offensive on the east, west and north sides of Taiz.
On August 22, pro-government forces with support from Saudi-led coalition bombing, attack Houthi forces controlling the western entrance to the city. Local military sources claimed that eleven Houthi militia fighters were killed, and Saudi-led coalition airstrikes at the northern entrance, killed another two Houthi fighters.
Colonel Abdulaziz al-Majidi, a spokesman of pro-government forces, announced that they had taken the Jabal al-Dhabab mountain, opening up a rugged route on the western side of the city. The southern entrance continues to be under the control of the Houthi militia.
The Houthi militia is also reported to be laying mines around the city, which aid organizations have said are hampering delivery of aid into the city.
ISIL Suicide Bomb Attack in Aden
On August 29, ISIL launched a suicide bomb attack on an army training attack, killing 70 recruits, and injuring 67 according to Khidra Lasour, the director general of Yemen's health ministry in Aden. Witnesses said the suicide bomber entered the compound behind a truck that had brought breakfast for the recruits, who had queued for the meal.
US Drone Strikes Against AQAP
The resumption of US drone strikes in Yemen against AQAP continues. On August 5, the U.S. Central Command reported a drone strike in the Shabwah Governorate, killing three AQAP operatives.
Cash Flow Crisis Yasser Mohammad Rayes (Sana Aug 23, 2016
Since the Houthis forceful ascension to power on September 21, 2014 ('September 21 Revolution') all funding coming to Yemen from the Gulf countries has stopped. For a country with a per capita income of $1500, Yemen was already the poorest country in the region and the cutoff of funding has proved disastrous.
In 2014 Yemen’s foreign reserve was about $4.9 Billion dollars. Since the start of the conflict, the amount has shrunk to $1.5 Billion dollars by the end of 2015.
The war has halted the oil and gas exports which supplied 80% of the country’s income, but imports have increased forcing the Central Bank of Yemen (CBY) to tap into its foreign reserve without being able to repay what was spent, that continued on for a while, the economy was losing cash without having any income-generating activities. According to a prominent analyst, right now Yemen is spending in a month three times what it makes in the same period.
The inevitable happened, a severe shortage of cash flow, and to overcome that hurdle, the Houthis have resorted to a short-sighted solution. They reused obsolete bills that were destined for shredding, YER 18 billion of already worn and torn 250, 500 and 1000 rial bills.
That relieved tensions for a while, even though people were really upset about having to use old bills that almost fill apart upon removing the rubber band that held them together. Anyhow, even though that was a solution, it was not enough, cash begun to dry up again, so the Houthis tapped into the CBY’s reserve one more time, this time banks and exchange places were flooded with new bills and people, were again, relieved and thinking the economy is stable.
However, the economy was still hemorrhaging cash without generating any, until in the 2nd of June, the Central Bank of Yemen stopped releasing any funds except those that covered public sector salaries, yet it was not able to cover all sectors. Employees in the ministries of interior and electricity did not receive their salaries, there was not enough cash.
As a solution, the Ministry of Electricity resumed its activities and restored power to some neighborhoods for the first time in over 16 months at the beginning of Ramadan, and compelled the subscribers to pay their power bills, thereby generating enough cash to pay its employees.
Not only the CBY, even commercial banks are feeling the squeeze of the cash flow crisis, they were unable to allow their customers to withdraw the cash amounts they desire. Some banks cut the maximum drawing amount from ATMs from $1200$ to $270 per day per account. Exchange places were also unable to pay customers the amounts of money sent to them if it exceeds $200, except through daily installments.
The dollar exchange rate with the Yemeni Riyal jumped from YER 215 to 250 for one dollar causing even more suffering to locals who have to buy it and pay university tuition fees, buy home appliances and import consumer goods.
Due to the exchange rate fluctuations, use of old bill that were destined for shredding and a severe shortage of cash flow regular citizens along with commercial banks no longer trust the CBY, instead, most of cash circulation is done without the CBY involvement.
Situation on food, fuel, cooking gas, water Yasser Mohammad Rayes (Sana'a) Aug 22, 2016
The war between the Houthi militia and the Saudi-led coalition have affected civilians the most by limiting their access to basic human needs such as food, water and electricity.
When Operation Decisive Storm begun on March 26, 2015, the Yemeni media, in an attempt to avoid panic assured the public that the government has 6 months of supplies stored, including flour and sugar. Since these items are usually imported into Yemen, the people were relived.
However, three months after the launch of Operation Decisive Storm, prices of basic commodities such as flour, sugar, oil and canned foods have almost doubled, merchants were saying that the price hikes are caused by the blockade imposed by the coalition countries.
Whether that was a mistruth or whether the Saudi-led coalition targeted the storage areas is so far unknown, what is known to many civilians is that food has become very expensive and merchants are blaming the coalition for it.
Yemen does not produce and refine enough crude oil, it usually exports natural liquid gas and imports fuel and other basic commodities. Since the war began, crude oil exports have stopped and the government was unable to import enough fuel to cover the local demand.
That caused a hike in fuel price and a 20-liters of fuel was sold for $100, then, as a solution, the Houthis allowed private companies to import and sell fuel, but that was unregulated, and prices were too expensive again, so the Houthis begun to set the prices and force private companies to sell in accordance with them. Right now the price for 20-liters of fuel is $16 or YER 4000.
Before the war, water used to be supplied by the government once a week and for relatively low prices, however since the war started public water has stopped, mainly due to lack of fuel and diesel which operate the pumps that distribute water to the neighborhoods.
Also before the war people would buy water tankers for $10 each, somewhat a reasonable price, and not many people needed extra water so prices were stable, however, that did not last.
During the war water became scarce and people needed to buy it, demand was stronger than supply and prices of water tankers jumped from 10$ per tanker to $48, because of the shortage of fuel and diesel and over-demand.
Many poor families could not afford that, so philanthropists started buying and distributing large water containers in certain areas and filing them with water in order for people who cannot afford to buy it, can have it for free.
That helped, but not enough, in some cases people fought over water, and the philanthropists’ efforts weaned. Fortunately fuel prices declined and so did the water prices, and government water started coming twice a month.
The most needed service is by far is electricity, everything else can be managed, but electricity that is strong enough to operate refrigerators, water pumps and old TVs was not that easy to come by, so people resorted to solar power, but like anything else during this period prices were very expensive and quality was very low. People who used diabetes medicine and could not afford to buy solar power, used fuel-based power generators and were given special permission slips by the Houthis to take priority when buying fuel for their generators. People with diabetes used fuel-based generators to their refrigerators which kept their much needed insulin fresh and usable.
Right now things have improved significantly, solar power unites are relatively cheaper and of higher quality, public electricity is available for up to 7 hours in some neighborhoods and fuel as well as diesel are available in most gas stations.
Cooking gas is produced locally, and none of it is imported, that made it very expensive and very exclusive, up until now, every few months, cooking gas is sold to families for a price of $5 per 20-liters. This is better than other unregulated prices such as $13 or $15. This process is conducted with the help of community leaders and delegates who register families that would receive cooking gas in that time around, because not everyone can get cooking gas for a low price every time. Families have to take turns and each turn takes a few months to change.
Several families started using firewood and cardboard
How the Lives of Children Changed Yasser Mohammad Rayes (Sana'a) Aug 21, 2016
Since the Houthis came to power with the help of former ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh, a fierce Saudi-led aerial campaign was launched against the Houthi militia resulting in the death of several thousands of their soldiers and the destruction of their military equipment.
However, since they have full access to Yemen’s arms depots and hardware, replenishing equipment was not a problem, soldiers were.
Upon feeling the heat of the aerial campaign and sensing the weakness in their ranks, they started a massive recruiting campaign targeting villages and rural areas.
Many responded, especially from the province of Saada which is under the Houthis full control and from the Houthi- allied district of Bani Hushaysh. Reports say that 1800 soldiers were killed, from Bani Hushaysh alone, while fighting for the Houthis in various fronts, locals say that the number is close to 3000, which is a massive number for district with a population of 70,000.
According to recent figures of the UN, 900 children were killed in this war “a seven-fold increase compared with 2014.”
The UNCEIF reported that a third of the soldiers fighting for the warring factions in Yemen are children.
What is worse is that some families encourage their children to fight for the Houthis telling them that it is Jihad, and whenever their sons get killed they rejoice and ululate celebrating their children’s martyrdom.
Sadly, during the wars in Yemen, children are not just injured and killed when they are in the battlefields, the coalition’s warplanes have repeatedly targeted schools and civilian areas killing and injuring a large number of children. It is true that the Houthis have used some schools to store supplies and weapons but not all the schools that were hit, were used for these purposes.
Even if children are not killed or injured physically, they have suffered severe psychological traumas, the sounds of warplanes roaring over Sana’a and the loud explosions of missiles targeting bases and arms depots in various places in Yemen and having their homes brought down on their heads by both warring sides caused children symptoms close to those of PTSD.
Another problem caused by the war and affected children the most is the disruption of the educational system. Due to the war, the relevant parties are no longer able to print school books, and schools themselves are now used as refugee centers, arms depots and supplies storage areas. Many families who can still afford to send their children to public schools, are watching their children suffer from bad educational conditions.
Last year the Houthis issued a classified order to give children fighting for them good grades in their senior year high school exams, these exams are the most difficult and they determine which public faculties students can get into, if students get low grades they will not be able to study in the free public educational system and the only alternative is expensive private universities, many 18-year-old students decided to join the Houthis fronts just to secure a good score on their high school exams, but not many of them returned to enjoy them.
Many have accused the Houthis of using this actions as a recruiting device encouraging students to join them and escape the difficulties of taking complex exams in times of war.
Children from poor families, or who have lost their father’s in the war, come to Sana’a and work to help their families make ends meet, most of the time they work as street vendors or helpers in shops, of course the work is too much for them and it pays too little, but they have no other option, no one is going to pay them to go to school.
Even though most of the world knows what is going on in Yemen, no peace deal has been struck and no end to the children abuses is coming to an end any time soon.
Conflict in the American Technical Workforce Andrew Martin (Seattle) Aug 17, 2016
In America, conflict between individual or teams of workers in the technical workforce is common. Conflict arises for the competition for achievement-awarding work and unburdening of non-achievement awarding work. Pay, roles, titles, opportunities are obtained through achievements. Technical workers compete for work assignments that they believe will be recognized by management as achievement awarding work, and unburden themselves of work assignments that they believe will not be recognized by management as achievement awarding work. That is, each worker wants to maximize the number of opportunities to work on achievement awarding work to gain achievements and minimize (avoid) the number of assignments that do not lead to gaining achievements.
Competition between two individuals or teams sharing a collection of work arises when one of the parties believes the division of the work between achievement awarding and unburdening of non-achievement awarding work is not equitable. When one or they believe it is not equitable conflict will arise.
In the American workforce, as long as the behaviors of the parties in the conflict stay within the social acceptable parameters with the American culture, then conflict is an accepted form of resolution to the redistribution of the achievement awarding work and the unburdening of non-achievement awarding work.
American workers refer to conflict that is within the acceptable social parameters of American culture as either ‘Standing up for Oneself’ or ‘Rewarding of Bad Behavior’. Workers name the conflict upon resolution by management according to the means or method management chose.
When conflict first arises, workers will conceal from management their true intent at the redistribution. They will make allegations of incompetence of the other side, and statements of self-competence. Each side will claim technical skills that the other side doesn’t have, and claim the other side is unreasonable.
If management recognizes the true nature, concealed by the workers, of the conflict, management will redirect the conflict to the conflicted parties to identify the work they see as achievement awarding work and the non-achievement work that they want to unburden themselves to the other side. Regardless of the redistribution, if the parties perceive management is redistributing based on an equitable distribution of achievement awarding work and unburdening of non-achievement awarding work, they will see it as good conflict and call it ‘Standing Up for Oneself’.
On the other hand, management does not recognize the true nature of the conflict, and attempts to redistribute based on other principles such as refitting personalities, or realigning parts, the conflict will escalate. Each side will make accusatory statements that the other is trying to get an unfair advantage. Each side will make claims of trustworthiness for their side and untrustworthy of the other side. If management makes a redistribution based on principles other than an equitable distribution of achievement awarding work and unburdening of non-achievement awarding work, the side that feels the redistribution is most inequitable for their side will call it bad conflict or ‘Rewarding of Bad Behavior’. They may also use the phrase, ‘There Management Does it Again’. The side that perceives themselves the winner, says ‘too bad for you’.
All conflict around redistribution of work, regardless of what the workers say, is only about the equitable distribution of achievement awarding work to their side and unburdening of non-achievement work to the other side. The later, the unburdening is sometimes referred by American workers as ‘sticking it to them’.
What it is like to be a local Journalist in Yemen Yasser Mohammad Rayes (Sana'a) Aug 17, 2016
After the Houthis entered Sana’a on September 21, and the Saudi-led coalition begun its operations on March 26, 2015 to defeat the Houthis and reinstall the internationally recognized government of Hadi, the Houthis begun a mass campaign targeting local media that opposed them in the past or was opposing them at the time of their arrival in Sana’a.
The Houthi militias broke into several Radio and TV channels as well as the headquarters of numerous newspapers, illegally confiscating what they can and sabotaging what they cannot take.
After they were done with the media outlets and their equipment, they begun a wide-scale hunt for media professionals who opposed them and detained them in unofficial prisons without any formal charges other than they were supporting the coalition’s air campaign in Yemen, which is not always true.
Two journalists who were accused of supporting the coalition’s campaign in Yemen, were detained by the Houthis in an arms depot that was inside Attan mountain in Sana’a. That arms depot was very large. The collation insisted on destroying it, they once fired a barrage of 16 missiles into it. The two journalists died during a coalition warplanes attack on the mountain.
Several journalists from radio and TV channels that opposed the Houthis had to flee the country, those who could not do so, had to go back to their villages where they can have tribal protection, since the international recognized government can no longer protect them.
But for the majority of journalists and media professionals, things were not very clear cut, those who were openly opposed to or supporting of the Houthis, did not know what to do. Some of them tried to join the TV channels that decided to start broadcasting from outside Yemen, some were accepted many were not.
Upon feeling hopeless, many media professionals decided to join the Houthis media network. The Houthis have newspapers, a TV channel and a radio channel as well as several social media accounts and channels.
After that, only media professionals who are affiliated with the Houthis and are working under their permission were safe and free to practice their profession, so long as it is in support of the Houthis and their actions.
After the Houthis lost control over some southern provinces including Aden and Hadramout, some journalists went back to those provinces and started practicing media freely and safely. However, it did not take long for them to become under threat by Ansar Al-Sharia [Al-Qaeda] and ISIL, who issued statements detailing the names of the journalist, their offense and their punishment.
And just like that, there was no safe place for journalists in Yemen, they are under attack in the south and the north of Yemen, simply for doing their jobs and nothing more. Whenever they are captured, their punishment usually is torture or death.
Yemen Weekly Digest #1 Andrew Martin (Seattle) Jul 31, 2016
Peace Talks, which started April 10, continue in Kuwait between the Houthi militia and the internationally recognized government of Hadi.
On July 28, the former president Saleh with his General People’s Congress Party (GPC) and Ansar Allah, the political wing of the Houthi militia, agreed to a political alliance to form a ten member supreme political council for running the government.
The formation of the alliance was criticized by the UN saying that it endangered the peace talks. The following day, July 29, the internationally recognized government of Hadi announced it planned to pull out of the talks in response to the formation of the alliance.
On July 30, the UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, meet with both delegations and announced afterwards that both delegations agreed to a one week extension in continuing the peace talks.
On July 31, the Hadi delegation announced they would accept the draft UN peace proposal, which would require, which would require the Houthi militia to pull out of major cities, including Taiz and the capital Sanna’a, abolishing the supreme political council, and handover heavy weapons to the Hadi government, after which would be a 45 day wait period to start political dialog between the factions to form a government.
Hadi’s foreign minister, Abdulmalek al-Mikhlafi, followed up on Twitter saying that the Houthi / Saleh delegation must accept the draft proposal by August 7 (one week).
Fighting Along the Border with Saudi Arabia
Clashes continue along the border with Saudi Arabia between Houthi militia and KSA armed forces. On July 25, Saudi Arabia said five border guards were killed in clashes.
On July 30, a group of armed Houthi fighters attempted to infiltrate the border into Saudi Arabia’s southern province of Najran. The Saudi-led Arab coalition said that they attack the fighters with aircraft and helicopter gunships, killing dozens of attackers and destroying their vehicles. The Houthi-run state news agency, Saba, announced that it had fired missiles at Saudi targets in Najran in response.
On July 31, the Saudi-led Arab coalition announced that seven Saudi border guards were killed in clashes with the Houthi fighters.
The Twitter account #najran published pictures of aftermath of missile strikes in Najran and an account claiming that 32 killed and injured Saudi Arabian troops arrived at King Khalid hospital over the last few days of clashes in Najran.
AQAP Violence in Aden
Al-Qaida of the Arab Peninsula, AQAP, violence in the southern city of Aden continues. AQAP claimed responsibility for a bomb attack on July 15 targeting the convoy Governor of Aden, Aidaroos al-Zubaidi, which wounded one soldier.
On July 25, AQAP militants detonated an IED device targeting the convoy of Munir al Yaf’ei Abu al Hamama, director of the al Hizam Brigade’s emergency services. No one was killed in the attack, The Hizm Brigade is a paramilitary police force in Aden.
Elsewhere, as reported by local residents, on July 24 Coalition airstrikes near the October 7 Base in Husam City, Abyan governorate, killed several AQAP militants and vehicles.
Reporting and Airstrikes in Sana’a
One of our local journalists in Sana’a has told us that reporting is becoming more difficult due to Houthi militia has started to detain and arrest those they suspect of being independent journalists.
According to Critical Threats (.org), Saudi-led Arab coalition forces launched airstrikes on July 25 against several Houthi-Saleh military sites in Sana’a, including a military camp in al Rawdah district and the headquarters of the First Armored Division.
Renewed Violence in Taiz
Taiz, third largest city in Yemen, continues to be under siege by Houthi militia, which controls three sides of the city. On July 27, armed forces loyal to Hadi and resistance fighters recaptured the village of Al Sarari and capturing 30 militia fighters. Colonel Mansour Al Hassani, a spokesperson for the Military Council in Taiz was quoted as saying “They also use it to shell our positions. So we decided to mount a sudden military attack using medium machineguns”.
The renew violence prompted the UN to call for a humanitarian true in Taiz, later that day.
The Challenges Correspondents Face in Yemen Andrew Martin (Seattle) Jul 08, 2016
We hear from heads of NGO agencies how important we all get inline and don't show bodies of dead children. While it may have an initial emotional effect, they don't look like your children. The audience can't connect long term. This is just one of the challenges we work on - on how to overcome.
Some aid does make it into Yemen. But it is very difficult. The only port of entry agreed to by the belligerents is Aden. Those aid trucks to make it to other cities further North must cross territory under control of differing and opposing armed forces and militias. They must all agree on the route, day and time. These drivers of the aid trucks travel thru points of differing military control. Sometimes one warring party takes advantage. It's not uncommon for the Houthi militia to move and relocate an armed convey tucking in behind an aid convey. Then they are picked up by US Satellites and the information relied to KSA. At any time, these convoy drivers may see KSA air strike forces at high speed and low altitude pass by them and then experience the intensity of sound and heat as strike missiles are released on the armed convey behind them.
These drivers are terrified, yet they keep the trucks moving. They are not foreign drivers. They are local contracted out by international agencies like the UNHCR and WFP. It is not just our local correspondents who live these lives.
The local correspondents operating independent go into residential neighborhoods, crossing through militia checkpoints, sometimes of opposing sides. They have to be aware of sniper activity and their location and active shelling. They make on the ground decisions when its safe to go into these neighborhoods.
They tell me about schools, how they all gone. Whether militia use them or not for arms storage, KSA takes them out anyways. They go into communities and find these self constructed schools in homes, run by former teachers. Hospitals and clinics are fair game by all sides. They assumed to be used by the other party for medical care of their fighters, You can't give the GPS coordinates of these clinics out, it is just an invite to be wiped out. They have to be hidden.
Yemen has no economic value, there are no natural resources or major industries. The per capital income before the violence was $1500 per person in comparison to their neighbor Qatar where it is $89,000. It is a very arid piece of land, where the only objective of the regional combatants appears to be further their projection of their military presence. Of the 24 million people who live on this land, the UN reports that 19 of 22 Governorates or 80% of the population are near or at a state of famine.
It is common for these correspondents to send images and interviews of children acting out adult roles, and hear from families the same aspirations as ourselves, wanting their children to live in a safe neighborhood, go to a good school, and have a better opportunity than them.
The people of Yemen don't expect to be rescued anymore, they see themselves as forgotten. They spend their time finding ways to give their children brief moments of experiencing normalcy. It has become common to receive phrases from local interviews that translate into English as 'we are simply awaiting our turn at death'.
The official position of the Obama administration is that we are not involved in the war in Yemen. We provide intelligence information and targeting information to KSA and UAE strike aircraft, as well as inflight airtanker refueling. We keep a warship off the coast for use by UAE for emergency medical care of its forces. We sell and test armaments that are integrated into non-NATO equipment and forces, and guided by our satellite systems and then released.
Unfortunately, Yemen is treated as a piece of land up for grabs for projection of military presence. Hearing so many of these stories, I am starting to wonder if this isn't the single on-going war crime.
Warring Parties in Yemen Andrew Martin (Seattle) Jun 11, 2016
<b>Al-Houthi (Huthi) Militia</b>
The al-Houthi militia is the armed wing of the Houthi political movement in Yemen. The political party's official name is Ansar Allah (Supports of God). The movement was founded in 2004 by influential cleric Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi to represent Zaidi Shia in the Sa'dah governorate (province) in northern Yemen. Later in 2004, the movement became a rebellion (Sa'dah Rebellion) in June 2004 and escalated into an insurgency, with some fighting spreading into the governornates Hajjah, 'Amran, and al-Jawf, and into the province Jizan in Saudi Arabia. Hussein al-Houthi was killed by the Yemeni Army in 2004 and the movement has been subsequently led by his brother Abdul-Malik al-Houthi. Hussein and Abdul-Malik are sons of Zaidi Shia spirtual leader Sheikh Badr al-Din al-Houthi, who founded Hizb al-Haqq, as the mainstream political party for Zaidi Shia after the unification of Yemen, but would later distance himself from it.
The rebellion started shortly after a regular televised satellite broadcast of the Friday sermon at Grand Mosque in the capital Sana'a, where the broadcast ended with a banner "death to America, death to Israel", which is now incorporated into their current flag which states "God Is Great, Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse on the Jews, Victory to Islam". The Zaidi Shia movement came about due to perceiving themselves marginalized by the Saleh's government and influence by Saudi Arabia and United States, and desire for closer ties with Iran.
The Houthis were among those that participated in the 2011 Yemeni Rebellion which led to the ouster of the then president Saleh in 2012. The then Vice-President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi became the President of Yemen on February 21, 2012 in an election where he was the only candidate.
The situation in Yemen began to escalate into a civil war when the Houthi militia took over the capital on September 21, 2014 (September 21 Revolution). On January 22, 2015, the Houthi militia seized the Presidential Palace, the residence of President Hadi and military installations
in Sana'a. Key members of the Hadi government then fled to Saudi Arabia.
<b>Ali Abdullah Saleh (former President) and loyal Armed Forces</b>
Former President Ali Abdullah Saleh was President of North Yemen between 1978 and 1990. Following unification of North and South Yemen, Saleh became President of Yemen in 1990. He continued his presidency until February 21, 2012, where he was politically ousted as a result of protests from the Arab Spring uprisings that began in 2011.
Since 2014, former President Saleh has aligned with him army forces formerly loyal to him.
On May 10, 2015 the Saudi-led Arab coalition launched two airstrikes on the residence of the former president Saleh in the capital Sana'a. Saleh and his family were uninjured and not at the residence at the time of the airstrike. Later that day, former president Saleh official announced his allegiance, and that of armed forces loyal to him, to the Houthi militia, and now officially fight armed forces loyal to Hadi and the Saudi-led Arab coalition.
<b>Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi (internationally recognized President) and loyal Armed Forces</b>
Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi was the Vice President of Yemen prior to the ouster of the now former President Saleh, from 1994 to 2012. He was elected President of Yemen on February 25, 2012 in an election where he was the only candidate, which were held on February 21, where according to Yemeni election results in received 100% of the votes. The United Nations and other major nations, such as the United States, United Kingdon and Saudi Arabia recognized Hadi as the legitimate government of Yemen. He is commonly referred to as the international recognized President of Yemen.
After the takeover by the Houthi militia of the Presidential Palace and residence of President Hadi, he resigned on January 22, 2015 and the government then relocated to the southern port city of Aden.
On March 21, 2015 the Supreme Revolunary Council, political wing of Houthi militia, declared a mobilization to overthrow the government of Hadi. The offensive started the next day, with support of armed forces loyal to former President Saleh. On March 25, the offensive overtook the governorate of Lahij and reached the outskirts of Aden. The same day Hadi fled to Saudi Arabia.
Armed forces loyal to Hadi fight the Houthi militia, armed forces loyal to Saleh, and civilian militias commonly referred to as People's Committees, loyal to the Houthi militia.
The People's Committees is a general name to refer to a group of civilian militias that have formed and fight in the conflict that are aligned with the Houthi militia and armed forces loyal to former President Saleh.
The Popular Resistance is a general name to refer to a group of civilian militias that have formed and fight in the conflict that are aligned with the international recognized President Hadi and armed forces loyal to Hadi.
After the Hadi government fled Aden, Saudi Arabia formed a coalition of Sunni Arab states opposed to Iranian influence and entered into the conflict for the purpose of restoring the government of Hadi. The Saudi-led Arab coalition consists of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Senegal and Sudan. The Saudi-led Arab coalition began airstrikes against the Houthi militia and armed forces loyal to former President Saleh on March 25, 2015, under an operation they named 'Operation Decisive Storm'.
Saudi Arabia conducts targets throughout Yemen at positions suspected to be held by Houthi militia or armed forces loyal to former President Saleh. Saudi aircraft are refueled in-flight by US Air Force air tankers, and the United Kingdom is the primary supplier of munitions for the Saudi aircraft. In April 2016, the Saudi-led coalition extended its airstrikes to positions held by Al-Qaeda of the Peninsula (AQAP). On April 26, 2016 with the support of Saudi airstrikes, armed forces loyal to Hadi and troops from the United Arab Emirates retook the port city of Mukalla, which had been held by AQAP.
On June 2, 2016 the United Nations Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict added Saudi Arabia to the blacklist of countries that violate children's rights in conflict. Saudi Arabia then mounted political pressure on the UN to remove itself from the list. On June 6, the UN removed Saudi Arabia from the list.
The Houthi militia military campaign in Yemen has extended to border attacks on Saudi Arabia since May 5, 2015, launching missiles and firing mortars into towns and military installations on the Saudi side of the border.
<b>United Arab Emirates</b>
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a member of the Saudi-led Arab coalition and the primary country in the coalition to have combat troops in Yemen. The UAE troops have been primarily stationed in Aden, assisting in the protection of the relocated Hadi government. The UAE has also deployed mercenaries. Its widely believed they have contracted out 450 mercenaries from Columbia through the US-based security firm Blackwater.
On September 15, 2015, UAE suffered it's worst casualties when 45 soldiers where killed, along with 5 soldiers from Bahrain when a Houthi fired missile hit a weapons depot near their position in Marib.
Iran is alleged to be a provider of armed supplies to the Houthi militia. A confidential UN report investigating a 2013 of an Iranian ship by the Yemeni government, alleges that Iran has been supplying arms to the Houthi militia since 2009.
As part of Operation Decisive Storm, the Saudi Arabian navy initiated a naval blockade of Yemen ports to prevent arms from Iran being smuggled into the country. On March 28, 2016 two US Naval vessels intercepted a ship and seized weapons which were alleged to have been shipped from Iran and heading to the Houthi militia. The shipment included 1500 AK-47s automatic rifles, 200 RPG launchers, 21 50 calibre machine guns, and ammunition.
Iran officially denies any military involvement in Yemen and that it only provides moral support to the Houthi political wing.
The United States is a major arms supplier for Saudi Arabia. It has been providing air fueling support of Saudi aircraft participating in airstrikes in Yemen. The US additionally provides intelligence information on targers to the Saudi-led coalition. The US Navy Times reported in May 2016 that the US Boxer, which is stationed off the coast of Yemen, is providing medical support to UAE troops. The US also acknowledges that there are US Special Forces in Yemen to coordinate strikes against AQAP.
The United States, both prior and since the civil war started, conducts drone strikes against AQAP leadership and camps in Yemen.
The US government officially denies any military involvement in Yemen.
The United Kingdom is the primary arms supplier to Saudi Arabia, having sold 7 billion (UK pounds) in arms to Saudi Arabia since 2011. It has been providing intelligence and training on targeting.
The UK government officially denies any military involvement in Yemen.
<b>Al-Qaeda of the Peninsula (AQAP)</b>
Al-Qaeda of the Peninsula has operated in Yemen long prior to the civil war. Prior to the civil war it mainly held territories in tribal area. During the civil war it has substantially expanded along the southern coast line and rural northern governorates. Recent military campaigns, since April, by the Saudi-led coalition and armed forces loyal to the Hadi government, have started to retake territory held by AQAP.
ISIS has developed a presence in Yemen. It is not believed to hold any territory, but is able to maintain checkpoints in rural northern governorates and launch car bomb strikes in Aden.
Status of Peace Talks between Warring Parties in Yemen Andrew Martin (Seattle) Jun 08, 2016
After a year of conflict, the warring parties in Yemen agreed to a conditional ceasefire that started <b>April 10, 2016</b> and to begin UN sponsored peace talks in Kuwait, which was scheduled to start on <b>April 18, 2016</b>.
The peace talks were initially delayed by the Houthi delegation, which remained in the capital Sana'a, over allegations of continued Saudi-led Arab coalition airstrikes in the country.
The peace talks officially got underway on <b>April 22</b>. Upon opening of the peace talks, the UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed stated, "The talks are based on UN Security Council resolution 2216 which calls for the Houthi fighters to withdraw from areas they seized since 2014 and hand heavy weapons back to the government".
The two parties agreed to an initial five point agenda. One side comprises representatives from the Houthi militia and the General People's Congress (GPC) formed and represented by the former president Saleh (Houthi/Saleh). The other side consists of the international recognized government of the current president Hadi along with the supporting Saudi-led Arab coalition (Hadi/Saudi).
On Sunday <b>April 24</b>, the peace talks were momentarily suspended by the Houthi/Saleh delegation over differences on whether continued Saudi-led coalition military air flights over Yemen constituted a violation of the ceasefire agreement.
The talks resumed again on Tuesday <b>April 26</b>, but were divided by whether to start by discussing forming a unity government (Houthi/Saleh delegation)
or the Houthi withdrawal from cities and the handing over of heavy weapons to the government (Hadi/Saudi delegation). The representatives of the warring
parties agreed to form two committees to discuss both agendas in parallel.
On <b>April 29</b>, the warring parties submitted a paper to the UN special envoy on a proposal on a unity government, security issues, handover of heavy weapons to the Hadi government, and exchange of prisoners.
On <b>April 30</b>, Saudi Arabia released forty Houthi fighters, some of whom were captured inside Saudi Arabia and others inside Yemen.
On <b>May 1</b>, the Hadi/Saudi delegation suspended peace talks after the Houthi militia seized a military base north of the capital Sana'a.
The Umaliqa base had refused to take sides and remained neutral in the conflict. Several soldiers at the base were killed while defending the
base, and the Houthi militia seized a large cache of weapons.
On <b>May 4</b>, the peace talks resumed. UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed urged that the talks focus on cementing the ceasefire. On the same day, Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged the delegations to allow international investigations of war crimes.
On <b>May 5</b>, the UN Special Envoy for Yemen expressed worrisome concerns over ceasefire violations the day before, but said the peace talks were continuing. "We agreed with the two delegations that the De-escalation and Coordination Committee (DCC) would investigate clashes on the ground and provide
us with detailed reports with the aim of protecting the ongoing peace talks from daily developments on the ground," he said.
On the same day, the head of the Hadi/Saudi delegation, Foreign Minister Abdulmalik al-Mekhlafi demanded action from the UN mediators over shelling of the besieged and third largest city Taiz by the Houthi militia.
On <b>May 8</b>, the Houthi/Saleh delegation suspended meetings of the joint committees and refused to attend a meeting scheduled that day with the UN Special Envoy, after earlier that day the Saudi-led coalition launched an airstrike in the Nehm district of Sana'a.
The Houthi/Saleh delegation released a statement saying, "The aggressor's planes bombed various locations in the Nehm district, leading to the
death of seven Martyrs and wounding three." Sources from the Hadi government were quoted that the bombing was directed at Houthi forces that were
amassing in the area in violation of the ceasefire.
On <b>May 11</b>, the spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri said, "Saudi Arabia will send troops into Sana'a [capital of Yemen]
if peace talks fail."
On <b>May 12</b> and 13, the meetings of joint committees by both delegations resumed. At the end of the session on Friday <b>May 13</b>, both sides presented
their evaluations on the work of the joint committees, covering topics of returning control of state institutions to government (Hadi) control, resumption
of political dialog, security issues, and release of half of prisoners before start of Ramadan.
On the same day, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubier expressed a conciliatory message to the Houthis on Twitter, "Whether we agree or disagree with them, Al Houthis are part of the social fabric of Yemen. However, Al Qaeda and Daesh are terrorist entities that must be confronted in Yemen and everywhere else."
On <b>May 17</b>, the Hadi/Saudi delegation suspended its participation in the peace talks, citing that the Houthi/Saleh delegation was not complying with recommendations. The head of the Hadi/Saudi delegation, Abdulmalik al-Mekhlafi said, "After a month, the Saleh-Houthi group comes now and demolishes the talks by rejecting the references and other foundations."
On <b>May 21</b>, the Hadi/Saudi delegation agreed to resumed its participation in the peace talks, after consultations with the Foreign Minister of Qatar and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
On <b>May 22</b>, the UN Special Envoy for Yemen stated that the peace talks are making progress as the truce largely holds. On the same day, the Saudi-led
coalition launched airstrikes in the capital Sana'a. Additionally, the former president Saleh expressed his rejections of the legitimacy of the Hadi government and called the talks "a waste of time."
On Monday <b>May 23</b>, the Hadi/Saleh delegation returned to the peace talks. On the same day, the UN Special Envoy for Yemen said, "Peace talks are always
complicated and require time, however I urge the Yemeni parties to exert all possible effort to reach a sustainable peace agreement in the near future. Any delay wastes time and causes the tragic losses."
On <b>May 28</b>, the Houthi/Saleh delegation submitted a list of names of prisoners and detainees to the UN Special Envoy for Yemen. The Hadi/Saudi delegation indicated they would submit their list the following day. The UN Special Envoy for Yemen said, "We are moving closer to an agreement regarding the main principles which will pave the way for a comprehensive political settlement. We are achieving progress on the prisoners and detainees issue and
I hope that the parties will fulfill their commitment of releasing a considerable number of individuals in the coming days."
On <b>June 5</b>, the Houthi rocket attack on a busy market in Taiz was discussed in the peace talks. According to a Yemeni medical official, the <b>June 3</b> attack killed 17 civilians, including 10 women and one girl. The joint committees continued discussion on prisoner release and agreed to the
unconditional release of children. The UN Special Envoy for Yemen said, "Today's meetings invalidate the rumors suggesting that one of the parties
suspended their participation in the sessions and reaffirms their commitment to reach a peace deal."
On the same day, the UN released its Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict, which included an updated blacklist of countries
committing grave violations against children. Saudi Arabia protested its inclusion on list list, based on investigation of child casualty
figures caused by Saudi-led air campaign. The report said the UN had verified 1,953 children killed and injured in Yemen in 2015, with 60% of those
causalities attributed to the Saudi-led airstrikes.
On <b>June 6</b>, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon agreed to remove Saudi Arabia from inclusion in the list.
On <b>June 7</b>, Saudi Arabia handed over to the Hadi government 54 child prisoners, ranging in ages between 8 and 17, who were captured during fighting with Houthi militia. The head of the Hadi/Saudi delegation, Foreign Minister Abdulmalik al-Mekhlafi said, "the release showed the government and its Saudi-led coalition ally reject the Houthi crime of using children in war." Earlier in the month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that both sides in Yemen's conflict had deployed child soldiers.