Yemen

Fighting continues around the port of Hodeida.
Saudi-led coalition pounds rebel positions in Yemeni port city | CBC News
Troops from a U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition pounded Houthi rebel positions in the Yemeni port city of Hodeida with airstrikes and a ground assault on Wednesday, and took control of a major road leading into the area, according to military officials and witnesses on both sides of the front line.
UAE backed troops accompanied by Apache helicopters are making gains within the city.
An Emirati-trained force known as the Giants, backed by Apache attack helicopters, secured an urban area along 50th Street, which leads to the city's key Red Sea port facilities some five kilometres away, they added.
The UN is calling the humanitarian and famine situation in Yemen "apocalyptical".
"We are watching before our eyes an unprecedented human tragedy," Food and Agriculture Organization chief Jose Graziano da Silva told a high-level briefing on food insecurity at the UN in New York.

"Yemen is living proof of an apocalyptical equation: conflicts and food security go hand in hand, and when there is an overlap of climate change and conflict, famine is already on the horizon," he said.


Doctors Without Borders said they were closing their humanitarian operations in Dhale province due to the fighting there.
Also on Wednesday, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders said it was closing its humanitarian project in the southern Dhale province due to security concerns amid the fighting there.
 
Fighting and airstrikes resumed in and around the port of Hodeidah, ending hopes of a ceasefire. Airstrikes resume in Yemen after brief lull | CBC News
Intense fighting broke out in Yemen's port city of Hodeidah late on Monday, shattering a lull in violence that had raised hopes for a ceasefire between a Saudi-led coalition and Houthi insurgents as the United Nations tried to resume peace talks.
Coalition warplanes conducted more than 10 airstrikes on Houthi positions, and battles could be heard in the "July 7" district, four kilometres away from the port, residents said. One resident said a medium-range missile had been fired from the city centre toward the suburban district.
Meanwhile the Houthis early on Monday announced they would stop missile strikes on Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and were ready for a general ceasefire if the other side was willing.
The Iranian-aligned Houthi group announced early on Monday it was halting drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and their Yemeni allies, in one of its biggest concessions since it quit the southern port city of Aden in 2015.
The Houthi movement also said it was ready for a broader ceasefire if the coalition "wants peace."
Whether or how these two opposing trends are related is hard to say with the information available.

The UN is still trying to put together a ceasefire for the port of Hodeidah. This will apparently only go anywhere if the Security Council will pass a British drafted resolution.
When asked about the fighting, a pro-coalition Yemeni military source told Reuters late on Monday that a ceasefire in Hodeidah would only start after the UN Security Council passes a British-drafted resolution on Yemen.
The port city of Hodeidah is critical because much of Yemen's food is normally imported through this port. A blockade of the port and more recently the fighting have contributed to severe food shortages. The UN has called the humanitarian situation catastrophic and the worst in the world.

The British proposal involves a ceasefire in Hodeidah, stopping attacks (does this refer to air strikes?) on populated areas, stopping attacks on neighbouring countries (presumably Houthi missile strikes on Saudi Arabia and the UAE), and allowing humanitarian aid to flow.
Britain's draft text, viewed by Reuters, calls for a halt to fighting in the western coastal city of Hodeidah, a stop to attacks on populated areas across Yemen and an end to attacks on countries in the region. It also calls for an unhindered flow of commercial and humanitarian goods across Yemen.
Apparently however Kuwait does not like the British proposal, and is claiming that some Security Council members are opposed to it.
Kuwait's UN Ambassador Mansour al-Otaibi told reporters he would propose amendments to the draft resolution as Kuwait was unhappy with "many things." He also said some council members didn't think it was the right time for a resolution.
However, apparently western support for the Saudi coalition has waned since the murder of Khashoggi.
Western countries have provided arms and intelligence to states in the coalition, but have shown increasing reservations about the war since the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at Riyadh's consulate in Istanbul last month.
The Yemeni participants however have committed to attending peace talks in Sweden before the end of the year.
Griffiths said Friday that Yemen's parties have given "firm assurances" they are committed to attending peace talks he hopes to convene in Sweden before the end of the year to agree on a framework for peace under a transitional government.
 

seaweed

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Sadly, a ceasefire will just allow the rebels to regroup and will in the end only prolong the agony. The only real answer is a total Saudi win. Typical British half-a-loaf answer driven by fatuous idealism.
 
Six suspected al Qaeda militants killed in Yemen drone strike | Reuters
Six suspected AQAP pers killed in Yemen by a drone strike:
Six suspected al Qaeda militants were killed in a drone strike in central Yemen on Sunday, local security officials and residents said.

The strike hit a suspected al Qaeda site in al-Bayda province, killing two people believed to be local leaders of the group along with four other militants, the officials said.

U.S. forces have repeatedly launched drone and air strikes against Yemen’s al Qaeda branch, known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

The group has taken advantage of a nearly four year-old war between the Iranian-aligned Houthi movement and President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s Saudi-backed government to try to strengthen its position in the impoverished country.
 
A group of charities have called on the US to halt all military support for the Saudi coalition in Yemen, saying that this would save millions of lives. They say that 14 million people there are at risk of death by starvation.
U.S. urged in joint call from aid groups to halt support for Saudis in Yemen war | CBC News
Five international charities on Monday urged the United States to halt all military support for a Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen's Shia rebels, saying it would save millions of lives.
A joint statement by the International Rescue Committee, Oxfam America, CARE US, Save the Children, and the Norwegian Refugee Council said that 14 million people are at risk of starving to death in Yemen if the parties to the conflict don't change course immediately.
The charities have said that if the US does not end its support for Saudi Arabia and the UAE, they will bear responsibility for the biggest famine in decades.
If it doesn't cease its military support for the coalition, "the United States, too, will bear responsibility for what may be the largest famine in decades," the charities said.
More than three quarters of Americans are opposed to arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
A survey commissioned the International Rescue Committee found that 75 per cent of Americans oppose U.S. weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The YouGov survey showed that 82 per cent believe Congress should vote to end or decrease arms sales to the two Gulf Arab countries.
 
Yemen civil war: Survivors of Houthi rebel prisons tell of torture
Sky News report on prisoners held by the Iranian supported Houthi rebels, released under the recent deal aimed at bringing in some kind of peace. 18,000 jailed by the Houthi's with 126 alleged to have died as a result of torture with (again allegedly) over a thousand reported cases of such abuse:
More than 18,000 prisoners have been jailed by the Houthis in the last four years, according to the Abductees' Mothers Union, an association of female relatives of detainees, which has also documented a thousand cases of torture.

The group says at least 126 prisoners have died as a result of torture since the Houthis took over the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, in late 2014.

Houthi leaders have previously denied that they engage in torture.
Obviously AI blame both sides re HR abuses and war crimes:
Amnesty International says that "horrific human rights abuses, as well as war crimes, are being committed throughout the country by all parties to the conflict".
One prisoner, a medic, detained for treating 'enemies' of the rebels was put inside for 18 months and (allegedly again) chained to the ceiling whilst burnt and beaten:
One of those tortured by Houthi fighters was a hospital medic, Farouk Baakar, who was detained for treating an "enemy" of the rebels, who had been left for dead.

He spent 18 months in rebel prisons, where he says he was burned, beaten an chained to the ceiling by his wrists for 50 days, according to an AP investigation that revealed the torture.
Another, a school teacher (allegedly) held for nearly five months, blindfolded throughout, beatedn with rods and told to 'prepare his will':
Another former prisoner, a school teacher told how he had been held for nearly five months in an underground cell, during which he was blindfolded the entire time.

He kept count of the days by following the Muslim calls to prayer.

Throughout his detention, he said, his jailers beat him with iron rods and told him he was going to die.

"Prepare your will," he said they told him.
 
The US Senate has voted to end military support for the Saudi coalition in the Yemen war and to push for sanctions against Saudi Arabia in the new year. This vote however is not a final decision, but rather the first step to one.
Breaking with Trump, Republican-led Senate pushes to end U.S. support for Saudi war in Yemen | CBC News
In a rare break with U.S. President Donald Trump, the Senate voted on Wednesday to move ahead with a resolution to end U.S. military support for the Saudi Arabian-led coalition in the war in Yemen and lawmakers vowed to push for sanctions against the kingdom in the new year.
The reasons for this are a combination of the humanitarian disaster in Yemen, and also in response to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi by the Saudis in their Istanbul consulate.
But backers of the resolution said it sent an important message that lawmakers are unhappy with the humanitarian disaster in Yemen, and angry about the lack of a strong U.S. response to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate in Turkey.
Well known and important Republican senator Lindsey Graham said that Mohammad bin Salman was so odious that he cannot see doing business with Saudi Arabia unless "there's a change there". It would appear that he is referring to bin Salman being removed from power.
"If you want to buy our weapons, there are certain things you have to accept. How you use them matters," Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told a news conference.
"The individual, the crown prince, is so toxic, so tainted, so flawed, that I can't ever see myself doing business with Saudi Arabia unless there's a change there," said Graham, generally a close Trump ally in the Senate.
The US congress will apparently be holding hearings on all aspects of Saudi behaviour and relations with the US. The person tipped to be the next chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee said that the US can no longer look the other way and continue business as usual.
Democratic Representative Eliot Engel, likely the next chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee when Democrats take control of the House in January, said he intended to hold hearings starting early next year on all aspects of Saudi behaviour and the U.S.-Saudi relationship.
"Saudi Arabia's an important ... partner, but I don't think we can simply look the other way when things happen and talk about business as usual," Engel said.
 
A ceasefire in the port of Hodeidah is scheduled to start on Tuesday, having been agreed upon by the Houthis and the Saudi-backed Yemeni government. Yemen warring parties say port city ceasefire starts on Tuesday | CBC News
A ceasefire agreed between Yemen's warring parties in Hodeidah will begin on Dec. 18, sources from both sides and the United Nations said on Sunday, in an attempt to avert more bloodshed in a port city vital for food and aid supplies.
The Iranian-aligned Houthi group and the Saudi-backed government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi agreed on Thursday after a week of UN-sponsored peace talks in Sweden to cease fighting in the Red Sea city and withdraw forces.
The port is critical for bringing in food and other humanitarian relief. The current situation has been described as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The ceasefire was negotiated as part of peace talks. The deal calls for international monitors to be deployed to oversee the truce.
The agreement, the first significant breakthrough in peace efforts in five years, was part of confidence-building measures discussed at peace talks that aim to pave the way for a wider truce and a framework for political negotiations.
Under the deal, international monitors would be deployed in Hodeidah and all armed forces would pull back completely within 21 days of the start of the ceasefire.
A UN-chaired Redeployment Coordination Committee including both sides would oversee implementation. The committee is expected to start its work this week, the UN source said.
Griffiths has asked the Security Council to pass a resolution backing deployment of a robust monitoring regime to oversee compliance with the truce, headed by retired Dutch major-general Patrick Cammaert.
 
The ceasefire has gone into effect in the port of Hodeida.
Ceasefire ends intense fighting in Yemen port city | CBC News
A ceasefire went into force early Tuesday in Yemen's Red Sea port of Hodeida after intense fighting between government-allied forces and Shia rebels erupted shortly before the UN-brokered truce took hold in the contested city, Yemeni officials said.
Under the agreement a UN led committee will oversee the ceasefire, the two sides will leave Hodeida, and the city and ports will be run by local authorities under UN supervision.
Under the agreement, a joint committee led by UN officers will oversee the ceasefire and the redeployment of the warring parties' forces out of Hodeida, which is currently controlled by the Houthis. Local authorities and police will run the city and its three ports under UN supervision, and the two sides are barred from bringing in reinforcements.
 
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-un/after-u-s-british-tussle-u-n-approves-yemen-truce-monitors-idUSKCN1OK23K
Unanimous UN Resolution re an advance team to monitor the ceasefire. Initially a U.K. submission, substituted by the US using the same words but removing some of the humanitarian words:
The United Nations Security Council on Friday unanimously approved the deployment of a U.N. advance team to monitor a ceasefire in Yemen’s Hodeidah region after days of wrangling that pitted the United States against ally Britain.
The Resolution talks about removing obstacles to the delivery of aid:
The resolution calls on the government of Yemen and the Houthis to remove bureaucratic obstacles to the flow of aid and commercial goods, including fuel, and ensure all the country’s ports are functioning.[/FONT]
Words condemning Iran for breaching the arms embargo were objected to by Russia:
“We hope that in the days to come Iranian missiles or misdeeds do not shatter the promise of peace and bring us back to where we were before. But if that does happen, this council may come to regret this omission,” U.S. diplomat Rodney Hunter, the political coordinator of the U.S. mission to the United Nations, told the Security Council after the vote.
Tha British words removed were:
In order to reach a consensus Britain had to cut language on the “need for transparent, credible and timely investigations into alleged violations of international humanitarian law” and for those responsible to be held accountable. The U.S. draft did not include that language.
 
The head of the UN advance team has arrived in Aden to discuss the Hodeidah ceasefire with the Saudi-backed government there. UN official arrives in Yemen to monitor ceasefire in port city | CBC News
The head of a United Nations advance team tasked with monitoring a ceasefire between the Iranian-aligned Houthi group and Saudi-backed government forces in Yemen's Hodeidah has arrived in Yemen, UN and local officials said on Saturday.
Next stop after Aden is the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, to talk with Houthi officials. After that will be the port of Hodeidah, which is the focus of the ceasefire. This port is Yemen's main port and is critical to bringing in humanitarian aid to try to deal with the famine.
Upon arriving at Aden airport, Cammaert met with officials from the Saudi-backed government, local officials said, and he is expected to continue to Sanaa where he will meet Houthi officials. He will then travel to Hodeidah where he will oversee the truce and troop withdrawal from Hodeidah city and three ports.
 
The Houthis have turned over control of the main port in Hodeidah to the Yemen navy and coast guard under UN supervision. This is a major step in the peace negotiations that are taking place. Yemen's Houthi rebels hand over control of port city of Hodeidah | CBC News
Yemen's Shia rebels have handed over control of the main port in the Red Sea city of Hodeidah to the country's navy and coast guard under UN supervision, security officials said Saturday, marking a significant step in the implementation of a deal reached during peace talks in Sweden earlier this month.
Seventy percent of Yemen's imports come in through Hodeidah, and and end to the fighting there is important to prevent a famine.
Some 70 per cent of Yemen's imports come through Hodeidah, and the Sweden deal is designed in part to facilitate the arrival of relief supplies to push Yemen back from the brink of famine. The fighting has killed tens of thousands of people, and has driven millions to hunger. The UN calls it the world's worst humanitarian disaster.
There are also supposed to be "humanitarian corridors" extending to Sanaa to allow food and other supplies to pass from the port to Yemen's capital.
The two sides also agreed over the weekend to open "humanitarian corridors" extending from Hodeidah to Sanaa to allow relief supplies to peacefully pass through. However, the government side complains that the proposed corridors have been heavily mined by the Houthis.
Over the next few days the Houthis are expected to withdraw from other port facilities in the area.
Under the Sweden deal, security officials said the Houthis are expected in the next few days to hand over control of two more ports north of Hodeidah: the oil terminal of Rass Issa and Salif, which has been used for incoming relief supplies.
The Saudi backed government is supposed to move their own forces out of the part of Hodeidah they control. There was no indication in the news report whether they were fulfilling their side of the agreement.
For its part, the government side would redeploy its forces out of the eastern reaches of Hodeidah as a first step.
 
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-food/wfp-says-yemen-food-aid-being-stolen-in-houthi-run-areas-idUSKCN1OU0P1
According to the WFP (World Food Programme) the Houthi’s are stealing the food meant for the starving:
“This conduct amounts to the stealing of food from the mouths of hungry people,” WFP Executive Director David Beasley said. “At a time when children are dying in Yemen because they haven’t enough food to eat, that is an outrage. This criminal behavior must stop immediately.”
Some given to those not entitled (whoever they may be) and some sold on the markets


“It was discovered that some food relief is being given to people not entitled to it and some is being sold for gain in the markets of the capital,” the WFP statement said.
WFP Ex Dir Beasley says he wrote to the Houthi authorities about this days ago, to stop the food being diverted, make sure it reached the people it needed to and is looking at cash distribution (really?) or biometric ID:
Beasley said he was asking the Houthi authorities to stop food being diverted and make sure it reaches the people who need it.
Herve Verhoosel, WFP spokesman in Geneva, said WFP was looking at the possibility of distributing cash to needy people, if a biometric identification system could be introduced, using personal data including iris scans and finger prints.
He said Beasley had written to the Houthi leadership about the WFP findings several days ago.
 
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For anyone who saw the attack...
 

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