Yemen

A UN conference on Yemen is taking place in Geneva, and aid is being pledged to support the humanitarian crisis. Canada pledges $47M in aid at conference on Yemen | CBC News
As nations gathered Tuesday in Geneva at a United Nations conference on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the Canadian government said it is pledging $46.7 million in aid.
Canada has announced $46.7 million in aid, Saudi Arabia has announced $500 million, and the US has announced $24 million.
Saudi Arabia announced a $500 million US contribution at the Geneva pledging conference while the U.S. delegation promised $24 US million.
Total contributions have reached $2.6 billion.
UN secretary general Antonio Guterres said Tuesday pledges had reached $2.6 billion US, a 30 per cent increase on the amount pledged at a similar donors conference last year.
Under the 18th of December truce, both side were to withdraw their troops from the port city of Hodeidah, a port which is critical for allowing aid to reach people facing starvation. However, both sides have been slow in complying with the withdrawal, missing several dead lines.
A truce that came into force on Dec. 18 at meetings in Sweden has largely held despite skirmishes on the city's outskirts, but Guterres admitted Tuesday progress has been slow in implementing a troop withdrawal in Hodeidah, a lifeline for millions facing starvation.
The Iran-aligned Houthi movement controls the Red Sea city, now a focus of the war, while other Yemeni factions backed by a Saudi-led coalition loyal to the ousted government are massed on the edges. Both sides were meant to redeploy forces by Jan. 7 and a timeline announced last week was also missed.
There is hope that the new withdrawal target of this week will be met.
UN special envoy Martin Griffiths arrived in the Houthi-held capital Sanaa on Tuesday to salvage the deal.
Michael Aron, Britain's ambassador to Yemen, told Reuters in Geneva he hoped the withdrawal would take place this week.
"It really has to happen .... If there isn't implementation of Stockholm, we're not back to square one, we're back to square minus one," he said.
Renewal of fighting in Hodeidah could lead to mass famine in Yemen, already suffering what the UN has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
Such an offensive could disrupt supply lines, risking a mass famine in the poorest Arabian Peninsula nation, which is grappling with the world's most urgent humanitarian crisis.
The war has come under increasing internation attention and criticism since the murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Western nations have pressed for an end to the war following increased scrutiny after the murder of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom's Istanbul consulate, with U.S. Congress rebuking the administration's support for the Saudi coalition.
 
The US senate has voted to end support for Saudi Arabia in the war in Yemen. This will now move to the lower house where they are expected to vote the same way as well.
U.S. Senate votes to end support for Saudi war in Yemen | CBC News
The U.S. Senate voted Wednesday to end the country's support for the Saudi Arabian-led coalition's war in Yemen, bringing Congress one step closer to an unprecedented rebuke of President Donald Trump's foreign policy. (...) Next, it will move to the Democratic-controlled House, where it is expected to pass.
Trump is expected to be unhappy about this.
The vote puts Congress on a collision course with Trump, who has already threatened to veto the resolution, which the White House says raises "serious constitutional concerns."
As well as the war itself being considered a disaster, the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabian officials in Istanbul has also been a factor in this decision.
Trump's support for Saudi Arabia has been a point of tension with Congress since the killing of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year. Lawmakers from both parties have criticized Trump for not condemning Saudi Arabia strongly enough for the killing.
 
The US House of Representatives have now also voted to end US involvement in the Yemen War. See the previous post where the US Senate have already voted to do so as well. www.cbc.ca/news/world/us-house-end-support-yemen-war-trump-1.5084420?cmp=rss
The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday voted to end American involvement in the Yemen war, rebuffing the Trump administration's support for the military campaign led by Saudi Arabia. The Republican-controlled Senate passed the resolution last month.
However, Trump is expected to veto it.
The bill now heads to President Donald Trump, who is expected to veto it. The White House says the bill raises "serious constitutional concerns," and Congress lacks the votes to override him.
 
The CBC report that a witness has stated that the "coast guards" have taken over at the port of Saleef in Hodeidah, although this has not yet been officially verified by the UN. Saleef handles grain imports.
www.cbc.ca/news/world/yemen-houthis-1.5132441?cmp=rss
UN teams were overseeing the Houthi redeployment in Saleef, used for grain, as other teams headed to the second port of Ras Isa, used for oil, to start implementing the Houthi withdrawal from there, according to the witness.

"The coast guards have taken over in Saleef," said the witness, who was at the port.
The Houthis are now asking the UN to push the Saudi coalition to implement their side of the Hodeidah agreement.
Yemen's Houthi movement called on the United Nations on Saturday to press the Saudi-led coalition to implement the Hodeidah agreement, al-Masirah TV said, citing the movement's political office.

The movement said the Saudi-led forces should take "similar steps" by also withdrawing from Hodeidah.
Under the agreement, the Saudi coalition forces are supposed to leave their positions around Hodeidah before the next phase of the agreement, where both sides are to pull back further.
It calls for coalition forces to leave positions around the outskirts of Hodeidah in the initial redeployment, before a second phase in which both sides pull back further.
 
The CBC report that a witness has stated that the "coast guards" have taken over at the port of Saleef in Hodeidah, although this has not yet been officially verified by the UN. Saleef handles grain imports.
www.cbc.ca/news/world/yemen-houthis-1.5132441?cmp=rss


The Houthis are now asking the UN to push the Saudi coalition to implement their side of the Hodeidah agreement.


Under the agreement, the Saudi coalition forces are supposed to leave their positions around Hodeidah before the next phase of the agreement, where both sides are to pull back further.
There have been accusations that the Houthi have just changed uniforms, think it was Hisham Al-Omeisy who retweeted this:

Opinion | The Hodeidah smokescreen: A real peace deal requires Yemeni buy-in
 
How the Houthi/Iran are attacking long range targets with drones. This is an attack on Abu Dhabi International airport, which I missed in the news. Worth reading the timeline of the poster.
 
There have been accusations that the Houthi have just changed uniforms, think it was Hisham Al-Omeisy who retweeted this:

Opinion | The Hodeidah smokescreen: A real peace deal requires Yemeni buy-in
The article at that link is non-committal as to whether or not what happened actually constitutes the first stage of the agreed mutual withdrawal. Something that the CBC article noted that wasn't addressed in the above link is that the withdrawal is supposed to occur in several phases, with each side pulling back some more after the other side has made their move. So far noting has happened since the reported initial withdrawal of the Houthis (if it is one).

The problem seems to be that they were supposed to hand over to "local security forces", but I have not seen anything which suggests that the two sides have agreed upon who these "local forces" are supposed to be. These "local forces" aren't a neutral third party if they have to answer to either side. This seems to be a sticking point.

In my opinion however, the main objective should be to keep the port functioning and allowing aid to come in to prevent mass famine. If a regional stalemate settles in which keeps the food and fuel (critical to allow water to be pumped) coming in while the two sides work on a political settlement, then that should satisfy those parties from outside the region who have an interest.
 
The main thrust of the following story is about the US White House blocking the inclusion of Saudi Arabia on a list of countries using child soldiers despite the appropriate experts saying they do. The reason for this appears to be diplomatic considerations.
www.cbc.ca/news/world/pompeo-us-saudi-arabia-child-soldiers-1.5180279?cmp=rss

The relevance to this thread is that the story has information about the Saudi use of child and other soldiers from Sudan in Yemen.
State Department experts recommended adding Saudi Arabia to the soon-to-be released list based in part on news reports and human rights groups' assessments that the desert kingdom has hired child fighters from Sudan to fight for the U.S.-backed coalition in Yemen, the four sources said.
Their Saudi and UAE commanders direct the Sudanese from a safe distance behind the lines.
A New York Times report in December cited Sudanese fighters saying their Saudi and United Arab Emirates commanders directed them at a safe distance from the fighting against the coalition's foes, Iran-aligned Houthi militias.
The Saudis employ as many as 14,000 Sudanese to fight in Yemen, some as young as 14. They get paid up to $10,000 (the story doesn't say whether that is a signing bonus or their annual salary).
Since the end of 2016, the Saudi-led coalition has deployed as many as 14,000 Sudanese at any given time, including children as young as 14, to fight in Yemen, offering payments of up to $10,000 US per recruit, according to the New York Times. The article cited Sudanese fighters who had returned home and Sudanese lawmakers.
The use of child soldiers by the Saudis in Yemen is causing concern amongst some circles in Washington.
Democrat congressmen Tom Malinowski and Ted Lieu organized a letter to Pompeo from more than a dozen lawmakers in March that said they were "gravely concerned by credible reports" of the Saudi-led coalition deploying Sudanese child fighters in Yemen.
All parties involved in the war in Yemen are apparently using child soldiers to some extent.
A report by an independent group of experts to the UN Human Rights Council in August 2018 found that all sides in Yemen "conscripted or enlisted children into armed forces or groups and used them to participate actively in hostilities."
I found the number of Sudanese being used by the Saudis to fight in Yemen quite interesting.
 
The UN World Food Program has suspended food aid to certain rebel controlled parts of Yemen after stating that some of the food aid was being diverted.
www.cbc.ca/news/world/yemeni-world-food-program-1.5184446?cmp=rss
The UN food agency has begun a partial suspension of food aid to areas of Yemen controlled by the rebels amid accusations they were diverting aid from the war-torn country's hungriest people, the group said Thursday.

The World Food Program said it suspended its operations in the capital of Sanaa, which has been under Houthi control since 2014. The suspension would affect 850,000 people, it said in a statement.

The move came less than a week after the WFP's head accused the rebels, known as Houthis, of diverting food aid. The Houthis denied the accusation.
The WFP apparently wanted to set up a biometric registration system for aid recipients, but although the the Houthis had agreed to this the UN felt were not cooperating sufficiently.
The WFP said it failed to reach an agreement with the Houthis on introducing "a biometric registration system that would prevent diversion and protect the Yemeni families we serve, ensuring food reaches those who need it most."

On Monday, David Beasley, executive director of the WFP, told the UN Security Council that his agency has insisted on — and the Houthis finally agreed to — registration and biometric identification of beneficiaries and monitoring in December and January, but the WFP has faced roadblocks ever since in implementing the agreements.
However, the WFP said they would still maintain programs for children and pregnant and nursing mothers.
WFP said it would maintain nutrition programs for malnourished children, and pregnant and nursing mothers throughout the period of suspension.
 
The UAE are apparently pulling troops out of Yemen. It is being phrased as being a "redeployment" at this time however, rather than as giving up on Yemen completely. They have apparently been talking about pulling out for over a year.
www.cbc.ca/news/world/uae-yemen-war-1.5203906?cmp=rss
The drawdown "was not a last-minute decision" and had been discussed extensively with Riyadh, said the official, who declined to be named.

"Our discussion over our redeployment has been ongoing for over a year and it has been heightened after the signing of the Stockholm agreement in December," the official told reporters in Dubai.
It is being spun as a "success" because they have also trained thousands of Yemeni forces.
"It makes a lot of sense for us to redeploy away from Hodeidah. By connection, Assab in Eritrea has also been affected because it was a staging ground for our operations in Hodeidah," the official said, adding that troop movements in other areas of Yemen are "tactical and based on our needs."

Abu Dhabi has a major military base at the Eritrean Red Sea port of Assab.

"We are not worried about a vacuum in Yemen, because we have trained a total of a 90,000 Yemeni forces," the official said. "This is one of our major successes in Yemen."
There is also a lot of waffle about having attained operational and strategic goals.
"The United Arab Emirates... and the coalition countries continue to achieve their operational and strategic goals and reach the final status of restoring the legitimate Yemeni government," Col. Turki al-Malki told reporters in Riyadh.
There have been suggestions that this has been connected with the rising tensions with Iran and a desire to not have their army off in Yemen of things kick off in the Persian Gulf. However, the UAE insist there is no connection.
"Many people asked if this is also linked to the current rise of tensions with Iran. I would say fundamentally no... But of course we cannot be blind to the overall strategic picture," the official said. "It is very much to do with moving to from what I would call a military-first strategy to a peace-first strategy."
I suspect there is a combination of factors at play, with disillusionment with the Yemen war combined with concern about a possible Iran war reinforcing each other.

Now it remains to be seen how Saudi Arabia will react to this.
 
Yemeni rebels fired a missile at a military parade in Aden on Thursday. Several suicide bombings also occurred in the same city.
Rebels in Yemen fired a ballistic missile Thursday at a military parade in the southern port city of Aden and co-ordinated suicide bombings targeted a police station in another part of the city, killing at least 51 people and wounding dozens, officials said.

The missile hit in the city's neighbourhood of Breiqa where a military parade was underway by forces loyal to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a member of the Saudi-led coalition that has been fighting the Iran-backed Houthi rebels since 2015 in support of Yemen's internationally recognized government.
The military parade took place at a UAE-backed forces base in Aden. Casualties included senior military commanders, including Monier al Yafie aka Aboul Yamama, who was delivering a speech.
The parade was taking place in the pro-coalition al-Galaa camp, said a security official, without giving a breakdown for the casualties.

The website of the Houthi rebels, Al-Masirah, quoted spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Yehia Sarea as saying the rebels had fired a medium-range ballistic missile at the parade, leaving scores of casualties, including military commanders.

The security official told The Associated Press that UAE-backed commander Monier al Yafie, also known by his nickname Aboul Yamama, was among those killed. He was delivering a speech during the parade, the official said.
Meanwhile the suicide bombing attack took place at a police station in Yemen. A dozen were reported dead. There may be no connection with the above mentioned missile attack.
A short while earlier, a car, a bus and three motorcycles laden with explosives targeted the Sheikh Othman police station in Aden's Omar al-Mokhtar neighbourhood during a morning police roll-call, said Abdel Dayem Ahmed, a senior police official.

Four suicide bombers were involved in the attack, he said. (...)

Ahmed said 11 were killed in the attack at the police station and at least 29 were wounded.
These attacks have come as the UAE has been pulling their army out of Yemen. Reportedly they have pulled out 50% to 75% so far.
Thursday's attacks in Aden came just weeks after the UAE began withdrawing thousands of its troops from Yemen, leaving behind what it says are some 90,000 trained local forces. The UAE also has high level commanders and forces in Yemen, but has pulled back 50 to 75 per cent of its forces, insiders have said.
 
Well, better UAVs than manned aircraft; so SAR required.

'A US military MQ-9 drone was shot down in Yemen's Dhamar governate, southeast of the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa, two US officials say. A Houthi military spokesman had earlier said that air defences had brought down a US drone.

'This is not the first time a US drone has been shot down in Yemen. In June, the US military said that Houthi rebels had shot down a US government-operated drone with assistance from Iran. US forces have occasionally launched drone and air strikes against Yemen's al-Qaeda branch, known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).'


 
If all aid were to cease being given to Yemen the war would quickly run out of steam as people turned their attention to simple survival instead of being relieved of performing that duty themselves.
 

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