The war in Yemen, which escalated in March 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition intervened on behalf of the internationally recognised government against Huthi rebels aligned with former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, has turned a poor country into a humanitarian catastrophe: hunger and fighting could provoke mass famine and waves of refugees; the conflict could destabilise Saudi Arabia; and both sides appear locked in a cycle of escalating violence, derailing UN peace talks. Crisis Group’s focus is on the negotiations: introducing ourselves at key points, shaping the debate, proposing solutions and encouraging stakeholders to modify positions based on our analysis. Concerted effort is required to convince the parties to accept the UN’s roadmap as the basis for a compromise that would end foreign intervention and allow Yemenis to make peace.

CrisisWatch Yemen

Unchanged Situation

Saudi-Houthi dialogue appeared to gather steam, while Houthi rebels launched attack in Marib governorate, fortified presence in southwest and attacked Israeli and U.S. targets in Red Sea.

Houthi-Saudi talks continued, boosted by Saudi-Iranian communication. Houthi delegation early month reportedly visited Saudi capital Riyadh – in second such visit in 2023 – to discuss technical details of deal on humanitarian issues, including salary payments. Saudi defence minister 15 Nov met Presidential Leadership Council members in Riyadh for update on talks. Dialogue appeared to benefit from increased engagement between Riyadh and Iran: notably, Iran’s President Raisi 11 Nov met Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in Riyadh (see Saudi Arabia).

Houthis launched attack in centre, strengthened presence in Taiz, Hodeida and Al-Dhale governorates. Houthis 6-7 Nov launched attack on govt position in Alkassara area, northwestern Marib, triggering clashes that killed eight govt soldiers and injured 17. Govt’s Army Chief of Staff 7 Nov survived assassination attempt in Marib governorate that Ministry of Defence blamed on Houthis. Following recruitment drive fuelled by resentment over Israel’s campaign in Gaza (see Israel-Palestine), Houthis fortified military presence in Taiz and Hodeida governorates near strategic Bab al-Mandab strait; Houthis reportedly installed ballistic missile launch pads in Hodeida. In Al-Dhale governorate, Houthis 12 Nov launched attacks targeting Southern Transitional Council forces in Mount Satah Bab Ghalaq; group escalated activity north of Al-Dhale, 12 Nov launching drone strikes on Habil Al-Abdi district.

Houthis continued to take aim at Israeli and U.S. targets. Houthis 6, 9, 13, 14 Nov claimed drone and ballistic missile attacks on Israeli targets. Group 8 Nov shot down U.S. drone. Houthi leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi 14 Nov vowed to continue attacks on Israel and Israeli ships in Red Sea. U.S. officials 15 Nov reported intercepting drone originating in Yemen in Red Sea. Houthis 19 Nov hijacked ship in Red Sea partially owned by Israeli businessperson and declared all Israel-linked vessels “legitimate target”. U.S. officials said two ballistic missiles were launched 27 Nov from Houthi-controlled areas towards general location of U.S. warship in Red Sea. U.S. Navy 29 Nov shot down drone launched from Houthi-controlled area.

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In The News

9 أبريل 2023
The visit of both the Saudis and the Omanis aims to discuss the final details of the [Yemen] truce extension agreement, which is expected to be announced very soon. Financial Times

Ahmed Nagi

Senior Analyst, Yemen
22 أكتوبر 2022
The temporary cessation of hostilities in Yemen, the longest since the start of the war, has given Yemeni civilians much-needed breathing room after eight years of war. Dawn

Veena Ali-Khan

Former Researcher, Yemen
5 يوليو 2022
Given the Red Sea's strategic nature as a vital transport route; this [oil spill] can only further internationalise the Yemen war, which already became more complex due t... Middle East Eye)

Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa

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Ahmed Nagi

Senior Analyst, Yemen
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