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Tracking Conflict Worldwide

CrisisWatch is our global conflict tracker, a tool designed to help decision-makers prevent deadly violence by keeping them up-to-date with developments in over 80 conflicts and crises, identifying trends and alerting them to risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace.

Entries: Yemen

July 2020

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Amid rising COVID-19 cases, fighting between govt forces and Huthis in north and cross-border attacks between Huthis and Saudi Arabia intensified, while tensions in south de-escalated. In north, fighting between govt forces and Huthis escalated: Huthis 4 and 18 July fired ballistic missiles into Marib governorate, leaving four civilians injured. Saudi-led coalition 12 July launched airstrike targeting Hajja governorate in north west, killing at least nine, including seven children. Saudi airstrike near al-Hazm, capital of al-Jawf, 15 July killed at least eleven, including several children; UN special envoy next day called for investigation. Meanwhile, Huthis mid-month stepped up campaign against tribes in south of Marib governorate in effort to pressure them into breaking with govt. Cross-border war mid-July intensified after Saudi-led coalition 2 July launched series of airstrikes targeting area around Huthi-held capital Sanaa; in retaliation, Huthis 13 July reportedly launched drone and missile attacks targeting oil facility in Saudi city Jizan, Abha airport and military sites in Jizan and Najran cities; no casualties reported. Saudi-led coalition same day said it had intercepted four Huthi missiles and six bomb-laden drones targeting civilians in Saudi Arabia. In south, after Saudi Arabia in June presented new proposal to govt and Southern Transitional Council (STC) on stalled implementation of Nov 2019 Riyadh Agreement, STC 29 July rescinded its April declaration of self-administration and agreed to implement provisions of Riyadh deal, marking progress toward ending months-long power struggle between STC and UN-recognised govt; President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi 29 tasked PM Maeen Saeed with forming new govt in accordance with deal. Meanwhile, UN special envoy Martin Griffiths early July shared latest draft agreement to end conflict with govt; President Hadi 14 July publicly rejected draft on grounds that it “undermines the govt’s sovereignty”; govt reportedly criticised concessions around reopening of Sanaa airport and easing restrictions on Hodeida port. Local health authorities as of 17 July recorded more than 1,500 COVID-19 cases and 439 deaths; 50% increase in both figures from previous month. UN 15 July warned of risk of oil spill from FSO Safer oil tanker in Red Sea, which risks closure of Hodeida port that could cut off 11 million Yemenis from access to basic goods.

June 2020

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Amid rapid spread of COVID-19, Huthis stepped up attacks in north as well as cross-border strikes into Saudi-Arabia, while govt forces and southern separatists forged ceasefire after renewed fighting. In north, Huthi forces mid-June pursued offensive in west of Marib, pushing toward Marib city while consolidating control over territory in north despite Saudi airstrikes; Saudi-led coalition 26 June carried out series of airstrikes targeting al-Bayda and Marib. Govt forces 25 June reportedly surrounded Huthi-held al-Hazm in al-Jawf governorate.  Meanwhile, simmering tensions between Huthis and local tribes in north of al-Bayda escalated mid-June; Huthis took control of village after clashes 17-18 June reportedly killed at least 23 people from both sides. Huthis mid-June intensified cross-border attacks into Saudi-Arabia: Saudi-led coalition 13, 22, 23 June reportedly intercepted Huthi drones and missiles they claimed were aimed at civilian targets in provinces along border; no casualties reported but one attack allegedly left some people injured. Huthi forces 23 June reportedly launched missiles at Saudi Defence Ministry, military base in Saudi capital Riyadh and military positions in Jizan and Najran cities; no casualties reported. In south, after Saudi Arabia 18 June reportedly presented new proposal to govt and Southern Transitional Council (STC) on implementation of Nov 2019 Riyadh Agreement, tensions escalated when STC forces 19 June captured Hadibo, capital of contested Socotra island in Gulf of Aden. Govt and southern separatists 22 June agreed to ceasefire in Abyan province, de-escalation in Socotra and talks on implementation of Nov 2019 Riyadh Agreement in Riyadh; President Hadi 27 June urged STC to adhere to agreement and “stop the bloodshed”. Meanwhile, UN Envoy Martin Griffiths 21 June condemned military escalation across Yemen, urging parties to “engage constructively with the UN efforts to reach an agreement”. Health authorities as of 21 June recorded over 1,000 COVID-19 cases and 250 deaths; fatality rate four times higher than global average. Donor countries 2 June pledged $1.35bn in funding for UN humanitarian projects in Yemen, falling $1bn short of what UN aid agencies sought.

May 2020

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Fierce fighting between govt forces and Huthis continued in north while escalating struggle between govt forces and southern separatists threatened to unravel Nov 2019 Riyadh Agreement; UN continued efforts at nationwide ceasefire and Saudi Arabia attempted to mediate in south but risk of intensified violence in south and north in June remains high. In north, Saudi Arabia’s 24 April announced extension of its purported unilateral ceasefire failed to halt military activities as fighting between govt forces and Huthis continued in al-Jawf and Marib, as did Saudi airstrikes, albeit without major shifts in territorial control. Huthis’ advance east toward Marib remained stalled in face of resistance from local tribes. In south, following Southern Transition Council’s (STC) 25 April declaration of self-administration, power struggle between govt and separatists centred on Abyan and Socotra island in Gulf of Aden; govt forces and STC 1 May reached de-escalation agreement on Socotra after STC’s attempt to seize checkpoints in Hadibo, capital of Socotra, sparked fighting. Meanwhile, fighting between govt forces and STC forces 11 May erupted in Abyan following govt-led offensive on outskirts of STC-held Zinjibar, capital of Abyan; clashes reportedly killed more than 20 soldiers on both sides. Saudi-led coalition 31 May reportedly downed two Huthi drones they claimed were aimed at civilian targets; Huthis did not claim attacks and same day reported coalition airstrikes in Marib. STC negotiation team 20 May arrived in Riyadh at Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s invitation to discuss implementation of Nov 2019 Riyadh Agreement. UN envoy Martin Griffiths in address to UN Security Council 14 May reported “significant progress” toward ceasefire agreement, raising hopes for comprehensive cessation of hostilities. World Health Organization early May warned of disastrous consequences of potential COVID-19 outbreak, predicting at least 55% infection rate and more than 40,000 deaths. Huthi authorities 5 May confirmed first COVID-19 cases in areas under its control; govt accused Huthis of covering up outbreak and 11 May declared Aden “infested city” following spike in COVID-19 cases.

April 2020

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Secessionist Southern Transitional Council (STC) announced autonomous self-administration in south Yemen after weeks of rising tensions with govt forces, increasing likelihood of renewed violence in south and placing Nov 2019 Riyadh Agreement, and efforts to broker a nationwide political settlement to end the war, in peril. Meanwhile, fighting between pro-govt forces and Huthis intensified in north despite Saudi Arabia’s announcement of military freeze and extension, raising prospect of continued escalation in May unless parties agree to nationwide ceasefire. Saudi Arabia 24 April extended two-week ceasefire announced 8 April in response to UN appeal to end hostilities amid COVID-19 pandemic. Huthis next day dismissed Saudi “ceasefire” announcement as sham, demanded Riyadh lift its blockade of airspace, land borders and ports in Huthi-held areas; President Hadi opposed demands. UN envoy Martin Griffiths 16 April told UN Security Council that agreement between warring parties on nationwide ceasefire, humanitarian measures and resumption of talks would be finalised in “immediate future”, raising hopes for comprehensive cessation of hostilities. Progress however limited by end of month; amid ongoing Saudi airstrikes throughout month despite ceasefire declaration, fighting between Huthis and govt forces persisted in al-Jawf, Marib and al-Bayda. Meanwhile, after flash floods in Aden city, STC 25 April announced autonomous self-administrationin south, prompting condemnation from govt and calls from Riyadh, Washington and UN for implementation of Riyadh Agreement. Previously, STC mid-April accused govt forces of preparing military offensive in Aden city, sparking concerns over collapse of Riyadh Agreement; Mahram al-Qubati, prominent commander in Hadi’s Presidential Guards, early April reportedly announced plan to “liberate” Aden while Saudi Arabia increased deployment of elite forces in Aden. Power struggle within govt late March also broke out: PM Saeed 27 March suspended Saleh al-Jabwani, transport minister and outspoken critic of Riyadh Agreement and Saudi Arabia; although President Hadi reportedly rejected PM Saeed’s decision, al-Jabwani shortly after resigned. Authorities 29 April reported total of five COVID-19 cases in south, raising fears of outbreak across country where local population already in midst of major humanitarian crisis; senior UN officials 21 April estimated seventeen million people face acute food insecurity.

March 2020

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Huthi forces continued their advance into govt-held Marib governorate in north and cross-border attacks between Huthis and Saudi Arabia escalated late month, raising risk of more intense fighting in April if parties do not heed UN’s call for ceasefire; fighting continued on other fronts including along Red Sea coast. In north, Huthis 2 March claimed to have taken control of al-Hazm, capital of al-Jawf governorate, and continued advancing east toward Marib governorate. Fighting between govt forces and Huthis in central Marib in March left hundreds injured and killed from both sides. Huthis and govt forces continued fighting in Sirwa district in western Marib and in areas of eastern al-Jawf. Clashes between Huthis and govt-aligned forces also ongoing along Red Sea coast. Govt 12 March said it was withdrawing military observers from UN outposts around Hodeida after Huthi sniper reportedly killed one; govt boycotted meetings of Redeployment Coordination Committee, UN-chaired body tasked with overseeing ceasefire around city. In south, with forces aligned with separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) repeatedly preventing Saudi forces from taking control of strategic locations in Aden, Saudi officials 15 March allegedly barred senior STC officials from flying from Jordanian capital Amman to Aden. STC leaders warned of further unrest in Aden if Riyadh did not adjust course. To slow spread of COVID-19, Huthis 14 March cancelled flights in and out of Sanaa; govt same day cancelled flights from Aden and Seiyoun. Discussions in Amman over prisoner swaps between govt and Huthis halted as meetings were cancelled due to COVID-19. Following his 23 March call for global ceasefire to limit COVID-19 outbreak, UN Sec-Gen Guterres 25 March urged Yemen’s warring parties to end hostilities and restart talks. Saudi-led coalition, govt, Huthis and other armed actors 25 March expressed support for UN appeal. But cross-border war escalated late March as Huthis 27-28 March launched drone and missile attacks on Riyadh and Saudi economic and military installations in provinces along border. Riyadh responded with airstrikes on Huthi positions in northern Yemen, Sanaa and Hodeida.

February 2020

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Fighting escalated in north as Huthis pursued counteroffensive against govt forces, seizing control of al-Jawf governorate and resuming cross-border attacks into Saudi Arabia, raising risk that violence intensifies further in north in March; fighting erupted in east near border with Oman between Saudi-backed forces and local tribesmen; and govt and southern separatists failed to advance implementation of Riyadh Agreement in south. Huthis 14 Feb claimed responsibility for downing Saudi military jet in al-Jawf governorate; Saudi-led coalition next day retaliated with airstrikes killing 31 civilians. After Saudi Arabia agreed to join talks between Yemeni govt and Huthis on confidence building measures in Jordanian capital Amman, Yemeni govt 16 Feb agreed in principle with Huthis to organise exchange of up to 1,400 detainees. After govt forces launched major offensive toward rebel-held capital Sanaa in Jan, Huthis pursued counteroffensive in al-Jawf, Sanaa and Marib governorates begun late Jan. Intense Saudi airstrikes slowed Huthis’ progress toward capturing govt-controlled cities of al-Hazm, capital of al-Jawf, and making push to Marib city, govt’s main urban strongholds and operations centres. In response to Saudi airstrikes, Huthis resumed missile attacks on southern Saudi Arabia. In east, Saudi-led coalition forces late Feb clashed with local tribal forces in al-Mahra governorate after members of Hurayzi tribe attempted to stop Saudi-backed forces from taking control of Shehn border crossing with Oman. Govt attempted to calm situation by replacing al-Mahra governor. In south, govt and separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) failed to fulfil commitments in Saudi-brokered “Phase 2” roadmap to implement Nov Riyadh Agreement; notably, govt delayed appointment of security chief and governor in Aden following STC’s refusal to allow presidential guard to return to Aden. STC mid-Feb requested greater UN participation in implementation of agreement. Army regiment on island of Socotra 27 Feb switched sides and pledged allegiance to STC.

January 2020

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Suspected Huthi missile strike on govt forces in north led to intensification of fighting on several fronts including across Yemen-Saudi border, which could spread and escalate further in Feb; govt and southern separatists agreed on new roadmap to implement 5 Nov Riyadh Agreement; and troop build-up in Taiz province in south could augur escalation in Feb between Sunni Islamists and Salafists. In north, talks between Saudi Arabia and Huthis continued and for first half of month both sides largely refrained from cross-border violence. But Huthis increased tempo of fighting along key front lines in north and strike on govt forces’ base in Marib province 18 Jan that reportedly killed over 100 soldiers led to escalation between Huthis and their allies on one side and Saudi-led coalition on other in Al Jawf, Marib and Sanaa governorates. Both sides suffered heavy losses. In south, under pressure from Saudi Arabia, govt and separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) 9 Jan agreed on “Phase 2” plan to implement Nov Riyadh Agreement; parties had failed to fully implement deal within initial 90-day timeframe disagreeing on how to sequence security and political aspects, with clashes erupting early Jan. New plan requires govt-affiliated forces to redeploy from Aden to front lines in al-Dhale and Abyan provinces, and for STC forces to move from Aden to Lahj governorate within twenty days from 11 Jan. As part of “Phase 2” agreement, govt and STC exchanged 53 prisoners 12 Jan. Rival Yemeni groups 24 Jan completed transfer of heavy weapons in Aden to Saudi-controlled base in city within fifteen-day timeframe. After early redeployments from Aden, process again stalled late Jan, with local appointments still not made. In Taiz governorate, tensions mounted between Sunni Islamist Islah forces, which control Taiz city centre, and United Arab Emirates-backed forces based in Turbah south of city and on Red Sea coast. Islah reportedly building up forces near Turbah late month raising risk of major confrontation there.

December 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Following signing of Riyadh Agreement in Nov, ceasefire between govt and southern separatists held and de-escalation talks between Saudi-led coalition and Huthi rebels continued. In south, while truce largely held, tensions remained over troop build-ups in strategic locations across south and failure to implement key aspects of agreement, including formation of unity govt and appointment of governor and security chief in Aden. Informal de-escalation talks between Huthi rebels and Saudi-led coalition continued as fighting along Saudi-Yemeni border and Saudi airstrikes decreased. Senior military commander Adnan al-Hammadi shot and killed by his brother in Taiz in south 6 Dec; dispute reportedly fuelled by split between factions loyal to Sunni Islamist group Islah and factions supportive of United Arab Emirates. Saudi govt accused Huthis of carrying out 10 Dec attack on medical facility in Saudi city of Jizan in south; no fatalities recorded in first reported cross-border attack since Sept. Huthis claimed 27 Dec missile strike on local Saudi military headquarters in Najran; Saudis denied strike. Yemeni govt and Huthi rebels exchanged prisoners in Taiz 19 Dec; govt released 60 Huthi rebels in exchange for 75 govt-affiliated detainees. U.S. navy 4 Dec announced seizure of “significant” shipment of Iranian missile components bound for Yemen. U.S. State Department 5 Dec announced $15mn reward for information on Yemen-based Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps senior commander Abdul Reza Shahlai.

November 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Yemeni govt and southern separatists signed agreement to end hostilities in south and Saudis reduced airstrikes in Huthi-controlled areas. Yemeni govt 5 Nov signed Riyadh Agreement with southern separatist group Southern Transitional Council (STC) following Saudi-led mediation; agreement provides 90-day timeline for formation of new cabinet with equal representation of northerners and southerners, implementation of political and security arrangements across south, and STC representation in future UN-led peace talks with Huthis. Parties missed deadlines to carry out initial steps including appointment of new governor and security chief in Aden as well as withdrawal of govt and STC forces from front lines across south. Limited clashes erupted in Aden 18 Nov between STC-affiliated forces and unidentified assailants. Saudi military operations against Iran-aligned Huthi rebels continued to decline as indirect talks continued. UN Envoy Martin Griffiths 22 Nov announced 80% fall in Saudi airstrikes in preceding two weeks. In response to Huthi strikes on coalition locations in Mokha 24 Nov, Saudi-led coalition airstrikes 25 Nov killed unknown number of Huthi rebels in Ras Isa port in Hodeida province; clashes followed between Huthis and govt forces around Hodeida. Huthis continued to refrain from strikes into Saudi Arabia but launched missile attacks inside Yemen, in Mokha and Mareb governorates. Huthi forces 17 Nov seized one Saudi and two South Korean vessels in Red Sea; 19 Nov released crews and vessels. Huthis 29 Nov claimed to have killed two Saudi pilots in attack on Saudi helicopter near border. Saudi-led coalition 26 Nov said it was releasing 200 Huthi prisoners and reducing restrictions on Yemeni airspace to enable medical evacuations from Huthi-controlled capital Sanaa; International Committee of the Red Cross 28 Nov announced successful repatriation of 128 Huthi detainees from Saudi Arabia. Kuwait 22 Nov declared willingness to host UN-sponsored peace talks.

October 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Saudi airstrikes against Iran-aligned Huthi forces in north reduced in intensity and scope, and Yemeni govt and southern separatists made headway in Saudi-mediated talks, creating opportunity to avoid further hostilities in south and pivot to national level peace talks. Saudi Arabia responded positively to Huthis’ Sept unilateral ceasefire, largely limiting airstrikes to front-line positions and, reportedly at Riyadh’s request, Yemeni govt 16 Oct allowed eight fuel shipments to enter Huthi-administered port of Hodeida. Saudi airstrike in Saada province in north 21 Oct killed five civilians. After Huthis’ unilateral prisoner release in Sept, Huthis 10 Oct proposed prisoner swap with govt, which has not yet responded. In south, sporadic fighting continued in Abyan and Shebwa governorates between govt forces and southern separatist groups including Southern Transitional Council (STC). But in Saudi capital Riyadh, negotiations to end rift between Saudi-backed Yemeni govt and UAE-backed STC advanced toward signing of so-called Riyadh Agreement (formerly known as Jeddah Agreement) that would see southerners gain equal representation with northerners in govt and place in future peace talks with Huthis. Govt repeatedly postponed signing ceremony due to differences over selection of interior and defence ministers, govt’s demand that UAE withdraw completely from south and request for security-first sequencing of implementation. Fighting between govt forces and STC escalated in Abyan province 31 Oct prompting parties to postpone signing of Riyadh Agreement without setting new date. Saudi forces progressively took control of Aden in south during month as UAE forces withdrew, completing withdrawal 30 Oct. Saudis brought in new troops and equipment 26 Oct. Huthi forces 29 Oct attacked convoy transporting defence minister in Marib province in centre, killing two soldiers.

September 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Fighting continued in south between pro-govt forces and southern separatists and troop movements suggest parties readying for escalation in coming weeks; and cross-border attacks between Huthis and Saudi Arabia could intensify in Oct if Huthis’ offer of unilateral suspension of attacks fails to produce mutual de-escalation agreement. In south, govt forces and United Arab Emirates-aligned southern separatist group Southern Transitional Council (STC) continued to clash in Abyan and Shebwa governorates and reportedly assembled fighters and equipment in strategic areas in preparation for new round of major fighting. Govt and STC held indirect talks in Saudi city of Jeddah 4 Sept onwards aimed at power-sharing agreement to end fighting, no outcome end-month. While Huthis claimed responsibility for 14 Sept attacks on Saudi oil facilities, Saudi Arabia, U.S. and other foreign powers held Iran responsible. U.S. said attacks launched from Iran and described them as “act of war”. Saudi-led coalition 20 Sept launched airstrikes on Huthi positions near Hodeida targeting sites used to develop sea mines. Huthis 23 Sept claimed that coalition airstrikes in Amran governorate killed five civilians. Coalition airstrike in Qataba, Dhale province 26 Sept killed at least sixteen civilians including seven children. Huthis 18 Sept said they would cease attacks into Saudi Arabia; Saudi govt 27 Sept agreed to partial ceasefire in four Yemeni provinces including Huthi-controlled capital Sanaa. Huthis 29 Sept claimed that their 25 Aug cross-border offensive in Najran province, Saudi Arabia killed hundreds of Saudi soldiers and captured “thousands”; Saudi Arabia and Yemeni govt denied claim. Stalemate in Hodeida persisted: in 9-10 Sept meeting, Redeployment Coordination Committee comprising govt and Huthi representatives failed to agree on who would provide security in Hodeida port following redeployment of military forces. Huthis 30 Sept said they would release without conditions 350 prisoners in attempt to deliver on stalled UN-brokered prisoner exchange deal agreed in Dec; released 290 by end-month.

August 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Southern separatists aligned with United Arab Emirates (UAE) seized city of Aden from govt forces 10 Aug and moved to consolidate control across south, raising risk that violence escalates in Sept between opposed factions in south. Fighting triggered by Huthi missile strike in Aden in south 1 Aug that killed Munir al-Mashali, commander of UAE-trained Security Belt force and prominent figure in separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC), and 29 other officers; STC alleged that members of Saudi-backed Islamist Islah faction facilitated strike. After reports emerged 7 Aug that President Hadi’s guards had fired at people attending al-Mashali’s funeral in Aden, STC launched offensive on city same day. STC 10 Aug said it had taken control of city, which govt confirmed. Fighting left at least 40 dead. Separatists sought to consolidate control elsewhere in south: in Abyan governorate, pro-STC Security Belt fighters 19 Aug seized military base in Zinjibar and 20 Aug captured al-Kawad military camp. Govt launched counterattacks, regaining bases in Shebwa governorate and control of Zinjibar. Govt forces 28 Aug moved on Aden, prompting clashes in eastern part. Saudi Arabia, which opposes Yemen’s partition, 12 Aug called for talks in Saudi city of Jeddah. STC 15 Aug said it would attend talks, but would not cede Aden unless Islah and northerners were removed from powerful positions in govt. Govt 20 Aug refused to participate in dialogue with STC unless latter retreated from Aden. UAE same day rejected govt’s accusations that it had supported separatists’ capture of Aden. Govt 29 Aug accused UAE of airstrike that killed 30 govt troops between Abyan and Aden; UAE same day claimed responsibility for airstrikes but said they targeted “terrorist militias”. Huthis drones 9 Aug targeted Abha airport in Saudi Arabia; airstrike 17 Aug started fire at Shaybah oil field near UAE border, prompting coalition airstrikes around Sanaa same day and around Saada 20 Aug. Huthis claimed to have made advances in north near Saudi border, including attack on coalition soldiers in Kitaf, Saada.

July 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Huthi forces kept up cross-border attacks into Saudi Arabia and fighting continued on Red Sea coast and between anti-Huthi groups in south, as United Arab Emirates (UAE) continued to withdraw forces from Red Sea coast. UAE 22 July publicly acknowledged its military drawdown from all its operations in Yemen, but appeared to retain lead for liaison with and advice to Yemeni forces on Red Sea coast. UAE FM Gargash 22 July reiterated commitment to political process, described drawdown as “confidence-building measure”, and said UAE and coalition “not leaving Yemen”. Main Yemeni forces – Giants Brigade, Guards of the Republic and Tihama Resistance – 2 July announced formation of command cell for “Joint Resistance Forces”. Huthis continued cross-border attacks into Saudi territory and reportedly stepped up attacks on towns south of Hodeida. Huthis and Saudi-led coalition held each other responsible for attack on market in Saada province in north 29 July that killed at least ten civilians, including children. UAE-backed forces continued to clash repeatedly with Hadi govt-affiliated units, particularly in al-Dhale and Taiz governorates. Hadi govt’s Economic Committee 25 June announced restoration of govt monopoly over fuel imports and distribution, angering Yemeni businessmen working in govt-controlled territory; Huthis early July claimed move was attempt to cut off fuel supplies in areas they control.

June 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

As tensions continued to rise between U.S. and Gulf states on one hand and Iran and its regional allies on other, Huthis increased pace of cross-border attacks into Saudi Arabia, provoking Riyadh to step up bombing on Huthi areas in Yemen especially on capital Sanaa; further attacks could fuel escalation in July (see Iran). Huthis launched missile and drone strikes on Abha and Najran airports in Saudi Arabia, attacking Abha airport 12, 14, 15 and 23 June. In retaliation, Riyadh intensified bombing campaign in Huthi areas, particularly Sanaa. U.S. late May said Huthi cross-border attacks were part of Iranian regional campaign against Saudi and U.S. interests; Saudi officials described Huthis as Iran-backed terrorists. United Arab Emirates (UAE) has drawn down some forces along Red Sea coast, removed heavy weaponry from Hodeida and repatriated missile system, likely mitigating immediate risk that major fighting resumes in Hodeida. Following govt’s criticism of UN in wake of Huthi unilateral redeployment from Red Sea ports mid-May, international pressure on President Hadi helped avert collapse of UN-led effort to demilitarise Hodeida. After Hadi late May said he would meet UN Envoy Martin Griffiths, Griffiths 26 June met VP al-Ahmar to discuss implementation of Dec 2018 Stockholm Agreement. U.S. 16 June said Huthi surface-to-air missile had 6 June shot down U.S. drone over Yemen. World Food Programme 20 June began phased suspension of food aid deliveries in Huthi-controlled territory after negotiations between WFP and Huthi leadership repeatedly failed to resolve issue of Huthi aid diversion. Fighting reported 20 June around Ataq, capital of Shabwa governorate, between govt and UAE-backed secessionist forces, followed by pro-secessionist protests. Fighting also reported in Hodeida, Hajja, al-Dhale and al-Bayda governorates; pro-govt forces 27 June repelled Huthi offensive targeting residential areas in Hodeida outskirts, reportedly inflicting heavy casualties. Saudi military 25 June announced capture of Abu Osama al-Muhajer, Islamic State’s (ISIS) leader in Yemen, and three other associates.

May 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Huthis launched drone strikes on oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia and fighting escalated on several fronts in Yemen; military escalation and rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran raise risk of worse fighting in Yemen and more Huthi attacks on Saudi and Emirati assets in coming weeks. Huthis unilaterally redeployed from Hodeida, Ras Issa and Saleef ports 11-14 May under UN monitoring. Saudi-led coalition reportedly consented to Huthi move, but govt accused UN of Huthi bias; govt 23 May sent letter to UN Sec-Gen criticising UN envoy Martin Griffiths. Cross-border attacks intensified: Huthis claimed drone attacks in Saudi Arabia on oil pipeline 14 May, on Najran airport 21 and 23 May (latter was intercepted), and on airport in Jizan 26 May (also intercepted). Saudi Arabia accused Iran of guiding Huthi actions, and 20 May accused Huthis of targeting Jeddah and Mecca with ballistic missiles that Saudi military intercepted; Huthis denied cities were targets. Saudi Arabia 16 May launched airstrikes targeting Sanaa in apparent retaliation for drone attacks, reportedly causing civilian deaths. Fighting on other front lines intensified; clashes took place in Durayhimi district south of Hodeida city; battles between United Arab Emirates (UAE)-backed southern forces and Huthis continued in al-Dhale, Abyan and Lahj governorates; fighting reportedly intensified near Sanaa and in Taiz, and along Saudi border. Tensions between rival factions in anti-Huthi bloc persisted; govt publicly denounced UAE influence after UAE-backed forces 8 May landed on Socotra, Yemeni island in Arabian Sea; local media reported that members of Presidential Guard clashed with UAE-backed forces in al-Dhale.

April 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Fighting escalated along multiple front lines as negotiations over military redeployments around Hodeida remained stalled, increasing risk that fighting resumes there, while tensions within anti-Huthi camp could spark further conflict in south. Govt and Huthi delegates to UN-led Redeployment Coordination Committee, body tasked with implementing Hodeida agreement, agreed plan for first phase of redeployments 13 April. But both govt and Huthis said phase one will not take place until they agree on phase two redeployments and on composition of local security forces due to control of city and ports after redeployments. Violence around Hodeida continued while clashes escalated along Red Sea coast, in particular in Tuhayta and Hays districts. UK FM Hunt 26 April held meeting in London with Saudi and Emirati counterparts and U.S. and UN representatives to discuss next steps in UN-led process. Fighting intensified across much of country, including in Hajja governorate in north west along border with Saudi Arabia, and in al-Jawf governorate in north. Coalition airstrikes on capital Sanaa 10 April reportedly killed thirteen, highest number of civilian casualties in capital in over a year. Clashes between Huthis and southern fighters also intensified in al-Dalia governorate in south. Secessionists allied to Southern Transitional Council (STC), organisation working for secession of south, accused army of withdrawing from key positions and ceding ground to Huthis, exacerbating tensions between rival factions in anti-Huthi bloc. President Hadi 13 April held parliamentary session in Seyoun in east; pro-STC activists organised protests against meeting, having said they would block proposed session in Aden. Huthis also opposed what they called “illegitimate” session on grounds that it did not meet quorum; Huthis responded with elections for 24 parliamentary seats in areas they controlled. U.S. President Trump 16 April vetoed War Powers Resolution that would have withdrawn U.S. support to Saudi-led coalition, despite U.S. Congress passing bipartisan bill 5 April.

March 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Fighting escalated in Taiz and Hajja governorates and continued elsewhere, and implementation of Dec Stockholm Agreement stalled, raising risk that warring parties resume combat around Hodeida port and city. Govt and Huthis failed to redeploy forces away from front-line positions in and around Hodeida, as agreed in Feb, as both sides raised objections to redeployment plan; primary point of contention was composition of local security forces due to assume control of city and ports after redeployment. UK FM Hunt 3 March warned Stockholm process “could be dead within weeks” if sides did not stick to commitments. U.S. Envoy Matthew Tueller 21 March publicly blamed Huthis for delays in implementation and said weapons in non-state actors’ possession posed threat to “neighbouring countries”. Huthis 17 March said they had intelligence that Saudi-led coalition planned to escalate violence in Hodeida and that they were ready to strike capitals of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates if implementation of deal is breached. Other components of Stockholm Agreement also remained stalled, including prisoner exchange and talks over contested city of Taiz in south. Fighting escalated in Taiz in second part of month between nominally allied pro-govt Yemeni groups; medical facilities late March received two dead and 49 wounded in four days. After flaring in Feb, fighting intensified in Hajja governorate in north west between al-Hajour tribes and Huthis; UN 11 March reported 22 civilians killed in attacks in Hajja’s Kushar district, and Saudi-led coalition reported Huthi shelling of houses killed several tribesmen. Huthis prevailed in Kushar, allegedly killing several key local leaders. NGO Save the Children said missile 26 March struck petrol station near entrance to hospital it supports about 100km from Saada in north killing seven people, including four children; U.S. 28 March urged Saudi-led coalition to conduct transparent investigation into bombing. U.S. Senate 13 March adopted resolution aimed at ending U.S. support to Saudi-led coalition in Yemen; legislation President Trump has said he would veto. Germany 6 March extended temporary ban on arms exports to Saudi Arabia until end month, citing concerns over Saudi Arabia’s conduct in Yemen.

February 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Govt and Huthis agreed to redeploy their forces from front-line positions in and around Hodeida, opening opportunity in coming weeks to implement deal, but disagreement over details could lead to breakdown of talks and trigger fighting in and around city, and intense fighting along and across Yemen-Saudi border could escalate further. Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) comprising UN, govt and Huthis reached deal 16 Feb on first phase of redeployments by both sides from Red Sea ports and infrastructure around Hodeida. But debate over who will secure Hodeida once both sides have made redeployments delayed implementation. World Food Programme 26 Feb regained access, blocked for five months by fighting, to Red Sea Mills, major wheat facility in outskirts of Hodeida. UAE FM Gargash 3 Feb called for implementation of Dec Stockholm Agreement and to make 2019 “the year of peace in Yemen”. “Quad” comprising Saudi Arabia, UAE, U.S. and UK 13 Feb denounced Iranian support for Huthis and blamed latter for lack of progress in implementation of Dec agreement. Fighting intensified on Yemen-Saudi border, with govt and Huthis claiming military successes in Hajja, Saada and al-Jawf governorates; clashes escalated in Hajja in north west between al-Hajour tribesmen and Huthis. Huthi Head of Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum (SCER) in Huthi-held capital Sanaa 1 Feb announced plans to hold elections to fill vacant seats in parliament; President Hadi 3 Feb said he would relocate SCER headquarters to Aden, as he moves to reconvene parliament in temporary capital. In Mukalla in east, Southern Transitional Council (STC), organisation working for secession of south, 16-17 Feb held third meeting of what it calls its National Assembly; its chair warned Hadi that STC would block any attempt to convene parliament in Aden. U.S. House of Representatives 13 Feb adopted resolution aimed at ending U.S. support for Saudi-led coalition. Saudi FM al-Jubeir 10 Feb denounced congressional efforts to curtail U.S. allies’ fight against “terrorist organisations supported by Iran and Hezbollah”. Moroccan officials 7 Feb said Morocco had frozen its involvement in Saudi-led coalition.

January 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Despite hundreds of reported infractions, fragile ceasefire in Hodeida port city stemming from Stockholm Agreement in Dec eased fighting there and offers chance for further de-escalation in Feb; but collapse of deal or too slow implementation could see battle for city resume. UN Security Council 16 Jan unanimously approved creation of UN Mission to support the Hodeida Agreement (UNMHA), mandating 75 monitors to oversee implementation of agreement and ceasefire initially for six months. Govt-aligned and Huthi forces failed to redeploy from Hodeida by 8 Jan deadline. Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) – group comprising UN, govt and Huthis to oversee implementation of Hodeida agreement – yet to agree on ceasefire terms and joint verification mechanisms for redeployment. Third RCC meeting failed to convene because Huthis refused to meet in coalition-controlled territory. UN Envoy Martin Griffiths shuttled between capital Sanaa and Saudi capital Riyadh late Jan, reportedly securing both sides’ buy-in for redeployment plan. UN 24 Jan said it would replace RCC chair, retired Dutch General Patrick Cammaert, in Feb. Talks between Huthis and govt in Jordan 16 Jan on possible prisoner exchange ended without final agreement, but sides agreed on timeline for future steps, reportedly including second meeting in Jordan in coming week. In letter to UN Security Council 17 Jan, UAE restated commitment to Stockholm Agreement, but also warned it would resume hostilities if no progress made on redeployment. Suspected mortar fire 24 Jan started fire that damaged vital World Food Programme wheat storage, milling and distribution facility on Hodeida’s outskirts. Huthi media 30 Jan reported coalition airstrikes in Hodeida governorate in breach of ceasefire; UAE said airstrikes outside ceasefire zone; FM Gargash 30 Jan said coalition prepared to use “more calibrated force” to pressure Huthi compliance with Stockholm Agreement. Germany 16 Jan pledged €5.4mn (about $6.2mn) to help create UN office to support civilian aspects of Hodeida agreement, including administration of Hodeida, Salif and Ras Issa ports and demining. UK 22 Jan pledged £2.5mn (about $3.3mn) for same purpose. U.S. lawmakers 30 Jan re-introduced bipartisan resolution to end U.S. support for Saudi-led coalition in Yemen; two-thirds majority needed in both houses of Congress to overrule potential presidential veto. In continued fighting, Huthi drone 10 Jan hit military parade in Lahj province, killing three senior military officials; govt 15 Jan claimed to have arrested Huthis responsible. Coalition 19 Jan launched airstrikes on Huthi military targets in Sanaa. Heavy fighting took place during month at key frontlines, including on Saudi-Yemeni border, around Taiz city in south, and in Damt district, al-Dhalea governorate. Local media early Jan reported clashes between rival southern Yemeni groups in Shabwa governorate.

December 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

At UN-led peace consultations in Sweden, govt and Huthis agreed to redeploy forces from Hodeida city and port, and wider Red Sea trade corridor. If ceasefire in Hodeida governorate holds, further talks planned for Jan could open path to wider de-escalation, but if it fails or implementation falters, rival forces could restart battle for Hodeida port and city. Consultations led by UN special envoy Martin Griffiths 6-13 Dec culminated in Stockholm Agreement comprising agreement on Hodeida city and Hodeida, Salif and Ras Issa ports; agreement for prisoner exchange; and statement of understanding on city of Taiz. Texts said parties made deals for humanitarian purposes only and are not to be seen as part of broader political process. Hodeida and ports agreement includes ceasefire; redeployment of all forces from city and ports to agreed-upon locations within 21 days of start of ceasefire; and agreement for revenue from ports to flow to Hodeida branch of Central Bank. Parties agreed to reconvene in Jan in yet to be agreed location to discuss framework for political negotiations. Ceasefire in Hodeida governorate took effect 18 Dec and held with mostly minor violations till end-month. UN Security Council 21 Dec passed UK-drafted resolution that calls on all parties to uphold Stockholm Agreement; on UN to oversee implementation; and on parties to keep working with UN envoy Griffiths to stabilise economy and reopen Sanaa airport. Resolution approves 30-day deployment of UN team to monitor ceasefire in Hodeida region. UN source and Huthis 29 Dec said Huthi forces had begun redeploying from Hodeida port as per Stockholm Agreement. Redeployment Coordination Committee including govt and Huthi representatives will oversee ceasefire and demilitarisation, and report weekly to UN Security Council. In largely symbolic move, U.S. Senate 13 Dec passed bill that, if enacted, would end all U.S. military support for Saudi-led campaign in Yemen. New U.S. House of Representatives will consider legislation in 2019.

November 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

UN-led talks between warring parties expected early Dec offer chance to restart negotiations toward political settlement, but fighting could also escalate in coming weeks, especially in Huthi-held Hodeida. Yemeni forces backed by United Arab Emirates (UAE) 31 Oct launched new offensive along Red Sea coast, moving from south of Hodeida to encircle eastern half of city, within striking distance of port. Saudi-led coalition 15 Nov reported “pause” in offensive, in apparent response to calls from international community. UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths 16 Nov told UN Security Council that warring parties had given “firm assurances” of their commitment to attend peace talks. Huthis 19 Nov said they would cease drone and missile attacks on coalition forces at Griffiths’s request and said they were ready for broader ceasefire. Fighting continued in north, most intensely along Yemen-Saudi Arabia border. Saudi-led coalition reported intercepting four ballistic missiles fired by Huthis into Mareb governorate mid-Nov. Hodeida residents 20 Nov reported fighting around city had increased. As part of continued push for talks, Griffiths 22-23 Nov met Huthi leader Abdulmalik al-Huthi in capital Sanaa and Huthi officials in Hodeida. U.S. Sec Defense Mattis 9 Nov said U.S. would no longer refuel Saudi-led coalition aircraft in support of “decision by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, after consultations with the U.S. Government”. U.S. Senate 29 Nov voted to advance resolution ending U.S. support for Saudi-led coalition. UK FM Hunt 13 Nov said he had brokered deal with Saudi Arabia for evacuation of injured Huthi fighters from Sanaa to Muscat as part of confidence-building measures. UN Security Council 20 Nov began debate on UK’s draft resolution aimed at humanitarian objectives; Saudi-led coalition told allies that new resolution was unhelpful. UN 23 Oct warned of imminent famine, increasing estimate of people severely food insecure from 8 to 14 million. UN World Food Programme 27 Nov warned of “nearly 50% decrease in operations at Hodeida port over last two weeks … because of the high levels of insecurity in the city”. Saudi Arabia and UAE 20 Nov announced joint pledge of $500mn in aid.

October 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Campaign by UAE-backed Yemeni forces to strangle Huthi-held Hodeida city slowed, as UN envoy pursued confidence-building measures to improve conditions ahead of possible new talks in Nov; fighting could escalate in Nov around Hodeida and on other frontlines. UAE-backed forces continued efforts to surround Hodeida and squeeze Huthi supply lines, pushing as far north as Kilo 16, junction linking city with road to capital Sanaa. Campaign appeared to have slowed mid-Oct, but Saudi-led coalition had reportedly deployed reinforcements around Hodeida by end Oct, possibly signalling forthcoming escalation. New frontlines threatened delivery of humanitarian aid to north, where conditions worst, and aid storage facilities around Hodeida. In south, separatist group Southern Transitional Council (STC) 3 Oct called for uprising against govt in Aden and southern provinces. Govt urged STC to stop mobilising non-state military units and join political process. Pressure from Saudi Arabia on separatists calmed situation. After UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths’ planned consultations with warring parties failed to start in Sept, he worked toward bringing parties together in Nov, again to build consensus on framework for peace talks. U.S. Defence Secretary James Mattis 30 Oct called for ceasefire within 30 days. U.S. Sec State Pompeo 31 Oct echoed statement, calling for missile and drone strikes from Huthi-controlled areas into Saudi Arabia and UAE to stop and “subsequently” for Saudi-led coalition airstrikes to cease in all populated areas. Griffiths worked to roll out confidence-building measures, including opening air routes from Sanaa airport to evacuate patients with chronic conditions, prisoner exchanges, evacuation of injured Huthi fighters, and payment of civil service salaries. Huthis 3 Oct released two sons of ex-President Saleh, who were transferred to Jordan. Saudi Arabia and UAE 23 Oct donated $70mn to UNICEF program that pays salaries of 135,000 Yemeni teachers. Saudi Arabia 2 Oct announced $200mn deposit in Central Bank to stabilise Yemeni riyal, but price of goods such as diesel and cooking oil continued to rise. President Hadi 14 Oct replaced PM Bin Daghr over failure to stem economic deterioration.

September 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

UN-led consultations planned for early Sept failed to start and fighting escalated on outskirts of Huthi-held port city of Hodeida raising risk of further escalation in Oct; but opportunities to mediate confidence-building measures remain. Huthi representatives 8 Sept told team of UN envoy Martin Griffiths they would not leave capital Sanaa for talks in Geneva; they asked to travel in Omani instead of UN plane and to take wounded with them, but complications arose in negotiating details of procedure among Saudi-led coalition, Omanis and Huthis. Griffiths continued efforts to bring parties to talks; 18 Sept announced Saudi-led coalition would allow flights to leave Sanaa to evacuate those in need of urgent medical care. Forces backed by United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Red Sea coast early Sept launched assault to take control of road between Hodeida and Sanaa and 12 Sept claimed they had captured it; Huthis later said they had retaken it. Huthi rebels 30 Sept claimed they had launched attacks on Dubai international airport and boats off coast of Saudi port city Jizan. UAE 14 Sept delivered letter to UN Security Council arguing only way to bring Huthis to negotiating table was to continue offensive on Hodeida. Saudi-led coalition 1 Sept acknowledged that it had made mistakes in Aug airstrike on school bus in north that left 51 dead, including 40 children. Amid growing international criticism of coalition’s conduct in Yemen, U.S. Sec State Pompeo 11 Sept defended campaign, telling Congress that “Saudi Arabia and UAE are undertaking demonstrable actions to reduce the risk of harm … resulting from military operations”. UN Human Rights Council 28 Sept voted to extend international probe into alleged war crimes committed in country; govt, Saudi Arabia and UAE denounced decision.

August 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Intense fighting continued ahead of UN envoy’s planned consultations with President Hadi’s govt and Huthi leaders in Geneva 6-8 Sept; initiative could increase parties’ commitment to restarting peace talks, but fighting could also escalate in Hodeida port city and elsewhere if initial discussions end in acrimony. Efforts by UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths slowed United Arab Emirates (UAE)-backed campaign to capture port city Hodeida, but UAE-backed forces 19 Aug said they had taken Durayhimi, town south of Hodeida, from Huthis, opening route to main Hodeida-Sanaa road. Infighting between Yemeni forces in Saudi-led coalition intensified: UAE-backed Salafists clashed with Saudi-linked Islamists with ties to Hadi govt in Taiz city in south 15 Aug, leaving dozens dead and injured; Security Belt forces, UAE-backed faction largely comprised of southern secessionists, clashed with Hadi govt forces in Aden 18 Aug after flag of unified Yemen was raised at military graduation ceremony. Huthi spokesperson, Mohammed Abdulsalem, 18 Aug met Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Lebanese Iran-linked movement Hezbollah reportedly in Lebanese capital Beirut. In Hodeida, alleged Saudi-led coalition mortar fire 2 Aug (apparently aiming at Huthi attack boat) hit busy shipping wharf, killing at least 28 civilians. Coalition airstrike 9 Aug hit school bus in Saada region in north, killing some 30 schoolchildren; coalition spokesperson said target was legitimate, claiming two senior Huthi commanders were on board. Under international pressure including from senior U.S. Pentagon officials and military commanders, Saudi-led coalition investigated incident. Coalition airstrike in pro-Huthi district near Hodeida 23 Aug killed at least 22 children and four women. Associated Press 6 Aug alleged that Saudi-led coalition has been recruiting and making deals with members of radical group al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula; key figures involved said that U.S. was aware of arrangements and held off drone attacks on group.

July 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Yemeni forces backed by United Arab Emirates (UAE) preparing to take Hodeida city on Red Sea coast from Huthis consolidated positions south of city and fighting intensified elsewhere; UN proposal presents opportunity to avoid battle for Hodeida and restart talks, but fight for Hodeida could also intensify in Aug. UAE-backed forces held positions south of Hodeida, claiming it had paused offensive to facilitate UN mediation, but continued to fight Huthis in Hays, Tuhayta and Durayhimi along Red Sea coast south of Hodeida. UAE-led fighters and Hadi govt forces also gathered in Mokha, port town south of Hodeida, apparently preparing for attacks on Huthi positions on inland road between Mokha and Hodeida, including Zabid town; fighting for Zabid intensified end month with dozens reportedly killed on both sides. Saudi-led coalition resumed air strikes late July in and around Hodeida and in Zabid damaging water facility there that supplies most of Hodeida’s water. UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths mid-July submitted to Huthis, Hadi govt and Saudi-led coalition for comment his proposal to avert battle for Hodeida: plan proposes UN oversee Hodeida port and two ports north of city; Huthis undertake phased withdrawal from Hodeida; UAE-led forces pull back from city; reopening of Sanaa airport; national de-escalation and resumption of talks. Govt and Huthis proposed changes. Griffiths shuttled between parties to organise “consultations” between Hadi govt and Huthis in Geneva late Aug or early Sept. Fighting intensified elsewhere. Huthi fighters redoubled efforts to take back territory in Taiz city lost earlier in 2018 and pushed into Lahj province, while govt forces 17-19 July made progress south east of Taiz. In north, Saudi-backed forces made gains in Huthis’ home Saada province and in neighbouring Hajja, while Huthis launched missiles into Saudi city of Najran. Huthis 18 July claimed drone attack on oil refinery in Saudi capital, Riyadh; refinery same day said minor fire on site was due to “operational incident”. Huthis 25 July allegedly attacked two tankers in Bab al-Mandeb strait, prompting Saudi Arabia to suspend oil shipments through strait; 31 July said they would halt attacks in Red Sea for two weeks from 1 Aug and could extend and expand ceasefire if Saudi-led coalition reciprocates. Huthis 26 July claimed to have launched drone attack on Abu Dhabi airport, UAE denied attack. Tensions between UAE-backed forces and Hadi govt rekindled as Abu al-Yamamah, commander of UAE proxy Security Belt forces, 15 July threatened to attack Hadi govt in Aden.

June 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Yemeni forces backed by United Arab Emirates (UAE) ramped up offensive to take Huthi-held port city of Hodeida, seizing much of airport south of city. July brings risk of fighting reaching Hodeida port and city but also opportunities for parties to mitigate humanitarian and political fallout through UN-mediated deal. Despite pressure from UN to negotiate settlement, UAE 12 June announced start of operations to take control of port and city. UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths pushed Huthis to withdraw from Hodeida to prevent loss of life; group reportedly said they were open to withdrawal from port, and for it to be jointly managed with UN, but not from city. Griffiths met President Hadi 27 June in Aden, who echoed coalition calls for Huthis to withdraw from both port and city. Elsewhere, Huthis and Saudi-led coalition claimed to have made gains; coalition intensified efforts in Nihm, north east of Huthi-held capital Sanaa. Saudi air defence 24 June shot down over Saudi capital Riyadh two missiles launched by Huthis in Yemen. President Hadi visited UAE 12 June, as Hodeida campaign began, in show of unity after months of rising tensions between UAE and Hadi govt. Hadi then travelled with govt members to Aden where he announced new mobile telecoms network, Aden Net, which UAE set up.

May 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Fighting intensified as United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Yemeni allies mid-May launched offensive toward Huthi-held Hodeida port on Red Sea coast and Saudi-led coalition and Huthi forces upped airstrikes and missile attacks respectively, raising risk of further escalation in June. UAE-led forces claimed victories in al-Jahari and al-Khokha districts about 120km south of Hodeida. Fighting intensified 30 May less than 10km from Hodeida airport reportedly leaving 53 rebels and seven coalition-led fighters dead. UAE-led forces also claimed victory in Taiz governorate in south. Saudi-led coalition airstrike on presidential palace in Huthi-controlled capital Sanaa 7 May reportedly targeted head of Huthi revolutionary committee Mohammed Ali al-Huthi and newly appointed Huthi President Mahdi Mashat, strike killed at least six civilians, unclear if reported targets killed. Huthis continued missile attacks on targets in Saudi Arabia, Red Sea and Yemen: Saudi security forces 9 May shot down two missiles over capital Riyadh and over southern city of Jizan 21 May; missile reportedly struck Turkish vessel in Red Sea carrying wheat to Yemen 10 May; missile reportedly killed five civilians in govt-held Marib city 22 May. UAE’s late April deployment of troops and armoured vehicles to Socotra island in Gulf of Aden without consulting Hadi govt sparked spat between nominal allies; Hadi govt accused UAE of occupying territory. Saudi delegation 4 May travelled to island to mediate dispute. Yemeni PM Bin Daghr 14 May said dispute resolved. Govt declared state of emergency for Socotra as cyclone Mekunu hit island 24 May. Saudi-led coalition 14 May said it would allow two flights a month between Cairo and Sanaa for those needing urgent medical care. UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths continued talks with local and regional actors intending to present framework agreement for reviving talks to UN Security Council mid-June.

April 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

As Saudi-led coalition escalated campaign on multiple fronts, including on Huthis’ home province of Saada in north, Huthi forces increased missile attacks on Saudi infrastructure and assets; escalation could continue in May. In response to coalition strike on Hodeida port 2 April that reportedly killed at least a dozen civilians, Huthi forces next day attacked Saudi oil tanker in Red Sea, causing slight damage. Huthis 11 April attempted armed drone strike on oil facility in southern Saudi city of Abha, but Saudi forces shot down drone. Coalition airstrikes took high civilian toll: strike on vehicle in west of Taiz province 20 April killed 21 passengers; strike on wedding party in south west of Hajja province 22 April killed at least twenty, including bride; strike on fuel station in Hajja 23 April killed thirteen civilians. Coalition airstrike in Hodeida 19 April killed president of rebel Supreme Political Council, Saleh al-Sammad. Day before and day of his funeral 27-28 April Saudi-led coalition heavily bombarded capital Sanaa, hitting blood bank and around Sabaeen square where thousands gathered for funeral. Coalition 27 April claimed that its strike on Sanaa killed two Huthi commanders and dozens of militiamen. In retaliation for Sammad’s death, Huthis claimed to have fired eight missiles at Saudi’s southern Jizan province 28 April; Saudi govt said it had intercepted four missiles and one Saudi citizen killed by debris. Divisions within coalition persisted; United Arab Emirates (UAE)-backed separatist Southern Transition Council which largely controls Aden in south remained at odds with Hadi govt. PM Daghr returned to Aden 12 April. UAE-aligned security services killed Islamic State (ISIS) leader Saleh Nasser Fadhl al-Bakshi in Aden 28 April. Newly appointed UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths, following initial meetings with warring parties, briefed UN Security Council 17 April; said he would return to Yemen within two months with plan to revive talks, but that military escalation risked derailing peace efforts.

March 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Fighting continued between Huthis and anti-Huthi forces including around Hodeida port on Red Sea coast, Taiz city and al-Baydah town in south, and Nehm and Saada in north, and Huthis escalated missile launches into Saudi Arabia. Saudi forces claimed to have shot down seven missiles fired from Yemen into Saudi Arabia 25 March, three over Riyadh and four others fired at Najran, Jizan and Khamis Mushait in south; shrapnel from one missile killed Egyptian resident of Riyadh, first death caused by conflict in Saudi capital. Saudi-led coalition claimed to have shot down two other Huthi missiles, one fired at Jazan 29 March and another fired at Najran 31 March. Airstrike by Saudi-led coalition in Saada province 22 March killed ten civilians. Car bombing on military kitchen in Aden in south 13 March, claimed by Islamic State (ISIS), killed seven people. Suspected member of al-Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula killed nine soldiers of UAE-backed Hadrami elite forces at checkpoint outside Mukalla city in south east 28 March. Saudi Arabia 15 March reportedly renewed its promise to deposit $2bn in Central Bank of Yemen to shore up currency. UN Security Council presidential statement 15 March called for all ports, including Huthi-controlled Hodeida and Saleef, to remain fully open to humanitarian and commercial shipments and for increased access to Sanaa airport. Former UK diplomat Martin Griffiths began as new UN special envoy 20 March. U.S. Senate 20 March voted against bi-partisan bill that would have ended U.S. support for Saudi-led military intervention; supporters of bill argued President Trump did not have authorisation from Congress to support intervention.

February 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

After United Arab Emirates (UAE)-aligned separatist Southern Transition Council (STC) took control of Aden from govt forces late Jan, UAE and Saudi Arabia imposed truce; STC is demanding changes to govt, to have input on appointment of local officials in south and to take part in any UN-led peace talks. Fighting continued on all major fronts; anti-Huthi fighters 5 Feb captured Hays district in southern part of Hodeida province on Red Sea coast and made gains in eastern part of Bayda province in south. Saudi-led coalition maintained airstrikes on Huthi-held areas in north, especially around Saada, west and south, reportedly killing tens of people including civilians. Saudi-led coalition said Saudi Arabia 5 Feb shot down ballistic missile fired by Huthis toward Khamis Mushait city in south-west Saudi Arabia and that Saudi forces repelled several ground incursions across border into Saudi’s Najran and Jizan regions. Tarik Saleh, former Special Forces commander and nephew of late President Saleh, met southern and local Tihama fighters in coastal city of Mokha 19 Feb to coordinate efforts in campaign against Huthis. At least fourteen people killed and over 40 injured in Islamic State (ISIS)-claimed attack on Yemeni counter-terrorism headquarters in Aden 24 Feb. UN Security Council 15 Feb approved appointment of former UK diplomat and Executive Director of European Institute of Peace Martin Griffiths as UN envoy for Yemen from March.

January 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

United Arab Emirates (UAE)-aligned southern separatists late Jan forcefully took control of Aden city in south from govt forces, dozens killed in clashes. UAE-aligned separatist Southern Transition Council (STC) 21 Jan accused Hadi govt of corruption and mismanagement and gave President Hadi until 28 Jan to replace cabinet; Hadi govt 27 Jan banned public gatherings in Aden; ignoring ban, STC held protests against govt 28 Jan resulting in clashes between STC forces and govt troops 28-30 Jan, STC forces reportedly took control of Aden 30 Jan, confining govt to al-Maasheeq palace, dozens killed. Following collapse in Dec of alliance between Huthi rebels and General People’s Congress (GPC), party of former President Saleh, Huthis 1 Jan reshuffled govt in capital Sanaa, replacing GPC supporters with Huthi loyalists. During visit of UN deputy special envoy to Sanaa 6-10 Jan, Huthis said they were open to UN-led talks but warned they would block shipping in Red Sea if Saudi-led coalition continued military push to Hodeida port. Huthis mid-Jan released from prison several GPC politicians and prominent activist. GPC 7 Jan announced new president, Sadik Amin Abu Ras, who said GPC would continue to oppose “Saudi aggression”. Nephew of former President Saleh and former Special Forces commander, Tarik Saleh, whom GPC said Huthis killed in Dec, appeared in Shebwa province 11 Jan, then reportedly went to Aden in south to work with UAE forces in fight against Huthis. Saudi-led coalition’s military advances in Shebwa province in east, Jawf province in north and along Red Sea coast slowed in Jan. Saudi forces claimed to have intercepted three ballistic missiles fired by Huthis into Saudi Arabia toward civilian areas in Najran region in south west 5 Jan, toward military base in Jizan region in south 16 Jan, and toward airport in Najran region 20 Jan. To slow major depreciation of Yemeni riyal, Saudi Arabia 17 Jan pledged to put $2bn in Yemeni central bank.

December 2017

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Collapse of alliance between Huthis and supporters of former President Saleh deepened conflict in north, as both Saudi-led coalition and Huthis looked set to ramp up attacks in Jan. After clashes in capital Sanaa late Nov between Huthi fighters and pro-Saleh forces, Saleh 2 Dec said he would “turn a new page” with Saudi-led coalition and called on followers to turn against Huthis. Huthis killed Saleh in Sanaa 4 Dec. In following weeks, Huthis tightened control of Sanaa, cracking down on Saleh’s family members and his General People’s Congress (GPC) party. Huthis 19 Dec fired missile at Riyadh, Saudi govt intercepted. Saudi-led coalition significantly increased airstrikes in north; UN reported airstrikes killed at least 115 civilians in four northern provinces 6-16 Dec and 109 more 18-28 Dec. United Arab Emirates (UAE)-backed Yemeni forces made military gains against Huthis: captured Khawka port on Red Sea coast 7 Dec and town of Bayhan, Shebwa province, Huthis’ last foothold in south 15 Dec. Saudi Arabia and UAE leaders met Yemeni Islamist party Islah in Riyadh 13 Dec. Saudi Arabia maintained blockade on Yemen despite U.S. call 6 Dec to let through humanitarian and commercial goods. Saudi-led coalition 20 Dec said it would allow relief and commercial goods through Hodeida port for at least 30 more days.

November 2017

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Following Huthi missile strike on Riyadh, Saudi-led coalition escalated bombing in Yemen and tightened blockade and fighting between Huthis and pro-Saleh forces threatened to continue in Dec. Huthi rebels 4 Nov fired ballistic missile at Saudi capital, Riyadh which Saudi military intercepted and destroyed over city; launch followed Saudi airstrikes in Huthis’ home governorate of Saada that reportedly killed 38 people early Nov. In response, Saudi Arabia increased airstrikes in areas controlled by Huthis and supporters of former President Saleh, including capital Sanaa, and 6 Nov announced temporary closure of all entry ports to Yemen in bid to stop alleged Iranian weapons shipments to Huthis. Saudi Arabia 13 Nov started lifting restrictions on airports and ports nominally controlled by President Hadi’s govt, but tightened blockade on Huthi/Saleh-controlled territories, with grave humanitarian consequences. International Committee of the Red Cross 17 Nov said that three cities had run out of clean water due to blockade, as fuel needed for pumping and sanitation insufficient. Huthis 30 Nov vowed to retaliate for blockade and same day launched missile targeting Saudi city of Khamis Mushait in south west, which Saudi military intercepted and destroyed without casualties. International criticism of war and its humanitarian toll rose, with U.S. House of Representatives 13 Nov passing non-binding resolution stating that Congress never authorised U.S. assistance to Saudi’s intervention in Yemen. UN 16 Nov called on Saudi-led coalition to lift blockade, accusing it of threatening lives of “millions of vulnerable children and families”. Saudi-led coalition 25 Nov began easing restrictions on rebel-held areas, allowing plane carrying vaccines and aid workers to land in Sanaa. Flour shipment arrived to Hodeida port 25 Nov, next day vessel carrying wheat docked at Saleef port. UN 27 Nov called on coalition to fully open ports to commercial and humanitarian goods. Fighting broke out 29 Nov between fighters loyal to former President Saleh and Huthis around Saleh mosque in Sanaa, killing at least four, and continued 30 Nov. Tensions remain high within uncomfortable Huthi-Saleh alliance. Hadi-appointed governor in southern city of Aden 17 Nov resigned citing his inability to perform role due to govt corruption. Islamic State (ISIS) intensified attacks on pro-govt security forces in Aden 5-14 Nov, killing at least 56. ISIS-claimed attack on finance ministry building in Aden 29 Nov killed five. U.S. drone attack on suspected al-Qaeda members 26 Nov on road between Shabwa and Bayda provinces killed seven. Unidentified gunmen 28 Nov ambushed Hadi forces patrol near Ataq in central Shabwa province, killing five.

October 2017

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Fighting continued between on one side Huthi rebels and allied forces loyal to former President Saleh and on other Saudi-led coalition, especially along Saudi border. Tensions mounted in Aden in south between forces loyal to President Hadi and Emirati-aligned security forces associated with separatist Southern Transition Council (STC). Pro-Hadi and secessionist groups held competing rallies 17 Oct commemorating southern fight against British occupation; Hadi forces clashed briefly with Emirati-backed faction over Hadi govt raising Yemeni flag, signifying national unity. STC leader Aydaroos Zubaydi 14 Oct said at rally that STC would organise referendum on southern independence soon and continue fight against extremists. Emirati-backed security forces 10 Oct raided HQ of Hadi-aligned Islamist party Islah in Aden and arrested several members for terrorism. In north, tensions between Huthis and allied pro-Saleh forces continued; Huthis 7 Oct raided Saleh-aligned foreign ministry in Sanaa. U.S. 16 Oct claimed its drone strikes had destroyed Islamic State (ISIS) training camp in Bayda province in south, but locals said attacks targeted local al-Qaeda-affiliated fighters. Five suspected al-Qaeda male suicide bombers 23 Oct attacked checkpoint in Abyan province in south, killing four soldiers. UN 5 Oct put Saudi Arabia on blacklist for grave violations against children in conflict, list also includes Huthis and Hadi govt forces.

September 2017

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Huthi rebels and forces loyal to former President Saleh continued to clash with Saudi Arabia-led coalition along Saudi border and vie for control of Taiz city in south. Govt 10 Sept said 145 Huthis killed 1-10 Sept in Saudi airstrikes and clashes with loyalist forces. Saudi airstrikes 15-16 Sept reportedly killed twenty Huthi fighters in city of Medi on Saudi border; airstrike 16 Sept hit civilian vehicle in Hareeb al-Qarameesh district, Marib governorate killing all twelve passengers. UN 19 Sept condemned Huthi-Saleh shelling of Taiz city that killed three and injured seven children 15 Sept and 16 Sept Saudi-led coalition airstrike in Marib that killed five children, four women and three men from same family. Saudi Arabia 22 Sept said Huthi rockets fired previous day landed in village in Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arda governorate, causing no casualties. Saudi Arabia 24 Sept reportedly intercepted Huthi-fired missile targeting King Khaled air base in Saudi’s Asir province. Tensions between supporters of Huthis and of Saleh’s allied General People’s Congress (GPC) party remained high following 25 Aug clash in capital Sanaa, despite leaders on both sides giving public assurances that alliance will continue. In Aden in south, forces loyal to President Hadi 16 Sept clashed with faction nominally loyal to Hadi but backed by United Arab Emirates (UAE), one civilian killed. UAE-backed forces’ campaign against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), begun in Shebwa governorate in south-centre in Aug, continued in adjacent Abyan governorate; by mid-Sept forces had dislodged militants from many areas including Wadea, Hadi’s home district, but AQAP fighters reportedly fled into Mafadh district ahead of offensive. UN Human Rights Council 29 Sept passed resolution establishing group of “international and regional experts” to investigate human rights violations in conflict dating back to Sept 2014.

August 2017

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Significant escalation of tensions in capital Sanaa between supporters of Huthis and former President Saleh, alongside increase in Saudi Arabia-led coalition airstrikes. Saleh 24 Aug staged large rally in Sanaa to celebrate 35th anniversary of creation of General People’s Congress party (GPC); Huthi leadership previous day called for state of emergency, said political mass gatherings should be made on battlefront, not in public squares. Immediately prior to and after GPC rally, coalition airstrikes hit several military and non-military targets around Sanaa. Airstrikes hit Huthi security checkpoint in Arhab and hotel in same district 23 Aug; UN human rights office reported 33 civilians killed in latter. Saudi coalition airstrike hit residential area of Sanaa 24 Aug, killing sixteen civilians including seven children; coalition expressed regret, calling it “technical mistake”. Senior GPC official and three Huthi fighters killed in clashes at Huthi-controlled checkpoint in Sanaa 25 Aug; Saleh 31 Aug called for arrest of Huthi gunmen responsible for killing his aide. Fighting continued in Taiz governorate in south and along Saudi border. In Taiz, Huthi/Saleh rebels continued to vie with United Arab Emirates (UAE) forces and Yemeni allies for control of Khaled bin Waleed military base and surrounding areas. Huthis said they launched attacks on two UAE military vessels in Mokha port using remote-controlled explosives-laden boats 12 and 16 Aug, claiming first ship hit “with precision”; UAE said it thwarted both attacks. Huthis claimed to have intensified attacks on Saudi territory, including on Najran city and in Asir and Jizan regions. Saudi-led coalition retaliated with airstrikes, including in Hajjah and Saada governorates; coalition 7 Aug claimed to have killed over 70 Huthi fighters in Hajjah 3-4 Aug. Huthis 4 Aug said Saudi airstrikes killed at least twelve civilians in Saada governorate; Saudi-led coalition denied reports. Yemeni forces 3 Aug began campaign to drive al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants out of Shebwa governorate in south-centre; Yemeni forces 4 Aug claimed victory but locals say AQAP fighters evacuated ahead of military operation.

July 2017

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Fighting escalated, especially in Taiz governorate, and Huthi rebels fired missile further into Saudi Arabia, raising risk of worse violence in Aug. In Taiz governorate forces backed by Saudi-led coalition claimed several advances on road between Mokha and Hodeida; heavy fighting for control of Khaled bin Walid military base east of Mokha 27-30 July left at least 40 govt soldiers and rebels killed; Saudi-led coalition airstrike on Mawza 17 July killed over twenty civilians. Huthis 30 July claimed strike against United Arab Emirates (UAE) military vessel off Mokha port that they say killed at least twelve UAE soldiers, coalition denied claim saying Huthis were targeting aid deliveries. Huthis 24 July attacked Saudi military vessel off Hodeida coast, killing two crew. Huthis 22 July fired missile from near Sadaa in north Yemen 930km into Saudi Arabia (furthest yet), reportedly targeting oil facility near Saudi port city of Yanbu. Huthi leadership warned Saudi of more attacks against oil facilities. Saudi Arabia did not confirm missile attack, but reported accidental fire at oil facility same day which it said did not affect operations. Huthis 27 July claimed to have fired multiple missiles at Fahd airbase in Taif, Saudi Arabia; coalition said missiles intended to hit Mecca and that it intercepted Huthi missile 69km south of city. UN Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed tried to secure agreement for withdrawal of Huthi/Saleh rebels from Hodeida port city and surrounding areas in return for Saudi Arabia-led coalition ending military operations in area; govt accepted UN proposal but Huthis continued to refuse to meet UN envoy, claiming he was biased in favour of Saudi-led coalition. Tensions remained high between President Hadi’s govt and UAE-backed, pro-southern independence Southern Transitional Council (STC) formed in May. STC staged protest in Aden 7 July that gathered tens of thousands, while pro-Hadi counter-rally in Aden same day gathered few hundred. At rally, STC leaders called on international community to recognise STC as official representative of south and banned Muslim Brotherhood and govt-affiliated Sunni Islamist party Islah. World Health Organization 29 July said 1,992 people had died from cholera since late April and reported over 419,804 suspected cases.

June 2017

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Govt 17 June agreed to UN two-point plan to keep fighting away from Huthi-held Hodeida port and resume govt salaries, but Huthi rebels remained non-committal. Huthi health official said Saudi-led coalition aircraft conducted two raids on al-Mashnaq market in Shada district close to Saudi border killing 25 people. High-ranking Huthi official 5 June said UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed was banned from returning to country, accusing him of bias. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed responsibility for car bomb and gun attack on army camp near Baddah in Hadramout province in south east 12 June that killed at least ten militants and two soldiers. Suspected U.S. drone strike killed two alleged AQAP militants in al Naqba area of Shabwa province in south 16 June. U.S. 22 June said its airstrike killed AQAP emir for Shabwa province Abu Khattab al Awlaqi and several other militants. World Health Organization 1 July said cholera outbreak had killed at least 1,500 people and there were some 246,000 suspected cases. After eruption of Saudi Arabia’s feud with Qatar, Saudi-led coalition 5 June removed Qatari nationals from coalition forces and Yemeni govt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar (see Qatar).

May 2017

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Tens of thousands protested in Aden 4 May against President Hadi’s sacking of Aden province Governor Aydaroos Zubaydi and Minister Hani bin Brek. Zubaydi 11 May announced creation of transitional political council including governors of five southern provinces and two ministers to represent interests of south; Hadi govt condemned move 12 May. Fighting between Saudi Arabia-led coalition and Huthi rebels continued, concentrated in Taiz governorate in south. Huthis continued to fire missiles into Saudi Arabia: 19 May claimed to have fired one at capital Riyadh. U.S. said its Special Forces carried out raid on al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in central Marib governorate 23 May killing seven militants. Govt 30 May said FM in Oman to discuss UN plan to restart peace talks including confidence-building measures. International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) 15 May said cholera had killed at least 180 people since 27 April and 11,000 suspected cases reported.

April 2017

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Following warnings from international community of likely humanitarian impact of its intervention, Saudi-led coalition held off offensive on rebel-held port city of Hodeida but fighting continued along Red Sea coast and border with Saudi Arabia. Saudi-led coalition 12 April said its priority was securing road from Mokha port eastward to Taiz city; fighting raged in area, over 40 fighters and civilians killed in 24 hours 9-10 April. PM 26 April said govt had proposed that UN administer Hodeida port to ensure no arms smuggled through; UN rejected appeal. Saudi security forces 25 April destroyed remote-controlled explosives-laden boat 1.5 nautical miles from Saudi Aramco fuel terminal off Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast, govt blamed Huthi rebels for attack. Drone strike allegedly launched by U.S. 23 April in al-Saeed area of Shabwa province reportedly killed four suspected al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants and three civilians. U.S. drone attack 30 April reportedly killed five suspected AQAP members east of Sanaa in Marib province. UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed 26 April said he hoped to begin new round of talks before Ramadan begins end May.

March 2017

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Intense fighting continued along Red Sea coast as Saudi-led coalition and allied Yemeni forces tried to advance on Hodeida northwards from Mokha; offensive on city appears imminent. U.S. continued to increase support for Saudi-led coalition’s military efforts, is considering support for potential fight for Hodeida. Unidentified helicopter gunship reportedly fired on boat leaving Hodeida killing 42 Somali refugees 16 March; Saudi-led coalition denied responsibility, called on UN to take control of Hodeida port. Saudi-led coalition launched air and ground attacks on positions of Huthi rebels and allied supporters of former President Saleh in Nehm and Sirwah, strategic access points to rebel-held capital Sanaa. Huthi/Saleh forces increased rocket fire into Narjan province in Saudi Arabia, 18 March claimed to have launched long-range ballistic missile at military air base in Riyadh. Pro-Huthi court 25 March sentenced President Hadi and six officials to death for “high treason”. UN envoy began preparations to restart direct talks: 13 March met ambassadors from Quad (U.S., UK, UAE and Saudi Arabia) and Oman, 14 March said warring parties reluctant to talk. U.S. launched over 40 airstrikes against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in south and east 2-6 March killing some AQAP fighters. Yemeni troops 28 March reportedly captured senior AQAP leader Abu Ali al-Sayari in Hadramout governorate in SE, killed two and detained three others. Drone strike night of 30-31 March in Mozno, Abyan governorate killed three suspected AQAP members.

February 2017

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Saudi Arabia-led coalition continued offensive toward Hodeida from south and north along Red Sea coast. Saudi-led coalition forces around Midi north of Hodeida remained largely static while UAE-assisted Yemeni forces pushing northward made progress and mid-Feb appeared to have captured Mokha city, Taiz governorate. Huthi rebels and forces aligned with former President Saleh put up strong resistance, 22 Feb killed army’s second in command near Mokha. Huthi-Saleh forces increased raids across Yemeni-Saudi border and ballistic missile attacks into Saudi Arabia; 6 Feb said they had launched missile capable of striking Saudi capital Riyadh. U.S. increased in-flight refuelling of Saudi-led coalition aircraft and worked to reverse Obama administration’s decisions to limit weapons sales to Saudi Arabia. Infighting plagued govt-controlled areas: supporters of UAE-aligned Salafi faction clashed repeatedly in Taiz city with Saudi-backed group aligned with Sunni Islamist party, Islah; President Hadi-aligned fighters 12 Feb tried, unsuccessfully, to forcibly take Aden airport from commander who had fallen out with president; during offensive UAE gunship exchanged fire with Hadi-aligned fighters.

January 2017

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Fighting intensified as Saudi-led coalition and aligned Yemeni troops 7 Jan launched campaign to retake area around Bab al-Mandeb strait between Yemen and Djibouti in SW and southern part of Red Sea coastline from Huthi rebels and forces supporting former President Saleh, and increased military pressure in north including in Saada, Hajjah, Jawf and Marib governorates. Govt-aligned forces claimed to have retaken Dhubab district on Red Sea coast 13 Jan and Mokha city further north 23 Jan, but fighting continued end month. Two U.S. drone strikes (first drone strikes under new U.S. President Trump) 21 Jan killed ten alleged al-Qaeda militants in al-Bayda province. U.S. Special Forces attacked al-Qaeda stronghold in al-Bayda 29 Jan killing fourteen militants according to U.S. military and causing civilian casualties, according to Yemeni official, including killing eight women and seven children. UNOCHA 16 Jan said at least 10,000 civilians killed since conflict began in March 2015.

December 2016

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Two suicide bombings claimed by Islamic State in Aden in south 10 and 18 Dec each killed over 50 soldiers. U.S. military 22 Dec said it killed 28 members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen in nine strikes between 23 Sept and 13 Dec. Huthi rebels and forces aligned with former President Saleh stepped up efforts to capture Taiz in south, continued to launch rockets into Saudi Arabia and tried to take more Saudi territory. Saudi-led coalition intensified bombing in north 13 Dec especially around Sanaa and Hodeidah. U.S. Sec State Kerry visited Saudi Arabia 18 Dec to try to persuade all parties to accept ceasefire and support UN roadmap to end conflict.

October 2016

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Saudi-led coalition airstrikes and rebel missile attacks continued, undermining UN attempts to secure a ceasefire and renew peace talks. Saudi-led coalition 8 Oct bombed funeral in Sanaa, killing at least 140 including mayor of Sanaa and several military generals and injuring over 500. Next day Huthi rebels aligned with former President Saleh launched two missiles into Saudi Arabia, including one reportedly targeting military base in Taif some 520km from Yemen border (see Saudi Arabia). Under UK and U.S. pressure, Saudi-led coalition 15 Oct acknowledged responsibility for funeral bombing but blamed wrong intelligence from govt of internationally recognised President Hadi; allowed Huthi-Saleh negotiating team to return from Omani capital Muscat to Sanaa 15 Oct and for same plane to evacuate wounded. Huthi forces reportedly launched missiles at U.S. warships in Red Sea 9, 12 and 15 Oct but missed; Huthis denied responsibility, but U.S. warships 13 Oct retaliated with missile strikes on three Huthi-controlled coastal radar stations. UK, U.S. and UN special envoy 16 Oct called for immediate unconditional ceasefire and resumption of talks. Both sides broke UN-sponsored 72-hour ceasefire 20-22 Oct. Hadi 29 Oct rejected UN peace plan including Huthi withdrawals and new unity govt. Car bomb exploded same day outside central bank HQ in Aden, moved from Sanaa in Sept, and Saudi-led coalition airstrikes killed twelve civilians from one family in Taiz in south and over 40 at prison in Hodeidah province in west. Huthis and allies 30 Oct conditionally accepted UN proposal as basis for further talks.

September 2016

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

As U.S.-led peace efforts foundered and fighting continued, govt’s decision to move Central Bank from Sanaa to Aden risked provoking more intense violence in coming weeks. Building on initiative by U.S. Sec State Kerry late Aug, U.S. proposed revised peace plan including 72-hour ceasefire to Huthi rebels 8-9 Sept. Huthis 25 Sept said they would stop attacks if Saudi-led coalition stopped bombing and lifted naval blockade; Saudi Arabia rejected truce. Saudi Arabia-led coalition continued airstrikes in Huthi-controlled areas killing at least 58 civilians in Saada and Hajjah provinces in north during month and 26 civilians in residential neighbourhood of Hodeida in NW 21 Sept. Govt forces supported by Saudi-led coalition and Huthi/Saleh fighters continued to battle over Serwah area in Marib province and Midi district in Hajjah province. Huthi rebels continued firing missiles into Saudi Arabia and launching cross-border ground assaults: rebels captured military post in Jizan region, Saudi Arabia 11 Sept. President Hadi’s govt 19 Sept fired Central Bank director and said it would move bank from Huthi-controlled Sanaa to govt-controlled Aden, alleging that bank was financing Huthis. Govt with U.S. backing continued fight against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP): U.S. drone strikes 24 Aug-4 Sept killed thirteen militants in Shabwah province; militants 11 Sept clashed with pro-govt forces in Zinjibar, Abyan province; suspected U.S. drone strikes in Marib and Bayda provinces 20-24 Sept killed fourteen suspected militants; armed forces 26 Sept killed AQAP local commander Abdullah Hubaibat in Loder, Abyan province.

August 2016

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Peace talks collapsed and fighting escalated. UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed 6 Aug announced talks suspended for one month; govt and Huthi rebels disagreed over sequencing of withdrawal of rebel forces from cities, disarmament and formation of unity govt. Huthis increased rocket attacks into Saudi Arabia and tried to hold territory there as Saudi Arabia-led coalition resumed airstrikes on capital Sanaa after three months’ break and on Huthi northern strongholds. Saudi-led coalition airstrikes 13 Aug killed nineteen people, mostly children in Saada province (NW), 15 Aug hit Médecins Sans Frontières hospital in Hajjah (NW) killing fifteen. Saudi-led coalition renewed efforts to retake Sanaa through NW entrance at Nehm. Tens of thousands rallied in Sanaa 20 Aug in support of Huthi rebels and ex-President Saleh; Saudi-led coalition same day bombed Sanaa, reportedly killing three civilians. U.S. Sec State Kerry 25 Aug proposed new peace plan to form unity govt; Huthi rebels 28 Aug said they would restart talks when Saudi-led coalition stopped bombing. Islamic State suicide bombing on pro-govt militia compound in Aden 29 Aug killed at least 60.

July 2016

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Talks between govt and Huthi rebels faltered as fighting continued in Yemen and escalated across Yemen-Saudi Arabia border. Talks resumed in Kuwait 16 July after two-week break but parties failed to agree on sequencing of political solution and military withdrawals; Kuwait extended 30 July deadline for deal to 7 Aug. Huthis and ex-President Saleh’s General People’s Congress party 28 July formed joint Supreme Political Council to replace Huthi’s ruling Revolutionary Committee. Neither side made significant military gains. Govt reinforced troops north of Sanaa in Nihm, al-Jawf and Marib and reiterated threats to retake Sanaa by force. Clashes escalated between Huthi-Saleh forces and Saudi security forces at Yemeni-Saudi border, Huthis launched at least two ballistic missiles into Saudi territory and Saudi-led coalition bombed Huthi positions. Fighting in Taiz in S continued. Two suicide bombings at military checkpoints 18 July west of Mukalla in SE claimed by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) killed at least eleven people. Militants carried out car bombings and attempted assassinations in Abyan governorate and Aden; AQAP sub-group Ansar al-Sharia claimed 6 July attack on al-Solban military base and 15 July attempted killing of governor and police chief in Aden.

June 2016

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Fighting between Saudi-led coalition forces and Huthi rebels continued as peace talks made slow progress, UN 29 June said talks adjourned until 15 July. Battle for Taiz continued throughout month; over 250 fighters and civilians reportedly killed and injured 3-4 June. Fighting continued in north and intensified in southern Shabwa and Lahj governorates. UAE-backed forces increased arrests of suspected alQaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in southern Hadramout governorate, 9 June raided HQ of Sunni Islamist Islah Party in Mukalla and arrested director for suspected ties with AQAP. Multiple suicide bombings and other attacks targeting security forces 27 June in Mukalla claimed by Islamic State (IS) killed at least 42 people. PM bin Dagher and several ministers returned from exile to Aden 6 June; several officials left days later amid persistent insecurity. UN-sponsored talks in Kuwait bore some fruit: Saudi-led coalition released 52 child detainees 5 June and HuthiSaleh forces released 187 prisoners. Separately local tribes 18 June mediated release in Taiz of 76 pro-govt fighters in exchange for 118 Huthis.

May 2016

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Peace talks between govt and Huthi/Saleh bloc progressed slowly, as fighting continued. Parties 26 May said they had agreed to exchange prisoners, but had not yet agreed numbers; 30 May discussed creation of mixed military committees to oversee withdrawal of Huthis and allies. Huthi rebels launched at least three missiles at Saudi Arabia from northern governorates provoking it to escalate bombing on Huthi positions. Saudi-led coalition 14 May began sending significant reinforcements to Marib governorate east of Sanaa; spokesman said coalition would take Sanaa militarily if talks fail. Saudi-led coalition-backed fighters 28 May launched offensive in Shabwa governorate taking territory from Huthi/Saleh forces on Shabwa-Marib border. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Islamic State (IS) attacked Yemeni forces in eastern Mukalla: suicide bomber 11 May wounded military commander of Hadramout region and killed eight others, IS claimed 12 May attack on naval base and military compound and 15 May suicide bomb that killed 25 police recruits. IS claimed 23 May suicide car bombing that killed at least 40 army recruits in Aden. Pro-govt southern separatist militias 8 May expelled from southern Aden hundreds of northerners accused of having links with Huthis, President Hadi called move “unacceptable”.

April 2016

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

UN-sponsored talks between govt and Huthi/Saleh bloc began 21 April, two days late, after Huthi and former President Saleh’s General People’s Congress (GPC) delegation 17 April refused to attend until UN envoy assured them Saudi Arabia-led coalition would respect 10 April cessation of hostilities and that agenda had not been changed without their approval. Parties agreed new agenda for talks 26 April. Govt suspended participation in joint sessions 1 May after Huthis 30 April seized Amaliqa military base N of Sanaa. Fighting continued including in Taiz (S), Marib (E) and Nihm (NE of Sanaa). In south govt-aligned Yemeni fighters backed by coalition airstrikes and United Arab Emirates troops 24 April retook Hadramout provincial capital, Mukalla, and environs from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Suspected U.S. drone strike reportedly killed three AQAP leaders 25 April in Zinjibar, NE of Aden. In Aden, suicide car bomb exploded 28 April outside security chief’s home, wounding at least two people.

March 2016

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Ceasefire agreements and commitment to talks in April raised hopes for possible de-escalation of conflict. Saudia Arabia and Huthis early March agreed to halt hostilities along Yemen-Saudi Arabia border and exchanged prisoners, nine Saudis for 109 Yemenis; agreement paved way for wider negotiations. UN envoy 23 March said cessation of hostilities between govt and Huthi/Saleh bloc would begin 10 April, followed by talks in Kuwait one week later. Violence continued elsewhere: anti-Huthi forces 12 March captured territory in southern Taiz area, partially breaking siege on Taiz city, but Huthi/Saleh forces reportedly regained much lost territory late March. Saudi-led coalition airstrike in NW Hajjah governorate 15 March killed 119 civilians, including 22 children. Coalition spokesman 17 March said major combat operations ending soon. Gunmen 4 March attacked nursing home in Aden, killing sixteen civilians. Government forces 12-13 March fought al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Aden’s Mansoura district, reportedly regained control of parts of Mansoura 30 March. U.S. 22 March launched airstrike on AQAP training camp near Mukalla, killing over 50 militants, suspected drone strike 30 March reportedly killed four AQAP militants. Three suicide bombers 25 March attacked checkpoints in Aden killing 26, injuring dozens, Islamic State claimed responsibility.

February 2016

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Military stalemate persists as disagreement over ceasefire conditions stalls next round of UN talks. Saudi Arabia-backed pro-govt forces early month launched offensive in north to capture territory from Huthis; fighting continues over and around the strategic Fardhat Nihm military base, 70km NE of rebel-held capital Sanaa. UN humanitarian chief 16 Feb criticised all parties for obstructing aid, UN special envoy 17 Feb asked UNSC to push for ceasefire. In south, Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) continued to expand military operations and influence: AQAP early month captured towns in Shebwa and Abyan governorates. Multiple attacks in Aden, govt’s temporary capital: AQAP fighters 8-10 Feb clashed with govt forces; gunmen 16 Feb attempted unsuccessfully to assassinate Aden’s governor and security chief; IS claimed 17 Feb suicide bombing that killed at least thirteen army recruits; gunman 22 Feb killed senior army officer. Suspected U.S. drone strike 14 Feb killed IS leader Jalal Belaidi.

January 2016

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Fighting intensified as Saudi-backed coalition stepped up air campaign, mostly targeting Sanaa, in response to Huthi/Saleh bloc cross-border incursions and rocket attacks, after ending temporary truce 2 Jan (which in practice was never honoured by either side); UNSC 5 Jan urged warring parties to resume ceasefire. Rights groups accused Saudi-led coalition of dropping cluster munitions in Sanaa 6 Jan. Leaked UN panel of experts report 27 Jan accused Saudi airstrikes of targeting civilians in a “widespread and systematic” manner; Saudi-led coalition 31 Jan said it had launched investigation. Huthi/Saleh forces and Saudi-backed coalition redoubling efforts to gain new territory in disputed areas: Saudi-backed govt forces 6 Jan reportedly landed by sea at Red Sea port of Maydee near border and on 24 Jan landed military vehicles and reinforcements to retake other border territories as well as Red Sea coast from Huthis; battle continued over western parts of Marib province and southern city Taiz, where Huthi/Saleh forces maintained blockade. Yemeni military officers supported by Saudi-led coalition 26 Jan announced preparations to “liberate” Huthi-controlled governorate Dammar, south of Sanaa. UN-sponsored talks scheduled for 14 Jan delayed as both sides made new demands for restarting negotiations: Huthis calling for ceasefire and Hadi govt insisting Huthis lift siege of Taiz, release additional political prisoners. Huthis 14 Jan released detained minister and four activists in move aimed at renewing ceasefire. Escalating regional tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran further complicated peace prospects (see Iran). Iran 7 Jan accused Saudi Arabia of airstrike on its embassy in Sanaa; Riyadh denied. Lawlessness and expansion of jihadi groups continued to plague south, particularly Aden; car bomb 17 Jan reportedly killed ten outside Aden security chief’s home; another suicide car bombing 28 Jan killed at least eleven outside presidential palace.

December 2015

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Second round of UN-sponsored peace talks between warring parties in Switzerland 15-20 Dec failed to produce diplomatic breakthrough following disagreements over proposed prisoner exchange and repeated violations of a ceasefire; Hadi govt remains focused on implementing UNSC Resolution 2216, Huthi/Saleh bloc on changing govt. Military stalemate continued despite some gains by anti-Huthi forces in the north. Saudi-led coalition 15 Dec announced seven-day ceasefire, immediately broken by both sides; ceasefire announcement came day after coalition airstrikes reportedly killed at least nineteen civilians in north and south. Huthis and aligned military forces increased cross-border attacks into Saudi Arabia; rocket attack near Bab al-Mandeb 14 Dec killed dozens of coalition forces, including two senior Saudi and Emirati army commanders. Huthi/Saleh bloc continued blockade of Taiz, repelling ground campaign organised by coalition to capture city. Govt/Saudi-led coalition 15 Dec launched offensive on Huthi strongholds in north, gaining territory in Hajjah, Jawf and Marib and pushing into Sanaa province 21 Dec. Fighting between Huthi/Saleh bloc and govt/Saudi-led coalition 19 Dec killed at least 68 including 28 govt troops and 40 Huthi fighters near NW town of Haradh.

November 2015

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Fighting intensified in and around Taiz province as both Huthi/Saleh bloc and govt/Saudi-led coalition sought military gains ahead of second round of UN-sponsored peace talks. Huthis and aligned military forces early Nov captured lost border territories in Dalia and Lahj governorates; tightened blockade of Taiz, south of capital Sanaa. Govt/Saudi-led coalition 16 Nov announced major ground operation to recapture Taiz; hundreds of additional Sudanese troops arrived in Aden 9 Nov; President Hadi 17 Nov returned from exile in Saudi Arabia to oversee offensive. Coalition airstrikes in Sanaa decreased in response to international pressure. Govt and Huthi/Saleh bloc remain committed to UN-sponsored talks, scheduled for December. Lawlessness, including assassination of two security officers 1 Nov, and al-Qaeda and Islamic State (IS) attacks continued in South: roadside bomb 9 Nov reportedly killed at least sixteen govt soldiers in Marib province. IS 20 Nov reportedly killed at least nineteen govt soldiers and 35 militants in E Hadramout.

October 2015

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Large-scale deadly violence continued throughout month: military stalemate between Huthi/Saleh bloc and govt/Saudi-led coalition ongoing, with both sustaining heavy losses. Saudi-led coalition early Oct made gains in coastal areas around Bab al-Mandeb. Huthis increased cross-border missile attacks: fighters 15 Oct launched Scud missile at Saudi air base in Kharnis Mushait provoking barrage of Saudi airstrikes on Sanaa. Some diplomatic progress: President Hadi 18 Oct accepted invitation from UNSG Ban to resume peace talks. Security continued to deteriorate in south: Islamic State (IS) branch 6 Oct claimed responsibility for series of deadly car bombs targeting govt facilities in Aden that killed at least eleven Yemenis and four UAE soldiers. Criminality and political tensions also on rise: southern resistance fighters appropriated private houses and stormed govt facilities in Aden. Thousands rallied 14 Oct, anniversary of start of 1960s war against British occupation, calling for independence. Médecins Sans Frontières 26 Oct claimed field hospital in Saada destroyed by coalition airstrikes.

September 2015

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Violence increased again as front lines in battle between Huthi/Saleh forces and Saudi-backed coalition moved north, reaching stalemate around Taiz city to south and Marib to east of capital Sanaa. Airstrike on reported wedding party in Al-Wahijah village, Taiz province, 29 Sept killed dozens: widely condemned including by UNSG Ban; coalition denied responsibility. Fighting especially intense in Marib province, source of Sanaa’s gas and electricity supplies and home to strong anti-Huthi, Sunni tribal resistance: 77 coalition forces killed 4 Sept in reported rocket attack by Huthi/Saleh fighters; coalition responded with heaviest aerial bombardment of Sanaa to date, targeting military camps and buildings but also striking civilian areas. Progress on political front remained minimal: UN special envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed 10 Sept announced Yemeni govt and Huthi/Saleh bloc agreed to talks; govt withdrew 13 Sept. FM Riyadh Yassin 26 Sept criticised UNSC response to crisis, said it had not put sufficient pressure on Huthis. Huthi/Saleh delegation 20 Sept met with UN special envoy, released two U.S., one UK and three Saudi hostages. PM Baha and several other ministers 16 Sept returned to Aden, President Hadi visited 22 to 25 Sept. Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for 24 Sept suicide bombing of mosque in Sanaa that killed at least 25. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula increased presence and activities throughout south.

August 2015

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Anti-Huthi ground forces moved into southern governorates throughout Aug after capturing Aden late July, took al-Anad airforce base 3 Aug then pushed Huthis from Lahj, Dalia, Ayban and Shebwa. Anti-Huthi coalition airstrikes 18 Aug crippled Hodeida port which serves north of country. Huthis reinforced positions in Sanaa and took back some territory in Taiz during intense clashes. Huthis for first time offered significant concessions at UN mediation 8-9 August, including withdrawal from cities in accordance with UNSCR 2216. Govt rejected negotiations; both sides now preparing for potential battle in capital. Saudi-backed coalition began deployment of ground troops and heavy weapons to Marib governorate, east of capital. Amnesty International 18 August accused both sides of killing civilians, possible war crimes; UN aid official condemned Hodeida attack as violation of international law.

July 2015

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Fighting intensified throughout month as hopes for Ramadan ceasefire failed to materialise and Saudi/anti-Huthi coalition launched new military offensive. Huthi/Saleh alliance 14 July suffered first major defeat since start of war in March when Yemeni fighters trained in Saudi Arabia and backed by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes captured Aden international airport. Fighters consolidated control over most of Aden, made some progress in southern governorates including retaking military bases in Shebwa and Lahj, during military push dubbed “Operation Golden Arrow”; coalition forces said will use Aden to launch further military operations. UN-brokered ceasefire announced for 10 July broken almost immediately by coalition airstrikes; Huthis 10 July threatened significant military escalation in response to increased airstrikes. Saudi-led coalition 25 July announced unilateral five-day ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid, immediately broken by both sides. Ceasefire announcement came day after coalition airstrike killed at least 65 civilians in residential compound in Mokha, Human Rights Watch said killings an apparent war crime. UN 2 July raised Yemen to level-three humanitarian crisis; humanitarians continued to warn of coming famine if naval blockade is not eased; World Food Program’s ship berthed in Aden 21 July for first time since conflict began. UN raised civilian death toll to 1,900 as of 28 July, with 202 deaths in previous twelve days.

June 2015

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

UN-brokered consultations between warring parties in Geneva 15-19 June failed to reach agreement on ceasefire or humanitarian pause. Huthi/Saleh bloc continued to view exiled Yemeni govt as illegitimate and largely irrelevant; govt maintained unrealistic demands for Huthi disarmament and withdrawal from large blocs of territory. Huthi/Saleh coalition continued to advance: captured capital of Jawf province on border with Saudi Arabia 14 June; made gains in Marib province; 6 June fired scud missile into Saudi territory. Saudi military and Yemeni fighters reinforced border position, increased cross-border rocket attacks ahead of Geneva consultations. Hiraak fighters gained upper hand against Huthis in Dalia governorate. Humanitarian situation continued to worsen: UN mid-June said over 80% of population in need of aid, $1.6bn needed to tackle “looming catastrophe”. Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL) 17 June killed over 30 in series of bombings at Zayid mosques and Huthi HQ in Saana. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader killed 16 June in U.S. drone strike.

May 2015

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Conflict increasingly intractable as it becomes tied to regional Saudi-Iran power struggle. Saudi coalition and Huthi/Saleh bloc feeding cycle of escalating violence: small group of special forces, reportedly Emirati, 4 May landed in Aden raising spectre of ground invasion; in retaliation Huthi-affiliated tribes 5-6 May launched cross-border attacks into Saudi Arabia killing several civilians; Saudis responded with intense air raids in Sanaa and Huthi stronghold Saada. Huthi/Saleh bloc gained ground throughout month despite air campaign and blockade, especially in Aden, Taiz and Shebwa. Iran made several attempts to break blockade, including sending ship ostensibly loaded with humanitarian supplies sparking war of words with Saudis; tensions lessened when UN 20 May announced ship would dock for inspection in Djibouti. Five-day ceasefire held 12-16 May; Saudi-led airstrikes resumed 18 May in response to repeated Huthi violations of truce; 27 May killed at least 80 near Saudi border and in Sanaa, deadliest day since strikes began. New UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed working to revive negotiations including proposed consultations 28 May but neither side ready for genuine compromise: Hadi govt said Huthi withdrawal from captured territory precondition for negotiations. Saudis 16 May convened GCC-sponsored conference in Riyadh: Yemeni participants called for joint Arab force to oversee Huthi withdrawal from cities, speedy return of govt in exile, provision of anti-Huthi resistance with weapons and logistical support. UNCHR estimated at least 1,037 civilians killed and 2,453 injured 26 March to 20 May.

April 2015

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Saudi Arabia 21 April announced end to five-week air campaign against Huthis and security forces aligned with former President Saleh. Both Saudi and Huthi actions suggest preparing for long fight: Huthi leader, Abdulmalik al-Huthi 19 April refused to surrender; Saudi-led air attacks ongoing, intensifying in southern and western provinces, bombed Sanaa airport late-month. Naval and air blockade to stop Huthis from resupplying still in place, preventing food, medical supplies and other products entering country; Huthis preventing aid convoys from entering Aden. ICRC said humanitarian situation catastrophic; UNOCHA estimated over 300,000 displaced. UNSC 14 April imposed arms embargo on Huthis and allied military units. Iranian-dispatched ships reportedly bound for Yemen turned around 23 April; U.S. dispatched two additional warships to Yemeni waters, reportedly to deter arms shipments to Huthis. UNSG Ban 25 April appointed Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed as Yemen special envoy to replace Jamal Benomar, who left post amid criticisms from Gulf countries. Al-Qaeda 3 April captured govt buildings, freed prisoners and looted central bank in Al-Mukalla, Hadramout.

March 2015

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Violence increased as tensions tipped over into all-out war and UN human rights chief Zeid warned country “on the verge of total collapse”. Saudi Arabia and ten other (mostly Arab, Sunni) countries 26 March launched “operation decisive storm”, countrywide air campaign against Huthis and allied military units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh; goal is to restore President Hadi’s govt, but operation risks pulling Yemen further into Saudi-Iranian regional struggle, augmenting sectarian divides, closing any hope of negotiated political solution. Political crisis continued to deepen as violence overtook UN-brokered negotiations. Fighting broke out in earnest between Hadi and forces associated with Huthis and former President Saleh in Aden 19 March. Huthis 19-20 March bombed presidential residence in Aden, moved northern military units and other forces southwards. Clashes ongoing between Hadi-aligned groups in Aden, backed by Saudi-led airstrikes, and Huthi/Saleh forces. Over 40 refugees killed in air raid on refugee camp in Haradh area near Saudi border 31 March. Al-Qaeda 18 March assassinated Abulkarim al-Khaywani, journalist and liberal voice within Huthi movement; 20 March captured security and local govt buildings in southern Lahj governorate. Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL) claimed responsability for 20 March suicide bombings on Zaydi mosques in Sanaa that killed over 130.

February 2015

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Political crisis deepened as Huthis moved to fill void left by late Jan resignation of President Hadi and govt: Huthi leaders 6 Feb announced establishment of revolutionary council, high security committee and parliamentary body charged with electing presidential council. Move triggered immediate international and domestic condemnation: several foreign embassies suspended operations and evacuated diplomats including U.S., EU, UK, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia and UAE; all political parties rejected declaration, anti-Huthi protests grew in Sanaa and central provinces. UNSC 15 Feb called on Huthis to relinquish control of state institutions, release president and ministers from house arrest; GCC countries lobbying for diplomatic isolation argued UNSC resolution should have allowed for enforcement under UN Charter’s Chapter Seven. UN 20 Feb brokered agreement on creating transitional council; President Hadi next day escaped Sanaa for southern city of Aden: issued statement reasserting his authority as president, accusing Huthis of coup d’état and calling on body created to oversee implementation of national dialogue outcomes to meet in Aden or Taiz; fears move could further accelerate conflict, territorial disintegration. Groups in several southern and western governorates declared autonomy from Sanaa, many actively prepared to resist Huthis; battle lines increasingly taking sectarian overtones, pitting Shafai (Sunni) areas against Huthis. Popular committees in Aden, funded by Hadi but with unclear loyalties, 16 Feb clashed with govt Special Security Forces allegedly affiliated with Huthis and/or former President Saleh: seized key areas including city’s port, intelligence HQ and other state buildings. Huthis advanced against al-Qaeda (AQAP) in Baydah province, dozens reported killed 14 Feb; AQAP 12 Feb captured military base in Shebwa province. U.S. drone strikes continued including four killed in Baydah 2 Feb.

January 2015

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Govt and President Hadi 22 Jan resigned, throwing political process established through Sept “Peace and National Partnership Agreement” (PNPA) into question and raising prospect of territorial fragmentation, widespread violence. Move followed push by northern Huthis to take complete control of Sanaa 19-20 Jan: surrounded presidential palace, captured additional military positions and state institutions, put Hadi under virtual house arrest. Presidential resignation awaiting approval by parliament; observers fear Huthis could appoint presidential or military committee without adequate buy-in from other groups, causing violent backlash from Shafai (Sunni) areas and southern separatists. Several anti-Huthi demonstrations in Sanaa late month, including by thousands of protesters 24 Jan. Huthi push triggered by dispute with Hadi over draft constitution, especially proposed federal structure; Huthi fighters 17 Jan kidnapped presidential advisor allegedly seeking to force through six-region federalism without Huthi consent. Insurgent leader Abdul-Malik al-Huthi 20 Jan accused Hadi of obstructing PNPA, indicated willingness to remove president. Hadi next day accepted all Huthi demands in return for advisor’s release, Huthi withdrawal from certain military positions; agreement immediately collapsed as Huthis dictated terms of implementation under threat of military force. Security council of Aden governorate 22 Jan announced it would no longer take orders from Sanaa following Hadi’s resignation. Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) claimed responsibility for 7 Jan attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, same day exploded car bomb outside Sanaa police academy killing over 40; observers warned group gaining strength amid Huthi expansion. Six reported killed in U.S. drone strikes late Jan.

December 2014

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Northern Huthis continued expansion, directly challenging President Hadi and authority of new govt, while further galvanising southern calls for independence. Huthis continued push to consolidate power in north: leader Abdulmalik al-Huthi 15 Dec called President Hadi “umbrella for corruption”, demanded Huthis be allowed to oversee state finances. Huthi supporters subsequently tightened control of Sanaa, prevented newly appointed chief of staff from entering defence ministry; 16 Dec dismissed editor of main state news outlet; 17 Dec stormed Central Bank, Civil Status and Registration building and nationally owned Safer oil company. PM Bahah same day threatened to resign along with rest of govt. Parliament 18 Dec passed vote of confidence in favour of govt. Huthis mid-month seized northern city Arhab, stronghold of Sunni Islamist party Islah, after intense clashes; tightened control over strategic Red Sea port of Hodeidah, including dismissing governor and port facility director. Clashes between Huthis and al-Qaeda (AQAP) militants continued in Baydah province’s Radaa city; dozens killed in car bombings targeting Huthis 16 Dec, including fifteen schoolgirls. Suicide bomber 31 Dec killed dozens at Huthi-organised religious celebration in Ibb city. Independence protests continued in south; army 15 Dec killed separatist leader in Aden city. American and South African hostage held by AQAP killed along with at least eleven others during U.S. rescue attempt 6 Dec in Shebwa province; AQAP blamed deaths on U.S., launched attack on air force base outside Aden known for support of U.S. drone operations. Saudi Arabia continued withholding aid due to Huthi expansion, raising fears of impending govt financial collapse.

November 2014

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Clashes between Huthis and al-Qaeda (AQAP)-allied tribesmen continued in central Baydah province: hundreds, possibly thousands, reported killed. Huthis continued advancing, 19 Nov seized AQAP stronghold Radaa city, pushed toward predominantly Sunni Marib governorate containing significant part of country’s oil reserves. Marib tribesmen warned against Huthi advances, pledged to destroy oil and electricity infrastructure if Huthis sought to occupy facilities, causing fears of more clashes, economic damage and growing sectarian tensions. Southern pro-independence demonstrations continued; protesters maintained 30 Nov deadline for all northern govt personnel to leave south. UNSC 7 Nov issued sanctions against former president Saleh and two Huthi commanders; announcement galvanised opposition against govt and president Hadi from Saleh’s General People’s Congress (GPC) party; GPC announced opposition to new cabinet sworn in by Hadi 9 Nov, removed Hadi from party leadership. Economic crisis deepened following Saudi Arabia’s reported halt of direct financial assistance to govt in response to Sept Huthi takeover of Sanaa; fears declining reserves could render govt unable to cover salaries, imports in coming months. At least seven reported killed in U.S. drone strike 12 Nov in southern Shabwa province.

October 2014

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Huthi fighters continued to advance following mid-Sept seizure of Sanaa, bringing country’s political transition to brink of collapse despite nominal political process established through late Sept UN-brokered peace and power-sharing agreement. Huthis consolidated power in north, took control of large parts of Red Sea Coast including strategic port of Hodeidah 14 Oct; met with little resistance, at times facilitation, from govt and local population. Huthi expansion into central provinces met with resistance from supporters of Sunni Islamist party Islah, Ansar al-Sharia affiliates and al-Qaeda (AQAP); hundreds reported killed including over 250 in Baydah province. AQAP 9 Oct killed at least 47 in suicide attack targeting Huthi gathering in Sanaa. Huthis continued working with military and police to secure Sanaa, raided homes and offices of political enemies; supporters acted as shadow govt overseeing decisions of cabinet ministers. President Hadi 26 Oct criticized Huthi expansion, called for withdrawal from newly acquired territories including Sanaa. Hadi 13 Oct appointed broadly accepted candidate for PM, country’s UN representative Khalid Bahah, following criticism of previous nominee by Huthis and General People’s Congress; new cabinet yet to be formed. Huthis 31 Oct held tribal gathering in Sanaa, gave Hadi 10-day deadline to form govt. Southern separatists renewed call for independence, tens of thousands demonstrated in Aden and Mukullah 14 Oct; movement’s representatives gave govt until 30 Nov to remove all employees and security forces from south, demanded international oil companies halt exports until revenues redirected to new southern state.

September 2014

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Weeks of Huthi-led anti-govt protests in Sanaa degenerated into several days of fighting mid-month between Huthis and rival forces loyal to General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar and Sunni Islamist party Islah; over 200 killed, Huthis captured Mohsen-affiliated military camp, al-Iman University and nearby state TV station. Large parts of security forces sided with Huthis, allowing group to control govt buildings and security in city. New peace deal and power sharing agreement signed 21 Sept calling for implementation of national dialogue outcomes including govt inclusive of all groups, anti-corruption measures, timeline for disarmament of non-state actors; accord seen as favouring Huthis to detriment of other stakeholders, particularly Islah. Peace deal called for Huthis to withdraw from capital, replacement of govt; President Hadi has not yet appointed new premier. Prospects for Huthi withdrawal uncertain despite peace deal ending major combat in Sanaa: Huthis surrounded and entered homes of political enemies following agreement, 27 Sept attacked home of national security chief Ali al-Ahmadi. Widespread fears of retaliatory attacks against Huthis and govt, particularly from al-Qaeda (AQ); at least 20 reported killed in separate AQ attacks targeting Huthis 28 Sept.

August 2014

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Month saw mass Huthi-organised protests in Sanaa against govt's late July lifting of fuel subsidies, including rallies of tens of thousands starting 18 Aug demanding new govt, lower fuel prices; reports armed Huthi supporters gathered around Sanaa. Govt 23 Aug offered resignation within month and formation of economic committee to evaluate subsidies; Huthi leaders rejected offer, reemphasised demands including strengthening authority of body charged with overseeing national dialogue implementation, greater inclusion of Huthis in state institutions. President Hadi late month supported counter rallies largely attended by Sunni Islamist Islah party; hundreds of thousands reportedly rallied across country 29 Aug. Protests underscored growing political polarisation between pro-and anti-Huthi factions: some framed protests as real revolution, others as Iranian-inspired religious coup. Violence continued between Huthis and various adversaries in far north including in Jawf; at least 2 cease- fires collapsed during month. Scores reported killed in clashes between govt forces and al-Qaeda (AQAP) affiliates in southern Hadramout province; militants 8 Aug provoked widespread public anger by killing 14 unarmed soldiers in retaliation for govt strikes. AQAP leadership mid-month praised recent gains by jihadi group Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIL or ISIS) in Iraq without pledging allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi.

July 2014

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Clashes in north between Houthis and rival tribes, army units intensified early month: hundreds killed, tens of thousands displaced. Houthi fighters 8 July captured Amran city north of Sanaa, including military base of 310th brigade, aligned with Islah party and General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar; air force bombed Houthi positions. Houthis agreed to return Amran to govt control following pressure from President Hadi, along with UNSC, U.S., EU and GCC; tensions remained high, skirmishes continued in surrounding areas. Tribal militants continued to attack critical energy infrastructure crippling oil exports, causing lengthy electricity blackouts in Sanaa. Govt 30 July lifted diesel subsides prompting scattered pro- tests. Alleged al-Qaeda affiliates continued assassination campaign against security personnel in south; at least 2 soldiers, 6 militants reported killed in car bombings, clashes in Abyan 27 July.

June 2014

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Yemen’s transition is gradually unravelling amid unprecedented security and economic challenges partly caused by political infighting and weak consensus on national dialogue results. Violence between Huthis and army spiked when air force early June bombed Huthi positions as they advanced toward Sanaa; 100 Huthis, 20 govt forces reported killed 2 June; hundreds killed in north throughout month. UN brokered ceasefire agreement 4 June: agreement lacked national power-sharing arrangement with Huthis, plan for implementing gradual disarmament; fighting later resumed. Another ceasefire announced 22 June but never implemented. Military campaign against al- Qaeda (AQAP) continued at slower pace; govt raids, U.S. drone strikes met with sporadic retaliatory attacks, mostly against security forces. Economic crisis worsened: govt almost unable to pay salaries causing fears of unrest; tribal sabotage of electrical grid early June left Sanaa without fuel or electricity for days prompting mass protests 11 June calling for overthrow of govt. President Hadi same day announced cabinet reshuffle; failed to replace politically divisive PM Basindawa or bring new groups into govt. Govt forces mid-month surrounded Sanaa’s Saleh mosque on suspicion premises being used by former President Saleh to stage coup.

May 2014

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Security and economic conditions deteriorated sharply as al-Qaeda retaliatory attacks against U.S.-backed govt offensive in south continued: AQAP raid on govt institutions in Seiyun, Hadramout, 23 May left at least 27 dead including 12 govt troops and 11 attackers; govt regained control of city 24 May. At least 23 killed 13 May in simultaneous attacks on military positions in Azzan and Jul al-Rida. U.S. embassy in Sanaa suspended public services 8 May in anticipation of retaliatory attacks. Defence Minister Mohamed Nasser Ahmad and 2 senior security officers 9 May survived ambush traveling from Abyan to Shebwa province. President Hadi early May said country in “open war” with AQAP, would expand operations. Prominent AQAP figure Abu Abdel Rhaman al-Masri reportedly killed late May; army 25 May announced top AQAP militant Saleh al-Tays killed. Attacks against oil and infrastructure escalated in wake of govt offensive; main oil export pipeline bombed 6-7 May; gunmen same evening closed Maarib gas-fired power plant. Fighting in northern Amran province renewed 20 May between Huthi fighters and tribes aligned with Ahmar clan and Sunni Islamist party, Islah, backed by 310 military brigade. Dozens killed thus far; combatants on both sides preparing for further clashes. Fighting between army and Huthi fighters in Amran city late May left dozens dead including at least 13 soldiers.

April 2014

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Tense stalemate between Huthis and Islah/al-Ahmar affiliated tribes continued, punctured by periodic clashes in Amran and Dhammar provinces. UN envoy Jamal Benomar 24 April said President Hadi and Huthis have agreed to discuss Huthi disarmament. Airstrikes 20-21 April killed some 55 reported al-Qaeda militants in south as part of reported major campaign backed by U.S. drone strikes; ground offensive launched 29 April. 15 soldiers killed 29 April in suspected AQAP ambush in Sabwa province; suicide bomb attack on Aden army base 2 April killed 11; suspected AQAP militants 15 April shot dead al-Bayda province governor; gunmen 21-22 killed 4 senior security officials in several attacks in Sanaa. Thousands rallied in Sanaa 23 April in response to call by Feb 11 Movement, called for dismissal of govt, end to fuel shortages. UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen 25 April said 47% of population in need of emergency humanitarian services. Friends of Yemen meeting in London began 29 April, urged Yemen govt to set clear timetable for constitution referendum and subsequent elections

March 2014

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Violence in North increased: clashes between Huthis and opposing tribesmen in Jawf killed over 30 late Feb-early March. Fighting spread to Hamdan area near Sanaa, killing over a dozen early March; military entered Hamdan to separate warring factions; ceasefire negotiations ongoing. 12 killed 22 March when Huthis clashed with security forces near Amran city; tensions remain high. Govt 12 March concluded deal in Dalia governorate ending clashes between army and Hiraak. Hadramout tribal confederation mid-month accused govt of not following through on deal to provide financial compensation and jobs in exchange for end to hostilities. AQAP attacks continued including at least 20 soldiers killed 24 March at checkpoint in Hadramout; at least 5 drone strikes conducted. President Hadi 8 March replaced several officials including head of political security and interior minister; same day appointed constitution-writing committee. Thousands protested in Sanaa 21 March calling for release of political prisoners, trial of former President Saleh.

February 2014

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Tensions in North continued, threatening shaky ceasefires in Dammaj, Arhab and Amran and rekindling of larger-scale violence, fracturing of delicate political consensus. Huthis 3 Feb won significant battle in Amran, defeating Ahmar fighters in Ahmar’s home village; Huthis consolidated gains through deals with Hahsid tribesmen. Security forces 28 Feb clashed with Huthis in Hizm, Jawf province, at least 13 killed. 2 weeks after its formation, presidential committee charged with defining federal structure 10 Feb announced Yemen to be divided into 6 regions, 2 in South and 4 in North. Rushed announcement stoked political opposition; majority of Hiraak rejected outcome, claiming not sufficiently included in process; Huthis also opposed. UNSC 26 Feb established sanctions regime to impose travel bans and asset freezes on individuals or entities obstructing transition. Mass anti-govt protest held in Sanaa 21 Feb. Suspected al-Qaeda militants 20 Feb killed Salafi Shaikh Ali Bawazir in Hadramawt. 29 prisoners freed 13 Feb in attack on central security prison in capital. 2 foreigners kidnapped early Feb in Sanaa. South remained volatile: military clashes with armed Hiraak in al-Dalia governorate and with tribesmen in Hadramawt continued including at least 12 killed, 14 soldiers kidnapped in Daleh province 18 Feb.

January 2014

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

National dialogue launched March 2013 officially concluded 25 Jan; new federal political system endorsed, president’s term extended by 1 year to oversee constitution drafting and referendum before elections. Dialogue outcomes included “solutions document” that agrees on federalism in principle and empowers President Hadi to appoint small negotiating team to determine number of federal units. Document failed to win support of entire Hiraak (southern secessionist movement) delegations. Security continued to deteriorate. Houthi representative Ahmed Sharaf el-Din killed 21 Jan on way to conference. In North Huthis and Salafis 11 Jan agreed to ceasefire after months of clashes in Dammaj; Salafi spokesman 13 Jan said at least 210 Salafis killed in fighting in last 2 months; fighting between Huthis and various opponents continued in other areas including Jawf, Amran, Sadaa and Sanaa governorates. Tensions in south continued: clashes erupted 17 Jan between armed residents and military al-Dalia governorate; southern separatists demonstrating against national dialogue 27 Jan clashed with troops in Ataq, 4 wounded. Tribesmen attacks on oil infrastructure in Hadramout and Shabwa continued. Suspected al-Qaeda militants 16 Jan attacked military camp in al-Baydah, killing 9 soldiers; 31 Jan killed 17 soldiers in 2 attacks in Hadramout. Unknown assailants 19 Jan killed Iranian diplomat in Sanaa. 3 suspected al-Qaeda killed in drone strike in Marib province 24 Jan.

December 2013

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Security deteriorated after armed forces early-month killed prominent Hadrami sheikh; Hadrami tribes, supported by Hiraak, set 20 Dec as deadline for handing over killer, transferring governorate security responsibilities to them. Thousands protested in South, including Qaten, Seiyun and Tarim cities in Hadramout, and clashed with armed forces. Army 27 Dec struck funeral of southern separatist in al-Dalia, killing 19 including 4 children. Tribal attacks on oil pipelines continue: unknown assailants 27 Dec blew up main oil pipeline from Masila field. At least 56 killed, 215 injured 5 Dec in al-Qaeda attack on defence ministry complex in Sanaa. At least 4 soldiers killed 31 Dec in suicide bombing of security HQ in Aden. 15 killed 12 Dec in U.S. drone strike on reported wedding convoy; parliament 15 Dec issued non-binding agreement banning drones. In north, fighting between Huthis and Salafis continued. Several political parties 23 Dec signed agreement granting some autonomy to South and supporting federalism as basis of new state structure. New as-yet undrafted constitution to decide on number of regions and their authorities.

November 2013

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Violence in northern provinces between Huthis and various adversaries increased. Serious clashes in Dammaj, Sadaa governorate, killed over 100 early Nov; Huthis claimed self-defence against influx of foreign fighters, Salafis said Huthis launched unprovoked strike; presidential mediation committee has proven unable to secure enduring ceasefire. Abdulkareem Jadban, Huthi MP participating in national dialogue (NDC), assassinated in Sanaa 22 Nov. NDC faltered when southern conference leader, Mohammed Ali Ahmed, withdrew 27 Nov. No agreement yet reached on implementing dialogue and continuing transition after Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) roadmap, originally scheduled to end in Feb 2014. Thousands demonstrated 30 Nov in Aden, called for independence of South. UN envoy Jamal Benomar 27 Nov warned spoilers against derailing transition process, said UN supports achieving tasks of transition, not specific timeline. 2 Belarusian military instructors shot 26 Nov in Sanaa. At least 5 killed in drone strike 7 Nov in Abyan; air raid reportedly killed 12 suspected al-Qaeda terrorists in Abyan 26 Nov. Tribesmen 29 Nov blew up main oil export pipeline east of Sanaa.

October 2013

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Political tensions within National Dialogue grew more acute: Huthi and part of Hiraak delegation 8 Oct boycotted opening plenary session, arguing their issues, including regarding state structure and number of federal units, had not been fully resolved in working groups. Divisions continued within Hiraak delegation over acceptable compromises; tensions between head of delegation and President Hadi increased. State Minister Hassan Sharafuddin 30 Oct resigned from national consensus govt. Thousands of Hiraak rallied in Aden mid-month commemorating anniversary of independence from British, demanding independence from “northern occupation”. Tenuous truce between Huthis and Salafis in Dammaj began to unravel mid-month with renewed clashes; at least 30 reportedly killed, over 100 injured. German security guard killed 6 Oct in Sanaa; same day, UNICEF employee kidnapped on airport road. At least 5 soldiers killed, 15 injured 18 Oct in attack on base in Abyan province; 2 soldiers and civilian killed at checkpoint in Abyan province 31 Oct. Al-Qaeda leader Omar Salem arrested 29 Oct in Hadramawt province.

September 2013

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

National Dialogue 18 Sept deadline passed without agreement on southern issue. Hiraak activists in south preparing to oppose dialogue outcome through protests, civil disobedience campaigns. Suspected al-Qaeda militants 20 Sept killed at least 38 soldiers in several attacks on military bases in Shabwa province, south. 20 injured 26 Sept in twin explosions in Sanaa, al-Qaeda denied responsibility. Sabotage of oil and electricity infrastructure by tribesmen in Marib caused widespread blackouts. Assassinations continued including 2 military officials killed 23-24 Sept in Sanaa in targeted shootings, army officer killed 25 Sept by car bomb. Gunmen 30 Sept seized military HQ in Mukalla, Hadramaut province, 4 killed. Tensions between Huthis and adversaries including Salafis, Islah and Ahmars continued, with over 60 killed in Amran alone in fighting between Huthis and Ahmars; one-year ceasefire reached by presidential mediation committee 14 Sept but situation remains tense.

August 2013

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Month saw surge in U.S. drone strikes against suspected al-Qaeda (AQAP) militants killing tens including senior AQAP leader Qaid Ahmad Nasser al-Dhahab 30 Aug. U.S., British, French, Dutch and other foreign embassies closed early Aug for approx 2 weeks after U.S. govt 2 Aug announced AQAP planned attack; Yemeni authorities 7 Aug said AQAP attack on southern port and oil and gas facilities thwarted. Attacks on security personnel left 29 dead in first half of Aug; 2 soldiers killed, several wounded 23 Aug in suicide bomb attack on checkpoint in Shibam, Hadramawt province; intelligence official and son killed 28 Aug in Aden. At least 3 killed, 23 wounded in attack on military bus in Sanaa 25 Aug. Clashes between Huthis and various opposing groups in Amran, Saada and Ibb killed dozens, including 13 killed 13 Aug and 8 killed 28 Aug in Amran. Land disputes in capital intensified. Tensions rose ahead of 18 Sept deadline for conclusion of national dialogue: southern separatists failed to return to negotiations following Eid holidays; negotiations ongoing to secure their return; govt 21 Aug apologised to southerners for 1994 civil war.

July 2013

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

National Dialogue continued with little progress on solutions to core issues like future state structure; reports Southern Movement activists preparing to boycott dialogue outcomes by obstructing constitutional referendum and any subsequent elections. Huthi protests continued including large 19 July demonstration in Sanaa demanding justice for members killed by regime forces 8 June, calling for release of political prisoners, regime downfall. Huthis and Sunni al-Islah party supporters clashed over control of mosques including in capital; Huthis allegedly reinforcing fighting positions around Salafi Dammaj institute in north. Iranian embassy employee abducted 21 July in Sanaa. Gunmen 8 July shot dead high-ranking army officer in Hadramaut province; roadside bomb in Sanaa 6 July killed 3 soldiers. Land disputes in Sanaa left several dead. Attacks on oil, electric and internet infrastructure continued. Al-Qaeda affiliate group AQAP 17 July said deputy leader Saeed al-Shihri killed in U.S. drone strike; 6 AQ-affiliated Ansar al-Sharia suspects killed 28 July by U.S. drone in Abyan province; 3 AQ suspects killed by U.S. drone in Shebwa 30 July. Journalist Abdulelah Haider released 24 July after serving 3 of 5 years prison for aiding AQAP.

June 2013

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Govt early June announced major offensive against al-Qaeda-linked militants in Hadramout governorate; 3 soldiers and 7 militants reportedly killed 5 June in clashes at Ghail Bawazeer. Huthis in Saada Governorate 5 June buried leader Badr al-Deen al-Huthi, tens of thousands attended ceremony. 10 killed, dozens wounded 8 June when security services fired on Huthis demonstrating outside National Security (Intelligence) Bureau in Sanaa to demand release of political prisoners, disbanding of intelligence agency. Incident significantly escalated tensions between Huthis and Hadi govt, Islah and Salafis. Suicide bomber 19 June attacked market in Huthi-controlled Saada killing at least 3. Repeated protests in areas bordering Red Sea and South following daily blackouts, ongoing sabotage of oil and electricity infrastructure. Tribesmen 13, 27, 30 June sabotaged main oil pipeline in central  Maarib province.

May 2013

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Southern separatist movement Hiraak staged large pro-separation demonstrations in southern city Aden 21, 22 May. Police 27 May forcibly dispersed protesters attempting to storm hotel in Aden where National Dialogue meeting being held, 5 wounded. Hundreds staged sit-in outside prosecutor’s office in Sanaa 28 May demanding release of detainees arrested for participation in 2011 uprising. Suspected U.S. drone 27 May killed 2 militants outside Radda, Bayda province; reported drone strike killed at least 4 militants 18 May in Abyan governorate. Gunmen 27 May kidnapped 2 South Africans from Taiz prompting demonstrations 30 May; 3 journalists kidnapped 16 May by local tribesman in Maarib, later released. Maarib tribesmen 11,19, 27 May attacked electrical grid causing severe power outages; main export pipeline sabotaged 24 May in Maarib province. Attacks on security officials continued: gunmen 26 May shot dead security official in Hadhramawt, east; 2 soldiers killed 25 May by roadside bomb in Hadhramawt; 3 airforce pilots shot dead 8 May in Lahj province. Media 30 May reported Huthi rebels participating in Syrian conflict.

April 2013

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

In far-reaching military shake-up President Hadi mid-April removed Ahmed Ali Saleh, son of former president Saleh and commander of Republican Guards, and Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, commander of First Armoured Division, appointed leaders for 7 regional commands; several formerly powerful commanders also exiled to military-attaché positions outside country, including 2 nephews of Saleh. National dialogue continued without major setbacks. Court 27 April ordered investigation into March 2011 massacre, including role of Saleh and aides. Separatist sentiment in South high: unrest continued in major southern cities including Aden, Mukullah. Sporadic attacks against state security personnel continued: security officer killed 13 April in Hadhramawt province; intelligence officer shot dead 19 April in Mukallah; military intelligence chief assassinated 27 April in Hadrmout. 5 soldiers, 2 militants killed 27 April in attack on military checkpoint in Radda. 2 suspected U.S. drone strikes 17 April killed at least 5 suspected militants; drone strike 21 April killed 2 militants in Wadi Abida, Marib province. Saboteurs 8, 30 April sabotaged main oil pipeline in Marib province. Court 25 April sentenced 11 al-Qaeda militants to up to 10 years’ prison.

March 2013

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

National Dialogue Conference tasked with drafting new constitution and preparing for Feb 2014 elections opened 18 March in Sanaa after numerous delays; conference attended by President Hadi, 565 delegates. Thousands of southern separatists protested in Aden and Hadramout, rejecting dialogue and calling for immediate secession. Yemeni Nobel peace laureate Tawakkul Karman boycotted dialogue in protest over failure to restructure army, former president Saleh’s continued political influence and marginalisation of youth, civil society and women. Gunmen 23 March shot dead 3 in failed attempt to assassinate Abdo Abu Ras, Houthis’ representative at negotiations. State’s Land Real Estate Chair Abdullah al-Fadhali escaped 25 March assassination attempt. 5 killed 21 Mar in pro-govt militia attack on al Qaeda-linked Islamist militants in Abyan province. Pro-govt fighters 24 March recaptured Batis town, Abyan province, after 3 days’ fighting that left 6 militants, 3 pro-govt militiamen dead. Suicide bomber 4 March killed at least 12, wounded 15 in attack on pro-govt militia office in Lawdar, Abyan province. Main oil pipeline in central Maarib province sabotaged 6 March.

February 2013

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Tensions between separatists and security forces, Islamist party Islah reached highest levels since early 2012, sparking fears of further violence. At least 6 killed, 49 wounded 21 and 23 Feb in clashes between separatist protesters and security forces in South marking 1-year anniversary of President Hadi’s election. UNSC 15 Feb expressed concern former president Saleh and separatist leader Ali Salim al-Bid undermining democratic transition, warned of further measures against spoilers including sanctions. At rally in Sanaa 27 Feb former president Saleh called for national reconciliation. President Hadi 6 Feb announced 18 March date for start of drafting new constitution and national dialogue. Govt 2 Feb confirmed ship intercepted 23 Jan was Iranian ship smuggling weapons; Iran denied connection. Military 2 Feb killed 10 suspected militants in air strikes, drove group of al-Qaeda-linked insurgents from mountain hideout in South.Security chief Abdulwahab al-Wali 23 Feb survived assassination attempt in South. Main oil pipeline in central Maarib province sabotaged 8 Feb.

January 2013

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

U.S. drone strikes continued, killing at least 23 suspected al-Qaeda militants. Second-in-command of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) Said al-Shehri confirmed dead late Jan. Govt 27 Jan launched major military offensive against AQAP militants in Baydah accused of holding Finnish couple and Austrian man hostage; next day AQAP retaliated with suicide bombing killing at least 11 soldiers at military checkpoint, and attack on separate checkpoint killing 3 soldiers, both in Baydah. Hundreds of AQAP militants arrived next day to give support; govt suspended military operation while tribal leaders attempted to secure release. Tribal leader Al Mullah Zabahra, known for mediating between govt and al-Qaeda, killed 10 Jan at checkpoint in Abyan province. Deputy security chief of Dhamar province, Abdulwahab al-Mushki, killed 16 Jan by gunmen. 2 al-Qaeda militants arrested 14 Jan near Sanaa, security forces seized suicide bomb vests, assassination manuals, lists of targets. Main oil pipeline in central Maarib province sabotaged 10, 26 Jan by armed tribesmen. Southern movement Harak organised festival of reconciliation and tolerance to mark anniversary of 1986 civil war; over 100,000 gathered in Aden. President Hadi 7 Jan formed land, employment committees for southern governorates. UNSC envoys 27 Jan arrived in Yemen to show support for U.S.-backed power transfer deal. Ship carrying large weapons cache intercepted 23 Jan, suspected weapons smuggled from Iran for Yemen insurgents. 2 militants, 5 soldiers killed 31 Jan during army raid on mountainous area where al-Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Sharia have been taking refuge since being driven out of Jaar and Zinjibar last year.

December 2012

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

President Hadi 19 Dec restructured armed forces, abolishing Republican Guard and First Armoured Division, as part of effort to unify military. Assassinations of military-security personnel continued: 2 high-ranking officers killed in Sanaa 25 Dec; intelligence officer Shaker al-Bani killed 17 Dec; deputy head of political security office Ahmed Barmadah killed 11 Dec; chief-of-staff for central military region in Maarib province killed 8 Dec. 2 Finnish, 1 Austrian tourist kidnapped 21 Dec in capital’s central square. Military court 15 Dec sentenced 93 Republican Guards to prison terms up to 7 years for Aug attack on military complex. Army 2 Dec launched major assault on tribesmen suspected of repeatedly blowing up main oil export pipeline, attacking power lines; 8 Dec ambush on army patrol at pipeline killed 17 army officers, soldiers; military 10 Dec retaliated with aerial attack on al-Qaeda insurgents suspected of carrying out ambush, at least 4 killed. Military 25 Dec launched new offensive against Marib tribes killing 10 and injuring dozens. At least 5 suspected al-Qaeda militants killed 24 Dec in 2 drone strikes in south; 2 suspected al-Qaeda militants killed 28 Dec in Hadramut province; at least 3 al-Qaeda-linked militants killed 29 Dec in al-Bayda province. Former South Yemen interior minister Mohammed Ali Ahmed 19 Dec said several southern groups had accepted offer of 50% of seats at proposed national reconciliation talks.

November 2012

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

15 Nov National Dialogue postponed 3 weeks on request of preparatory committee; UN envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar 28 Nov announced political parties had resolved issue of seat distribution for dialogue. During 19 Nov visit UNSG Ban pledged to help rescue efforts to implement power transfer deal. Al-Qaeda- linked suicide bomber 16 Nov killed himself, 3 others inside HQ of govt-allied militias in Zinjibar. Gunman 7 Nov killed security officer near interior ministry in Sanaa. At least 3 killed 24 Nov in bomb targeting Shiite ceremony in Sanaa; no one claimed near Sanaa killed 3 suspected al-Qaeda members. Saudi diplomat,Yemeni bodyguard killed in Sanaa 28 Nov, govt offered $25,000 reward for help catching killers. Repeated explosions targeting oil export pipeline; soldiers 21 Nov fought with gunmen preventing restoration of pipeline.

October 2012

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) militants 19 Oct killed 16 soldiers in attack on Abyan province army base. 1 militant, 3 tribesmen allied to army killed in suspected AQAP attack on military checkpoint in Abyan province 16 Oct. Reported U.S. drone strikes in south killed at least 12 suspected AQAP militants. Security forces 6 Oct reportedly foiled plot to bomb joint govt-U.S. air base in Lahej province. 3 AQAP leaders reportedly killed 2 Oct in raid in Aden; court same day sentenced 2 AQAP militants to death for killing of military, security leaders. AQAP militants 9 Oct beheaded 3 people in Maarib after accusing them of spying. Iraqi military advisor to army assassinated in Sanaa 16 Oct; security officer at U.S. embassy assassinated 11 Oct. Families of protesters killed during 2011 anti-regime rally filed charges against members of former regime, including ousted President Saleh. Gas pipeline feeding country’s only gas export terminal sabotaged 30 Oct.

September 2012

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

U.S. mid-Sept sent platoon of marines to Yemen following 13 Sept attack on U.S. embassy compound in protest over anti-Islam film; Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) 16 Sept urged Muslims to protest, kill U.S. diplomats. Several assassination attempts including 22 Sept suicide bomb attack in Aden targeting former Islamist Abdul-Latif al-Sayed; Defense Minister Major General Muhammad Nasir Ahmad 11 Sept survived car bomb, 12 others killed; bomb targeting senior official 16 Sept killed 3 in al-Mukalla; suicide bomber 29 Sept killed himself, 1 other in attack targeting Mohammed Aidarous, head of popular committee of tribal volunteers. U.S. drone 5 Sept killed 6 suspected Islamist militants in Hadramut province. Reported govt air strike 2 Sept killed 10 civilians in central Yemen. 4 suspected Islamist militants killed in 8 Sept gunfight with army, allied tribal fighters near Jaar. 2 al-Qaeda-linked militants killed in 2 Sept clashes with pro-govt tribesmen in South. Maarib oil pipeline explosions 4, 9 Sept blamed on Islamist militants, tribesmen; gas pipeline feeding country’s only gas export terminal sabotaged 25 Sept. President Hadi 25 Sept said govt ready for dialogue with al-Qaeda militants. Hadi 11 Sept replaced security officials, civil servants, governors; appointees include supporters of ousted President Saleh’s rival, Ali Muhsin. Clashes 21 Sept between Sunni, Shiite Islamist groups in Amran province, 1 killed. Govt 19 Sept announced investigation into alleged rights violations during 2011 uprising. Islamist militant group Al Nusra Front 30 Sept released video alleging 5 Yemeni army officers captured in Syria, claimed officers sent by Yemen govt to help Syrian regime.

July 2012

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Progress made towards implementation of transition plan; UN Envoy Ben Omar 12 July said National Dialogue to start in November; President Hadi 14 July announced 25-member technical committee to prepare for National Dialogue Conference. Protestors 13 July demonstrated in Sanaa, called for ouster of corrupt govt officials from former regime. Tribesmen loyal to former President Saleh 29-30 July occupied Interior Ministry demanding jobs in police force, 31 July clashed with govt forces, at least 15 killed. Month saw several attempted assassinations of security officials, including 22 July attempt against Hadramaut air force commander Colonel al-Rusaishan. Political security service officer Ghazi Baidha killed 19 July in Radda; bomb 19 July killed top security officer Colonel al-Mawzai in Aden; gunmen killed deputy director of central prison in Taiz; suicide bomber 11 July killed at least 10 at Sanaa police academy; security forces 22 July diffused bomb outside intelligence services building in Aden. Suspected Ansar al-Sharia militants 31 July attacked police station in Jaar, killing 2. Govt forces continued to target al-Qaeda-linked militants in South; at least 5 killed in airstrike 24 July. Security forces 7 July killed 4, wounded 18 at demonstrations by separatists in South. Red Cross worker released 13 July by Ansar al-Sharia following 2 month captivity. Gunman from al-Jalal tribe reportedly abducted Italian embassy security agent in Sanaa 29 July.

June 2012

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

U.S.-backed offensive against Islamic militants intensified: army re-captured southern towns Zinzibar, Jaar, Shaqra, Azzan from Islamic militants following heavy fighting, air strikes. Suicide bomber 18 June killed commander of military forces Major General Salem Ali Qatan; al-Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed responsibility; security forces 22 June detained suspected local al-Qaeda leader Sami Dayyan in connection. Govt 19 June foiled plot to attack foreign embassies in Sanaa; govt same day announced killing of Salah al-Jawhari who directed AQAP suicide bombers. Army 20 June killed at least 11 Islamic militants, including senior military leaders of Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia in Abyan province. Ansar al-Sharia 1 June announced release of 27 soldiers after they vowed to quit army. Govt admitted mistakenly killing International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) staff member during 20 June airstrike. Northern Houthi Shiite rebels 5 June agreed to talks with govt to resolve political conflicts.

May 2012

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

More than 100 killed 21 May by suicide bomb at military parade rehearsal in Sanaa; al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) claimed responsibility. Same day, air strikes in Abyan province killed 16 suspected al-Qaeda militants. 2 suicide bombs 25 May linked to AQAP killed 12 in north. CIA 7 May announced AQAP plot to smuggle bomb aboard U.S. bound airliner had been thwarted. U.S. drone strike 6 May purportedly killed senior al-Qaeda militant al-Quso wanted in connection with Oct 2000 bombing of USS Cole; airstrikes 10 May near Jaar and Zinjibar killed suspected al-Qaeda militants; numerous strikes 12 May left several militants dead; govt 14-15 May intensified campaign to recapture towns from Islamist militants, killing dozens. Fighting 28 May killed at least 17 militants, 1 civilian in Bayda province. At least 7 killed in 30 May AQAP attack against govt troops in Radda. President Hadi 6 May announced formation of 8-member con- tact committee to begin preparations for national reconciliation dialogue. Former President Saleh’s nephew Mohammed Abdullah mid-month stepped down as commander of Republican Guard’s 3rd Brigade. U.S. President Obama 16 May authorised U.S. Treasury to freeze assets of anyone “obstructing” implementation of transition plan.

April 2012

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

President Hadi 6 April announced dismissal of 4 governors, rotation/reassignment of 20 military officers, including former President Saleh’s half-brother General Mohammed Saleh al-Ahmar; Saleh loyalists 7-8 April closed Sanaa international airport in response; General Mohammed Saleh al-Ahmar eventually stepped down 24 April. Former President Saleh’s nephew, General Abdullah Saleh, 27 April agreed to stand down as Presidential Guard chief. President Hadi 7 April deployed combined military force including Saleh, Mohsin loyalists to secure capital. Govt 12 April announced formation of preparatory committee for national dialogue. In South, month saw intensification in battle with al-Qaeda militants, deployment of counter-terrorism units from Republican Guards, Central Security Forces: militants 2 April reportedly blew-up pipeline in retaliation for killing of 5 al-Qaeda members in 31 March U.S. drone strike. Army 3 April said airstrikes against al-Qaeda in al-Rahha Mountains killed 43; al-Qaeda 9-14 April clashed with army, tribally-led popular committees outside Lowdar killing over 200, mostly militants. Army 13 April said 28 al-Qaeda fighters killed, 2 senior al-Qaeda leaders arrested during offensive in Abyan province, 18 April announced capture of al-Qaeda stronghold in Zinjibar. Gunmen 22 April kidnapped ICRC official near Hudaida. U.S. 26 April announced easing of restrictions on drone strikes.

March 2012

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Violence in South increased significantly: militants 4 March overran military bases outside Zinjibar, killing approximately 180 soldiers, took over 70 hostages. U.S., govt air strikes mid-March killed suspected al-Qaeda militants in southern governorates Abyan, al-Bayda. Alleged Ansar al-Sharia suicide bomber 13 March killed at least 9 soldiers near checkpoint in south; group claimed responsibility for 18 March killing of U.S. teacher in southern city Taiz. Militants 21 March decapitated senior security officer in Mukkala, clashed with security forces. Navy 22 March shelled suspected al-Qaeda positions near Zinjibar, 29 reportedly killed. Tribal militants 21 March abducted 3 Filipinos in Mahrah governorate, demanded release of jailed tribal member. Gunmen 28 March abducted Saudi Deputy Consul in Aden. U.S. drone strike 30 March killed 5 suspected al-Qaeda militants in Shabwa governorate; gunmen blew-up gas pipeline in retaliation, 31 March clashed with army in Lahj governorate, 17 soldiers and 12 militants killed. UN envoy Jamal Benomar early month warned of growing humanitarian crisis, condemned recent al-Qaeda-linked attacks. Tens of thousands of protesters 23 March demanded prosecution of former President Saleh.

February 2012

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Former VP Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi inaugurated president 25 Feb after winning uncontested elections held 21 Feb amidst boycott of polls by southern separatists and Huthis rebels, instances of pre-election and election day violence in south: at least 55 reported killed in early-Feb clashes between Shiite Huthi rebels and Salafists in northern Hajjah governorate. In Sanaa, thousands of demonstrators 10 Feb gathered in Change Square in support of election. In 20 Feb televised statement, deposed president Saleh signaled intention to preserve degree of influence on govt. Thousands gathered 11 Feb in Taiz city to mark 1-year since uprising. Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia 12 Feb allegedly executed 3 men in Azan and Jaar for giving information to U.S.. At least 16 killed in 16 Feb clashes in al-Masaneh following killing of local al-Qaeda leader in family dispute.

January 2012

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Parliament 21 Jan approved controversial legislation granting President Saleh blanket immunity, giving aides immunity for “politically motivated” crimes committed in course of official duties; thousands protested legislation, demanded accountability for killing of demonstrators. Saleh 22 Jan traveled to U.S. for medical treatment, reportedly will return in Feb for swearing-in of elected president. FM Abubakr al-Qirbi 17 Jan said security concerns may delay Feb presidential election: clash between govt forces and Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia in Zinjibar 3 Jan left 7 dead, army 21 Jan killed 10 Ansar al-Sharia members; 6 killed, 10 wounded mid-Jan by security forces in Adencity. Islamist militants 14 Jan seized Radda; 4 militants, including local al Qaeda leader, 1 soldier killed in clash 21 Jan; militants left 25 Jan in exchange for formation of council to govern town, release of several jailed comrades. Information minister Ali Ahmed al-Amrani survived 31 Jan assassination attempt. Same day, air raids in south killed some 15 fighters alleged to have al-Qaeda links. World Bank 23 Jan lifted funding freeze, established March 2011 in response to turmoil.

December 2011

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Vice-President Hadi 7 Dec issued decree paving way for unity govt in preparation for 21 Feb presidential election; opposition-led govt formed 10 Dec with ministries divided equally between President Saleh’s General People’s Congress Party and opposition. Intense fighting in Taiz early month; truce agreed 4 Dec. Both General Ali Mohsen’s troops and pro-Saleh forces 17 Dec began to withdraw from Sanaa as part of GCC-brokered peace deal. 9 protesters killed 24 Dec by Saleh loyalists as tens of thousands marched from Taiz to Sanaa demanding Saleh stand trial for killing of demonstrators during uprising; U.S. Ambassador Feierstein defended govt, said march intended to “provoke violent response”. Nationwide govt worker strikes began 28 Dec over alleged corruption linked to outgoing regime. Nearly 200 reported killed in fighting between Shiite Huthi rebels and Salafists in northern Saada governorate. Dozens killed as serious fighting continued in southern Abyan governorate between suspected al-Qaeda affiliates and security forces.

November 2011

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

After 10 months of mass protest President Saleh 23 Nov signed political transition agreement based on GCC-initiative, immediately transferring power to implement accord to deputy Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi; Saleh will retain title of president until 21 Feb presidential elections; opposition leader Mohammed Basindwa named 27 Nov as interim PM. Despite signing of power transfer, tens killed in fighting between Saleh’s forces and those loyal to opposition continued in Sanaa, Arhab and Taiz. At least 25 killed 26-27 Nov in fighting between Shiite Huthi rebels and Sunni Islamists in north. Battles continue to rage between govt forces and local tribesmen and al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula-linked militants in southern Abyan province.

October 2011

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Increase in violence over month, as country remains on verge of full-scale war between security forces supporting President Saleh and forces loyal to opposition. Violence slowed early month but worsening bloodshed from 15 Oct as dozens of protesters killed in Sanaa, Taiz in worst fighting since Saleh’s return from Saudi Arabia. UNSC 21 Oct passed resolution condemning violence, called for transition of power on basis of GCC initiative; Saleh 24 Oct welcomed resolution but has already rejected GCC plan 3 times. Teenage son of U.S.-born preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed late Sept in U.S. drone attack, among 9 killed 14 Oct in U.S. drone attack in S Shebwa governorate. Head of counter-terrorism in restive Abyan province killed 28 Oct in car bomb in Aden; latest in series of attacks on security officials in south linked to Islamist militants.

September 2011

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Country on verge of full-scale war between security forces loyal to President Saleh and forces loyal to opposition. Prospects of peaceful transition buttressed 12 Sept when Saleh issued decree authorising deputy to negotiate revised Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative; but several sticking points with opposition remain including timing of Saleh’s resignation. UN Special Envoy Benomar and GCC Sec. Gen. visited Sanaa to broker agreement backed by U.S., Saudi Arabia. However, violence exploded 18 Sept in Sanaa as regime forces launched brutal crackdown on protest camps, over 26 protesters killed. In worst fighting since March forces loyal to Ali Mohsen engaged in battles with pro-Saleh force in capital; over 100 people killed, mainly unarmed protesters. Saleh returned to Yemen 19 Sept from treatment in Saudi Arabia after June assassination attempt; 25 Sept called for early elections, made no pledge to step down. Defence Minister Ali 27 Sept survived suicide bomb attack in southern city Aden. Fighting continued in south between Islamist militants, army and allied tribesmen in Abyan province. U.S.-born radical preacher Anwar al-Awlaki killed 30 Sept in U.S. drone strike in Jawf province.

August 2011

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Hundreds of thousands continued to protest nation-wide for President Saleh to step down. Scores killed in ongoing clashes between Islamist militants, army and allied tribesmen in southern Abyan province, including 24 Aug clash with army in Zinjibar, close to 100 killed. Despite truce, renewed violence 6 Aug between tribesmen loyal to al-Ahmar and pro-govt Republican Guard in Hasaba; clashes continued between anti-govt tribesmen and Republican Guard in southern city Taiz; at least 23 tribesmen killed 16 Aug in fighting with Republican Guard in Ahrab region. President Saleh 17 Aug said he would return to Yemen soon, would not transfer power except through elections. Opposition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) 7 Aug issued statement denying connection with June assassination attempt on Saleh; speaker of upper house 23 Aug died from injuries sustained in attack. Opposition leaders 17 Aug formed 143-member National Council charged with electing 20-member executive committee to act as political leadership for protest movement.

July 2011

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Violence escalated in Arhab, mountainous area northeast of capital, where at least 40 killed 28 July in clashes between govt forces and armed tribesmen loyal to opposition. Capital Sanaa roughly divided between troops of general Ali Mohsen in NW, tribesmen loyal to al-Ahmars in parts of north, forces loyal to Saleh in SE and SW. Both pro-Saleh and anti-Saleh forces preparing positions in capital for a potential confrontation. Almost daily clashes between pro-Saleh army units and anti-Saleh armed tribesmen in southern city Taiz. In Abyan province scores killed, some 90,000 displaced since late May in fighting between govt forces, armed tribesmen and Islamist militants. Violence flared early July between tribesmen supporting Islamist Islah party and Huthi fighters in northern Jawf governorate; over 100 killed before tenuous ceasefire established 30 July. 9 soldiers killed, 21 injured 24 July in suicide bomb attack in Aden; officials blamed al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula. Living conditions continue to deteriorate, with severe fuel shortages, electrical outages, rising food prices. President Saleh 7 July made first televised appearance from Saudi Arabia since 3 June attack, insisted will return to Yemen to lead a dialogue. Moderates in both ruling party and opposition continued without success to discuss ways of modifying Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative to break political impasse. Group of youth protesters 16 July unilaterally announced formation of 17-member transitional council; announcement received lukewarm reaction from opposition groups. Opposition parties announced intent to form National Council to complete revolution. Tens of thousands of opposition protesters continued to take to streets, called for Saleh and his family to step down immediately. FM al-Qirbi 27 July said Saleh will not give up power by force, only through elections. President 31 July called on opposition to return to dialogue around GCC initiative.

June 2011

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

President Saleh injured 3 June in attack on mosque inside the presidential palace in Sanaa, transferred 5 June to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment; acting president Abed- Rabbo Mansour al-Hadi 29 June said uncertain when he will return. FM al-Qirbi 27 June relayed message from Saleh on state television, called for dialogue with opposition to implement Gulf-brokered plan for transfer of power. Tenuous ceasefire between anti-govt tribesmen and govt forces in capital since Saleh’s departure. Talks underway between al-Hadi and opposition Joint Meeting Parties; but political impasse remains as regime hardliners refused to discuss power transfer until Saleh returns, youth protesters demanded immediate formation of transitional council. Ongoing fighting in southern Abyan governorate between Islamic militants and govt forces; at least 15,000 displaced. Militants with possible links to al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) 15 June attempted to seize neighbourhoods in Houta, capital of Lahj. 63 AQAP-affiliated inmates 23 June escaped prison in southern al-Makalla. UNSC 25 June expressed “grave concern” with deteriorating security situation.

May 2011

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Violence escalated end month with President Saleh facing opposition on several fronts. Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)-brokered transition plan collapsed 22 May after Saleh for third time refused to sign. Saleh 25 May vowed not to step down, said he would make no more concessions to those seeking his ouster. Over 100 killed from 23 May in Sanaa in battle between military forces loyal to Saleh and tribesmen loyal to Sadiq al-Ahmar, preeminent sheikh of Yemen’s most powerful tribal confederation. Yemeni mediation committee negotiated brief ceasefire until fighting erupted again on 31 May. In second round of fighting, military forces loyal to Saleh attacked base of defected military commander Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar. Govt forces continued use of violence against nationwide anti-regime protests throughout month as civil disobedience crippled major cities. U.S. Sec State Clinton 26 May urged cessation of violence, repeated call for Saleh to step down. Security forces 30 May stormed protest camp in southern city Taiz; as many as 50 killed. Hundreds of Islamic militants 28 May seized control of capital of southern Abyan governorate, over 40 soldiers and civilians killed as Yemeni military tries to dislodge militants.

April 2011

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

President Saleh 23 Apr agreed in principle to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) plan to transfer power to VP within 30 days of deal being signed in exchange for immunity from prosecution. Main opposition coalition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) 25 Apr accepted plan in light of new guarantees from international community. Power transfer deal stalled 30 Apr as Saleh refused to sign as president, only as head of ruling party. Many protesters rejected initiative, refused to leave streets until Saleh steps down, demanded his immediate departure, prosecution for violence. At least 10 killed 27 Apr in Sanaa; more than 140 protesters killed in ongoing nationwide protests. Security situation outside capital Sanaa deteriorated rapidly. Al-Qaeda-affiliated militants seized control of territory in southern governorate Abyan.

March 2011

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Over 90 protesters killed as nationwide anti-regime protests continued for seventh week; fears of possible outbreak of civil war, but hopes remain for possible reconciliation and formation of national unity govt. Direct talks between president and opposition over govt transition stalled 27 March, but indirect talks continue. Opposition demanded immediate resignation of President Saleh and ban on govt positions for Saleh and family; Saleh vowed to make no more concessions. Security forces 17 March killed 52 protesters in capital Sanaa; series of defections to protestors by ambassadors, lawmakers, provincial governors, tribal leaders followed. Saleh 20 March fired cabinet, though retained as caretaker in interim. 11 military commanders including senior general Ali Moshen 21 March joined protest, promised to protect demonstrators; pro- and anti-govt tanks deployed in Sanaa. Parliament 23 March enacted emergency laws suspending constitution, banning protests. Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula and other Islamic militant group attacks increased, including 26 March seizure of southern town of Jaar. 150 killed after explosion in ammunition factory in Jaar; cause of explosion unknown.

February 2011

Middle East & North Africa

Yemen

Escalating nationwide deadly protests demanding regime change, mainly in Sanaa, Taiz, Aden: at least 24 people killed in daily clashes with security forces since 16 Feb. Troops 25 Feb fired on protesters in southern city Aden, killing around 10, despite President Saleh’s 24 Feb order for security forces to protect demonstrators. Protesters demanded President Saleh’s resignation and immediate regime change; Saleh 27 Feb vowed to fight “with every drop of blood” to remain in power, although earlier in month offered to form national unity govt, promised not to run in 2013 elections, not to pass authority to son. Main political opposition group Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) 28 Feb refused offer of unity govt, planned 1 March “Day of Rage”, but hopes for dialogue remain. Several leaders of country’s 2 most important tribal confederations, Hashid and Baqil, 26 Feb joined anti-regime protests. Late-month spike in violence against security forces, mainly in south; unclear who is behind attacks.

January 2011