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

CrisisWatch Yemen

Improved Situation

Resolution Opportunity

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.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

13 Mar 2019
With the Senate voting to end U.S. support for the war in Yemen, I am hopeful we are starting down a path of real progress towards peace. Twitter

Daniel Schneiderman

Deputy Program Director, United States
18 Feb 2019
It's encouraging news that [the agreement to pull forces out of Hodeida] has happened, as people had been losing faith in the process, causing fears that we'd soon see a return to combat in and around Hodeida. The Washington Post

Peter Salisbury

Consulting Senior Analyst, Yemen
18 Dec 2018
But it’s important to note that the deal [struck in Stockholm] is quite specific in saying that this is not part of a wider peace process: It’s an agreement made for humanitarian rather than political reasons. Associated Press

Peter Salisbury

Consulting Senior Analyst, Yemen
14 Dec 2018
Ce vote [du Sénat américain, qui demande l'arrêt du soutien des Etats-Unis à la coalition internationale au Yémen] envoie un message puissant de la part des Etats-Unis à la coalition" saoudienne. AFP

Daniel Schneiderman

Deputy Program Director, United States
4 Dec 2018
If we take past as precedent [in Yemen], and the situation on the ground, all indicators point toward not much coming out of the talks and a resumption of fighting in Hodeida. New York Times

Peter Salisbury

Analyst, Yemen
1 Dec 2018
Wednesday's vote sends an important and long overdue message that it's time for the U.S. to end its participation in the conflict in Yemen. Middle East Eye

Stephen Pomper

Program Director, United States

Latest Updates

Crisis Group Yemen Update #6

This is the sixth weekly briefing note in Crisis Group’s Yemen Campaign. This week, we look at how economic issues will affect future peacebuilding efforts.

Crisis Group Yemen Update #5

This is the fifth weekly briefing note in Crisis Group’s Yemen Campaign. This week, we look at how simmering tensions in the south of the country threaten the prospects for long-term peace, and give insight into ongoing attempts to demilitarise the country's Red Sea trade corridor.

Crisis Group Yemen Update #4

Below is the fourth weekly update as part of Crisis Group’s Yemen Campaign. This week we look at fighting near the Saudi-Yemeni border and strains on the ceasefire around Hodeida, as well as international developments.

Crisis Group Yemen Update #3

This is Crisis Group’s third weekly update published as part of our Yemen Campaign. The trend we identify in this edition is new hope for a political compromise to end the four-year-old civil war and ease the country’s grave humanitarian crisis.

Crisis Group Yemen Update #2

This is Crisis Group’s second weekly update published as part of our Yemen Campaign. Prefaced with a new introductory trendline – this week, fear of famine – it provides up-to-the minute insights into the four-year-old civil war and the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis.

Our People

Peter Salisbury

Consulting Senior Analyst, Yemen