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Yemen

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

CrisisWatch Yemen

Unchanged Situation

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.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

25 Apr 2017
What we don’t know is how much control will be extended over the Rapid Support Forces [who have been deployed to Yemen by Sudan]. IRIN News

Magnus Taylor

Analyst, Horn of Africa
24 Mar 2017
The story of the Houthis' rise to power [in Yemen] shows that they are motivated primarily by a domestic agenda, rather than a regional one. Deutsche Welle

Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa
17 Feb 2017
The [Huthis] almost certainly receive some smuggled weapons, but these are not decisive in their ability to continue the war [in Yemen]. Voice of America

April Longley Alley

Senior Analyst, Arabian Peninsula
7 Feb 2017
The [recent U.S.] raid ignores the local political context in Yemen, to the detriment of an effective counter-terrorism strategy. Reuters

April Longley Alley

Senior Analyst, Arabian Peninsula
4 Feb 2017
The use of U.S. troops and the high number of civilian casualties . . . are deeply inflammatory and breed anti-American resentment across the Yemeni political spectrum that works to the advantage of AQAP. The Washington Post

April Longley Alley

Senior Analyst, Arabian Peninsula
2 Feb 2017
The longer the war continues in Yemen, the stronger al-Qaeda is likely to get. PBS Newshour

Richard Atwood

Director of New York Office

Latest Updates

Terrorism and Counter-terrorism: New Challenges for the European Union

Despite suffering significant blows in Syria and Iraq, jihadist movements across the Middle East, North Africa and Lake Chad regions continue to pose significant challenges. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2017 – First Update early-warning report for European policy makers, Crisis Group urges the European Union and its member states to prioritise conflict prevention at the heart of their counter-terrorism policy and continue investment in vulnerable states.

How All Sides of Yemen’s War Are Weaponising Hunger and Creating a Famine

With the world's largest hunger crisis, Yemen sits precariously on the brink of famine. Avoiding it will require all warring parties to desist from weaponising Yemen's increasingly fragile economy and return to the negotiating table.

Originally published in World Politics Review

Statement / Global

Instruments of Pain: Conflict and Famine

For the first time in three decades, four countries, driven by war, verge on famine. Over coming weeks, Crisis Group will publish special briefings on Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria. Each conflict requires tailored response; all need increased aid and efforts to end the violence.

Yemen: A Humanitarian Catastrophe; A Failing State

As Yemen's unremitting conflict continues to drive a nation-wide humanitarian crisis, there is an ever-increasing need to quell hostilities. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2017 annual early-warning report for European policy makers, Crisis Group urges the European Union and its member states to rebuild the credibility of the UN-sponsored talks in order to find a durable ceasefire and work toward a political settlement within Yemen.

Les raids antiterroristes américains au Yémen, une arme aux mains d’Al-Qaida

Le nombre élevé de victimes du raid antiterroriste américain du 1er février au Yémen risque d’aggraver plutôt que d’aider à résoudre un conflit qui est la raison principale de l’expansion d’Al-Qaida dans la péninsule arabique (AQPA) dans ce pays dévasté. Sous forme de questions-réponses, April Longley Alley explique pourquoi.

Originally published in Orient XXI

Our People

April Longley Alley

Senior Analyst, Arabian Peninsula