icon caret Arrow Down Arrow Left Arrow Right Arrow Up Line Camera icon set icon set Ellipsis icon set Facebook Favorite Globe Hamburger List Mail Map Marker Map Microphone Minus PDF Play Print RSS Search Share Trash Crisiswatch Alerts and Trends Box - 1080/761 Copy Twitter Video Camera  copyview Youtube

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

Deteriorated Situation

Conflict Risk Alert

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.

Continue reading

Reports & Briefings

In The News

11 Aug 2019
The UAE and Saudi Arabia have allied with distinct Yemeni partners. Yet to this point in the conflict, Abu Dhabi and Riyadh have worked to maintain a relative detente between competing interests in the south. Reuters

Elizabeth Dickinson

Senior Analyst, Arabian Peninsula
11 Aug 2019
The problem right now from the perspective of ending the [Yemen] war is that Saudi Arabia and to an extent the Trump administration are unwilling to do so without a tangible ‘win’ for Riyadh. Los Angeles Times

Peter Salisbury

Consulting Senior Analyst, Yemen
30 Jul 2019
[Al Qaida in Yemen has] become much more focused on integrating with local spheres and much less focused on the brand-name, big-ticket attacks. ABC News

Peter Salisbury

Consulting Senior Analyst, Yemen
25 Jul 2019
Saudi Arabia may feel that they still need a ‘win’ in Yemen, whatever that looks like to them, in order to pivot more clearly toward talks. AP

Elizabeth Dickinson

Senior Analyst, Arabian Peninsula
5 Jul 2019
There has been a great deal of speculation around the reported UAE drawdown in Yemen. UAE objective has been consistent for 2 years: wind down involvement in the Huthi conflict. Twitter

Elizabeth Dickinson

Senior Analyst, Arabian Peninsula
24 Mar 2019
There have been delays, obstacles, and backtracking, but what is unchanged is that the parties [in Yemen] still view the [Sweden] agreement as their best option. AFP

Elizabeth Dickinson

Senior Analyst, Arabian Peninsula

Latest Updates

America Should Talk to the Houthis

A Houthi missile or drone strike aimed at Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates or Red Sea shipping lanes could spark a broader conflict involving the United States, its Gulf allies and Iran.

Originally published in The New York Times

Also available in العربية

Crisis Group Yemen Update #11

This is International Crisis Group’s eleventh regular update on the war in Yemen. This week, we focus on the first step towards force redeployments in Hodeida and the response of the UN Security Council.

Crisis Group Yemen Update #10

This is Crisis Group’s tenth update on recent developments in Yemen, focusing on al-Dhale in the south. A ceasefire in Hodeida notwithstanding, violence is on the rise on other key front lines and could undermine prospects for a future peace process.

Crisis Group Yemen Update #9

This is the ninth briefing note in Crisis Group’s Yemen Campaign. Notes are published fortnightly. This week, we return to the UN’s efforts to make the Hodeida agreement stick.

Picturing Aden’s Fragile Recovery

After visiting Aden with a Crisis Group team doing field research and advocacy in Yemen’s interim capital, our Yemen expert Peter Salisbury shares his images of a city struggling to get back on its feet nearly four years after Huthi forces were pushed out.

Also available in العربية

Our People

April Longley Alley

Deputy Program Director, Middle East and North Africa

Peter Salisbury

Consulting Senior Analyst, Yemen
peterjsalisbury