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

Houthis announced fourth phase of escalation in Red Sea crisis, while military build-up and clashes with govt forces along frontlines in Marib and Sana’a provinces pointed to possible offensive and escalation.

Houthis announced new phase of strikes on international shipping. Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi 2 May announced new round of attacks on international shipping, citing Israeli and U.S. “intransigence” (see Israel/Palestine); group next day said Houthis would target ships heading to Israel regardless of their nationality, including in Indian Ocean and Mediterranean, potentially threatening alternative Cape of Good Hope route used by shipping companies. Houthis 18 May struck Panama-flagged, Greek-owned oil tanker in Red Sea. Meanwhile, U.S. and UK continued strikes on Houthi targets: notably, 2 May reportedly targeted Houthi-controlled Hodeida airport. Houthis 17 May claimed downing U.S. drone over Marib province and 21 May claimed destroying another over al-Bayda province. Houthis 27 May announced missile attacks on three commercial ships and two U.S. destroyers in Indian Ocean and Red Sea; U.S. said group fired five anti-ship ballistic missiles. U.S. and UK forces 30 May struck thirteen Houthi targets in three areas of Hodeida; Houthis claimed attacks killed sixteen.

In north, Houthi and govt forces clashed in Marib. Despite de facto truce, Giants Brigades (aligned with govt) and Houthis 17 March clashed on southern Marib governorate front following Houthi attacks on govt forces in Marib’s Harib district; both sides sent reinforcements to consolidate positions, including districts in Sana’a governorate bordering Marib. Govt forces are preparing for Houthi offensive that may seek to seize oil sites in Marib to address economic hardship facing group and pre-empt potential U.S./Western support to govt forces as Red Sea crisis persists.

In south, Southern Transitional Council (STC) clashed with Houthis and Al-Qaeda. STC 18 May accused Houthis of launching drone attack on STC military position in Abyan province. STC and Al-Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula 11, 16 and 17 May clashed.

In Aden, security forces cracked down on protesters. Govt security forces 13-14 May cracked down on hundreds of demonstrators protesting electricity cuts in Aden city, 15 May deployed armoured vehicles across city. 

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In The News

1 फेब्रुअरी 2024
[The] Houthis wanted to send a message: We are the group that is most committed to Gaza, not just in words but in action. CNN

Ahmed Nagi

Senior Analyst, Yemen
15 जनवरी 2024
What's happening in the Red Sea will have a huge impact on the current political process between the Saudis and Houthis. NPR

Ahmed Nagi

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

Ahmed Nagi

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

Veena Ali-Khan

Former Researcher, Yemen

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Ahmed Nagi

Senior Analyst, Yemen
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