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Yemen

CrisisWatch Yemen

Deteriorated Situation

Conflict Risk Alert

Huthis reinvigorated offensive in Marib governorate, raising prospect of all-out summer offensive in coming month, while nationwide ceasefire talks remained stalled. In north, after brief lull in fighting in first half of June between Huthis and govt-aligned forces, hostilities 19 June escalated in Marib governorate, with Huthis stepping up drone and missile attacks in Marib and across border in Saudi Arabia; fighting fuelled fears that Huthis may launch long-anticipated offensive to coincide with summer dust storms that limit Saudi-led coalition's airstrike capacity. Huthis’ seizure of Marib city and surrounding oil and gas facilities could trigger mass displacement and cut off 90% of country’s petroleum gas supply. Huthis claimed Saudi-led coalition 5, 18, 21 June carried out airstrikes in Marib and Saada governorates while Saudi air defences 19 June intercepted 17 Huthi drones launched toward kingdom (see Saudi Arabia). Meanwhile, ceasefire negotiations remain deadlocked. Omani mediation delegation 5-11 June travelled to capital Sanaa to meet Huthi leaders to discuss UN-backed ceasefire initiative. Huthis maintained position on unilateral reopening of Hodeida port and Sanaa air-port as pre-condition for ceasefire talks and demanded withdrawal of foreign forces from Yemen. Saudi and Hadi govts insisted issues be treated as package, as discussed in 2020. Outgoing UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths in his last UN Security Council briefing 15 June painted “bleak picture” of conflict and expressed hope Omani mediation process will “bear fruit”. In sign of growing U.S. frustration with lack of progress, U.S. Envoy for Yemen Timothy Lenderking 17 June blamed Huthis for failed ceasefire talks. Meetings between govt and Southern Transitional Council (STC) in Saudi capital Riyadh on implementation of 2019 Riyadh Agreement stalled. STC 18 June suspended participation, citing govt intransigence; STC 21 June denied rejecting Riyadh Agreement and said it agreed to Hadi govt’s return to southern city Aden as soon as possible. STC 26 June said it would end all communication with parties to Riyadh Agreement. Protests in south occurred throughout month, including in Aden and Taiz city, amid water and electricity shortages and ongoing depreciation of Yemeni riyal.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

7 Jul 2021
The Houthis appear to calculate that if they win in Marib, they will have won the war for the north of Yemen while humiliating the internationally recognized president. That is a considerable prize for their side, as it would also allow them to dictate terms for an end to the war. Los Angeles Times

Peter Salisbury

Senior Analyst, Yemen
29 Jun 2021
The good news is that there is clearly more focus on direct negotiations with the Houthi leadership in Sanaa [...] The bad news is that this hasn’t yet closed the gap between the Houthis’ and the Saudis’ positions. Until that happens, we won’t see much movement. Al Jazeera

Peter Salisbury

Senior Analyst, Yemen
18 Mar 2021
There are probably multiple agendas at play in Marib but the most urgent is the Houthis' belief they can take Marib city and end the war for the north [of Yemen]. Associated Press

Peter Salisbury

Senior Analyst, Yemen
14 Apr 2020
The prospect of the coronavirus spreading in Yemen offers a moment and indeed a humanitarian imperative to revive a political process. Reuters

April Longley Alley

Former Deputy Program Director, Middle East and North Africa
10 Apr 2020
Implementing a cease-fire [between Saudi Arabia and Yemen] is no small matter, and the first test of this is going to be whether the parties show up for this virtual meeting. New York Times

April Longley Alley

Former Deputy Program Director, Middle East and North Africa
15 Mar 2020
Now [Yemen's] fate is linked to a much bigger picture in a three-dimensional chess game. The Guardian

Peter Salisbury

Senior Analyst, Yemen

Latest Updates

EU Watch List / Global

Watch List 2021 – Spring Update

Every year Crisis Group publishes two additional Watch List updates that complement its annual Watch List for the EU, most recently published in January 2021. These publications identify major crises and conflict situations where the European Union and its member states can generate stronger prospects for peace. The Spring Update of the Watch List 2021 includes entries on Bolivia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Ukraine and Yemen.

The Case for More Inclusive – and More Effective – Peacemaking in Yemen

International efforts to end the war in Yemen are stuck in an outdated two-party paradigm, seeking to mediate between the Huthis and their foes. As it pushes for renewed talks, the UN should broaden the scope to include Yemeni women’s and other civil society groups.

Also available in العربية

A Dangerous New Turn in Yemen’s War

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk with Peter Salisbury, Crisis Group’s Yemen expert, about the war in Yemen, a dangerous offensive near the northern city of Marib, and what a new U.S. administration may mean for the fighting.

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Peter Salisbury

Senior Analyst, Yemen
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