This Was the Year Yemen Was Destroyed

Vice News article by Samuel Oakford:

On April 21, Saudi Arabia officially ended a military intervention in Yemen dubbed "Operation Decisive Storm." Reacting to a rapid expansion of rebel Houthi militias and their allies, who had effectively toppled the government of Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the government in Riyadh had less than four weeks earlier launched a blistering Western-aided aerial assault on opposition lines. On that Tuesday in April, the Saudi government released a statement declaring that the operation had "achieved its goals… removing the threat to Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries."

But the fighting didn't stop, and the bombing didn't either. Soon after, Saudi officials acknowledged that the intervention had in fact not ended and said it would continue to target the Houthis. According to the UN's human rights agency, more than 2,700 civilians have been killed since Yemen's conflict escalated in late March, struck down by airstrikes, indiscriminate shelling, and gunfire. At least a further 5,300 have been injured.

As Yemen enters 2016, it faces an unprecedented humanitarian crisis and a war that has no apparent resolution in sight. UN-brokered peace talks ended earlier in December without result, their greatest achievement simply having been that they occurred at all.

"There has never been a moment in the history of Yemen this bad," said Farea al-Muslimi, a Yemeni activist and visiting scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center. "Both sides are losing command and control. If at one point one side decides they do want peace, I don't think they will be able to control it — neither the Houthis nor the Saudis."

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Life under siege: inside Taiz, the Yemeni city being slowly strangled

Article by theguardian:

In Yemen’s second most populated city, a Houthi blockade has brought residents previously barely subsisting to the brink of catastrophe.

Ismail lies on green linoleum sheets, his black eyes too large for his gaunt face. Craning his neck, he tries to inspect the bandage covering his body, but weakness pulls him back. From the pillow, he whispers “hawan” (mortar).

Ismail, who says he is 12 but has the body of a six-year-old, used to make a few Yemeni riyals every day by washing graves in a new cemetery in the city of Taiz devoted to those killed in Yemen’s ongoing civil war.

Just before noon on one day in November, he and his two young cousins were sitting under a mango tree, cleaning the grave of a 10-year-old girl called Basma, when three mortar shells fell. A splatter of deep scars on the tree trunk and on the grave’s concrete surface mark the spot where one exploded. The two cousins, aged two and four, died instantly.

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In Yemen's besieged city of Taiz peace is the priority

Al-Jazeera report on the desperate situation in Taiz, Yemen's second most populated city:

Many residents of the city are in dire need of basic goods, but what they most want is an end to the fighting.

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Witness: A Wedding Bombed in Yemen

Human Right Watch article by Belkis Wille, Yemen and Kuwait Researcher:

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It was an October night and the al-Sanabani family was readying to celebrate the wedding of three couples. It was around 9:30 p.m. when Muhammad Jamal Saleh Ghouba al-Sanabani arrived at his relative’s home, where the wedding was to be held, to take part in the celebration.

Then, Yemen’s war caught up with them.

“I heard whizzing for a moment, then came the explosion,” al-Sanabani, 33, told Human Rights Watch two weeks after a warplane bombed his relative’s home. “It was a huge explosion inside the yard. The sky turned red. I didn’t realize at that moment it was an airstrike and still now also can’t believe it – it’s like a nightmare that plays before my eyes.”

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Yemen crisis: peace talks to resume on 14 January

BBC News:

Peace talks aimed at ending the conflict in Yemen have broken up in Switzerland without agreement.

UN special envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said the talks will resume on 14 January at an as yet undecided location.
He said some progress had been made, but that violations of a temporary ceasefire had caused problems.

Fierce fighting has continued in the north of Yemen between Houthi rebels and forces backing the government.

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Yemen Crisis: How bad is the humanitarian situation?

BBC News article:

UN officials have warned that the already desperate humanitarian situation in Yemen has severely deteriorated over the last eight months. How bad is it?

The country is experiencing 'a humanitarian catastrophe'. That was the frank assessment of the UN's Humanitarian Co-ordinator, Johannes Van Der Klaauw, on 19 August.

The UN said on 12 November that at least 5,878 people had been killed and 27,867 others had been wounded since the escalation in March of the conflict between forces loyal to the exiled President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and those allied to the Houthi rebel movement.

The destruction of infrastructure and restrictions on imports imposed by a Saudi-led coalition carrying out air strikes against the rebels have led to 21.2 million people being deprived of life-sustaining commodities and basic services.

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Britain gives £275m to Yemen but lets Saudi BOMB relief efforts

Daily Express article:

Tory MP Andrew Mitchell, formerly the UK's international development secretary, says, "The Yemenis are being pulverised by the Saudis while we try to get aid in through ports which are being blockaded and while British ordnance is being dropped there."

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Bombing of schools by Saudi Arabia-led coalition a flagrant attack on future of Yemen's children

Amnesty International report and video:

Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces have carried out a series of air strikes targeting schools that were still in use, in violation of international humanitarian law, and hampering access to education for thousands of Yemen’s children, said Amnesty International in a new briefing published today. The coalition forces are armed by states including the USA and UK.

The briefing ‘Our kids are bombed’: Schools under attack in Yemen, investigates five air strikes on schools which took place between August and October 2015 killing five civilians and injuring at least 14, including four children, based on field research in Yemen. While students were not present inside the schools during the attacks, the strikes caused serious damage or destruction which will have long-term consequences for students.

“The Saudi Arabia-led coalition launched a series of unlawful air strikes on schools being used for educational – not for military – purposes, a flagrant violation of the laws of war,” said Lama Fakih, Senior Crisis Advisor at Amnesty International who recently returned from Yemen.

Read the report here

Download the full briefing 'Our kids are bombed: Schools under attack in Yemen'.

View Amnesty International's video, 'Yemen: Bombing of schools by Saudi Arabia-led coalition'.