War pushes Yemen to partition, thwarting peace efforts

Reuters article by Noah Browning

Yemen has endured thousands of air strikes and the deaths of more than 10,000 people in a 19-month war that has also unleashed hunger on the desperately poor country - but its biggest challenge may be yet to come.

The conflict has led to Yemen's de facto partition, with rival armies and institutions in the north and south, and could mean the map of the Middle East will have to be redrawn.

A three-day truce to allow in more humanitarian aid and prepare a political settlement collapsed last week, reflecting deadlocked efforts to end the stalemated war.

But behind the combatants' disagreements over how to share power, Yemen's future as a unified state appears increasingly in doubt.

Such a possibility appeared remote when a coalition of Arab states began launching air strikes in March 2015 to restore to power President Abd Rabbu Mansour al-Hadi, driven from the capital, Sanaa, by the Iranian-allied Houthi movement in 2014.

It seems less fanciful now.

The Houthis' rise to power in the north has provoked a revival of southern separatism, a movement that sees the fracturing of state power as its moment to break away.

At the same time, the south and its major city, Aden, serve as a base for the internationally recognized government, which is trying to take back national control even as it manages an uneasy alliance with the secessionists.

Yemen was once split between a pro-Soviet state in the South and a republic buttressed by armed tribes in the North. A southern bid to secede failed in 1994 when the north restored unity by force.

Many southerners now believe their time has come after two decades of what they see as marginalization within the unified state, and the plundering of mostly southern oil reserves by corrupt northern tribal sheikhs and politicians.

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Time is running out to pay attention to the crisis in the Yemen

Article by Yemeni journalist Rafat Al-Akhali for NewStateman

The West must turn to the world's "forgotten crisis" - before it becomes too big to forget.

The horrifying images of starving children, women, and men coming out of Yemen tell a story to the world that we Yemenis have known for a while: the country is sliding into a wide-scale famine while all sides of the conflict turn a blind eye to the suffering of millions of innocent civilians.

While an alliance of the Houthi rebel movement and the ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh continues to persecute their opponents in the areas they control, and besiege and shell Taiz, the country’s third-largest city, in an effort to consolidate their control over the central part of Yemen, the Saudi-led coalition besieges most of the country and indiscriminately targets civilian areas and infrastructure. The worst single incident took place earlier this month when an airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition on a funeral hall in Sana’a left an estimated 140 dead and 525 injured. With a crumbling health system unable to cope, the majority of the injured were not able to travel abroad for treatment as the Saudis have forced the closure of Sana’a airport for nearly two months.

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British Red Cross - Yemen Crisis Appeal

Yemen Crisis Appeal by the British Red Cross

The ongoing conflict in Yemen has devastated millions of people’s lives.

Right now, more than half the population don’t have enough food. Almost a quarter face starvation. Families are living with no water or electricity.

View the appeal here

Save the Children - Yemen Crisis - Donate Now

Yemen Crisis Appeal by Save the Children

This is the world's largest humanitarian crisis.

But not enough people have been talking about it.

Since March last year, brutal fighting has spread across almost all of Yemen.

A staggering 21 million people are in dire need of humanitarian aid - that's 82% of the population.

Children are going hungry and thirsty - one third of children under 5 are severely malnourished, and in many parts of the country the water supply is turned on for just one hour every day.

The healthcare system has collapsed, meaning that children and their families can't get the vital care they desperately need.

View the appeal here

Care International - Yemen Emergency Appeal

Care International Yemen Emergency Appeal

Over 80% of Yemen’s population are in a desperate struggle for survival and need your help right now. The conflict has devastated the lives of children and their families, with so many now on the brink of starvation. Please donate now to provide emergency food and water.

View appeal here

OXFAM appeal - Crisis in Yemen

OXFAM appeal for Crisis in Yemen

GIVE NOW. SAVE LIVES.

Deadly clashes and air strikes have killed and injured thousands of people. Millions more have been forced to leave their homes and are struggling to find food and water. Oxfam is there.

You can help.

View appeal here

Unicef: Donate and help protect children in Yemen

Yemen Crisis appeal by UNICEF

View UNICEF appeal here

Millions starving in ‘forgotten war’ as Saudi bombs tear Yemen apart

Article by Bel Trew for The Times

Millions of people in Yemen are starving, including children who will be crippled for life, the UN has warned as new photographs from areas worst hit by the war show teenagers dying of hunger.

Yemen now has one of the highest malnutrition rates in the world, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said yesterday. More than 14 million people are going hungry, half of them starving. At least ten of the country’s 21 governorates are close to a famine.

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New initiative proposed by UN envoy to resolve Yemen crisis

Article for AhramOnline by Ahmed Eleiba

An initiative for a Yemeni political settlement has been presented to the Houthi faction and ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh loyalists, a source close to Saleh told Ahram Online.
The written initiative was presented to the two allied factions by UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who visited the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Monday, according to the source.

“The UN envoy left before receiving a final reply in hopes that he will be back in a few weeks to prepare a fresh round of talks for a settlement if an initial approval is given,” the source said.

The new initiative includes six main points, the first of which is for Yemeni President Abd Rabu Mansour Hady to be recognised as a transitional president with limited authority, and the appointment of a vice president agreed upon by all involved factions and who is to be based in the capital Sanaa, currently under Houthi control.

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Boris Johnson and John Kerry call for ceasefire in Yemen – video

Video by theguardian

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Funeral bombing - video of aftermath

Mobile phone video shows shock and grief in aftermath of Saudi air strike on Yemeni funeral on 8 October 2016

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Yemen: The 'forgotten war' cloaked in the shadow of Syria

By Hakim Almasmari and Angela Dewan, for CNN

Sanaa (CNN)Dozens of schools and hospitals have been bombed. Foreign powers have carried out deadly airstrikes. Political chaos has created a vacuum for militant groups like ISIS to flourish and sieges have cut off rebel-held areas from desperately needed aid.

You might think this is a picture of war-torn Syria, but it is in fact Yemen, where a bloody civil war has created what the UN calls a "humanitarian catastrophe."

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(includes video)

A Roar at a Funeral, and Yemen’s War Is Altered

By SHUAIB ALMOSAWA and BEN HUBBARD for The New York Times

SANA, Yemen — Large speakers played verses from the Quran as hundreds of mourners filed through the fanciest reception hall in Sana, the capital, to pay their respects to a prominent family after the death of its patriarch.

Then there was a roar, the hall shook, and the guests were knocked to the floor and enveloped in fire and smoke. Some rushed for the exits as parts of the ceiling collapsed, trapping others under the rubble.

“We did not think they would attack a funeral,” said Abdulla al-Shamy, 27, a clothing salesman who was in the hall at the time. “We did not think they would be so vile.”

The attack on Saturday, which Yemeni officials and witnesses said was a series of airstrikes by the military coalition led by Saudi Arabia, killed more than 100 people and unleashed political forces that could drastically change the course of Yemen’s war.

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Airstrikes on Yemen funeral kill at least 140 people, UN official says

Article for theguardian by Nadia Khomani

Houthi rebels say Saudi-led coalition to blame for attack on ceremony that left at least another 525 wounded

More than 140 people were killed and more than 525 wounded when airstrikes hit a funeral ceremony in Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, a senior UN official has said, as Houthi rebels blamed the attack on the Saudi-led coalition.

The dead and wounded include senior military and security officials from the ranks of the Shia Houthi rebels fighting the internationally recognised government of president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi as well as their allies, loyalists of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

In the aftermath of the strike on Saturday, hundreds of body parts were found strewn in and outside the hall. Rescuers collected them in sacks. “The place has been turned into a lake of blood,” said one rescuer, Murad Tawfiq.

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Video of Saudi airstrike on Yemen funeral hall

Video of Saudi airstrike on Yemen funeral hall wake. 1st airstrike followed by 2nd strike to hit rescuers.

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Airstrike kills more than 100, injures hundreds at Yemen funeral

Washington Post article by Ali Al-Mujahed and Sudarsan Raghavan

SANAA, Yemen — An airstrike by a U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition killed more than 100 people and injured hundreds more at a funeral Saturday, according to Health Ministry officials and medical groups. With the death toll expected to rise, it was one of the deadliest single assaults in the 20-month-old civil conflict that has fractured the Middle East’s poorest country.

Witnesses said at least three airstrikes hit the Grand Hall, one of the biggest arenas in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, as mourners gathered inside to attend a funeral for the father of a top rebel Houthi official. In attendance were senior political and military officials aligned with the Houthis and hundreds of civilians, according to witnesses.

As explosions rocked the hall at around 3:30 p.m., chaos ensued as people tried to rush toward the exits. Many jumped through a large opening in a wall that had crumbled, said Mohammed Ahmed al-Sunaidar, an Interior Ministry employee. He was just arriving at the hall and ran inside to help survivors.

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US security cooperation with Saudi Arabia is not a blank check

U.S. is “making excuses” for Saudi war crimes in Yemen, rights group says

Article by Ben Norton for Salon.com

Human Rights Watch has criticized the U.S. government for “making excuses” for the atrocities committed by its close ally Saudi Arabia in its war in Yemen.

“Despite rising outrage over the bloody civilian toll in Yemen’s war, the United States administration is showing no signs of breaking with — or attempting to check — the actions of its ally Saudi Arabia,” Priyanka Motaparthy, senior emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch, wrote on Thursday.

Since March 2015, a coalition of Middle Eastern countries led by Saudi Arabia and armed and supported by the U.S. and the United Kingdom has brutally bombed Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East.

“The U.S. has supported the Saudi-led campaign with aerial refueling and targeting assistance without criticizing Saudi Arabia and its allies for repeatedly and unlawfully bombing civilians, committing apparent war crimes,” Motaparthy wrote.

The Human Rights Watch researcher stressed, “The nature of this support makes the U.S. a party to the armed conflict, and potentially culpable in unlawful strikes.”

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Famine fears in Yemen as food shortages grow

Article for Gulf Times by Jonathan Saul, Noah Browning And Mohamed Ghobari/Reuters/London/Dubai

Intensive care wards in Yemen’s hospitals are filled with emaciated children hooked up to monitors and drips – victims of food shortages that could get even worse due to a reorganisation of the central bank that is worrying importers.
With food ships finding it hard to get into Yemen’s ports due to a virtual blockade, over half the country’s 28mn people already do not have enough to eat, according to the United Nations.
Yemen’s exiled president, Abd-Rabbu Mansur Hadi, last month ordered the central bank’s headquarters to be moved from the capital Sanaa, controlled by Houthi rebels in the north, to the southern port of Aden, which is held by the government.
He also appointed a new governor, a member of his government who has said the bank has no money.
Trade sources involved in importing food to the Arab peninsula’s poorest country say this decision will leave them financially exposed and make it harder to bring in supplies.
Diplomats and aid officials believe the crisis surrounding the central bank could adversely affect ordinary Yemenis.
“The politicisation of the central bank and attempts by the parties in the conflict to use it as a tool to hurt one another threaten to push the poorest over the edge,” said Richard Stanforth, humanitarian policy adviser with Oxfam.
“Everything is stacked against the people on the brink of starvation in Yemen.”
The effects of food shortages can already be seen.

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Smashed cranes slow aid flow to Yemen-UN Aid Chief

Article for Digital Journal by Ian Timberlake

"Smashed cranes" at Yemen's rebel-held Hodeida port are hindering the entry of relief supplies to ease a deteriorating humanitarian crisis in the war-torn country, the UN aid chief said Wednesday.

On a visit to Saudi Arabia, Stephen O'Brien told reporters that aid flow needed to increase at the Red Sea port, through which 80 to 90 percent of Yemen's supplies transited before the war.

"The real issue is the restriction of unloading capacity at the port because the cranes are smashed," said O'Brien, who heads the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

He did not mention the cause of the damage to the cranes, but in August last year he said coalition air strikes on the port were in contravention of international humanitarian law.

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UK Channel 4 News video on plight of Yemen's children

Channel 4 News Video

These are the desert graves of Yemen's displaced children.
Millions have fled their war torn homes and now many are stranded and malnourished in camps around the country.

Watch it here

Why Some Wars (Like Syria’s) Get More Attention Than Others (Like Yemen’s)

Article by Amanda Taub for The New York Times

It is a truth universally acknowledged by every war correspondent, humanitarian aid worker and Western diplomat: Some wars, like Syria’s, receive tremendous public attention, which can translate into pressure for resolution. But many others, like Yemen’s still raging but much ignored conflict, do not.

Some of the reasons are obvious; the scale of Syria’s war is catastrophic and much worse than Yemen’s. But attention is about more than numbers. The conflict in eastern Congo, for instance, killed millions of people and displaced millions more, but received little global attention.

Every country in the world has its own version of that dynamic, but it is uniquely significant in the United States.

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