Yemen conflict: The view from the Saudi side

BBC article by Frank Gardner

Tall, bearded and wearing a pained expression, an elderly Saudi man called Jaber stands before the ruins of his family house in the town of Najran, just north of the border with war-torn Yemen.

The whitewashed walls of his house are pockmarked with blast marks and jagged holes gouged by flying shrapnel.

"Yesterday at 5.15 in the afternoon," he told me, "came an explosion from Yemen. My family were sitting just over there," he pointed to an abandoned mattress on the ground.

Read full article 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.

Read full article here

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.

Watch it here

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.

Read the full article here

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.”

Read the full article here

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.

Read full article 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.

Read the full article here

Yemen crisis: “It was raining rockets”

Article by Holly Frew for Care International

Conflict in Yemen has torn the country apart, leaving millions living on the edge – fearful for their lives, fearful for the future, fearful for how they will survive even if they escape the airstrikes and the fighting.

“It was 7am and I was having breakfast with my mother-in law and four of my daughters,” said Hammama, recounting what began as a seemingly ordinary day in Yemen. Only things are not ordinary in Yemen, and on that day, extraordinary events changed Hammama’s life forever.

“We heard the aircraft hovering low overhead and airstrikes in the surrounding area, but that was a sound we had gotten used to. We didn’t think we would be a target.”

Read full article here

From the Margin of Life into the Heart of War

This documentary, from Mwatana Organization for Human Rights, focuses one of several Saudi airstrikes that destroyed civilian homes and killed members of the "Muhammashin (Marginalized)" social class.

Watch the video here

Yemen at the UN - August 2016 Review

Article by Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies

United Nations-mediated peace talks aimed at resolving the conflict in Yemen stalled during the month of August, while divisions regarding Yemen became increasingly apparent at the UN Security Council and violence escalated around the country.

The negotiations between the warring parties, held in Kuwait, ended in early August over an impasse regarding so-called “sequencing concerns” related to the UN-sponsored peace plan; these were essentially a disagreement over whether the Houthi rebels and allied forces should be required to cede capture territory and disarm before, or after, their place in a new unity government was established.

In an effort to break the impasse, in late August a multilateral group consisting of the United States, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia put forward a new peace proposal drafted by the US Secretary of State to address the sequencing concerns.

Read full article here

Exiled Yemen government risks humanitarian catastrophe to cut off central bank

Reuters article by Sami Aboudi and Noah Browning

In Yemen's war of attrition, the Saudi-backed exiled government has now decided that the central bank is an easier target than the capital, shielded from its troops by 60 kilometers (40 miles) of daunting mountains teeming with fighters.

A decree this month to cut the bank off from the outside world is aimed at using economic pressure to vanquish the Houthi fighters of the Zaydi branch of Shi'ite Islam, who have ruled the capital and most of northern Yemen for nearly two years.

It means the Houthis may struggle to pay state employees, including teachers, doctors and the soldiers from an army that mostly fights on their side in the civil war.

Read full article here

Yemen at the UN - July 2016 Review

Article by Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies

United Nations efforts to resolve the Yemeni conflict were marked by disputes and setbacks during the month of July. Days before the originally scheduled conclusion of peace talks in Kuwait on July 31, the Houthi rebels and their allied General Popular Congress (GPC), led by former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, unilaterally established a governing council in Yemen that both leaves out the internationally-recognized Yemeni government and undermines the UN-led peace process. Although the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, was subsequently successful in extending the peace talks through to August 6, they were concluded without having secured a peace agreement, prompting concerns about both a likely escalation in fighting and the ineffectiveness of UN efforts to help end the war.

Read full article here

Video documentary on Yemen War

Video posted by Hisham Al-Radhi

I am not sure of its date of original posting.

Watch the video here


When Ahmed lost his friend

Ahmed tells the story of how he lost his best friend Bilal

bilal-story

Listen to him read his story here

His story:

Hello. My name is Ahmed Algohbary. I'm from Yemen, Dhamar City. I'm going to talk about my best friend, Bilal.

Everyone in this life has a best friend. Someone who knows all your secrets. Someone you talk to every day. Someone who can always put a smile on your face. My best friend is Bilal.

Me and Bilal were playing football together, surfing the net, watching movies and going to school together. Bilal always knows how to make me laugh. He has changed my life and made me a better person.

Three years ago Bilal went to the capital, Sana'a, to study there. And a year ago Saudis started to bombard my lovely country, Yemen.

On the 19th of April, 2015 I went to Sana'a to meet my friend, Bilal. I took him to a coffee shop. We had a nice chat. And then I went back to my house, and Bilal went to his uncle's house. Saudi jets targeted Faj Attan mountain. It was the biggest explosion. My house windows shattered. Three hours later I received a call from Bilal's mother.

She said, "Ahmed, Bilal is dead."

I said, "What?" I was in a very big shock.

She said, "Saudi killed my son." And she was crying. I cried, too. I couldn't really believe that: my best friend killed by Saudi air strikes.

Bilal is one of many who are killed by Saudi war on Yemen.

I will never forget watching 'Game of Thrones' episodes every day and dancing around his room together and singing.

I hope one day I will wake up and the war will be over.

My message to the Saudi coalition: Please stop killing. We have kids. We are human beings like you. This is not a game.

Another message to United Kingdom: Please stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia.

And also now the Saudi jets are over my city.

UN Security Council: The Humanitarian situation in Yemen (7622nd meeting)

The situation in the Middle East (Yemen)
Briefing by Mr. Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on the humanitarian situation in Yemen.



(Start watching at 2:00 minutes)

UNOCHA chief Stephen O'Brien provides updated data on humanitarian catastrophe. Stresses that all parties to the conflict are hindering humanitarian access. O'Brien notes in particular that while access to Ta'iz has improved since the January peace talks, Houthi forces are still delaying and blocking much of the aid sent there. Also emphasizes that Saudi Arabia's recent "warning" to the UN and NGOs has had a major negative impact on the delivery of humanitarian aid.

Saudi Arabia Warns the UN and Aid Workers in Yemen

Article for Vice News by Samuel Oakford:

The Saudi government has sent letters to the United Nations and to aid agencies operating in Yemen, stating that they should leave areas under Houthi control in order to be safe from bombing, VICE News can reveal.

An initial letter was sent by the Saudi mission in Geneva on February 5 to the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The "note verbale" — French for "verbal note," a kind of diplomatic communication — requested that OCHA "notify all the international organizations working in Yemen about the necessity of relocating their headquarters outside the military operations areas to be away from regions where the Houthi militias and the groups belonging to them are activating, in order for the Coalition forces to guarantee the safety and security of the international organizations." A similar letter, addressed to "International Organisations and their employees," and marked "urgent," was sent out on the same day by the Saudi embassy in London.

Houthi rebels and their allies loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh control areas where the majority of Yemen's population lives, including the capital Sanaa, where most aid organizations and UN operations are headquartered.

Read the full article here

MY COMMENT
This is very worrying. In their next assault on Sanaa, the Saudis want no foreign observers on the ground. They have also just bombed Sanaa's Nehm exchange, seriously degrading Yemen's internet connection to the outside world. They want to silence Yemeni witnesses by cutting them off from the outside world, and kick out the foreign witnesses. This should raise major alarm bells in governments around the world!

90 Seconds: Leaked UN panel report on Yemen

Summary video by Middle East Eye:



Yemen: Is Peace Possible?

Report by CrisisGroup.org:

Nearly a year on, there is no end in sight to Yemen’s war. The conflict pits Ansar Allah (Huthi) rebels and military units allied with ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh against a diverse mix of opponents, including what remains of the government of President Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi, backed by a Saudi-led coalition supported by the U.S., the UK and France. Ending the war requires negotiations leading to an interim settlement that must include security arrangements providing for militia withdrawal from cities, a return to the political process pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 2216 and agreement on a transitional leadership. While these are matters for Yemeni parties to decide during UN-sponsored negotiations, Saudi Arabia’s buy-in will be essential, spooked as the kingdom is by what it perceives as an Iranian hand behind the Huthis and their attacks on Saudi territory. Reaching agreement will take time, a luxury Yemenis do not have. The immediate priority thus should be to secure agreement on delivering humanitarian aid and commercial goods to war-torn, besieged areas.

Read the full report here

(This report attempts to explain the reasons behind the Yemen conflict, the various parties involved, and suggested steps each of these parties should take to facilitate a negotiated peace settlement)

MPs call for immediate halt of UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Article for theguardian by Patrick Wintour:

An all-party group of MPs has called for an immediate suspension of UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia and an international independent inquiry into the kingdom’s military campaign in Yemen.

The call from the international development select committee follows evidence from aid agencies to MPs warning that Saudi Arabia was involved in indiscriminate bombing of its neighbour.

The UK government has supplied export licences for close to £3bn worth of arms to Saudi Arabia in the last year, the committee said, and has also been accused of being involved in the conduct and administration of the Saudi campaign in Yemen.

In their letter to the international development secretary, Justine Greening, it urged the UK to withdraw opposition to an independent international inquiry into alleged abuses of humanitarian law in Yemen.

Read the full article here

View the International Development Committee's report here

Watch the 27 January International Development Committee's enquiry sessions on my Parliament page

UN: UK fuelling Yemen civil war with arms sales to Saudi Arabia


Britain is at war with Yemen. So why does nobody know about it?

Article for theguardian by Owen Jones:

Britain is arming and aiding a fundamentalist dictatorship that’s bombing and killing civilians. This is an incontestable fact. The Saudi tyranny – gay-hating women-oppressors who kicked off the year with ~a mass beheading – has been waging war in Yemen for 10 months.

If the 26 million Yemenis were being besieged and bombed by an official enemy of the west, we might expect emotive calls to “do something” and militarily intervene. Well, we are intervening: not simply by supplying weapons but even by providing the Saudi-led coalition of Arab dictators with British military advisers. As the SNP’s Angus Robertson put it to the prime minister’s face, Britain is “effectively at war” – and yet few Britons know anything about it.

Since Saudi-led forces intervened in the conflict between President Hadi and Houthi rebels last March, around 6,000 Yemenis have been killed, perhaps half of them civilians. With the country under naval blockade, what the UN was already calling a “humanitarian catastrophe” six months ago has been unleashed. Eight in every 10 Yemenis are now dependent on humanitarian aid, and most do not have “adequate access to clean water or sanitation”, according to the UN.

Read the full article here

I have never seen such destruction’ as in Yemen: aid worker

Article for PBS Newshour by Larisa Epatko:

Fighting in Yemen after rebels overthrew the government in early 2015 has created a dire humanitarian situation unparalleled even in places as battle-scarred as Syria, according to a Doctors Without Borders worker.

“I’ve worked in war zones for the past 11 to 12 years, in some of the worst conflicts like Syria, but I have never seen such destruction conducted in such a short period as in Yemen,” wrote Michael Seawright from Auckland, New Zealand.

Seawright served as project coordinator for Doctors Without Borders in the Middle Eastern region. “I was based in Saada, in the north, in a Houthi-controlled area that was experiencing almost daily attacks from coalition air forces. These airstrikes were often close to our facilities and we clearly felt their effects,” he wrote.

Read the full article here

Who Voted to Bomb Yemen? Asks Angus Robertson SNP

goingundergroundRT video:

Afshin Rattansi goes underground on British backed airstrikes in Yemen with leader of the SNP in Westminster Angus Robertson. We talk about the UK military support for the Saudi-led coalition.

Saudi-led airstrike kills family of 8, incl. Yemeni judge who presided over Pres. Hadi treason case

RT article:

judge-house2-500
A woman walks past the house of court judge Yahya Rubaid after a Saudi-led air strike destroyed it, killing him, his wife and five other family members, in Yemen's capital Sanaa January 25, 2016 © Khaled Abdullah / Reuters



A Houthi-appointed national security court judge and seven members of his family were killed in a Saudi-led coalition airstrike in the Yemini capital Sanaa, according to local residents.

The Sunday bombing partially destroyed the home of Yahya Rubaid, a judge who had prosecuted cases against militant groups including Al-Qaeda. He had also presided over treason cases against President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and other ousted opponents of the Houthis.

Seven members of Rubaid's family – everyone except one of his sons – were also killed in the bombing, residents told Reuters.

Read the full article here

SNP's Angus Robertson seeks meeting with David Cameron over Yemen

Angus Robertson, the SNP's leader at Westminster, has requested a meeting with David Cameron to discuss the ongoing crisis in Yemen.

He has urged the prime minister to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia claiming the weapons are being used in its military campaign in the neighbouring country.

Mr Robertson said the situation meant the UK was "effectively at war".

Read the full article here

MSF paramedic, civilian first responders killed in Saudi double-tap airstrike in Yemen

RT Article and video:

Almost two dozen people, including civilian rescuers and an ambulance driver from an MSF-affiliated hospital, have reportedly been killed after Saudi-led coalition planes carried out repeated airstrikes on the same target in Sa’ada province, Yemen.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) confirmed the fatal air raids in Sa’ada, saying the “planes went back to bomb areas already hit.”

The incident took place in the town of Dhayan, about 20 kilometers from the city of Sa’ada and not far from another MSF-supported hospital, Shiara, which was hit by a missile on January 10.



Above video shows 'double-tap' airstrikes - double bombings in short succession where the second strike targets the rescuers of those injured in the first.


Read the full article here

OCHA (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) - Yemen

Check out their Yemen page here

Crisis Overview
'Armed conflict has spread rapidly across much of Yemen since mid-March 2015, with devastating consequences for civilians. Partners now estimate that 21.1 million people – 80 per cent of the population – require some form of humanitarian protection or assistance. This represents a 33 per cent increase in needs since the conflict began.'

Read their full Crisis Overview here

Download their full report 'Yemen Humanitarian Needs Overview 2016'

Angus Robertson: 'Britain effectively at war in Yemen'

PMQs: Robertson and Cameron on Yemen

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Angus Robertson, the SNP’s leader at Westminster, said thousands of civilians were being killed in Yemen including by the Saudi air force.

Mr Robertson said this was happening using British-built planes, with pilots trained by British instructors and bombs “co-ordinated with the help of British advisers”, suggesting the UK was already effectively involved in a war in Yemen.

David Cameron said the UK was not a member of the Saudi-led coalition, its military personnel were not directly involved and that the UK was “not involved in the Saudi targeting decision making process”.

Watch the video here

Class of Endurance: Yemen students graduation pic at building bombed by Saudis

Graduating high school students at the Yemen Modern School in the country’s capital city, Sanaa, took a defiant photo to mark the end of their time in high school and depict what they went through to complete their education in a war-torn country.

yemen-modern-school-600

I taught at the Yemen Modern School for 5 years, 1997 - 2002

Read the full article here

The forgotten war in Yemen

YouTube video by Joseph Tabona:


British and US military 'in command room' for Saudi strikes on Yemen

Article for theguardian by Emma Graham-Harrison:

British and American military officials are in the command and control centre for Saudi airstrikes on Yemen, and have access to lists of targets, although they do not play any role in choosing them, the Saudi Arabian foreign minister has said.

Human rights groups, the European parliament and the UN have all expressed concerns about airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, in support of the internationally recognised government.

Read the full article here

Lone children fleeing war in Yemen, seek safety in Somaliland

Report by UNHCR:

Yemeni teen Khayria Abdel Wahab was making the beds in the home where she was a housekeeper when a shattering blast signalled a heavy bombardment.

Panicked by the explosion, the 17-year-old ran out into the crowds fleeing towards the port in her hometown, all the while searching for her mother and her seven brothers and sisters. For three days, Abdel Wahab tried to find her family.

"I sat with strangers all desperately looking for someone," she says, remembering the moment in early November. "Mobile phones were not reachable, the network was down. Nobody could give me any hope."

She was warned that staying in Yemen was not safe. "I had no alternative," Abdel Wahab says. "I had to flee to Somalia."

The unaccompanied minor is among more than 168,000 people who have fled violence in Yemen since March, when years of political instability, economic hardship and sectarian tensions erupted into civil war. More than 9,500 of those who fled went to Somaliland, an autonomous region of Somalia across the Gulf of Aden from Yemen.

Read the full article here

Yemen: Another MSF-supported hospital bombed

Report by MSF (Medicin Sans Frontieres):

Sana’a – An MSF-supported hospital has been hit by a projectile in northern Yemen resulting in at least four deaths, 10 injured and the collapse of several buildings of the medical facility. Three of the injured are MSF staff, two in critical condition.

“All warring parties, including the Saudi-led coalition (SLC), are regularly informed of the GPS coordinates of the medical sites where MSF works and we are in constant dialogue with them to ensure that they understand the severity of the humanitarian consequences of the conflict and the need to respect the provision of medical services”, says Raquel Ayora, Director of Operations. “There is no way that anyone with the capacity to carry out an airstrike or launch a rocket would not have known that the Shiara hospital was a functioning health facility providing critical services and supported by MSF”.

“We reiterate to all parties to the conflict that patients and medical facilities must be respected and that bombing hospitals is a violation of International Humanitarian Law”, says Ayora.

Read the full article here

Inside the shattered city of Taiz, Yemen

BBC iPlayer Radio report:

Yemen is already one of the poorest nations in the Arab world. Now things have gone from bad to worse, since the start of an uprising launched by the Houthi rebel group. A Saudi-led coalition has gone to war against the rebels. Since March 2015, more than 6,000 people have died. The country's basic infrastructure is shattered, its economy is almost non-existent and at least 80% of the population is dependent on food aid. Safa Al Ahmad has travelled to the besieged Yemeni city of Taiz.

Listen to it here

MSF Blog post about Taiz Hospital

Blog post by Chris entitled 'Three Familiar Sounds'

Read it here

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."

Read the full article here

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.

Read the full article here

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.

Read the full article here

Witness: A Wedding Bombed in Yemen

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

wedding-bombing-500

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.”

Read the full article here

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.

Read the full article here

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.

Read the full article here

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'.

Philip Hammond says he wants UK to sell even more weapons to Saudi Arabia

Article for The Independent by Jon Stone:

Britain should sell more weapons to the Saudi Arabian regime despite the fact they are being used by the country as part of its military operations in Yemen, the Foreign Secretary has said.

Philip Hammond said he was aware that human rights violations by Saudi Arabian forces operating in the country had been reported but said the Saudis denied these allegations.

Saudi Arabia has been blockading Yemen since March this year and is launching airstrikes in the country’s territory.

Read the full article here

Children

Blog article by Dr Judith Brown

I would like particularly to dwell on the suffering of children in this ghastly war, as this week children are returning to school after an 8 month gap in their education since March. When children stopped going to school because of the aerial bombardment, people thought it would be a short time until the war was over. Now, 224 days later, they are still subject to a barrage of bombs, but people want to get on with their lives. Education will still be difficult. Many schools are destroyed or damaged, and in some areas the remaining intact schools are so far away that it will not be possible to send children to school, such as in Saada governate. Most schools do not have electricity or water, and also lack basic equipment such as paper because of the blockade. So despite the fact that the pace of the war has not diminished and the blockade stops educational equipment from arriving, the people of Yemen do not want their children to be a lost generation and they have decided that they must go to school, whatever happens. This will not be easy, as bombs can still be heard day and night, and many children are suffering from stress because of it. But congratulations, mabruk Yemen, on getting your schools up and running. And what courage those teachers must have.

Read the full article here

The world needs to know about Yemen’s war. But journalists are being silenced

Article for theguardian by Charlene Rodrigues:

One Friday in Old Sana’a, while filming the aftermath of the Saudi-led coalition bombings, I found myself surrounded by a group of militia who were trying to take hold of my camera. I was detained for a few hours in the ruins, confused and unnerved. The interrogation I received from the Houthis was relentless. But the problems didn’t stop here. For a week, I was harassed with regular phone calls and visits from National Security officials at my hotel. All this despite having a press visa issued in London.

Incidents such as these are increasingly common since the rebel Houthi militia took over Sana’a in late September last year. Local journalists have either fled to their villages or left the country. Some have been threatened and assaulted, while others’ homes have been ransacked, their families living in constant fear. There are only a handful of foreign journalists in the country and they keep a low profile.

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Yemen video - 'Bombs fall from the sky day and night'

Amnesty International researchers visited Yemen in June and July 2015 and gathered evidence of serious violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes in Sa'da in northeastern Yemen. They investigated 13 deadly airstrikes which killed some 100 civilians including 59 children. They also documented the use of internationally banned cluster bombs.

Watch the video here

UNICEF Yemen Crisis Situation Report

Six months have passed since the escalation of the conflict in Yemen on 26 March 2015. These months of unremitting violence have left at least 505 children dead and 702 injured. Across the country, nearly 10 million children – 80 per cent of the country’s under-18 population – remain in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. More than 1.4 million people have been forced to flee their homes.

The last six months have also seen a growing number of attacks on civilians and vital infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, bridges and roads. Verified reports show that since March 2015, 41 schools and 61 hospitals have been attacked or damaged as a result of the fighting. Furthermore, at least 606 children have been recruited by armed groups and armed forces, according to the UNICEF-led Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM).

Download the full report here

Statement by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

New York, 28 September 2015

The Secretary-General condemns the airstrikes that reportedly struck a wedding party in Wahijah village, outside of the Red Sea port city of Mokha in Yemen, killing as many as 135 people. The Secretary-General expresses his deepest condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims and a swift recovery to those injured.

The Secretary-General has consistently stated that there is no military solution to the conflict in Yemen. Its continuation will only bring more human suffering and destruction. Earlier today addressing the United Nations General Assembly, he condemned the disregard shown by all sides for human life.

The Secretary-General, therefore, again calls on all parties involved in the Yemeni conflict, from inside and outside the country, to immediately cease all military activities and resolve all differences through peaceful negotiations facilitated by his Special Envoy.

Any intentional attack against civilians is considered a serious violation of international humanitarian law. Violations of international law should be investigated through prompt, effective, independent and impartial mechanisms to ensure accountability.

Find the original statement here

Yemen after 5 months of war like Syria after 5 years

'Air strike' kills five in historic district of Sana'a

Article for theguardian:

sanaa-old-city2

Five people have died and several buildings were destroyed in the old quarter of the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, in what witnesses said was an air strike.

Sana’a’s old city has been inhabited for more than 2,500 years and was a centre for the propagation of Islam, boasting more than 100 mosques, 14 public baths and more than 6,000 houses built before the 11th century. Unesco calls it a jewel of Islamic culture and added the site to its world heritage list in 1986.

Residents said the blast was caused by an air strike by the Saudi-led coalition that launched a bombing campaign against Houthi rebels in late March. If confirmed it would be the first in old Sana’a since the bombing began.

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