Yemen the forgotten country


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Yemen has been on my mind for quite awhile so I just wanted to start a thread to keep Yemen represented as a country on the forum. I will start with a few posts that can be added to as the events continue to unfold. Mostly Yemen is just an afterthought when mentioning Saudi Arabia, Iran or other Middle Eastern countries. Their suffering is not noticed by the MSM which goes for so many other countries too but if anyone else wants to add more posts about Yemen that would be good I think.

Many countries are perpetuating the suffering in Yemen so I think they should be noted and held accountable even if only in our awareness. Without the knowledge and awareness I don't know how can anything ever change or be better.

These are some events of the past along with some newer events:

Neonix 2018 post:
The Yemen Option - Yemen (ABC Australia 2004)

March 30 ,2018:
Three years of hell: Inside Yemen's civil war

September 2018:
United States and France jointly responsible for famine in Yemen
French military intelligence note dated September 2018 shows that Saudi Arabia is making extensive use of French armaments in its war against Yemen, specifically "Leclerc tanks, Archer artillery howitzers, Mirage 2000-9 fighter jets, Cobra radars, Aravis armoured vehicles, Cougar and Dauphin helicopters, Caesar cannons ...».
The maps included in the classified military report were presented to President Emmanuel Macron on October 3, 2018 during a “restricted” Defence Council meeting in the French Presidential office.
The leaked document, released on March 15, 2019 by the investigative media outlet Disclose, complements the revelations already published on June 16, 2018 by the newspaper Le Figaro, which confirmed the presence of French special forces fighting alongside the Saudi Arabian army during the battle in the Yemeni city of Hodeida [also known as al-Hudayda].
Despite the disclosures, the French government continues to deny that French armaments and French special forces are involved in offensive operations against Yemen, insisting that they are only deployed in defensive positions on the Yemeni border.
In the United States, a bill sponsored by Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders prohibiting any form of US participation in the war against Yemen was passed by both the Senate, in March, and the House of Representatives, in April. Earlier this week, on April 17th, President Donald Trump vetoed the bill.
The strategy of the Israeli-Saudi Joint Chiefs of Staff, supported by the United States, France and the United Arab Emirates, now envisages seeking victory in Yemen by starving the population.
At least one third of the targets attacked by the warring coalition in Yemen are not military but civilian targets. At least 50,000 Yemeni children have already died as a result of the famine caused by the Saudi Arabian-led coalition attacks.
Artemis Pittas

angelburst29 May 10, 2019:
Amid outcry over Yemen war, Saudi ship leaves France without arms cargo

PARIS/LE HAVRE (Reuters) - A Saudi vessel that had been due to load weapons at a northern French port on Friday set sail without them and headed for Spain, a day after a rights group tried to block the cargo on humanitarian grounds.

French rights group ACAT argued in a legal challenge on Thursday that the consignment contravened a U.N. treaty because the arms might be used against civilians in Yemen.

A French judge threw out that legal challenge but the Bahri-Yanbu set course for Santander shortly after minus the weapons, officials said and ship-tracking data showed.

The saga is an embarrassment for President Emmanuel Macron, who on Thursday defended arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh leads the pro-government military coalition in the four-year civil war that has devastated Yemen, killed tens of thousands and left much of the population on the brink of famine.

Macron said on Thursday Riyadh, which he called a key ally in the fight against terrorism, had assured him the weapons the ship was to load were not to be used against civilians.

An official working for Jean-Paul Lecoq, the opposition Communist member of parliament for port city Le Havre, confirmed the vessel had left without the consignment.

“This is a lesson for the executive,” he told Reuters. “It can no longer give bland statements saying ‘do not worry, we have guarantees’. That no longer works.”

European powers are split over arms sales to Saudi Arabia, with France and Britain lobbying against German efforts to toughen the way they are regulated.

The Bahri-Yanbu had been at anchor 25 kilometers (15 miles) off Le Havre since Wednesday evening, already carrying a separate consignment of arms loaded in Antwerp.

France’s defense ministry referred questions about the consignment to the foreign ministry, which referred Reuters back to the defense ministry. Neither the prime minister’s office, which approves arms’ sales, nor the presidency responded.

A Saudi embassy spokesman could not immediately comment.

The move by ACAT came after online investigative site Disclose published leaked military intelligence showing weapons sold by France to Saudi Arabia, including tanks and laser-guided missile systems, were being used against civilians in Yemen.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Friday that Paris adhered to rules related to arms sales,

France is one of Saudi Arabia’s main arms’ suppliers, but has also faced increasing domestic pressure to review that trade relationship as the human cost of Yemen’s war has risen.

ACAT had argued that the transfer contravened the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, which says one country cannot authorize the transfer of weapons if it knows at the time that those weapons could be used to commit war crimes or target civilians.

U.N. officials have said all sides in the Yemeni conflict may have committed war crimes.

The government declined to give details of the arms order, which Disclose had said included eight Caesar howitzer cannons.

May 14, 2019:
Arabic press review: Saudi Arabia stops Yemeni minister from leaving Riyadh

Meanwhile, Israeli paper towels sold in Tunisian causes controversy, and Algeria's economic situation may push the country towards an IMF loan

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman greets Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi in March 2018 (AFP)
Mohammad Ayesh
Published date: 14 May 2019 12:02 UTC | Last update: 2 hours 19 min ago
Saudi Arabia bans Yemeni minister from travel
Saudi officials have banned Yemen's minister of state in its internationally recognised government from leaving Riyadh, Arabi21 reported, citing a senior Yemeni security official.
Mohammed Abdullah Keda, a former governor of Al-Mahrah province where popular protests are currently taking place against the Saudi presence in Yemen, has been residing in the kingdom for nearly three months and was told he cannot leave, according to Arabi21.
The travel ban has continued despite Keda’s regular communication with Yemeni officials who have told him to wait, the Yemeni official said.
"The motives behind the Saudi ban are still unclear and ambiguous," the source told Arabi21.
Israeli paper towels stirs outcry in Tunisia
Controversy in Tunisia over normalisation with Israel has resurfaced after Israeli products emerged in local markets, amid leaks that a senior government official may be involved in importing the goods, according to London-based al-Quds al-Arabi.
A popular market in Tunisia was reportedly selling paper towels imported from Israel with pictures of scented handkerchiefs, bearing the words "Made in Israel", circulated on social media.
Media reports have accused a member of Tahya Tounes, the party launched earlier this year by leaders formerly associated with Tunisia's ruling party Nidaa Tounes, of importing the towels.
But he has denied the allegations, claiming there was a mistake in the procurement process, according to al-Quds al-Arabi.
Tunisian General Labour Union called on the government to recall the product and clarify the sources of imported products and how they are distributed.
It also called on Tunisians to "be vigilant and alerted towards such goods and reveal the parties selling them, in addition to refraining from buying these products and boycotting all those who import and promote them".
Recently, a group against Israeli normalisation revealed that Tunisian tourist agencies have been selling trips to Israel.
Algeria's financial crisis
Economic experts have warned of an economic downturn in part sparked by the current political crisis in Algeria, according to the Algerian newspaper Echourouk El-Yawmi.
The impending economic crisis may eventually push Algeria to borrow money from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the experts have said.
They predict that the crisis will cause economic growth to drop by 1 percent and inflation to increase drastically in 2021, unless a political consensus is achieved soon.
Economist Abdul Rahman Mataboul told the news outlet that the deteriorating economic situation in Algeria was the outcome of the protests that started in February, but also triggered by liquidity issues that pushed the government to print money late last year which caused inflation.
* Arabic press review is a digest of reports that are not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye.



Israeli press review: Judiciary to be made toothless as Netanyahu seeks protection
Arabic press review: Former Palestinian minister boasts of PA's support for Israel
Iranian press review: Leech breeding a bloody business in sanctions-hit Iran



The Living Force
Yemen's information minister, supported by the US and Saudi Arabia argues that the Houthi withdraw is a deception but the U.N. are monitoring the process in all three ports.


UN monitors Houthi withdrawal from Yemen’s Hodeidah

The UN says it is monitoring the redeployment of Houthi forces from three key ports in Yemen after the government dismissed the withdrawal as a “farce.”

Lt. Gen. Michael Lollesgaard, the head of a UN mission monitoring the cease-fire in Hodeidah, said Sunday that monitors will verify the Houthi withdrawal from the ports of Hodeida, Salif and Ras-Issa on Tuesday.

The Houthis say they began withdrawing on Saturday, in line with a long-delayed agreement reached in in December. Both sides agreed to withdraw from Hodeidah, which handles 70 percent of Yemen’s food imports and humanitarian aid, but remain divided over who will administer the ports after they leave.

The pullback is considered a first step in implementing a hard-won truce agreement for Hodeidah struck in Sweden in December between Yemen's internationally recognised government and the Iran-backed Houthis.

Yemen's information minister dismissed the Houthis' withdrawal announcement, accusing them of "a policy of deception." "What the Houthi militia did is a repeated theatrical play of handing over control of the port to its own forces (in different uniforms)," Moammer Al-Eryani tweeted.

"This shows its continued manipulation and evasion to implement the Sweden agreement... by adopting a policy of deception." The governor of Hodeidah, Al-Hasan Taher, said Saturday the Houthis were merely reshuffling personnel.

"The Houthis are staging a new ploy by handing over the ports of Hodeidah, Saleef and Ras Issa to themselves without any monitoring by the United Nations and the government side," said the official.

"This is totally rejected by us, and the agreement must be implemented in full, especially with regards to the identity of the troops that will take over from the Houthis," he added.

Houthi's begin withdrawing from Yemen ports May 12, 2019
Houthi's begin withdrawing from Yemen ports

Yemen's Houthi movement has begun withdrawing forces from the country’s port of Saleef in Hodeidah province, finally invoking the terms of a United Nations-sponsored peace deal five months after the agreement was made.

It is the first major step in implementing the deal, which was reached by the Saudi-backed Yemen government of President Abed-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the Iran-aligned Houthis for a ceasefire and troop withdrawal in Hodeidah last year. The deal is part of international efforts to end the four-year conflict.

The UN's Redeployment Coordination Committee had earlier said the Houthis would make an "initial unilateral redeployment" between Saturday and Tuesday from the ports of Saleef and Ras Isa, as well as the country's main port of Hodeidah.

The Committee said the redeployment would allow the UN to take "a leading role" in supporting the Red Sea Ports Corporation in the management of the Yemeni ports. It also said that this would enhance UN checks on cargoes.

The Houthi group and the Yemeni agreed last December - after a week of UN-sponsored peace talks in Sweden - to cease fighting and withdraw forces.

Under the original terms of the deal, international monitors were to be deployed in Hodeidah and all armed forces were to have pulled back completely within 21 days of the start of the ceasefire.

The Houthi movement said it had decided to ‘redeploy unilaterally’ because the government and its international backers had refused to implement the Stockholm agreement.

Hodeidah has become the focus of the war since last year when the coalition twice tried to seize its port to cut off the Houthis' main supply line.

Both sides are expected to pull back further in a second phase.

A spokesman for the Yemeni delegation to the Redeployment Coordination Committee emphasised that the beginning of the Houthi move was “the first step of the first stage.”

The UN has commented that the first day of Houthi redeployment was "in accordance with established plans."

U.N. says Hodeidah withdrawal "executed, partly as agreed" by parties May 14, 2019
Members of the Houthi movement are seen during withdrawal from Saleef port in Hodeidah province, Yemen May 11, 2019.  REUTERS/Abduljabbar Zeyad
The United Nations said on Tuesday a withdrawal by Yemen's Houthi movement from three Red Sea ports had been carried out "partly as agreed" by warring parties under a peace deal that it hopes will pave the way for wider peace talks.


The Living Force

Arabian Police Horses Rescue Mission, Sana'a, Yemen
28th November 2016: Kim Michelle Broderick, British Queen's Guide and Public Figure in France has just been asked by Iona Craig, freelance journalist to Yemen, to come to the rescue of another group of animals in a desperate condition, this time in the capital city of war-torn Yemen: Sana'a.


As Kim Michelle's Rescue Teams continue to fight with all our might to save suffering animals everywhere, we have launched this global appeal alongside our Ground Rescue Operation Coordinators to save:

166 Arabian War Horses at The Military Academy, Sana'a
87 Arabian Police Horses at The Police Academy ( recently bombed and many horses killed) in Sana'a and
60 Arabian horses at The Riding Academy in Sana'a
18 Arabian horses at Q’rab Stables, Dhamar
15 Arabian Horses in Al Hada
37 Arabian Horses in Soyun, Hadhramawt
15 Arabian Horses in Al Bayda, Hadhramawt

all enduring extreme neglect, hunger and thirst.

These very special, intelligent and highly-trained Arabian horses are needing to be treated on site as many of them are too weak to move.


We have been told that some Police horses have already died as a result of the bombing.....
URGENT NEEDS to save them :

° Water Pails ( buckets/ basins) for their individual boxes (4USD x 326)
° 200L Tanks of water (17USD per tank per day)
° Emergency Vet Medicines ( see Invoices)
° Vet Doctors fees
.° Emergency Food supplies :
for ceremonial. 3 kg, Straw: 3 kg ,Cane: 4kg ,Barseem: 5 ties green fodder trefoil, Dates: half Kilo, Carrot: 1kg and white Corn: 2kg =1 Horse =per day ( suppliers from market and from surrounding farms) 17USD per horse per day, Special high-nutrition feed 12000YR per bag

° Blankets/coats ; it gets very cold in Sana'a in the winter...
Thankyou to Captain Sadiq of The Military Academy for his authorization and cooperation, to Captain Mohammed of The Police Academy,vets Dr Ali Al Najjar, Dr Mwoain Said, Dr Nabil Aljarady, Dr Amin Alqobati, Dr Mosher Al Gurashi, to Muhammed Nasser, Salah Alsyani and the workers, to the freelance journalist Iona Craig, who first asked Kim Michelle to help these Horses and to Liz Hilton.

We truly need your instant help with this terrifying emergency: Please donate to these suffering Horses' survival while Sana'a, Yemen’s capital is still under blockade..

skinny chestnut.png


The Living Force
Controversial shift seen in Oman’s role in Yemen

Oman considers Mahra province important, giving its residents free movement between Oman and Yemen.
Sunday 30/09/2018

carte yemen.jpg

ADEN - Yemeni political sources corroborated the shift in Omani policy away from Muscat’s publicly stated neutrality to support the Houthi rebels against the internationally recognised government in Yemen and the Arab coalition supporting it.

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, pointed to signs, especially in areas of Yemen freed from Houthi rebel control, of Omani support of political and tribal figures provided the figures adopt a negative stance towards the Yemeni government and the Saudi-led coalition.

The sources said this was evident in the appearance of former Yemeni minister Ahmed Mousaed Hussein al-Awlaki in Yemen’s Shabwa province where he has reportedly been meeting with local leaders, demanding they adopt an anti-coalition stance and holding the anti-Houthi alliance responsible for damage caused by rebels.

The sources said Awlaki, who has been based in Muscat since 2010, was in southern Yemen to recruit local political and tribal leaders, who have been relatively quiet during the conflict, to foment internal conflict in liberated provinces and hold the government and the Saudi-led coalition responsible for the declining security and economic situation in the country.

The sources stressed that Muscat was utilising former Yemeni figures in Oman to support the Houthi militias directly or indirectly.

Omani authorities host hard-line southern leader Hassan Baum, known for his strong ties to Qatar and Iran. Baum reportedly turned his residence in Salalah, Oman, into a base of operations to build an alternative to the southern movement run by his son, Fadi Baum, from Lebanon.

The sources revealed Hassan Baum has been receiving political and tribal figures from various southern provinces to undermine the Yemeni government. Recent anti-coalition demonstrations in southern provinces are the result of Baum’s initiative, the sources said.

The sources stressed that Omani-Qatari coordination regarding Yemen was at its highest level. The two countries are supporting and funding political moves against the Arab coalition and internationally recognised government, while creating unrest in liberated areas through political, financial and logistical support to the Houthis.

Elements linked to Oman are behind demonstrations in Mahra province, where protesters have demanded the withdrawal of Saudi troops, who are trying to curb arms smuggling by Houthi militias, the sources said.

Oman considers Mahra important, giving its residents free movement between Oman and Yemen. It has also begun naturalising hundreds of tribal militias in the province.

As part of Oman’s expanding actions in southern Yemen, sources said Muscat had a role in the return of the Istanbul-based Muslim Brotherhood leader Hamoud Saeed al-Makhlafi to Taiz province. Muslim Brotherhood supporters celebrated in the streets in Taiz, carrying pictures of Omani Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said.

Makhlafi reportedly received funding from Qatar to establish camps in Taiz. The Salafist Abu Abbas Brigades recently seized three military squads from Marib en route to reinforce two Muslim Brotherhood camps there that house more than 3,500 people.

Peace talks in Geneva recently failed to begin after the Houthis made a last-minute demand for an Omani aeroplane to land at Sana’a airport to fly their delegation to the Geneva talks, a demand that raised questions at the time.

Oman’s involvement in the war in Yemen has come under scrutiny before, including in 2016 when weapons smuggled through Oman allegedly meant for Houthi rebels were intercepted in Yemen.


The Living Force
Oman’s Pragmatic Yemen Foreign Policy: Poised for Promoting Peace?
From the outset of the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen in 2015, Oman opposed the Arab coalition’s military attacks against the Houthi rebels and their Yemeni allies. Rather than entering the fray militarily, Oman has played a skillful game, diplomatically, seeking to bring the conflict to an end through roundtable talks that eventually produce lasting peace. Yet, thus far Muscat’s efforts to bring peace to Yemen have not produced their intended results and the civil war continues, threatening the Sultanate’s security.
OCTOBER 12, 2018


The war in Yemen, which has resulted in over 10,000 civilian deaths and the world’s worst humanitarian disaster with at least 8.4 million Yemenis living on the brink of famine, rages on with no end in sight. The use of force in Yemen has exposed gaps between a militarized approach to security affairs used by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the one hand, and the Sultanate of Oman’s longstanding preference for political solutions to regional issues on the other. This unresolved conflict constitutes the gravest threat to the security of Oman, a country which like Saudi Arabia shares a land border with Yemen.

Officials in Muscat face a challenge in shielding Oman’s southernmost Dhofar governorate from chaos next door. Sharing 187 miles of border with Yemen, Dhofar is vulnerable to spillover effects from Yemen that could threaten peace in the Sultanate—the only Arab country to have not experienced any jihadist violence on its own soil in the 21st century, but where memories remain of a 1960s uprising in Dhofar that received material and ideological support from Yemen.

Geopolitically too, the crisis has had negative ramifications for Oman. Put simply, Muscat views as unsettling Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s efforts to consolidate their power in Yemen and use military force to achieve political objectives. As the conflict continues, Muscat will likely find it increasingly difficult to protect its interests in Yemen from the Saudi-led military coalition’s destructive actions and the seeming unwillingness of the Houthis to lay down their arms and make meaningful concessions. This dims the prospects for ending the civil war and provides more fertile ground for extremists on all sides to gain in power and influence.

Nonetheless, to Oman’s credit, the Sultanate has wisely used its unique set of cards in the Yemeni civil war to further establish itself as a balancing power that skillfully maintains autonomy from larger powers by playing their interests against each other to Muscat’s advantage. As Roby Barret put it, Oman is “making itself useful to the major powers in the region” in its attempt “to act as an evenhanded negotiator” in Yemen. Oman’s Minister of State Responsible for Foreign Affairs, Yousef bin Alawi bin Abdullah, told the United Nations General Assembly in September 2018, “We envision that the political solution should take into account the Yemeni reality, and that all parties and political forces in Yemen and abroad should be given a chance in determining a future.”

That there is a consensus among all parties in Yemen and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that Oman is the only Arab Gulf state (and perhaps only state worldwide) capable of moving the Yemeni crisis in a positive direction attests to the success of Muscat’s regional policies. For decades, Oman under Sultan Qaboos has sought to avoid making unnecessary enemies while also investing in long-term relationships based on trust and mutual respect with states on all sides of geopolitical fault lines, including both Iran and Oman’s fellow GCC states and their Western partners, chiefly the United States and the United Kingdom.

Rejecting the Idea of a Military Solution

The Saudi-led military coalition launched its campaign in Yemen in March 2015 under the pretext of reversing Houthi gains, restoring President Abd Rabbu Mansur Hadi to power, and bringing security and stability to Yemen. From the outset, Muscat disagreed with Riyadh and Abu Dhabi’s actions and did not join the Saudi-led coalition. Intra-GCC tensions stemming from the Yemen war increased in September 2015 after the Riyadh-led coalition targeted the residence of Muscat’s ambassador in Sanaa, which led to Omani officials summoning the Saudi ambassador to Oman to protest the incident and demand that the Arab alliance provide an explanation. That same month, Kuwait and Qatar announced they would be providing military support to coalition troops after a mass-casualty attack on Emirati and Bahraini forces in Yemen. This left Oman as the only GCC state not part of the coalition, until Qatar’s exit in June 2017 in the wake of the Saudi, Emirati, and Bahraini blockade.

Early on in the Saudi-led campaign, Oman’s fears of the likely consequences of the Arab coalition’s operations in Yemen leading to a quagmire amid deadly chaos came to fruition. As the only GCC state to sit out of the entirety of the campaign, Oman saw plans for achieving a military victory over the Houthi rebels as entirely unrealistic. Muscat viewed Yemen’s crisis as one that could only be solved through dialogue with all the conflict’s major parties committed to making concessions to their adversaries and engaging in trust-building initiatives. Mindful that throughout Yemen’s history no tribe or faction had usurped control of the entire country by force, Muscat did not expect the coalition to achieve any military victory. Rather, Oman has correctly interpreted the Saudi/Emirati military intervention in Yemen as merely giving the Houthis further grievances and less reason to trust other Yemeni factions when it comes to brokering a peaceful settlement.

Regardless of Muscat’s opposition to the Saudi-led coalition’s campaign in Yemen, the Sultanate’s leadership has pragmatically addressed the problems which the Yemeni crisis’ prolongation has created for Oman. The challenges created by the war are diverse, including economic and geopolitical dilemmas which Sultan Qaboos, and most likely his eventual successor too, will need to continue to address shrewdly. Yet the longer the conflict rages on in Yemen, the more difficult it will be for Muscat to mitigate the dangers of potential spillover from Yemen into Dhofar which remain a source of concern for Oman’s leadership.

By October 2017, 51,000 externally-displaced Yemenis had entered Oman according to the United Nations. Officials in Muscat have not shared publicly how many Yemeni refugees are currently in Oman. Nonetheless, the Sultanate has invested resources into assisting these vulnerable Yemenis. In doing so, Muscat has received much praise from the United Nations, the European Union, and others in the international community. In April 2018, the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, met with Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, and hailed the Sultanate for its “pivotal role” in helping the Yemenis.

At the same time, the good will among Yemenis which the Sultanate’s humanitarian help has earned Oman continues to solidify Muscat’s position as the only GCC capital adequately trusted and respected by Yemen’s parties to drive diplomatic efforts in their country. Indeed, that talks held under Omani auspices have included representatives of the Hadi government, the Houthi rebels, GCC states, Iran, and the United States underscores Muscat’s unique leverage in Yemen based on Oman’s “no enemies” foreign policy.

When the conflict eventually gives way to negotiations for a political settlement, Oman will stand out in Yemen as the only neighbor respected by Yemenis across the political spectrum and from diverse tribes for having avoided any military action against Yemen’s internal factions, as well as for the aid which Oman has given Yemeni refugees and other victims of the war. Such diplomatic maneuvers in Yemen on Muscat’s part appear to be the most realistic source of optimism for conflict resolution in the current regional and international context. The breakdown of peace talks in Kuwait in 2016 was attributable in part to Kuwait’s participation, however limited, in the Saudi-led coalition against the Houthis. Likewise, the current US administration is in no position to present the US to the Houthis as a trustworthy peace broker. As Hakim Almasmari, the editor-in-chief of Yemen Post, put it, “If not for Oman, there would be no hope to end the current Yemen war.”

Yemeni Crisis Poses Steep Costs for Oman

Against the backdrop of low oil prices since 2014, the Sultanate’s funneling of financial resources into caring for displaced and injured Yemenis has further contributed to Oman’s economic challenges. Doubtless, financial costs for the Sultanate will only add up if there is a long-term continuation of its neighbor’s humanitarian catastrophe and more Yemenis seek refuge in Oman. There are also security concerns about violent extremists from Yemen’s civil war entering Dhofar pretending to be refugees. While thus far there have been no cases of violence in Oman due to Yemen’s post-2014 crisis, there remains a residual risk of Islamic State (ISIS) or al-Qaeda militants seeking to penetrate into Dhofar. With radical forces, including ISIS, seeking new targets, Oman is justifiably concerned about its southernmost governorate becoming vulnerable to such extremists in the future.

The history of Omani-Yemeni relations largely informs Muscat’s perceptions of the threats posed by the war in Yemen to its own security. The Marxist regime that held power in the then-People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen was a main foreign sponsor of the Dhofari insurgents of the 1960s and 1970s, whose uprising constituted the last great threat to regime security from within. Thus, the future political landscape of Yemen will inevitably impact Oman for better or for worse, giving Muscat high stakes in promoting stability and moderation in Yemen. The continued build-up of a security wall along the Yemeni border and Oman’s refusal to accept all Yemeni refugees both highlight how Muscat is balancing its interests in providing humanitarian aid to Yemenis with the Sultanate’s legitimate security concerns as the military and humanitarian crises in Yemen continue to worsen.

Oman’s leadership sees the wisest strategy for countering terror menaces from within Yemen as pushing for a diplomatic settlement to Yemen’s civil war that can pave the way for a legitimate government to take power and begin governing effectively. Just as Oman cooperated with Yemen’s past governments to counter transnational threats such as terrorism, today Muscat believes that addressing the threat of ISIS, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and other violent extremists in Yemen will be far less challenging if there is a unified Yemeni state to work with, rather than a virtually endless list of non-state actors who would likely try and seize power if Yemen permanently fragments into another Somalia. Moreover, Oman is aware that such a Somalia-like scenario in Yemen would only benefit the violent extremists that could further exploit the civil war by eventually solidifying a de facto“statelet,” perhaps similar to the so-called Caliphate that ISIS temporarily established in Iraq and Syria in 2014, only this time far closer to Oman.

Geopolitical Pressures Mount on Muscat

In the long-term, Oman’s geopolitical concerns about the Yemeni crisis largely relate to Riyadh and Abu Dhabi’s attempts to institutionalize their clout in strategically-prized areas of Yemen. Al-Mahra has long served as a section of eastern Yemen where Oman has the most influential foreign presence, due to numerous factors including tribal links between Omanis and Yemenis on both sides of the international boundary.

Reports emerged in late-2017 that Abu Dhabi had established the “Mahri Elite forces” as a UAE-backed security force in al-Mahra and tasked the group with securing al-Mahra’s borders and seizing control of the airport in al-Ghayda, under the pretext of clamping down on illicit arms transfers. The Emirati leadership is pursuing its interest in southern and eastern Yemen, including al-Mahra, in line with the UAE’s grander ambitions as a regional power with rising influence across swathes of East Africa and the Indian Ocean littoral.

In January, al-Akhbar (a Lebanese daily) reported that Saudi Arabia’s heightened involvement in al-Mahra was being coordinated via Abu Dhabi and was increasingly evident by the influx of Saudi-provided food, buses, ambulances, hygiene vehicles, and street lights into the province. Saudi Arabia’s militarization of al-Mahra, as highlighted by Riyadh’s reported deployment of reinforcements to Nishtun port (situated within 120 miles of Oman) is deeply unsettling to Muscat which fears that Saudi Arabia’s growing military footprint in Yemen will prove to be a driver of instability in eastern Yemen along the border with Dhofar.Furthermore, Saudi Arabia’s opening of a Salafist missionary center in al-Mahra stoked further Omani suspicions of Riyadh’s agenda in Yemen, especially in light of recent reports of the Arab coalition working with militant Salafist extremists in Yemen to fight the Houthi rebels.

From Oman’s perspective, the deepening Emirati footprint in al-Mahra is seen as a danger to the Sultanate’s vital interests. As eastern Yemen has been largely spared the violence which has beset areas across western/northern Yemen, Oman has seen al-Mahra as a buffer of sorts between Dhofar and the rest of Yemen. “Oman aims to preserve the current balance of power, in addition to its traditional soft power in neighboring al-Mahra, with the aim of containing Emirati ambitions in the area,” as Eleonora Ardemagni, an associate research fellow at the Institute for International Political Studies, put it. “Muscat has traditionally relied on offering humanitarian aid and double citizenship [Omani and Yemeni] for Mahris.”

The UAE’s military actions in al-Mahra heighten the risks of the violence of western Yemen spilling into territory closer to the Omani border given the extent to which Emirati forces are targeted by numerous armed non-state actors in Yemen. That local Yemenis in al-Mahra went on strike in August 2018 to protest new trade restrictions and tariffs on imports — 70 percent of which are Oman-sourced and transit the al-Mahra border crossing, as well as the presence of troops from Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, which they began protesting months earlier – illustrated how also among locals there are preferences for Oman, as opposed to any other GCC state, remaining the major outside influencer in al-Mahra.Moreover, that month, the Yemenis who had spent months protesting the Saudi/Emirati military presence prompted the Arab coalition to relinquish its control of the al-Ghayda airport, which inspired other protests elsewhere in Yemen at that time.

In this post-GCC period, shaped by Saudi and Emirati maximalist foreign policies in the Gulf region, along with a White House that encourages Riyadh and Abu Dhabi to act more aggressively against Iranian influence, Oman has grave concerns about Saudi and Emirati actions not only in Yemen, but throughout the greater Arab/Islamic world as well. Driving much of Saudi Arabia’s aggression in the region is Riyadh’s perception of the alleged Iranian threat. Yet just as Oman has not bought into Saudi Arabia’s anti-Iran narrative in the past, the Sultanate continues to reject the idea of all six GCC states uniting aggressively against Tehran while Oman remains the Arab Gulf state on best terms with the Islamic Republic. Based on numerous socio-cultural, historical, energy, and geopolitical factors, Omani-Iranian ties remain strong, and this bilateral relationship continues to drive tension in Muscat’s relationship with both Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. Naturally, in viewing Iran as more of an ally than a grave regional threat, Oman has taken positions on a host of regional issues from the Yemeni and Syrian civil wars to the Iranian nuclear deal (in which Oman facilitated the dialogue between US and Iranian officials that preceded the formal phase of negotiations with the P5+1) that have placed the Sultanate at logger heads with the GCC’s most anti-Iranian members.

Largely based on Saudi Arabia and the UAE having extremely different threat perceptions of Iran than Oman, Muscat does not feel threatened by the alleged menace posed by the Houthis. Whereas Saudi officials describe the possibility of the Houthis institutionalizing a de facto proto state in northern Yemen as essentially the same as Hezbollah establishing a post along the Kingdom’s border, Oman views the Houthis as an organic Yemeni community that has certain legitimate grievances that must be addressed to resolve the civil war peacefully. As one Omani diplomat explained, Oman is “passionate” about all Yemeni communities, viewing them as indigenous people of the Arabian Peninsula who are linked to Omanis by heritage, tribe, religion, language, and culture.

Doubtless, Oman has strategically used its warm relations with the Houthis to position the Sultanate as an increasingly invaluable player vis-à-vis the Yemeni crisis. Muscat officials have developed increasingly trustworthy ties with the Houthis. Oman’s unique relationship with the Houthis has enabled diplomats in Muscat to serve as interlocutors between representatives of the Houthi rebellion and their enemies, opening up dialogue that would have been far harder to facilitate directly without Oman’s service as a neutral country capable of hosting and sponsoring talks. Simultaneously, as a useful diplomatic actor in Yemen’s civil war, the Sultanate has been able to improve its standing with Western states based on Oman’s brokering of talks as well as Muscat’s pivotal roles in negotiating the release of Western nationals held captive by Houthi fighters in various parts of Yemen since 2015.

Pragmatic voices in Saudi Arabia and the UAE recognize the value of being allied with Oman, an Arab Gulf state that maintains a neutral stance on the Yemeni civil war with the ability to facilitate talks between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi on one side and the Houthis on the other. That Saudi and Emirati representatives have participated in talks involving their Houthi counterparts in Muscat as early as 2015 demonstrates that, at least to a certain extent, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have valued Oman’s neutrality in the Yemeni crisis. Yet with Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi’s crown princes—Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) and Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ)—driving their countries’ foreign policies, it is unclear if the Kingdom and the UAE’s de facto rulers will continue respecting Oman’s neutrality vis-à-vis the Yemeni civil war, or if they will decide to take actions aimed at pressuring Muscat into aligning with Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. The latter scenario may become especially likely if Riyadh and Abu Dhabi (along with certain voices in Washington) continue accusing the Omanis of failing to prevent Iranian arms from transiting the Omani-Yemeni border into the Houthis’ hands.

Since the Qatar crisis erupted in June 2017, Omani officials have been unsettled by MbS and MbZ’s foreign policy decisions in the region; they fear Oman could one day be at the receiving end of the “Qatar treatment.” As Oman’s policy in Yemen could not be more different from the ones pursued by the Saudis and Emiratis over the past three-and-a-half years, there is a concern that the Omanis—as well as the Kuwaitis—could come under pressure from Riyadh and Abu Dhabi to “toe the line” when it comes to regional affairs.

More pernicious, however, is the concern that Saudi or Emirati officials could put pressure on Sultan Qaboos’s eventual successor in much the same way that their pressure on Qatar began within weeks of Emir Tamim coming to power in June 2013, a fact carefully noted by policymakers in Oman and Kuwait. Within this context of Saudi Arabia and the UAE conducting increasingly maximalist foreign policies in the region, Oman will see its autonomy, sovereignty, and security under a graver threat, as confrontation in the Arabian Peninsula and Gulf intensifies. Doubtless, Yemen will remain a regional hotspot in which GCC states and Iran compete for geopolitical influence, leaving Oman poised to continue efforts aimed at promoting peace and stability, but more vulnerable to the threat of destabilizing spillover as the civil war rages on.

*My footnote - nobody knows who the Sultan's successor is.


The Living Force
Houthi fighters and Saudi-backed pro-government forces battled in Yemen's port city of Hodeidah on Wednesday, breaching a ceasefire and potentially complicating a troop withdrawal agreement intended to pave the way for wider peace talks.

Fighting grips Yemen's Hodeidah port, complicating peace moves May 16, 2019
FILE PHOTO:  Ships are seen at the Hodeida port, Yemen May 14, 2019. REUTERS/Abduljabbar Zeyad
FILE PHOTO: Ships are seen at the Hodeida port, Yemen May 14, 2019. REUTERS/Abduljabbar Zeyad

Houthi fighters and Saudi-backed pro-government forces battled in Yemen's port city of Hodeidah on Wednesday, breaching a ceasefire and potentially complicating a troop withdrawal agreement intended to pave the way for wider peace talks.

A military coalition led by neighboring Saudi Arabia, which receives weapons from the West, intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the Iran-aligned Houthis ousted President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government from the capital Sanaa. The war is seen as proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The Houthis and coalition forces both reported renewed clashes in Hodeidah on Wednesday, a day after the Houthis claimed responsibility for a drone attack that Saudi Arabia said had hit two of its oil pumping stations.

The Saudi-led coalition will “retaliate hard” for any Houthi attacks on coalition targets but remains committed to a Hodeidah peace deal, said a senior official from the United Arab Emirates, which is part of the coalition.

Lieutenant General Michael Lollesgaard, who heads a U.N. monitoring mission in Hodeidah, said that while there had been an increase in violations of the ceasefire on Wednesday, “it is not an alarming number ... I think the number that we have now is pretty much what we saw in some of the days before Ramadan.”

The Yemen government and the Houthis met in the Swedish capital Stockholm in December and agreed to a ceasefire and troop withdrawal deal for Hodeidah. Under phase one of the deal, the Houthis withdrew from the ports of Hodeidah, Saleef and Ras Isa.

This is due to be met by a retreat of Saudi-led coalition forces from the eastern outskirts of Hodeidah, facilitating humanitarian access to grain stores at the Red Sea Mills.

However, Lollesgaard said on Wednesday that a phase one withdrawal by government and coalition forces would not take place until the warring parties have worked out details for a broader phase two redeployment around Hodeidah and agreed on local forces to secure the area.

“We need to finalize phase two and the question of the local security forces before we start the full implementation of phase one,” Lollesgaard told reporters at the United Nations in New York via video.

“We will never get a perfect plan for phase two ... both parties need to compromise,” he said. “The same goes for the local security forces (deal). We could be done in two weeks, but it can also take months if there is no willingness.”

The U.N. Security Council was briefed on the situation in Yemen earlier on Wednesday.

Acting U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Jonathan Cohen called on all parties to negotiate in good faith to reach a deal on local security forces, exercise restraint and enable the U.N. efforts on the ground, particularly by granting entry to the country for U.N. monitors.

“Obstruction of the U.N. process cannot be tolerated. For months apparent breakthroughs have happened just in time for Security Council briefings, then progress stalls,” he said. “Council members must consider how to hold parties responsible if they don’t implement the Stockholm agreement.”

Lollesgaard said there were 15-18 U.N. monitors on the ground in Hodeidah, but that another 30 monitors were still waiting for the Houthis to grant them a visa.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed during the conflict in Yemen, many of them civilians, and aid agencies say the humanitarian crisis is the worst in the world.

Saudi-led coalition in Yemen strikes Sanaa, casualties reported May 16, 2019
People carry their belongings at the site of an air strike launched by the Saudi-led coalition in Sanaa, Yemen  May 16, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed al-Sayaghi
The Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen carried out several air strikes on the Houthi-held capital Sanaa on Thursday after the Iranian-aligned movement claimed responsibility for drone attacks on Saudi oil installations.

Yemen combatants wide apart on sharing vital port revenues May 16, 2019
Ahmad Al Shami, representative from the Houthi delegation, speaks to the media during a new round of talks between Yemen's warring parties, in Amman, Jordan May 16, 2019. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed
Yemen's warring parties on Thursday failed to agree on how to manage revenues from Hodeidah port that could help relieve the urgent humanitarian needs of millions, delegates and U.N. sources at U.N.-facilitated discussions in Jordan said.

Houthi drone attacks in Saudi are 'war crime': Saudi-led coalition in Yemen May 16, 2019
The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen said it considers this week's drone attacks by Houthis on Saudi oil installations a "war crime", Al Arabiya news channel reported on Thursday.


The Living Force
Yemen's foreign minister has submitted his resignation as differences emerge within the Saudi-backed government over the handling of a U.N.-led peace initiative in the main port city of Hodeidah, two ministry sources said on Monday.

Yemen foreign minister resigns amid differences over U.N. efforts: sources
FILE PHOTO: Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani attends a news conference at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, September 8, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani attends a news conference at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, September 8, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

Khaled al-Yamani, who took over the post in May 2018, said he would step down after some officials in the government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi faulted him for not criticizing United Nations special envoy Martin Griffiths performance.

The resignation needs to be accepted by Hadi, who last month complained in a letter to the U.N. secretary-general that Griffiths was “legitimizing” the Houthi movement locked in a four-year war with a Saudi-led coalition loyal to the president.

“He (Yamani) was expecting to be dismissed and so he submitted his resignation before that happens,” one source said.

In his letter to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Hadi said Griffiths had failed to properly oversee the agreement for a ceasefire and troop withdrawal in Hodeidah, which became the focus of the war last year when the coalition tried to seize the Houthi-held Red Sea port.

The pact reached in December, the first significant breakthrough in peacemaking in over four years, had stalled for months until the Iran-aligned Houthis, who ousted Hadi from power in the capital Sanaa in late 2014, last month quit three ports in Hodeidah in a unilateral move.

The coalition has yet to verify the withdrawal or meet it by pulling back its own forces massed on the edges of Hodeidah ahead of a wider redeployment by both sides in a second phase.

The Houthis recently stepped up drone attacks on Saudi cities following a lull last year ahead of the December talks.

A U.N. official is expected to visit Saudi Arabia this week for talks with Saudi and Yemeni officials. Hadi’s government is now based in Yemen’s southern port of Aden.

Hodeidah handles the bulk of Yemen’s commercial and aid imports and is a lifeline for millions of people at risk of starvation in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula nation.

The Western-backed, Sunni Muslim Arab alliance intervened in Yemen in 2015 to try to restore Hadi’s government to power in a conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people. The Houthis say their revolution is against corruption.

Jun 09 2019 - Yemeni Defense Minister Enters Saudi Soil for First Time, Hails High Morale of Yemen's Armed Forces Near Najran
Yemeni Defense Minister Enters Saudi Soil for First Time, Hails High Morale of Yemen's Armed Forces Near Najran

Yemeni Defense Minister Major-General Mohammad Nasser a- Atifi visited his country's arm forces in Southern Saudi Arabia's Najran region for the first time, a move believed by experts to be a humiliation of Riyadh.

While visiting the Saudi forces, Major-General al-Atifi congratulated the Yemeni Army and popular forces on their high morale to face the Saudi aggressors.

The Yemeni defense minister underlined that the Yemeni Army and popular forces are very close to the city of Najran in Southern Saudi Arabia, and said that more victories are imminent.

"The Yemeni forces are just few kilometers away from Najran city and its airport," al-Atifi said.

Jun 09 2019 - Yemen Attacks Saudi Arabia's Jizan Airport with Drones
Yemen Attacks Saudi Arabia's Jizan Airport with Drones

Yemen's Armed Forces launched fresh drone attacks on the airport in Saudi Arabia’s Southwestern Jizan region.

"Qasif-K2 combat drones targeted drone bunkers and stations at the Jizan airport after collecting intelligence on the sites," Yemen’s al-Masirah TV channel reported.

Al-Masirah quoted a military source as saying that Saudi Arabia had converted the Jizan airport into a military base.

The Yemeni Army and popular forces have carried out several drone attacks on Jizan and Najran airports over past few weeks to retaliate for the war that Saudi Arabia has been leading on Yemen since March 2015.

A Yemeni drone targeted a major oil pumping station deep inside Saudi Arabia last month, forcing state crude giant Aramco to temporarily shut down pumping operations at the site.


The Living Force
As US Beefs Up Military Presence in the Gulf, Yemen's Houthis Turn to Russia for Support

July 26th, 2019 - MOSCOW — Yemen’s Houthi movement has reacted with concern to an announcement by Washington that the U.S. is pursuing an increased military presence in the Persian Gulf. U.S. Central Command announced Operation Sentinel on July 19, claiming that a multinational maritime effort is needed to promote “maritime stability, ensure safe passage, and de-escalate tensions in international waters throughout the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, the Arabian [Persian] Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, and the Gulf of Oman.”
The Houthis’ Supreme Political Council, the highest political authority in Sana`a, held an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the developments. After the meeting Houthi officials released a statement denouncing Operation Sentinel, saying that Yemen is keen on the security of the Red Sea and that any escalation by Coalition countries, including the United States, would be met with a response. The statement went on to say:

What makes waterways safe is an end to the war on Yemen, a lifting of the siege on the country and the end to [th Saudi-led Coalition] restricting access to food and commercial vessels in Yemeni ports, especially the port of Hodeida, not the presence of multinational forces there.”
Houthi officials also weighed in on the arrival of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia as a part of a broader tranche of forces sent to the Gulf region over the past two months following increased tensions between Washington and Tehran. Mohammed Abdulsalam, the spokesman of Houthis and one of the most important decision-makers within the movement, told al-Mayadeen TV that the arrival of 500 U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia is “not welcome in the region.”

On Monday, Abdulsalam ridiculed Saudi Arabia’s celebration of the arrival of the U.S. troops, pointing to the Kingdom’s relying on U.S. and British protection while at the same time not knowing how to extricate itself from Yemen. “On one side, there are the Saudis seeking protection from others and on the other side, we have Yemen facing those superpowers with strength, rigidity and wisdom,” Abudlsalam said in a Facebook post. Abdulsalam also said that the deployment of U.S. troops to the Kingdom was aimed at boosting the morale of Saudi Arabia in the face of Yemen’s ballistic missile and drone attacks.

Abudlsalam’s comments were made during an official visit to Moscow, where a Houthi delegation was visiting at the invitation of the Russian government. The July 24 meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister to the Middle East and North Africa Mikhail Bogdanov was held to discuss, among other things, U.S. military presence in the Gulf. Abdulsalam claimed during the meeting that U.S. and Western visions for a solution to the conflict in Yemen would be unsuccessful, telling his Russian counterpart that there won’t be security and safety in the region without an end to the aggression against Yemen. He went on to say that, “we [Houthis] have common interests with the Russians regarding peace in the region.”

Both Bogdanov and Abdulsalam expressed commitment to abiding by the UN-brokered Stockholm Agreement, which calls for a ceasefire in the Hodeida port in western Yemen. The Houthis also expressed support for Russia’s policy vision for security in the Gulf, which was presented by Bogdanov on Tuesday.

While Russian efforts may not necessarily produce peace in Yemen, they may give the Saudi-led Coalition a chance to see that all options for diplomacy have been fully explored. They will also provide the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — which recently pulled out a significant portion of their military forces from Yemen, amidst fears of Houthi retaliatory attacks on Dubai — a chance to jump on the Russian bandwagon. Saudi Arabia, which has made little progress in its more than four-year-long adventure in Yemen, could also use Russian efforts as a face-saving opportunity, according to Yemeni diplomats who spoke to MintPress.

According to well-informed sources in the Houthi movement, Russia is pushing hard to play a role in bringing an end to the war on Yemen, and Russian and Houthi interests are becoming more aligned, including opposition to an increased U.S. military presence in the region. Houthi officials are also hoping that Russia will use its position in the UN Security Council to veto resolutions adversely affecting the interests of Yemen. One Houthi official, who asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the issue, even told MintPress that Russia played a role in the recent withdrawal of the UAE forces from Yemen.

“No subordination to Iran”
Mehdi Al-Mashat, the Head of the Houthi Supreme Political Council, told delegates from the International Crisis Group on Wednesday that the Houthis are ready to stop drones and ballistic attacks on Saudi Arabia if the Kingdom stops its attacks on Yemen. He also expressed readiness to engage in dialogue with Saudi officials to “achieve a just peace for all,” but warned that the “U.S. must know Yemen is a country which has sovereignty and is not subject to anyone.”

Regarding Iran, Al-Mashat told members of the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based NGO that works to resolve violent conflicts around the world, “with regard to the false claims that we are followers of Iran, which the Coalition countries know to be false, we confirm that there is no subordination to Iran.” Tehran’s support for the Houthis is limited to political, diplomatic and media support and the country’s influence in Yemen is marginal at best.

For its part, the United Nations says the years-long war in Yemen can be stopped and is eminently resolvable if the warring sides commit to the UN-brokered Stockholm peace agreement reached in Sweden late last year. Under the agreement, both the Houthis and Coalition forces agreed to withdraw their troops from the Yemeni ports of Hodeida, Salif, and Ras Issa, and to allow the deployment of UN monitors.

The UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths said on Tuesday, “I believe that this war in Yemen is eminently resolvable, both parties continue to insist that they want a political solution and the military solution is not available, they remain committed to the Stockholm agreement in all its different aspects.”

UAE “not leaving Yemen”
While the Houthis have had some success in forcing a dialogue with Coalition leaders through the United Nations, Russia, and various NGOs, it appears that their celebration over the recent announcement that the UAE is withdrawing its troops from Yemen may have been premature. In the Houthis’ first official statement since the UAE announced it was withdrawing its troops from Yemen, Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam said on Wednesday that “the UAE has not withdrawn any its soldiers from Yemen, and instead has redeployed its forces from a number of areas in Yemen, including battlefields in Hodeida and Marib province in eastern Yemen.” Abdulsalam went on to encourage UAE leaders to pull out of Yemen, saying “the UAE getting out of Yemen is positive and natural and we encourage its leaders to do so.”

The UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Mohammed Gargash, in an opinion piece published in The Washington Post on Monday, confirmed the UAE was not leaving Yemen, saying: “Just to be clear, the UAE and the rest of the Coalition are not leaving Yemen.”

He added, “While we will operate differently, our military presence will remain. In accordance with international law, we will continue to advise and assist local Yemen forces — referring to the myriad UAE-funded Yemeni rebel groups including the Shaban elite forces, the Mahri elite forces, and the Security Belt.

According to Mohammed Abdulsalam, the seemingly contradictory statement coming from the UAE may be a result of Saudi pressure.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu, citing a spokesman for the UAE allies, reported on Wednesday that the Sudanese armed forces had partially withdrawn from parts of Yemen following the withdrawal of UAE troops from the same areas. Yemeni armed forces will replace the Sudanese troops around Hodeida, a Yemeni source told Anadolu.

The UAE and Sudan, parts of a Saudi-led military coalition, have been active members in the brutal Saudi-led Coalition’s war on Yemen since it began in 2015, which the United Nations says has produced the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with millions on the brink of starvation

Feature photo | Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov speaks with journalists in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Feb. 27, 2019. Maxim Shemetov | AP

Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media

Saudi-led forces, Israel among states rapped by U.N. for killing children
FILE PHOTO: Mukhtar Hadi, who survived survived last month's Saudi-led air strike that killed dozens including children, stands with his brother and sister in Saada, Yemen September 4, 2018. Picture taken September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Naif Rahma/File Photo

A Saudi Arabia-led military coalition fighting in Yemen killed or injured 729 children during 2018, accounting for nearly half the total child casualties, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a report to the Security Council on Friday that blacklisted the coalition for a third year.


The Living Force
Attack on Yemen market kills more than 10, warring parties trade blame
A man injured by an air strike on a market in Yemen's Saada province arrives to receive medical attention at a local Al Jomhouri hospital in Saada, Yemen July 29, 2019. REUTERS/Naif Rahma

An attack on a market killed at least 10 civilians including children in Yemen's northern Saada province on Monday, a medical source and the warring parties who blamed each other said.

Yemen's Houthis target with drones Saudi Arabia's Abha airport: Houthis' Al Masirah TV
Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi group said it launched on Sunday a drone attack on Saudi Arabia's Abha airport, Houthis' Al- Masirah TV reported citing the group's military spokesman.


The Living Force
Aden attack exposes splits in Yemen's anti-Houthi alliance
A member of UAE-backed forces stands guard as supporters of Yemen's southern separatists rally in Aden, Yemen August 6, 2019. REUTERS/Fawaz Salman

Yemen's southern separatists on Tuesday accused an Islamist party of complicity in last week's deadly attack on Aden, the seat of government, exposing rifts in the Saudi-backed coalition battling the Iran-aligned Houthi movement.

Yemeni Houthis say launched drone attacks on Saudi airports, air base
Houthi forces in Yemen launched drone attacks on Saudi Arabia's King Khalid air base as well as the Abha and Najran civilian airports, the Houthis' military spokesman said on Monday.

Explainer: UAE military drawdown raises stakes in south Yemen
FILE PHOTO: Soldiers rush to help the injured following a missile attack on a military parade during a graduation ceremony for newly recruited troopers in Aden, Yemen August 1, 2019. REUTERS/Fawaz Salman/File Photo

Attacks on Yemeni forces that form a core component of the Saudi-led military coalition in the south of the country risk further destabilizing Aden, seat of the government, and complicating United Nations peace efforts.

WFP, Yemen's Houthis agree deal that could lift partial aid suspension
The World Food Programme (WFP) and Yemen's Houthi movement, which controls the capital Sanaa, have said they had reached a deal that could lift the U.N. agency's partial suspension of aid which has affected around 850,000 people.


The Living Force
Saudi-led coalition hits zones that pose threat to Yemeni government: state TV
The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen has attacked zones that pose a direct threat to a vital position belonging to the coalition-backed Yemeni government, Saudi state TV said on Sunday.

Yemen's southern separatists say they took presidential palace in Aden
Yemen's southern separatists have taken over the all-but empty presidential palace in Aden, seat of the internationally recognized government, a separatist military official said on Saturday.

Yemen government says southern separatists staged coup in Aden
The Saudi-backed Yemeni government accused southern separatists of staging a coup in Aden after their fighters took over all military camps in the southern port city, seat of the internationally recognized government, on Saturday.

Yemen's pro-government coalition fractures as separatists grab control in Aden
Members of UAE-backed southern Yemeni separatist forces shout slogans as they patrol a road during clashes with government forces in Aden, Yemen August 10, 2019. REUTERS/Fawaz Salman
Yemen's southern separatists have taken effective control of Aden, seat of the internationally recognized government, fracturing the Saudi-led coalition which is trying to break the grip of the Iran-aligned Houthi movement on the country.

Saudi-led coalition calls for immediate ceasefire in Aden: SPA
The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen called for an immediate ceasefire in Aden, seat of the internationally recognized government, the state news agency SPA quoted the coalition’s spokesman as saying.

Yemen's southern separatists agree to Saudi call for ceasefire in Aden
Yemen's southern separatists agreed on Sunday to a Saudi-led coalition's calls for an immediate ceasefire in Aden, seat of the internationally recognized government, they said in a statement.


The Living Force
Saudi-led coalition moves against separatists in Yemen
FILE PHOTO: Cars drive on a road linking two neighborhoods of Aden, Yemen August 10, 2019. REUTERS/Fawaz Salman/File Photo

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in Aden on Sunday in support of the Yemeni government after southern separatists effectively took over the port city, fracturing the alliance that had been battling the Iran-aligned Houthi movement.

Saudi-led coalition says infighting killed senior Houthi official
A senior Houthi official in Yemen and brother of the movement's leader was killed because of infighting, the Saudi-led coalition said on Sunday, appearing to give a different version of events than the Iran-allied group.

Yemen separatists committed to Aden ceasefire: leader
Yemen's southern separatists are committed to a ceasefire in the port city of Aden and are willing to work with the Saudi-led coalition, their leader said on Sunday.

Explainer: Separatist takeover of Yemen's Aden leaves Saudi Arabia in a bind
The southern separatists' takeover of Aden, the interim seat of Yemen's government, could leave Saudi Arabia struggling to hold together a military coalition fighting the Iran-aligned Houthis.

It also risks fragmenting southern Yemen as the United Nations struggles to restart talks to end the 4-1/2-year war that has pushed millions to the brink of famine.

Separatists, who want to split from the north and are backed by the United Arab Emirates, effectively seized Aden by taking over the government’s military bases on Saturday after they accused a party allied to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi of complicity in a Houthi missile attack on their forces.

The Saudi-led coalition backing Yemen’s government hit back on Sunday, saying it attacked one target, after threatening to act if southern forces do not cease fighting.

The two sides had been nominally allied in the coalition fighting the Houthis, who ousted Hadi’s government from the capital Sanaa in 2014, but they have rival agendas.

It makes it harder for Saudi Arabia to weaken the grip of the Houthis, who hold Sanaa and most urban centers.

The Western-backed, Sunni Muslim coalition intervened in Yemen against the Houthis in 2015. The conflict is widely seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The Houthis have no traction in the south, where the UAE has armed and trained 90,000 Yemeni troops drawn from southern separatists and coastal plains fighters.

But the Southern Transitional Council that leads the separatists may not have broad support outside Aden. Its move risks igniting infighting in the south and emboldening militant groups like al Qaeda, among Yemen’s many destabilizing forces.

There is no love lost between the separatists and Hadi’s government, which they accuse of mismanagement and corruption.

The war has revived old strains between north and south Yemen, formerly separate countries that united into a single state in 1990.

This is not the first separatist uprising. They seized Aden in January 2018. Riyadh and Abu Dhabi helped end that standoff.

The UAE has asked U.N. envoy Martin Griffiths to exert pressure on both sides. Riyadh said it would host an emergency summit of the parties to restore order.

“Recruiting separate militias across the south ... was always playing with fire. It’s a bit rich now of the UAE to say the U.N. special envoy needs to sort it out,” said Elisabeth Kendall of Oxford University.


The coalition is fractured but not broken. Analysts say the UAE is unlikely to recommit troops but will support Riyadh, with which it is working to contain Shi’ite Iran.

“This could be a turning point but it will be papered over by the leaderships in the way that it always is - but papering over bigger and bigger cracks now so the paper is thinner and thinner,” Kendall said.

The UAE said it scaled down its presence in Yemen due to a holding truce in the main port of Hodeidah, which became the focus of the war last year when the coalition tried to seize it.

Diplomats say it was because the UAE accepted there could be no military solution due to global criticism of coalition air strikes that have killed civilians and the humanitarian crisis.

Western pressure to end the war that has killed tens of thousands, and heightened U.S.-Iran tensions, which risk triggering a war in the Gulf, added impetus to the decision.

For now shuttle diplomacy. Griffiths had been trying to salvage a stalled troop withdrawal deal agreed by the Houthis and Hadi’s government at December peace talks in Sweden.

He is also trying to calm tension between the Houthis and Saudi Arabia after the movement stepped up missile and drone attacks on Saudi cities in recent months.

But if any broader political talks on a transitional ruling body materialize, they would have to include more of Yemen’s fractious parties, including southern separatists.


The Living Force
Aden standoff delays Saudi summit intended to forge new Yemen government: sources
FILE PHOTO: General view of Aden, Yemen, August 12, 2019. REUTERS/Fawaz Salman/File Photo

The refusal of Yemeni southern separatists to hand back control of Aden port has delayed a summit in Saudi Arabia that is due to discuss reshuffling Yemen's ousted government to include the separatists and end the stand-off, three Yemeni sources said.

Saudi Arabia called for the meeting after the separatist forces on Aug. 10 seized military camps and other state institutions in the southern port city, the temporary seat of the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

The Aden crisis has fractured the Sunni Muslim military coalition led by Riyadh that is battling the Iran-aligned Houthi group, which controls the Yemeni capital Sanaa. Meanwhile the Houthis have escalated cross-border attacks targeting Saudi energy infrastructure.

“Forming a new government has been proposed and the alliance supports it, but inclusion of the Southern Transitional Council (STC) is linked to them fully withdrawing first,” said a Yemeni official, who declined to be named.

The official said Hadi, who has no personal power base and has long been out of favor with the United Arab Emirates, a coalition member, may be sidelined if a new deputy is named.


The Living Force
17 countries of Saudi-led coalition defeated in Yemen: Houthi
PressTV-‘17 countries of Saudi-led coalition defeated in Yemen’

Mon Aug 19, 2019 - Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement says the 17 countries comprising a coalition led by the regime in Riyadh are now divided and only one or two states are keeping up with the bloody Saudi campaign.

"Here are the 17 countries that stood up against our people [and] began to divide, and only one or two countries remain and we will defeat them," Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, a member of the Supreme Political Council of Yemen, was quoted as saying by Yemen's al-Masirah television network.

Houthi also said the Yemeni people have stood up against aggression and terrorism.

He further noted that members of the Political Council praised the Yemeni army and fighters from allied Popular Committees as they had fought since the first day without retreat and withstood the Saudi-led military aggression.

Houthi underlined that, "we are today in front of a global tyranny that wanted to colonize Yemen and subjugate the people of Yemen."

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the aim of bringing a former Riyadh-friendly government back to power and crushing Ansarullah.

PressTV-UN experts find UK-made bomb parts in Yemen
PressTV-UN experts find UK-made bomb parts in Yemen
A United Nations panel of experts has uncovered parts of British-made weapons at the site of a Saudi-led strike in the Yemeni capital.

The UK has licensed over £4.7 billion worth of arms exports, including missiles and fighter jets, to Riyadh since the beginning of the
deadly conflict. Britain has also been providing combat intelligence and target data to Saudi Arabia over the course of the war, which has killed thousands of Yemeni civilians and put millions more on the verge of famine.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the Saudi-led war has claimed the lives of over 60,000 Yemenis since January 2016.

PressTV-‘US, UK bombs caused 1,000 civilian casualties in Yemen’
PressTV-‘US, UK bombs caused 1,000 civilian casualties in Yemen’
A new report finds US and UK-made bombs have killed and maimed nearly 1,000 civilians, including more than 120 children in Yemen.

The Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has already said that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.

Yemen's war cut a father's route to work, now his toddler starves
Ali Muhammad, father of malnourished Muath Ali Muhammad, holds him near their home in Aslam district of the northwestern province of Hajja, Yemen July 30, 2019. Picture taken July 30, 2019. REUTERS/Eissa Alragehi.

Before Yemen's war broke out four years ago Ali Muhammad used to cross the border into Saudi Arabia to work, joining thousands of other Yemenis from his poor, mountainous region.
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