Monthly briefing-January 2023

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Political Scene

There is a discussion and debate about the ongoing negotiations between Saudi Arabia and the Houthis to stop the war in Yemen, away from the legitimate government, while the Presidential Council warned of the extortion practiced by the group, with European optimism in finding a way out to stop the war.

  • The Emirati newspaper, Al-Bayan, deleted the editorial of the last issue of the year 2022, entitled “Yemen and the Awaited Peace”, from its website. The editorial emphasized Yemen’s unity, territorial integrity and commitment to the national constants of the Republic of Yemen.
  • The U.S. Special Envoy to Yemen, Tim Linderking, met with the Saudi ambassador to Yemen, Muhammad Al Jaber, to support efforts to renew and expand the armistice agreement and end the ongoing conflict in Yemen. (7)
  • An Omani delegation arrived in Sana’a, for the second time in less than a month, to meet with the Houthis to discuss the armistice file and stop the war, within the framework of an unannounced Saudi-Houthi dialogue with Omani mediation. (10)
  • The UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Hans Grundberg, said, during a briefing to the Security Council from Sana’a, that there are positive discussions between the Yemeni government and the coalition on one hand and the Houthi group on the other. (16)
  • The American Associated Press quoted a UN official as saying that secret talks are taking place between Saudi Arabia and the Houthi group to end the war in Yemen. (17)
  • The president of the Presidential Council, Rashad Al-Alimi, in a meeting with the European Union ambassador, Gabriel Viñales, affirmed the commitment of the Council and the government to the peace approach, warning against ignoring the Houthi’s human rights violations and their extremist ideological ideas. (17)
  • During his meeting with the U.S. ambassador to Yemen, Stephen Fagin, the head of the Supreme Authority of the Islah Party, Muhammad al-Yadumi, affirmed the party’s support for peace efforts in Yemen, based on the three references (the Gulf initiative, the outcomes of the national dialogue and Security Council resolutions). (18)

– The French ambassador to Yemen, Jean-Marie Safa, said that positive changes were reflected in the Yemeni file through Saudi Arabia and Oman’s efforts, in addition to the efforts of the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg. (19)

– Parliament member Ali Al-Maamari accused local and international parties of participating in smuggling operations of weapons and strengthening the Houthi group’s arsenal with drones and missiles through the Shihan crossing between Yemen and the Sultanate of Oman. (24)

Military Scene

Hadhramaut witnessed a political and media escalation between the Transitional Council, the Hadhramaut tribes and the local authority, as it is considered to be an undeclared escalation between Saudi Arabia and the UAE regarding their increasing influence in the governorate.

  • Hadhramaut tribes renewed the refusal to bring in any forces from outside the province, referring to the UAE-backed Transitional Council forces, calling for the recruitment of the province’s people. (5)
  • Violent battles have renewed between the army forces and the Houthis on the southern fronts of Ma’rib, less than a week after a violent attack was thwarted in the eastern Balak front in the south. (9)
  • A delegation from the Joint Forces Command of the Saudi-led coalition arrived in Seiyun, in conjunction with the military escalation of the UAE-backed transitional forces in the governorate. (10)
  • Clashes between the National Army forces and the forces of the Houthi group continued for the fifth day in a row, with deaths and injuries on both sides, on several fronts in Taiz. (18)
  • The Arab Coalition in Wadi Hadhramaut directed the head of the Hadrami Hiba — loyal to the Southern Transitional Council — to evacuate a camp in the Adab area and threaten to use force in case of refusal. (26)

Security Scene

During the periods of the truce, the smuggling of weapons doubled, the most recent of which was the smuggling of a shipment of weapons at the Shihan crossing located between Yemen and the Omani authorities, as well as demands to open an investigation into the smuggling operations, with an increase in security chaos and assassinations in the areas controlled by the Houthis.

  • The U.S. naval forces announced the interception of 2,000 assault rifles, which were being carried on a fishing vessel from Iran to Houthis in Yemen.
  • The Houthis announced the burial of 44 unidentified bodies in Al-Hodeidah, as part of a campaign to bury unidentified bodies, which reached 500 bodies during the past two years. (21)
  • The security services seized a shipment of equipment used in the manufacture of drones at the Shahn port in Mahra while trying to smuggle them to the areas of the Houthis. (22)
  • The Vice-Chairman of the Consultation and Reconciliation Commission, Dr. Abdul-Malik Al-Mikhlafi, called for an international investigation into the continued smuggling of weapons and drone components that flow to areas controlled by the Houthi group through the Shahn port. (23)
  • Members of the Southern Transitional Council stormed the Petra Hall in the Coral hotel, east of Aden, during the activities of the Aden Winter Festival, due to slogans supporting Yemeni unity. (26)

Economic Scene

The government took measures to search for alternative economic resources after the cessation of oil exports due to the attacks of the Houthi group, in addition to the continued deterioration of the price of the Yemeni riyal against foreign currencies, and the Houthi group took new measures targeting deposits in local banks in the areas under its control.

  • The Central Bank of the Houthis in Sana’a transferred the investments of local banks in treasury bills to non-withdrawable current account balances and canceled any interest, within the framework of the group’s plan to get rid of government debt to banks. (2)
  • The Yemeni riyal continued its decline against foreign currencies, recording its lowest value since the formation of the Presidential Leadership Council in April 2022, as the exchange value of $1 US reached 1265 Yemeni riyals, and the Saudi riyal crossed the 330 Yemeni riyals. (10)
  • The American Associated Press agency said that the Dutch company Zenith Netherlands has obtained the assets of the Austrian OMV oil and gas company operating in Shabwa, in a deal worth $21 million. (4)
  • The Presidential Leadership Council approved the formation of a crisis cell headed by the Prime Minister to follow economic and financial developments and reduce the effects of the economic deterioration as a result of the Houthi attacks on oil exports. (7)

The Legal Scene

The wave of executions carried out by the Houthi group raises strong resentment and concern among citizens, local and international organizations, accusing the group of politicizing the judiciary, with the continuation of torture to death in prisons, which are violations that the Houthis have admitted to for some cases, under pressure from the media.

  • The Houthis issued a judicial ruling to execute six people from Al-Mahweet, including those kidnapped seven years ago, who were subjected to brutal torture in prisons by the group. (1)
  • The Houthis prosecuted four social media activists who were kidnapped weeks ago, on charges of spreading chaos and spreading false news. (11)
  • The American Center for Justice — an independent organization — called for an end to the violations committed by the Houthis against the residents of Hamedan, northwest of Sana’a. the violations consisted of kidnappings, burning of homes and razing of agricultural lands. (20)

Human Scene

  • Seven children died in camps for the displaced in Ma’rib due to the cold waves in the governorate, which hosts a million and a half displaced people fleeing the war. (10)
  • The International Organization for Migration announced the arrival of 73,233 thousand migrants from the Horn of Africa to Yemen, during the period of January 1 to December 31, 2022, an increase of 15% compared to last year. (10)
  • The United Nations Migration Organization said that there are nearly 3 million Yemeni children out of school due to the ongoing war, 2,700 schools have been destroyed or partially damaged, and the salaries of 100,000 teachers have been cut off. (24)
  • The World Health Organization announced its need for $141.5 million to provide the necessary health services to save 21.9 million people in Yemen. (24)

Statistics

The Yemeni Journalists Syndicate documented 92 cases of violations against media outlets, journalists and photographers during the past year (2022).

  • The Houthis topped the list of violations by 40%.
  • The government’s percentage of violations was 38%.
  • Anonymous percentage of violations was 14%.
  • The Southern Transitional Council’s (partner in the current government) percentage of violations was 7%.

General news

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has inscribed the site Landmarks of the Ancient Kingdom of Saba, Ma’rib, Yemen, on the World Heritage List.

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