Monthly Briefing / Aril – 2024

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Political Scene: 

Peace negotiations

Efforts to reach a peaceful resolution are facing significant roadblocks due to a decrease in international and regional support. This lack of progress is blamed on the Houthi group’s unwillingness to compromise and their continued attacks on ships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. The international community’s delayed response further complicates the situation, which has dragged on for almost a decade.

  • UN Special Envoy Hans Grundberg warned the Security Council of rising tensions in Yemen, emphasizing that peace efforts were faltering because the ceasefire was tied to resolving regional issues, significantly increasing the risk of further escalation and jeopardizing the entire Yemeni peace process. April 15

  • The chairman of the Presidential Leadership Council, Rashad Al-Alimi, accused the Houthi group of exploiting the Palestinian issue as leverage to serve foreign interests and sow chaos in the region. April 18

  • Grundberg made a second trip to Muscat, within a month. This visit aimed to revive the stalled UN roadmap for peace in Yemen, where he held discussions with Mohammed Abdul Salam, the leader of the Houthi delegation, and senior Omani officials in hopes of breaking the deadlock in the peace process. April 22

  •  The former Minister of Culture and head of the Journalists Syndicate, Marwan Dammaj, raised concerns about a potential deal being negotiated between the Houthis and Saudi Arabia, describing it as an extremely beneficial agreement for the Houthis, and advised the legitimate Yemeni government to react swiftly and cautiously to this development. April 24

  • The Houthi group denied claims published by the Emirati newspaper, Al-Bayan, alleging negotiations with the Yemeni government. The report suggested that the U.S. offered to expedite the peace process and lift blockades on Yemeni ports in exchange for the Houthis ceasing attacks in the Red Sea. April 26

  • Al-Alimi met with the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs. He emphasized the difficulties in achieving peace due to Iranian interference in Yemen affairs while acknowledging the EU’s support and efforts to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people. April 28

Detainee’s files

  • Dr. Muhammad Al-Shanqeeti, a professor at Qatar University, expressed his disappointment about the Houthi group’s refusal to accept a personal initiative aimed to mediate between the Islah Party and the Houthis. It involved sharing information about the whereabouts of Muhammad Qahtan, a leader of the Islah Party, who has been missing in Sana’a for nearly a decade, and Mustafa Al-Moutawakel, who was held captive in Ma’rib. April 12

  • The PLC chairman, Rashad Al-Alimi, made his first visit to Ma’rib since assuming the head role. During his visit, he met with the local authority, held discussions with military and security officials, and received updates about displaced individuals in the region. April 29

Military Scene:

The situation in the region is tense due to the Houthi group’s escalating attacks on ships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. While the U.S. and UK responded with air strikes, their overall response to the Houthis has been surprisingly muted, as they continue to prioritize diplomatic efforts and offer incentives to encourage a peaceful resolution in Yemen.

Red sea attacks

  • Since November 2023, the Houthis have reportedly launched over 52 attacks on ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, according to the U.S. Navy. While Houthi leader Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi claims they targeted 102 vessels near the Bab al-Mandab Strait during this period, analysts at Fitch Solutions suggest a decline in attacks due to U.S. air strikes depleting the Houthis’ stockpile of advanced weaponry.

  • The United States announced the interception of over 80 drones and six ballistic missiles launched from Iran and Yemen toward Israel. Although the Houthis did not officially claim responsibility for the attacks, they referred to American-British raids of Taiz Governorate. April 15

  • The British Trade Operations Authority reported a significant explosion 15 nautical miles southwest of Aden, while a Greek warship intercepted two drones launched by the Houthis toward a commercial vessel in the Gulf of Aden. April 25

  • A U.S. Air Force MQ-9 drone crashed in Yemen under unknown circumstances. The Houthis alleged they shot it down, while American sources noted two similar incidents with MQ-9 drones in recent months. April 27

  • The Houthis targeted the UK-owned ship “Andromeda” and the vessel “Maysha,” registered in Antigua/Barbados, with three missiles. April 27

Escalation of fighting fronts

  • Hostilities erupted along the boundaries separating the governorates of Taiz and Lahj, where the Houthi group initiated an assault on positions held by the Southern Transitional Council forces, resulting in casualties. April 3

  • The Houthi group held a funeral in Sana’a for 22 of its members, most of whom were high-ranking military officials. The official explanation claims they died defending their homeland. However, local sources speculate that the true cause of their deaths may be internal conflicts and escalating disputes within the Houthi factions. April 22

  • It took just one week for Yemeni army forces to successfully repel five separate Houthi assaults on their positions across various fronts in Taiz Governorate. April 27

Child recruitment

  • A high-ranking Houthi leader, Qasim Al-Hamran, acknowledged that most graduates of the group’s summer training centers have been killed. These centers operate annually in Houthi-controlled areas and mobilize hundreds of people, playing a crucial role in recruitment and supplying fighters for the front lines. April 21

The Houthis and Saudi Arabia

  • The Houthi group accused Saudi forces of bombing the home of a citizen in Saada Governorate, the group’s stronghold, with artillery shells, which led to serious damage to the house and two of the family’s cars. April 28.

Security Scene:

Smuggling

  • The joint international naval forces seized 940 kilograms of drugs in the Arabian Sea, which were on their way to Yemen, as part of the “Crimson Barracuda” operation to combat the smuggling of drugs and weapons. April 16.

  • The Joint International Navy successfully intercepted two shipments of illegal drugs in the Arabian Sea, preventing them from reaching Yemen. The first operation netted a massive haul of over 800 kilograms of hashish, 390 kilograms of methamphetamine, and 110 kilograms of heroin. The second interception yielded a significant number of narcotics as well, including 257 kilograms of methamphetamine, 92 kilograms of heroin, 17 kilograms of amphetamines, 296 kilograms of hashish, and 15 kilograms of marijuana. April 14

Migration to and from Yemen

  • The United Nations Organization for Migration (IOM) announced the displacement of more than 5,000 Yemenis during the first quarter of this year, and that 904 families — equivalent to 5,424 individuals — were displaced at least once, during the period of January 1, 2024, to March 30, 2024. April 2

  • At least 38 migrants, including children, died in a shipwreck accident off the coast of Djibouti, while 22 people survived the accident, and six others were considered missing. April 9

Economic Scene:

The Yemeni riyal has experienced a decline, with the exchange rate hitting 2,500 riyals per U.S. dollar. Meanwhile, inflation remains at alarming levels, leading to a notable erosion in the purchasing power of impoverished families. Commercial activities have also sharply declined, coupled with a rise in prices of essential goods.

  • The Central Bank in Sana’a issued a new 100-riyal coin as an alternative to the damaged paper currency that is widely accumulated in the areas under the Houthi group’s control, while the Central Bank in Aden has rejected this step, considering it illegal. April 1

Violation 

Mines 

  • Over 100 civilians have been killed or injured due to mines planted by the Houthi group. Between January 1, 2024, and April 4, 2024, 105 victims were documented, with 41 fatalities and 64 wounded, predominantly children and women, and Al-Hudaydah Governorate recorded the highest number of casualties. Despite this grim reality, the Masam Project announced the successful removal of over 436,000 mines since mid-2018. April 4

Torture and prisons

  • Media reports revealed alarming figures where at least 130 individuals have died from torture in the Houthi group’s prisons since 2015. The reports also highlighted that around 27,000 people had been abducted by the group from their homes, streets, or neighborhoods. April 26

  • Amnesty International reported that all sides involved in the Yemen conflict persist in perpetrating crimes against civilians. These include unlawful murders, limitations on freedom of movement, and obstructing humanitarian aid efforts. Furthermore, journalists and activists face harassment and arbitrary detention due to their work. The Houthi group is accused of restricting women’s mobility and engaging in violent acts such as bombing a field hospital in Al-Dhalea, attacking a family in Taiz with artillery fire, and tragically killing children while they were tending to livestock in Hodeida with another artillery shell.  April 25

Humanitarian Scene:

The World Health Organization has observed over 50,000 cases of measles in Yemen within a year, expressing deep concern over the elevated infection rates among children and expectant mothers. This substantial surge in cases, totaling 51,500 in 2023, as compared to 27,000 in 2022, is attributed to the degradation of the healthcare system as a result of the country’s ongoing conflict. April 27

General News:

The departure of Sheikh Al-Zindani

  • Thousands gathered to perform the funeral prayer for Sheikh Abdul Majeed Al-Zindani, the president of Al-Iman University in Sana’a, and a prominent figure in Yemen, in the Turkish city of Istanbul. Al-Zindani’s departure from Yemen was prompted by being targeted by the Houthi group, along with the university he led, during the events of the storming of Sana’a on September 21, 2014. April 23.


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