Monthly briefing-August 2023

The most prominent event in August was the successful transfer of oil from the tanker called Safer to an alternate tanker, effectively averting a potential environmental catastrophe. However, against the backdrop of a challenging and intricate political environment, there are currently no discernible solutions on the horizon. Furthermore, the outcome of the Omani delegation’s visit to Sana’a, where they engaged with the leadership of the Houthi group, remains uncertain, lacking clear indications of positive results.

Political scene

  • The Houthi group made changes to the National Education Book in areas under its control. They removed a portion of the first goal of the September 26, 1962, revolution — a significant national holiday. The omitted segment pertained to “eliminating disparities and privileges among social classes.” (August 2)
  • The United States expressed full endorsement for the Presidential Leadership Council and the overall security, unity and stability of Yemen. This declaration transpired during a meeting between Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriate Affairs, and Stephen Fagin, the U.S. Ambassador to Yemen. (August 3)
  • The United Nations announced the successful conclusion of the emergency phase aimed at salvaging the deteriorating Safer oil tanker situated off the western coast of Yemen. This accomplishment averted a significant environmental catastrophe that posed a grave threat to the Red Sea region. (However, a recent study, conducted by the Mokha Center for Strategic Studies, issued a warning about the potential for a new catastrophe arising from the tanker that now contains the oil, after the oil transfer.) (August 11)
  • Affiliated armed groups linked to Abdul Rahman al-Mahrami, a member of the Presidential Leadership Council, forcefully entered the presidential palace in the Ma’ashiq area of Aden, which serves as the residence of Prime Minister Maeen Abdul Malik, who had recently returned from Riyadh. (August 13)
  • The Omani delegation left Sana’a Airport, returning to Muscat, after a four-day visit, during which it met with the leaders of the Houthi group, in an attempt to revive the peace negotiations that had stalled for months, without announcing any results. (August 20)
  • The Chairman of the Presidential Leadership Council, Dr. Rashad Al-Alimi, visited Al-Mahra Governorate for an inspection, which lasted for seven days, and then he returned to Saudi Arabia (temporary residence), accompanied by several officials. The visit is his first to this province, located in the far east of the country. (August 22)

 

Military scene

Acts of violence persisted across several areas between the government army and the Houthi group. These confrontations transpired in the governorates of Al-Dhalea, Lahj, Marib, and Al-Jawf, with a particularly heightened intensity within the city of Taiz. Throughout these engagements, casualties — both fatalities and injuries — were reported on both sides. Meanwhile, the Houthi group maintained its mobilization efforts and dispatched fighters to the frontlines in Taiz and Ma’rib. These actions came in response to the appeal made by the UN envoy, Hans Grundberg, who addressed the Security Council, urging the involved parties in Yemen to desist from incitement toward violence and instead recommit to the path of dialogue.

  • In the southwest of Yemen, the strategically vital Bab al-Mandab area has experienced a surge in tension involving military forces, all of which receive backing from the Emirates. The first group is affiliated with Brigadier General Tariq Saleh’s forces, while the second comprises the Giant Brigades, supported by the Sabeeha tribes — a prominent tribe in the southern Lahj Governorate. Despite the endeavors of Major General Haitham Qassem Taher, who heads the Presidential Committee, the attempts to ease the mounting tension were ultimately unsuccessful. (July 30)
  • Various narratives emerged from the Houthi group concerning the circumstances surrounding the death of Brigadier General Ahmed Al-Hamzi, the commander of their Air Force. The group expressed grief through its media channels, yet refrained from disclosing specifics about the cause. Meanwhile, the legitimate government confirmed that the deaths of Al-Hamzi and several other leaders were attributed to the unsuccessful testing of Iranian weaponry in the Serwah region of Ma’rib. (August 6)
  • The commander of the security belt forces in Abyan Governorate, Brigadier General Abd al-Latif al-Sayyed, and five of his companions were killed in an explosive device detonation targeting his convoy, in Abyan (south of the country). (August 10)
  • The Saudi authorities denied allegations published by Human Rights Watch regarding the assault on groups of Ethiopian nationality while crossing the Saudi-Yemeni border. (The organization published on its account videos that said: It is from the Yemeni-Saudi border, and that it has documents and other evidence confirming the killings and the direct targeting of refugees.) (August 24)
  • One day after his return from Riyadh, while attending an expanded meeting that included military, political and partisan leaders in the governorate, Major General Sultan al-Arada, a member of the PLC and the governor of Ma’rib, said: The Yemeni people have more rights and power than the Houthis and that he will move toward restoring the state and its institutions, whether through peace or war. (August 26)

Security scene

The Al-Qaeda group in Yemen has released five United Nations staff members after being held captive for over eighteen months. The organization did not disclose the identity of the party that paid the approximately $3 million ransom that was demanded. Additionally, assassinations resurfaced in the city of Taiz, following the assassination of a security operative who was actively engaged in the inquiry concerning the murder of UN representative Moayad Hamidi on the outskirts of the city of Al-Turbah.

  • A political security officer and a member of the investigation committee into the murder of Moayad Hamidi, the director of the World Food Program, Lieutenant Adnan Al-Muhaya was assassinated in the city of Taiz. (August 15)
  • Violent confrontations broke out between the forces affiliated with the Transitional Council and gunmen, among the protesters, in the interim capital, Aden, hours after a security force affiliated with the security belt stormed Martyrs’ Square and kidnapped the leader of the February 16 movement, Walid al-Idrisi, following the attack on him. (August 26)

Humanitarian scene

The humanitarian situation in Yemen remains catastrophic, with millions of Yemenis suffering from food, healthcare and education insecurity. The United Nations has warned that Yemen is about to face a global famine, especially with the announcement of the cessation of humanitarian programs due to lack of funding.

  • The United Nations World Food Program announced that more than four million Yemenis will receive less food aid, starting at the end of next September, due to an acute funding crisis facing humanitarian organizations. (August 18)

 

Violations

The siege imposed by the Houthi group on the city of Taiz has greatly exacerbated the humanitarian crisis there. There are more than 4 million people suffering as a result of the continuation of the blockade, which has entered its eighth year. Local and international organizations documented a number of human rights violations in Yemen during the month of August, ranging from torture to death, arrest and displacement as a result of the conflict.

  • The Houthis began banning YouTube and Facebook platforms, in response to the shutting down of 70 channels affiliated with the group, among the promotional channels and accounts that promote violence within the war media and its media centers. (August 7)
  • The Houthi group began imposing procedures for separating male and female students at Sana’a State University, as part of a set of behaviors that the group imposes on citizens and students in the name of what it calls “faith identity.” (August 10)
  • Human Rights Watch has accused Saudi border guards of killing hundreds of Ethiopian migrants, including women and children, during their journey from detention centers and informal gatherings in Saada Governorate, into Saudi territory, with the help of smugglers and human traffickers with close ties to the Houthi group. (August 22)
  • A human rights organization revealed to the “Yemen Shabab” channel that the Houthi group has 100 prisons in Ibb Governorate, most of which are secret and not subject to the most basic international standards, and there are dozens of kidnapped people. (August 24)
  • The Information and Training Center for Human Rights documented 78 violations committed by the Houthi group in the besieged Taiz Governorate, which caused the death of two civilians, including a woman, who were accompanied by mass displacement in the areas of Hawamrah, Haqab and Al-Dahhi in the Mawiyah district. (August 25)

Statistics

The United Nations-affiliated International Organization for Migration reported that, since January 1 to August 5, a total of 24,000 Yemeni individuals have been displaced due to reasons linked to the ongoing war. This displacement involves 3,964 families, which accounts for approximately 23,784 individuals, who have experienced displacement at least once during this period. (August 8).

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