Monthly briefing-March 2023

 

The Monthly Briefing is a bulletin that monitors and documents the most prominent current events in Yemen, on the political, military, economic, security and humanitarian levels. It is published monthly and translated into several languages.

 

Political Scene:

Disagreements escalated between the two countries of the Arab coalition, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, over several files, including the Yemeni file and the Iranian-Saudi agreement in Beijing, while the Houthis continued to threaten to return to war, as they targeted a government convoy, including the governor of Taiz, on the 8th anniversary of the Operation Decisive Storm, which the Presidential Council claims that it protected Yemen from the Iranian threat.

– The American newspaper The Wall Street Journal, revealed the escalation of differences between Saudi Arabia and the UAE, due to the Yemeni war and oil, as Saudi Arabia objected to the security agreement signed between Abu Dhabi and the Yemeni government in December 2022, according to which UAE forces are allowed to intervene and be present in Yemen. (3/3)

– A study called “Leadership from Iran: How Saif al-Adl was able to control al-Qaeda in Yemen”, published by a Yemeni research center, revealed Iran’s control of the al-Qaeda branch in Yemen, through a senior leader in the organization present on its territory, called Saif al-Adl, who managed communication operations with the Houthi group, which resulted in an exchange of prisoners between the two parties and the release of detainees on charges of terrorism. (3/6)

– The Houthi group took control of the bank accounts of Yemeni Airlines in Sana’a, in preparation for controlling the company’s assets and capabilities, to establish a new airline affiliated with the group, in partnership with businessmen from Oman. (3/12)

– The delegation of the government and the Houthi group in Switzerland signed an exchange deal for prisoners and abductees, which includes the release of 880 people, and the deal also included Major General Mahmoud Al-Subaihi and Major General Nasser Hadi (the brother of former President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi). (3/20)

– The Islah party accused the UN envoy to Yemen, Hans Grundberg, of colluding with the Houthi group in continuing the intended blackout of the leader Muhammad Qahtan, calling on the UN Security Council to investigate and intervene in the process of revealing his whereabouts. (3/22)

– The U.S. Embassy in Yemen announced the opening of a consulate in the capital, Aden, to serve its citizens for the first time since the launch of the Coalition’s Operation Decisive Storm in 2015 and the closure of the embassy’s headquarters in the capital, Sana’a. (3/23)

– The chairman of the Presidential Leadership Council, Dr. Rashad al-Alimi, said that there is an “urgent need for the survival of the Arab coalition” in Yemen, stressing that the intervention of the coalition prevented the state from falling into the grips of the terrorist Houthi militia and its subversive project in Yemen. (3/26)

 

Military Scene:

– A member of the Presidential Leadership Council Tariq Saleh visited Taiz for the first time since the war. [Tariq Saleh, the nephew of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, is a military commander supported by the UAE, and his forces are located on the western coast on the Red Sea in an area cut off from Taiz and Hodeidah. He previously allied with the Houthi group against the legitimate government before December 2017.]

– The Yemeni Minister of Defense, Mohsen Al-Daari, arrived in Socotra, which was the first visit of a high-ranking official since the UAE took control of the island in June 2020, through the support of the Transitional Council forces. (3/18)

– The head of the negotiating delegation to the legitimate government revealed that the implementation plan for the exchange of 887 prisoners, according to the Swiss agreement, will start on April 11 and will last for three days, which will be implemented through six domestic and foreign airports. (3/24)

Security Scene:

The most important events were the visit of the U.S. ambassador to Socotra and the city of Aden, the survival of the governor of Taiz from an assassination attempt by a Houthi drone, and the team of experts revealed companies smuggling weapons to the Houthi-controlled Sana’a.

– The United Nations team of experts from the Security Council revealed the involvement of two companies, one in Sana’a and the other in Oman, in the continuous smuggling of advanced weapons to the Houthi-controlled areas, through the Yemeni-Omani border. (3/2)

– At the Arab Coalition’s headquarters in Al-Mahrah, the governor met with Stephen Fagin, the U.S. ambassador to Yemen, accompanied by the commander of the U.S. 5th Fleet, as well as several U.S. officials, to discuss ways to prevent the smuggling of weapons and drugs into the country. (3/3)

– The governor of Taiz and the Yemeni Minister of Defense, along with the Chief of Staff, survived a targeting operation by a Houthi drone in Taiz, while some of the military police accompanying the delegation were killed and injured. (3/25)

Economic Scene:

– The Houthi group approved a draft law called “Preventing Usurious Transactions”, which gives it the right to acquire and control all bank deposits in commercial and Islamic banks. The law has previously been criticized by the legitimate government, the United Nations and the Security Council sanctions committee’s team of experts. (3/21)

Legal Scene:

– The Yemeni Journalists Syndicate strongly condemned the UAE-backed security belt forces storming and confiscating its headquarters in Aden, demanding the evacuation of the gunmen while ensuring the protection of their colleagues. (3/1)

– Thousands of Ibb residents participated in the funeral of the activist Hamdi Abdul Razzaq Al-Mukhal, whom the Houthi group is accused of killing, while its security forces assaulted the participants at the funeral, fired bullets in the air and carried out a widespread arrest campaign in response to their chanting against the group. (3/23)

Humanitarian Scene:

– The international president of Doctors Without Borders, Christos Christou, criticized the great restrictions imposed by the Houthi group on the organization’s humanitarian work in its areas of influence, which impedes their tasks for their patients and those in need of medical care. (3/3)

– The Associated Press said the Houthis’ recent restrictions on humanitarian flights are likely to amplify the suffering of Yemenis in areas that the group controls, including the capital, Sana’a. (3/25)

Data:

– Rasd Center for Humanitarian and Development Studies documented 393 cases of violations against civilians in Al-Bayda, central Yemen, during 2022. It was distributed among the parties in the following proportions:

83% — Houthi group;

16% — Transitional Council; and

1% — government agencies.

Fifty-two people were murdered, including 12 children and four women.

Forty-one people were injured, including 14 children and four women.

There were 26 civilian casualties as a result of mines and explosive devices.

There were 182 arbitrary arrests.

Forty-nine houses were destroyed, of which two were destroyed, and 47 were partially destroyed.

There were 92 incidents of attacks on private and public property, including 20 cases of housebreaking and 22 cases of confiscation of private property (committed by the Houthi group).

There were 13 cases of violations of mosques and schools.

There were 26 cases of assault, ill-treatment and a ban on movement.

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