Monthly Briefing / March – 2024

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Political scene

The obstacles preventing a political resolution in Yemen persist, primarily due to the fallout from the Houthis’ military escalation in the Red Sea, international policies — particularly those of the United States — and regional rivalries. These factors contribute to the complexity and prolonged nature of the Yemeni crisis, despite media discussions suggesting that a peace agreement is imminent.

Failing international mediation:

  • Prime Minister Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak has stated that the UN roadmap aimed at resolving the Yemeni crisis has been halted, and the prospects for a political solution have diminished, primarily due to the escalation of Houthi activities in the Red Sea. (March 19)

  • The UN Special Envoy to Yemen remarked that anticipated developments such as a ceasefire, payment of state employee salaries, resumption of oil exports and the release of detainees did not materialize. He noted that international mediation has become more complex due to regional conflicts and Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea. (March 14)

  • The UN Special Envoy to Yemen has held a successive meeting in Washington with American officials to discuss recent developments in the Red Sea and to explore ways to revive the stalled political process in the country. (March 16)

  • the UN envoy concluded his visit to Muscat, Oman, where he engaged in discussions with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and other Omani officials regarding the latest Yemeni developments. March 26

  • Following his visit to Moscow, Russia, the UN envoy wrapped up discussions with Russian officials concerning a roadmap for Yemen, ceasefire implementation, enhancement of living conditions and the resumption of the political process. He emphasized the Security Council’s unity in facilitating a peaceful resolution to the crisis. March 29

  • Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, the leader of the Houthi group, asserted that his group had inflicted casualties on 282,000 “enemies” and destroyed approximately 18,000 military vehicles and equipment throughout the many years of conflict. However, he did not disclose his group’s losses. March 26

  • Prince Turki Al-Faisal, the former head of Saudi intelligence, criticized the United States’ decision to reclassify the Houthi group as an international terrorist organization, labeling it as “ridiculous.” He argued that this move solely served the interests of the United States, disregarding the concerns of other parties from a previous period. March 28

Red Sea escalation:

  • The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced fresh sanctions against two shipping companies, Vishnu Inc. and Cielo Maritime Ltd. These sanctions were imposed due to their involvement in transporting Iranian goods for the benefit of the Houthi group and the Quds Force, both of which are designated as terrorist organizations by Washington. March 15

  • Russian warships, including the cruiser Varyag and the frigate Marshal Shaposhnikov, crossed the Bab al-Mandab Strait into the Red Sea. While the purpose of this naval movement remains unknown, it coincides with ongoing Houthi attacks on commercial vessels. Russia has not issued any statement regarding the nature of this voyage. March 28

Military scene
Army forces aligned with the legitimate government successfully thwarted a Houthi group’s assault on the Ma’rib Front, which resulted in the deaths of eight members of the Houthi militia, who attempted to infiltrate army positions.

Security scene:

Security incidents have increased compared to the preceding months. Despite a relatively less tense military situation, the Houthi group declined to open roads in the city of Taiz. There has also been a rise in assassination attempts targeting military and security leaders, along with an escalation in smuggling activities involving contraband, weapons and war-related equipment. This is particularly evident at the shipping port connecting Yemen and Oman.


  • At the Shehn port, in Al-Mahra Governorate, security services seized a huge shipment containing communications equipment for 600 military radios and other communications gear. March 7

  • Coast Guard forces apprehended a criminal gang consisting of three individuals attempting to smuggle cannabis and Captagon tablets across the sea. The confiscated contraband included 159.6 kilograms of hashish and 156,880 Captagon tablets. March 8

  • Yemeni antiquities expert Abdullah Mohsen reported that an Israeli auction, organized by archaeologist Robert Deutsch, featured seven antiquities from ancient Yemen, where one of the showcased items is a bronze statue of a young man believed to date back from the fourth to second centuries B.C.  March 25

Red Sea escalation:

  • The Yemeni government reported the sinking of the Rubymar Ship, targeted by the Houthis near the Bab al-Mandab Strait, on February 18, 2024. The British vessel was hit by anti-ship missiles, leading to an oil spill spanning 18 miles in length. The ship was carrying 21,999 metric tons of fertilizer categorized as high-risk (5.1), according to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) classification. March 2
  • The Houthis launched naval missiles at an American commercial vessel in the Gulf of Aden, resulting in the deaths of two crew members and severe injuries to three others. March 7
  • An oil tanker, registered under the Panama flag, was hit by an unidentified projectile near the Yemeni port of Mokha, causing it to ignite. The ship’s crew managed to extinguish the fire. It is suspected that the attack was carried out by the Houthis. March 22

Siege of Taiz:

  • The Yemeni government unilaterally announced the reopening of two main roads in Taiz, effective immediately. Despite this initiative, the Houthi group did not respond favorably to the government’s announcement; they did not open the main roads. March 2


  • Unidentified individuals set fire to the “Farnham” reserve on Socotra Island, resulting in the destruction of several of a rare species of trees called Brother’s Blood Tree. It’s worth noting that the Island is under the control of the Southern Transitional Council, which is aligned with the UAE. March 2

Economic scene

The ongoing conflict persists between the two central banks in Sana’a and Aden, with each institution implementing policies aimed at challenging the other. This poses a significant threat to the financial and living conditions within Yemen, indicating potentially severe consequences for the lives of its citizens.

Financial Activities:

  • The Central Bank of Yemen initiated the first phase of the national exchange system for financial transfers, initially connecting seven banks and planning to link the remaining banks later. This move aims to streamline banking transactions. March 9

  • The Central Bank of Yemen in Aden issued a warning against the circulation of counterfeit currency, which the Central Bank in Sana’a, under Houthi control, intends to print. It emphasized that the resolution to the issue of damaged currency lies in lifting the ban on the circulation of the national currency. March 28

  • Exchange companies operating in areas under the legitimate government’s control have resumed money transfers to areas controlled by the Houthi group. This action follows a halt in financial transfers in mid-March and the subsequent launch of the Unified Network for Money (a financial transfer network) in Aden. March 27


The Houthi bombing of several homes in the city of Rada’a, Al-Bayda Governorate, resulted in nearly 20 people getting killed or injured, causing significant devastation akin to an earthquake. This incident elicited widespread condemnation and outrage both domestically and internationally.

  • Human Rights Watch accused both the Houthi group and the Southern Transitional Council of imposing restrictions on women’s freedom of movement in areas under their control across northern and southern Yemen. March 5

  • The Association of Mothers of Abductees in Aden urged security services to disclose the whereabouts of 60 forcibly disappeared individuals and to conduct a thorough investigation into their disappearance and to find the responsible party. March 6

  • The Houthi group detonated homes in the city of Rada’a, Al-Bayda Governorate, resulting in their collapse. This tragic bombing resulted in 20 people, including women and children, getting killed or injured. March 19

  • The “Musawa” organization documented the deaths of 14 residents of Dhamar, who were tortured in Houthi prisons, with the latest victim being Khaled Ghazi, who succumbed to his injuries by torture. March 27

Humanitarian scene 

  • Yemeni Prime Minister Bin Mubarak called for the United Nations to activate its mechanisms to address the humanitarian crisis in Yemen as he appealed for support for the government’s efforts to address the environmental disaster resulting from the sinking of British ship Rubymar, which was transporting substantial quantities of fertilizers.  March 5

  • The International Organization for Migration reported the displacement of over 4,000 Yemenis since the start of 2024. In total, 782 families (4,692 individuals) had been displaced at least once since January 1, 2024. March 11
  • The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees issued a warning, stating that Yemen is facing one of the largest humanitarian crises globally. Approximately 4.5 million people are internally displaced, and 18.2 million people urgently require humanitarian assistance.  March 17
  • Qatar responded to Yemen’s request to evacuate 58 Yemenis stranded in the Gaza Strip, with 34 holding Yemeni nationality and 24 holding dual nationality.  March 27


Education Crisis in Yemen

  • 4.5 million Yemeni children are currently out of school due to the ongoing nine-year conflict.

  • One-third of families have at least one child who dropped out of school.

  • Displaced children are twice as likely to drop out of school.

  • 14% of displaced families cite violence as a direct reason for dropping out.

  • School fees and the cost of textbooks rank second as barriers to education access.

  • 44% of children left school to contribute to their family’s income.

  • Despite an UN-brokered truce, 76% of students did not feel any improvement in their sense of security.

Source: Save the Children International, March 25, 2024


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