Eid alFitre

Dear Members and Sponsors,

Thanks to your donations Nouria managed once more to distribute food to all YERO children and their families for Eid al Fitre and to provide the children with new clothes and school utensils. May their happy eyes bring joy to all of you!

Kindest regards
Anisa

Posted in Allgemein

Newsletter 21

The developments over the past weeks have been characterized by political fragmentation and growing isolationism and a shift in alliances. The war has entered into a simmering status quo with selective battles at the borders of the Houthi areas, while the situation around Hodaydah remains in suspense. Saudi Arabia, as Mohamed bin Salman, the deputy crown prince disclosed in a recent interview, is not in a hurry and plays for time. While no longer dispensing the horrendous cost involved in an air war, harbours and airports remain blocked with a view to systematically starving out the approx. 17 million inhabitants in the Houthi areas.

The humanitarian situation:

End of April a donor conference had been arranged by UNOCHA and the governments of Sweden and Switzerland in Geneva. Although the result fell short of the 2.1 billion USD calculated, various donor countries contributed as much as 1.2 billion.

19 million Yemenis of the total population of 26 million need humanitarian aid and protection. UNOCHA and several international aid organizations keep warning that in the absence of concrete aid famine will strike the majority of the population, above all children representing 40 % and in danger of suffering severe development disorders because of malnutrition. UN-Secretary General Guterres voiced in drastic terms that every 10 minutes a Yemeni child under the age of five dies of hunger and that the famine in Yemen is the most severe supply catastrophe worldwide.  Quite striking is the fact that Saudi Arabia agreed to give 150 million USD. The cost for the air war against Yemen so far amounted to approx. 200 million USD daily.

Hadramaut´s solo action

On April 26th, Mukalla celebrated the “one-year liberation of Mukalla from  alQaida” (a typical Yemeni charade since a Qaida left peacefully upon agreement on April 26th the year before) and a conference was arranged in this context under the title “Jumaa Hadramaut” (Joint Hadramaut). At this conference a Hadramy code of honour was concluded and a declaration of 40 punctuations for the preparation of an autonomously administered   Hadramaut proclaimed.

A group under the leadership of Ahmed ben Brik, the governor of Hadramaut intend to urge president Hadi to agree to negotiations with the Houthi and achieve an end of the war and a return to normalisation. Should this not meet with success the group will proclaim an autonomous political area Hadramaut under the leadership of Ahmed Ben Brik and assume control over the militia, the infrastructure, the economy and the administration. Hadi has so far not reacted. The proponents are, according to their respective declaration, not opposed to the occupying states Saudi Arabia and the Emirates and invite Mahra und Schabwa to participate.

Trouble spot Aden

Simultaneously with the events in Hadramaut the situation in Aden escalated. President Hadi all of a sudden dismissed Aidrus Zubeidi, the governor of Aden and several ministers by decree, among them Hani ben Brik, the state minister (not related to Ahmed ben Brik). He accused the latter of prosecutable actions and instigated investigations on the part of the prosecution. Both Zubeidi and ben Brik are popular heroes of the resistance against the Houthis, enjoying respect and admiration. Aidrus Zubeidi´s dismissal was followed by a “Declaration of Aden”, in which he suggested a similar line of actions as postulated by the Hadramis for  Hadramaut. Zubeidis´ und ben Briks´ sacking led to massive protest actions of the population, with the Emirates fuelling the animosity against Hadi and stimulating the secession adherents. Hadi blamed the Emirates to show off as occupants and to sabotage the unity of Yemen. Emirati newspapers severely critisize Hadi, challenging his legitimacy. This brought about a pro-Hadi and a pro-Zubeidi demonstration,  where the Emirates tried to support the pro-Zubeidi demonstration in their media and their infrastructure. However, only very few participated in the demonstrations, with those for Zubeidi having to be transported in cart loads from alDhale. The Adani obviously do not allow themselves to be misused for such power demonstrations.

The new situation also leads to a shift in the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the Emirates. Saudi Arabia is given a stronger negotiating position. Both occupants appear to aim at a session/segmentation of Yemen.

A further comment was received by the Islah-Party, known to be under extreme pressure in the present constellation. In their declaration Islah support Hadi – their only mentor -, the unity of Yemen and Hadi´s decision to nominate Abdelaziz alMuflehi as new Governor of Aden.  In the night after the publication of the declaration the headquarters of the Islah party in Aden were torched.

The new governor arrived in Aden on May 6th, welcomed by representatives of Hadi´s government. AlMuflehi is a politician and a business man, coming – as Zubeidi – from the secessionist province of alDhale. He had studied in Egypt and had been engaged in business for a long time in Saudi Arabia before joining Hadi´s set of advisers. At his arrival in Aden he declared he does not intend to engage in politics but would endeavour to improve the living conditions of the Adani.

Aden airport, 6.6.2017, arrival of the new governor Abdelaziz alMuflehi (mid front, back of his head)

Mukalla, 26.4. 2016, Festival to celebrate the liberation from alQaida a year ago. In the middle in a beige suit Governor Ahmed ben Brik, strongman of “Jumaa Hadramaut” (Joint Hadramaut)

Posted in Newsletter

Good news from Sana’a

We have started this year a new class for the very
young kids to prepare  them for school.We teach them everything they need to learn before going to school.It is only once a week  im sending you the photo _ they are so lovely …
NOURIA

Posted in Allgemein

Crimes of the Forgotten War on Yemen

Dear Dr. Anisa,

I would like to share with you a series of videos that were prepared for
the purpose of showing the world some of the crimes being committed by
the Saudi coalition in Yemen. I hope that you would have time to watch
them and to share them with your friends and acquaintances, and maybe
put them up on your organization’s website.

Introduction
عربي
https://youtu.be/YYRxtQuurHM

English

https://youtu.be/aSuUTbAwS6c

Part One

عربي
https://youtu.be/vdgeSkKNJEI

English
https://youtu.be/tPB4VsgHVYs

Part two

عربي
https://youtu.be/si9RcE_vShc

English

https://youtu.be/VGc2ASkLng8

Part Three

عربي
https://youtu.be/5BFWhftZ5h8

English
https://youtu.be/pkIHWXi98pY

Part Four

عربي
https://youtu.be/ZwmKgxiPKIc

English
https://youtu.be/hPtJnyna4WU

Part Five

عربي
https://youtu.be/zJ_gdGGz2_Y

English
https://youtu.be/4EPG8cuA6L8

Looking forward to meeting you soon in Yemen or in Austria,

Osama

Posted in Allgemein

Newsletter 20

Kämpfen um die Vormacht im Jemen (von links): iranischer Präsident Hassan Rohani, Houthi-Führer Abdelmalik alHouthi, Expräsident Ali Abdullah Saleh, Präsident Abdrubbah Mansur Hadi, Präsident der Emirate Mohamed bin Zayed, saudischer König Salman bin Abdelaziz

On 17th February 2017, the UN published the “Final Report of the Panel of Experts on Yemen”, for which a panel of experts had investigated and described the impact of UNSR resolutions 2140 and 2216 on 242 pages. The direct reference to UNSR resolutions, representing the interests of the Saudi coalition and the so-called legitimate government in 2014 and 2015, explain a certain unilateral aspect of the reports, unilateral since only the weapon supplies from Iran to the Houthis but not those of the Gulf countries, the USA und GB for Hadi, alQaida and Salafistic militia were questioned, only the sanctions of Saleh and his son and also the al-Houthi leadership were investigated but not the financial transactions of Hadi and his clans. Nevertheless, the report offers new insight and conclusions, above all by describing, relatively unbiased, violations of martial law, acts against humanity and human rights committed by all parties. The most important items of the report in a short summary read :

  • All countries involved in the war and also Hadi´s government are responsible for war crimes and violations of human rights committed. This is of special importance since e.g. Saudi Arabia conjures up excuses for the attack at the funeral celebration in Sana´a with 150 killed and 600 wounded, attributing this to the failure of one individual. The allocation of blame also includes the „collateral damage“ suffered by the civilian population during US drone attacks:
    “All States whose forces engage in or otherwise participate in military operations on behalf of the coalition are responsible for all acts committed by persons forming part of its armed forces. These States may not evade their obligations by placing their contingents at the disposal of an ad hoc coalition. All coalition member States and their allies also have an obligation to take appropriate measures to ensure respect for international humanitarian law by the coalition. This obligation is especially incumbent upon the Government of Yemen, upon whose request and with whose consent the air strikes are being conducted.”
    This will please the governments of Morocco and Egypt having withdrawn from the air raids in good time. Hadi will, in all probability, have to stand trial at the International Court in The Hague.
  • The air raids of the Saudi coalition have devastated the Yemeni infrastructure and terrorised the population but failed to bend the will of the Houthi-Saleh-Alliance to continue the war.
  • The Houthi-Saleh attacks at ships navigating in the Red Sea have increased the risk of a regional extension of the conflict. The Houthi-Saleh-Alliance has shown considerable fitness for action in maritime war.
  • The transfer and smuggling of weapons by sea from Iran to the Houthis has so far not been clearly provable. Several incidents of weapon supplies on vessels departing from Iranian harbours in the Gulf have been investigated  but – on the basis of the routes chosen and the telephone conversations monitored –  it looks pretty obvious that the vessels were destined for Somalia. Evidence that Iranian weapons had been brought from there to Yemen could not be found. The alleged weapon transfer from Iran to the Houthis had initially been massively postulated by Israel, followed by the permanent publication of alarm announcements. Saudi Arabia keeps making use of these “fake news” in order to justify the war against Yemen and the embargo of supplies of vital resources for the population.
  • The transfer of the Yemeni central bank to Aden by Hadi´s government has opened an effective „economic front“ in this war and considerably curtailed the economic capacities of the Houthi-Saleh-Alliance in the military continuation of the conflict  and also the administration of the areas under their control. Simultaneously, the vital resources for the population have become so very scarce that the humanitarian disaster accelerates.

The report also refers to the activities of the so-called Hizam-associations, installed by the Emirates as their own security troops in “freed Yemen” and active in four provinces. Complaints about abuse, intimidation, arrest and partly also torture keep increasing on the part of the population. This refers in particular to the so-called “Hadrami Elite troops”, supposedly representing an anti-terror unit and carrying out torture in routine manner in secret prisons. The report gives the following wording:

“The Panel finds that, even if these individuals were associated with AQAP, the Government is obliged under international humanitarian law and international human rights law to ensure that the Hadrami Elite Forces, or any other forces operating on the ground under the authority and/or control and/or with the consent of the Government, comply with relevant legal requirements and procedural safeguards regarding deprivation of liberty … Given that the United Arab Emirates also has ground forces operating in Mukalla, their government has similar obligations. The United Arab Emirates have informed the Panel that the coalition has provided “military, financial and training assistance” and “intelligence, logistic information and aerial intervention” to the Hadrami Elite Forces, which are under the control of the legitimate Yemeni Armed Forces.”

The Emirates have been considered responsible also for crimes and violations of rights by the Hizam troops even if the Hizam forces proforma  operate under the name of Yemeni government forces. In actual fact the Hadi regime has no control over the Hizam troops.

Quite interesting is also the minutely detailed report about attempts of Khaled Ali Saleh, one of Ali Abdullah Saleh´s son and  Ahmed Ali Saleh´s brother to circumvent the sanctions imposed upon them, in particular the freezing of accounts, and launder  money. The panel has tracked the itinerary of the accounts (totalling three-digital US million amounts) in six banks in six countries. No money transfer abroad could be verified as regards the sanctioned Houthi-leaders.

  • The present sphere of influence of Ali Abdullah Saleh has been carefully scrutinized and leads towards the conclusion that he has remained quite powerful, to be explained by the networks he established during his 30 years as president, in particular among the tribes, with the militia and in his party Moutamar. His close and stable connexions with the usually not consistently loyal tribes were strengthened and stabilized by means of a clever marriage policy pursued with his multiple daughters and sons.
  • Furthermore, by using the example of 10-12 proven violations, the report minutely describes the war crimes against the civilian population on both sides. The selected cases have been proven by documentary material although the Panel had not been permitted a research in situ.

The complete pdf UN Report is attached.

Posted in Newsletter

Help for Hodeidha

Dear Dr. Anisa,

Shortly after my last email to you, Ms. Noria had kindly handed over the sum equivalent to 1000 euros which your organization had contributed to our relief initiative in Hodeidah.

Last week we used the amount to buy food assistance packages, which included 25 kg flour, 5 kg sugar and a bag of tea, for 62 families from different villages in Al-Kadan area in Al-Hodeidah governorate.

I would like to use this opportunity to thank you and your organization for all your great efforts and contributions aimed at relieving the sufferings of the people of Yemen that are caused by the brutal and inhumane aggression and blockade of the Saudi regime.

Attached are some photos that were taken at the time of assistance distribution.

Best regards,

Osama Alamrani

 

Posted in Allgemein

Newsletter 19

 

The military situation has changed very little in the course of the past months in Yemen, but armed disputes have become less frequent with the exception of some unyielding front lines. The Saudi air forces, however,  continued attacking the country from North Yemen to South Taiz with cluster bombs and other weapons, but with less frequency, while alQaida has become most active, defending their retreat areas in alBeidha, Schabwa and Abyan against the Houthi/Saleh-troops und and struggling for survival with  the Hizam-Brigades in the South.

Peace negotiations are chanceless at the time being with a view to the prerequisites and conditions of the “International Community” (consisting of the US, the UK, the KSA und the VAE), and keep being postponed. Never the less, the course for the post war alignment is being set in the different parts of the country, showing a drifting apart of the latter. The changes are most obvious in bigger towns where the new peacekeeping powers endeavour to get consolidated.

Aden

18 months after the end of war activities the infrastructure has become almost fully operational again in Aden, although power cuts are daily fare. The modern diesel generators supplied by the Emirates have to be switched off temporarily because of a lack of fuel. Waste disposal and the sewage system have improved too. The ever and again announced reopening of the airport has taken effect to a limited extent only: a newly established private “Queen Bilqis Airline” is to connect Aden and Mukalla-Ryan with  international destinations. The flamboyant announcement of a reinstallation of the port has become a very slow process indeed. Aden University has been active with the exception of three months in the spring of 2015 but has been subjected to new legal prerequisites and curricula as well as requirements for mainstream studies and appointments. The courts, the security organs and the public administration still do not function.

Image: The new diesel generators supplied by the Emirates are temporarily out of order because of a lack of fuel

Abdrubbah Mansur Hadi has been residing at the presidential palace Maschiq in Aden-Tawahi since the end of November but for security reasons is going out only sporadically, some time ago for a one-week visit to Mukalla. Critics are worried Hadi might be selling off Yemeni resources and interests in order to finance his regime.

At the end of December – in the wake of the transfer of the central bank from Sana´a to Aden – the military personnel received their pay for the first time after three months which somehow calmed the situation. According to Hadi Aden was to become a model city as  the “provisional capital“, a so far pitifully unsuccessful attempt, above all because of the unstable and insecure situation. The car bomb attacks Daash employs for advertising and recruiting, periodically kill and wound above all masses of young recruits. At times up to 18 armed groups and militia have been acting, bringing about an escalation of the chaos and bewilderment of the population. Various militia carry out checks at every 100 metres, demarcating ”their“ territories in arms.

Image: Daash tries to recruit by means of this photo of a young suicide bomber (with an explosive belt) who killed 40 soldiers and injured 50 in Aden on 19/12/ 2016

Numerous Adanis have demonstrated against the shortcomings, burnt tires in the streets and erected blockades to protest against the lack of fuel, the power cut offs, the lack of public services and the insecure situation. This has given new impetus to the Secessionists.

Hadi is now trying to obtain supremacy over the militia or eliminate it. The most important representatives are the so-called “Hizam-Brigades” (security belt brigades), associations in the Southern provinces established and financed by the Emirates (possibly also by the KSA and Qatar). The so far approx.15.000 security forces of “Hizam” have been recruited in South Yemen and trained by Emirati officers above all in combatting terror in four provinces, and are said to be selectively launched against alQaida and Daash, which in turn has made them become a target of the two terror organizations. AlQaida is progressing at the expense of Daash, possibly because it succeeds in mobilising resistance against the „occupation forces“ and engages in mortal fights against military opponents, political leaders and the cleric. The Hizam high commands, on the other hand, allegedly consist of fundamentalist Salafists. The Hizam have not endeared themselves so far to the Adani population because of acting in a harshly molesting style, and have so far not been following Hadi´s command,  but have been financed by the occupation forces direct and are therefore heteronomous. They threaten the population and have their own prisons. The tensions between Hadi and Hizam associations point towards tensions between Hadi and the Emirates, who apparently support him only since they need a legal entity for legally binding involvements in the South.

Marib

The governor of the central province of Marib with important oil and gas deposits is Sultan alArada, who is a follower of Hadi´s and has been cooperating with the Saudi occupation forces. The majority of the tribes, representing the mightiest social power in Marib, is assumed to support the Salafist alArada. Marib was the first stronghold of the Saudi ground invasion in May 2015. At the very beginning suffering from a heavy setback by a rocket attack, Saudi troops no longer take part in battles on the ground

 

since then. Although foreign militia are present in Marib and also in the Southern provinces, primarily from the Emirates, Saudi Arabia and the USA but entrench themselves for security reasons in barracks and army camps. Battles have been going on for a year without any major displacements of the frontlines only in the mountainous Western part of the province at the border to the vicinity of Sana´a, above all in the former Sabaean metropolis of Sirwah and in Nehm. The provincial capital Marib has become a tribally coined small town with approx. 30.000 inhabitants, but appears to be earmarked for an important future in line with the steadily rising  construction activities observed. New houses keep being erected. The building owners are mostly new arrivals from the areas occupied by the Houthis, and increasingly represent proponents of the Islah-Party, adherents of the Salafists, the Muslim brothers, tribal sheikhs and North Yemenis from Hadi´s circles, but also proponents of Moutamar who broke away from  Saleh´s Moutamar, followed Hadi into exile and have chosen Marib as their new location. They come from Amran, Sana´a, Dhamar und other towns in the North, currently ruled by the Houthis and Moutamar. These internally displaced persons, many of whom have been temporarily outside the country, obviously no longer expect a possible return to Sana´a or other towns on the North in a foreseeable future. No longer considering a return possible even in the longer term and expecting Marib to become the capital of the the Saba region they hope that the federal structure as concluded in the  National Dialogue conference in 2013/14 will come true so that Marib will be the capital of the region with the provinces of Marib, alJawf and alBeidha. Property prices are already soaring in Marib.  

Taiz

Some observers compare the situation in Taiz with that in Aleppo. Ferocious battles have been going on since the beginning of the war at the end of March 2015. The situation might well be attributed to an irony of fate that the most liberal, richest and freest city in Yemen should have become the scene of fierce and partly also sectarian battles. The core of Taiz is supported by a resistance movement endeavouring to hold the city, situated in a hollow, by all means, in particular artillery, under the command of Hamud alMikhlafi. The resistance in the city of Taiz, now characterized by Salafists, does certainly not represent the basic ideology of the majority of the population who only desires peace. The Houthi and Saleh associations lay siege to the city from the mountains around with heavy weaponry. After 20 months of war parts of the city are as destroyed as Aleppo. Moreover, airplanes of the Saudi coalition often drop bombs over the city and the vicinity. Both war parties, in particular the  beleaguerers, have committed human rights violations. Many of the more than half a million inhabitants have deserted the embattled eastern parts of the city. The circumvallation around the city has caused a severe shortage of supplies of food and medicines. Merchandise is smuggled into the city on donkey paths and cost a fortune.

Yemeni fighters loyal to Yemen’s exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, drive a tank during clashes with Shiite Huthi rebels in the country’s third-city of Taez on December 19, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Ahmad AL-BASHA

Members of the “Volkswiderstand“ Salafistic Militia, disliked by most of the population, in extensively destroyed Taiz

“Shooting and looting” is the tactic of the militia in “liberated” Taiz, where hate between fundamentalist Sunnis and Zeidis keeps dangerously growing because of the armed escalation and the misery of the population. Deserted houses are immediately plundered by Salafistic militia, inhabitants abducted and missing for weeks. Complaints also refer to militia opening house doors by shooting upon having occupied a street and ransacking the house. No area, no town in Yemen – with the exception of Saada – has been as brutally stricken as Taiz. Especially the middle classes suffer most in this war: houses are destroyed and plundered, many schools are closed, public servants have not been paid their salaries for months, many are out of work and have to spend their savings or sell property to survive. Refrigerators,  TV sets, washing machines and furniture of all kind are offered on the market in Taiz at half their value. Many people feel terrorized by both sides of the front. A worn out Taizi complains:

“I cannot trust either the Houthis nor the resistance to control my city as both of them do not care about the civilians”. Plundering is also experienced in the areas occupied by the Houthis around Taiz.

However, the situation in zones controlled by the Houthis is essentially more favourable since the police, schools, hospitals and courts function as compared to the areas occupied by the militia. Sometimes also alQaida-warriors have joined the “muqawama schabia” (people´s resistance) in fighting  the Houthi occupation, but this is said to be no longer the case. Never the less, it is a fact that the militia rather destroy what order had remained and spread anarchy, thus creating an ideal climate for the terror organizations.

Posted in Newsletter

Newsletter 18

On October 3rd 2016, Ismail Ould Sheikh Ahmed, the UN special delegate for Yemen, speaking at the UN Security Council, brought forward his opinion of the present situation. He had to admit the unsuccessfulness of his recent endeavours since the three-day ceasefire could not be extended while the violence of assaults has been further increasing.  Both the Houthis-Saleh-Fraction in Sana´a and the exiled government in Ryadh rejected Sheikh Ahmed´s roadmap.

His strategy had envisaged the setting up of a military and a security council to supervise the planned steps such as the retreat of the Houthi/Saleh (=Ansarallah/Moutamar) from the towns Sana´a, Taizz and Hodeidah (to go where?) and the handing over of weapons (to whom?). Both bodies would, furthermore, have been charged with ensuring the final ending of military disputes and the security of the population and of public institutions.

The roadmap, in parallel, provides for political measures such as the nomination of a Vice-president (who is to nominate him on the basis of which criteria?) and the formation of a unity government to arrange for the transition process and the renewal of the political dialogue, followed by a final draft of a constitution and, finally, elections.

Sheikh Ahmed explains the failure of his roadmap because:

“the political elite in Yemen remains unable to overcome their differences and prioritize national, public interest over personal interests. It is time for the parties to realize that there can be no peace without concessions, and no security without agreement. They should base their positions on the question of how to ensure security and stability for the Yemeni people.”

This allocation of blame on the Yemeni elite is certainly correct but disregards the fact that the kind of action adopted by the UN between conflict partners is totally asymmetric and biased, ignoring the difference between the Yemeni conflict partners and the belligerent nations, who are not identical.

  • Only the representatives of the elite are taking part at the UN negotiating table, anxious to retain their power, but not the different representatives of the South, new political parties, groups of civilians, women, minorities, regionals associations of interest – i.e. all those eager to make a peace agreement come true. The negotiations as undertaken by the UN accelerate the battle for power on the part of the elite, thus prolonging their aspirations to retain power.
  • The war goes on in and around alJauf, Marib, alBeidha, Lahij, Taizz, at the coast of the Red Sea and on Saudi territory. The belligerent parties, quite in a position to bring about a ceasefire, have ceased negotiating.
  • On the Yemeni side this refers to the armed followers of the Houthi and the Saleh-loyal military units, having conquered a huge part of the former North Yemen. They constitute a relatively clearly marked military unit, supported by local militia and tribes.
  • The wartime enemy is Saudi Arabia, with the support of the USA, Great Britain and the rest of the coalition leading a permanent and only sporadically interrupted air war since 26th March, 2015, against the area conquered by the Houthi/Saleh. On the ground support is given by a faltering and decreasing number of various units of mercenaries, local militia of the Salafis, the secessionists, resistance groups with very different motivations and, increasingly, also alQaida. The exiled president Hadi, while fully dependent on his host Saudi Arabia, with no military or political backing, neither in the North nor in the South, proclaims legitimately representing the interests of the Yemen and the Yemeni. He is not even ready to share political power with a vice president, but insists on exerting power as “internationally acknowledged President.”
  • Saudi Arabia, the USA, the Emirates and Great Britain, the parties engaged in this war, meet , partly also with other „friends“ of Yemen, at summits where it is pronounced that the war must be finished without delay because of the humanitarian situation but apparently are not even prepared to negotiate an end of air raids. The USA und GB increasingly attempt to distance themselves from civilian mass bombing in Yemen because of criticism in their own countries, but Saudi-arabian F 16 cannot carry out flights over Yemen without refuelling by US tanker aircraft. The USA could very well stop the bomb war any time but obviously do not want to.

The Yemen agenda of the UN has entered a dead alley because of the completely asymmetric construction of the negotiation levels, no negotiations between real war opponents, and missing roadmaps, with no hope for a possible way out at the time being, less so since the UN acts under massive pressure and influence of Saudi Arabia. Thus, it will hardly be possible to revise UN Security Council resolution 2216, which cemented the insolvability of the conflict. In addition, the war in Yemen has started, to an increasing extent, to play the role of a deputy or model in a new order of the Middle East.

The military attacks against the civilian population in Yemen have become ever more brutal since the beginning of October. Simultaneously, the danger of this war taking regional dimensions and even leading to international conflicts increases, in particular as regards the shipping traffic in the Red Sea.

On October 1st  the Houthi/Saleh-units bombed a military vessel of the UAE from the South coast of the Red Sea and caused heavy damage. On October 8th the Saudi – with US support – bombed a funeral ceremony in the centre of Sana´a. The target had obviously been Ali Abdullah Saleh (who supposedly should have been eliminated to compensate Hadi´s loss of power, but did not attend), and also the leadership ranks of the Moutamar and the Houthis. More than 150 persons, primarily the Houthi and Moutamar elite, died in this one-two punch, more than 500 were injured. The US-destroyer USS Masson subsequently claimed having been attacked three times by bullets from the Yemeni Western coast and, retaliating, devastated three radar installations of the Houthi/Saleh. Obviously with a view to avoiding an international escalation in the Red Sea the USA withdrew the accusation that the bullets had been Houthi-Saleh weaponry. It was no longer known where from and whether the bullets had been fired at all at the US-Masson. The so far latest event was a Scud-Rocket attack of the Houthis towards Mekka-Jeddah. The Houthis maintain they wanted to hit the military airport in Jeddah, where from bomb flights to Yemen start. Saudi media claim, however, the rocket attack which they allegedly fought off, had been directed at the Kaaba in Mekka and used this claim to fuel massive anti-Shia propaganda in Sunni countries.

Meanwhile the humanitarian situation keeps pitifully deteriorating and is dramatically aggravated by measures ordered by Hadi, such as the transfer of the Yemeni Central Bank to Aden (where it was immediately raided). The publicly employed staff representing a major part of employees have not been paid their salaries for two months, cholera is spreading, the number of extremely malnourished children and grown-ups keeps steadily increasing. More than three million people have become refugees inside the country.

Posted in Newsletter

Save Yemen before the famine rages

by Afrah Nasser

© Elmeri Kauko

Afrah Nasser is a multi-award winning Yemeni journalist and blogger focusing on Human Rights violations. She’s worked as a reporter at Yemen Observer newspaper (2008-2011) and started to blog about Yemen’s 2011 uprising onwards. Her blog was featured as one of the 10 must-read blogs from the Middle East by CNN and she has been featured twice as one of the 100 most influential Arabs by Business Arabian. In mid-2011, she became a political refugee in Sweden and continues to blog.

The war in Yemen has been often described by media as the forgotten war and in my view, that’s an inaccurate description. It’s rather a lucrative war; lucrative to the West and the East. It has been nineteenth months since the Saudi-led coalition, backed by the US and Britain, began its airstrikes campaign. This came following an attempted coup d’etat against president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi by Yemen’s rebels group – the Houthis – in September 2014. Ever since, the West has been showing indifference to the tragedy in Yemen. As the US, UK and other Western countries have an interest in the arms sale with the Saudis, and a number of Arab countries are themselves members of the coalition, and the Houthi-Saleh coalition stands as deadly to thousands of Yemeni civilians, the international community is turning a blind eye to the atrocities in Yemen, mostly the silent death of thousands of Yemenis through starvation.
Towards the end of Yemen’s post-uprising transitional period in 2014, Yemen started to witness a counter-revolution movement, manifested in Houthis-Saleh alliance, each motivated by its own agenda. Houthis were discontent with the new political realignment preparing Yemen for a new ruling system (Federalism) and led by their political agenda in restoring a religious imamate and resuming their hierarchical supremacy. Saleh was led by resentment and aiming at crushing those who helped oust him in 2011. Over the coming months, the alliance began an aggressive military campaign against Saleh’s oppositional forces, which included president Hadi, after the Houthis descended to Sana’a and militarily took over the capital and stormed into Hadi’s presidential palace. Consequently, Hadi escaped to Saudi Arabia and sought support. In the name of restoring legitimacy in Yemen, Saudi Arabia formed a coalition consisting of 11 Arab states and launched its airstrikes campaign.

© Murad Subay

Midst this complex conflict, Yemeni people pay a heavy price as they are directly and indirectly affected. The human cost in Yemen war has reached a critical stage, causing the death of at least 10,000 people, the displacement of more than 3 million people and a worsening humanitarian situation for 80% of Yemen’s 27 million population. One of the devastating impacts of the war is hunger and the predicted famine unfolding itself in front of the world’s eyes and next to some of the world’s richest countries. Over half of Yemen’s population – 14.4 million Yemenis unable to meet their food needs and 19.4 million people lacking clean water and sanitation. As children are the most vulnerable, it is estimated that 320,000 children in Yemen face severe malnutrition. All these indicators are nothing but an early warning of a looming famine.

Hunger Causes

Prior to the ongoing conflict, several factors made Yemen not only one of the poorest countries in the world but also the poorest Arab country in the Arab region. In light of major domestic events, Yemenis have been suffering a life under overlapping deprivations. The foremost event was the return of about one million Yemeni guest workers from Gulf countries to Yemen in 1990 following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait contributed greatly to needs of jobs, schools, healthcare and other basic social services. Then, in light of Yemen’s unification and the country’s failure to manage the challenges of integrating the North and the South’s economic systems and resolving the implications of the post-civil war period; all these events and much more had a devastating impact on the developmental growth of the country.
In 2009, nearly half of Yemen’s population were living under the poverty line. To be poor in Yemen meant to be food insecure, with no clean water, illiterate and unable to afford feeding your kids nutritious food. Thus, Yemen was repeatedly ranked at the bottom in the Human Development Index. Yemen even failed to achieve decreasing the hunger rate, which was one of the UN’s millennium goals. While all these figures were emerging, Yemen’s ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh was busy piling up his wealth in billions.
Midst of a milieu of ongoing instability, corruption and unequal distribution of national wealth, and out of social inequality and major economic grievances, Yemen’s 2011 uprising broke out leading the country into a vicious circle of one political crisis after another impacting the already fragile economy to decline further.
As Yemen has been rolling into an eco-political shock after another over years, the ongoing conflict has tremendously exacerbated the food safety. For a country that relies on the import of 90 percent of its food commodities, it’s extremely difficult to cope with the current dire humanitarian situation. The World Food Program explains, “fuel shortages and import restrictions have reduced the availability of essential food commodities in the country.” As Yemen was already crumbling by the ongoing conflict, the occurrence of a couple of natural disasters in the past few years; from flash floods to powerful cyclone have had an appalling effect on the situation.

© Murad Subay

Man-Made Famine

Although the war is a contributory factor, hunger in Yemen is largely a man-made catastrophe for which both the Saudis and the Houthis bear vast responsibility. They are both using food as a systematic and strategic weapon in the war. A blockade over Yemen’s main ports has been placed by the Saudi-led coalition since the beginning of the war, denying flights and shipments of fuel, food and medicine supplies. According to a UN reporter, the Saudis as well forbid aid agencies from delivering humanitarian aid to Houthi-controlled areas. Over the past few months, a number of bridges used to transport UN food aid have been bombed by the coalition. In parallel, the Houthi-Saleh coalition has systematically put people to death in battled areas by denying besieged people access to water and food; this is evident formerly in Aden and currently in Taiz. As a quick solution, a black market for goods is thriving in the country, where only those few who can afford the high prices in the market can buy. The World Bank today estimates that almost all Yemen’s population live under the poverty line.

Silence is a War Crime

Millions of Yemenis are not only poor today but they are also in despair and hungry for both peace and food. As more than 21 million of people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance inside Yemen, this catastrophe is more than anywhere else in the world, including Syria. As human rights issues blogger and activist, I am frustrated by the world’s apathy over the tragedy in Yemen. I always write and give talks about the situation in Yemen, and after describing the devastating current picture, I try to ask the world to imagine that Yemen was hit by an earthquake, hoping that this would encourage them to rally and help this impoverished nation. Instead Yemenis are met with worldwide indifference and left to die in silence. Not taking an action to save Yemen before the famine rages is a choice the the international community is making which unfortunately will be regarded as a disgrace to the international humanitarian system (22 September 2016).

Source: http://www.vidc.org/index.php?id=2782

Posted in Allgemein

Newsletter 17

Statistical data of the bomb war

A recently published, independent and unbiased investigation rendered horrific results in respect of victims and damage of the bomb war brought about by the Saudi alliance, not to be attributed to the military sector but concerning civilians and the civil infrastructure. This investigation, based on open-source information and in situ inspection, confirmed that more than 8.600 airstrikes were flown by the Saudi coalition between end of March 2015, the commencement of the bomb war, and end of August 2016.  3.577 thereof hit military plants and 3.158 non-military targets. In 1.882 cases it was not possible to ascertain whether the targets had been military or civilian.

The number of victims during this period has been quoted as exceeding 10.000, with more than 3.799 civilian victims. Human Rights Organisations repeatedly documented violations on the part of the Houthis, in particular the use of landmines and the indiscriminate shelling of living quarters, and have disclosed that the Yemeni population has been suffering from severe injuries committed by all sides, and continues to be attacked.

The Yemen Data Project covers exclusively the investigation of airstrikes and their consequences and refrained from a survey of victims in ground battles since reliable and complete evidence cannot be obtained as access to front lines is denied.

In the investigation carried out insight was gained that above all the repeated attacks on unmistakably civilian targets cannot be justified. Collateral damage might be explained by erroneous controlling or wrong logistics, or – in densely populated areas such as in Sana´a – by proximity to military targets, but the repeated bombing of schools and hospitals does not allow such a justification and requires more precise examinations.

The map of the air raids of the Saudi Alliance registered shows that above all the tribal region of the Houthis in the North, in Sana´a and environment and Taizz, and, until July 2015, Aden were most afflicted. 942 attacks hit residential areas, 114 markets, 34 Mosques, 147 schools, 46 universities and 378 transport routes or vehicles.

Opposition against the participation of their respective governments in this bomb war has started seething for quite some time in Great Britain and the US. Parliamentary opposition against approved supplies of arms, in particular of bombs to Saudi Arabia, has recently increased too.

Tribal gathering in Arhab

Armed disputes on Yemeni territory are, at the time being, concentrated in areas north and east of Sana´a and Taizz. A tribal gathering has been convened in the fought-over area of Arhab for the purpose of obtaining the loyalty of the tribal fighters for the “national” victory and against the hostile “Saudi invaders”. The tribal fighters are rewarded with food contingents and cash and are not considered as mercenaries or legionaries in the context of this agreement but as professional warriors under certain conditions committing themselves publicly to a matter.

The Houthis collect cash from the population in order to finance the pay for the tribal fighters, contributions more or less voluntarily given. Cash is increasingly in short supply in Yemen since Saudi Arabia attempts, having called in the exiled president Hadi, after destroying the infrastructure, besieging and starving out the population, eventually also to paralyse the central bank in order to bring whatever economic activity for millions of people to a standstill.

An exiled government and “liberated” areas

In the course of the past days, exiled president Hadi, speaking from Ryadh, instructed the members of his government, to engage efficiently in the reconstruction and improvement of living conditions in the “liberated” areas. This meets with surprise in the country: “where are the “liberated” areas”? And where is the government to implement this?  Except for two flying visits of a few hours Hadi has not been in Yemen for 19 months, his prime minister bin Daghr had made fabulous announcements for some days running in Aden but there has been no follow up. For 13 months after the end of the armed disputes the population in Aden has been severely suffering from the destroyed infrastructure, insufficient security and supply shortages.

And yet: There is hope!

Latest photos sent from the coffee mountains in the province of Raimah are evidence that the ancient „biblical“ Yemen, FELIX ARABIA, is still alive.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/yemenis-living-in-the-mountaintops_us_57d80d43e4b0fbd4b7bb6aa2

http://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2016/09/far-from-the-war-yemens-remote-mountain-villages/500585/

Posted in Newsletter