UN experts: continue inquiry into Yemen conflict

Yemen war crime investigators on Sept. 25 called upon the UN Human Rights Council to renew their mandate and allow the continued inquiry into Yemen's internal conflict, calling the situation in the county "extremely alarming." The Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen, in their initial report (PDF), released in August, found evidence that "members of the Saudi-led coalition, the Yemeni government, and the Houthi armed group have been committing abuses, including indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks on civilians, arbitrary and abusive detention, and recruitment of children." At the time of the report, the experts recommended that their mandate be renewed. However, Saudi Arabia and other coalition members have pressed the council to discontinue the inquiry.

Since the formation of the Group in 2017, the experts have reported continuous violations by the Saudi-led coalition. One violation included a Saudi-led airstrike that killed at least 26 children and wounded more than 19 in or near a school bus in the Dhahyan market in northern Yemen. The experts have cited the conflict as one of the world's largest humanitarian crises, and said that the UN council should not let the coalition bully its way out of accountability for abuses. "More than ever, Yemeni civilians remain at grave risk from the fighting and aid cut-offs."

From Jurist, Sept. 26. Used with permission.

Saudi-led air-strike hits civilians at Yemen market

A bombing by Saudi-led forces killed over 20 civilians at a Yemeni fruit and vegetable market in yet another highly lethal strike near the key port of Hodeida. The UN slammed the "shocking price" paid by non-combatants. (DW, Oct. 25)

US to suspend refueling of Saudi warplanes

The United States will suspend its mission to re-fuel Saudi Arabia’'s military aircraft flying in Yemen, according to US officials. Saudi Arabia said in a statement carried by state-run media, that “in consultation with the United States” it has requested the end of in-flight refueling—placing the decision for the change on Riyadh rather than Washington. (NBC)

Saudi-led coalition orders halt to Hodeidah offensive

The Saudi-led coalition has ordered a temporary halt to its offensive against Houthi rebels occupying Yemen's main port city, Hodeidah, officials said, raising hopes that a more lasting ceasefire can be reached to end fighting that threatens to push the country into full-blown famine. Twelve days into the operation,  known as Golden Victory, Saudi and UAE-backed forces were told to pause the assault until further notice, Yemeni military officials said, adding that the offensive would resume if the Houthis attacked coalition positions. The coalition is also prepared to restart its operation, known as Golden Victory, if progress towards new peace talks stalled, the officials emphasized. (The Guardian)

Resolution to suspend US support for war in Yemen

The US Senate Nov. 29 voted 63-to-37 on a procedural step to approve Senate Joint Resolution 16 to suspend US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Senate Joint Resolution 16 says that Congress, pursuant to both the 1973 War Powers Resolution and section 1013 of the Department of State Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1984 and 1985, directs the President to pull the US Armed Forces back "from hostilities in or affecting the Republic of Yemen." The only exception is when the forces are directed "at al-Qaeda or associated forces." The resolution provides a 30-day deadline. (Jurist)

Yemen: truce opens Hodeida port

Warring parties in Yemen have agreed to a ceasefire for the port city of Hodeida, principal lifeline for two-thirds of the country. They reached agreement at talks in Sweden brokered by the United Nations. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he hoped this would be the starting point to bring nearly four years of civil war to a close. (BBC News)

The move comes as the US Senate has voted to withdraw US military aid for Saudi Arabia's war on Yemen. The historic vote is the first time any chamber of US Congress has agreed to pull US forces from a military conflict under the 1973 War Powers Act. Some of President Donald Trump's fellow Republicans defied him to pass the measure with Democrats by 56-41. The non-binding "war powers resolution" calls upon President Trump to remove all American forces engaging in hostilities in Yemen, except for those combating Islamist extremists. (BBC News)