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Yemen Civil War - 2015

Yemen's government and Houthi rebels declared a cease-fire 19 January 2015, which appeared to be taking hold in the capital Sana'a after a day of sporadic fighting. A cease-fire was agreed upon during a meeting of representatives of the Huthi militia and the Yemen defense and interior ministers. A few hours later Houthi rebels seized the presidential compound and attacked the president's home in Sana'a, in the latest attack targeting leadership in the country.

By 21 January 2015 President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi remained surrounded by Houthi militiamen in his residence, a day after the group captured the presidential palace. Hadi was expected to yield to demands for constitutional change and power-sharing with Houthi rebels. Ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), who support Hadi and oppose Iranian influence in the region, denounced what they called terrorist acts by the Houthis and their allies.

The Houthis were demanding 50 percent of key ministerial positions as part of an earlier power-sharing agreement. The Houthis appeared to have decided to stop short of overthrowing Hadi, possibly preferring to keep the enfeebled leader at their mercy rather than claim the burden of seizing power. The Houthis also insist 1,000 of their fighters be incorporated in the army and 1,000 more in the police. The new constitution would see Yemen divided into six federally-administered regions, which both the Houthis and southern separatists believe would weaken their power.

Public officials in the southern Yemeni capital of Aden reportedly raised the flag of the former Republic of South Yemen over government buildings and police checkpoints. Leaders in at least five provinces indicated that they will no longer take orders from officials in Sana'a. The old land border between North and South Yemen was closed to stop Houthi militiamen from advancing into the south of the country.

Yemen's powerful Shi'ite rebels finalized their takeover of the country 06 February 2015. The Houthi's revolutionary committee would chose an interim national assembly, replacing the old parliament. The new 551-members assembly would chose a five member presidential council to govern the county.

On February 20, 2015 Yemen's feuding parties agreed on a "people's transitional council" to help govern the country and guide it out of a political crisis. The existing lower house, dominated by lawmakers supportive of the Houthis, would remain in place. A “people’s transitional council” would be created as an upper legislative chamber. That council would comprised of Houthis as well as other groups underrepresented in the traditional Parliament, including young people, women and people from southern Yemen. The distribution would give 50 percent to members from the northern governorates and 50 percent to the Southern provinces with a 30 percent quota for women and 20 percent for youth representatives.

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said 23 March 2015 that Arab states would take "necessary measures" against Yemen's Houthi rebels if a peaceful solution cannot be found to end their fight against the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Saud al-Faisal said that Arab countries would try "to protect the region from aggression" and he condemned what he called Iranian "interference" in Yemen. Faisal insisted the only solution in Yemen was for the country's "legitimate government to be allowed to exercise its authority and for Houthi rebels to evacuate all government institutions they have occupied."

According to the government-in-exile, shelling by Houthi-Saleh forces killed 7,235 civilians between March 21 and 15 August 2015. The OHCHR estimated that between March 26 and 31 December 2015, the conflict produced 8,119 casualties, including 2,795 killed and 5,324 wounded. In August 2015 the Yemeni Coalition to Monitor Human Rights Violations (YCMHRV), a government-funded NGO, reported 3,074 fatalities and 7,347 injured persons during the period September 2014 to August 15 in 14 of Yemen’s 21 governorates plus Sana’a. As of August 19, the World Health Organization counted 4,513 persons killed since the start of the conflict, many of them reportedly civilian.

There were many reported instances of killing civilians. For example, on 29 August 2015, Houthi-Saleh rebel forces shelled the al-Saeed mosque in Usayferah, north of Ta’iz, reportedly causing the deaths of 20 children ages two to 14. Houthi rebels fired numerous rockets and three SCUD missiles across the border into Saudi Arabia, killing at least 47 Saudi civilian and military personnel from April to December, according to media reports.

Houthi-Saleh forces reportedly used captives as human shields at military encampments and ammunition depots under threat of Saudi-led coalition airstrikes, extracted forced pledges and confessions, and demanded ransoms ranging from 100,000 to 200,000 rials ($465 to $930) from family members, according to the YCMHRV. They seized most detainees in their homes or at their workplaces during raids, detaining the remainder at checkpoints.

According to the Task Force on Population Movements, co-led by UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), there were more than 2.5 million IDPs as of November 2015. The UN humanitarian chief warned October 31, 2016 that war-torn Yemen is "one step away from famine." Stephen O'Brien told the U.N. Security Council that more than 21 million Yemenis — 80 percent of the population — are in need of some form of humanitarian assistance. "Over 2 million people are malnourished nationwide, including 370,000 children who are severely malnourished," O'Brien said. That is an increase of 65 percent compared to the year before the conflict began.

By August 2016 it was estimated that at least 10,000 people had died. October 2016 figures from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), states the Yemen conflict has claimed the lives of at least 4,125 civilians and left at least 7,207 wounded, with the majority of the casualties caused by coalition airstrikes.

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Page last modified: 09-02-2017 19:29:44 ZULU