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Yemen Civil War - 2016

On 25 February 2016, the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling for an arms embargo against Saudi Arabia due to its operation in Yemen, passing by 359 to 212 votes. However, the European Parliament vote doesn't compel every member state to act. The European Parliament resolution of February 25, 2016 on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen refers to "grave concerns" over the deterioration of the situation on the ground.

It "calls on the VP/HR to launch an initiative aimed at imposing an EU arms embargo against Saudi Arabia, given the serious allegations of breaches of international humanitarian law by Saudi Arabia in Yemen and the fact that the continued licensing of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia would therefore be in breach of Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP of 8 December 2008."

The number of civilians killed in Yemen continued to rise, almost doubling between January and February, the United Nations human rights office announced 4 March 2016. “During February, a total of at least 168 civilians were killed and 193 injured, around two-thirds of them by Coalition airstrikes,” the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Rupert Colville, told journalists in Geneva. This casualty number is the “highest since September”, he added. Airstrikes accounted for the greatest number of casualties, with 99 people affected in the capital, Sana'a, in February, out of 246 people killed or wounded throughout the country during the month.

On 10 March 2016, the UK Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) launched an inquiry into the use of UK-produced arms in the Yemen conflict. Committee Chairman Chris White noted that the financial success of the UK defense industry should not come at the cost of the UK strategic interests. "The parliamentary inquiry will have influence, but it does not have the power to change government policy. For decades, Saudi Arabia has been the world's largest buyer of UK arms," Andrew Smith said.

New mercenaries of the US company DynCorp arrived in Yemen in March 2016 to fight rebels in the country. They could replace the mercenaries of the company Blackwater, many of whom had been killed in battle, German newspaper Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten (DWN) reported. The first mercenaries of the private US military company DynCorp arrived on 09 March 2016 at the Yemeni port of Ras Omran southwest of Aden. They replaced Blackwater's mercenaries, since the latter were unable to defeat the Houthi rebels, DWN wrote, citing the Greek newspaper tribune [it will be noted that this sort of daisy chain attribution is typical of Soviet active measures]. In recent weeks, about 40 Blackwater soldiers were killed in Yemen during the fighting. The deployment of new DynCorp soldiers was initiated by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which supports the official government in Sanaa and promised three billion dollars for the campaign.

A new cease-fire took effect in Yemen at midnight, local time, on: April 10, 2016, with all sides promising to stick to it. The truce was aimed at giving peace talks scheduled for April 18 in Kuwait a chance to succeed. "The Arab coalition is going to respect a cease-fire in Yemen starting from midnight Sunday at the demand of President Hadi, but reserves the right to respond to any rebel attacks," a Saudi-led coalition statement says. The Iranian-backed rebels also say it will adhere to the truce, but respond if attacked. Fighting was reported in several areas as the hour for the cease-fire approached. One report says at least 20 people were killed. Several other cease-fires in Yemen had failed and desperate civilians said they hoped this one will last.

Though Houthi rebels had been pushed out of Yemen's southern cities by mid-2016, where President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi set up base on his return from exile, most of the northern and central highlands and the Red Sea coast are still controlled by rebels. The Saudi-led and US-backed coalition, made up mainly of Gulf nations, had launched airstrikes against the rebels since March of 2015, part of an increasingly assertive military policy by the Saudis and the UAE.

Yemen's internationally recognized government conditionally agreed to a U.N. peace plan, the country's minister of foreign affairs said 31 July 2016. Abdulmalik al-Mekhlafi briefly outlined the plan that would end nearly two years of armed conflict between government forces and the Houthi rebels who overran the capital Sanaa in late 2014. The agreement in part will require that Houthis hand over weapons and withdraw from Sana'a, Taiz and Hodeida in a first phase, according to the minister.

The UN-sponsored talks to try to end the fighting collapsed inaugust 2016 and the Houthis and allied forces loyal to former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh resumed shelling attacks into Saudi Arabia. /p>

In his first published interview since the start of the civil war, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi - the leader of Yemen's Iran-allied Houthi faction - said his opponents did not understand the meaning of real dialogue. "The hurdle facing negotations and dialogue is that the other party wants to achieve through the talks what it wanted to achieve through war, not understanding that the path of dialogue and peace is different to the path of war".

Monitors said at least 6,500 people have been killed during the two years, including more than 3,200 civilians. Available information on civilian casualties is incomplete, especially with the closure of many health facilities during the year due to insecurity and the lack of supplies. Casualties reportedly resulted from airstrikes and shelling of civilian areas. Numerous organizations tried to track fatalities in the fighting. For instance, on 01 September 2015, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) stated that of the estimated 95 civilian deaths during the preceding two weeks in Ta’iz, the Saudi-led coalition’s aerial bombardment caused 53, while the OHCHR attributed the remaining 42 to sniper fire and shelling by Houthi rebel forces.

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