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Yemeni Civil War Developments

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  • Yemeni Civil War Developments

    Yemen rebels hit Saudi tanker in Red Sea, Saudi Arabia claims

    The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen claimed Houthi rebels attacked an oil tanker in the Red Sea on Tuesday.

    The Houthi rebels have intensified attacks against Saudi Arabia in recent weeks following the third anniversary of the war in Yemen.

    A threat to Europe's oil

    Coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said the "terrorist attack" threatened the Gulf-Europe oil trade in the vital Bab al-Mandeb strait.

    The Houthis said in a text message to Reuters news agency they had actually been targeting a battleship "in response to the bombardment of displaced people in Hodeidah." Twelve civilians from the same family were killed in an airstrike in Hodeidah on Monday.
    "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."

  • #2
    The US is to end to its support for offensive operations by its allies in Yemen, which has been devastated by a six-year war in which more than 110,000 people are believed to have died.

    "The war in Yemen must end," President Joe Biden said in his first major foreign policy speech.

    Under Mr Biden's two predecessors, the US backed a coalition led by Saudi Arabia against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

    The conflict has left millions of Yemenis on the brink of starvation.

    Fighting began in 2014 between a weak Yemeni government and the Houthi rebel movement. It escalated a year later, when Saudi Arabia and eight other Arab states - backed by the US, the UK and France - began air strikes against the Houthis.

    Mr Biden announced other changes to US foreign policy, such as a significant increase in the number of refugees accepted by the US, and a reversal of the decision to withdraw American troops from Germany, where they have been stationed since the end of World War Two.

    His speech marks a sharp break with the policies of former president Donald Trump, who left office last month.

    What does the Yemen announcement mean?

    The US has been backing the Yemeni government and its Saudi-led allies in their war against the Houthis. As a result of Thursday's announcement, the US will stop supporting offensive operations, including the sale of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

    This will not affect operations against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

    The Biden administration had already put a temporary halt on arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

    Mr Biden is expected to name his new Yemen envoy as Tim Lenderking, an experienced diplomat and Middle East specialist.

    This marks a change of tack from Mr Trump's administration, which increased support for the Saudi-led coalition. Last month Mr Trump's Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, announced that the Houthis were being designated a "terrorist organisation".

    He said the aim was to hold the Houthis accountable for cross-border attacks and deter "malign activity" by their backer Iran.

    Aid organisations criticised the move, warning that it could prevent them from operating in areas where millions are in urgent need of food aid.

    Last week, the Biden administration said it would exempt certain transactions involving the Houthis from sanctions. That exemption will expire on 26 February.

    The United Nations says Yemen is the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with 80% of the population in need of aid or protection.

    These announcements confirm President Biden's pledge to end Yemen's destructive war. Halting US support to the Saudi-led coalition's offensive operations won't close this bloody chapter, but it sends a strong signal to leaders in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi - they've also been trying to find ways to extricate themselves from this quagmire.

    Achieving peace among Yemen's bitter enemies will be a monumental challenge. Tim Lenderking is set to be the first US envoy for Yemen since this war was unleashed nearly six years ago. He's worked on this file for years and is known to everyone who matters.

    Western diplomats, as well as Yemenis, have welcomed this new US engagement. In 2015, President Obama gave a green light to the Saudi-led campaign, partly to ease the Kingdom's anger over the Iran nuclear deal. Now new US envoys on Yemen, and Iran, are tasked with ending this war, and the regional rivalries which still fuel it.


    • #3
      They (the new Biden Government) also took the Houthis off the 'terrorist organisanition' list in order to facilitate aid delivery within Yemen. In return the Houthis have started assaults on the outskirts of the city of [Government held] Marib ( so on the face of it Biden and his new foreign policy team have got nothing from this but a rebuff.

      That depends on how much you view events in Yemen as reflecting on US/Iran relations prior to new talks regarding primarily the nuclear/sanctions issue. The US has been asked to join talks held by the EU and Iran ( Almost immediately Iran unilaterally announced a reduction of IAEA inspections although a temporary offset was agreed that effectively leaves the inspection regime in place in for now. The Houthis are backed (armed and financed) by Iran so the question is how the actions in Yemen are part of the larger maneuvering ahead of renewed US-Iran talks.
      Last edited by snapper; 23 Feb 21,, 14:57.