Friday, July 31, 2015

For the second time in a month after a ceasefire was declared in Yemen, fighting has continued. Saudi bombing began just hours after the earlier ceasefire and allies of the exiled government launched an offensive in Aden.
In the earlier ceasefire, the Saudis claimed that they were not subject to it and had not agreed to it.
Just a day after this new ceasefire was announced by the Saudis and Mansour Hadi, the president of the Yemeni government-in-exile, the fighting on the ground at least is escalating. The Saudis blame the Houthis, which could very well be correct this time around, although the Houthis claim there was no communication with them as to when the ceasefire was to begin. The Houthis are wary of a ceasefire when the last time the Saudis not only continued bombing but were able to take over the port of Aden. However, the takeover of the port in a successful offensive may also be related to talks between the Houthi ally former president Saleh and western diplomats. The appended video reports Houthi leaders rejected the ceasefire claiming it would benefit Al Qaeda(AQAP) and the Islamic State. However, it would also allow humanitarian supplies that are desperately needed to be delivered if the fighting ceased.
There is a Saudi blockade of Yemen that has made it difficult for aid to be delivered, especially to areas controlled by the Houthis and their allies. The Saudi coalition announced the ceasefire would take place at one minute before midnight on Sunday local time. Just hours after the truce, Houthi forces shelled a northern region on the Saudi border and the Saudis immediately retaliated. Just after midnight several areas of Aden also reported that they were subject to Houthi artillery fire. A pro-Hadi news agency said that the Houthis had shelled parts of Dalea about 105 miles north of Aden. The Saudi state news agency also claimed that Houthis had launched attacks in the central city of Taiz.
Oxfam reports that fighting in Yemen along with the blockade has resulted in more than six million people being on the brink of starvation. The Saudi-led coalition began a bombing campaign on the 25th of March. Since that time Oxfam estimates that an extra 25,000 people each day are going without food and provisions. Oxfam claims that the conflict is threatening to produce the highest ever recorded number of people living in hunger.
Human Rights Watch(HRW) claims that recent airstrikes in the Houthi-controlled port city of Mokha on July 24 killed at least 65 civilians including 10 children. Coalition planes repeatedly struck two residential compounds of the Mokha Steam Power Plant which house workers and their families. The group described the attack as an apparent war crime. HRW said that the UN Human Rights Council should set up a committee to investigate allegations of war crimes by all parties to the conflict.