The Armed Conflict in Yemen: A Complicated Mosaic

Yemen, Sana'a, Faj Attan. Damages to civilian buildings following the fighting. Yemen, Sana'a, Faj Attan. Damages to civilian buildings following the fighting.

Our new publication The Armed Conflict in Yemen: A Complicated Mosaic, written by Sari Arraf, provides an overview of the armed conflict in Yemen and key developments in 2017.

This short publication describes the preludes to the conflict (2011-2012), the failed transitional period (2012-2014), the outbreak of the conflict (2015-2016) and the current situation (2017). It also provides an overview of the role and involvement of the various armed groups, as well as a mapping of foreign involvement in the Yemen conflict*.

This publication will form part, along with other analysis of conflict situations, of the War Report 2017 which will be published at the beginning of 2018.

More than a Conflict between Two Distinct Blocs

Although the conflict in Yemen is widely presented as being between two distinct blocs – a Houthi–Saleh alliance against forces loyal to the internationally recognized president of Yemen, Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi, backed by a Saudi-led coalition – this description can be misleading. The publication highlights that neither camp is cohesive as both feature armed groups or regional players with divergent ideologies and political goals.

War Report Yemen Armed Groups.JPG

Numerous Actors and Different Agendas

‘From secessionists in the south, to Salafists in Taiz and Aden and tribal leaders in the north, there are smaller groups in Yemen who are not necessarily under the control of Hadi or the Houthi–Saleh alliance’ underlines Dr Annyssa Bellal, Strategic Adviser on International Humanitarian Law at the Geneva Academy and Editor of the War Report. ‘In addition, the presence of al-Qaeda and Islamic State (IS) in Yemen render the Yemen conflict mosaic more complicated’ she adds.

Even states participating in the Saudi-led coalition seem to have different agendas in Yemen, as evidenced recently in mounting tensions between Hadi and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the latter’s alleged support for secessionist groups in South Yemen who operate quite independently from Hadi.

Humanitarian Crisis

Since the beginning of the Yemeni conflict in March 2015, at least 4,773 civilians have been killed and another 8,272 injured by the violence. Food insecurity has reached critical levels as 17 million people (around two-thirds of the population) are estimated to be severely food insecure, among whom 7 million are close to famine. The country witnessed a cholera outbreak in October 2016, which has since led to at least 1,740 deaths with a further 320,000 suspected cholera cases. Cholera flourished amidst a collapsing health care system and around 16 million people not having access to adequate water, sanitation or hygiene.

War Report Yemen Humanitarian Crisis.JPG

Accountability

It has been reported that as many as 10,000 civilians have been killed since the beginning of the conflict. ‘It is an excellent news that the UN Human Rights Council decided in September 2017 to set up a international commission of inquiry to investigate allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the conflict in Yemen since 2014’, underlines Annyssa Bellal

Yemen in the Rule of Law in Armed Conflict Conflicts Online Portal

The Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts (RULAC) online portal provides information on the classification of the armed conflicts that have been taking place in Yemen, identifies the parties to these conflicts, and the applicable law.

*Foreign involvement does not necessarily means that these countries are parties to the conflict from a legal perspective. For further information about who is a party to an armed conflict, consult our Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts online portal.

War Report Yemen Conflict.JPG

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Cover page of the book The 1949 Geneva Conventions: A Commentary News

‘The 1949 Geneva Conventions: A Commentary’ receives the American Society of International Law 2017 Certificate of Merit

6 February 2017

We are pleased to announce that the American Society of International Law has awarded their 2017 Certificate of Merit for ‘High Technical Craftsmanship and Utility to Practicing Lawyers and Scholars’ to the book The 1949 Geneva Conventions: A Commentary, edited by Professors Andrew Clapham, Paola Gaeta, and Marco Sassòli.

Read more

Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh News

Myanmar: A Battle for Recognition

4 December 2017

Our new publication Myanmar: A Battle for Recognition provides an overview of the subnational tensions and armed violence in the country and focuses on the latest developments and escalation of violence in Rakhine state where the Myanmar Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) are opposed to the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).

Read more

Separation barrier between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories Event

PROTECTING HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES: NEW TRENDS AND CHALLENGES

28 February 2018, 12:30-14:00

Michael Sfard, the most prominent Israeli human rights lawyer and author of the book ‘The Wall and the Gate: Israel, Palestine and the Legal Battle for Human Rights’, will address the current situation of human rights defenders in Israel.

Read more

Cover page of the Oxford Handbook on Gender and Conflict Event

Book Launch: ‘The Oxford Handbook of Gender and Conflict’

1 March 2018, 12:00-13:15

Fionnuala Ní Aoláin will present her new book ‘The Oxford Handbook of Gender and Conflict’, which focuses on the multidimensionality of gender in conflict.

Read more

The old city of Sanaa, Yemen Short Course

Introduction to the Islamic Law of Armed Conflict

8 March - 3 May 2018

This course introduces participants to the Islamic law of armed conflict and how it relates to the current conflicts in Muslim contexts. It examines the rules regulating the use of force during both international and non-international armed conflicts under classical Islamic law.

Read more

East Timor, Dili, burnt houses Short Course

The Law of Non-International Armed Conflicts and Other Contested Issues

26 April - 24 May 2018

This course examines one of the main purpose of international humanitarian law (IHL), which is to mitigate human suffering caused by war. It enables a careful evaluation of the various IHL rules intended to help protect vulnerable persons, such as civilians and prisoners of war, as well as property during armed conflict.

Read more

South Lebanon, Aita ech Chaab. Entry door of the primary school. Project

Protection of Education in Armed Conflict

Completed in January 2011

This project analyzed how United Nations (UN) human rights treaty bodies and relevant UN Charter-based mechanisms and entities have addressed the implementation of the right to education and other relevant rights in armed conflict and armed violence.

Read more

Libya, Misrata, Tripoli Street. After a battle between members of the armed opposition and government forces. Project

The War Report

Started in December 2013

As an annual publication, The War Report provides an overview of contemporary trends in current armed conflicts, including key international humanitarian law and policy issues that have arisen and require attention.

Read more