International humanitarian organizations stepped up their warnings that famine may strike Yemen in 2017, placing emphasis on the military escalation up the country’s west coast. A $2.1 billion appeal was launched by the UN and its humanitarian partners in order to provide assistance to 12 million people in 2017, noting that 7 million severely food insecure people are at risk of starvation if the call for funding is not met. As the humanitarian catastrophe unfolds, neither the Hadi camp nor the Houthi/Saleh alliance have demonstrated readiness to support the UN envoy’s attempts to initiate a ceasefire that would lead to peace negotiations. Instead, in February the Houthis requested that the term of UN Envoy Ould Cheikh not be renewed and President Hadi said Operation Golden Spear will continue until the entire western coast of Yemen is in his hands. Hadi-aligned forces and the coalition made moderate progress on this front, pushing along the coast to Yakhtul, which is about 14 km north of Mocha Port and 25 km south of Hodeidah governorate. Meanwhile, in Abyan AQAP took advantage of a withdrawal by Security Belt Forces from parts of the governorate and briefly captured several towns at the beginning of the month, and in Aden clashes at the airport on February 12 between Hadi-aligned fighters and forces aligned with the UAE revealed the deep-seated power struggle between the two powers.
To read the full February 2017 issue of The Yemen Trend, click on the PDF icon below. The Yemen Trend is a monthly digest that highlights Yemen’s key economic and humanitarian trends and political and military developments, providing context and analysis where necessary in order to facilitate informed discussion deeply rooted in the facts.