TIME Yemen

Five-Day Cease-Fire in Yemen Set to Begin Tuesday

Smoke rises from a house of former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh after a Saudi-led airstrike in Sanaa, Yemen on May 10, 2015.
Hani Mohammed—AP Smoke rises from a house of former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh after a Saudi-led airstrike in Sanaa, Yemen on May 10, 2015.

The raging conflict has killed over 1,400 people since March 19

(SANAA, Yemen) — Yemen’s Shiite rebels and their allies in the country’s splintered armed forces said Sunday they would accept a five-day humanitarian cease-fire to allow aid to reach civilians after more than a month of daily airstrikes from a Saudi-led military coalition.

The cease-fire, scheduled to begin Tuesday, would help ease the suffering of civilians in the Arab world’s poorest country who increasingly lack food, fuel and medicine since the bombing campaign began March 26.

However, all sides in a conflict that’s seen the exile of Saudi- and Western-backed President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi have warned they’ll retaliate if the cease-fire is broken.

On Sunday, state news agency SABA, which is under the control of the rebels known as Houthis, quoted Col. Sharaf Ghalib Luqman as saying rebels in the armed forces agreed with the cease-fire, warning against any violation of the truce. The Houthis earlier issued their own statement saying they will cooperate with the cease-fire, .

Saturday, Brig. Gen. Ahmed Ali Asiri, the Saudi-led coalition’s spokesman, also warned that the cease-fire will be cancelled if the rebels violated it.

Meanwhile, Saudi-led strikes have continued in Yemen, with a residence of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the capital, Sanaa, reportedly hit. Social media accounts later posted pictures of what appeared to be Saleh speaking in front of his ruined home after the strike.

Saleh and his forces back the Houthis, who are also backed by Iran.

The raging conflict in Yemen has killed over 1,400 people — many of them civilians — since March 19, according to the United Nations.

TIME Yemen

Yemen al-Qaeda Leader Who Claimed Credit for Charlie Hebdo Attack Killed in Drone Strike

A senior al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader who claimed the group’s responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo massacre and the murder of an American hostage during a botched raid in December has been killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen, it was announced Thursday.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) announced the death of leader Nasr bin Ali al-Ansi and other operatives by a U.S. drone strike in a video, which was verified by security consulting firm and NBC News partner Flashpoint Intelligence.

Al-Ansi had appeared in several militant videos for the group, including one claiming responsibility for the Paris attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Jan. 7, which left 12 people dead …

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Yemen

Saudi Arabia, U.S. Plan 5-Day Ceasefire in Yemen

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, right, hold a joint news conference at Riyadh Air Base in Saudi Arabia
Andrew Harnik—AP U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, right, hold a joint news conference at Riyadh Air Base in Saudi Arabia, on May 7, 2015.

Kerry said the cease-fire would mean "no bombing, no shooting"

(RIYADH, Saudi Arabia) — Saudi Arabia and the United States said Thursday a renewable, five-day cease-fire in Yemen’s war would start soon to facilitate aid to millions of civilians in need, if Iran-backed rebels and their allies also agree to stop fighting.

At a joint news conference, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said the kingdom would halt airstrikes in Yemen because it is determined to expand relief assistance to the Yemeni people. Saudi Arabia will provide $274 million in new assistance, he said.

Secretary of State John Kerry said the so-called “humanitarian pause” wouldn’t start for several days, enough time for diplomatic efforts to convince the Houthi rebels and their backers to accept the terms of the deal. He said aid organizations also needed time to coordinate the best strategy for getting food, fuel and medicine into and around the country.

The announcement was made after Kerry met King Salman and other top Saudi officials in Riyadh. Kerry praised the king for seeking a peaceful resolution to Yemen’s war and for inviting “all relevant parties” to an upcoming peace conference in Saudi Arabia.

Kerry said the cease-fire would mean “no bombing, no shooting” and no repositioning of forces.

But he and al-Jubeir insisted the feasibility of the plan depended on the Houthis and the Iranians agreeing to it and not trying to exploit the lull in fighting. They said they would provide an update Friday in Paris, where they will gather with the foreign ministers of other Arab countries.

The cease-fire pledge comes as the rebels and supporters of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh consolidate their hold over parts of the southern port city of Aden. The rebels captured the area’s presidential palace, officials said Wednesday, in another sign of their resilience in the face of Saudi-led airstrikes.

Yemen had long suffered from desperate poverty, political dysfunction and al-Qaida’s most lethal branch. It became more unstable in recent months as the Houthis, who are Shiite, seized much of the country and chased Yemen’s internationally recognized president into exile. That prompted the Saudis and other Gulf Arab states to intervene. The Saudis also have been backing pro-government forces on the ground trying to fight back against the Houthis.

Kerry met earlier Thursday in the Saudi capital with Yemen’s exiled president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, and his vice president and foreign minister.

“Hopefully we’ll see you in Sanaa soon,” Hadi told the top American diplomat. Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, is controlled by the Houthis.

“Ah,” Kerry replied, “there’s some work to do.”

More strikes by the Saudi-led coalition throughout the country Wednesday killed dozens of rebels, according to security officials. But the mission has shown no sign of achieving its ultimate objectives or pushing the Houthis out of population centers and restoring Hadi’s government.

The U.N. says at least 646 civilians have been killed since the start of the bombing campaign March 26. Some 300,000 have been uprooted from their homes.

TIME Innovation

Why Read Hamlet When You Can Play It?

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

These are today's best ideas

1. Why read Hamlet when you can play an immersive time-traveling video game version instead?

By Jess Joho in Kill Screen

2. Here’s how to attract female engineers.

By Lina Nilsson in the New York Times

3. Everyone is losing in Yemen’s war.

By Adam Baron in Foreign Policy

4. Google and Facebook could save — or consume — journalism.

By Emily Bell in the Columbia Journalism Review

5. We know how to dramatically reduce teen pregnancies, but we don’t. Here’s why.

By Nora Caplan-Bricker in the National Journal

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

Are We Breaking Up With Saudi Arabia?

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

These are today's best ideas

1. Is the special Saudi-U.S. relationship on the rocks?

By Ray Takeyh at the Council on Foreign Relations

2. Two-year degrees can really pay off.

By Liz Weston at Reuters

3. A self-contained urban farm, delivered in a box, could slash water use by 90 percent.

By Danny Crichton in TechCrunch

4. How a lake full of methane could power Rwanda and DR Congo.

By Jonathan W. Rosen in MIT Technology Review

5. Nope, we’re not going to live on crickets in the near-future.

By Brooke Borel in Popular Science

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: April 20

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. America loves to take sides in regional conflicts. In Yemen, we shouldn’t.

By Paul R. Pillar in the National Interest

2. Here’s why Congress should drop the ban on federal funds for needle exchanges. (It’s because they work.)

By Kevin Robert Frost at CNN

3. Cheap coal is a lie.

By Al Gore and David Blood in the Guardian

4. How small-batch distilling could save family farms.

By Andrew Amelinckx in Modern Farmer

5. Can you fix city management with data? Mike Bloomberg is betting $42 million you can.

By Jim Tankersley at the Washington Post

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Iran

Iran Foreign Minister Urges Talks With West to Solve Crisis in Yemen

Smoke rises during an air strike on an army weapons depot on a mountain overlooking Yemen's capital Sanaa April 20, 2015.
Khaled Abdullah—Reuters Smoke rises during an air strike on an army weapons depot on a mountain overlooking Yemen's capital Sanaa April 20, 2015.

Mohammad Javad Zarif says U.S. and its allies must choose between "cooperation and confrontation"

Iran’s Foreign Minister has called for dialogue with the U.S. and Western allies to confront crises in its regional neighbors, saying civil war-torn Yemen would be a “good place to start.”

Mohammad Javad Zarif, who reached a framework agreement on his country’s nuclear program earlier this month with the U.S. and its negotiating partners, also tied the agreement to broader regional cooperation.

“To seal the anticipated nuclear deal, more political will is required,” he wrote in an op-ed article in the New York Times. “It is time for the United States and its Western allies to make the choice between cooperation and confrontation, between negotiations and grandstanding, and between agreement and coercion.”

Zarif, who was named this year as one of the TIME 100 most influential people in the world, said a forum for dialogue in the Sunni Persian Gulf states could help the traditional rivals to solve crises in Iraq and Syria, where the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria has seized swathes of territory, and in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia has spearheaded airstrikes against the rebel Houthis, a Shi’ite group with ties to Iran. Iran denies allegations that it has armed the group and is calling for a ceasefire.

“If one were to begin serious discussion of the calamities the region faces, Yemen would be a good place to start,” Zarif wrote.

Underscoring the rising violence in Yemen, an airstrike Monday morning in Sana’a, the capital, set off an enormous explosion that shook the city and reportedly killed dozens of people.

Read more at the New York Times.

TIME Yemen

The U.N. Envoy to Yemen Has Quit

YEMEN-POLITICS-UNREST-SOUTH-DIALOGUE
MOHAMMED HUWAIS—AFP/Getty Images Jamal Benomar, UN envoy to Yemen, speaks during a press conference conference in Sanaa December 24, 2013.

Moroccan diplomat Jamal Benomar had lost the support of the Gulf countries in his mission

The U.N. envoy to Yemen has resigned, citing “an interest in moving on to another assignment.”

Jamal Benomar, who has served as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s special envoy to the Middle Eastern country since 2012, reportedly threw in the towel due to lack of support from Gulf countries for his peacekeeping endeavors, reports the AFP.

“A successor shall be named in due course,” read a statement from the U.N. “Until that time and beyond, the United Nations will continue to spare no efforts to relaunch the peace process in order to get the political transition back on track.”

Benomar had already mentioned the possibility of resigning in an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday, saying he had already expressed his desire to step down to the Secretary-General.

The conflict in Yemen is continuing to escalate as Shi‘ite Houthi rebels march on the country’s major port Aden after capturing the capital city of Sana‘a. The fighting has reportedly killed over 700 people and wounded more than 2,700 others.

The U.N. Security Council earlier this week adopted a resolution calling for the resumption of peace talks, even as coalition forces led by Saudi Arabia continued to carry out air strikes. The Saudi offensive has been criticized by other countries in the region, with Iran — whom it accuses of arming the Houthis — calling it “genocide.”

Iran’s neighbor Iraq also traded barbs with the Saudis on Wednesday, when Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said there was “no logic to the operation at all in the first place.” The Saudi ambassador to the U.S. later said there was “no logic” to al-Abadi’s remarks, and denied reports that Yemeni civilians had been killed in some of the air strikes.

Benomar’s successor, meanwhile, has been tipped as Mauritanian diplomat Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who currently leads the U.N. Ebola mission in the Ghanaian capital, Accra.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: April 13

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. Why do we need human pilots again?

By John Markoff in the New York Times

2. We thought education would unlock the potential of Arab women. We were half right.

By Maysa Jalbout at the Brookings Institution

3. Peru found a 1,000 year-old solution to its water crisis.

By Fred Pearce in New Scientist

4. Why Saudi Arabia might need to break the country in two to “win” its war in Yemen.

By Peter Salisbury in Vice

5. Startup accelerators are great…we think.

By Randall Kempner and Peter Roberts in the Wall Street Journal

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Yemen

The Crisis in Yemen Intensifies as Houthi Fighters Push Deeper Into Aden

A man shows the damage inside his house after an air strike in the Okash village near Sanaa
Mohamed Al-Sayaghi—Reuters A man shows the damage inside his house after an air strike in the Okash village near Sanaa, Yemen on April 4, 2015.

Saudi-led air strikes have failed to reverse the rebels' momentum

Houthi militia inched closer Sunday to capturing the port city of Aden, where Saudi-backed forces loyal to Yemeni President Abdel Rabbo Mansour Hadi continue to hold out.

The Shi‘ite rebels unleashed artillery barrages on residential areas in the city and targeted a pro-Hadi television station with mortar rounds, forcing it off the air, reports AFP.

“There are bodies in the streets, and we can’t get close because there are Houthi snipers on the rooftops. Anything that gets near, they shoot at,” an unidentified medic told Reuters.

Houthi militants continue to consolidate control over large swaths of Yemen, despite 11 days of air strikes from a Saudi-led coalition of Gulf Arab states.

The Houthi assault on one of President Hadi’s last remaining strongholds comes as more than a hundred members of a Sunni Islamist political party were rounded up by Shi‘ite militiamen on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross has called for the immediate imposition of a 24-hour cease-fire across Yemen to allow for the evacuation of the wounded to prevent further loss of life.

“Our relief supplies and surgical personnel must be allowed to enter the country and safely reach the worst-affected places to provide help,” said Robert Mardini, head of the ICRC’s operations in the Middle East, in a statement. “Otherwise, put starkly, many more people will die. For the wounded, their chances of survival depend on action within hours, not days.”

Health officials in Aden claim that at least 185 people have been killed and 1,282 injured in the city since March 26, reports the BBC. However, the figure does not include rebel casualties or residents killed by air strikes.

Last week, U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos called on both sides to do more to protect civilians trapped in the middle of the conflict.

“Those engaged in fighting must ensure that hospitals, schools, camps for refugees and those internally displaced and civilian infrastructure, especially in populated areas, are not targeted or used for military purposes,” said Amos.

Read next: Pakistan Says Saudi-Led Coalition in Yemen Wants Troops

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