TIME Yemen

Saudi Airstrike On Yemen Market Kills 45 Civilians

Saudi-led airstrikes yemen
Yahya Arhab—EPA A general view of the ruins of the house of a Yemeni army commander loyal to the Houthis after it was hit by two airstrikes allegedly carried out by the Saudi-led coalition in Sanaía, Yemen on July 6, 2015.

More than 50 civilians were also wounded in the strike in a suburb north of Aden

(SANAA, Yemen) — A massive airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition targeting rebels hit a local marketplace in Yemen, killing over 45 civilians on Monday, security officials and eyewitnesses said.

More than 50 civilians were also wounded in the strike in Fayoush, a suburb just north of the southern port city of Aden, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information otherwise.

“I came right after the explosion and saw dozens of dead strewn about and a sea of blood, while the wounded were being evacuated to nearby hospitals,” resident Abu-Ali al-Azibi said. “(There was) blood from people mixed with that of the sheep and other livestock at the market.”

The officials, who said they do not identify with either the rebels, known as Houthis, nor the camp of the exiled president, said Saudi-led airstrikes against the rebels continued across the country, with nine provinces and the capital hit.

The fighting in Yemen pits the Houthis and troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh against southern separatists, local and tribal militias, Sunni Islamic militants and loyalists of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who is now based in Saudi Arabia. The rebels seized the capital, Sanaa, in September. In March, a Saudi-led and U.S.-backed coalition began launching airstrikes against the rebels and their allies.

The conflict has left 20 million Yemenis without access to safe drinking water and uprooted over one million people from their homes, the United Nations said. Last Wednesday, it declared its highest-level humanitarian emergency in the country, where over 80 percent of the population needs assistance.

TIME Yemen

Yemen Crisis: 21 Million People Now in Urgent Need of Food, Humanitarian Aid

A Saudi-led blockade on maritime traffic has limited commercial goods from entering Yemen, forcing prices of food and fuel to skyrocket

The U.N. envoy to Yemen said Wednesday that the conflict-torn nation was “one step away from famine,” with nearly 80% of its population — 21 million people — in need of humanitarian aid.

Following a briefing of the bloc’s Security Council in New York, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said a cease-fire was a priority and called on all parties involved to broker a truce before the end of the Islamic holiday of Ramadan on July 17, reports Agence France-Presse. Peace talks between Yemen’s political parties, mediated by Ahmed, collapsed last week in the Swiss city of Geneva.

“While we pursue a sustainable long-term cessation of violence, I called on all the relevant parties to agree without delay to a humanitarian truce,” said Ahmed.

Yemen descended further into chaos in March when a Saudi-led coalition began bombing sorties to stop an advance by local Shi‘ite Houthi rebels. They want to restore the former President Ali Abdullah Saleh to power, having driven incumbent President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi into exile.

Over the past three months alone, thousands of people have been killed or injured by air strikes and ground fighting, and 1 million more have been displaced, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Due to a coalition blockade of maritime traffic, commercial goods including food and medical supplies are only trickling into the country. Fuel and food prices have therefore skyrocketed, escalating the humanitarian disaster for Yemen’s citizens.

According to a joint survey by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Programme, 6 million people in the country are slipping toward severe hunger and desperately need emergency food and lifesaving assistance. A further 6.5 million people are facing a food security “crisis.”

Yemen officials in the southern port city of Aden have called on international aid organizations to deliver more medical supplies as more than 4,000 people have contracted the mosquito-borne and sometimes fatal disease dengue fever, reports al-Jazeera.

TIME United Nations

U.N.: Global Refugee Numbers Reach Alarming Levels

refugees
Bulent Kilic—AFP/Getty Images A Syrian child fleeing the war is lifted over border fences to enter Turkish territory illegally, near the Turkish border crossing at Akcakale in Sanliurfa province on June 14, 2015. T

"There is a multiplication of new crises"

(BERLIN) — Syria overtook Afghanistan to become the world’s biggest source of refugees last year, while the number of people forced from their homes by conflicts worldwide rose to a record 59.5 million, the United Nations’ refugee agency said Thursday.

Pointing to crises in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Burundi and elsewhere, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said he doesn’t expect any improvement in 2015.

“There is a multiplication of new crises,” he said. “The Iraq-Syria crisis gained the dimension of a mega one … and at the same time the old crises have no solutions.”

The report comes at a time when Europe is grappling with how to deal with a flood of new migrants crossing the Mediterranean to escape the fighting in Syria, Libya and elsewhere.

UNHCR estimated that a total of 59.5 million people worldwide had been displaced by conflict by the end of last year — including 38.2 million displaced within their own countries. That was up from 51.2 million in 2013 — the previous highest since the U.N. began collecting numbers in the early 1950s. Syria alone accounted for 11.6 million of those people, the biggest single figure.

The agency counted nearly 3.9 million Syrian refugees in 107 countries last year, the fourth year of the country’s civil war. That made it the leading source of refugees — pushing Afghanistan, which had held that status for more than 30 years, down to second place with 2.6 million refugees.

Syria’s northern neighbor, Turkey, became the world’s biggest refugee host with 1.59 million refugees. Pakistan, which had held that position for more than a decade, was second with 1.51 million.

Over the course of last year, only 126,800 refugees returned to their home countries — the lowest number since 1983. The countries to which most people returned were Congo, Mali and Afghanistan.

Guterres said he was alarmed by “a staggering acceleration” in the number of people being forced from their homes over recent years.

TIME Yemen

Al-Qaeda Confirms U.S. Strike Killed Leader of Yemen Affiliate

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
AFP/Getty Images Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula chief Nasir al-Wuhayshi is pictured in the militant stronghold town of Jaar on April 28, 2012

The group said his deputy, Qassim al-Rimi, has been named its new leader

(CAIRO) —Al-Qaeda on Tuesday confirmed that Nasir al-Wahishi, its No. 2 figure and leader of its powerful Yemeni affiliate, was killed in a U.S. strike, making it the harshest blow to the global militant network since the killing of Osama bin Laden.

In a video statement released by the media wing of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as the Yemeni affiliate is known, a senior operative read a statement announcing the death of al-Wahishi, who once served as bin Laden’s personal secretary, and said his deputy, Qassim al-Raimi, has been tapped to replace him.

“Our Muslim nation, a hero of your heroes and a master of your masters left to God, steadfast,” senior operative Khaled Batrafi said in the video, vowing that the group’s war on America would continue.

“In the name of God, the blood of these pioneers make us more determined to sacrifice,” he said. “Let the enemies know that the battle is not with an individual… the battle led by crusaders and their agents is colliding with a billion-member nation.”

Yemeni security officials had earlier said a U.S. drone strike killed three suspected militants in the al-Qaeda-held southern port city of Mukalla last week. U.S. officials had said they were trying to verify whether al-Wahishi had been killed.

Al-Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate has long been seen as its most lethal, and has been linked to a number of foiled or botched attacks on the U.S. homeland. In addition to leading the Yemeni affiliate, al-Wahishi also served as deputy to Ayman al-Zawahri, al-Qaeda’s top leader, who succeeded bin Laden in 2011.

The death of al-Wahishi is the latest in a series of targeted killings of the Yemen affiliate’s top leaders, including its most senior military leader Nasr al-Ansi, religious ideologue Ibrahim al-Rubish and others in recent weeks.

Al- Wahishi was among 23 al-Qaida militants who broke out of a detention facility in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, in February 2006. In 2009, al-Wahishi announced the creation of AQAP, which gathered together Yemeni and Saudi militants.

Al-Wahishi’s death is a major setback for AQAP, but the group’s master bomb-maker, Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, is believed to still be alive. He is thought to have designed bombs that were slipped past security and placed on three separate American-bound airplanes, although none of them exploded.

The group has also been able to expand its reach in recent months as Yemen has slid into chaos. Shiite rebels known as Houthis captured Sanaa last year and are battling southern separatists, Islamic militants and local and tribal militias across the country. Yemen’s military, once a close U.S. ally against al-Qaida, has split between opponents and supporters of the rebels, and a Saudi-led coalition has been bombing the Houthis and their allies since March.

Earlier this year, AQAP took advantage of the chaos to seize Mukalla.

Al-Raimi, the new leader of AQAP, is thought to be the brains behind a series of attacks, including a foiled plot to mail bombs to the United States and multiple attacks against Yemen’s U.S.-backed government. In writings and videos, he has vowed to topple the Sanaa government and strike America.

In a May 2011 eulogy for bin Laden, al-Wahishi had warned Americans “the matter will not be over” with the death of al-Qaeda’s founder and that “what is coming is greater and worse.”

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 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.

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