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Assessment

  • The spread of COVID-19 pushed UN Secretary General to make call to the conflicting sides in Yemen to make operational pause in order to tackle coronavirus on 27 March, Friday . The sides were ready to welcome the initiative and declared to be ready to impose the ceasefire on the next day, 28 March. On the same day, Houthis did not stop detention of the UN ship hosting delegation of the legitimate government negotiating the Stockholm Agreement in Hodeidah. But they started their greatest offensive in Marib since the beginning of the war in Yemen 5 years ago. On the night of the same day,  28 March, Saudi air defenses intercepted two Houthi missiles directed to Riyadh. On the next day, Saudi Air Forces conducted air raids to reciprocate Houthi missile attack. This is a very neat and representative summary of the War in Yemen. There is always a political process to end the war but each time the sides show willingness to participate for either ameliorating perception or using this as a tool to gain force, deploy forces or prepare to settle scores while the other side is not prepared. 
  • The announcement of the WHO that there are not recorded COVID-19 cases is good news. But it should be received with caution. The war-torn country is far from having a stable health system and there is risk that existing cases have been recorded as pneumonia as is the case in many countries trying to evade global monitoring.  
  • But, Houthis actively leverage the coronavirus. Currently, General Indian Guha, chair of the UN redeployment committee and head of UNMHA,  is confined to a hotel in Sana’a under Houthi guard under the pretext of a coronavirus quarantine. There are also reports saying Houthi officials are mobilizing and recruiting fighters in the area, including by seeking to convince locals to join by telling them that “death on the front lines is better for you than death by coronavirus in your homes.”
  • Political Situation – 95%
  • Humanitarian Situation – 80%
  • BM Usage – 60%
  • Armed Conflict – 70%

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