The Rendon Group Snapshot Report – 05 April 2015

by Molly Goodman on April 6, 2015

The Rendon Group Snapshot Report



Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at or +1-202-745-4900.


Anti-Houthi protesters hold posters of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud during a demonstration to show support for Saudi-led air strikes on Yemen. (Reuters)


This week’s snapshot will focus on the recent attacks on Yemen. Saudi Arabia and fellow Sunni Arab countries launched a campaign targeting Yemen’s Shiite Houthis, who have taken over large parts of the country in recent months. The Houthis are allied with former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, forced out as part of the country’s 2011 Arab spring uprising, and have been joined by army and security forces loyal to Saleh. The operation by Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Muslim states is aimed at stopping the Houthis and former President Ali Abdullah Saleh winning control of the country and at reinstating Saudi-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.



News Summary of events during the week of 30MAR15—05APR15

  • 30MAR: Warplanes struck Yemen’s capital Sanaa overnight. Residents said the strikes appeared mainly focused around the diplomatic quarter of the capital. (Reuters)
  • 31MAR: Somali officials and the U.N. say dozens of Yemeni refugees fleeing the Saudi-led airstrikes and fighting in Yemen have arrived in the northern parts of Somalia. (Associated Press)
  • 01APR: Despite a long standing history and working relationship between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, there has been considerable resistance in Pakistani media to joining what is seen by many as a “foreign” war, with a bitter fight against terror outfits still going on at home. (AFP)
  • 02APR: Houthi forces pulled back from positions in central Aden after air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition. (Reuters)
  • 03APR: Rebel forces withdrew from Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi’s palace in his former southern stronghold Aden (AFP)
  • 04APR: The United Nations said that at least 519 people had been killed and nearly 1,700 injured in two weeks of fighting around the country. (AFP)
  • 05APR: “Russia is evacuating its own citizens and citizens of many other countries, including those in the anti-Houthi coalition. Unlike many others, we do not interfere in the internal conflict in Yemen,” said Alexander Lukashevich, a spokesman for the ministry. (Xinhua)



Samples of Twitter handles regarding the Yemen Attacks

  • @stevenacook – Steven A. Cook is Hasib J Sabbagh senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
  • @ammar82 – Engineer/Deputy Minister/Political activist from Yemen
  • @omeisy – Political & Information Analyst/Communication Consultant
  • @LeilaFadel – Cairo Bureau Chief for NPR
  • @AmalAlYarisi – Journalist @TheYemenTimes & Deutsche press Agency & Producer & Presenter of the radio program #كلامك_يوصل @RadioYementimes.



Samples of Third Party Validators regarding Yemen Attacks


Robert Mardini, Head of Operations, Red Cross

“Our relief supplies and surgical personnel must be allowed to enter the country and safely reach the worst-affected places to provide help. Otherwise, put starkly, many more people will die. For the wounded, their chances of survival depend on action within hours, not days.”

–          Apparent Saudi Strike Kills at Least Nine in Yemeni Family, New York Times, 04APR15


Ray Takeyh, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

“Saudi Arabia’s military incursion in Yemen is about ushering in the kingdom’s new foreign policy by reducing its expectations of the U.S. and relying on its own military to steady the Middle East.”

– Yemen’s Rebels Seize Presidential Palace In Aden, Despite Airstrikes, NPR,                                          02APR15


Hajir Maalim, Yemen Director, Action Against Hunger

“Yemen had 850,000 children under five who suffered from acute malnutrition; 160,000 of those were severely malnourished and needed immediate care or they faced the risk of death.”

–          Houthi fighters ‘seize presidential palace’ in battle for Aden, Guardian, 02APR15


Pablo Marco, Yemen Operational Manager, Doctors Without Borders

“People in Al-Mazraq camp have been living in very harsh conditions since 2009, and now they have suffered the consequences of an airstrike on the camp.”

–          Dozens Are Reported Killed as Saudi-Led Strike Hits Camp for Displaced Yemeni Civilians, New York Times, 30MAR15


Ali al-Ahmed, Director, Institute of Gulf Affairs

“Saudi Arabia sees itself as the big brother of Yemen. That — more than Iran, more than trying to reinstate Yemen’s Saudi-friendly president — is at the heart of the decision to launch attacks. If Saudi leaders are not calling the shots in Yemen, they get very nervous.”

–          For Saudi Arabia, struggles in Yemen have deep roots, Washington Post, 05APR15.



Samples of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to the Yemen Attacks


1. Warplanes hit Yemen’s Sanaa overnight, after dawn: residents


Media: Reuters

Byline: N/A

Date: 30 March 2015


(Reuters) – An air strike killed at least 40 people at a camp for displaced people in north Yemen on Monday, humanitarian workers said, in an attack which apparently targeted nearby Houthi fighters who are battling President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.


Yemen’s state news agency Saba, which is under the control of the Houthis, said the camp at Haradh was hit by Saudi planes. It said the dead included women and children, and showed the bodies of five children laid out on a blood-streaked floor.


A Saudi military spokesman said the kingdom was seeking clarification on the incident.


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2. Fleeing violence in Yemen, refugees arrive in Somalia


Media: Associated Press

Byline: N/A

Date: 31 March 2015


MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Dozens of Yemeni refugees fleeing the fighting and Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen have arrived in the northern parts of Somalia, local officials and the U.N. said on Tuesday.


At least 32 Yemenis arrived by sea in the northern breakaway area of Somaliland and the semiautonomous Puntland region on Saturday, according to the U.N. refugee agency.


Some 12 Yemeni families arrived at Berbera port on the Gulf of Aden after traveling from Yemeni’s third largest city of Taiz, where warplanes had carried out strikes targeting the Houthi rebels, Omar Abokor, the deputy manager of Somaliland’s Berbera port, told reporters on Tuesday.


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3. Pakistan opposition calls for all-party meet on Yemen crisis


Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 01 April 2015


Pakistan’s main opposition parties Wednesday called on the prime minister to convene an all-party conference and refrain from making a unilateral decision on joining the Saudi-led coalition fighting Huthi rebels in Yemen.


The call came as the parties met at the residence of former president Asif Zardari, also the head of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), to discuss the situation.


Pakistan is a longstanding ally of Saudi Arabia with close military ties but it has not yet committed to the operation, which has drawn strong criticism from its neighbour Iran, the major Shiite Muslim power.


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4. Houthi forces in Aden pull back after Saudi coalition air strikes


Media: Reuters

Byline: N/A

Date: 02 April 2015


(Reuters) – Houthi forces pulled back from positions in central Aden after air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition at dawn on Thursday, residents of the southern Yemeni port city said.


They said a unit of Houthi and allied fighters, who had advanced in tanks and armoured vehicles through Aden’s Khor Maksar district 24 hours earlier, pulled back, although they remained in parts of the neighbourhood.



The Houthis’ recent gains in Aden, the last major foothold of supporters of Saudi-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, have happened despite a week of air strikes by Saudi Arabia and a coalition of mainly Sunni Arab allies.


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5. Yemen rebels quit Aden palace after air raids: senior official


Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 03 April 2015


ADEN:  Rebel forces withdrew from Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi’s palace in his former southern stronghold Aden early today after overnight air raids by the Saudi-led coalition, a senior official said.


The rebels had seized the hilltop complex a day earlier after fierce fighting with supporters of Hadi, who has taken refuge in Saudi Arabia.


“The Huthi militia and their allies withdrew before dawn from the Al-Maashiq palace,” said the official in Aden, who did not want to be named.


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6. At least 185 dead in battle for Yemen’s Aden: medics


Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 04 April 2015


Fierce fighting for control of Yemen’s main southern city Aden has left at least 185 people dead and more than 1,200 wounded, including many civilians, a medical official said Saturday.


The port city, a last foothold of supporters of absent President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, has been shaken by more than a week of clashes between Shiite rebels and loyalist militia backed by Saudi-led air strikes.


At least 185 dead and 1,282 wounded from the fighting have been counted in hospitals in Aden since March 26, the city’s health department director Al-Kheder Lassouar said.


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7. Russia denies allegation of weapon supply to Yemen


Media: Xinhua (China)

Byline: N/A

Date: 05 April 2015


The Russian Foreign Ministry on Sunday denied allegations that Russia used passenger planes arranged for evacuating its citizens to supply weapons to conflict-torn Yemen.


“Media reports about claims made by Yemeni Foreign Minister Riyadh Yassin that Russian planes conducting evacuation of our citizens allegedly delivered weapons to Houthi rebels have drawn our attention,” Alexander Lukashevich, a spokesman for the ministry, was quoted as saying by the RIA Novosti news agency.


He said such claims, if truly made, are “absurd, irresponsible and provocative.”


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