The Rendon Group Snapshot Report – 13 November 2013

by TRG Alerts Admin on November 13, 2013

The Rendon Group Snapshot Report

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Each week The Rendon Group Alert Team will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent.  The Snapshot Report is intended to provide a summary of events on a given issue over the past week as well as a sample of experts who cover that issue.  The Rendon Group does not endorse the positions on issues that the listed experts hold nor does The Rendon Group hold a position on any of the topics chosen for the Snapshot Reports.  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 Alert@Rendon.com or +1-202-745-4900.

Ceasefire in northern Yemen

This week’s snapshot focuses on the declaration of a ceasefire in northern Yemen between Sunni Islamist militants and rebel militants known as the the Shiite Houthi movement. The Houthi rebellion, named for the movement’s former leader Hassan Badreddin al-Houthi, has erupted into at least six separate phases of insurgency punctuated by several ceasefires and mediations with the government. The most recent ceasefire was reached on 04NOV between the two groups, but sectarian violence outside the town of Dammaj continued. The ceasefire briefly broke on 09NOV when fighting between the Houthis and Sunni Islamists erupted in Dammaj.  On 10NOV, the ceasefire between the rebels and the government took effect and fighting stopped.News Summary of events during the week of 04NOV-11NOV

  • On 04NOV, UN Special Envoy Jamal Benomar said that a ceasefire deal had been reached between Shiite Houthi rebels and Sunni Islamists. (Reuters)
  • On 05NOV, Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi warned of continuing sectarian violence after deadly clashes continued. (AP)
  • On 06NOV, fighting between Houthis and Salafists blocked humanitarian aid from reaching thousands of civilians in Damaaj. (Xinhua)
  • On 08NOV, two people were killed and 12 injured in continued sectarian violence outside of Damaaj. (AP)
  • On 08NOV, military authorities said that a ceasefire between the rival groups was holding. (DPA)
  • On 09NOV fighting between the two groups broke out again in Damaaj. (AFP)

Sample of Twitter handles regarding the ceasefire in Yemen

  • @DorrisECarrion – London-based Middle East and North Africa Researcher for Chatham House
  • @LettaTayler – Terrorism and Counterterrorism researcher in Yemen for Human Rights Watch
  • @GregoryDJohnsen – Michael Hastings Fellow at Buzzfeed and author of “The Last Refuge: Yemen, al-Qaeda, and America’s War in Yemen”
  • @IonaCraig – Freelance journalist living in Sana’a
  • @AdamMBaron – Yemen-based journalist writing for McClatchy, the Economist, Christian Science Monitor, and other news outlets.

Sample of Third Party Validators regarding the ceasefire in Yemen

Cedric Schweizer, Director, International Committee of the Red Cross

“There are still more wounded people in need of treatment, and we hope to be able to come back for them.” – Yemen ceasefire unravels within hours, Al Jazeera, 05NOV13

Fuad Alsalahi, Professor of Political Sociology, Sanaa University

“These countries have chosen this time to ignite the Shiite- Salafi conflict to derail the efforts to end the dialogue and reach a successful consensus on the state structure.” – Violence in northern Yemen aims to derail dialogue, stability, Xinhua, 04NOV13

Mohsen Khasrov, Military Analyst (Retired General)

The ongoing political process in Yemen is “the primary target of the weapons smuggling by Iranian and Turkish companies and everyone else involved who wish to destabilize Yemen. These actors have political ambitions and arms dealers are exploiting Yemen’s current circumstances. They are located in the Sa’ada province, Jahana Buni Matr, and Al-Heima in Sana’a province.” – Asharq Al-Awsat, 09AUG13

Andrew McGregor, Director, Aberfoyle International Security

“Ongoing clashes between the Sunni Salafists and the Zaidi Shiites have so far been as much about land as religion, but there is a risk that Yemen’s tribal combat may be absorbed into a larger sectarian conflict pitting the Shiite/Alawite axis of Iran, Syria and Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement against the Sunni/Salafist Gulf states.” – UNHCR, 19SEP13

Madeleine Wells, PhD Candidate, George Washington University, and, author of Rand Corporation report on the Houthi Conflict

“They were one of the first predecessors of the Arab Spring. They were anti-Saleh, they were anti-repression.” – BBC, 17JUN13

Sample of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to the ceasefire in Yemen

1. New ceasefire reached in north Yemen: UN envoy

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 04 November 2013

SANAA, Nov 04, 2013 (AFP) – A new ceasefire has been reached between Shiite Huthi rebels and Sunni Islamists fighting in northern Yemen, UN special envoy Jamal Benomar said on Monday.

“I am happy to say that following intensive efforts… we have reached a ceasefire” between the sides fighting in Saada province, Benomar told reporters.

A Red Cross convoy had entered the village of Dammaj, where the Sunni Islamists are besieged by the Huthi rebels.

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2. Yemen: 4 dead in renewed clashes in north

Media: Associated Press

Byline: AHMED AL-HAJ

Date: 04 November 2013

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — A spokesman for an ultraconservative Muslim movement says clashes between his group and rebels in Yemen’s restive north have left four dead, breaking a fragile ceasefire.

Serour al-Wadie of the Salafi movement said Monday that the rebels shelled their district in Damaj, in Saada province.

Animosity runs deep between the Salafis and the Hawthis, rebels from a branch of Shiite Islam fighting against the government. Each camp has been accusing the other of breaching a fragile two-day government-brokered ceasefire.

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3. Yemeni president warns of sectarian fighting

Media: Associated Press

Byline: N/A

Date: 05 November 2013

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen’s president is warning of sectarian violence in his country after deadly clashes continued for a second week in the restive northern part of the country between rebels from a branch of Shiite Islam and ultraconservative Sunnis.

In remarks aired by state TV, President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi denounced “sectarian fighting that does not serve the security or stability of the nation.”

Rebels known as Hawthis are clashing with ultraconservative Salafis and jihadists in the city of Damaj, in the northern Saada province.

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4. Clashes in northern Yemen blocks humanitarian aid: UN

Media: Xinhua (China)

Byline: N/A

Date: 06 November 2013

UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) — Fighting between armed groups in northern Yemen has cut off humanitarian aid to thousands of civilians in the town of Dammaj, a UN spokesperson said Wednesday.

Three villages in the area have run short of food, water and medicine and the access was limited, acting UN deputy spokesman, Farhan Haq, said at a regular briefing, citing the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Aid agencies were concerned about some 29,000 people living in the Dammaj area in the remote northern Saada province, he said.

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5. Yemen: 2 killed in Salafi-Shiite sectarian clashes

Media: Associated Press

Byline: N/A

Date: 08 November 2013

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Security officials in Yemen say sectarian clashes in its restive north between rebels and ultraconservative Sunnis have killed two people and injured 12.

Shiite rebels known as Hawthis have been fighting ultraconservative Salafis and jihadists in the city of Damaj in the northern Saada province. Security officials said Friday that 12 people also were injured in recent fighting in the last two days.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

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6. Al Houthi-Salafist fighting stops in Yemen

Media: Reuters

Byline: N/A

Date: 19 November 2013

Sana’a: Fighting in northern Yemen between Al Houthis and Salafists stopped on Sunday as a ceasefire agreement, brokered by government mediators, took effect, a Yemeni official said.

Clashes have killed at least 100 people since they broke out on October 30 when Al Houthi fighters, who control much of Saada province on the border with Saudi Arabia, accused Salafist rivals in the town of Damaj of recruiting thousands of foreign fighters to prepare to attack them

The Salafists say the foreigners are students seeking to deepen their knowledge of Islam.

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