Yemen Current Affairs - 2019

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UN appoints Indian Army veteran Abhijit Guha as head of Hodeidah mission

Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of United Nations (UN) appointed India’s Lieutenant General (Retired) Abhijit Guha as the head of UN mission in Hodeidah, Yemen. Guha, who has 39 years of national and international military experience will be succeeding Danish Lieutenant General Michael Lollesgaard, who served in these posts from 31 January to 31 July 2019.

Besides leading the UN Mission in support of Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA), Guha will also assume the chair of Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC). RCC is responsible for redeploying forces of Yemeni warring parties in accordance with their agreement.

About Abhijit Guha

He is a graduate of India’s Defence Services Staff College, the College of Combat, and National Defence College.

He has held many important commands, staff and instructional appointments within Indian Army which includes leadership of an Infantry Brigade and Infantry Division, and of Mumbai Area.

He retired from Indian Army in 2013 and since then he has served on Expert Panel on Technology and Innovation in UN Peacekeeping (2014) and High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (2015).

International Portfolios:

He has also served as a Military Observer as part of United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia during 1992-23.

From 2009-2013: He served as Deputy Military Adviser and Military Adviser within the Office of Military Affairs of United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), while also establishing Office of Peacekeeping and Strategic Partnerships (OPSP) in 2013.

He has also led a number of United Nations’ investigations and boards of inquiry in Africa and Middle East.

About UN Mission in support of Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA)

On 16 January 2019 UN Security Council unanimously adopted the resolution 2452 (2019) and decided to establish United Nations Mission to support the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA), a special political mission that was authorised for an initial period of 6 months to lead and support functioning of Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC), assisted by a secretariat staffed by UN personnel, to oversee governorate-wide ceasefire, mine action operation and redeployment of forces.

On 16 July 2019 UNSC extended the mandate of mission overseeing Yemen Ceasefire Accord for 6 months (until 15 January 2020) by unanimously adopting resolution 2481 (2019).

US House votes to end American involvement in Yemen’s Civil War

The US House of Representatives has voted to end US involvement in Yemen’s civil war. The resolution to end the American Involvement in the civil war was approved by 247 to 175 votes. The resolution directs the US President to remove US Armed Forces from hostilities in or affecting the Republic of Yemen within 30 days. The resolution rejects the US Presidents support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen.

Yemen Civil War

  • The roots of the civil war can be traced to the failure of a political transition which was supposed to bring stability to Yemen following an Arab Spring uprising which forced the longtime authoritarian president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to hand over power to his deputy, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, in 2011.
  • President Hadi struggled to deal with a variety of problems, including attacks by jihadists, a separatist movement in the south, continuing loyalty of security personnel to Saleh, as well as corruption, unemployment and food insecurity.
  • The Houthis and security forces loyal to Saleh in a bid to regain power attempted to take control of the entire country, forcing Mr Hadi to flee abroad in March 2015.
  • Alarmed by the unfolding events which they believed to be backed militarily by regional Shia power Iran, Saudi Arabia and eight other mostly Sunni Arab states began an air campaign aimed at restoring Mr Hadi’s government.
  • The war has led to a military stalemate. Even though the government and the Houthis agreed to a ceasefire, they are yet to start withdrawing, raising fears that the deal will collapse.

Even though the resolution has been passed with an overwhelming majority at the House of Representatives, Mr Trump is expected to veto the legislation. White House has called the resolution as flawed and warned it would harm bilateral relations in the region.