World View: Many Countries, but Not US, Evacuating Citizens from Yemen

U.N.: over 500 killed in Yemen thus far

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Yemen Houthis arrest Sunnis in Sanaa, as fighting continues in Aden
  • Saudi Arabia razing villages near the border with Yemen
  • Many countries, but not US, are evacuating their citizens from Yemen

Yemen Houthis arrest Sunnis in Sanaa, as fighting continues in Aden

Pro-Hadi fighters in Aden holding a position during clashes with Houthis on Saturday (AFP)
Pro-Hadi fighters in Aden holding a position during clashes with Houthis on Saturday (AFP)

The Shia/Sunni sectarian divide in Yemen widened on Sunday when Iran-back Shia Houthi militias raided the homes and offices and arrested members of Islah party of Sunni politicians.

However, the main fighting is taking place in Aden, the southern port city to which the internationally recognized president Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi fled in February, before leaving the country entirely. The fighting is between Houthi militias that arrived from the north versus Sunni tribes backing Hadi.

A coalition led by Saudi Arabia is conducting air strikes on Houthi targets, but strikes on Houthi positions in Aden have so far failed to stop the Houthi advance. Hadi is requesting the Saudi coalition to send in ground troops. VOA and Irish Times

Saudi Arabia razing villages near the border with Yemen

Saudi Arabia is planning to raze 96 deserted villages along the border with Yemen. Ten villages have already been demolished. The purpose is to prevent the empty houses from turning into “a safe haven for traffickers and infiltrators” from Yemen.

The villages were evacuated during a 2009-2010 conflict in which Houthis crossed into Saudi Arabia from their stronghold in northern Yemen. Some 15,000 inhabitants were forced to leave their homes and move 50 km away, where “they are suffering from material hardship and government marginalization,” according to one resident.

People still living near the border between the two countries fear that they will be forced to move as well. However, a Saudi officials denies that any orders have been given to move them, and that “the inhabitants of all the villages along the southern border region close to Yemen are living normally and enjoying complete security and stability.” Middle East Eye and Al Arabiya

Many countries, but not US, are evacuating their citizens from Yemen

With Yemen collapsing further into chaos on a daily basis, many countries are evacuating their citizens from Yemen. Many of these people are foreign workers who came to Yemen to earn money. Here are some examples:

  • The Canadian government is confirming that Russian planes have evacuated an undisclosed number of Canadians from Yemen.
  • India’s defense has so far evacuated 1800 Indians from Yemen, by air and by sea. In addition, the Indian Navy is evacuating Indian nationals from Aden. There are also 200 other people belonging to 20 different nations.
  • The Chinese government dispatched a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy frigate to help evacuate 225 nationals from 10 countries, including Pakistan, Ethiopia, Singapore, Italy, Germany, Poland, Ireland, Britain, Canada and Yemen. Chinese military officials confirmed that this was the first time that a Chinese military vessel evacuated non-Chinese citizens in a humanitarian assistance mission.
  • Pakistan has evacuated 183 people from Yemen, including 35 foreigners.
  • Jordan has so far evacuated 157 Jordanians from Yemen in the last two days. They were evacuated by buses into Saudi Arabia, where they stayed in hotels awaiting air transfer to Jordan.
  • Turkey has evacuated 230 people from Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, including 45 from other countries.
  • Algeria has evacuated 160 citizens from Yemen, on a plane flown from Sanaa to Cairo provided by Algerian national carrier Air Algerie. In addition, 40 Tunisians, 15 Mauritians, eight Libyans, three Moroccans and a Palestinian were also flown out of Sanaa.
  • Bangladesh estimates that there are about 1500 to 3000 Bangladeshis living in Yemen, and is requesting help from India to evacuate them.
  • Two Thai students were evacuated from Yemen on Sunday, and arrived in Bangkok, Thailand. The two students had been studying Modern Standard Arabic at a university in western Yemen. Another eight Thai students reached Saudi Arabia.

However, many Americans living in Yemen are feeling abandoned after the State Dept. said that it has no plans to help evacuate them. According to a State Department travel advisory issued on Friday:

The level of instability and ongoing threats in Yemen remain severe. There are no plans for a U.S. government-coordinated evacuation of U.S. citizens at this time. We encourage all U.S. citizens to shelter in a secure location until they are able to depart safely. U.S. citizens wishing to depart should do so via commercial transportation options when they become available. Keep vital records and travel documents close at hand; U.S. citizens should be prepared to depart at a moment’s notice. The airports are currently closed, but may open unexpectedly; other unforeseen opportunities to depart may also suddenly arise.

Additionally, some foreign governments may arrange transportation for their nationals and may be willing to offer assistance to others. There is no guarantee that foreign governments will assist U.S. citizens in leaving Yemen. U.S. citizens who choose to seek foreign government assistance in leaving Yemen should only do so if they can safely make their way to the point of embarkation and have received confirmation that there is space available. Even if assured there is space aboard transportation, U.S. citizens should be aware that there is no guarantee that they will be permitted to board the transport, or may have to wait an indefinite period until they can do so. There is also no guarantee of where travelers will go.

Canadian Broadcasting/AP and and The Diplomat and Indian Express and Jordan Times and Daily Sabah (Turkey) and AFP and Bangladesh News and Bangkok Post and Guardian (London) and US State Department

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Yemen, Houthis, Aden, Saudi Arabia, Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, Sanaa, Iran
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