Houthis Blatantly Breach Stockholm Ceasefire Agreement

Yemeni pro-government forces are pictured on the eastern outskirts of Hodeidah as they continue to battle for the re-control of the city from Houthi militia on November 14, 2018. .

The legitimate government has given the UN precise coordinates, times, and other details for numerous Houthi ceasefire violations. In all, the coalition has accused the rebels of launching 313 attacks between December 18 and January 2, according to a report by Washington Institute issued on 08.01.2018.

Only 59 of the Houthi violations (18.8%) took place in Hodeidah city versus 254 less visible attacks in rural areas south of the city. The rebels repeatedly struck the government’s main supply route near Tuhayta (62 attacks) and Duraymi (45 attacks), along with 80 attacks on coalition lines near al-Hays. While urban Houthi violations had dropped from 30 per day to 3 by January 2, rural violations increased from 8 per day to 24.

The Army Forces backed by the coalition forces stated stated that they had been struck with mortars (usually 120 mm heavy mortars) 95 times as of January 2, along with 21 Katyusha rocket attacks and 4 howitzer attacks. A pair of Badr-1 heavy artillery rockets were reportedly fired at a coalition headquarters on December 21, a violation that would require the complicity of high-level commanders in charge of this strategic weapons system. The Houthis also reportedly mounted 55 attacks with 14.5 mm and 12.7 mm heavy machine guns, 12 with rocket-propelled grenades, 8 with 23 mm antiaircraft cannons, 4 with B-10 recoilless rifles, and 76 with sniper weapons and other gunfire.

If the detailed coalition reports are accurate, the Houthis were violating the ceasefire with an average of 19.5 attacks per day as of January 2. In contrast, the coalition claims that it launched no artillery, mortar, or airstrikes in Hodeidah after December 18. This assertion seems credible given the paucity of Houthi claims regarding coalition attacks under the ceasefire—the rebels are normally quite assiduous about reporting coalition misdeeds. If return fire was withheld, this means the coalition chose to sustain the ceasefire by showing restraint in 313 cases instead of opting for preemption, retaliation, or self-defense.

The Houthis have also used the ceasefire period to substantially increase their fortifications in Hodeida city, contrary to the requirements of the Stockholm Agreement and Resolution 2451. Prior to December 18, there were 157 Houthi trenches in the city, but 50 new trenches been dug as of January 2—a claim supported by overhead imagery presented to the UN and seen by the author.

The Houthis have also installed numerous barriers inside the city, typically shipping containers. Before the ceasefire, 118 such barriers were reported, but an additional 109 were installed as of January 2. Some of these obstacles have been protected with new minefields. At the same time, coalition engineering vehicles have been periodically targeted with antitank weapons, preventing from clearing rubble. Thus, the Houthis have not only defied the UN requirement “to remove any military manifestations from the city,” they have also impeded the coalition from clearing obstacles in liberated areas.

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