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crisis in yemen
November 28, 2018

The Senate voted 63-37 on Wednesday to advance a bill that would end U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen. Fourteen Republicans joined all 49 Democrats in supporting the measure.

The bill was proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). In March, the Senate rejected the same measure. The vote came after the Senate was briefed on Saudi involvement in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi; it was reported earlier this month that the CIA believes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi's murder, but Defense Secretary James Mattis told senators there's "no smoking gun" implicating him.

The U.S. is giving Saudi Arabia weapons that they are using in their fight against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East, is also experiencing the world's worst humanitarian crisis. Thousands of civilians have been killed in the war, airstrikes have hit weddings and school buses, and more than 85,000 children have died due to famine. Millions more are nearing starvation, and the country does not have ample medication or clean water. Catherine Garcia

November 26, 2018

Aid groups on Monday urged the U.S. to stop providing military support to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in Yemen, where a civil war has put 14 million people at risk of famine, reports The Hill.

Leaders of the International Rescue Committee, Oxfam America, CARE US, Save the Children USA, and Norwegian Refugee Council, USA, all signed the joint statement. The humanitarian crisis in Yemen "is entirely man-made," the groups wrote, and U.S. humanitarian aid hasn't done enough to outweigh the "military support and diplomatic cover" to Saudi Arabia and the UAE as the nations provide weapons in an effort to dismantle Houthi forces in Yemen. The U.S. has supported the coalition, which has been accused of committing war crimes against civilians

If it does not end military support in the region, the groups wrote, the U.S. "will bear responsibility" for civilian deaths. Though the U.S. earlier this month announced it would no longer provide midair refueling for Saudi planes conducting airstrikes in Yemen and called for a ceasefire, the aid groups said more proactive and drastic steps between all parties are needed to help Yemenis "live through the winter."

"It pains us to write these words, but we cannot escape the truth," reads the statement. "If it does not cease its military support for the Saudi/UAE coalition, the United States, too, will bear responsibility for what may be the largest famine in decades." Read the full statement at Oxfam America. Summer Meza

November 10, 2018

The United States will no longer provide midair refueling for Saudi planes conducting airstrikes in Yemen, the Pentagon and Saudi state media announced Friday.

U.S. support — including refueling, intelligence sharing and tactical guidance, drone strikes, weapons sales, and more — has been crucial to the controversial intervention, in which the Saudi-led coalition has been accused of committing war crimes against the civilian population. The United States was refueling about 20 percent of Saudi strike flights and will maintain other means of support.

The coalition has implemented a blockade — cast as an effort to keep weapons away from Houthi rebel fighters on the opposite side of the civil war — with deadly results. Yemen imports 90 percent of its food, so limited port access for civilian concerns has combined with currency collapse to produce starvation conditions. The country is already wracked by cholera, and more than 100 Yemeni children die daily from starvation and preventable diseases.

The United Nations is pushing for peace talks by the end of November. Bonnie Kristian

October 31, 2018

Within 30 days, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James Mattis want everyone involved in the Yemen civil war to agree to a ceasefire.

The war has left thousands dead and caused immense suffering, bringing a shortage of food, medication, and clean water in many areas. During an event Tuesday at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, Mattis said that everyone involved in the war — including the Saudi-led coalition, which supports the Yemeni government, and the Iranian-backed Houthis — must meet to "end this war." The U.S. has provided the coalition with some training and aerial refueling of warplanes. Mattis said the most important thing to do is "move toward a peace effort here, and you can't say we're going to do it sometime in the future."

Pompeo agreed, releasing a statement later in the day saying that missile strikes from Houthi-controlled areas and coalition airstrikes must stop in all populated spaces. "The United States calls on all parties to support U.N. Special Envoy Martin Griffiths in finding a peaceful solution to the conflict in Yemen," he said. "Substantive consultations under the U.N. Special Envoy must commence this November in a third country." Catherine Garcia

October 15, 2018

The small Gulf nation of Yemen is on the brink of the "worst famine in 100 years," the United Nations warned in a BBC report Monday, and it could reach that grim milestone within three months if the conflict does not cease.

"I think many of us felt as we went into the 21st century that it was unthinkable that we could see a famine like we saw in Ethiopia, that we saw in Bengal, that we saw in parts of the Soviet Union — that was just unacceptable," said Lise Grande, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Yemen.

"Many of us had the confidence that would never happen again and yet the reality is that in Yemen that is precisely what we are looking at," she continued. "We predict that we are looking at 12 to 13 million innocent civilians who are at risk of dying from the lack of food."

The U.S.-supported, Saudi-led coalition intervening in Yemen's civil war has implemented a blockade — cast as an effort to keep weapons away from Houthi rebel fighters — with deadly results. Yemen imports 90 percent of its food, so limited port access for civilian concerns has combined with currency collapse to produce starvation conditions. The country is already wracked by cholera, and more than 100 Yemeni children die daily from starvation and preventable diseases.

Watch the BBC report on starvation in Yemen below; be warned, the images are disturbing. Bonnie Kristian

September 2, 2018

The U.S.-enabled, Saudi-led coalition intervening in Yemen's civil war on Saturday admitted its August airstrike on a school bus was unjustified.

The bombing, which used an American-made weapon, killed 51 people, 40 of them children. Facing international outrage, the coalition promised to investigate itself. Saudi state media reported Houthi rebel fighters were thought to be among the bus passengers, arguing the vehicle was therefore a "legitimate" military target. Nevertheless, investigators concluded the timing of the attack led to a "mistake."

"There was a clear delay in preparing the fighter jet at the appropriate time and place, thus losing [the opportunity] to target this bus as a military target in an open area in order to avoid such collateral damage," said Mansour Ahmed al-Mansour, a legal adviser for the investigation. "The team believes that the coalition forces should immediately review the application of their rules of engagement to ensure compliance."

The coalition said the victims' families would be compensated and those responsible for the error would be held accountable.

Human rights organizations and a broad array of observers have credibly accused the U.S.-supported coalition of war crimes for its callous exacerbation of the rampant suffering of the Yemeni civilian population, which in addition to airstrike casualties is suffering a cholera epidemic and sits on the brink of famine. Bonnie Kristian

August 28, 2018

A United Nations report complied by British, Australian, and Tunisian human rights experts states that there are "reasonable grounds to believe that the governments of Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia are responsible for human rights violations" in Yemen.

In 2015, after Houthi rebels pushed the Yemeni government from power, Saudi Arabia, supported by several Persian Gulf and Western countries, announced it would lead a coalition to fight the Iranian-backed rebels. Since then, thousands of people have been killed, more are suffering from starvation, and there is a shortage of medication and clean water. Yemen was already the poorest country in the region, and at least 22 million people have been affected by the civil war.

The report, released Tuesday, said the violations include rape, torture, the use of child soldiers, arbitrary detention, and "deprivation of the right of life," and accuses the Houthis of having committed many of the same abuses. Saudi airstrikes have hit schools, hospitals, and buses, raising "serious questions about the targeting process applied by the coalition," the report said. "Despite the severity of the situation, we continue to witness a total disregard of the suffering of the people of Yemen," British human rights lawyer Charles Garraway told The Associated Press. "This crisis has reached its peak, with no apparent sight of light at the end of the tunnel. It is indeed a forgotten crisis." Catherine Garcia

August 18, 2018

The weapon used in the Saudi-led coalition airstrike on a school bus in Yemen earlier this month that killed 51 people, 40 of them children, and wounded 79 more was manufactured in the United States, CNN reported Friday night.

The bomb in question was reportedly a 500-pound laser-guided MK 82 bomb produced by Lockheed Martin, an American defense contractor. It was identified from numbers on the shrapnel.

The Saudi coalition, which has been credibly accused of war crimes in Yemen, is supported and enabled by the United States. The coalition promised to investigate itself for this attack.

A coalition representative declined to comment on the airstrike while the self-investigation is underway, and a Pentagon representative would not confirm the bomb's origin, instead providing CNN a generic condemnation of civilian casualties. Bonnie Kristian

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