Bombings and Starvation: Focus Turns to Saudi’s War in Yemen

(Bloomberg) --

Jamal Khashoggi's murder is refocusing international attention on Saudi Arabia’s role in one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters: Yemen’s civil war.

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and defense chief James Mattis yesterday set a 30-day deadline for the Saudi-led coalition and the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels to meet for talks in Sweden to end the violence. Their statements are the strongest yet by U.S. officials against the war since the U.S.-backed Saudi air bombing campaign began four years ago.

The brutal killing of Khashoggi — an insider-turned government critic — at a Saudi consulate and the kingdom’s shifting explanations have drawn attention to other policies of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman too.

The 33-year-old has led an unprecedented political and economic embargo against neighboring Qatar and engaged in diplomatic confrontations with countries such as Germany and Canada.

Many are skeptical of Washington's ability to force Yemen's Houthis into an agreement, but so far it's the best hope for what was already the Arab world's poorest country.

As many as 10,000 civilians have been killed and millions forced to flee their homes since 2015. Aid agencies are warning worse is to come: 13 million people are at imminent risk of starvation.

Bombings and Starvation: Focus Turns to Saudi’s War in Yemen

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What to watch

  • Defense chiefs from the U.S. and South Korea are set to gather for an annual meeting in Washington today amid concerns that the continued suspension of “war games” is eroding military readiness.
  • Funerals continue for victims of Saturday's deadly shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, a day after Trump defied the city’s mayor and many residents by visiting the city.
  • Pakistan’s Supreme Court scrapped the death sentence of Christian woman Aasia Bibi eight years after she was convicted for blasphemy. She will soon be freed, in a move that's expected to prompt angry street protests from hard-line Islamist groups.
  • Ahead of unilateral sanctions on Iranian oil purchases set to take effect Monday, Ben Holland takes a closer look at which countries could seek waivers.

And finally... Meera Devi is a toilet evangelist, part of a grassroots movement of 450,000 volunteers working across India. In 2007, she took out a loan to pay for a squat latrine, the first in her village that’s just across the river from the Taj Mahal. As many as 100 million Indians are without a toilet — and that adds up to a huge cost for national development, with the World Bank estimating the country loses about 6.4 percent of its gross domestic product, or $166 billion annually, because of poor sanitation.

Bombings and Starvation: Focus Turns to Saudi’s War in Yemen

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