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    Yemen Tag

    House Republicans attempted to add pro-Israel and anti-BDS language into an unrelated resolution on Thursday. The resolution "aimed to end U.S. participation in Yemen’s civil war," which has caused a humanitarian crisis, "where Iran-backed Houthi rebels have sought to overthrow the country’s government, prompting a Saudi bombing campaign that has lasted nearly four years." It passed 247 to 175, but the pro-Israel amendment failed to make it in with a vote of 228-194.

    The Obama Administration's foreign policies have lit fires all over the world. Mid-2015, we covered the civil war in Yemen. As a reminder:
    The fighting in Yemen pits the Houthis and allied troops loyal to Saleh against southern separatists, local and tribal militias, Sunni Islamic militants and loyalists of exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. The rebels seized the capital, Sanaa, in September.
    Now, one U.S. Navy ship has become the target of a missile attack for the second time in four days.
    ...The attack was again aimed at the USS Mason, a guided-missile destroyer that also came under fire Sunday night, said Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook. The coastal defense cruise missile was launched at about 6 p.m. from south of the coastal city Al Hudaydah, in an area of western Yemen held by the Houthis. The rebel group pushed the central government out of power in the capital city of Sanaa in 2014, and has resisted U.S.-backed efforts by Saudi Arabia to restore President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to power.

    The United Nations has shown they care more about money than children's rights as they removed Saudi Arabia from a list of countries who committed atrocities in Yemen. The kingdom threatened to pull money from numerous UN programs if they remained on the list. UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon immediately gave into their demands and will remove Saudi pending a review. Not just human rights. This list only mentioned countries that violated CHILDREN'S rights. The UN put money above innocent children. The list claimed that "the Saudis' campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen was blamed for causing 60% of child deaths in the conflict."

    Among the last remaining Yemeni Jews secretly were rescued and brought to Israel to escape persecution and increased danger in Yemen. The once thriving Yemeni Jewish community of over 50,000 mostly were rescued just after Israel's founding, in what became known as Operation Magic Carpet. Watch the film The Forgotten Refugees for the story of the over 800,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries. This last group brought an ancient Torah Scroll, believed to be several hundred years old. The Times of Israel reports:

    Representatives from the Yemeni southern separatist movement are meeting in Oman this week with Houthi officials in an attempt to stall the fighting that has led to a humanitarian crisis in the impoverished nation. In addition, a coalition loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has headed to Moscow for a meeting with Russian officials (Lost track of who is fighting who in Yemen? The AP puts it this way: The fighting in Yemen pits the Houthis and allied troops loyal to Saleh against southern separatists, local and tribal militias, Sunni Islamic militants and loyalists of exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. The rebels seized the capital, Sanaa, in September.) Meanwhile on the ground, anti-Houthi forces have managed to re-secure one of the border crossings between Yemen and Saudi Arabia. This crossing was being held by the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels as part of their retaliatory assault on Saudi Arabia; Saudi, determined to maintain its influence in the region in the face of a rising Iran, has for the past several months led an intense bombing campaign against Houthi strongholds. This, of course, has led to a massive anti-Saudi propaganda campaign on behalf of rebel fighters who seek to maintain their strategic hold on the region. More from Reuters:

    Every headline today concerning Saudi Arabia and the conflict in Yemen contains the words "crunch time." Every. Single. One. It's an accurate assessment, of course, and it does a good job of describing the urgency that Saudi and western powers are finding themselves operating under. Saudi Arabia has now spent 11 weeks conducting airstrikes on key strategic targets in Yemen in an effort to drive back the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels and bolster local fighting forces loyal to deposed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The strikes have done their job, destroying heavy artillery and machinery, and creating a chaotic playing field for rebel ground forces. But:
    Despite the destruction of much of their heavy weaponry, the Houthi militia and army forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh control most of the country's populated west and still daily attack Saudi territory with mortar fire or missiles. The possibility of a ground operation in support of the ragtag local groups still fighting the Houthis in Aden, Taiz, Marib and al-Dhala appears to have been discounted by the Saudis and their allies in an Arab coalition from early on.

    Finally---a hostage crisis that didn't end in bloodshed. (Yet.) Today Houthi rebels released the first of several American hostages currently being held in Yemen. Casey L. Coombs was held by the Iranian-backed group for two weeks in the capital city of Sanaa before his family was informed of his successful transfer out of the country and into neighboring Oman. From the New York Times:
    Mr. Coombs, who lived in Sana, Yemen’s capital, was arrested by Houthi militiamen there in mid-May, and traveled to neighboring Oman on Monday. He was scheduled to undergo a medical evaluation there before flying home to Seattle, his mother, Jill Marie Hammill, said in a telephone interview. Ms. Hammill said she had received a call from the International Committee of the Red Cross early Monday saying that Mr. Coombs was at the Sana airport and was preparing to leave Yemen. She was able to speak to her son on Monday afternoon, after he arrived in Oman. “I cannot describe how happy I am,” she said. Mr. Coombs has written for publications including The Intercept, The American Prospect and Time magazine. The Obama administration has said a number of Americans have been detained by the Houthis, a Shiite rebel group that took control of Yemen’s capital and forced the United States-backed Yemeni government from power earlier this year.

    One has to ask, what exactly is going on at the US State Department? We have been following the deterioration of Yemen for months. Despite the obvious dangers to American citizens within this country, I guess our bureaucrats decided they really didn't need an evacuation plan. Fortunately, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government seem to be more on top of the situation.
    The US, besides economically developed France, Germany and Sweden, besides 22 nations have sought India's assistance to evacuate its citizens from violence hit Yemen. An US government travel advisory for Yemen pointed out that India would offer its assistance to evacuate American citizens from Sanna to Djibouti. The US citizens have been advised to contact Indian diplomats in Embassy at Sanna for assistance for evacuation either by boat or air. This is significant considering the fact that the US has strong naval presence as well as deployment of its Air Force in West Asia. France also has presence of its Navy in the region to counter piracy. ​
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