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Despite UN-brokered truce deal, Saudi Arabia bombs Yemen

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Mideast-Yemen_Beau-1024x683By NewsGram Staff Writer

Despite a UN-brokered truce, Saudi-led coalition forces bombed Houthi targets in several provinces of Yemen on Sunday killing at least 15 people, sources said.

The fresh airstrikes against Houthi fighters in the capital Sanaa killed at least 12 people on Sunday while several people were receiving treatment in hospitals, Xinhua cited the medical sources as saying.

The airstrikes also destroyed a conference hall used by the Shia Houthi group and damaged several civilian houses.

In Amran province, the warplanes hit a cement factory on Sunday, killing three people and wounding 10 others, the state-run Saba news agency reported.

The coalition also carried out air raids in Saada province, which is a Houthi stronghold, and the province of Lahj, security sources said. There were no reports of casualties.

The UN-brokered truce took into effect on Friday and will last through the end of Muslim holy month of Ramadan on July 17. However, the warring parties did not abide by the ceasefire deal.

The Saudi-led coalition forces and Houthi group continued their military operations Friday midnight, hours after the truce technically came into effect.

The temporary truce was aimed at facilitating aid deliveries to more than 21 million people in Yemen who have suffered a severe shortage of food, water and medicine supplies after more than three months of airstrikes and civil war.

The Saudi-led coalition has been striking the Houthis and their allied forces since March 26 when Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi was ousted by the Houthi militia which seized the capital Sanaa by force in September last year.

UN human rights agencies reported that more than 3,000 Yemenis have been killed, mostly civilians, and over 13,000 others wounded, while more than a million have fled their homes since late March.

According to UN statistics, the coalition-imposed blockade has also contributed in starving millions in Yemen where nearly 13 million people face a food security crisis and 9.4 million people have their access to water cut or severely disrupted, raising the risk of outbreaks of water-borne diseases.

(With inputs from IANS)

 

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The Khashoggi Killing Creates Differences Between Trump And U.S. Lawmakers

Numerous U.S. lawmakers have said they intend to push for U.S. sanctions against Saudi Arabia because of Khashoggi's killing.

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Khashoggi, U.S.
A man holds a poster showing images of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman (L), dubbed "assassin," and of journalist writer Jamal Khashoggi, dubbed "martyr," during a prayer service for Khashoggi, in Istanbul, Turkey. VOA

Several U.S. lawmakers broke with President Donald Trump on Sunday, disagreeing with his assessment that it was uncertain whether Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in the killing of a Saudi dissident journalist inside Riyadh’s consulate in Istanbul.

Congressman Adam Schiff, set to become the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee when Democrats take control of the House in January, told CNN, “I have been briefed by the CIA and, while I cannot discuss the contents of the briefing in any way, I can say that I think the president is being dishonest with the American people.”

Schiff said, “It causes our standing in the world to plummet, it telegraphs to despots around the world that they can murder people with impunity, and that this president will have their back as long as they praise him.”

U.S.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, speaks with reporters after a news conference in Washington. VOA

Trump last week said the U.S. would stand by Saudi Arabia and that he did not know whether the crown prince had knowledge in advance of the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. While living in the U.S., Khashoggi wrote opinion columns for The Washington Post that were critical of Mohammed bin Salman and Riyadh’s involvement in the long-running Yemen conflict.

“It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Trump said.

Trump concluded, “In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran. The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region.”

Saudi Arabia has indicted 11 of its agents in connection with the Khashoggi killing, with five of them facing the death penalty if convicted.

Trump, U.S.
U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters about the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey during a bill-signing ceremony at the White House in Washington. VOA

Senator Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, also disputed Trump’s equivocation on whether the crown prince had knowledgeable of the Khashoggi killing.

“I disagree with the president’s assessment,” Lee told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “It’s inconsistent with the intelligence I’ve seen,” which implicates the crown prince.

Human rights factor

Another Republican, Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa, said on CNN, “I do think we need to look into this further.” She said that while Saudi Arabia is a strategic partner of the U.S., “We also are a very strong nation when it comes to human rights, when it comes to the rule of law. And if there are indicators that the [crown] prince was involved in this murder, then we need to absolutely consider further action.”

Ernst said she did not think Trump was exonerating Saudi Arabia, but added, “I think at such a time when it becomes necessary, the president also needs to speak directly to the Saudis and say enough is enough.”

U.S.
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska, returns to a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing after a break on Capitol Hill in Washington. VOA

Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, a frequent Trump critic, said on Fox News, “Making the realist case (about the need for a U.S.-Saudi alliance) is a different thing than being so weak that we failed to tell the truth.” He said Mohammed bin Salman “contributed to murdering somebody abroad and it is not strength to sort of mumble past that. Strength is telling the truth even when it’s hard.”

Numerous U.S. lawmakers have said they intend to push for U.S. sanctions against Saudi Arabia because of Khashoggi’s killing. Trump, in his statement last week, said, “I will consider whatever ideas are presented to me, but only if they are consistent with the absolute security and safety of America.”

Also Read: Khashoggi Report To Be Reviewed By U.S. President Donald Trump Soon

He said, “After the United States, Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producing nation in the world. They have worked closely with us and have been very responsive to my requests to keeping oil prices at reasonable levels – so important for the world. As president of the United States I intend to ensure that, in a very dangerous world, America is pursuing its national interests and vigorously contesting countries that wish to do us harm. Very simply it is called America First!”. (VOA)