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A campaign in Sanaa, Yemen, labeling Donald Trump , Nikki Haley, and Benjamin Netanyahu as enemies of human rights. Photo: Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images

Dozens of children were killed today when an airstrike from the Saudi-led coalition struck a bus in Yemen.

The bigger picture: The war in Yemen is exacerbating what has been called the "world's worst humanitarian disaster." The coalition has bombed weddings, hospitals, and schools, been accused of torturing detainees and, according to a recent AP report, paid off and even recruited al-Qaeda members. The U.S. has continued to support it.

  • Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich told Axios that the U.S. was not involved in Thursday's strike.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Stephen Seche tells Axios the U.S. has two primary goals in Yemen — countering Iran and fighting terrorist groups — and the coalition is "addressing these issues on our behalf."

"Why are we going to get in their hair about how they're conducting this war, because basically they're doing our work for us over there."
— Seche, describing the thinking of some in the administration

While the war started under President Obama, the Trump administration has taken a different approach to working with the coalition, Seche said:

  • The Obama administration: "We will give you a green light on certain things in Yemen, and if we don't then you stand down."
  • The Trump administration: "Explain to us what you need to do — we'll offer some words of caution, some words of advice — but at the end of the day it's your call to make. That is your backyard, it's not ours."

The Pentagon's view, via Rebarich: "The U.S. military support to our partners mitigates noncombatant casualties, by improving coalition processes and procedures, especially regarding compliance with the law of armed conflict and best practices for reducing the risk of civilian casualties. The final decisions on the conduct of operations in the campaign are made by the members of the Saudi-led coalition, not the United States."

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 7: Trump turns on Pence

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Elijah Nouvelage, Alex Wong/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 7: Trump turns on Pence. Trump believes the vice president can solve all his problems by simply refusing to certify the Electoral College results. It's a simple test of loyalty: Trump or the U.S. Constitution.

"The end is coming, Donald."

The male voice in the TV ad boomed through the White House residence during "Fox & Friends" commercial breaks. Over and over and over. "The end is coming, Donald. ... On Jan. 6, Mike Pence will put the nail in your political coffin."

Big Tech's post-riot reckoning

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The Capitol insurrection means the anti-tech talk in Washington is more likely to lead to action, since it's ever clearer that the attack was planned, at least in part, on social media.

Why it matters: The big platforms may have hoped they'd move to D.C.'s back burner, with the Hill focused on the Biden agenda and the pandemic out of control. But now, there'll be no escaping harsh scrutiny.

37 mins ago - Technology

Why domestic terrorists are so hard to police online

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Domestic terrorism has proven to be more difficult for Big Tech companies to police online than foreign terrorism.

The big picture: That's largely because the politics are harder. There's more unity around the need to go after foreign extremists than domestic ones — and less danger of overreaching and provoking a backlash.