Aug 10, 2018

America’s role in Yemen’s disaster

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

Trump rules out quarantine in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut after pushback

President Trump on the White House grounds on Saturdya. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Saturday night that he's decided not to introduce quarantine enforcement measures fo New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut, but a "strong" travel advisory will be issued for those states.

Why it matters: The president said hours earlier he was considering the move to combat the rise in novel coronavirus cases. But he received pushback, most notably from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who told CNN it would cause "chaos." "This would be a federal declaration of war on states," Cuomo added.

Go deeper: Updates on coronavirus in the U.S.

Trump weighs quarantine of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

President Trump said Saturday he's considering a short-term quarantine of New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut, which have already taken steps to help residents isolate. Gov. Andrew Cuomo reacted to Trump's comments by telling CNN, "This would be a federal declaration of war on states" and that it would cause "chaos."

The big picture: With more than 121,000 people infected, the U.S. has the most COVID-19 cases in the world, exceeding China and Italy, per data from Johns Hopkins. A second wave of American cities, including Boston, Detroit, New Orleans and Philadelphia, are reporting influxes of cases.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 41 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 660,706 — Total deaths: 30,652 — Total recoveries: 139,304.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 121,478 — Total deaths: 2,026 — Total recoveries: 1,072.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump is considering a quarantine on New York, parts of New Jersey and Connecticut.
  4. State updates: Alaska is latest state to issue a stay-at-home order — New York is trying to nearly triple its hospital capacity in less than a month and has moved its presidential primary to June 23. Some Midwestern swing voters that supported Trump's handling of the virus less than two weeks ago are now balking at his call for the U.S. to be "opened up" by Easter.
  5. World updates: In Spain, over 1,400 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  6. 🚀 Space updates: OneWeb filed for bankruptcy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  7. Hollywood: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have returned to U.S. after being treated for coronavirus.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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