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U.S. Approves Sale of Smart Bombs to Saudi Arabia

The U.S. State Department has approved the sale of $1.29 billion in smart bombs to Saudi Arabia to help replenish supplies used in its battle against insurgents in Yemen and air strikes against Islamic State in Syria, the Pentagon said on Monday. The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which facilitates foreign arms sales, notified lawmakers on Friday that the sales had been approved, it said in a statement. The lawmakers now have 30 days to block the sale, although such action is rare since deals are carefully vetted before any formal notification. The sales reflect President Barack Obama’s pledge to bolster U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia and other Sunni allies in the Gulf Cooperation Council after his administration brokered a nuclear deal with their Shiite rival Iran. The agency said the sale would help the Royal Saudi Air Force’s (RSAF) replenish weapons supplies that are becoming depleted […]

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Yemen is turning into Saudi Arabia’s Vietnam

Fighters loyal to Yemen’s government celebrate after receiving three armored personnel carriers from the United Arab Emirates in the southwestern city of Taiz. (Reuters) BEIRUT — Eight months after launching a war in Yemen, Saudi Arabia appears trapped in a protracted and devastating conflict that is straining relations with its allies, intensifying internal power struggles and emboldening its regional rival, Iran, analysts say. Since March, the key U.S. ally has led a coalition of mostly Gulf Arab countries and Yemeni fighters in a military campaign to drive out Iranian-aligned rebels who seized the capital, Sanaa, and swaths of the Arabian Peninsula country. But the coalition appears increasingly hobbled by divisions and unable to find a face-saving way to end the costly conflict. The rebels, known as Houthis, still control much of Yemen’s north. And in southern areas where the coalition has driven them out, lawlessness has spread as attacks […]

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New cyclone heading for Yemen: UN

. View gallery The UN said up to 44,000 people had already been displaced by Tropical Cyclone Chapala Geneva (AFP) – The UN weather agency warned Friday that another rare cyclone was heading towards war-ravaged Yemen which would bring more rain to areas already badly battered by cyclone Chapala. The new storm, named Megh, is brewing in the Arabian Sea and is expected to intensify into "a severe cyclonic storm" over the next 24 hours, with wind speeds of up to 100 kilometres per hour (62 mph), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said. Megh is not as powerful a Chapala, which killed eight people in southeastern Yemen this week, but is expected to slam into or pass close to the country’s already badly hit Arabian Sea island of Socotra on Sunday, WMO spokeswoman Clare Nullis told AFP. From Socotra, the storm is expected to weaken into a low pressure […]

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Saudis Seek to Fend Off U.N. Inquiry on Yemen

GENEVA — As Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies pressed their military offensive against Houthi rebels in Yemen , Saudi diplomats were waging their own battle to fend off calls in the United Nations Human Rights Council for an international inquiry into abuses by all parties to the Yemeni conflict. Those calls came in a council resolution submitted Thursday by the Netherlands , with support from a group of mainly Western countries, that requests the United Nations high commissioner for human rights send a mission to Yemen. The Dutch resolution draws on deepening international alarm over the civilian toll inflicted by both sides in the conflict and the effect of a blockade imposed by the Saudi-led coalition that has delayed delivery of humanitarian aid, including medicine and the fuel needed to keep the dwindling number of hospitals operating. At least 1,527 civilians were killed and an additional 3,548 injured […]

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Saudi-led offensive in Yemen faces dangerous new phase

Supporters of the Houthi rebel movement at a rally to protest a military offensive by the Saudi-led coalition supporting Yemen’s ousted president, Aug. 24, 2015, in Sanaa. Mohammed Huwais / AFP / Getty Images ADEN, Yemen — When young garage mechanic Aidaroos Saleh heard the familiar ping of his smartphone, he could never have imagined the journey on which the incoming message would take him. In a matter of weeks, Saleh, 22, went from fixing cars in his adopted country of Saudi Arabia to the battle front of his southern Yemen homeland. The message was an official communication, a call to arms for Yemenis in Saudi Arabia to join a fighting force that would “defend Aden” — the southern Yemeni city that descended into civil war in mid-March. Four months after he responded to the message in April, the young fighter sat cradling an AK-47 assault rifle between his […]

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