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The Crisis in Yemen Takes A Turn for the Worse

By Mark Leon Goldberg

Saudi Crown Price Mohammad bin Salman consolidated power in a pretty dramatic fashion by detaining would-be rivals and diminishing other power centers in the country. These moves coincided with an apparent rocket attack, launched from Yemen, toward the vicinity of an airport in Riyadh. That sparked a very dramatic decision by the Crown Prince to impose a total blockade of Yemen. That decision could have a profoundly devastating impact on the situation in Yemen, where nearly the entire population is affected by an ongoing conflict that is pitting an Iran-backed rebel group against the Saudi-backed government. The rebel group controls much of northern part of the country, including the capitol Sana’a and the largest port, Hodeidah. Saudi Arabia (with American backing) controls all sea and air lanes around the country.    Yemen is already the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, with 7 million facing starvation and over 900,000 sickened with cholera.  If access to Yemen remained shut down, “I can’t imagine this will not be one of the most devastating humanitarian catastrophes we’ve seen in decades,” says the head of the World Food Program.   On the line with me to discuss this all is Scott Paul of Oxfam America. Scott, who has spent time in Yemen and lobbies the US government on behalf of humanitarian access in Yemen, explains the situation on the ground right now--and as you'll see there is a great lack of clarity about this apparent blockade.  We also discuss more broadly the political environment in the Yemen and the broader middle east that giving rise to the ongoing catastrophe in Yemen.       Become a premium subscriber to unlock bonus episodes, earn other rewards, and support the show!  

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