For nearly a year, the Obama administration has turned a blind eye to the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen since Saudi Arabia invaded in March 2015 to crush an Iranian-supported insurgency and restore a discredited former president to power. But Washington cannot so easily ignore the rapid resurgence of a dangerous branch of Al Qaeda that is thriving on the chaos to take control of much of southern Yemen.
What a United Nations report called “widespread and systematic” attacks against civilians by Saudi and Gulf emirate pilots, armed with U.S.-made aircraft and cluster bombs that are banned by international treaty, account for the bulk of civilian deaths and for the wholesale destruction of ancient cities and cultural centers.
In addition, a Saudi-imposed blockade on Yemen, supported by Washington, has allowed only a trickle of relief supplies to reach the country, putting millions of people at risk of starvation.
In the midst of this Hobbesian nightmare, militant followers of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants are making a rapid comeback after being crippled in 2012.
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