How the Yemen conflict became a devastating humanitarian crisis

The roots of the catastrophic violence in the country date back to failures in 2011

A supporter of Houthi rebels collects money during a gathering to collect food aid and mobilise more fighters into Hodeidah battlefronts, in Sanaa, Yemen. Photograph: Yahya Arhab/EPA

A supporter of Houthi rebels collects money during a gathering to collect food aid and mobilise more fighters into Hodeidah battlefronts, in Sanaa, Yemen. Photograph: Yahya Arhab/EPA

On October 30th, US secretary of defence Jim Mattis and secretary of state Mike Pompeo called on all sides in the war in Yemen to agree a ceasefire within 30 days.

Two factors appear to have prompted this apparent shift in US policy from unstinting support for Saudi Arabia to a more critical stance. The first is the horrific murder in Istanbul of Jamal Khashoggi, the dissident Saudi journalist. The second is the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen, greatly exacerbated by more than three years of war, which many fear may result imminently in the worst famine of the past 100 years.

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