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Beyond the threats expand=1] and name-calling, foreign policy was high on the agenda of Sunday night's second U.S. presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Russia was mentioned 35 times. Syria 14 times. China, usually a Trump favorite, was uttered a mere four times by the candidates during the 90-minute debate. That was still more than one troubled country that did not feature at all — Yemen.


On Saturday, a day before the debate, an airstrike targeting a funeral killed more than 140 people and injured hundreds of others in Sana'a, Yemen's capital. The small but strategic Middle East country has been at war since 2014 when Shiite Houthi rebels allied with troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh forced into exile ruling President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi who is supported by a coalition of Sunni Arab states. This coalition led by Saudi Arabia has been bombing rebels in Yemen since last year, exacerbating a humanitarian crisis that the United Nations says has killed at least 10,000 people and left more than half the country facing food shortages.


The Saudis haven't claimed Saturday's funeral attack but say they are investigating it. The U.S., which condemned the air raid, is already mired in this underreported regional war in the Middle East. A supporter of the Sunni coalition, U.S. sold $1.3 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia last year. And now, news agency Reuters is reporting that American officials are worried that the U.S. could be implicated in war crimes for their involvement.


Yemen is certain to be on the agenda for the next U.S. president. Will it get a mention at the next debate on Oct. 19 in Las Vegas? Don't bet on it.

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Russia

When Mom Believes Putin: A Russian Family Torn Apart Over Ukraine Invasion

Sisters Rante and Satu Vodich fled Russia because they could no longer bear to live under Putin — but their mother believes state propaganda about the war. Her daughters are building a new life for themselves in Georgia.

A mother and her daughter on a barricade in Kyiv

Steffi Unsleber

TBILISI — On a gloomy afternoon in May, Rante Vodich gets the keys to her new home. A week earlier, the 27-year-old found this wooden shed in Tbilisi, with a corrugated iron roof and ramshackle bathroom. The shed next door houses an old bed covered in dust. Vodich refers to the place as a “studio” and pays $300 per month in rent. She says finding the studio is the best thing that’s happened to her since she came to Georgia. It is her hope for the future.

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Her younger sister Satu Vodich is around 400 kilometers further west, in the city of Batumi on Georgia’s Black Sea coast, surrounded by Russian tourists, Ukrainian flags, skyscrapers with sea views and the run-down homes of local residents.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

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