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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