The Current

Could outcry over missing Saudi journalist change tide of war in Yemen?

A Yemeni-Canadian says allegations that Saudi Arabia was involved in the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi will not come as a surprise to those following the Kingdom's involvement in the war in Yemen.

Warning: Story contains graphic images

Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, and has not been seen in public since. (Mohammed Al-Shaikh/AFP/Getty Images)

The disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has put Saudi Arabia under global scrutiny, but one Yemeni-Canadian says the allegations against Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should come as no surprise.

"It's not new for people who have been following Yemen closely, because this is what we've been dealing with for the last three-and-a-half years," said Shireen Al-Adeimi, who still has family in Yemen.

The war in Yemen started in 2015, pitting a Saudi-led coalition against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels — and leaving Yemen's citizens stuck in the middle. Thousands have been killed, with millions displaced and on the brink of famine.

WARNING: Airstrike in Yemen's Saada province kills dozens

4 years ago
Duration 1:01
Victims, including children, rushed to hospital after attack by Saudi coalition forces

Saudi Arabia has been responsible for much of that devastation, Al-Adeimi alleged, adding that the UN has accused the country of war crimes. The kingdom is "either denying them altogether or trying to cover up their role," she said.

On Wednesday, Turkish pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak cited what it described as an audio recording of Khashoggi being killed inside the Saudi consulate on Oct. 2.

His disappearance provoked an international outcry, putting pressure on governments to respond. On Thursday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he will not attend an investment conference in Saudi Arabia, as did senior government officials from France, Britain and the Netherlands.

"There's a backlash in Congress, there's a backlash in the business community, and this backlash didn't exist when Mohammed bin Salman — the crown prince of Saudi Arabia and the architect of the Yemen war — when he was in the United States earlier this year he was welcomed with open arms," Al-Adeimi said.

To discuss whether this backlash could translate into action on the conflict in Yemen, The Current's guest host Piya Chattopadhyay was joined by:

  • David Kirkpatrick, international correspondent for the New York Times
  • Shireen Al-Adeimi, assistant professor of education at Michigan State University

Listen to the full discussion near the top of this page.

Produced by Alison Masemann, Ines Colabrese and Caro Rolando.


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