Step one: cleanse the skin?
Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for a ceasefire in Yemen in 30 days. The American government supported the Saudi air campaign for three years prior to this.
Iona Craig with The Intercept told NPR she isn’t optimistic this will happen since previous efforts to broker peace between the government and the rebels that have failed.
Mattis and Pompeo’s comments on Yemen came a day before The Washington Post broke a story that said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called journalist Jamal Khashoggi a “dangerous Islamist” on a call with President Trump’s son-in-law/senior advisor Jared Kushner and National Security Advisor John Bolton.
From the Post’s story:
“Jamal Khashoggi was not a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. He denied such claims repeatedly over the past several years,” the family said. “Jamal Khashoggi was not a dangerous person in any way possible. To claim otherwise would be ridiculous.”
A person familiar with the discussion said Bolton did not signal he endorsed the crown prince’s characterization of Khashoggi during the call.
A Saudi official on Wednesday denied that the crown prince made the allegations, saying “routine calls do exist from time to time” with the young leader and top U.S. officials, but “no such commentary was conveyed.”
How will this new attention on Saudi military action play out?
In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel confirmed that her current term will be her last, and that she will step down in 2021. Her announcement follows state elections that brought double-digit drops in the vote shares of center-left and center-right parties.
Who could fill Merkel’s role? What’s behind her decision not to run again?
As predicted, in Brazil, far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro was elected to the presidency, despite fierce campaigning against him. Bolsonaro is well known for provocative statements about women and other minorities. Why are some calling him Brazil’s version of President Trump?
And in Pakistan, protests broke out after a Christian woman was acquitted of blasphemy. Asia Bibi spent eight years on death row.
If this is confirmed, it’s reapplying the death sentence against Asia Bibi that the Supreme Court overruled. If she’s innocent, why can’t she leave Pakistan? And is this government willing to see her killed –
Because the protesters are very clear about their desire to kill her https://t.co/hpl9B2TAuv
— Diaa Hadid ضياء حديد (@diaahadid) November 1, 2018
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Preet Bharara is the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.