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The Galaxy Leader commercial ship, seized by Yemen's Houthis last month, is seen off the coast of al-Salif, Yemen, December 5, 2023.

REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Hard Numbers: Migrant boat capsizes off Yemen coast, US banana giant found liable for murders, EU stocks up on bird flu vaccines, “Pink slime” crisis in America

49: At least 49 people are confirmed dead, and 140 are missing after a boat carrying migrants sank off the coast of Yemen. The vessel was carrying roughly 260 people, mainly from Somalia and Ethiopia, to Yemen, where they would have continued the treacherous onward journey to the wealthy Gulf kingdoms in search of work. Despite being wracked by a brutal, decade-long civil war, Yemen is a major immigration route, with some 380,000 migrants in the country right now.
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After Super Tuesday, US elections inch closer to Biden vs. Trump redux
US elections: Biden vs. Trump redux? | Ian Bremmer | World In :60

After Super Tuesday, US elections inch closer to Biden vs. Trump redux

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60.

Any surprises from Super Tuesday

Yeah, I was surprised that Nikki Haley got Vermont. Honestly, I thought that she'd get swept by Trump. Though Vermont is a tiny, tiny little state. It still counts, but she's still out. She's, of course, suspended her campaign and that is not a surprise. And Biden beat undecided and Dean Phillips, who is basically the equivalent of undecided, pretty decisively in all of his states. So, yes, unless something happens health-wise to either of the candidates over the next months, it is Biden, and it is Trump, and that is it. And we've known that for a good long while now. It doesn't feel so super. It's not what everybody wants, but we still have months and months and months in the world's longest and most expensive election in the world. Yet one more reason why the United States is the most powerful and super dysfunctional democracy.

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The beach, Red Sea State, Port Sudan, Sudan.

Eric Lafforgue / Hans Lucas via Reuters Connect

Sudan’s lost sea access worsens humanitarian disaster

Since fighting between rival military factions in Sudan erupted last April, nearly 8 million people have been displaced, and 24 million require urgent food aid. But the crisis now may begin to beggar description as the country loses access to its Red Sea coast and migrants stream across its borders.

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Oil tanker Marlin Luanda has caught fire 60 nautical miles southeast of Aden in Yemen after a missile attack by Houthi fighters based in Yemen.

Friendly fire signals Houthis are shooting blind in the Red Sea

On Monday, Yemen’s Houthi rebels fired ballistic missiles at a ship bound for Iran, the militia’s main supporter. Would the Houthis really target their patrons in Tehran?

Almost certainly not. There’s no evidence to suggest a rupture between Iran and the Houthis, who have been attacking ships in the Red Sea in hopes of increasing global pressure on Israel to stop its assault on Gaza.

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Paige Fusco

Graphic Truth: How does Red Sea chaos affect your wallet?

Attacks on commercial shipping by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in the Red Sea have thrown yet another wrench into global trade, which has already struggled in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

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Houthi tribesmen parade to show defiance after U.S. and U.K. air strikes on Houthi positions near Sanaa, Yemen February 4, 2024.

REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Houthis threaten to retaliate after US, UK attacks

On Sunday, Houthi militants vowed to punish the United States and the United Kingdom for pounding Houthi targets on Saturday. A coalition of countries supported attacks on 36 targets across 13 locations in Yemen, including rebel strongholds in the capital Sanaa, as the conflict between Israel, Hamas, and its proxies continued to spread well beyond Gaza. US forces also took out an anti-ship missile that was set to be used in the Red Sea.

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U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan attends a session during the 54th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 16, 2024.

REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

US and China set up back-channel meetings as pressure over Yemen grows

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan will reportedly meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi behind closed doors in the coming days to discuss the Middle East and Taiwan.

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Houthi fighters and tribal supporters hold up their firearms during a protest against recent U.S.-led strikes on Houthi targets, near Sanaa, Yemen January 14, 2024.

REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Playing with fire: Is retaliation the new normal in the Middle East?

The region was already a tinderbox, and now the adversaries are playing with matches.

Tehran takes aim: Iran launched an unprecedented – and unprovoked – attack on nuclear-armed Pakistan. The missile and drone attack was aimed at Jaish al-Adl, a Sunni militant group operating along Pakistan’s border and marks a massive escalation from Iran’s previous military exchanges with the group as Iran continues to retaliate for the suicide bombing that killed 86 people this month at a memorial procession for Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani. Pakistan has vowed that the attacks will have “serious consequences.”

The attack comes the day after Iran launched ballistic missiles into Iraq and Syria with claims it was targeting Israel’s “headquarters of spies” and other places used to plan the bombing. The last two days have been Iran’s most direct show of force since January 2020, when it responded to Washington’s killing of Suleimani with missile strikes on US troops in Iraq. Ten of Monday’s missiles landed near the US consulate in northern Iraq, reflecting the escalatory risk involved with such strikes.

And don’t forget about Israel: Palestinian militants on Tuesday fired 25 rockets out of Gaza at the Israeli city of Netivot, which lies about six miles from the Gaza border. Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system generally intercepts rockets, and although there were no casualties, the attack exacerbates fears of Hamas’s enduring threat.

The attack is being used by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s war council as an excuse to backtrack on rhetoric that Israel is shifting to a more targeted campaign in Gaza. But many were already skeptical of this amid escalating attacks in North Gaza. More likely, the announcements and troop withdrawals aimed to bolster the economy and placate international criticism – particularly in the US, where Sen. Bernie Sanders has called for a Tuesday night vote to require the Biden administration to report on Israel's human rights practices.

However, Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel’s far-right national security minister, has said that the attack in Netivot “proves that conquering Gaza is essential to realizing the war’s goals,” and that Israelis should prepare for the war to continue for months as support for retaliating for Oct. 7 and rescuing the hostages remains high domestically.

The rub: Whether it's Iran, the US, the Houthis, Israel, or Hamas, all sides see their attacks as retaliatory, which could quickly evolve into a cycle of escalation.

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