Everything that the U.S. is criticizing Russia for and more is being done by U.S. ally Saudi Arabia to Yemen with nary a peep from the U.S. In fact, the U.S. sells Saudi Arabia weapons and provides operational assistance. Unlike Ukraine and Russia, Yemen does not pose an arguably existential or much of any kind of threat to the Saudi Arabia. From Walt Zlotow at antiwar.com:
While the U.S. government and mainstream media rightly condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, neither offer one iota of protest against US enabling of Saudi Arabia’s horrific war against neighboring Yemen that has killed over 400,000 and puts millions at risk of starvation.
The Saudis started the war 7 years ago today by intervening in Yemen’s civil war to prevent an Iranian aligned faction from becoming their neighbor. For America it represents a proxy war against the hated Iranian regime.
America has been all in helping the Saudis with US made planes and bombs; refueling and maintenance help, and logistical support. Without US support the incompetent Saudi war effort would collapse, making America instrumental in the carnage and humanitarian catastrophe called the ‘worst in the world’.
The plight of the Yemenis gets almost zero press, but they are under attack from Saudi Arabia, a regime far more repressive and brutal than Russia’s (I don’t recall reading anything about mass executions, dozens at a time, in Russia). Oh, that’s right, Saudi Arabia is an U.S. ally, and is thus a beneficiary of the U.S.’s yawning double standard. From Daniel Larison at antiwar.com:
The US-backed war on Yemen started seven years ago this week, and after all this time US policy is practically unchanged. The coalition bombing campaign has picked up again in recent months with 700 airstrikes in February alone, and according to the Yemen Data Project the bombing has been more intense during this period than at any point since 2018. 1,500 civilians have been killed or wounded in these attacks. Despite being far more destructive and killing many more people, including 91 people in a migrant detention center, these airstrikes have received no criticism from the US.
Instead of withholding military assistance from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as it should have done, the Biden administration has been rushing more jets, ships, and air defense interceptors to the governments that have been brutalizing the people of Yemen directly and through their armed proxies. The US also backed a one-sided UN Security Council resolution that named the Houthis as a terrorist group while ignoring the many atrocities committed by the coalition governments and their proxies. While the US condemns aggression in Ukraine, it continues to support it in Yemen.
The Saudi Arabian government is just as nasty, if not nastier, than Iran’s, but it gets a free pass from the U.S. government. From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:
No matter the many crimes committed by the House of Saud, defenders rush to take up their cause. The Wall Street Journal’s Karen Elliott House was the latest. Readers can imagine tears cascading across her keyboard as she wrote about the plight of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which “is begging the U.S. for Patriot interceptors to defend itself against drone and missile attacks from the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen.”
House complained that this is bad for America for three reasons. “First, it endangers the Saudi people, who look to the US for protection.” Actually, what endangers the Saudi people is their reckless crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, and especially his continuing war of aggression against the KSA’s much poorer neighbor.
Nearly seven years ago Riyadh attacked Yemen to reinstate the latter’s pliable president, who had been ousted by a coalition of his predecessor and the armed Ansar Allah movement, known as the Houthis. The Saudi and Emirati air forces hit hundreds of civilian targets and killed thousands of civilians. The impact of the war – malnutrition and starvation, disease, poverty – killed hundreds of thousands more. Surprising the Saudis, Ansar Allah shot back. (Apparently, they believed winning wars without loss was just another royal prerogative.) The KSA should acknowledge that it has lost, halt its attacks, and seek a realistic negotiated settlement.
Next, House contended that administration policy “endangers an ally and benefits Iran.” In fact, Saudi Arabia has no treaty commitment. Its value to American security is much overstated. The Saudi military performed miserably in Yemen. With the Abrahamic Accords Riyadh should look to Israel rather than the US as its chief security partner. As for economics, the oil market has changed dramatically, Riyadh’s importance is much diminished, and the royals recently made clear that they will pump oil to suit their, not America’s, interest.
Posted in Civil Liberties, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Military, Politics, War
Tagged Arms Sales, Iran, Oil, Saudi Arabia, Yemen
The House of Saud is discovering a lesson scores of governments have run up against in the past: war, even against smaller and weaker opponents, can be a costly affair. From Finian Cunningham at strategic-culture.org:
The Saudi rulers are facing a humiliating defeat as the Yemenis take revenge and Uncle Sam washes his hands of blood.
After six years of blowing up Yemen and blockading its southern neighbor, the Saudi rulers are now saying they are committed to finding peace. The move is less about genuine peace than economic survival for the oil kingdom.
The Saudi monarchy say they want “all guns to fall completely silent”. Washington, which has been a crucial enabler of the Saudi war on Yemen, has backed the latest “peace offer”. Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week endorsed the initiative from the Saudi rulers, saying he had spoken with them “on our work together to end the conflict in Yemen, facilitate humanitarian access and aid for the Yemeni people”.
The Saudi foreign ministry stated: “The initiative aims to end the human suffering of the brotherly Yemeni people, and affirms the kingdom’s support for efforts to reach a comprehensive political resolution.”
Can you believe this sickening duplicity from the Saudis and the Americans?
Posted in Energy, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Imperialism, Military, Morality, Politics, Propaganda, War
Tagged Price of oil, Saudi Arabia, Yemen
Joe Biden does something right. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:
The Biden administration has taken two small steps toward ending the horrific US-backed mass atrocities in Yemen, with temporary holds placed on both a murderous sanctions measure and on arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the UAE pending review. Both items being reviewed are unconscionable decisions made by the previous administration.
“The Biden administration has imposed a temporary freeze on U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as it reviews billions of dollars in weapons transactions approved by former President Donald Trump,” The Wall Street Journal reported today, adding that “U.S. officials said it isn’t unusual for a new administration to review arms sales approved by a predecessor, and that despite the pause, many of the transactions are likely to ultimately go forward.”
This follows an earlier announcement of a one-month pause on the Trump administration’s designation of Yemen’s Houthis (Ansar Allah) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, an unforgivably brutal measure which would cut off badly needed aid to an already starving populace and potentially kill millions. Like the arms sale hiatus, this measure could easily still move forward, and its temporary nature has provided insufficient assurance to companies that are backing away from trade with Yemen for fear of future US sanctions.
The Washington protest doesn’t hold a candle to killing a bunch of kids and other innocent Yemeni civilians. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:
While the Capitol riot is being hysterically compared to Pearl Harbor and Kristallnacht by the political/media class, the Trump administration has done something far, far worse that is receiving far, far less attention.
The US State Department has officially announced its intention to designate Yemen’s Houthis as a terrorist group, as many had previously warned. Humanitarian organizations have been condemning the move as it will make it more difficult to provide aid to a population that is already being brutalized by the worst mass atrocity in the entire world, a Saudi-led atrocity which could not occur without the help of the western power alliance.
We are already seeing some effects of this designation.
ntiwar‘s Dave DeCamp reports the following:
The terror designation will hamper the efforts of international charities that deliver food to Houthi-controlled areas, where 70 percent of Yemen’s population lives and malnutrition is the most widespread.
Aid agencies fear their work in north Yemen will now be criminalized since the Houthis are the authority they have to deal with and make transactions with. US terror designations open up sanctions on any individuals or entities that do business with those Washington brands as terrorists.
Pompeo said exemptions would be made for humanitarian goods. But any additional roadblocks for aid agencies will cause more suffering in Yemen since the situation is so dire. “Even with exemptions, the operation will be compromised,” said Janti Soeripto, the president of Save the Children, according to AP News.
If what Saudi Arabia, with American assistance, is doing to Yemen isn’t terrorism, what is? From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:
The Trump administration is reportedly close to moving the Houthi rebels in Yemen onto its official list of designated terrorist organizations with the goal of choking them off from money and resources. The head of the UN’s World Food Program along with many other experts caution that this designation will prolong the horrific war which has claimed over a quarter million lives and create an impenetrable barrier of red tape stopping humanitarian aid from getting to the Yemeni people.
The United Nations conservatively estimates that some 233,000 Yemenis have been killed in the war between the Houthis and the US-backed Saudi-led coalition, mostly from what it calls “indirect causes”. Those indirect causes would be disease and starvation resulting from what UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres calls “the worst famine the world has seen for decades”.
When people hear the word “famine” they usually think of mass hunger caused by droughts or other naturally occurring phenomena, but in reality the starvation deaths we are seeing in Yemen (a huge percentage of which are children under the age of five) are caused by something that is no more natural than the starvation deaths you’d see in a medieval siege. They are the result of the Saudi coalition’s use of blockades and its deliberate targeting of farms, fishing boats, marketplaces, food storage sites, and cholera treatment centers with airstrikes aimed at making the Houthi-controlled parts of Yemen so weak and miserable that they break.
In other words, the US and its allies have been helping Saudi Arabia deliberately kill children and other civilians on mass scale in order to achieve a political goal. Which would of course be a perfect example of any standard definition of terrorism.
Helping one of the most corrupt governments on the planet wage a war on one of the poorest countries on the planet is a war crime for which US officials must be called to account. From Doug Bandow at theamericanconservative.com:
That includes prominent American officials. Punishing the perpetrators is the only way to restore our credibility.
Workers search through debris at a warehouse, after it was reportedly hit in an airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition, in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on July, 2, 2020. (Photo by MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP via Getty Images)
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recently announced that it was providing $204 million in aid for the impoverished and war-ravaged country of Yemen. That sounds generous, but it’s the Saudi royals themselves who are responsible for most of the death, destruction, starvation, and disease in Yemen, in which 80 percent of the population, some 24 million, need outside assistance.
Riyadh has spent more than five years conducting a brutal air campaign intended to restore a pliant regime to power. The claim that the Kingdom is generously helping the needy is a bit like a man murdering his parents only to throw himself on the court’s mercy since he is an orphan. If Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wanted to help the Yemeni people, he would simply end the war.
But he won’t, at least in part because the Trump administration is underwriting the Saudi government’s murderous campaign. Why is the president forcing Americans to assist the Saudi royals, who respect no political or religious liberty and kidnap, imprison, and murder their critics? President Donald Trump appears to be almost bewitched by the licentious and corrupt Saudis.
Washington sold Saudi Arabia planes and munitions used to kill thousands of Yemeni civilians. American personnel serviced and refueled the same planes, as well as providing intelligence to assist in targeting Saudi strikes. That makes U.S. officials complicit in war crimes committed day in and day out for more than five years.
Posted in Crime, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, History, Military, Morality, Politics, Propaganda, War
Tagged Saudi Arabia, Trump administration, War crimes, Yemen
Why has America been Saudi Arabia’s bitch for so long? From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:
Many observers have been mystified by the Saudi regime’s hold over President Donald Trump. For years he had criticized the gaggle of corrupt, dissolute royals. He also asked why Americans were paying to defend the wealthy, licentious al-Saud family, as it practiced totalitarianism at home and promoted Islamic fundamentalism abroad, including in America.
Yet Trump made his first trip as president to Saudi Arabia. Some observers wondered if Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had salvaged his infamous orb from Mordor’s collapse eons ago and used it to take control of the president’s mind. No other explanation made sense.
Now the New York Times reports that the fault lies with Peter Navarro, the protectionist aide who spends much of his time urging economic and real war with China. He apparently was instrumental in convincing the president to put the profits of munition makers before the lives of Yemenis.
Consider the tragedy that had befallen Yemen, a deeply divided and tragically impoverished nation. During the Arab Spring the Yemeni people ousted the longtime president, leaving a weak and unpopular successor. The former chief executive joined a longtime rebel movement to overthrow the government. All par for the course in a divided land that has never known peace or stability.
By now it’s an article of faith that Yemen’s Houthis are Iranian proxies, but that’s more a convenient fiction to justify the US’s efforts to help Saudi Arabia in its war against the Houthis. From Joziah Thayer at antiwar.com:
The death toll in Yemen has reached 102,000 according to data released by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project in October of 2019. Since the war started in 2015, the United States government has maintained one steadfast talking point. The Houthis are an Iranian proxy in Yemen. Government officials and those in mainstream media have repeatedly regurgitated this talking point without ever providing evidence to back up this claim.
By repeatedly claiming that the Houthis are an Iranian proxy, it allows the United States government to try and justify what is happening in Yemen daily. All the United States has to do whenever a government official has to answer a question about the war in Yemen, is mention Iran. No matter how undefendable America’s involvement in the war in Yemen has become the excuse to justify the atrocities in Yemen never falter, its Iran’s fault.