We Might Cut Off Some Ties to the War Effort in Yemen, But Not All

The United States government’s support of the Saudi-led slaughter in Yemen has been an ongoing issue that has united some progressives and conservatives due to the unilateral executive discretion in determining how much aid should be provided in the civil war. Congress has not declared war against Yemen or the Iran-backed Houthis, but the military has conducted numerous drone strikes. Now, President Biden has a chance to correct the mistakes of his predecessors and steer the United States away from this conflict in the Arabian Peninsula, but will he?

The newly-inaugurated president has announced that he will not support continued efforts in the war that are related to “offensive operations,” which is a good starting point. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (it ended its ground operations in 2019, but it still participates in bombing campaigns), and a few other countries have been bombing, sanctioning, and destroying Yemen for the last several years, and this has led to a humanitarian crisis of a major scale. In fact, there have been roughly 18,400 civilians who have been forced to breathe their last breaths due to the Saudi-led airstrikes and ground campaign, and it may be that two-thirds of the airstrikes have hit civilian targets (perhaps not intentionally), including mosques, hospitals, bridges, and markets. It is estimated that Saudi Arabia has conducted 20,000 airstrikes (or about twelve per day), and in addition, the kingdom and its allies have engaged in blockades that have prevented much needed supplies, food, and medicine to the struggling people. About 80% of the population (twenty-four million) need assistance, and roughly ten million people are in desperate need of food (two million children are “acutely malnourished”).

What did the Obama and Trump administrations do to “punish” Saudi Arabia’s war crimes and violations of human rights? It supported the war effort through many avenues, including logistical and intelligence support, aerial refueling (ended in 2018 due to the Khashoggi incident), targeting advice, and supplying of weapons. For this, the United States government is complicit in the terrorist actions of its allies. But if you thought, the federal government was only partially responsible for the bloodshed, think again. Unrelatedly, the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations have engaged in drone strikes, which have led to hundreds of additional civilian casualties, to hunt down radical Islamic elements within the country. These attacks have further exacerbated the situation and led to individuals supporting the very terrorism that was being combated (either through radicalization or for assistance from groups like Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula or the Houthis).

So, is it a wonder why I am not completely optimistic when it comes to Biden’s words on ending hostilities in Yemen? Is it a good thing that he removed the terrorist designation from the Houthis, pledged to terminate aid in regards to lethal actions, plans to cut off certain arms deals to the Saudis and the Emiratis (precision-guided bombs and fighter jets, for example), and wishes to negotiate an end to the war overall? Of course, these are moves in the right direction, but very few details have been laid out so far. Will the president’s advisors or military generals convince him to water down the plan further? President Biden has already suggested that he does not intend to withdraw security forces in Saudi Arabia that have been training and assisting the kingdom in defending its borders or ceasing the airstrike operations against AQAP or ISIS.

Actions speak louder than words, and since presidents of both parties have continued what their predecessors have started, there is little hope that things will change dramatically in Yemen. The president may have good intentions and truly wish to change the American involvement in the country, but the establishment in the government may have other ideas. We will have to see what comes out of this in the coming months, but it does have the potential for some promising results.

Thank you for reading, and please check out my book, The Global Bully, and website to read more examples of how the United States government has engaged in terrorism and failed in pursuits around the world.
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Published on February 09, 2021 14:57
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