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The Biden administration announced Thursday that it would halt support of Saudi Arabia's offensive military operations in Yemen, where the war has caused a gigantic humanitarian emergency on top of the coronavirus pandemic. Biden will also reportedly appoint experienced diplomat Timothy Lenderking as special envoy to Yemen.
It remains to be seen exactly how this will play out, but as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) noted in a statement, it looks like the start of a diplomatic push to get Saudi Arabia to end the brutal war in which it has been bogged down since 2015, obtain a general ceasefire, and coordinate an international aid effort. The Saudi military basically cannot do anything without U.S. support, and any strong signals from America that it should knock it off probably will be heeded. That's especially true now that Trump is gone, and Saudi dictator Mohammad bin Salman thus faces possible recrimination for ordering the cold-blooded murder of a U.S. resident and Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi, back in 2018.
It is worth noting that while Biden is reversing a Trump decision, the Yemen policy actually originated under the Obama administration. It is a marked difference from the early months of 2009, when Obama kept on George W. Bush's secretary of defense and planned for a massive troop surge in Afghanistan. Perhaps two decades of expensive, bloody, and totally unsuccessful wars are enough?
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