U.S. Support Has Fueled, Not Moderated, the Yemen War

Doug Bandow
Reuters

Doug Bandow

Security, Middle East

U.S. Support Has Fueled, Not Moderated, the Yemen War

U.S. Support Has Fueled, Not Moderated, the Yemen War

The Yemen war grinds on. The U.S.-backed “coalition” managed a rare success as the Houthis, who now control the Sanaa government, withdrew from the port of Hudaydah. However, that leaves the Saudis and Emiratis still far from victory in a war begun in 2015 which was supposed to last just a couple of weeks.

Unfortunately, Washington’s misguided relationship with the tyrannical Gulf monarchies led the Obama administration to back their aggressive assault on Yemen. Congress recently voted to end U.S. support for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s (KSA) brutal military campaign, but President Donald Trump vetoed the resolution. Sounding like Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s press corps, the administration claimed that it hoped to end the war by backing Riyadh’s murderous attacks on Yemeni civilians.

Modern Yemen has existed for about six decades. Modern Yemen has been at war for about six decades. Indeed, there once were two Yemens. Alas, unification merely moved the unceasing conflict from without to within the Yemeni state.

The latest round of fighting involved the Houthis, who spent years battling strongman and President Ali Abdullah Saleh, before joining the recently ousted Saleh against his successor, President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. This modern game of thrones mattered little to the United States, other than diverting the Yemeni government’s attention from extremist groups, such as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The fireworks also didn’t matter much to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, since the Houthis had only limited relations with Iran and no capacity to endanger their nation’s more powerful neighbors.

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