The armed conflict in Yemen has been raging and the Saudis have with their allies destroyed most of the country and displaced millions to the point of starvation with disease running rampant…..
Back in February I wrote that the Congress was about to do something bold to cease US support for the Saudis genocide of the Yemanis…..
In no place is congressional action more urgent than in Yemen, where approximately half of the population—nearly 14 million people—remain on the brink of starvation due to the war and the ensuing economic collapse in the country. Although congressional pressure caused the Trump administration to finally call for an end to the war last October and cut off U.S. refueling support in November, the United States remains intimately involved in the Saudi- and UAE-led military operations in the country.
With the Senate planning this week to “process” President Trump’s veto of the War Powers Act challenge to the Yemen War, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took the reins to try to defend US involvement in Yemen as in America’s best interest.
Pompeo’s argument centered on the idea that the US was obliged to help Saudi Arabia defend itself from retaliatory fights, now that the Saudis had launched a war and provoked that retaliation.
On top of that poor argument for an obligation, Pompeo relied on what the administration seems to believe is the most compelling argument, even if it is wholly based on a lie. He argued that the whole war was Iran’s fault, and not intervening would make Iran happy.
This was the argument Saudi Arabia successfully used to sucker the US into this war, though to be fair that didn’t take much effort. The Iran never had more than tentative links to the Shi’ite Houthi movement, and that they’re not even the same type of Shi’ites, was lost on the administration, and Pompeo seems to hope it will also be lost on the Senate.
Pompeo’s argument is effectively that the US has blundered so deeply into a foolish war they have to keep plugging away, and to the extent we can fool ourselves into thinking we’re somehow sticking it to Iran we might feel a little better about all the harm we’re doing to Yemen.(antiwar.com)
Calls to reassert Congressional authority over US war-making failed to muster enough votes to override President Trump’s veto of the Yemen War Powers resolution, which demanded Trump withdraw US involvement from the unauthorized war. The vote was 53-45, short of the two-thirds majority needed to override.
Opposition to the war was driven by the war crimes being committed by the US-backed Saudis, and the Saudi assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, which had some in Congress questioning the US backing them in a war.
The Trump Administration argued variously that Yemen didn’t count as a war, that Trump had unilateral authority on the war, and that the war in Yemen would be bad for Iran and therefore in America’s interests.
Though none of these arguments stood up to close scrutiny, the Republican leadership in the Senate broadly echoed them. Ultimately, this was still enough to keep the veto from being overridden.(antiwar.com)
Michael Knights, Ken Pollack, and Barbara Walter make an unpersuasive case that the U.S. should increase its support for the Saudi coalition war on Yemen:
True peace in Yemen will remain elusive unless both sides accept that they have nothing to gain from more fighting. We are not there yet. To get there will require not cutting off U.S. support for Saudi Arabia but threatening to doube down on it unless the Houthis honor their commitments to the UN and are ready to disgorge most of their initial conquests. If Washington is serious about ending the war, it must come to terms with this uncomfortable fact.
The “fact” mentioned here is not a fact at all. It is an unfounded opinion offered in support of a truly reprehensible policy idea. Trying to get the Houthis to “disgorge most of their initial conquests” is what the Saudi coalition has been trying and failing to do for more than four years. Threatening to increase U.S. support to the coalition isn’t going to change this, and actually increasing U.S. military assistance to an indefensible war is an unacceptable option that would only serve to escalate and prolong the conflict.