The United States And Britain Must Claim Part-Ownership Of Yemeni Strife

Both countries have lent their support to forces that have destabilized the region and violated human rights.
09/01/2017 08:55 am ET Updated Sep 01, 2017
Khaled Abdullah / Reuters

Americans and Britons must face the unpleasant fact that their governments are complicit in the humanitarian disaster in Yemen, a disaster that is shaping up to be the worst since the Holocaust. CARE estimates that 20 million people are in need of emergency assistance and 5,000 people are being infected with cholera each day. The eventual number of casualties could top two million. Saudi Arabia’s indiscriminate bombing in Yemen, using American and British arms and munitions and with all manner of support (intelligence and military advisors) from the U.S. and Britain, are widely considered to be war crimes. No matter how hard the U.S. tries to blame the disaster on others, independent observers point the finger at Saudi Arabia and its two principal backers ― the U.S. and Britain. Yes, Saudi Arabia is giving Yemen economic aid in an effort to cover its crimes from the view of the world, but what cynical hypocrisy!

Saudi Arabia’s crimes go beyond Yemen. The crimes of the minority Sunni government in Bahrain under Saudi direction and support have been labeled crimes against humanity. Again, it is the U.S. and Britain whose arms and munitions have empowered these crimes. As if all this were not enough, Saudi Arabia has turned against its own Shia citizens inside Saudi Arabia with a vengeance. In Eastern Saudi Arabia, the village Awamiyah has been under siege for four months, blockaded and shelled by Saudi forces, and with a number of its citizens imprisoned, tortured and beheaded over the last two years, citizens who were engaged in peaceful protests but had been conveniently labeled terrorists.

The 32 year-old day-to-day ruler of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman, is the “brains” behind these atrocities that the U.S. and Britain are supporting in order to sell more arms. In doing so, the U.S. and Britain are complicit in these crimes. President Trump has allegedly told the rulers of Saudi Arabia that the U.S. will not pressure them on the issue of human rights and that they are free to do as they wish. And of course the “War on Terror” provides the narrative to hide these crimes from the American and British people. But in a time of instant news, Americans and Britons have a feeble excuse if they do not take their respective governments to task. The U.S. and Britain are now ridiculed when they claim their support for human rights and democratic governance and decry movements toward dictatorship as in Venezuela. For how can anyone believe such pretensions when the U.S. supports Saudi Arabia, the country behind these crimes and the country with just about the worst human rights record on the planet? No matter how much favorable publicity for Saudi Arabia the U.S. and Britain spew out, their credibility and soft power is evaporating fast.

The victims of these crimes, their families and friends clearly see Saudi, American and British duplicity for what it is and they will never forget. Companies, lobbyists, academics and others who support Saudi crimes will find themselves on the wrong side of history. The world will gradually open its eyes and be ashamed of how it was silent and Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and Britain will be held accountable in the court of public opinion with ominous blow-back.

CONVERSATIONS