Yemen and American Interest

Yemen, economically the poorest country in the Middle East, is being bombed into starvation and disease by Saudi planes; Saudi planes that are refueled on U.S. tankers for return sorties. Yemeni targets include markets, hospitals and schools and their selection is based on American intelligence. Let’s call these attacks what they are: war crimes. This war has been running for three years now.

In Yemen, Saudi planes never attack ISIS, the enemy of the United States. ISIS is fought from time to time by American forces on the ground in Yemen. Thus, there is a clear contradiction of Saudis helping ISIS backed elements, on the one hand, and the U.S. killing ISIS, on the other, while the U.S. and Saudi Arabia stay close as allies.

ISIS is largely based in the north of Yemen and supported, financially and ideologically, by the Saudis. Suicidal attacks are used by ISIS against the Houthi people in Yemen on a regular basis, as ISIS does anywhere there are Shia Muslims. They employ the same tactics in Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan.

The Houthi are based in the center and southern parts of Yemen and are supported by Iranian regime. They are the minority of Yemen who are looking to establish a regime that is very different from the one they overthrew.

The exiled government is led by Ahmed Obeid Bin Daghe, who was ousted in 2015.

ISIS and Saudi Arabia are hoping to see that the Houthi forces and citizens are destroyed by either bombs or famine. They prove this point by blockading the main seaport which could relieve the starvation of the Houthis if it were allowed to be used to deliver supplies to the affected regions.

With very little publicity or scrutiny, President Obama made an agreement with the Saudis to supply fuel to Saudi bomber as well as to provide intelligence reports regarding Yemen to the Saudi government. Why did Obama do this? Cheaper oil? Probably not. To help the ousted Yemeni government? Perhaps. To contain Iran’s influence in the region? Probably, yes. Having said all this, does the United States want a failed, starving Yemen where ISIS is backed by the Saudis? The answer from two American Presidents seems to be “yes.”

The Arab world rejected the Saudi call for a pan-Arab military alliance of many nations to deal with the Yemeni civil war. Few recruits came from Pakistan, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, but most Arab nations did not see this war as important enough to send soldiers.

So then why is the United States in this war, especially since the Saudis are helping ISIS in the north of Yemen and the U.S. is fighting ISIS there as well? It doesn’t make sense.

It is simply time to get out of this war being waged in Yemen. War crimes are committed there regularly. Illegal clusters bombs made in the United States are used by the Saudis against civilian Yemeni populations. It is time to demand a peace agreement between the warring factions. The blockade of the airport in Sana’a should be lifted in order to allow food shipments to arrive and relieve a starving populace. The opposite is not acceptable, namely, starving the Houthis to death and creating the conditions to allow diseases like cholera to spread unabated. 20 million are at risk for cholera and 400,000 patients are being treated already.

American wars represent the American people and American interests. The United States has no interest in destroying Yemen. Most Americans do not even know Obama place the U.S. in the middle of this war in Yemen. There is very little coverage of the circumstances there by the American media.

Ten thousand people have died in this conflict so far. There is a lot to condemn in this inane war by two of the richest nations on earth. We can begin with telling the Saudis that there will be no more refueling of their warplanes by U.S. tankers.

Please take time to write the five Democrats who need to rethink their positions on this war: Senator Mark Warner of Virginia (https://www.warner.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact), Senator Joseph Manchin of West Virginia (https://www.manchin.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact), Senator Bill Nelson of Florida (https://www.billnelson.senate.gov/contact-bill), Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri (https://www.mccaskill.senate.gov/contact), and Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana (https://www.donnelly.senate.gov/contact/email-joe). Given that these Democrats consistently vote along party lines, the possibility of exiting from this war in Yemen becomes a real possibility with their support. We can bring an end to silly sword dances with a Saudi regime that causes the starvation of a neighboring nation.

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