(GPA) New York – The United States has called for an end to the Saudi bombing of Yemen, despite supplying the majority of the weapons being used against the country.
This week in a meeting of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) the ambassador for the US, Samantha Power, called for an end to the brutal (and criminal) campaign of Saudi aggression against Yemen. Power said the kingdom of Saudi Arabia does still have a right to defend itself against the allegedly Iranian backed Houthi rebels in Yemen but that the final solution to this conflict would not come through military action.
Power stated the need to dedicate more resources to talks between the Saudis and the Yemeni government, which has essentially gone underground since fighting began. The government was overthrown by Western backed opposition during the Arab Spring but is still legitimate in the eyes of many of the Yemeni people and is allied to the Houthis.
The US government feels the engagement in Yemen is diverting much needed “support” from Saudi Arabia in the fight against ISIS in Syria, even though there is evidence Saudi Arabia also backs the terror organization. The Saudis probably would have been in a position to fight two wars when the coalition against IS was originally founded but the drop in oil prices have led to a unprecedented austerity measures in the gulf kingdom. The failure of OPEC meetings to set a production cap will mean even lower prices and this austerity will continue.
That said, the US is perfectly fine with the Saudis carrying out war crimes with American weapons as long as they’re acting in a mercenary capacity in a preferred theater of war. The US would much rather have the Saudis bombing Syrian civilians in order to keep their own hands clean; you can tell from the very short lived US shelling in Yemen that the US is not that interested in what happens in one of the region’s poorest states. The long and short of it is, US prefers to sell weapons to countries that will act as the long arm of US foreign policy; not focus on their own conflicts.
Although the Saudis seem to have no interest in ending the war on Yemen; the US can’t stop stop selling them arms for fear that the Saudis will just enter into a partnership elsewhere. When tensions rose between the Saudis and Americans last summer, the Saudis held talks with the Russians on possibly purchasing arms from them instead. The US doesn’t want to lose one of their biggest customers and so far this has only been saber rattling on the part of the Saudis since Russian weapons would largely be incompatible with the US constructed defense systems. Both the US and Saudi Arabia are going to continue to take heat for this relationship from hell and the brutal war on a starving country but both nations governments also can’t afford to lose what the other offers.
James Carey is an organizer based in Detroit, Michigan, founder of Geopolitics Alert, and an experienced analyst on Middle Eastern affairs with a particular focus on Turkey. He also covers topics ranging from Latin America and Asia to Europe. You can also hear James in his weekly podcast; The Left is Dead which he co-hosts with investigative journalist Jake Anderson.