Riyadh (GPA) – U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis made his first trip to Riyadh on Tuesday. A major topic was of course the conflict in Yemen and Saudi Arabia’s role. Mattis was eager to initiate the idea of UN-brokered peace talks. But looking at the situation from all angles shows that the U.S. is more fickle about the conflict than ever.
U.S. Floats Idea of Peace Talks
After dropping more bombs on Yemen in one week than the last administration did in the entirety of 2016, US Defense Secretary James Mattis announced that the conflict in Yemen has gone on for “too long.” Urging a “political solution” to the conflict.
“We will work with our allies, with our partners to try to get it to the U.N.-brokered negotiating table … with the number of innocent people dying inside Yemen, it has simply got to be brought to an end,” Mattis said on his way to Riyadh on Tuesday.
The Houthis, Yemeni military, and other allies (aka Ansarullah) have been fighting Saudi-backed fighters and other troops for over two years. The US publicly considers the Houthis and their allies as Iranian puppets. This is an accusation that both Iran and Ansarullah deny. The U.S. also lacks any substantial evidence to prove this claim.
U.S. Mulls Sending New Weapons to Saudis
This however is certain: Saudi Arabia is guilty of war crimes in Yemen. Including target civilian infrastructure like funerals, factories, ship yards, and schools. And of course none of this would be possible with out generous U.S. military support and intelligence cooperation.
Mattis hinted that any further military aid to Saudi Arabia would hinge on evidence of Iran sending military aid or advisers to Yemen. However, the go-to excuse for the U.S. is always their ever-failing operation against al-Qaeda in Yemen. When all else fails, they can still sell weapons to Saudi Arabia under the guise of “fighting terrorism” in the form of al-Qaeda.
U.S. Congressional sources report that the Trump administration was preparing to increase U.S. military involvement in Yemen both directly and indirectly. But fortunately some U.S. lawmakers are urging an end to not only Saudi arms sales but U.S. support to Saudi Arabia entirely.
55 members of the U.S. House composed a letter to Trump urging his administration to end both military and logistical support to Saudi Arabia. Reports indicate that prior to Mattis’s visit to Riyadh, the Trump administration was preparing to green-light a precision-guided missile sale for Saudi Arabia’s upcoming offensive in Yemen. Which if executed, will be absolutely disastrous for civilians.
In what could be a turning point in general policy, Congress also said Trump “must” seek congressional approval before any further military action. Indeed, if never before, now is the time for Congress to step in and put an end to disastrous foreign policy.
Sure, it would be naive to believe that Congress could completely turn around US imperialism. But last week the Trump administration proved just how quickly the US can inflict devastation all over the world. Pulling drastic and short-sighted military actions in Syria, Afghanistan, and nearly the DPRK. If Congress can successfully stop military support to Saudi Arabia, this would indeed set an important precedent.
Over 10,000 people have died during the over 2 year conflict. Many more are displaced and over 7 million are at risk of famine.
Also published on Medium.