Washington DC (GPA) – Following the failed coup in Sana’a, Yemen last week, the White House released a statement regarding the violence and humanitarian crisis. Unsurprisingly, the US role in Yemen is completely ignored while simultaneously blaming Iran.
The statement begins by expressing “grave concern” for the dire situation in Yemen. The US, of course, helped create this crisis under the Obama regime and continued support under Trump by selling billions in weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other smaller members of the Saudi coalition.
Fueling violence: US role in Yemen
However, the US role in Yemen goes far beyond merely selling weapons and turning a blind eye to the carnage. The US also refuels coalition warplanes and provides intelligence. US troops assist and train UAE troops as well as UAE and Saudi-backed troops on the ground. (Yes, US forces are currently occupying southern Yemen right now.)
The statement ridiculously requests that Riyadh entirely lift the blockade against Yemen which restricts land, sea, and air imports, exports, and the flow of movement. What makes this request absolutely absurd is that the United States Navy helps enforce this blockade throughout the Red Sea.
At the time of writing this press statement, Riyadh was likely bombing civilian areas as per usual. Over the past week, Saudi warplanes continued to target homes, cars, government buildings, and a media office. At least four workers died in the media outlet bombing, and dozens of civilians lost their lives in the other attacks — including women and children.
Passing the buck
Despite Saudi Arabia’s devastating air war against Yemen, the press statement first chose to blame Ansarullah (the Houthis) for violence and the humanitarian catastrophe. The Houthis do not have an air force and are not waging war on civilians — although the statement tries to portray them as such.
Also before even mentioning Riyadh, the statement blames Iran. Although no such evidence exists to prove Iran arms, trains, or provides any support to the Houthis, the statement insists Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is “arming, advising, and enabling” Houthi forces. According to the White House, Iran is actually to blame for the violence and humanitarian catastrophe.
According to a report from Foreign Policy, the Houthi missile launched at the King Khalid Airport was never intercepted as previously claimed. The report also states that some parts appeared to come from Iran, while other parts were manufactured in the United States. In other words: no one knows for sure how the Houthis are manufacturing their long-range missiles.
Late president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, was a close ally of the United States during the Bush administration who received considerable amounts of military aid. As a result, Sana’a has a large stockpile of US weapons and likely weapons from other countries such as the DPRK and probably also Iran. Could the Houthis have some Iranian weapons? It’s possible. But suggesting Iran somehow supplies the Houthis with military equipment during a US-enforced land, sea, and air blockade is beyond ridiculous.
Finally, the statement concludes by reiterating US support for a political solution (despite Washington’s heavy military presence in Yemen). The good news is the statement does not directly suggest any military action against Houthi forces. It does, however, state that the goal of political negotiations is a Yemen “free of the malign influence of Iranian-backed militias.”
As long as the United States considers the Houthis to be Iranian puppets, it’s hard to rule out increased US military involvement against them altogether. One thing is for sure, the Houthis’ strength has undoubtedly caught the US and Saudi Arabia by surprise over the past week.
Who is really fighting terrorism?
During the course of the Saudi war against Yemen, Ansarullah have drastically increased Yemen’s independent military capabilities and worked to establish a valid, functioning government in Sana’a. They have also eliminated al-Qaeda and ISIS throughout all territory under their control.
This stands in stark contrast to territory under Saudi and UAE control where al-Qaeda militants fight alongside Saudi-backed forces with US weapons. Terror attacks are also frequent in these areas. Uprooting Ansarullah from Sana’a would put millions of Yemenis at risk for terror attacks and instability.
The irony of all this is that the “official” US role in Yemen is to eliminate al-Qaeda.
Also published on Medium.