25 Jan US involvement in the Yemeni war
Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal murder by the Saudi hitmen although sent shockwaves around the globe, but it also led to the passage of certain resolutions in US Congress which might allay the fears of a war-torn Yemeni civilization. With a 56-41 vote, the US Congress displayed bipartisan defiance toward President’s Trump rhetoric of artificial ambiguity when it came to holding Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman responsible for the chilling murder of the Saudi dissident journalist and Saudi Arabia’s aggressive approach towards the citizenry of Yemen.
The US Congress decided to suspend the military aid to Saudi Arabia in entirety to bring a halt to the four-year conflict flaring between the Sunni theocracy of Saudi Arabia, and Houthi led Shia militia, backed by Iranian proxies, in Yemen. Notwithstanding the delayed course of action on Congress’ part and the time it’ll take for the effects to become tangible, it still is a welcoming step. Yemen, ravaged by the war, is on the brink of catastrophic famine, one of the worst of the century, as feared by the Human Rights Watch. Close to 8 million Yemeni’s are rendered bereft of the most basic amenities such as food, water, sanitation, medicines, etc. and 85000 children under the age of 5 have been declared dead already, due to rampant malnutrition. With Saudi military laying siege to the port of Hudaydah and blockading all the incoming assistance for the common masses, the Saudi’s aiming to deprive Houthi rebels of all resources and being forced to concede.
Fully aware of the extent to which their actions have driven an already economically poor country, both sides are unwilling to relent. But it is Saudi Arabia’s military force, especially the Royal Saudi Air force, which has wreaked havoc on millions; bombing school buses, military vans, funerals, and water wells. The US military specially trains the pilots of this regiment for flying the F-15s- the most advanced iteration of the fighter aircraft that the US produces – which the US has been consistently offering to the royal kingdom, 30 hitherto. With the private defense firms such Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin being given tenders to produce munitions for their closest ally, US has offered 84 combat helicopters, 110 air to surface cruise missiles and nearly 20,000 guided bombs with contracts running the gamut from half a billion dollars to 2 billion. Therefore, it seems highly paradoxical for the US to wash its hand from the blood of Yemen’s hoi polloi.
The Pentagon and US State Department of Defense have been persistent in their denial of reports alleging the Saudi Aircrafts of using American manufactured bombs. But certain State Department officials working with Saudi-led coalition believed that the American liaison officers in Riyadh had access to a detailed database that revealed the warplanes that were used, the munitions and the brief description of the attack. It also came to notice to the same liaison officers that the Saudi pilots balked at the instructions when they were told not to bomb the targets that were on the no-strike list drawn by the US Central Command and UN. Also due to their inexperience in the combat zone, the Saudi pilots flew at high altitudes avoiding enemy fire, which thereby has led to 4600 casualties due to errant strikes.
With President Trump feting Prince Mohammed Bin Salman on his visit to Washington in March and callously associating peanuts with billion dollars’ worth of warplanes, lately, US has had recourse on its foreign policy when it comes to Saudi Arabia. Whether it will have a palpable effect on war-torn Yemen, remains to be seen. But considering a humanitarian catastrophe of such magnitude, what do you think? Should the US continue to provide military aid to Saudi Arabia during its conflict with Yemen?