Jonathan Broder makes a very strange claim in an article on the Saudi-Iranian rivalry:
The president has yet to take a side in the Iran-Saudi conflict, leaving the U.S. without the trust of either country and unable to influence the Middle East’s growing sectarian divide.
That couldn’t be more wrong. Not only has Obama been consistently taking the Saudis’ side in their rivalry with Iran, but he has been lending aid to the Saudi-led war on Yemen. That war has been driven by the Saudis’ sectarianism and excessive fear of Iran, both of which the U.S. is irresponsibly encouraging with its support for the campaign. The U.S. is helping to influence the region’s sectarian divisions: it is contributing to policies that intensify them.
The Saudi-led campaign in Yemen itself receives a brief mention in this article, but the U.S. role in the conflict is completely ignored. This seems to be a consistent theme in a lot of U.S. coverage of the war on Yemen: give the war almost no attention, and when it is acknowledged overlook U.S. involvement in it. This wrongly credits Obama with a neutral and skeptical position regarding this conflict that he doesn’t hold, and it obscures the extent of U.S. support for an atrocious bombing campaign and blockade.
Obama has been trying to “reassure” the Saudis and has repeatedly taken their side, but no matter how much he indulges the client government it is never satisfied with what it gets. The failing here is not that Obama “has yet to take a side,” but that he has needlessly chosen to implicate the U.S. in some of Saudis’ most destructive behavior. Worse yet, he has made the U.S. complicit in the wrecking and starving of Yemen to placate despotic governments that refuse to be placated.