The Pentagon is pushing for increased U.S. support for an attack on the Yemeni port of Hodeidah, despite the fact that this would exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in the country and hasten the onset of famine:
During the meeting on Thursday, convened at the request of aid agencies, a Pentagon official tried to ease those concerns by floating the possibility that the operation could be “clean” and result in the Saudis taking full control of the port in “four to six weeks.”
But aid groups view that forecast as wildly optimistic and fear the Pentagon is attempting to understate the complexity of the mission in order to win support for it inside the Trump administration.
It’s unclear where that four-to-six–week figure came from. One senior Pentagon official who wasn’t present at the meeting told BuzzFeed News that such expectations were unrealistic — and that retaking the port “could take months.” [bold mine-DL]
The Saudi-led coalition has already brought Yemen to the brink of famine, and according to the World Food Program there is famine in some parts of the country right now. The U.S. has aided and abetted the coalition in wrecking and starving Yemen for over two years, and helping them with this proposed assault would compound the error of supporting the intervention in the most destructive way at the worst possible moment. Aiding an attack on the port would be tantamount to being an accomplice in causing the massive loss of life that would result from an even more severe disruption of aid and food deliveries. Many thousands of innocent civilians would perish as a direct result of the proposed attack, and that isn’t even counting the civilians that would be killed by coalition bombs and shelling in the operation itself. Helping the coalition launch this attack would represent a cruel escalation of U.S. backing for an indefensible war, and doing this would advance no U.S. interests while more deeply implicating our government in the heinous crimes of the coalition.
The danger is that the Trump administration seems much more willing to indulge the Saudis and their allies in their Yemen campaign:
In an attempt to take a harder stance on Iran than its predecessor, the Trump administration appears to have warmed to Saudi Arabia’s fight against the Houthis, despite concerns from Human Rights Groups [sic] and U.S. lawmakers who have characterized the Saudi bombing campaign as indiscriminate.
It is important to remember that Iran’s role in the conflict is minimal, and framing greater U.S. support for the war on Yemen in terms of signaling hostility to Iran just underscores how stupid our policy in Yemen has been and continues to be. Devastating and starving Yemen won’t do Iran the least harm, but it will cause the deaths of thousands and thousands of people who have never done us any harm. Continuing to do this not only makes the U.S. complicit in the coalition’s war crimes, but it also makes our country new enemies for no reason. It is a plainly monstrous and disgusting policy, and it is an enduring mark of shame on our country’s reputation that both the Obama and Trump administrations have supported this war.