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Ignoring U.S. Complicity in the Destruction of Yemen

Several major Western governments are deeply complicit in the destruction of Yemen.
usa saudi arabia yemen flags

This weekend, 60 Minutes aired a report on the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen. Unfortunately, U.S. involvement and complicity in that catastrophe went entirely unmentioned. Derek Davison comments:

But by far the most egregious part of the 60 Minutes coverage was its total failure to identify one key element of “all those involved,” namely the role that the United States and Britain have played in arming and sustaining the Saudi war effort. The United States has been intimately involved in the Saudi intervention in Yemen going back to the Obama administration, but Donald Trump, in his zeal for all things Saudi, has significantly intensified that involvement.

There hasn’t been much Western media coverage of the war on Yemen, and often when there are reports the role of the U.S. in helping to make the war possible is minimized or left out all together. There is now more and better Western media coverage of the war than there used to be, but the coalition’s Western patrons often escape notice even now.

Ignoring U.S. and British backing for the Saudi-led war on Yemen matters for a few reasons. For one, it presents an incomplete and therefore inaccurate account of what is happening and why, and that allows Western audiences to think that their governments have nothing to do with the terrible consequences of the war. If the American and British publics remain largely unaware of their governments’ responsibility for helping to create the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, they are unlikely to demand that their governments stop enabling the disaster. Ignoring their role also lets those governments off the hook for appalling policies, and that in turn ensures that there is much less international pressure on the coalition governments that are destroying Yemen. Absent sustained international pressure and criticism, the coalition governments are able to wreck and starve an entire country without paying much of a price.

This Toronto Star report on the war touches on this point here:

Salisbury agrees that what happens in Yemen does not receive the same scrutiny of military actions elsewhere.

“The lesson the Saudis have learned is they can get away with a great deal when it comes to Yemen,” he says, on the phone from London. “They can really do things that if another country were doing it in another context there would be international outcry, there would be action at the Security Council level, but in this case that’s just not happening because of the value western and other states place on their relationship with Saudi Arabia [bold mine-DL].”

The lack of international pressure on the Saudi-led coalition is one more reason why the coalition and U.S. and other Western support for it should be under much more intense media scrutiny. Several major Western governments are deeply complicit in the destruction of Yemen, and that fact cries out to be exposed and broadcast far and wide as often as possible. Our government’s enabling of despotic regimes to attack their impoverished neighbor while causing the worst famine in decades ought to be a major scandal and a leading story every day, which makes the failure even to mention U.S. involvement in creating the disaster unfolding in Yemen an inexcusable omission.



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