Home/Daniel Larison/Hadi’s Propaganda and the War on Yemen

Hadi’s Propaganda and the War on Yemen

Ibrahem Qasim/Flickr: air strike in Sana'a, May 2015

The deposed president of Yemen has written an op-ed for The New York Times. This was probably the most ridiculous claim Hadi made:

While challenges remain, the country’s outlook is brighter today than at any time over the past year.

As I have tried to make clear in myrecentposts, this is not true at all. Yemen has suffered terribly, and that suffering has only gotten worse as the intervention Hadi called for has continued. The country’s infrastructure has been devastated, its people are starving, its health care system is collapsing, and the country as a whole has been set back decades. There is a chance that there could be a cease-fire next month, and that could lead to peace talks that might not fall apart, but the near and medium-term prospects for the country are still very dire because of actions taken by the governments seeking to restore Hadi to power. It takes an unusual amount of gall for Hadi to talk about the “bright” outlook of his country after he has spent the last year supporting a war that has wrecked it.

Hadi claims to speak on behalf of his country, but the reality is that he has little or no support there. Indeed, he is widely hated in much of the country because of his support for the intervention. He presents himself as the head of the “legitimately elected government.” He naturally doesn’t mention that he was the only candidate running in the “election,” or that as far as most Yemenis are concerned his government lost whatever legitimacy it had when it invited foreign governments to attack the country. Needless to say, he makes no mention of the horrifying near-famine conditions in the country caused in large part by the blockade that Hadi supports, and he has nothing to say about the civilians killed by the bombing campaign he endorses.

It’s hard to see what value there is in giving such a figure a prominent platform to spout self-serving propaganda. Hadi is deliberately and thoroughly misleading the Times‘ readers, and there is no other view presented on the op-ed page to correct the record. That has the effect of letting only one of the parties to the conflict shape how Americans and others see the war, and given that there is already so little coverage of the conflict that means that the distorted, extremely biased portrayal that Hadi gives is the one that most people will read.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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