Micah Zenko excoriates the Obama administration for its enabling role in the war on Yemen:
Weapons sales are supposed to build a relationship between supplier and recipient, which is supposed to provide some leverage for the supplier over how the recipient uses those weapons. Either President Obama is fine with how U.S.-supplied weapons are being used in Yemen, he is refraining from using leverage to stop their use, or there is no leverage to speak of. In which case, all the United States has gained over the past six months is participating in and extending a civil war, which has been an enormous humanitarian disaster.
Zenko also makes the important point that the administration has been involving the U.S. in the war unnecessarily while pretending that it is not a party to the conflict. He warns that this is creating a “troubling precedent” for taking part in wars while denying its responsibility for the conduct of the states that it is actively supporting. Publicly, the administration talks about the war on Yemen as if the U.S. were just a spectator when it is supplying the weapons being used to wage it and helping to fuel the coalition’s planes and to select their targets. While administration officials are often said to be “alarmed” or “concerned” by the tactics of the Saudis and their allies, that hasn’t affected the extent of U.S. support in the slightest. On the contrary, as Zenko reminds us, since the intervention began in March the U.S. has accelerated weapons deliveries to the Saudis and their allies. Worst of all, the U.S. was under no obligation to do any of this, but went along with it to placate our despotic clients at the expense of U.S. interests.