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Pompeo’s Appalling Yemen Lies

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo participates in a press conference with U.S. President Donald J. Trump during the NATO Foreign Ministerial in Brussels on July 12, 2018. (State Department photo/ Public Domain)

Mike Pompeo is on a trip to Saudi Arabia and the UAE this week, and while he was visiting he chose to repeat some of his more egregious lies about Yemen:

Pompeo is being wildly dishonest here. The conflict in Yemen began as a civil war and still is to some extent a fight between different Yemeni factions. The Houthi/Saleh alliance were responsible for sparking the conflict, but there has also been international aggression against Yemen committed by the Saudis and the UAE in support of the desposed Hadi government. It was the Saudi-led intervention beginning in March 2015 that significantly escalated and intensified the conflict, and it has been their blockade and economic war against Yemen over the last four years that have driven the country into the abyss. Iran has very little to do with any of this. Iran certainly didn’t “conceive of” these things, and Iran isn’t the one “perpetuating” them. It is especially perverse to pin the blame for Yemen’s suffering on Iran when it is Iran’s regional enemies that have been destroying and starving the country ostensibly in the name of combating Iranian influence. That influence has been exaggerated from the start to provide an excuse for an indefensible and atrocious war, and the U.S. has shamefully indulged the Saudis and Emiratis by repeating this propaganda.

All parties to the conflict share some responsibility for the deteriorating conditions, but it is Pompeo’s hosts this week that bear the bulk of responsibility for creating the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. If anyone can be blamed for conceiving of and perpetuating the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, it is the Saudi and Emirati governments that the U.S. has supported for years. Pompeo’s habit of trying to pin everything that goes wrong in the region on Iran is tiresome, it is dishonest, and it gives the Saudis and the UAE a free pass to continue committing war crimes and starving the population. Every day that Pompeo represents the U.S. abroad, he brings shame and dishonor on his office and the country.

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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