PBS NewsHour aired the third of Jane Ferguson’s three reports on the war on Yemen last night. The third report focuses on the Houthis and the U.S. role in supporting the war. Ferguson quotes Sen. James Risch, a supporter of the indefensible U.S. policy:
The Iranians are in there and they are causing the difficulty that’s there. If the Iranians would back off, I have no doubt that the Saudis will back off. But the Saudis have the absolute right to defend themselves.
The Iranian role in Yemen has been and remains negligible, and it is ridiculous to say that they are the main culprits for “the difficulty” in the country. It is the Saudis and Emiratis bombing and invading the country, it is their forces that impose the blockade that starves the people, and it is the U.S. that supports them in all of these things. Sen. Risch is parroting Saudi talking points, and they are no more credible today than they have been for the last three years.
Not only are the Houthis not Iranian proxies, as every Yemen expert will confirm, but Tehran specifically told the Houthis not to take the capital in 2014 and their advice was ignored. Trying to shift the blame for a disaster that the Saudis and Emiratis have created with U.S. and U.K. backing is obnoxious and insulting.
Supporters of the war on Yemen can’t defend what the Saudi coalition has actually done, so they pretend that this has something to do with self-defense, but this is simply untrue. It can’t be emphasized strongly enough that the war on Yemen is an aggressive and unnecessary military intervention by the Saudis and their allies, and it has been waged on the people of Yemen for the last three years in a failed bid to reinstall a discredited president and reimpose a government that most Yemenis have already rejected. This has nothing to do with defending themselves and everything to do with trying to dominate their poorer neighbor by force. There is no justification for it, and U.S. involvement in it is an ongoing disgrace.
Ferguson also quotes Sen. Sanders, who correctly points out that the U.S. has no obligation to assist the Saudis in this war:
I don’t know that I have ever participated in a vote which says that the United States must be an ally to Saudi’s militaristic ambitions. This is a despotic regime which treats women as third-class citizens. There are no elections there. They have their own goals and their own ambitions.
Sen. Sanders is correct. The U.S. is not obliged to support the Saudis or any of their allies when they launch an attack on another country. I would add that our government is obligated not to arm foreign governments when we know that those arms will be used to commit war crimes and violate international law. The U.S. has no good reason to be involved in this war, and every reason that supporters of our involvement give is false and based on Saudi propaganda.