Bruce Riedel reports on Mohammed bin Salman’s continued destructive behavior:
The Yemeni catastrophe is MBS’s signature policy initiative, and he has been the biggest obstacle to a cease-fire [bold mine-DL]. According to several sources, MBS threw a temper tantrum when the British suggested a truce earlier this month. His outburst did not stop London from proposing a new UN Security Council resolution and pressing for a cease-fire.
As we know from the report earlier today, Mohammed bin Salman’s tantrums were enough to get the U.S. to stymie a new resolution on Yemen. The partnership between Trump and the crown prince has proven to be one of the more toxic and dangerous pairings of international leaders in recent history. Trump has staked his entire regional policy on backing Saudi Arabia, and as the architect of the disastrous intervention the crown prince is deeply invested in continuing the war on Yemen. Between the two of them, the administration won’t put any meaningful pressure on Saudi Arabia, and the Saudi government won’t give up on a war they can’t win. Congress will have to apply the pressure that Trump won’t, and the only way that the Saudi government will abandon its failed war is if there is much more international pressure than there has been.
Administration officials have feigned interest in bringing the war to a conclusion, but their actions tell a different story. If they wanted to see the war brought to an end, they would not be worried that Congress is acting to withdraw all U.S. support from the Saudi coalition, but that is exactly what worries them:
Pompeo and Mattis will be briefing all members of the Senate in a classified setting tomorrow on Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The Trump admin is “increasingly concerned” there are enough votes to pass a resolution ending US support for the war in Yemen, Senate aide tells me
— Robbie Gramer (@RobbieGramer) November 27, 2018
The good news is that the administration’s intransigence on Yemen and the president’s absurd enthusiasm for the Saudi relationship have made it much easier for opponents of the war to pick up votes for cutting off all support to the coalition. The co-sponsors of S.J.Res. 54 plan to force a vote on the resolution this week. Even the normally very hawkish Bob Menendez has announced his intention to vote for the Sanders-Lee-Murphy resolution if it comes up for a vote this week:
But the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who voted against the measure in March, indicated Monday that he would support it if it came up this week.
Menendez said he thinks that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is “determined to make it happen.”
Corker also hinted that support for ending U.S. support for Saudi Arabia had grown significantly since March — possibly enough to carry such a measure across the Senate floor.
The Senate should have passed S.J.Res. 54 eight months ago, and it is absolutely imperative that they pass it this time. They need to deliver a rebuke to both the president and the crown prince, and they need to end our government’s despicable and unauthorized participation in this war.