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The Trump Administration Is Backing the Saudi Coalition Attack on Hodeidah

The UAE-led attack on the port of Hodeidah in Yemen appears to going ahead, and the U.S. isn’t trying to prevent it [1] and is going to support it:

The Trump administration is now reluctantly getting behind the U.A.E.’s military moves, but top U.S. officials are encouraging their Emirati allies to do all that they can to prevent a humanitarian crisis and to limit the impact on U.N. diplomatic efforts, people familiar with the matter said.

One U.S. official characterized the administration as giving the U.A.E. a “blinking yellow light” for the operation, not a green or red one.

As I feared [2], the U.S. won’t oppose [3] an attack [4] that the U.N. estimates could cause 250,000 deaths [5] and lead to full-blown famine in Yemen that threatens [2] the lives of millions more. Signing off on this offensive while pretending to care about the humanitarian consequences is a bad joke. If the administration didn’t want to make Yemen’s humanitarian catastrophe worse [2], it would firmly oppose this attack and penalize the governments involved in it. As usual, the administration’s concern for Yemeni civilians is empty and counts for nothing.

U.S. support for the Saudis and Emiratis in their indefensible war on Yemen over the last three years has led to this moment. U.S. officials have claimed for months that an attack on Hodeidah was something the U.S. would not tolerate, but in practice military assistance to the coalition has continued and the administration was never going to cut it off. When push comes to shove, the Trump administration won’t oppose an attack that everyone acknowledges will be catastrophic for the civilian population of Yemen.

Both houses of Congress have had an opportunity to cut off U.S. backing for this war before now, and both times they have unsurprisingly failed to do the right thing. Members of Congress need to speak up and immediately condemn the coalition offensive on Hodeidah, and they need to insist that all U.S. support for the war end at once. Even if that happens, it will unfortunately be too late for countless Yemenis who will be condemned to death by this attack.

4 Comments (Open | Close)

4 Comments To "The Trump Administration Is Backing the Saudi Coalition Attack on Hodeidah"

#1 Comment By Janwaar Bibi On June 11, 2018 @ 12:17 am

Members of Congress need to speak up and immediately condemn the coalition offensive on Hodeidah, and they need to insist that all U.S. support for the war end at once.

Unless Sheldon Adelson or David Singer care about Hodeidah, Congress will do nothing.

Come to think of it, Yemen was on the list of Muslim countries the neocons wanted to “do” after 9/11 so good luck with that.

#2 Comment By DR On June 11, 2018 @ 6:42 am

@Janwaar Bibi

Sheldon I know, but who the @&$!% is David Singer?

#3 Comment By Janwaar Bibi On June 11, 2018 @ 9:22 am

who the @&$!% is David Singer

I meant Paul Singer,the hedge fund billionaire. My apologies.

Singer is an active participant in Republican Party politics… In 2014, Singer led a group of major Republican donors to form the American Opportunity Alliance, a group that brings together wealthy Republican donors who share Singer’s support for LGBTQ rights, immigration reform and Israel. During the 2016 Presidential election campaign Singer supported Marco Rubio and donated a million dollars… He supported Trumps inaugural committee with $1 million together with 25 other billionaires.

Singer was a major contributor to George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns… President George W. Bush appointed Singer to serve on the Honorary Delegation to accompany him to Jerusalem for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel in May 2008.

For good measure, Singer also funds the Washington Free Beacon, run by Bill Kristol’s son-in-law. It has been beating the drums for war in Iran and promoting fake news like the claim that “Iran acknowledged it facilitated the travel of two of the 9/11 hijackers.”


#4 Comment By b. On June 11, 2018 @ 12:05 pm

The Intercept’s Craig article Daniel Larison quoted last week:

is full of unquestioning recounting of the usual “Iranian missiles caused blockade” narrative and edits out the history and role of Saleh and the fact that his ex-military forces have nowhere to go but to the UAE, but the most annoying unformation presented is how one has to read between the lines regarding the UN, the UAE, and the US.

Craig spins a tale on how the UAE expects the attack on Hodeidah to fail, and how the US expects the UAE to fail, to the point of quoting anonymous “former official” leakers, anonymous current “senior official” leakers to Wall Street Journal, and a “military document” obtained by immaculate reception, not sourced, and not provided. This is the exact kind of government propaganda stove-piping by pseudo-blowers that Greenwald so rightly criticized.
However, in addition to trial-ballooning the proposition by US government and foreign policy “insiders” that the US has itch and cause to “back the UAE” and “become involved” more directly because of the anticipated “failure” to take Hodeidah, we also get a lot of preventive CYA regarding proxies, mercenaries and Saleh “dead-enders” that are usefully out of control – paid and commanded by the UAE, but liable to attack Hodeidah all on their own and “fail”.

On top, we have the UN – acting on behalf of the US more than on behalf of the Yemeni – to “save Yemen” by giving the US what it, and its clients, want – Hodeidah. The UN expects the Houthi to hand over the port in exchange for permission to withdraw; it is safe to assume the Houthi will accept this generous offer exactly when they are prepared to give up on Hodeidah for the time being anyway. The UN is also leaking a “secret” initiative – deferred to a later time – for a cease-fire and a transitional government, with the Houthi surrendering their means to attack Saudi Arabia – “irrversibly”, one assumes – while Saudi Arabia will temporarily and very reversibly suspend its air force sorties against Houthi targets. The Houthi might or might not be able to accept such a “deal”, MbS cannot accept a “transitional government” unless it is a restoration of the Hadi regime currently under Riyadh house arrest.

The fiction, of course, is that UAE control of Hodeidah will make the blockade and collective punishment campaign go away, not seal it. But neither the US nor the Saudis nor the UAE plan on taking credit for cutting off the flow of food and aid through Hodeidah. What the above tells us – seeping from the “shiny new” lines written by the Intercept’s “sandal-clad … weary” stringers – is that the US and the UAE are considering an attack on Hodeidah that will close down the port “for the duration of hostilities”, courtesy of the “unreasonable” resistance of the “die-hard” Houthi fighters, with the Yemeni proxies of the UAE proxies of our Saudi proxies “failing” to conclude the battle until US Navy and USAF have to provide carpet- and cluster-bombing assistance to “resolve” the Houthi “chokehold” on a “vital supply pipeline” to the long-suffering Yemeni then starving to death. We have to destroy Hodeidah to save Yemen, and the UAE is not up to it, and patriotic Yemeni forces of (another) former president of Yemen jumped the gun and brought us – and US – to this precipice, so we might as well jump in with all boots on the ground.

In short, from the UN to the Wall Street Journal to The Intercept, we are told in advance that the battle of Hodeidah will seal off all aid to Yemen, and that it will be the fault of the Houthi, who refused UN mediation and who disregarded the needs of the Yemeni people, and the US ultimately just had to step in to prevent, preempt or end a humanitarian catastrophe, which inevitably will happen because of this coalitioned attempt to take Hodeidah “at all cost”, so the Houthi are to blame for that catastrophe, too – and we tried, we had to, and “mistakes were made”, because we are a force of good in this world.

As an aside, no former citizen of the defunct Soviet Union reading Pravda would have had any difficulties parsing this BS. This only works in the US.