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The War on Yemen and the Delusional Saudis

Saudi Arabia’s defense minister and deputy crown prince won’t acknowledge the failure of the war on Yemen:

Asked to respond to reports that after two years of war and Saudi’s military intervention the Houthis, aligned to ex-Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, still control large swathes of Yemen and large quantities of weapons, Prince Mohammed said:

“We can uproot the Houthis and Saleh in a matter of days.”

The Saudi-led war on Yemen has wrecked the country’s infrastructure, destroyed its economy, and brought millions to the brink of famine, but it has failed to achieve any of the coalition’s stated goals for over two years. The Saudis have persisted in their indefensible war as long as they have in part because the reputation of both the king and his son are bound to its outcome, and they are unable or unwilling to admit that they recklessly plunged into a war they couldn’t win for no good reason. Like any hawkish dead-ender, the prince doesn’t have a clue how to win the war he started but won’t concede defeat, and so the senseless war drags on.

Hadi, the puppet ruler they have been trying to reimpose on the country, is deeply loathed across much of Yemen, and now he also faces major protests in the south after he removed Aden’s governor. The coalition is not meaningfully closer to “uprooting” their enemies in Yemen than they were in 2015, and if anything they have spent more than two years proving that they can’t do this. The Saudi leadership seems to be more divorced from reality than ever if they think that they can win the war outright, and the U.S. is only prolonging the war and the suffering of Yemen’s people by continuing to encourage them in their delusions.

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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