Home/Daniel Larison/Trump’s Pro-Saudi Lies

Trump’s Pro-Saudi Lies

Donald Trump and King Salman sign statement in Riyadh (Ninian Reed/Flickr)

Another portion of the president’s pro-Saudi talking points released earlier today contained some remarkable whoppers:

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia would gladly withdraw from Yemen if the Iranians would agree to leave. They would immediately provide desperately needed humanitarian assistance. Additionally, Saudi Arabia has agreed to spend billions of dollars in leading the fight against Radical Islamic Terrorism.

Trump may be gullible enough to believe this nonsense, but no one else should fall for it. Iran’s involvement in Yemen was minimal before the Saudi-led intervention began. It has increased somewhat as a result of that intervention, but it is difficult for “the Iranians” to “leave” a place that they barely have a presence in. The idea that Iran is “responsible” for a war that they didn’t start and have almost no role in is a bizarre stretch even by Trump’s standards. Iran’s small role in Yemen has always been used by the Saudi coalition to distract American and other Western policymakers from the purpose of the Saudi-Emirati war effort, which has been to attempt to batter and starve Yemen into submission and to carve out their own spheres of influences in the country.

Nothing is forcing the Saudis and Emiratis to continue attacking Yemen, but they persist in their failed war because they don’t want to admit that they can’t win. If the Saudis would “gladly withdraw,” they could have done so at any point over the last three and a half years. They aren’t interested in providing humanitarian assistance, and we know this since they have spent the last three years impeding the delivery of aid and starving the population of basic necessities. Trump’s repetition of Saudi propaganda is embarrassing and appalling, and the conceit that Saudi Arabia is some sort of well-meaning, humanitarian government is one of the most insulting lies that this president could tell the public. Perhaps the most insulting lie of all is the idea that Trump’s abject subservience to Saudi interests has anything to do with putting America first.

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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