Why the War on Yemen Continues
The Saudis are blaming Iran for the continuation of a war on Yemen that they escalated and choose to keep fighting:
Saudi Arabia on Sunday accused Iran of blocking peace efforts in Yemen, slamming its political archrival over support for the Yemeni rebels Riyadh is fighting against.
The Saudis and their allies embarked on a reckless intervention two and a half years ago on the assumption that they would prevail quickly, and they were pursuing unrealistic goals from the start. Thirty months later, they remain bogged down in a war they can’t win, but they still refuse to stop. The coalition remains wedded to a set of political conditions that their enemies won’t accept. All parties to the conflict are responsible for keeping the conflict going, but the outside governments intervening in Yemen bear a large share of the responsibility for escalating and prolonging the war. The result is a country wrecked by bombing and starved by blockade and a population suffering from the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
The Saudis are eager to deny responsibility for the disaster they have done so much to create, but their desperate attempts to blame others for their wrongdoing don’t hold up under scrutiny. One of the chief obstacles to a cease-fire and a possible political settlement is the Saudi-led coalition’s determination to persist in their foolish campaign. The Saudi crown prince just reaffirmed that determination in his usual delusional way. As for the Saudis’ accusation, it is not credible. Iran’s role and influence in Yemen are minimal, so it is doubtful that their government would be able to prevent the Houthis from accepting a compromise if the latter thought it was in their interest. Iran reportedly advised them not to take capital in 2014, but they ignored that advice. The problem is that no compromise is being offered, because the coalition still imagines that it can win despite all evidence to the contrary. The U.S. and the coalition’s other Western backers keep indulging them in this fantasy through their continued support for the campaign. The Saudis are predictably trying to shift blame for the continuation of the war to everyone except themselves and their allies, but no one should take their claims seriously.