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Yemen and the Desperation of Iran Hawks

The Wall Street Journal desperately tries to link the incident off the coast of Yemen with the nuclear deal with Iran:

More significantly, the attack on the Navy ships—with hundreds of American sailors aboard—is another reminder that the nuclear deal has done more to embolden than moderate Tehran’s ambitions, despite a cascade of U.S. concessions.

The editorial could not be more misleading. It refers to U.S. support for the war on Yemen as “limited intelligence support,” which ignores the weapons sales and the extensive and ongoing U.S. refueling of coalition planes that makes the bombing campaign possible. It describes that support as “grudging” when it has been unstinting and automatic. The only connection between the nuclear deal and anything happening in or around Yemen is the administration’s indefensible decision to support the Saudi-led war to “reassure” Riyadh of Washington’s reliability. It is that decision–and the eighteen months of enabling the wrecking of Yemen that followed from it–that is responsible for any potential danger to U.S. forces in the area, who have been put at risk because the U.S. is assisting the Saudis and their allies in attacking and starving Yemen.

In any case, Iran doesn’t control the Houthis and its role in Yemen has been and remains negligible, and the insistence that they do have control over anything that happens in Yemen reflects how willing hawks in the U.S. are to echo Saudi propaganda. Portraying the Houthis simply as Iran’s proxies has been central to the Saudi effort to justify their unjust war, but it is false and designed to obscure what is really happening. Beyond that, the editorial confirms that opponents of the nuclear deal will seize on and distort almost any incident in the region in their increasingly pathetic attempts to undermine a successful nonproliferation agreement. Having lost every single argument regarding the deal over the last three years, Iran hawks hope to blame anything and everything on it, but in doing so only further discredit their bad cause.

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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