Friday, March 31, 2017

More Reasons to Resist Further U.S. Involvement in Yemen

In a previous post, I explained my concerns with the Department of Defense proposal to offer direct military assistance to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.  Daniel DePetris has a good piece in National Interest that explained why this would indeed be a bad idea.  DePetris focuses on the impact of further U.S. involvement on the current humanitarian crisis, and also notes the violation of the laws of armed conflict by all sides.  The most interesting argument he offers, however, focuses on how our intervention will hurt efforts to negotiate a peace:
The civil war in Yemen isn’t a top-tier priority for policymakers in Washington, but when it is discussed in the public domain, U.S. officials often repeat the mantra that there is no military solution to the conflict. The State Department talking points are repetitive, but ultimately correct: only a Yemeni-led peace process among all of the country’s belligerents and stakeholders will end the conflict and allow Yemenis and the international community to begin the expensive process of rebuilding the country’s infrastructure. During his last months in office, Secretary of State John Kerry flew to the region and met with Arab leaders on multiple occasions, ultimately coming to the same exact conclusions: that the war is at a military stalemate; no combatant is strong enough to vanquish their enemies without completely destroying Yemen as a nation; and the most durable way to resolve Yemen’s many political problems is by striking a fair political agreement that ushers in a new era of Yemeni politics.
If the U.S. does indeed decide to plunge further into the conflict and assist the Saudis and Emiratis in their campaign, Washington is effectively deepening its role as a belligerent to the advantage of one side in an internal conflict. In other words, at the same time that the United States would be trying to work with the UN to resurrect a dormant Yemeni peace process that is hanging on by a thread, Washington would be sending thousands of smart bombs to Riyadh and improving the intelligence picture for Saudi and Emirati aircraft searching for Houthi targets. The two are completely contradictory; the United States would be dousing a burning house with water on one day, only to light a match the next.
You can read the entire article here.  As I explained in my last post on Yemen, the motivating factor here within the Administration seems to be a desire to push back on Iran.  In my view, Yemen is not the time or place for this pushback.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the post , it seems that here we have a real issue :

    Not once, not twice, due to lack of efficient intelligence and smart bombs, the Saudis, have caused fatal and disproportional civilian casualties. So, if the war is continued anyway , the US support , can reduce one may assume , fatalities of such .

    The point is , that Iran is backing totally those Houthis rebels . As such , one could think that through them , an agreement can be reached . This is because of the simple fact , that , Iran could guarantee that no more violation or military operations would occur in the border zone , between Saudi Arabia and Yemen ( which was at first place , the pretext for the military action of the Saudis ) .

    Yet , the real issues , have to do with the broader picture :

    The rivalry between The Saudis and the US on one hand, and: Iran on the other. West coast of Yemen, is a strategic passage for all sides, and the whole world. Yet , the Houthis are dominating the west .

    it seems that both bears there , won't be able to share the same cave anymore ( Sunits Vs . Shiites). One could think of dividing the state of Yemen into two independent states: Shiite in the West, and Sunit in the east, yet, the control of the strategic passage mentioned above, shall then stay in the hands of the Shiites (and, effectively Iran, something very hard to digest for the US, several Arab countries, and above all: Israel.)

    It is hard to think now of coherent and fundamental solution , but , those are the givens it seems . In my view , talking with Iranians , would clearly improve the situation . Whether Trump would be happy with the idea , well , this is more than bit problematic , yet , as pragmatic person , he may finally reach the right conclusion .

    Links :

    Example of poor intelligence, leading to many casualties in a funeral in Yemen:

    The Saudis, admit of using Cluster bombs (which may indicate a lack of intelligence and lack of smart bombs):