The Beginning and End of U.S. Support of Saudi Arabia
By: Chermo Toure
Recently, the civil war and the humanitarian crisis in Yemen has garnered much attraction. Saudi Arabia, backed by the United States, is blockading and bombing the country. The world is finally paying attention.
The situation in Yemen dates back to the Arab Spring. When countries in the Arabian world started to move towards a more democratic form of government, Yemen did not.
In 2012, the President of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, was forced to give up his power to Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi because of public pressure.
The transition between Saleh and Hadi did not go well. After Hadi took power, there were bombings, protests, mass unemployment, food insecurities, and a separatist movement in the south of Yemen.
With all of this going on, a civil war was sparked between Houthi rebels, people loyal to former president Saleh, and forces loyal to the Yemeni government.
The situation in Yemen was getting so bad that in 2015, Saudi Arabia formed a coalition with other countries that decided to step in.
The Saudi government feared that Iran might try to gain influence in Yemen, which the Saudis wouldn’t like because Iran is a Shiite nation. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is a Sunni nation.
However, Iran has denied any involvement in Yemen and this claim by Saudi Arabia holds no substantial evidence. The Saudi government also feared that the conflict in Yemen might disseminate into Saudi Arabia.
With Saudi involvement in the crisis comes their western allies, which include the United States.
When Saudi Arabia got involved in Yemen, the Obama administration decided that taxpayers’ dollars were necessary to help Saudi Arabia. U.S. taxpayers fueled Saudi’s planes.
Also, the United States, along with other western nations, have made arms deals with Saudi Arabia since they entered the crisis in Yemen.
According to Forbes, two thirds of all the 365 combat-capable aircrafts in the Saudi inventory are of U.S. origin, including the 171 F-15s. Furthermore, the U.S. also supplies Saudi Arabia with 3,000 armored vehicles.
These military planes and vehicles that are given to Saudi Arabia are not used to train troops, but rather used to kill people.
According to the Washington Post, approximately 50,000 Yemenis have been killed in combat. It can be argued that at least fifty percent of those killed in combat are killed by Saudi Arabia’s “high-tech” western weaponry.
However, the deaths of combatants are not the most gruesome aspect of the crisis in Yemen. Just like any other war, innocent people have died.
According to a different Washington Post article, at least 85,000 Yemeni children have died from starvation since Saudi Arabia entered the conflict in Yemen.
To make matters worse, back in August of 2018 Saudi Arabia deliberately bombed a school bus filled with children. The bomb used was manufactured in the U.S.
To put the situation that Yemeni children are facing in better context, here’s what the Director of Save the Children in Yemen, Tamer Kirolos, had to say about the humanitarian crisis: “For every child killed by bombs and bullets, dozens are starving to death and it’s entirely preventable.”
And Kirolos isn’t wrong- these innocent children don’t have to die.
Yemen has been sealed off from the rest of the world due to Saudi Arabia’s blockade of the country. The blockade has also prevented humanitarian aid from entering the country. This has led to bigger problems for Yemen.
According to the Hill, at least twenty-two million people in Yemen are in need of immediate emergency assistance, while eight million people are facing starvation. This is all due to the civil war in Yemen and the Saudi blockade.
As Kirolos said before, this can all be prevented if western nations stop supporting Saudi Arabia in Yemen. Fortunately, this is what these western nations have started to do.
Recently, Britain, France, Finland, and others have vowed to end their arms deals with Saudi Arabia. The U.S. Senate has allowed for a full house vote on a resolution to end American support of Saudi Arabia in Yemen.
According to the Independent, all the Senators who voted against this resolution were, unsurprisingly, paid by a Saudi lobbyist firm.
This resolution is a sign of hope for the suffering people of Yemen.