Donald Trump is quietly escalating America’s role in the Saudi-led war on Yemen, disregarding the huge humanitarian toll and voices in Congress that are trying to rein in the Pentagon’s involvement. Trump administration officials are considering a request from Saudi Arabia and its ally, the United Arab Emirates, for direct US military help to retake Yemen’s main port from Houthi rebels. The Hodeidah port is a major conduit for humanitarian aid in Yemen, and a prolonged battle could be catastrophic for millions of civilians who depend on already limited aid.
With little public attention or debate, the president has already expanded US military assistance to his Saudi and UAE allies – in ways that are prolonging the Yemen war and increasing civilian suffering. Soon after Trump took office in early 2017, his administration reversed a decision by former president Barack Obama to suspend the sale of over $500m in laser-guided bombs and other munitions to the Saudi military, over concerns about civilian deaths in Yemen. The US Senate narrowly approved that sale, in a vote of 53 to 47, almost handing Trump an embarrassing defeat.
In late 2017, after the Houthis fired ballistic missiles at several Saudi cities, the Pentagon secretly sent US special forces to the Saudi-Yemen border, to help the Saudi military locate and destroy Houthi missile sites. While US troops did not cross into Yemen to directly fight Yemen’s rebels, the clandestine mission escalated US participation in a war that has dragged on since Saudi Arabia and its allies began bombing the Houthis in March 2015.
The war has killed at least 10,000 Yemenis and left more than 22 million people –three-quarters of Yemen’s population – in need of humanitarian aid. At least 8 million Yemenis are on the brink of famine, and 1 million are infected with cholera. [Continue reading…]
The Yemen War is spiraling out of control. The Saudi/UAE/U.S. coalition bombed a Doctors Without Borders cholera treatment facility earlier today.
Let me repeat that – the U.S helped bomb A DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS CHOLERA TREATMENT FACILITY.
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) June 11, 2018