Two new developments related to Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the world, raise again in stark terms the question of why the United States continues to participate in the effort led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to pound that country into rubble.
As a result of years of extensive U.S.-supported bombing, drone attacks and other military action against one of the factions in Yemen, a famine is threatening the population, including an estimated 2.1 million children. Humanitarian donors estimate that 12 million Yemenis are already suffering from malnutrition. The United Nations gauges that $2.1 billion will be needed to prevent a crisis of dying Yemenis.
Even the Yemeni government that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia support — that of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, contested by Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen, former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh (a Sunni Muslim) and other elements — decided in the wake of a disastrous U.S. Special Forces attack in Yemen on Jan. 29 that it will agree to no further U.S. ground operations in Yemen.
U.S. Special Forces assaulted a village deep inside Yemen. In addition to one American soldier, a number of Yemeni civilians including women and children were killed, and the intelligence harvest, the alleged object of the exercise, seems to have been meager.
Here is a chance for President Trump’s new national security team to save some money and stop perpetuating America’s participation in what are atrocities in humanitarian terms, by ending U.S. military activities in Yemen, as its government has requested. This could include the expensive bombing which has the United States knee-deep in an intra-Islamic struggle between Sunnis and Shiites, Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Osprey aircraft lost in the most recent raid alone cost $71 million.
Let the Yemenis, Saudis and Emiratis fight it out if they feel the need to. America should not be involved.
FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE