Originally appeared on The American Conservative.
James Jay Carafano must assume that his audience doesn’t know anything about the war on Yemen:
Instead of turning our back on Yemen, the U.S. should focus on ending the war.
If US support for the Saudi-led coalition were withdrawn, that would go a long way towards ending the war by making it much more difficult for the coalition to continue waging it. Carafano frames stopping US support for wrecking Yemen as “turning our back on Yemen,” which is about as misleading as can be. The US has been turning its back on the civilian population of Yemen for the last three years by aiding and abetting the governments that have been bombing and starving them. He notably omits any mention of the coalition’s commission of numerous war crimes against the civilian population. The plight of the civilian population created by the coalition blockade is likewise nowhere to be found. If the US were no longer enabling coalition war crimes and collective punishment, that would be the first time in years that our government would be seriously paying attention to the plight of the people of Yemen.
America is there for a reason: to keep the region from falling apart. The collapse of any friendly regime there is bad for us.
The first part of this is debatable, but when applied to Yemen it is clearly not true. US involvement in the Saudi-led war has been contributing to the country’s fragmentation. The war is causing the country’s devastation and division, and by supporting it the US is encouraging those outcomes. There is no “friendly regime” in Yemen to be defended. The Hadi government has no legitimacy in the eyes of most Yemenis and has virtually no support anywhere in the country, and the coalition’s goal of reimposing him on Yemen will never be reached.
Helping the Saudis and their allies to pummel and starve a country that has done nothing to us is what is bad for the US In addition to making ourselves complicit in terrible crimes and famine, US support for this war has created conditions in which Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the local ISIS affiliate have been flourishing. Backing the Saudi-led war on Yemen is harmful to US interests and a shameful blot on our national reputation.
Carafano gets something else profoundly wrong:
The greatest threats to Middle East stability and security are Iran and transnational Islamist terrorists groups, principally the Islamic State group and al-Qaida. And it is precisely these forces that are fueling the Yemen war.
That is undoubtedly what the Saudis and Emiratis would have us believe, but it is simply not true. In Yemen, these are not the greatest threats to security and stability. Iran’s involvement has been and remains limited, and it is a gross exaggeration to say that their involvement is what is “fueling the Yemen war” when the coalition’s role in keeping the war going is a hundred times greater. Jihadist…