The Trump Administration Is Backing the Saudi Coalition Attack on Hodeidah

Originally appeared on The American Conservative.

The UAE-led attack on the port of Hodeidah in Yemen appears to going ahead, and the U.S. isn’t trying to prevent it and is going to support it:

The Trump administration is now reluctantly getting behind the U.A.E.’s military moves, but top US officials are encouraging their Emirati allies to do all that they can to prevent a humanitarian crisis and to limit the impact on U.N. diplomatic efforts, people familiar with the matter said.

One US official characterized the administration as giving the U.A.E. a “blinking yellow light” for the operation, not a green or red one.

As I feared, the US won’t oppose an attack that the UN estimates could cause 250,000 deaths and lead to full-blown famine in Yemen that threatens the lives of millions more. Signing off on this offensive while pretending to care about the humanitarian consequences is a bad joke. If the administration didn’t want to make Yemen’s humanitarian catastrophe worse, it would firmly oppose this attack and penalize the governments involved in it. As usual, the administration’s concern for Yemeni civilians is empty and counts for nothing.

US support for the Saudis and Emiratis in their indefensible war on Yemen over the last three years has led to this moment. US officials have claimed for months that an attack on Hodeidah was something the US would not tolerate, but in practice military assistance to the coalition has continued and the administration was never going to cut it off. When push comes to shove, the Trump administration won’t oppose an attack that everyone acknowledges will be catastrophic for the civilian population of Yemen.

Both houses of Congress have had an opportunity to cut off US backing for this war before now, and both times they have unsurprisingly failed to do the right thing. Members of Congress need to speak up and immediately condemn the coalition offensive on Hodeidah, and they need to insist that all US support for the war end at once. Even if that happens, it will unfortunately be too late for countless Yemenis who will be condemned to death by this attack.

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at The American Conservative, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and is a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Dallas. Follow him on Twitter. This article is reprinted from The American Conservative with permission.

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