SUNDAY , MAY 26 , 2019
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Saudi Arabia Daily Arms Sales Update

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Daily General Arms Sales Update

Counterplan – Have the UK withdraw logistics support

Anna Stavrianakis is a senior lecturer at the University of Sussex, May 21, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/may/21/mps-thanking-jeremy-hunt-efforts-peace-in-yemen , UK arms exports are still playing a central role in Yemen’s humanitarian crisis

UK arms exports are still playing a central role in Yemen’s humanitarian crisis Indeed, in a report published almost exactly one year ago, the APPG itself concluded that “the UK should, based on current available evidence, immediately suspend arms sales to all parties that have been accused of breaching international law”. A recent Dispatches programme suggested that Saudi bombing missions would have to stop within seven to 14 days if engineering support were halted. The UK government is in a position to force the warring parties to the negotiating table by withdrawing material, diplomatic and symbolic support for the coalition.

Saudis political lobby blocks enough votes to override Trump’s veto

Richard Walker, May 21, 2019, http://americanfreepress.net/trumps-yemen-blunder/, Trump’s Yemen Blunder

In a rare bi-partisan effort to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war, Congress sent the president the resolution, expecting he would reject it, which he did. He justified his decision by claiming it threatened to weaken his constitutional authority. He thereby ended the matter because Congress lacked the two-thirds majority in the House and Senate to override his veto. The reason there is not a bigger congressional majority to confront the Yemen issue—and with it the president’s seemingly unchecked power to wage war without congressional approval—is that there are many members of Congress on both sides who are influenced by Israel’s support for the Saudis, and just as many who are beholden to Saudi political donations. No country spends more money on lobbying in Washington and on Capitol Hill than Saudi Arabia and its coalition partner in the war, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

French provide critical weapons

Richard Walker, May 21, 2019, http://americanfreepress.net/trumps-yemen-blunder/, Trump’s Yemen Blunder

The leaked papers highlighted the lies French leaders had been telling their own people about the war. President Emmanuel Macron had insisted that French weapons were being used by the Saudis and their allies for purely defensive purposes. It was an outright lie. French weapons were used in the slaughter of civilians. For example, the powerful French CAESAR howitzer capable of launching shells deep into Yemen had been within range of 430,000 civilians. It was revealed that the Saudis had placed an order for another 126 CAESARs to be delivered before 2023.

Europe providing the fighter jets

Richard Walker, May 21, 2019, http://americanfreepress.net/trumps-yemen-blunder/, Trump’s Yemen Blunder

The French have not been alone in supplying some of the most advanced deadly weapons that have caused untold civilian casualties in Yemen. The leaked papers also pointed out that most of the planes flying over Yemen were NATO types such as F-15s, EU Tornado fighters, and British Typhoons. The leaked intel also confirmed that French arms companies had provided the Saudis and the UAE with their most powerful tanks, helicopters, and missiles.

Houthis are not a threat to the US

Bandow, May 19, 2019, Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.U.S. Support Has Fueled, Not Moderated, the Yemen War, Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.

Another was that Houthi control would threaten the Kingdom, the Persian Gulf, and America. This indigenous religious/political movement is far less radical than Wahhabism, the variant of Islamic fundamentalism lavishly promoted by Riyadh across the globe, including in Yemen. The Houthis spent years battling Saleh before joining with him against a common enemy, Hadi (and then the coalition). They never waged war on the United States, KSA, or anyone else. Missile attacks were retaliation for military aggression by the Kingdom, following years of ravaging air attacks on Yemen.

US responsible for destroying Yemen, not restraining it

Bandow, May 19, 2019, Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.U.S. Support Has Fueled, Not Moderated, the Yemen War, Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.

Despite administration claims of being a moderating influence, the coalition has conducted a ferocious and unrestrained air war. Yemen’s economic and human infrastructure has been wrecked, mostly by air attacks; perhaps twenty thousand, and probably more, civilians have been killed, the vast majority by air attacks. The only air force involved is backed and guided by Washington. Limiting the damage has been coalition capabilities, not U.S. advice. The Obama and Trump administrations have made the American nation an accomplice to mass murder.

US support encourages more aggressive coalition action

Bandow, May 19, 2019, Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.U.S. Support Has Fueled, Not Moderated, the Yemen War, Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.

Yet the coalition has shown no inclination to moderate its approach despite four years of U.S. support supposedly directed at moderating its approach. And the administration’s close embrace has only emboldened Crown Prince bin Salman, who has grown more repressive and reckless. Worse, this strategy requires Washington to help kill even more Yemenis, who have done nothing against America.

Realism answer – Yemen war not in US interests

Bandow, May 19, 2019, Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.U.S. Support Has Fueled, Not Moderated, the Yemen War, Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.

First, this fight is not America’s. The United States has nothing meaningful at stake in the battle among Yemeni factions and neighboring states. Yemen has been in turmoil for decades, with no noticeable impact on American security. Moreover, the people of Yemen have done nothing to warrant treating them as enemies.

Saudi Arabia worse than the Houthis

Bandow, May 19, 2019, Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.U.S. Support Has Fueled, Not Moderated, the Yemen War, Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.

Second, Washington has intervened on the wrong side. The Houthis never were friends of America or liberty and have grown only more hostile under attack. But the Saudis and Emiratis are far worse, unabashed aggressors for essentially imperial ends. The Houthis oppose AQAP and support a united Yemen. Hadi and the coalition have aided AQAP and other radical forces, while the UAE is promoting Yemen’s break-up in search of economic advantage.

Saudi Arabia is not acting in self-defense

Bandow, May 19, 2019, Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.U.S. Support Has Fueled, Not Moderated, the Yemen War, Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.

Fourth, the Kingdom’s claim of self-defense is a contemptible attempt to turn its initial aggression into a bootstrap argument. The Houthis only recently began launching missiles against Saudi Arabia, after years of coalition bombing. Bizarrely, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted that America was aiding the Saudis because Houthi missiles aimed at the airport in Riyadh might hurt an American: “the United States has an obligation to protect our citizens.” But there were no missiles flying when the KSA launched its attack and America intervened on the royals’ behalf. Moreover, ending the war would ground the missiles.

Saudis greater supporters of terrorism than Iran and the Houthis

Bandow, May 19, 2019, Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.U.S. Support Has Fueled, Not Moderated, the Yemen War, Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.

Fifth, the United States should not get involved in a sectarian conflict on behalf of the Saudi and Emirati royal families. Most terrorism ultimately stems from the fundamentalist Sunni theology represented, practiced, and promoted by Riyadh. The Kingdom has been far more expansionist than Tehran, invading Yemen, kidnapping the Lebanese prime minister, sending troops to back the dictatorial, minority Bahraini monarchy against its people, subsidizing Islamist radicals in the Syrian Civil War, underwriting the brutal el-Sisi dictatorship in Egypt, and inflaming conflict in Libya. The Kingdom also is far more repressive than Iran, allowing not a hint of political or religious liberty for its own people.

Visa counterplan to solve First Amendment advantage

Washington Post, May 19, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/congress-can-seek-justice-for-jamal-khashoggis-murder-its-clear-trump-wont/2019/05/18/0a1b4b64-78b8-11e9-b7ae-390de4259661_story.html?utm_term=.936bbec3344d

Congress still has an opportunity to act. Sen. James E. Risch (R-Idaho), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been working on legislation that he hopes could pass Congress and escape Mr. Trump’s veto. To do so, it would omit direct sanctions on the crown prince and restrictions on U.S. arms sales. But if it conditions U.S. visas for the Saudi elite and their families on tangible reforms, including the release of political prisoners, it could prove useful. A bill in the House, sponsored by Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), would require the director of national intelligence to provide Congress with a list of individuals responsible for Khashoggi’s death and deny them entry into the United States unless steps on human rights are taken. Nothing Congress can do can erase Ms. Cengiz’s terrible loss. But it still has the chance to restore the hope that she and many others in the Middle East once had that the United States would not tolerate without consequence the murder and dismemberment of a critical journalist.

US must cut sales to Saudi Arabia; Saudi Arabia depends on the sales

William D. Hartung is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy., May 15, 2019, https://lobelog.com/its-time-to-stop-arms-sales-to-saudi-arabia/, It’s Time To Stop Arms Sales To Saudi Arabia

The Senate’s failure to override President Trump’s veto of its effort to end U.S. military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen is not the end of the story. A way can and must be found to stop U.S. assistance in refueling, targeting, and other activities that bolster the Saudi/United Arab Emirats (UAE) war effort, which has killed tens of thousands of civilians and left millions of Yemenis at risk of famine and fatal, war-induced diseases.

For starters, Congress should work to close off the other main avenue of U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition—the sale of bombs, combat aircraft, armored vehicles, attack helicopters, and other equipment to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the two primary perpetrators of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. According to statistics from the Security Assistance Monitor, the United States has offered over $68 billion in weaponry to those two nations since the start of the current Yemen conflict in March 2015. As Bruce Riedel of the Brookings Institution has noted, these U.S.-supplied systems are the backbone of the Saudi military, and without those weapons and related maintenance and support they could not sustain their intervention in Yemen.

Smart, precision-guided weapons from the US do not reduce conflict

William D. Hartung is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy., May 15, 2019, https://lobelog.com/its-time-to-stop-arms-sales-to-saudi-arabia/, It’s Time To Stop Arms Sales To Saudi Arabia

With respect to the sales of precision-guided bombs—whose use has been documented in the widespread killings of civilians—the argument of choice has been that even more civilians would die in Saudi/UAE air strikes if the coalition were limited to “dumb” bombs that could not be targeted as accurately. This assertion is premised on the idea that Saudi Arabia and the UAE are making good faith efforts to avoid hitting civilians. The sheer volume of strikes on targets like hospitals, a school bus, funerals, factories, water treatment plants, and other civilian infrastructure puts the lie to this argument. Air strikes on civilians are not “mistakes.” They are part and parcel of the Saudi/UAE strategy to bomb Yemenis into submission and end the war on terms favorable to their coalition.

Majority of weapons come from the US

William D. Hartung is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy., May 15, 2019, https://lobelog.com/its-time-to-stop-arms-sales-to-saudi-arabia/, It’s Time To Stop Arms Sales To Saudi Arabia

Another popular argument for continuing arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE is “if we don’t do it, somebody else will.” But the United States and its European allies supply the Saudi air force and the majority of the arsenals of both Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The Saudi and UAE militaries could not turn on a dime and seek Russian or Chinese systems to substitute for any cutoff of U.S. weaponry and support. It would take a decade or more for these nations to end their dependence on U.S. arms. A few deals with Moscow or Beijing would have limited impact on Saudi and UAE military capabilities, if Russia and China were even willing to supply arms to two nations that are responsible for the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe, with the international opprobrium that would accompany any decision to do so.

Arms sales to Saudi Arabia do not support many jobs

William D. Hartung is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy., May 15, 2019, https://lobelog.com/its-time-to-stop-arms-sales-to-saudi-arabia/, It’s Time To Stop Arms Sales To Saudi Arabia

President Trump’s favorite argument for keeping the weapons trade going is jobs, jobs, jobs. His claims of U.S. jobs tied to Saudi arms sales and related deals have fluctuated widely, from 40,000 to as many as one million. But an analysis of actual deals concluded over the past two years suggests a figure that is a fraction of the president’s claims. And many of these jobs will be created in Saudi Arabia as part of that nation’s goal of having 50 percent of the value of its arms purchases produced in the kingdom by 2030

Arms sales to Saudi Arabia do not deter Iran

William D. Hartung is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy., May 15, 2019, https://lobelog.com/its-time-to-stop-arms-sales-to-saudi-arabia/, It’s Time To Stop Arms Sales To Saudi Arabia

Last but not least is the claim that stopping arms sales to the Saudi/UAE coalition will aid Iran. But the Houthi-led opposition is by no means a proxy for Tehran. They have longstanding grievances that have nothing to do with Iran’s limited military support and would be fighting no matter what posture Iran takes towards the conflict. If anything, the brutal Saudi/UAE intervention is driving the Houthi coalition closer to Tehran. The best way to undercut Iranian influence in Yemen is to support UN efforts to end the war.

Saudi Arabia funds terrorism

Human Rights First, May 15, 2019, https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/blog/congress-pushes-back-against-trumps-erratic-saudi-friends, Congress Pushes Back Against Trump’s Erratic Saudi Friends

The White House insists that Saudi Arabia is a key ally in the struggle against Iranian terrorism, but Saudi Arabia itself remains a major supplier of violent ideology, exporting extremist Salafism and Wahabism. In 2017 the overwhelming majority of the 61 groups designated as terrorist organizations by the State Department were Wahabi-inspired and/or Saudi funded. In 2015 the German Intelligence Service warned that the Saudi government—encouraged by its perception of unconditional support from the United States—was in danger of destabilizing the Middle East.

A child dies every 12 minutes in Saudi Arabia

Daily Mirror, May 12, 2019, https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/front-line-forgotten-war-yemen-15497077, On the front line of forgotten war in Yemen where a child dies every 12 minutes

Lying on the floor of his makeshift shack in a refugee camp, disabled Adbul Nasser is close to tears as he tells how he and his family had to flee their home or starve to death. The 83-year-old, wife Faza and their 25 grandchildren are yet more innocent victims of a civil war raging in Yemen that has caused what aid agencies call “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis”. A child dies here from hunger every 12 minutes – that is 120 a day – in a famine as devastating as the Ethiopian one in 1984 that sparked the Live Aid concert. Staples such as milk and bread are now being described as “luxuries” But as millions more people go hungry amid soaring food prices and military blockades, this has become the forgotten war which rarely features on our TVs. And one in which the Tories have been widely criticised for selling arms to Saudi Arabia, which is supporting Yemen’s ­government forces by bombing the Houthi fighters it is locked in battle with and blockading aid entry points. A child dies every 12 minutes in Yemen (Image: Philip Coburn) READ MORE Mum says mould in her home is making her son so sick he has to stay at gran’s Thousands of civilians are being killed in this devastating conflict due to the fighting and cholera outbreaks. Abdul and his relatives had to flee their remote village and travel hundreds of miles across the front line, avoiding soldiers and landmines, before they arrived at the camp in Marib. He said: “Our family had no choice but to leave. “We had no food, it was dangerous, we would have starved to death.” Abdul is a broken man. He does not care who started the war that has been ravaging the country since 2014, he just knows it has shattered his once happy family life. As he talks, his grandchildren buzz around the place – unaware how lucky they are to be alive. He watched fondly as the youngest, one-month-old Taiba, was cuddled by her sisters. Abdul, who is so frail he had to be carried from minibus to minibus during the perilous journey from his home in a Houthi-held region, added: “Before the war started we were a large happy peaceful family with no problems. “But now it impossible to survive living there. We were starving and we had to move. Even the food we had was taken from us to give to friends of the soldiers. Grandfather Abdul Nasser, 83, and his wife Faza, 70, who fled their home to escape the war in Yemen are pictured with their extended family (Image: Philip Coburn) READ MORE Miami shooting: Rapper NBA YoungBoy’s car ‘strafed with AK47’ as man killed “I cannot believe what has happened to Yemen and to my country.” A relative said: “We never thought we would end up living in a refugee camp. “Life wasn’t easy before but at least we had some food. We did not go to bed hungry. We had to leave to survive. Everyone is hungry and everyone is struggling it’s a nightmare. “It’s not the sort of life you want your children and family to have.” We found three young mums who had also fled to the camp, in the government held region. One, Omahend from the capital Sanaa, said: “We were hungry all the time. The men are kidnapped and taken away so there’s no income coming in. The food prices are so shocking. “Even mothers I know are missing meals and going hungry just to give their children some food and they are still hungry anyway. We all have to make sacrifices every day for years. Things like bread and milk are like luxuries. “We would have some meat perhaps once every three months, and that’s if we were really, really lucky.” Another refugee, who asked not to be identified because he had family in the Houthi area, added: “People are dying from hunger. It’s not unusual. It’s become normal. There’s just not enough food.” Brit Sultana Begum, from Crouch End, North London, works for a charity in Sanaa where she has witnessed appalling tragedy. She begged the world to help before it’s too late. She said: “Yemenis are being starved. This is a man-made crisis. Starvation in Yemen is not an ­accident or caused by a natural ­phenomenon. There is no mistake about it. More than 20 million people across the country are hungry. A quarter of a million people are living in famine-like conditions and without humanitarian aid these people will most likely have died of hunger.” UNICEF regional director Geert Cappelaere described Yemen as a “living hell” for children. Yemeni Army at front line position near Houthi rebel positions near Sana’a in Yemen (Image: Philip Coburn) And Lise Grande, UN humanitarian co-ordinator for Yemen added: “I think many of us felt as we went into the 21st century that it was unthinkable we could see a famine like we saw in Ethiopia that was just unacceptable. “Many of us had the confidence that would never happen again and yet the reality is that in Yemen that is precisely what we are looking at.” According to the UN, of the 233,000 estimated deaths in Yemen, 102,000 will be war-related and 131,000 from ­malnutrition, cholera, and other diseases. In another shocking statistic, it said 140,000 children will have been killed since the start of the conflict. And by the time today is over another 100 will have been buried in makeshift graves across the land. This week there were the first signs of a possible move to peace with the Houthis promising to leave the key port of Hodeidah – where much of the aid comes in. But to compound the situation, al-Qaeda is growing in strength here – killing six in a bombing last Friday. A ­parliamentary report said British arms sales to Saudi Arabia are causing “significant civilian ­casualties” and “are probably illegal”. The House of Lords International ­Relations Committee warned Theresa May must rein in arms sales “as a matter of urgency”. Picture shows children who have fled the civil war in Yemen at a refugee camp in Marib, Yemen (Image: Philip Coburn) And former cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell said: “The UK has made a tremendous strategic misjudgment about this conflict. “As I saw for myself on the ground, the impact of what Britain and America, with French support, are doing in this conflict is radicalising tens of ­thousands of young Yemenis who know the great powers who are responsible for their misery, their starvation and the destruction of the basic infrastructure of their country.” Jeremy Corbyn said “The UK government is complicit in the large scale civilian death toll in Yemen. By continuing to arm and support Saudi Arabia’s war and indiscriminate bombing campaign, Theresa May must share responsibility for this terrible suffering. “The government should halt arms sales to Saudi immediately, and we must throw our weight behind efforts to bring an end to the conflict.” Yemen is one of the poorest ­countries in the world – far below nations such as Somalia, Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Sudan. But it is next door to oil-rich Saudi Arabia and not far from the British holiday favourite cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Andy’s terrifying experience on the front line Suddenly there was a roar of gunfire from the mountainside opposite.

US needs to continue to secure Gulf oil — Shale production cannot replace oil , Gulf oil critical to the global economy the US depends on, and US downsizing means China takes over.

ANAND TOPRANI MAY 15, 2019, OIL AND THE FUTURE OF U.S. STRATEGY IN THE PERSIAN GULF, https://warontherocks.com/2019/05/oil-and-the-future-of-u-s-strategy-in-the-persian-gulf/, Anand Toprani is an associate professor of strategy and policy at the U.S. Naval War College, a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the author of Oil and the Great Powers: Britain and Germany, 1914-1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019)

Will the so-called “shale revolution” allow the United States to disengage from the Persian Gulf? A rich body of scholarship argues that since the United States no longer depends on imports of Gulf oil, it can extricate itself from the region militarily and even disengage politically with minimal negative repercussions. This paper will suggest that the¨United States cannot, in fact, afford to radically downsize its footprint in the Persian Gulf for the immediate future. The staggering growth in U.S. shale oil production in recent years should not obscure the fact that the Gulf still possesses half of global reserves — something worth recalling in the wake of the Trump administration’s decision to stop giving other countries waivers to purchase Iranian oil. It is unclear which region besides the Gulf can quickly replace the 1.9 million barrels per day Iran exported before the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions. It is unwise to think that U.S. oil exports can stabilize global markets. Recent boasts of America’s “energy dominance” are beginning to ring hollow due to fears that geological factors and the ebbing of cheap financing for small shale companies may soon stall U.S. production growth,. Small shale firms are losing ground to larger, vertically integrated companies more interested in boosting profit margins than production rates. Until the world can make the necessary transition to a post-hydrocarbon economy, preserving access to Gulf oil will remain one of the pillars of U.S. predominance — even if the United States never consumes a single drop of oil from the region. To understand why, we must grasp that the United States did not get involved in the Gulf after World War II because it needed the region’s oil for U.S. consumption. Rather, the aim was to guarantee access for U.S. allies and companies supplying foreign markets. Then, as now, energy independence was of secondary importance — what mattered more was building an international system that delivered widespread prosperity and security. Today, the question worth asking about U.S. strategy in the Gulf is not whether Americans still need the region’s oil, but whether they are still willing to serve as guarantors of the complex international oil market that, in many ways, underpins the postwar international order. …. Why Gulf Oil Remains Vital Does the United States still have to worry about protecting its allies’ access to Gulf oil and preventing a potential adversary from dominating the region? The answer to both questions is yes. While Europe’s oil consumption is plateauing, and its dependence on oil from the Gulf is dwarfed by its reliance on Russia, South and East Asia have taken its place. The bulk of future demand growth will take place in the Asia-Pacific region, which accounts for over one-third of global oil consumption but less than one-tenth of production. The oil Asia requires comes largely from one region. India and China get half of their oil imports from the Gulf. Besides Australia, most U.S. allies and partners in Asia are even more dependent on the Gulf. Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, and Taiwan all draw more than three-quarters of their oil imports from the region. This could become a crippling vulnerability if a hostile power frustrated their access to that oil, which brings us to the second point. During the Cold War, U.S. officials fretted over the Soviet threat to the Gulf. Recently, scholars have questioned whether the elaborate security infrastructure the United States built in the Gulf during the Cold War was truly necessary. In particular, they have dismissed the economic threat posed by a Soviet occupation of the Gulf. The Soviet Union, as a large oil producer and exporter, had little need for Gulf oil and lacked sufficient foreign exchange to compensate local oil producers for ending exports to the West. Ironically, the threat today may be greater than during the Cold War. Contemporary China is a far more capable adversary than the Soviet Union. The latter was a pariah within the global economy, whereas the former is one of its manufacturing hubs. In 1946, Soviet per capita income was one-fifth that of the United States. Although the Soviets closed the gap by the 1970s, the collapse in oil prices and stagnation of their economy wiped out any gains. By 1989, the Soviet Union’s GDP (in current dollars) was $506.5 billion, compared to America’s $5.685 trillion. China’s nominal GDP today, by contrast, is more than 60 percent that of the United States, and its foreign exchange reserves total more than $3 trillion. Combined with its growing demand for oil, China — unlike the Soviet Union — has both the means and the opportunity to incentivize Gulf oil producers to redirect their exports to China and away from other consumers — including U.S. allies in East Asia. A similar scenario occurred in 1915, when Britain bought any cotton the United States was planning to export to Germany and Austria-Hungary after Whitehall added cotton to the list of items covered by its blockade of the Central Powers. This act mollified U.S. cotton exporters (including their congressional patrons), who might have otherwise objected to the loss of their European export markets. In the past, China was happy to leave the burden of promoting security in the Gulf to the United States. That no longer appears to be the case. Over 80 percent of Chinese oil imports travel through the Indian Ocean and are susceptible to U.S. interdiction. To counter this threat, China is hard at work across the Gulf building partnerships as part of its Belt and Road Initiative. To date, China has secured several long-term supply contracts for oil and liquefied natural gas, measures to facilitate greater Chinese trade and investment, and joint ventures between Chinese firms and local companies in both the Gulf and China. Besides creating new markets for Chinese manufactured goods and supplies of energy less vulnerable to a U.S. blockade, China’s budding economic influence in the Gulf may eventually give Beijing leverage to induce oil producers to adopt policies consistent with Chinese strategic objectives. China analysts warn that Beijing is poised, at least for the time being, to expand its political influence in the Gulf, where its state-directed model of economic development, indifference to human rights concerns, and lack of historical baggage make it an appealing partner. Would China use this economic leverage in the Gulf to hurt U.S. allies? In the case of U.S. firms with significant business interests in China, Beijing has demonstrated little hesitation in using economic threats — specifically limiting access to China’s domestic market — to extract political concessions. China did the same to a number of South Korean firms in 2017 following Seoul’s deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile system (THAAD). This pressure, and the complaints of South Korean businesses, likely influenced Seoul’s decision to suspend further deployment of THAAD. As the nations of the Gulf become more dependent on their trade with the Far East, so too will their sensitivity to Chinese pressure grow. This is particularly true of Saudi Arabia, which is partnering with Chinese firms to build downstream (oil refining and marketing) and petrochemical assets in China.

Arms sales encourage Saudi aggression in Yemen and don’t provide the US with influence over Saudi Arabia

ANAND TOPRANI MAY 15, 2019, OIL AND THE FUTURE OF U.S. STRATEGY IN THE PERSIAN GULF, https://warontherocks.com/2019/05/oil-and-the-future-of-u-s-strategy-in-the-persian-gulf/, Anand Toprani is an associate professor of strategy and policy at the U.S. Naval War College, a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the author of Oil and the Great Powers: Britain and Germany, 1914-1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019)

How should this history inform future U.S. strategy? Whenever the U.S. military presence in the Gulf becomes politically inconvenient, there arises a chorus that the United States can simply substitute arms sales for “boots on the ground”to guarantee regional peace. Recent arms sales to Saudi Arabia (worth as much as $139 billion since 2009) should dispel such notions once and for all, since they have only fueled Riyadh’s bellicosity toward Iran without increasing its sense of security. None of this should have come as a surprise. There is no evidence that arms sales increase a donor’s leverage over their client — in fact, they often do the opposite. The United States should accordingly limit future arms sales in the region to defensive weaponry.

US military presence adequate

ANAND TOPRANI MAY 15, 2019, OIL AND THE FUTURE OF U.S. STRATEGY IN THE PERSIAN GULF, https://warontherocks.com/2019/05/oil-and-the-future-of-u-s-strategy-in-the-persian-gulf/, Anand Toprani is an associate professor of strategy and policy at the U.S. Naval War College, a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the author of Oil and the Great Powers: Britain and Germany, 1914-1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019)

If the United States cannot outsource regional security to local partners, then the only remaining option is preserving the U.S. military commitment to the region. The current U.S. footprint is relatively small. According to official figures, the total number of active-duty personnel deployed across the Middle East and North Africa (excluding those in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and presumably special forces) is less than 10,000, although the figure including reservists, National Guard units, civilians, and contractors is several times greater. Even then, as a fraction of total U.S. active-duty manpower, the figures are trivial. What is not trivial, however, is the sophisticated logistical infrastructure in the region, particularly Naval Support Activity Bahrain (which hosts U.S. Fifth Fleet), and Al Udeid Air Base (CENTCOM’s forward operating base). Besides supporting partner nations and security cooperation initiatives, these assets are capable of supporting a significant infusion of U.S. troops in the event of a crisis.

US Gulf withdrawal causes China fill-in

ANAND TOPRANI MAY 15, 2019, OIL AND THE FUTURE OF U.S. STRATEGY IN THE PERSIAN GULF, https://warontherocks.com/2019/05/oil-and-the-future-of-u-s-strategy-in-the-persian-gulf/, Anand Toprani is an associate professor of strategy and policy at the U.S. Naval War College, a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the author of Oil and the Great Powers: Britain and Germany, 1914-1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019)

The fact that the United States is again energy “independent” does not change the underlying rationale for the U.S. presence in the Gulf. The region’s oil remains as vital today as it was after World War II. If we accept the proposition that America’s security is tied to the welfare of its allies and partners, the United States cannot afford to discard the Carter Doctrine, for there is no substitute for the security that U.S. military force provides. If anything, a U.S. withdrawal from the Gulf could encourage China to accelerate the growth of its military capabilities there. U.S. allies such as Japan and South Korea could theoretically redeploy naval assets to the Gulf to protect their oil lifelines, but this would tilt the military balance in the Far East further in China’s favor, thereby undermining the U.S. “rebalance” to Asia. None of this means the United States cannot learn from its recent mistakes. Rather than serving as a justification for U.S. interventionism in other nations’ domestic affairs, a rejuvenated Carter Doctrine should focus on two things. First is the provision of public goods — ensuring the world’s access to oil and natural gas on nondiscriminatory terms. Second is the attainment of negative aims — denying others the ability to influence conditions in the Gulf to the detriment of the United States. And considering the rich array of resources and infrastructure for sustaining U.S. forces that already exists in the region, and the relatively inexpensive cost of maintaining them, transitioning to a “offshore balancing” strategy seems unwise. Such notions come (as Alfred Thayer Mahan warned) “presented in the fascinating garb of cheapness,” but policymakers should be wary. Redeploying U.S. forces and shuttering bases would yield short-term cost savings, but it might be a case of “penny wise, pound foolish” given the enormous cost of reinserting troops and assets during a future crisis in the absence of any existing infrastructure.

Saudi Arabia engaging in systemic human right abuses

Amnesty International, May 14, 2019, https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/05/saudi-arabias-year-of-shame-crackdown-on-critics-and-rights-activists-continues/ Saudi Arabia’s ‘year of shame’: Crackdown on critics and rights’ activists continues

Today marks the first anniversary of the arrests of several prominent women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia, after a shameful year for human rights in the Kingdom in which activists, journalists, academics, and writers were targeted, Amnesty International said today. Today marks a year of shame for Saudi Arabia. A year ago, the authorities started locking up some of Saudi Arabia’s bravest women activists, instead of celebrating hand in hand steps that should have served to advance the rights of women in the country Lynn Maalouf SHARE THIS Twitter Facebook Email In the past year, Saudi Arabian activists, including several women human rights defenders, have suffered the terrible ordeal of arbitrary detention, unable to speak to or see their loved ones for long months and with no access to legal representation. Women activists also detailed accounts of their torture, ill-treatment and sexual abuse to the court, and many of them now face a prison term for their peaceful activism and speech. “Today marks a year of shame for Saudi Arabia. A year ago, the authorities started locking up some of Saudi Arabia’s bravest women activists, instead of celebrating hand in hand steps that should have served to advance the rights of women in the country,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director. “Then they went on to detain those who still dared to stand up for these women, advocate for women’s rights in the country, or even express any questioning of the authorities’ policies.” Loujain al-Hathloul, Iman al-Nafjan and Aziza al-Yousef, Saudi Arabia’s leading women’s rights campaigners, were detained on 15 May 2018 and have been facing trial for their human rights work since March 2019. This is also a shameful day for Saudi Arabia’s closest allies in the West, namely the USA, the UK and France. Instead of prioritising business deals and arms sales, they should be intransigent – and publicly so – in pressuring the Saudi Arabian authorities for the immediate and unconditional release of all individuals who are being punished for expressing their views peacefully Lynn Maalouf SHARE THIS Twitter Facebook Email While Iman al-Nafjan and Aziza al-Yousef were amongst seven women provisionally released in the past two months, Loujain al-Hathloul and several other women activists remain in prison. Women human rights defenders, Nassima al-Sada and Samar Badawi, have been detained since July 2018 without charge with tens of other fellow activists. In April 2019, the authorities escalated their crackdown on critics, arbitrarily detaining at least 14 journalists, writers, academics and family members of women’s rights defenders. In November 2018, Amnesty International revealed reports of torture, ill-treatment and sexual abuse of at least 10 activists arbitrarily detained since May 2018, which included several women human rights defenders. The organization called on the authorities to allow independent monitors access to detained activists. “This is also a shameful day for Saudi Arabia’s closest allies in the West, namely the USA, the UK and France. Instead of prioritising business deals and arms sales, they should be intransigent – and publicly so – in pressuring the Saudi Arabian authorities for the immediate and unconditional release of all individuals who are being punished for expressing their views peacefully,” said Lynn Maalouf. A few months following the wave of arrests targeting women’s rights activists, the Saudi Arabian authorities escalated their crackdown on dissent, as manifested in the Public Prosecution’s calls for the execution of religious clerics and Shi’a activists on trial before the counter-terror court for charges related to exercising their peaceful rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. This includes prominent religious cleric Sheikh Salman al-Awda, who was accused of 37 charges, including his affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood and calls for government reforms. In late April 2019, the authorities also carried out a mass execution of 37 men, the majority of them from Saudi Arabia’s Shi’a minority and executed after unfair trials. At least 15 men executed last month were sentenced to death based on “confessions” they said were extracted through torture, including a young man who was convicted of a crime that allegedly took place while he was under the age of 18. In 2019 alone, the Saudi authorities have executed at least 110 people.

Saudi Arabia engaging in systemic human rights abuses

Amnesty International, May 14, 2019, https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/05/saudi-arabias-year-of-shame-crackdown-on-critics-and-rights-activists-continues/ Saudi Arabia’s ‘year of shame’: Crackdown on critics and rights’ activists continues

Today marks the first anniversary of the arrests of several prominent women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia, after a shameful year for human rights in the Kingdom in which activists, journalists, academics, and writers were targeted, Amnesty International said today. Today marks a year of shame for Saudi Arabia. A year ago, the authorities started locking up some of Saudi Arabia’s bravest women activists, instead of celebrating hand in hand steps that should have served to advance the rights of women in the country Lynn Maalouf SHARE THIS Twitter Facebook Email In the past year, Saudi Arabian activists, including several women human rights defenders, have suffered the terrible ordeal of arbitrary detention, unable to speak to or see their loved ones for long months and with no access to legal representation. Women activists also detailed accounts of their torture, ill-treatment and sexual abuse to the court, and many of them now face a prison term for their peaceful activism and speech. “Today marks a year of shame for Saudi Arabia. A year ago, the authorities started locking up some of Saudi Arabia’s bravest women activists, instead of celebrating hand in hand steps that should have served to advance the rights of women in the country,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director. “Then they went on to detain those who still dared to stand up for these women, advocate for women’s rights in the country, or even express any questioning of the authorities’ policies.” Loujain al-Hathloul, Iman al-Nafjan and Aziza al-Yousef, Saudi Arabia’s leading women’s rights campaigners, were detained on 15 May 2018 and have been facing trial for their human rights work since March 2019. This is also a shameful day for Saudi Arabia’s closest allies in the West, namely the USA, the UK and France. Instead of prioritising business deals and arms sales, they should be intransigent – and publicly so – in pressuring the Saudi Arabian authorities for the immediate and unconditional release of all individuals who are being punished for expressing their views peacefully Lynn Maalouf SHARE THIS Twitter Facebook Email While Iman al-Nafjan and Aziza al-Yousef were amongst seven women provisionally released in the past two months, Loujain al-Hathloul and several other women activists remain in prison. Women human rights defenders, Nassima al-Sada and Samar Badawi, have been detained since July 2018 without charge with tens of other fellow activists. In April 2019, the authorities escalated their crackdown on critics, arbitrarily detaining at least 14 journalists, writers, academics and family members of women’s rights defenders. In November 2018, Amnesty International revealed reports of torture, ill-treatment and sexual abuse of at least 10 activists arbitrarily detained since May 2018, which included several women human rights defenders. The organization called on the authorities to allow independent monitors access to detained activists. “This is also a shameful day for Saudi Arabia’s closest allies in the West, namely the USA, the UK and France. Instead of prioritising business deals and arms sales, they should be intransigent – and publicly so – in pressuring the Saudi Arabian authorities for the immediate and unconditional release of all individuals who are being punished for expressing their views peacefully,” said Lynn Maalouf. A few months following the wave of arrests targeting women’s rights activists, the Saudi Arabian authorities escalated their crackdown on dissent, as manifested in the Public Prosecution’s calls for the execution of religious clerics and Shi’a activists on trial before the counter-terror court for charges related to exercising their peaceful rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. This includes prominent religious cleric Sheikh Salman al-Awda, who was accused of 37 charges, including his affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood and calls for government reforms. In late April 2019, the authorities also carried out a mass execution of 37 men, the majority of them from Saudi Arabia’s Shi’a minority and executed after unfair trials. At least 15 men executed last month were sentenced to death based on “confessions” they said were extracted through torture, including a young man who was convicted of a crime that allegedly took place while he was under the age of 18. In 2019 alone, the Saudi authorities have executed at least 110 people.

Arms embargo will change Saudi behavior

Jennifer Spindel is an assistant professor of international security at the University of Oklahoma, and the Associate Director of the Cyber Governance and Policy Center, May 14, 2019, THE CASE FOR SUSPENDING AMERICAN ARMS SALES TO SAUDI ARABIA, https://warontherocks.com/2019/05/the-case-for-suspending-american-arms-sales-to-saudi-arabia/

Arms embargos are often dismissed as symbolic, and therefore ineffective. But just because something is symbolic, doesn’t mean that it won’t have an effect. A U.S. arms embargo against Saudi Arabia would be a clear signal of American disproval of Saudi actions in Yemen, and would be an equally important signal to Washington’s allies, who are left wondering if the United States is ambivalent or uninterested in the growing Yemeni humanitarian catastrophe. By continuing to provide weapons, President Donald Trump tacitly endorses Saudi policies. This signal is strengthened by Trump’s recent veto of the resolution that called for an end to U.S. support for the war in Yemen. While Trump justified the veto by saying that the resolution was a “dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities,” statements from Congressional representatives show they are aware of the powerful signals sent by arms sales. Sen. Tim Kaine said that the veto “shows the world [Trump] is determined to keep aiding a Saudi-backed war that has killed thousands of civilians and pushed millions more to the brink of starvation.” An arms embargo against Saudi Arabia would be a signal both to leaders of that country, and other states, that the United States does not endorse Saudi actions. Those arguing against a ban are correct on one point: Embargos as blunt force instruments of coercion are rarely effective. But arms embargos are effective as signals of political dissatisfaction, and serve an important communication role in international politics. Arms Embargos Are Signals and Can Build Coalitions Policymakers and scholars agree that arms embargoes are not effective “sticks” in international politics. Rarely do states cave when faced with punishment in the form of an embargo. But even if an arms embargo isn’t a direct tool of coercion, an embargo would be an important political signal. There are at least two reasons for the United States to seriously consider an arms embargo against Saudi Arabia. First, arms sales are signals that cut through the noise of the international system. Cutting off arms transfers is a common way that states express their dissatisfaction with others and try to influence behavior. As Lawrence Freedman observed in 1978, “refusing to sell arms is a major political act. It appears as a calculated insult, reflecting on the stability, trust, and credit-worthiness, or technical competence of the would-be recipient.” Yet this crucial point seems to have been lost in the current policy debate about whether or not the United States should continue selling arms to Saudi Arabia. My research shows that stopping arms transfers or denying requests is an effective way to signal dissatisfaction and causes the would-be recipient to re-think their behavior. Take, for example, the U.S. relationship with Israel in the 1960s. The United States sold Israel Hawk surface-to-surface missiles in 1962, M-48 Patton tanks in 1964 and 1965, and A-4E Skyhawk bombers in 1966. Israeli leaders understood that these transfers signaled a close U.S.-Israeli relationship. As diplomat Abba Eban wrote, the arms transfers were “a development of tremendous political value.” Even against this backdrop of close ties and significant arms sales, Israeli leaders were extremely sensitive to arms transfer denials. In April and May 1967, the United States denied Israeli requests for armored personnel carriers and fighter jets. Approving the transfers would have signaled support, and likely emboldened Israel, as tensions were growing in the region. Israeli leaders believed these transfer denials overruled prior signals and demonstrated that the United States was not willing to be a close political ally for Israel. Eban described Israel as “isolated,” and the head of Israel’s intelligence service said that the arms transfer denials made it clear that “in Israel, there existed certain misperceptions [about the United States].” If arms transfer denials could have such a significant effect on Israeli thinking — keeping in mind that there was a close and significant political relationship between the US and Israel — imagine what a transfer denial would mean for U.S.-Saudi relations. Like Israel, Saudi Arabia would have to re-think its impression that it has political support and approval from the United States. We can, and should, ask whether or not withdrawal of U.S. support would affect Saudi behavior, but it’s important that this question not get overlooked in the current debate. Because arms transfers (and denials) are powerful signals, they can have an effect even before a transfer is actually completed. This suggests that even the announcement of an embargo against Saudi Arabia could have an effect. Take, for example, Taiwan’s recent request for a fleet of new fighter jets. As reports mounted that Trump had given “tacit approval” to a deal for F-16 jets, China’s protests increased. The United States has not sold advanced fighter jets to Taiwan since 1992, partially out of fear of angering China, which views Taiwan as a renegade province. Even if the deal for F-16s is formally approved, Taiwan is unlikely to see the jets until at least 2021, and the balance of power between China and Taiwan would not change. As one researcher observed, the sale would be a “huge shock” for Beijing, “But it would be more of a political shock than a military shock. It would be, ‘Oh, the U.S. doesn’t care how we feel.’ It would be more of a symbolic or emotional issue.” Yet China’s immediate, negative reaction to even the announcement of a potential deal shows how powerful arms transfer signals can be.If this same logic is applied to an arms embargo against Saudi Arabia, an arms embargo would signal that Saudi Arabia does not have the support of the United States. This signal would be an important first step in changing Saudi behavior because it would override other statements and actions the United States has sent that indicate support. And Trump has given Saudi Arabia a number of positive signals: He called Saudi Arabia a “great ally” and dismissed reports that that the Saudi government was involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. He has expressed interested in selling nuclear power plants and technology to Saudi Arabia. And he has repeatedly claimed that he has made a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia (he hasn’t). With these clear signals of support, why should Saudi Arabia alter its behavior based on resolutions that come out of the House or Senate, which are likely to be vetoed by Trump, anyway? An arms embargo would be a clear and unambiguous signal that the United States disproves of Saudi actions in Yemen.

The second reason for supporting an embargo concerns U.S. allies and the logistical difficulties of making an embargo have an effect. One of the reasons embargoes have little material impact is because they require cooperation among weapons exporting states. A ban on sales from one country will have little effect if the target of the embargo can seek arms elsewhere. Germany, instituted an arms ban against Riyadh in November 2018, and German leaders have pressured other European states to stop selling arms to the Saudis. Germany understands the importance of the embargo as a political signal: as a representative of the German Green Party explained, “The re-start of arms exports to Saudi Arabia would be a fatal foreign policy signal and would contribute to the continued destabilization of the Middle East.” But the German embargo has had minimal effect because Saudi Arabia can get arms elsewhere. According to the 2019 Military Balance, most of Saudi Arabia’s equipment is American or French in origin, such as the M1A2 Abrams and AMX-30 tanks, Apache and Dauphin helicopters, and F-15C/D fighter jets. Saudi Arabia has some equipment manufactured wholly or in part in Germany, such as the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Tornado ground attack craft, but these weapons are a small portion of its complete arsenal. A U.S. embargo would send an important signal to the allies who also supply Saudi Arabia, allowing them to explain participation in the embargo to their own domestic constituencies. This is especially important for countries like France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, that need to export arms to keep their own production lines running. While the research shows that sustaining an arms embargo is often the most difficult step, embargoes can restrain sending states’ arms exports. Even if a U.S. embargo won’t have a direct effect on Saudi Arabia on its own, an embargo is important for building coalitions for a more expansive embargo that could affect Saudi behavior.

Even a delay in switching suppliers means humanitarian aid flows

Jennifer Spindel is an assistant professor of international security at the University of Oklahoma, and the Associate Director of the Cyber Governance and Policy Center, May 14, 2019, THE CASE FOR SUSPENDING AMERICAN ARMS SALES TO SAUDI ARABIA, https://warontherocks.com/2019/05/the-case-for-suspending-american-arms-sales-to-saudi-arabia/

Beyond signaling, we know U.S. arms sales often end up in the wrong hands, and have been used in Yemen. The Saudi-led war in Yemen has led to starvation conditions, caused thousands of civilian casualties, and has led to the displacement of millions of people. The United Nations estimates that 80 percent of Yemen’s population – 24 million people – require some form of humanitarian or protection assistance, and that the severity of the situation is increasing. Would an arms embargo create meaningful change in Yemen? An initial effect of an embargo is that Saudi Arabia would have to work harder to access war materiel. As Jonathan Caverley noted, more than 60 percent of Saudi Arabia’s arms delivered in the past five years came from the United States. Even if this percentages decreases over time, it will be costly for Saudi Arabia to transition to a primarily Russian- or Chinese-supplied military. Though Saudi Arabia might be willing to pay this cost, it would still have to pay, and take the time to transition to its new weapons systems. This would represent a brief break in hostilities that could facilitate the delivery of aid and assistance in Yemen.

The United States could, in theory, impose stricter end-user controls on Saudi Arabia. This would have the advantage of keeping Saudi Arabia within the world of U.S. weapons systems, and might prevent it from diversifying its suppliers, which would ultimately weaken any leverage the United States might have. Longer-term, it would not be to America’s advantage if Saudi Arabia takes a lesson from Turkey, and starts courting Russia as a new arms supplier. It is difficult to enforce end-user controls, since, once a weapon is transferred, the recipient can use it however it wishes. It might also be the case that Saudi Arabia would object to stricter end-user controls, and would seek new suppliers as a result. An arms embargo will not be a panacea. But not doing something sets a problematic precedent, and allows the difficulty of coordinating an arms embargo outweigh the potential benefits of one. An embargo is unlikely to have an immediate effect on Saudi behavior, because an embargo would be a political signal, rather than a blunt instrument of coercion. It will take time for a multilateral embargo to emerge and be put into place, and the United States should work with its allies to help support their ability to participate in the embargo. Not acting, however, would continue to implicitly endorse Saudi behavior, and would make it more difficult for U.S. allies to believe that future threats of an embargo are credible.

France won’t sell weapons to Saudi Arabia

NRT, May 10, 2019, http://www.nrttv.com/en/News.aspx?id=12388&MapID=3, AMID OUTCRY OVER YEMEN WAR, SAUDI SHIP LEAVES FRANCE WITHOUT ARMS CARGO

SULAIMANI — A Saudi vessel that had been due to load weapons at a northern French port on Friday (May 10) set sail without them and headed for Spain, a day after a rights group tried to block the cargo on humanitarian grounds. French rights group ACAT argued in a legal challenge on Thursday that the consignment contravened a UN treaty because the arms might be used against civilians in Yemen, according to Reuters. A French judge threw out that legal challenge but the Bahri-Yanbu set course for Santander shortly after minus the weapons, officials said and ship-tracking data showed. The saga is an embarrassment for President Emmanuel Macron, who on Thursday defended arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Riyadh leads the pro-government military coalition in the four-year civil war that has devastated Yemen, killed tens of thousands and left much of the population on the brink of famine.

60-80,000 dead, 14 million at-risk

John Dale Grover is a fellow with Defense Priorities and a writer for Young Voices. He is also an assistant managing editor with The National Interest. His articles have appeared in Defense One, Real Clear Defense, The Hill, Fox News, and The American Conservative, May 6, 2019, The American Conservative, Yemen: Are We Not Better than This?, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/american-made-bombs-in-yemen-are-we-not-better-than-this/

Between 60,000 and 80,000 innocents have died in the Saudi-led war in Yemen that began in 2015. And another 14 million Yemenis are at risk of death from disease and starvation caused by the destruction of infrastructure and a blockade-induced famine….A ccording to the Yemen Data Project, a nonprofit run by academics and human rights advocates, nearly one third of all coalition airstrikes between March 2015 and March 2018 hit civilian targets. These included schools, neighborhoods, mosques, hospitals, food stores, farms, markets, electric grids, and water supplies. For instance, in October 2016, the U.S.-backed coalition bombed a funeral home, killing 155, and in August 2018, a school bus was attacked, killing 40 children and 11 adults. Both strikes used American-made bombs. The resulting conditions for Yemeni civilians have been catastrophic. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, about three million Yemenis have been forced to flee their homes and are displaced. Furthermore, a little over a million have suffered from an ongoing cholera epidemic.

Yemen conflict increase anti-American sentiment and bogs down the US

John Dale Grover is a fellow with Defense Priorities and a writer for Young Voices. He is also an assistant managing editor with The National Interest. His articles have appeared in Defense One, Real Clear Defense, The Hill, Fox News, and The American Conservative, May 6, 2019, The American Conservative, Yemen: Are We Not Better than This?, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/american-made-bombs-in-yemen-are-we-not-better-than-this

There are no major U.S. interests at stake in Yemen. The sheer number of civilian casualties is unjustified, and will only spawn more anti-American sentiment, especially in the Muslim world. Moreover, we cannot be prepares for renewed great power competition if we keep getting bogged down in endless conflicts with minor powers and regional actors in the Middle East.

US support for Saudi Arabia has not reduced civilian casualties

John Dale Grover is a fellow with Defense Priorities and a writer for Young Voices. He is also an assistant managing editor with The National Interest. His articles have appeared in Defense One, Real Clear Defense, The Hill, Fox News, and The American Conservative, May 6, 2019, The American Conservative, Yemen: Are We Not Better than This?, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/american-made-bombs-in-yemen-are-we-not-better-than-this

As much as Washington might like to think its vast arms sales, intelligence sharing, pressure, and longstanding friendship with Riyadh would make a difference in sparing civilian casualties, it hasn’t. As a policy paper published by Defense Priorities points out: “U.S. aerial refueling allows pilots to stay aloft longer and practice ‘dynamic targeting,’ where they hunt for targets of opportunity and likely increase civilian casualties.” If America instead withdrew its full support, including providing spare parts, the Saudi war effort would ground to a halt. Yemen needs humanitarian aid and peace not more bombs. As that paper summarized, “There is no compromise between U.S. security and values there—we are losing on both counts.”

Air strikes increase terror recruiting

John Dale Grover is a fellow with Defense Priorities and a writer for Young Voices. He is also an assistant managing editor with The National Interest. His articles have appeared in Defense One, Real Clear Defense, The Hill, Fox News, and The American Conservative, May 6, 2019, The American Conservative, Yemen: Are We Not Better than This?, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/american-made-bombs-in-yemen-are-we-not-better-than-this

Although both sides of the Yemeni war have committed atrocities, U.S. involvement has only increased the regional harm and chaos. As Yemen spins out of control, anti-American sentiment rises, and every airstrike on civilians and vital facilities becomes a potential recruitment tool for terrorists.

Maintenance is a part of Direct Commercial Sales

Ryan Goodman, 10-22, 18, https://www.justsecurity.org/61172/effective-ineffective-congressional-responses-saudi-arabia-arm-sales-sanctions-khashoggi/,

Options for Congress to Respond to Saudi Transgressions: Here’s What Works according to Former Senior U.S. Officials [Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) is founding co-editor-in-chief of Just Security. He is the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. He served as Special Counsel to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense (2015-16). Ryan is also a Professor of Politics and Professor of Sociology at NYU. He was the inaugural Rita E. Hauser Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Harvard Law School. He received a J.D. from Yale Law School, a Ph.D. from Yale University, and a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a member of the Department of State’s Advisory Committee on International Law, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the US Naval War College’s Board of Advisers for International Law Studies, and a member of the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law.]

I focused my conversations with former U.S. officials and other experts on the following set of options: Bar future foreign military sales(FMS) relating to air-to-ground strike capabilities for operations in Yemen (e.g., precision-guided munitions) Suspend existing Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) licenses relating to air-to-ground strike capabilities for operations in Yemen (e.g., for maintenance and sustainment of fighter aircraft)

Cutting spare parts means no war

Ryan Goodman, 10-22, 18, https://www.justsecurity.org/61172/effective-ineffective-congressional-responses-saudi-arabia-arm-sales-sanctions-khashoggi/,

Options for Congress to Respond to Saudi Transgressions: Here’s What Works according to Former Senior U.S. Officials [Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) is founding co-editor-in-chief of Just Security. He is the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. He served as Special Counsel to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense (2015-16). Ryan is also a Professor of Politics and Professor of Sociology at NYU. He was the inaugural Rita E. Hauser Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Harvard Law School. He received a J.D. from Yale Law School, a Ph.D. from Yale University, and a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a member of the Department of State’s Advisory Committee on International Law, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the US Naval War College’s Board of Advisers for International Law Studies, and a member of the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law.]

It is important to separate option 1 (includes blocking future arm sales) and option 2 (includes suspending maintenance and logistics for existing weapons systems), because the latter may have more immediate effects on Saudi offensive military operations in Yemen. In short, Riyadh would have no readily available substitute for maintaining and servicing existing American weapons systems. On Fox News Sunday, Senator Rand Paul said, “We have incredible leverage. … They can’t last a couple of months without parts and mechanics to help them run their air force.” National Review’s David French wrote: “American F-15s comprise close to half the Saudi fighter force, and the Saudi variant of the F-15E Strike Eagle represents a substantial portion of the air force’s striking power….They can’t just waltz over to a different country and transform their armed forces — not without suffering enormous setbacks in readiness and effectiveness during a years-long transition. A fundamental reality of arms deals is that a major arms purchase essentially locks the purchasing nation in a dependent posture for training, spare parts, and technical upgrades.” Threatening support for Saudi Arabia’s war machine can serve a variety of purposes.

Should condition sales on MBS stepping down

Ryan Goodman, 10-22, 18, https://www.justsecurity.org/61172/effective-ineffective-congressional-responses-saudi-arabia-arm-sales-sanctions-khashoggi/,

Options for Congress to Respond to Saudi Transgressions: Here’s What Works according to Former Senior U.S. Officials [Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) is founding co-editor-in-chief of Just Security. He is the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. He served as Special Counsel to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense (2015-16). Ryan is also a Professor of Politics and Professor of Sociology at NYU. He was the inaugural Rita E. Hauser Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Harvard Law School. He received a J.D. from Yale Law School, a Ph.D. from Yale University, and a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a member of the Department of State’s Advisory Committee on International Law, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the US Naval War College’s Board of Advisers for International Law Studies, and a member of the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law.]

First, such levers present a potentially significant stick and carrot for achieving policy goals that are broader than the Yemen war. As Senator Macro Rubio stated earlier this month on CNN’s State of the Union, “Arm sales are important, not because of the money, but because it also provides leverage over their future behavior….They will need our spare parts. They will need our training. And those are things we can use to influence their behavior.”

Options 1-3 can also help curtail Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s misadventures, if not his leadership of the Saudi government itself. Bruce Riedel, who served as senior adviser on South Asia and the Middle East to the last four presidents, explained in a recent essay, “Responsibility for the war is on Mohammed bin Salman, who as defense minister has driven Riyadh into this quagmire. Shaking the arms relationship is by far the most important way to clip his wings.” A former Obama official said as well, “The message needs to be that the relationship is being frozen unless MBS moves aside. What Yemen and the Gulf crisis and Khashoggi affair have clarified is that MBS has allows personal pique and vendettas to override any impulse to reform. He has made the region an even more dangerous place, and, left to his own devices, is very likely to drag us into regional conflict. So I would pursue 4 and 2, with the former underscoring our message that MBS needs to step aside, and the latter grounding their Air Force, to both add internal pressure on MBS and to pressure the Saudis to negotiate a resolution to Yemen.”

Options 1-3 can, indeed, serve purposes specific to the Yemen War, including distancing the United States from support for Saudi crimes and encouraging the Saudis and United Arab Emirates to finally bring the war to a close through political negotiations.

In a New Yorker Radio Hour interview with David Remnick back in March, Riedel explained, “The United States is not a direct party to the war, but we are an enabler of the war. If the United States decided today that it was going to cut off supplies, spare parts, munitions, intelligence, and everything else to the Royal Saudi Airforce, it would be grounded tomorrow.”

[1-3Bar future foreign military sales(FMS) relating to air-to-ground strike capabilities for operations in Yemen (e.g., precision-guided munitions)

Suspend existing Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) licenses relating to air-to-ground strike capabilities for operations in Yemen (e.g., for maintenance and sustainment of fighter aircraft)

Bar appropriations for in-flight refuelingof Saudi aircraft conducting missions in Yemen]

Sales of defensive weapons systems like THAAD should continue

Ryan Goodman, 10-22, 18, https://www.justsecurity.org/61172/effective-ineffective-congressional-responses-saudi-arabia-arm-sales-sanctions-khashoggi/,

Options for Congress to Respond to Saudi Transgressions: Here’s What Works according to Former Senior U.S. Officials [Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) is founding co-editor-in-chief of Just Security. He is the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. He served as Special Counsel to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense (2015-16). Ryan is also a Professor of Politics and Professor of Sociology at NYU. He was the inaugural Rita E. Hauser Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Harvard Law School. He received a J.D. from Yale Law School, a Ph.D. from Yale University, and a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a member of the Department of State’s Advisory Committee on International Law, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the US Naval War College’s Board of Advisers for International Law Studies, and a member of the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law.]

This list does not include suspending U.S. support for defensive weapons systems, and none of the experts suggested placing such support on the list. One former official who supported measures to suspend arms sales specially highlighted the importance of maintaining U.S. support for defensive systems to protect Saudi Arabia from threats coming over its border from Houthi militants. “We should not suspend THAAD or sale of other weapons necessary to defend the KSA from missile/rocket attacks. And we should send a strong signal to Iran that any effort to exploit this moment will be met with a harsh response,” the former official said.

Certification is meaningless. Trump will always certify

Ryan Goodman, 10-22, 18, https://www.justsecurity.org/61172/effective-ineffective-congressional-responses-saudi-arabia-arm-sales-sanctions-khashoggi/,

Options for Congress to Respond to Saudi Transgressions: Here’s What Works according to Former Senior U.S. Officials [Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) is founding co-editor-in-chief of Just Security. He is the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. He served as Special Counsel to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense (2015-16). Ryan is also a Professor of Politics and Professor of Sociology at NYU. He was the inaugural Rita E. Hauser Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Harvard Law School. He received a J.D. from Yale Law School, a Ph.D. from Yale University, and a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a member of the Department of State’s Advisory Committee on International Law, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the US Naval War College’s Board of Advisers for International Law Studies, and a member of the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law.]

One recurring theme involved concerns about predicating any approach on executive branch certification, such as the State Department’s determination that Saudi Arabia met specified conditions. A former senior official told me, “I don’t like any approach that involves certification requirements, because this administration has shown it’s prepared to certify just about anything (other than the manifest Iranian compliance with the JCPOA).”

Conditions counterplan

Ryan Goodman, 10-22, 18, https://www.justsecurity.org/61172/effective-ineffective-congressional-responses-saudi-arabia-arm-sales-sanctions-khashoggi/,

Options for Congress to Respond to Saudi Transgressions: Here’s What Works according to Former Senior U.S. Officials [Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) is founding co-editor-in-chief of Just Security. He is the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. He served as Special Counsel to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense (2015-16). Ryan is also a Professor of Politics and Professor of Sociology at NYU. He was the inaugural Rita E. Hauser Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian

One former senior official suggested tying arm sales to different sets of purposes, “I think Cogress should pause all FMS and end other support to the Saudi campaign in Yemen. Resumption of arms sales should be conditioned on Riyadh agreeing to a fully transparent international investigation into the Khashoggi incident, regular intelligence community assessments of Saudi efforts to reduce civilian casualties in Yemen, and a report from the administration outlining their strategy for addressing the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and producing a peaceful settlement.

Eliminating US support for the war forces Yemen to negotiate to end the war

Ryan Goodman, 10-22, 18, https://www.justsecurity.org/61172/effective-ineffective-congressional-responses-saudi-arabia-arm-sales-sanctions-khashoggi/,

Options for Congress to Respond to Saudi Transgressions: Here’s What Works according to Former Senior U.S. Officials [Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) is founding co-editor-in-chief of Just Security. He is the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. He served as Special Counsel to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense (2015-16). Ryan is also a Professor of Politics and Professor of Sociology at NYU. He was the inaugural Rita E. Hauser Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Harvard Law School. He received a J.D. from Yale Law School, a Ph.D. from Yale University, and a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a member of the Department of State’s Advisory Committee on International Law, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the US Naval War College’s Board of Advisers for International Law Studies, and a member of the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law.]

Jeffrey Prescott, who served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Iran, Iraq, Syria, and the Gulf States on the National Security Council and now a strategic consultant to the Penn Biden Center expressed a similar perspective, “My view is that the callous murder of Mr. Khashoggi — and the Trump administration’s clear impulse to sweep it under the rug — demonstrates how far the relationship with Saudi Arabia has gotten off track, and the need for serious consequences. As a start, we could use this moment to extricate ourselves from military involvement in the disastrous war in Yemen, a step that is long overdue. Ideally we would simultaneously help push for a diplomatic resolution of the conflict – necessary, not easy, and very unlikely given how little effort the Trump administration has put into serious diplomacy. But washing our hands of involvement in the war, even in the absence of a US diplomatic push, will still put pressure on UAE and Saudi to end the conflict.”

Conditioning sales will get the Saudis to end the war

Ryan Goodman, 10-22, 18, https://www.justsecurity.org/61172/effective-ineffective-congressional-responses-saudi-arabia-arm-sales-sanctions-khashoggi/,

Options for Congress to Respond to Saudi Transgressions: Here’s What Works according to Former Senior U.S. Officials [Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) is founding co-editor-in-chief of Just Security. He is the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. He served as Special Counsel to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense (2015-16). Ryan is also a Professor of Politics and Professor of Sociology at NYU. He was the inaugural Rita E. Hauser Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Harvard Law School. He received a J.D. from Yale Law School, a Ph.D. from Yale University, and a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a member of the Department of State’s Advisory Committee on International Law, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the US Naval War College’s Board of Advisers for International Law Studies, and a member of the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law.]

Professor Mohamad Bazzi, who is writing a book on proxy wars between Saudi Arabia and Iran, had a similar assessment of the effectiveness of suspending US military support as a means to effectuate a resolution to the conflict. Bazzi told me, “Together, actions 1, 2, and 3 (likely in that order of effectiveness) would go significantly beyond the Obama administration’s freeze on the sale of precision-guided munitions to Riyadh in late 2016. They would signal to the Saudis and Emiratis that US military assistance will now truly become contingent on progress in political negotiations. I suspect that’s the only way Saudi and UAE leaders can be convinced to pursue a political settlement, which the Trump administration agrees (at least rhetorically) is the path to ending this war.”

Saudi Arabia is 18% of US weapons exports

Micah Halpern, May, 2, 2019 Halperin is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded “The Micah Report” and hosts “Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern” a weekly TV program and “My Chopp” a daily radio spot. A dynamic speaker, he specializes in analyzing world events and evaluating their relevance and impact,, https://www.newsmax.com/micahhalpern/trump-weapons-sales-saudi-arabia-yemen/2019/05/02/id/914313/ The Complicated Story of Weapons Sales in the Middle East

There are only two exceptions to the increase of weapons acquisition in the Middle East. First is Syria which saw an 87% drop and then Iran, which accounts for just under 1% of weapon imports (0.9%). To lend some perspective, nearly half of the entire U.S. market for weapons goes to the Middle East. The largest client by far is Saudi Arabia. They are the purchasers of 18% of total U.S. weapon sales.

Weapons sold to Saudi Arabia end up in the hands of ISIS

Micah Halpern, May, 2, 2019 Halperin is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded “The Micah Report” and hosts “Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern” a weekly TV program and “My Chopp” a daily radio spot. A dynamic speaker, he specializes in analyzing world events and evaluating their relevance and impact,, https://www.newsmax.com/micahhalpern/trump-weapons-sales-saudi-arabia-yemen/2019/05/02/id/914313/ The Complicated Story of Weapons Sales in the Middle East

The Saudis and the United Arab Emirates funnel money and new U.S. arms to fight the Iranian backed troops. Those weapons are resold to ISIS, which is also fighting the Houthi. The weapons are fungible and so yes, ISIS, the arch enemy of the United States receives U.S. made and legally purchased weapons through this market. And those U.S. weapons are being used to kill United States soldiers and U.S. allies.

Withdrawal now means the Houthis win, need to keep with the Saudis to finish the war and secure peace

Michael Knights, Kenneth M. Pollack, and Barbara F. Walter, May 2, 2019, ForeignAffairs, A Real Plan to End the War in Yemen, MICHAEL KNIGHTS is the Lafer Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. KENNETH M. POLLACK is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.BARBARA F. WALTER is Professor of Political Science at the University of California–San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy.

A degree of normalcy has returned to Yemen’s biggest seaport, Hodeidah, thanks to a cease-fire among the country’s warring factions that has held since December 2018. But beyond the port’s outskirts, a vicious fight between Houthi insurgents and a Saudi-led military coalition rages on. The death toll keeps climbing; malnutrition and hunger are rampant. Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, the United Nations warned in February, is the worst in the world today. In Washington, a growing chorus of analysts and politicians has called on the United States to step up, withdraw U.S. support for the Saudi war effort, and turn the UN-brokered cease-fire into a lasting peace. Doing so, they argue, is the only morally and strategically defensible course of action. But of all the options before the United States, this one is the least likely to stop the killing, the dying, and the complications for U.S. interests. Stay informed. In-depth analysis delivered weekly. Email The Saudi-led intervention may have exacerbated the situation in Yemen, but it did not start the war. Getting the Saudis to pull out will no more end the bloodshed in Yemen than getting the United States to abstain from the civil war in Syria halted the violence there. Nor will a Saudi withdrawal lead to a negotiated settlement. Instead, the fighting will go on, and innocent Yemenis will continue to die until one side—most likely the Houthis—have won. True peace in Yemen will remain elusive unless both sides accept that they have nothing to gain from more fighting. We are not there yet. To get there will require not cutting off U.S. support for Saudi Arabia but threatening to double down on it unless the Houthis honor their commitments to the UN and are ready to disgorge most of their initial conquests. If Washington is serious about ending the war, it must come to terms with this uncomfortable fact. Abduljabbar Zeyad / REUTERS The site of a Saudi-led air strike in the city of Hodeidah, September 2016 HOW IT ENDS Historically, civil wars like Yemen’s end either when one side wins a decisive military victory or a third party negotiates a settlement among the warring factions. In the Middle East, the former option—letting the fighting run its course—often means accepting horrific bloodshed and ethnic cleansing. Examples abound: the leveling of Hama, Syria’s onetime opposition stronghold, in 1982, or Saddam Hussein’s systematic mass murder of Iraqi Kurds in the late 1980s, or his violent suppression of a nationwide rebellion in 1991. Those “victories” ended the conflicts swiftly and surely, but at the cost of tens or hundreds of thousands of lives. A negotiated settlement can end a war earlier and thus with less bloodshed. But combatants generally don’t agree to such settlements until they have reached a military stalemate such that all sides are convinced they cannot win a military victory. Even then, the warring parties need to know that they can disarm without being slaughtered—a condition that can sometimes be met only with an outside peacekeeping commitment for a decade or more. And once the parties have come to the table, any successful negotiated settlement will have to include a power-sharing arrangement that grants all factions political power and economic benefits roughly commensurate with their demographic weight (adjusted for military realities). In the case of Yemen, withdrawing U.S. support—which has largely consisted of intelligence and logistical assistance—from the Saudis will hinder the coalition’s war effort and embolden the Houthis and their Iranian supporters, making them much less likely to accept a nationwide cease-fire and a power-sharing agreement. In fact, U.S. congressional criticism of the Saudis has already encouraged the Houthis who, far from giving up, appear determined to fight on. Since the UN brokered a cease-fire for the strategically important, Houthi-held port of Hodeidah in December, the Houthis have energetically fortified their positions in the city, in direct violation of the agreement’s terms. In fact, the Houthis have defaulted on one withdrawal deadline after another—first in early January, then in mid-February, thereby reneging on explicit commitments to the UN. Houthi fighters at Hodeidah, April 2017 Khaled Abdullah / REUTERS Houthi fighters at Hodeidah, April 2017 UN negotiators are now trying to implement a third plan to move Houthi forces out of Hodeidah and other Red Sea ports, and for both sides to then pull back from the frontlines in Hodeidah city. But unless the Houthis are given a powerful incentive to step back, there is little reason to expect they will do so. Rather than produce a stalemate, cutting U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition might enable the Houthis to win a military victory, much like the one the Assad regime, Iran, and Russia are slowly achieving in Syria. This outcome is hardly desirable. The Houthis are anti-American, anti-Semitic, and increasingly anti-Sunni. In fact, Houthis, who are of Zaydi Shiite faith, are just one clan of hundreds in the country. There is no historical or popular basis for the Houthis to rule the capital, Sanaa, or the ports. As a result, a post-conflict Yemen under Houthi rule would likely require considerable repression to hold it in place. U.S. members of Congress may not like the civil war or the Saudi intervention, and critics rightly blame that intervention for increasing the Houthis’ dependence on Iran, thus strengthening Tehran’s influence in the country. But that influence is now a reality. The Houthis have already fired Iranian missiles at Riyadh and at ships (including U.S. military vessels) in the Bab el-Mandeb, the vital shipping lane connecting the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden. A bloody end to the civil war that leaves the Houthis victorious and beholden to Iran would only further undermine the United States’ interests and terrify its allies in the region. U.S. congressional criticism of the Saudis has encouraged the Houthis who, far from giving up, appear determined to fight on. The status quo, however, is not acceptable from a humanitarian perspective. The partial cease-fire met with a collective international sigh of relief, with observers hoping that Hodeidah could once again serve as a lifeline to the war-ravaged country. But only 619,085 tons of food were shipped in during the first quarter of 2019—a far cry from the 1.7 million tons of food that moved through the port during the same period in 2016, according to the World Food Program. Commercial food shippers will not return until the long-term status of Hodeidah and other Red Sea ports is settled, the Yemeni currency has stabilized, and household purchasing power is restored by the resumption of government payroll. As a result, the risk of famine still looms large. The hard truth is that the cease-fire in Hodeidah came about only because of military pressure from the Saudi-led coalition. The prospect of a Saudi assault on Hodeidah forced the Houthis to choose between making a deal while they still held onto the city, and could use it as a bargaining chip, or doing so later, after they might have lost it and had much less leverage. Now that there is a cease-fire, the Houthis are no longer under such pressure to follow through with a more comprehensive peace deal. They know that making a deal will only diminish their power, whereas a military victory would enhance it. The United Nations and the international community, for their part, have failed to replace the military pressure on the Houthis with countervailing diplomatic pressure. What remains is best described as peace theater: an illusion of progress that offers a welcome breather from full-on warfare in Hodeidah while leaving the underlying crisis in place. THE LEAST WORST CHOICE So what can the United States do to stop the fighting? The history of civil war, in Yemen and elsewhere, suggests a counterintuitive approach: increase U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition, enable it to capture Hodeidah, and then use the resulting leverage to force both sides to end the fighting and sign a power-sharing agreement. Not only is this scenario plausible but it is probably the only near-term solution that could end the civil war, stop the killing, and remove both the Saudi and Iranian presence. A coalition victory in Hodeidah is difficult but achievable. The government forces assembled outside the city have racked up numerous military successes, thanks to heavy support from the United Arab Emirates. In 2016, a much smaller force of Yemeni and UAE soldiers captured Aden, a city far larger than Hodeidah. The UAE and tribal forces marched into Mukalla, another large port city, the following year. Emirati soldiers flying over the Yemeni desert, September 2015 Noah Browning / REUTERS Emirati soldiers flying over the Yemeni desert, September 2015 Since then, the UAE and its allies have only grown more experienced. In the intense street fighting that took place in Hodeidah just before the cease-fire, the coalition liberated three square miles of the 17-square-mile city space in just over a week, using precise, small-warhead munitions to neutralize Houthi snipers in residential areas. Victory in Hodeidah would allow the Saudis and Emiratis to signal to their regional rival, Iran, and to their own people that they are strong and should not be provoked. Meanwhile, losing the city should convince the Houthis that they cannot win, and that if they persist, they might lose their hold on Sanaa and other territory they have captured since 2014. And the fact that Iran will probably encourage the Houthis to keep fighting a lost battle should help them understand that Tehran’s interests are not their own. Losing the city should convince the Houthis that they cannot win. The United States would not be favoring the Saudi-led coalition by backing this strategy. If anything, the United States would gain leverage over the coalition by setting the conditions under which it would acquiesce to a renewed offensive on Hodeidah or supply intelligence support. In return for Washington’s help, the coalition would have to accept a realistic peace plan—one that accommodates Houthi demands for internal redistricting, sets forth a process for forming a new government with proper power-sharing arrangements, and perhaps stipulates a change in leadership on the government side. The Houthis, for their part, would need to evict Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah military advisers and admit a third-party peacekeeping force to secure key locations such as ports. Such a force could consist of European, Arab, and African troops, perhaps under the leadership of NATO, the Arab League, or even the United States. A negotiated settlement would be the best—or least bad—outcome to the brutal war in Yemen. And a renewed offensive on Hodeidah would pave the way for its enactment. The Houthis would be most receptive to a generous offer after losing the city. As for the Saudis, Washington could warn them that if they obstruct the peace process, the United States will suspend any and all military aid—not just to their Yemen operations. That ultimatum ought to convince them to quit while they are ahead, not least because their operation in Yemen has bogged down and is provoking much ill will internationally. A military victory at Hodeidah would give Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman the fig leaf he needs to declare victory and go home. The approach comes tried and tested. It parallels the strategy that U.S. diplomats employed to end the Bosnian civil war in 1995. The United States helped the Croat and Bosniak Muslim militaries smash the Bosnian Serb forces and take roughly half of their territory. Then, during peace talks in Dayton, Ohio, U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke offered both sides a power-sharing agreement. The Serbs grudgingly accepted, realizing that to decline it would mean losing what remained of their territory to the U.S.-backed enemy. The Croats and Bosniaks gave in even more grudgingly, because Holbrooke threatened to withdraw U.S. support if they didn’t. Holbrooke’s playbook would serve the United States just as well in Yemen today. GET REAL U.S. interests and values both demand an end to the war in Yemen. The conflict threatens to tip the country into famine. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has exploited the chaos of war to avoid the full force of joint U.S.-UAE-Yemeni counterterrorism efforts. Saudi Arabia and the UAE face catastrophic diplomatic, economic, and reputational harm. Only Iran benefits from prolonging this dirty war. But bringing an end to the fighting calls for making hard choices that can actually succeed, not easy ones that likely won’t. If the battle lines stay where they are now, the Houthis will effectively have won the war, having gained both Yemen’s capital and its largest port. If the coalition retakes Hodeidah, by contrast, it can afford to end the war while the Houthis’ control of Sanaa will leave them with some bargaining power. What Yemen needs now is tougher U.S., European, and UN diplomacy, backed by reinvigorated military pressure. Only then will both warring parties understand that if they keep on fighting, they can only lose.

Yemen war will kill a quarter million by 2020 

Bel Tew, May 1, 2019, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/yemen-war-death-toll-un-houthi-gulf-saudi-arabia-arms-a8892926.html Yemen war dead could hit 233,000 by 2020 in what UN calls ‘humanity’s greatest preventable disaster’

The death toll from a devastating war in Yemen could soar to nearly a quarter of a million by the end of 2019, the United Nations (UN) has warned, calling the conflict one of the “greatest preventable disasters facing humanity”. In a 60-page report, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) said the fighting between the Gulf-backed Yemen government and the Houthi rebels could also set the country back a generation in terms of development. It warned that if a proper ceasefire is not brokered by the end of the year, the total number of dead could rise to 233,000, with 60 per cent of the deceased being children under the age of five. The UN’s projected count includes 102,000 killed in combat and 131,000 who will die due to a lack of food, health services and infrastructure in the war. It represents a significant increase on the latest death toll, compiled by global mapping group the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (Acled), which said last week 70,000 people have died in the war since 2016. British parliamentarians, meanwhile, urged the UK to halt weapons sales to a Saudi-led coalition fighting in the country, fearing it was contributing to the humanitarian crisis and numbers of deaths. “The current conflict in Yemen is one of the greatest preventable disasters facing humanity,” the damning UNDP report said. “If that war continues it will continue to disproportionately kill children, mostly due to a lack of access to food, health services and infrastructure. It is already placed among some of the worst conflicts since the end of the Cold War.” Yemen has been ripped apart by a devastating conflict since the Iran-backed Houthis took control of the country in late 2014, ousting recognised President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. Saudi Arabia and its Gulf partners, including the UAE, launched a bombing campaign in March 2015 to reinstate their ally Hadi. Read more Hundreds killed and injured by Houthi landmines in Yemen Four years on there is little hope to an end to the fighting, which has sparked what the UN has previously termed the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Over 24 million people, or 80 per cent of the country, now rely on humanitarian aid, and more than 13 million are at risk of starvation, according to the UN. Peace negotiations are currently centred on a tense UN-brokered truce in the port city of Hodeidah, which is the main entry point for humanitarian aid and commercial imports. The UN is trying to get both sides to pull troops out of the flashpoint city but the process has stalled, with both sides blaming each other for lack of progress. Fighting still rages in the southwestern province of Taiz. UK foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt hosted Saudi and UAE ministers in London last week in a last-ditch attempt to hammer out peace terms. Ahead of the meeting he had highlighted the plight of children in Yemen, saying on Twitter that more than 100 children die a day from extreme hunger. Read more Trump vetoes bill ending US support for Saudi-led war in Yemen At least 14 children killed in blast at school in Yemen Pope blames Europe and US for deaths of children in Middle East House votes to end US support for Saudi-led war in Yemen Seven killed in Saudi-led coalition airstrike on hospital in Yemen However, the UK government has faced mounting criticism for its continued support for Saudi Arabia, which has spearheaded the devastating bombing campaign in Yemen. Since the coalition began its aerial campaign in Yemen in March 2015, the UK has licensed at least £4.7 billion worth of weapons sales to Riyadh. Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Labour MP for Brighton Kempton, said the UK must immediately cease weapons and personnel support to the kingdom because of the mounting death toll highlighted in the UN report. “UK bombs routinely targeting civilian targets in Yemen are clearly not enough to shame the government into obeying UK arms export control law and suspending sales to Saudi Arabia,” he told The Independent. “I have no faith that the government will stop unless the Court of Appeal compels them to do so,” he added. The leaders of five opposition parties, including Labour, have called on the UK government to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Yemen war will kill a quarter million by 2020

Bel Tew, May 1, 2019, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/yemen-war-death-toll-un-houthi-gulf-saudi-arabia-arms-a8892926.html Yemen war dead could hit 233,000 by 2020 in what UN calls ‘humanity’s greatest preventable disaster’

The death toll from a devastating war in Yemen could soar to nearly a quarter of a million by the end of 2019, the United Nations (UN) has warned, calling the conflict one of the “greatest preventable disasters facing humanity”. In a 60-page report, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) said the fighting between the Gulf-backed Yemen government and the Houthi rebels could also set the country back a generation in terms of development. It warned that if a proper ceasefire is not brokered by the end of the year, the total number of dead could rise to 233,000, with 60 per cent of the deceased being children under the age of five. The UN’s projected count includes 102,000 killed in combat and 131,000 who will die due to a lack of food, health services and infrastructure in the war. It represents a significant increase on the latest death toll, compiled by global mapping group the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (Acled), which said last week 70,000 people have died in the war since 2016. British parliamentarians, meanwhile, urged the UK to halt weapons sales to a Saudi-led coalition fighting in the country, fearing it was contributing to the humanitarian crisis and numbers of deaths. “The current conflict in Yemen is one of the greatest preventable disasters facing humanity,” the damning UNDP report said. “If that war continues it will continue to disproportionately kill children, mostly due to a lack of access to food, health services and infrastructure. It is already placed among some of the worst conflicts since the end of the Cold War.” Yemen has been ripped apart by a devastating conflict since the Iran-backed Houthis took control of the country in late 2014, ousting recognised President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. Saudi Arabia and its Gulf partners, including the UAE, launched a bombing campaign in March 2015 to reinstate their ally Hadi. Read more Hundreds killed and injured by Houthi landmines in Yemen Four years on there is little hope to an end to the fighting, which has sparked what the UN has previously termed the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Over 24 million people, or 80 per cent of the country, now rely on humanitarian aid, and more than 13 million are at risk of starvation, according to the UN. Peace negotiations are currently centred on a tense UN-brokered truce in the port city of Hodeidah, which is the main entry point for humanitarian aid and commercial imports. The UN is trying to get both sides to pull troops out of the flashpoint city but the process has stalled, with both sides blaming each other for lack of progress. Fighting still rages in the southwestern province of Taiz. UK foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt hosted Saudi and UAE ministers in London last week in a last-ditch attempt to hammer out peace terms. Ahead of the meeting he had highlighted the plight of children in Yemen, saying on Twitter that more than 100 children die a day from extreme hunger. Read more Trump vetoes bill ending US support for Saudi-led war in Yemen At least 14 children killed in blast at school in Yemen Pope blames Europe and US for deaths of children in Middle East House votes to end US support for Saudi-led war in Yemen Seven killed in Saudi-led coalition airstrike on hospital in Yemen However, the UK government has faced mounting criticism for its continued support for Saudi Arabia, which has spearheaded the devastating bombing campaign in Yemen. Since the coalition began its aerial campaign in Yemen in March 2015, the UK has licensed at least £4.7 billion worth of weapons sales to Riyadh. Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Labour MP for Brighton Kempton, said the UK must immediately cease weapons and personnel support to the kingdom because of the mounting death toll highlighted in the UN report. “UK bombs routinely targeting civilian targets in Yemen are clearly not enough to shame the government into obeying UK arms export control law and suspending sales to Saudi Arabia,” he told The Independent. “I have no faith that the government will stop unless the Court of Appeal compels them to do so,” he added. The leaders of five opposition parties, including Labour, have called on the UK government to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

The Houthis will not attack Saudi Arabia if the US stops the war

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at The American Conservative, where he also keeps a solo blog, 4-29, 2019, https://www.antiwar.com/blog/2019/04/29/pompeos-risible-yemen-lies/ Pompe’s Yemen Lies

The earlier administration line was that the US was helping the Saudis to defend themselves, and now they are expanding on that misleading claim by saying that it has something to do with defending Americans that happen to be traveling in Saudi Arabia. The US is obviously not obliged to assist governments that start a war against their neighbor just because retaliatory strikes could potentially put Americans at risk. If the danger is so great, the responsible thing would be to advise US citizens to avoid those countries if at all possible. The more important point is that Pompeo’s argument is circular: he insists that we should keep backing a war that actually creates the threat that he claims to be guarding against. If not for the Saudi coalition bombing campaign against Yemen’s cities and villages, there would be no missile attacks on Riyadh or anywhere else. It is disingenuous at best to suggest that US support for Saudi and Emirati aggression in Yemen is intended to protect American citizens when there would no threat to them or Saudi Arabia if the bombing campaign halted. There is no legitimate reason to be supporting the Saudi coalition war, and so administration officials have to scramble to come up with weak excuses that fall apart under the slightest scrutiny.

Turn—the war weakens Saudi Arabia vis-à-vis Iran

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at The American Conservative, where he also keeps a solo blog, 4-29, 2019, https://www.antiwar.com/blog/2019/04/29/pompeos-risible-yemen-lies/ Pompe’s Yemen Lies

War supporters frequently accuse their domestic opponents of encouraging and helping adversaries to deflect attention from the war’s costs and their own failures. It is always a scurrilous lie, and this case is no different. The Saudi coalition war on Yemen has done nothing to hurt Iran, not least because Iran’s involvement is still quite limited. Nothing could please Iranian hard-liners more than keeping the Saudis and Emiratis bogged down in an unwinnable war in Yemen for years, and the Trump administration’s determination to encourage the Saudis and Emiratis in their destructive folly is one of the many gifts that they have given to those hard-liners. They would not have found the passage of S.J.Res. 7 to be welcome news, because it showed that US support for the war might be waning and the coalition might not be able to count on American backing indefinitely. Continuing the war is a disaster for Yemen and its people, but it is also a significant drain on Saudi and Emirati resources and an ongoing embarrassment to both governments. The sooner that the US convinces the Saudis and Emiratis to give up on their failed war, the better it will be for them. By indulging the Saudi coalition in their worst instincts and supporting them unconditionally, the Trump administration is encouraging them to keep fighting a costly war that they won’t win.

Congress opposes arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Allan, 4-25, 19, Elizabeth Allan is a first-year student at Yale Law School. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in International Affairs and Arabic from the University of Georgia and an MPhil in Modern Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Oxford, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar. She has also worked as a consultant in the Middle East and West Africa, The Yemen Resolution and the Historical U.S.-Saudi Security Relationship, https://www.lawfareblog.com/yemen-resolution-and-historical-us-saudi-security-relationship

In March 2015, Saudi Arabia, under the command of Defense Minister (now Crown Prince) Mohammed Bin Salman, launched a military intervention in Yemen’s civil war on behalf of Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and against the Iranian-affiliated Houthis. This intervention (and its devastating humanitarian impact) provoked congressional scrutiny of the U.S. security relationship with Saudi Arabia. The murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 intensified congressional concerns. In opposing U.S. support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen, Congress utilized many of the legislative tools previously used to influence the U.S.-Saudi security relationship. In 2016, Congress invoked its authority under AECA 36(b) to introduce joint resolutions (S.J. Res. 39 and H.J. Res. 98) blocking the $1.15 billion sale of Abrams tanks, largely over concerns about the use of U.S. military equipment in the Yemen conflict. (Neither resolution advanced out of committee.) Similarly, in 2017, Congress introduced joint resolutions (S.J. Res. 42 and H.J. Res. 102) against the commercial sale of precision guided munitions (PGMs) under AECA 36(c). During floor consideration (which ultimately resulted in the resolution not advancing), senators weighed Saudi Arabia’s contribution to the humanitarian situation in Yemen against the need to counter Iranian influence in Yemen. In part due to congressional pressure, the Obama administration suspended a planned $390 million sale of PGMs and certain intelligence-sharing activities in December 2016. These were subsequently resumed by the Trump administration. Congress has also sought to limit foreign military assistance. The 2019 Consolidated Appropriations Act prohibited the provision of IMET assistance to Saudi Arabia with no provisions for a presidential waiver. Beginning in 2017, congressional opposition began targeting direct U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition under the War Powers Resolution, an angle not previously adopted in the U.S.-Saudi security context. As discussed previously on Lawfare, the Yemen Resolution vetoed by President Trump on April 16 was the culmination of these efforts and sought to remove U.S. forces from “hostilities” in or affecting Yemen, except those targeting al-Qaeda. Although this resolution did not pass, several other proposals seek broader limitations on U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia. For example, the Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act of 2019 (S. 398) calls for the suspension of all arms sales to Saudi Arabia as part of a suite of proposed sanctions and accountability measures. Similarly, H.R. 643 prohibits all security assistance and arms sales to Saudi Arabia. It is unclear if any of these bills will progress beyond their current form or if any of their provisions will find their way into appropriations legislation, such as the National Defense Authorization Act.

 

Breaking ties will disrupt global energy markets and threaten the US economically

 

Dennis Ross, May 1, 2019, https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-05-01/the-u-s-and-saudi-arabia-can-t-get-a-divorce, The U.S. and Saudi Arabia Can’t Get a Divorce

Historically, presidents — Democrats and Republicans alike — have turned a blind eye to Saudi Arabia’s repressive domestic policies, in return for guarantees of a stable oil market. Two things are different today. First, in Congress there is a broad consensus that the Saudis crossed the line and that the administration’s protecting them is simply wrong. Second, the U.S. is increasingly energy-independent and buys little Saudi oil — making many on Capitol Hill believe our stakes in the Saudis are far lower than before. Leaving aside the reality that there is one pool of energy worldwide, and that a major disruption of oil because of threats or instability in Saudi Arabia would result in the price skyrocketing for Americans and everyone else, there is another countervailing factor in the interests-values continuum with the kingdom that needs to be considered. Saudi Arabia is in the midst of a fundamental transformation of its society and of the sources of the regime’s legitimacy. True, the monarchy retains all political power, but nationalism and modernization are replacing Wahhabism, a rigid, intolerant interpretation of Islam that fueled al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and the recent Sri Lanka church bombings. It is the doctrine that the U.S. and its allies have been fighting around the globe. The driver of change is Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. He is conducting a revolution from above that is discrediting radical Islamist ideology, including the removal of several thousand clerics and dozens of judges deemed to be sympathetic to Qaeda. The social changes emerging in Saudi Arabia are visible to any visitor — go into any restaurant and see men and women mixing; visit businesses or governmental offices and women are prominent; cinemas are opening; music, forbidden in the strict Wahhabi code, is now played not just privately but in concerts drawing thousands. Even the royal palaces now have women’s restrooms. None of this was thinkable in the past. Unfortunately, the authoritarianism, the public beheadings, the crackdown on dissent — including the arrests and possibly torture of women activists — also offend our values. Many thoughtful American critics of Saudi policy argue that we must shun the crown prince and reject as a fanciful notion the idea that he is a modernizing dictator. Having just returned from Saudi Arabia, I am struck by what feels like two totally different universes. The enthusiasm for the crown prince continues to be real, especially among young people who now can talk openly about their ability to shape their destinies and the destiny of the country. Yet the Saudis I talked to — young and old — deeply resent the congressional criticism of the crown prince and feel that if Saudi Arabia is shunned by the U.S., the kingdom will shun the U.S. in return. With nationalism now a pillar of regime support, we should not be surprised by such a backlash. They may mean it, but is it realistic? Saudi weapons, military infrastructure and training are all dependent on U.S. military support. The kingdom’s investment holdings in the U.S. exceed $800 billion. The vast majority of the 190,000 students and family members sent abroad are in the U.S., and return with instinctive attachments to America. And, case in point, most the kingdom’s 30-plus cabinet ministers graduated from American universities. They may be angry about the criticism, but their natural affinity is to the U.S. By the same token, how easy would it be for the U.S. to truly shun Saudi Arabia? Even if Americans were to downplay the security implications, which they should not, are they ready to have the Saudis stop insisting that all transactions in oil be done in dollars? How long would 70 percent of all global trade be done in dollars if that were to change? With neither side having a national interest in shunning the other, the issue is how each will now manage the relationship. The Trump administration needs to be honest with Congress and the Saudis: We will remain committed to Saudi security and to investing in the kingdom’s effort to transform the country, even as we make clear we will criticize what we believe is wrong. Killing dissidents and defying global norms has consequences. Disallowing domestic criticism will undermine the aims of building a knowledge-based economy and a risk-taking, entrepreneurial society. Countering Iranian and Sunni Islamist radicals is essential, but needs to be coordinated to avoid ill-considered, reckless policies. Washington will need help from the Saudis, with the crown prince repeating his words that the Khashoggi murder was a “heinous crime,” and explaining the lessons learned and structural changes made because of it. The Saudis should also seek a quiet discussion with congressional leaders to hear their criticisms, respond to them and voice their own. The Las Vegas rules don’t apply to the Middle East: What happens there does not stay there. And, like it or not, policies of the Saudis will have a huge effect on what takes shape in the Middle East. America can’t write them off.

Congress opposes arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Allan, 4-25, 19, Elizabeth Allan is a first-year student at Yale Law School. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in International Affairs and Arabic from the University of Georgia and an MPhil in Modern Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Oxford, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar. She has also worked as a consultant in the Middle East and West Africa, The Yemen Resolution and the Historical U.S.-Saudi Security Relationship, https://www.lawfareblog.com/yemen-resolution-and-historical-us-saudi-security-relationship

In March 2015, Saudi Arabia, under the command of Defense Minister (now Crown Prince) Mohammed Bin Salman, launched a military intervention in Yemen’s civil war on behalf of Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and against the Iranian-affiliated Houthis. This intervention (and its devastating humanitarian impact) provoked congressional scrutiny of the U.S. security relationship with Saudi Arabia. The murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 intensified congressional concerns. In opposing U.S. support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen, Congress utilized many of the legislative tools previously used to influence the U.S.-Saudi security relationship. In 2016, Congress invoked its authority under AECA 36(b) to introduce joint resolutions (S.J. Res. 39 and H.J. Res. 98) blocking the $1.15 billion sale of Abrams tanks, largely over concerns about the use of U.S. military equipment in the Yemen conflict. (Neither resolution advanced out of committee.) Similarly, in 2017, Congress introduced joint resolutions (S.J. Res. 42 and H.J. Res. 102) against the commercial sale of precision guided munitions (PGMs) under AECA 36(c). During floor consideration (which ultimately resulted in the resolution not advancing), senators weighed Saudi Arabia’s contribution to the humanitarian situation in Yemen against the need to counter Iranian influence in Yemen. In part due to congressional pressure, the Obama administration suspended a planned $390 million sale of PGMs and certain intelligence-sharing activities in December 2016. These were subsequently resumed by the Trump administration. Congress has also sought to limit foreign military assistance. The 2019 Consolidated Appropriations Act prohibited the provision of IMET assistance to Saudi Arabia with no provisions for a presidential waiver. Beginning in 2017, congressional opposition began targeting direct U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition under the War Powers Resolution, an angle not previously adopted in the U.S.-Saudi security context. As discussed previously on Lawfare, the Yemen Resolution vetoed by President Trump on April 16 was the culmination of these efforts and sought to remove U.S. forces from “hostilities” in or affecting Yemen, except those targeting al-Qaeda. Although this resolution did not pass, several other proposals seek broader limitations on U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia. For example, the Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act of 2019 (S. 398) calls for the suspension of all arms sales to Saudi Arabia as part of a suite of proposed sanctions and accountability measures. Similarly, H.R. 643 prohibits all security assistance and arms sales to Saudi Arabia. It is unclear if any of these bills will progress beyond their current form or if any of their provisions will find their way into appropriations legislation, such as the National Defense Authorization Act.

Bipartisan opposition to Saudi arms sales

Michael Massi, 4-24, 19, https://hermannherald.com/trump-says-u-s-stands-with-saudi-arabia-despite-khashoggi-killing/42677/, Trump Says U.S. Stands With Saudi Arabia Despite Khashoggi Killing

Late last week, a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation that calls for suspending weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, for sanctions on people who block humanitarian access in Yemen or support the Houthi rebels, and mandatory sanctions on those responsible for Khashoggi’s death.

Democrats oppose Saudi arms sales

Michael Massi, 4-24, 19, https://hermannherald.com/trump-says-u-s-stands-with-saudi-arabia-despite-khashoggi-killing/42677/, Trump Says U.S. Stands With Saudi Arabia Despite Khashoggi Killing

Democrats harshly criticized Trump’s decision Tuesday and called on Congress to cut off arms sales to Saudi Arabia and end support for Saudi Arabia’s war against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen, which is facing a humanitarian crisis.

Public opposes arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Lawrence Wittner, April 25, 2019, https://fpif.org/most-americans-actually-reject-trumps-america-first-policy/ Most Americans Actually Reject Trump’s ‘America First’ Policy

Unlike the president, who has boasted of U.S. weapons sales to other countries, particularly to Saudi Arabia, Americans are also rather uncomfortable about the U.S. role as the world’s pre-eminent arms dealer. In November 2018, 58 percent of Americans surveyed told YouGov that they wanted the U.S. government to curtail or halt its arms sales to the Saudi Arabian government, while only 13 percent wanted to maintain or increase such sales.

Public opposes US relations with Saudi Arabia

Paddy Ryan, April 24, 2019, https://spectator.us/us-yemen-iran-saudi-arabia/, Spectator USA, The US and Yemen: stopping Iran or appeasing Saudi Arabia?

The US-Saudi partnership is already controversial in America. According to Gallup, 77 percent of Americans hold an unfavorable view of the country. American and Saudi values are antithetical, and the Saudi promotion of the strict Salafist school of Islam is at odds with Western counter-extremism efforts. The killing of Jamal Khashoggi, Washington Post ‘journalist’ and Qatari publicist, in Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Turkey, brought relations to a nadir. Yet cooperation in the killing fields of Yemen continues unabated.

Saudi-US relations critical to keep the price of oil stable (and not high)

Paddy Ryan, April 24, 2019, https://spectator.us/us-yemen-iran-saudi-arabia/, Spectator USA, The US and Yemen: stopping Iran or appeasing Saudi Arabia?

But why should America care? The prevailing wisdom concerns oil. Since the OPEC embargo of 1973, the US has used arms deals as a lever to keep Saudi production high. In the Eighties, for example, President Reagan accelerated these sales, in exchange for increased oil production, slashing global energy prices in order to put the squeeze on the declining Soviet Union. Now, amid a price surge following President Trump’s ending of exemptions to the Iranian oil embargo, the US is again using arms to keep the Saudi oil flowing and keep prices stable. The president has tweeted that that the Saudis ‘will more than make up the oil flow difference’.

Saudi Arabia can’t just switch suppliers

Thalif Deen, Interpress Service, 4-29, 19, https://www.manilatimes.net/us-and-western-arms-in-yemen-conflict-signal-potential-war-crime-charges/546239/, US and Western arms in Yemen conflict signal potential war crime charges The Manila Times

UNITED NATIONS: When US political leaders urged the Trump administration to either reduce or cut off arms supplies to Saudi Arabia — largely as a punishment for its indiscriminate bombings of civilians in the four-year old military conflict in Yemen — President Trump provided a predictable response: “If we don’t sell arms to Saudi Arabia, the Chinese and the Russians will.” ADVERTISING Perhaps in theory it’s plausible, but in practice it’s a long shot, primarily because switching weapons systems from Western to Chinese and Russian arms — particularly in the middle of a devastating war — could be a long drawn out process since it involves maintenance, servicing, training, military advice and uninterrupted supplies of spares. Asked for a response, Pieter Wezeman, senior researcher, Arms and Military Expenditure Programme at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri), told IPS: “If, [very hypothetical] the USA and the UK would stop supplying arms to Saudi Arabia, this would be a major problem for Saudi Arabia, in military and financial terms.” He pointed out that Saudi Arabia would find it very hard to maintain the US and UK weapons its armed forces largely rely on without the support of the large numbers of US and UK service personnel in the country right now. The Saudi military might be able to keep the weapons going for a while, but presumably at a much lower operational level. He said it will not only be very costly for Saudi Arabia to replace the expensive existing equipment — which is supposed to be in service for decades — but it also means that Chinese and Russian weapons will not be of as high quality as what Saudis now receive from the US and Western Europe. Advertisements And New York Times roving correspondent Nicholas Kristof says, “some Saudis kept trying to suggest to me that if we block weapons sales to Riyadh, the kingdom will turn to Moscow.” “That’s absurd. It needs our spare parts and, more important, it buys our weapons because they come with an implicit guarantee that we will bail the Saudis out militarily if they get into trouble with Iran.”

Greg Gilpert, 4-29, 19, https://therealnews.com/stories/leaked-report-western-arms-are-essential-to-saudi-arabias-war-in-yemen, Leaked Report: Western Arms Are Essential to Saudi Arabia’s War in

The documents illustrate how crucial U.S. and Western ally support is to the war in Yemen, explained The Real News Network’s Greg Wilpert. If Saudi Arabia were to stop buying arms from the U.S. and its allies they could not easily substitute them with other weapons purchases, which contradicts the argument made by the U.S. and other governments that the war would continue regardless of their involvement. “There is not a clear path for them to just switch over to Russian manufactured weapons. It’s kind of like switching from Macintosh to Microsoft. It’s just not an easy transition. It takes a lot of time,” Hassan El-Tayyab, co-director of Just Foreign Policy, said. “So again, it kind of deeply involves the United States, and there are bipartisan majorities that want to end this war. And now we have proof just how urgent that is and how much we could impact the situation on the ground for millions of Yemenis that are living on the brink of famine by stopping these arms sales.”

The US should condition sales on ending the war in Yemen

Thalif Deen, Interpress Service, 4-29, 19, https://www.manilatimes.net/us-and-western-arms-in-yemen-conflict-signal-potential-war-crime-charges/546239/, US and Western arms in Yemen conflict signal potential war crime charges The Manila Times

In an oped piece, Kristof said the Saudi armed forces can’t even defeat a militia in Yemen. So, how could they stand up to Iran? he asked. “That’s why we have leverage over Saudi Arabia, not the other way around.” The next step, he argued, should be a suspension of arms sales until Saudi Arabia ends its war in Yemen, for that war has made the US complicit in mass starvation.

US weapons being used to commit war crimes in Yemen

Thalif Deen, Interpress Service, 4-29, 19, https://www.manilatimes.net/us-and-western-arms-in-yemen-conflict-signal-potential-war-crime-charges/546239/, US and Western arms in Yemen conflict signal potential war crime charges The Manila Times

The New York Times said last year that some US lawmakers worry that American weapons were being used to commit war crimes in Yemen— including the intentional or unintentional bombings of funerals, weddings, factories and other civilian infrastructure — triggering condemnation from the United Nations and human rights groups who also accuse the Houthis of violating humanitarian laws of war and peace. In its “World Report 2017,” Human Rights Watch said the Saudi Arabia-led coalition has carried out military operations, supported by the US and the UK against Houthi forces and forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh since March 2015. The coalition has unlawfully attacked homes, markets, hospitals, schools, civilian businesses and mosques, the report said. “None of the forces in Yemen’s conflict seem to fear being held to account for violating the laws of war,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “UN members need to press the parties to end the slaughter and the suffering of civilians.”

No credible alternate suppliers

Thalif Deen, Interpress Service, 4-29, 19, https://www.manilatimes.net/us-and-western-arms-in-yemen-conflict-signal-potential-war-crime-charges/546239/, US and Western arms in Yemen conflict signal potential war crime charges The Manila Times

Asked how dependent Saudi Arabia is on US arms, Wezeman told IPS that US is by far the largest arms supplier to Saudi Arabia. Sipri estimates that in 2014-18, the US accounted for 68 percent of Saudi arms imports followed by the UK at a distant 16 percent. Several other European countries accounted for most of the rest. China played a small role and Russia had not yet established itself as arms supplier to Saudi Arabia. Asked about the current state of US arms sales to Saudi Arabia, Wezeman said the US supplies all types of weapons to Saudi.

US providing missile defense systems

Thalif Deen, Interpress Service, 4-29, 19, https://www.manilatimes.net/us-and-western-arms-in-yemen-conflict-signal-potential-war-crime-charges/546239/, US and Western arms in Yemen conflict signal potential war crime charges The Manila Times

But most important in value of the weapons that have been or are to be delivered are F-15 combat aircraft with a full set of advanced arms and Patriot and Thaad air defense systems. But the list also includes M1A2 tanks, frigates, reconnaissance planes, light armoured vehicles, communication equipment, and basically anything needed to equip modern armed forces.

US supplies critical spare parts as part of the arms deal, switching suppliers would take at least a decade

Thalif Deen, Interpress Service, 4-29, 19, https://www.manilatimes.net/us-and-western-arms-in-yemen-conflict-signal-potential-war-crime-charges/546239/, US and Western arms in Yemen conflict signal potential war crime charges The Manila Times

What is important is that these weapons come with a service package. Though exact data is scarce, the companies supplying the equipment also supply vital maintenance and repair services, he noted. Compare with what happened in Iran in 1979, which also was highly dependent on US and UK arms, Tehran had to figure out by itself how to operate the equipment. Possibly the Iranians were better prepared and trained for that than Saudi Arabia is now, but they struggled to continue to use the US equipment in the war with Iraq and had to resort to importing inferior weapons from China and North Korea It is very likely, said Wezeman, that Russia and China will happily step in and offer their weapons. However, it will take time before they can deliver large numbers of weapons and train the Saudi’s on new equipment based on different military doctrines. A full transition will probably take many years. There are several of other cases where states have shifted between different suppliers, with different levels of success, he pointed out. Warsaw pact countries moved to NATO weapons, over several decades. Venezuela switched from US equipment to Russian and Chinese over a period of roughly a decade.

US weapons prolonging the conflict and killing civilians

Thalif Deen, Interpress Service, 4-29, 19, https://www.manilatimes.net/us-and-western-arms-in-yemen-conflict-signal-potential-war-crime-charges/546239/, US and Western arms in Yemen conflict signal potential war crime charges The Manila Times

Citing conservative UN estimates, Ole Solvang, policy director at the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), told IPS some 17,700 civilians have been killed in the fighting in Yemen since 2015. An estimated 2,310 people have died from cholera according to the World Health Organization, and 85,000 children under the age of five have died from starvation. Solvang said more bombs and weapons in Yemen will only mean more suffering and death. “By providing such extensive military and diplomatic support for one side of the conflict, the United States is deepening and prolonging a crisis that has immediate and severe consequences for Yemen — and civilians are paying the price,” he noted Described as one of the world’s least developed countries and the poorest in the Arab world, Yemen continues to be devastated by a war with no end in sight.

Continuing the war in Yemen will set back development by four decades

Thalif Deen, Interpress Service, 4-29, 19, https://www.manilatimes.net/us-and-western-arms-in-yemen-conflict-signal-potential-war-crime-charges/546239/, US and Western arms in Yemen conflict signal potential war crime charges The Manila Times

Meanwhile, the results of a study commissioned by the UN Development Program (UNDP), released last week, confirm the worst: the ongoing conflict has reversed Yemen’s human development by 21 years. The study warns of exponentially growing impacts of conflict on human development. It projects that if the war ends in 2022, development gains will have been set back by 26 years — almost a generation. If it continues through 2030, that setback will increase to four decades. “The long-term impacts of conflict are vast and place it among the most destructive conflicts since the end of the Cold War,” warns the report; and further deterioration of the situation “will add significantly to prolonged human suffering, retard human development in Yemen, and could further deteriorate regional stability.” “Human development has not just been interrupted. It has been reversed,” said UNDP Yemen Resident Representative, Auke Lootsma. “Even if there were to be peace tomorrow, it could take decades for Yemen to return to pre-conflict levels of development. This is a big loss for the people of Yemen.” “That’s why we have leverage over Saudi Arabia, not the other way around.” The next step, he argued, should be a suspension of arms sales until Saudi Arabia ends its war in Yemen, for that war has made the US complicit in mass starvation. The Times said last year that some US lawmakers worry that American weapons were being used to commit war crimes in Yemen — including the intentional or unintentional bombings of funerals, weddings, factories and other civilian infrastructure — triggering condemnation from the UN and human rights groups who also accuse the Houthis of violating humanitarian laws of war and peace.

Arms sales critical to US-Saudi relations. Relations help stabilize oil market and protect US security interests in the Middle East

Ben Hubbard, April 28, 2019, Trump Accuses Saudis of Giving U.S. a Bad Deal. Is That True?, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/28/world/middleeast/trump-saudi-arabia-military.html

Military support The relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia has long rested on a simple equation: The United States buys Saudi oil, and Saudi Arabia buys American weaponry, with the understanding that America would help protect the kingdom in case of a foreign attack. Image Portraits of President Trump and King Salman of Saudi Arabia were projected onto the Ritz Hotel during the president’s visit to the kingdom in 2017.CreditStephen Crowley/The New York Times During his visit to Saudi Arabia in May 2017, the first foreign trip of his presidency, Mr. Trump said he had concluded a $110 billion arms deal with the kingdom. But Bruce Riedel, a former C.I.A. analyst now with the Brookings Institution, wrote an analysis saying that was false. The alleged deal, according to Mr. Riedel, was actually a conglomeration of nonbinding letters of intent for future business and previous deals initiated during the Obama administration, when the kingdom bought $112 billion in weapons. Nearly two years after Mr. Trump’s announcement, only one new major arms deal has gone through. This month, the Pentagon awarded a $2.4 billion contract to Lockheed Martin for missile defense technology. The Saudi government was expected to pay $1.5 billion for its part of the deal, Reuters reported. The Saudi government has continued to pay the United States for munitions, maintenance and training of its forces under previous contracts. Image Saudi Aramco’s Ras Tanura oil refinery and terminal in Saudi Arabia. The United States buys Saudi oil, and Saudi Arabia buys American weaponry.CreditAhmed Jadallah/Reuters As for subsidies, the kingdom receives about $10,000 per year in American military assistance, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service. Receiving this aid qualifies the kingdom for a discount on American training — which the kingdom also pays for. Financial ties Saudi Arabia has strong economic ties to the United States and is Washington’s largest trading partner in the Middle East. The kingdom has the world’s second-largest proven oil reserves, after Venezuela, and is a top oil exporter, making it a major player in global energy markets. Despite the robust trade, there is no publicly available information to back up Mr. Trump’s claim of $450 billion in Saudi spending in the United States. The White House has not detailed how Mr. Trump arrived at that number. Total exports of goods and services to Saudi Arabia from the United States in 2018 were about $22.3 billion, according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. That was down from about $25.4 billion in 2017. Image Muslim pilgrims praying at the Grand Mosque ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca in 2018. Saudi Arabia, as the protector of Islam’s holiest sites — including Mecca — is often a valuable diplomatic partner.CreditDar Yasin/Associated Press In the long run, the rise in American oil production will probably undermine the foundations of the trade relationship with Saudi Arabia. The more oil that the United States produces, the less it needs to buy from Saudi Arabia. And the kingdom produces little else that the United States wants to buy. Other benefits The United States receives other advantages from its strong relationship with the kingdom. Saudi Arabia, with its clout in the Muslim world as the protector of Islam’s holiest sites — including Mecca, in western Saudi Arabia — is often a valuable diplomatic partner. The two countries’ intelligence services work together closely, sharing information about terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, and other threats. Saudi Arabia also often participates in American initiatives in the Middle East, such as the United States-led coalition against the Islamic State. In October, the kingdom gave $100 million to the United States to help stabilize parts of Syria liberated from the militants. But even with security cooperation, the kingdom usually picks up the bill. American advisers work in important security, industrial, energy and cyber security offices inside the Saudi government, their jobs paid for by the Saudis, according to the Congressional Research Service. “U.S. training and security support to Saudi Arabia remains overwhelmingly Saudi-funded via foreign military sales and other contracts,” the service said.

Arms sales support Saudi-US relations

Mark Porubcansky has been a foreign correspondent and editor for 30 years, serving until recently as foreign editor of the Los Angeles Times, April 29, 2019, https://www.minnpost.com/foreign-concept/2019/04/trumps-decision-to-pull-out-of-the-arms-trade-treaty-a-cynics-guide/ Trump’s decision to pull out of the Arms Trade Treaty: a cynic’s guide

Slightly more than half of U.S. arms exports went to the Middle East, which increased U.S. arms imports by a staggering 134 percent. The biggest single market is Saudi Arabia, accounting for 12 percent of global purchases of major weapons and 22 percent of the U.S. sales. Arms sales are a big element in Trump’s cozy relationship with the kingdom, and it helps explain his resistance to punishing the Saudis for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and his veto of legislation that would have ended U.S. logistical support for the Saudi military campaign in Yemen.

Saudis committing massive human rights violations

Feminine Perspective Magazine, 4-29, 19, https://rinj.press/fpmag/april-2019/item-4-the-axis-of-evil-saudi-arabia-has-replaced-isis-why-does-usa-and-uk-love-that/ Item 4. The Axis of Evil. Saudi Arabia has replaced ISIS. Why does USA and UK love that?

RINJ Press – FPMag – Feminine perspective Magazine. Feminine-Perspective Magazine (FPMag) Telegram:t.me/FPMag FPMag on Google News Montreal time is 30 April, 2019, 06:26 Published29 April, 2019, 23 hours ago Author: Micheal John, Editor Last Updated: 2019-04-29T12:43:50-04:00 Contact Us ‣ Email ‣ Latest News Search for: Feminine Perspective Magazine – world news and opinions Item 4. The Axis of Evil. Saudi Arabia has replaced ISIS. Why does USA and UK love that? List: Latest News and Articles Share:Twitter Facebook LinkedIn The Salafi-extremist ghouls in Riyadh beheaded 37 souls and crucified one, all of whom criticized the House of Saud’s wretched hooliganism and most of whom were Shia minorities. America and Britain didn’t bat an eye. The Saudi leadership and its reprehensible and brain-dead-brand of Islam are malignant cancers on humankind the world has decided to eradicate. Britain and America’s arms-dealers are cancers too. Cancer can be beaten. FPMag Week17 Reuters reports that European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the executions heightened doubts about respect for the right to a fair trial in Saudi Arabia. by Micheal John FPMag Editor Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet: “After a wink at the dismembering of a journalist (Khashoggi), not a whisper from the Trump administration when Saudi Arabia beheads 37 men in one day.” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet noted in a statement last week that, “It is particularly abhorrent that at least three of those killed were minors at the time of their sentencing.” Amnesty International claimed the majority of those executed in six cities belonged to the Shiite community and were convicted in “sham trials”. Fourteen people, it said, had participated in anti-government protests in the Eastern Province during the period 2011-2012 before being detained. Outrage over the House of Saud’s animal-behaviour is commonplace for many years. On 9 September, 2014, Christof Heyns, then UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions commented that “Despite several calls by human rights bodies, Saudi Arabia continues to execute individuals with appalling regularity and in flagrant disregard of international law standards.” Mr. Heyns also said in an extensive report that, “The trials are by all accounts grossly unfair. Defendants are often not allowed a lawyer and death sentences were imposed following confessions obtained under torture. …The method of execution then aggravates a situation that is already totally unacceptable.” That was five years ago. Identical statements are being issued today, five years later, by those compelled to do so by the titles on their business cards. Axis of Evil: Saudi Arabia Replaces ISIS Photo Art: Rosa Yamamoto FPMag The Iranian Foreign Minister raises a number of questions. He has ‘tweeted’ his concerns and has also given interviews to global TV networks to say that he is very concerned about the silence from Britain and the United States. Much has been said by the United States Administration about the Saudi government spending over $100 billion on arms deals. Saudi has been buying US bombs to slaughter Yemeni civilians. US President Donald Trump claims that there are few things if any that would cause him to jeopardize his money-deals with Saudi Arabia. This video is about the death of Jamal Khashogghi and why the USA doesn’t protest the murder and dismemberment of the Washington Post columnist. FPMag cannot show you videos of US President Trump talking about the volume of state-sponsored killings in Saudi Arabia, because he does not protest these human rights violations. He does protest about why he shouldn’t protest Saudi Arabia’s reprehensible human rights violations and breach of international law. It’s about money. Watch. What About Britain? Why does not Britain criticize 37 Beheadings and 1 Crucifiction last Tuesday in Week 17? At a recent FPMag editorial round table discussion (the table really is round), there was one of those coffee choking ‘eureka moments‘ and somebody spurted out, “I wonder…”. “Britain and America are making a killing selling high priced munitions which to Saudi Arabia are a consumable item as is toilet paper in 34 of the most obese USA states (at 80% plus level 2 obesity). Those obese US States are consuming enough toilet paper to wipe out forests and Saudi Aria drops enough bombs to kill tens of thousands of civilians and make Britain and Americans, (a small percentage) very rich and those few wealthy billionaires spend their money to keep their benefactors in power.” “Have you wondered why the Conservatives in Britain are adamant about Brexit even if the people are ready to string up the members of Britain’s government?” Do Theresa May and Donald Trump have wealthy patrons donating to their political careers? Or is Britain so deeply together under the covers with American arms dealers that they need to be closer? Being a part of the European Union (EU) is counter to that “badboy gun slinger/seller” game. “America,” was the answer all around.

Yemen war causing a massive cholera epidemic

Ty Joplin, April 23, 2019, Whose Fault is the Cholera Epidemic in Yemen?https://www.albawaba.com/news/whose-fault-cholera-epidemic-yemen-1281785 Al Bhawaa

The Saudi-led coalition, comprised mostly of Saudi and the U.A.E., engineered the disastrous humanitarian situation in Yemen as part of a medieval war strategy. By targeting water treatment centers and blocking off aid, cholera has become one of the conflict’s quiet killers. In March 2015, the Saudi-led coalition invaded Yemen. In Oct 2016, the first cases of cholera began streaming in. Saudi and the U.A.E. began their intervention with an overwhelming show of force. The coalition targeted elements of the Houthi’s breakaway state with implosive bombs that crumbled buildings within themselves. These bombs were part of a ‘shock and awe’ campaign to signal that Houthi resistance to the coalition would be fatal and that surrendering is their only strategic move. They wanted to show the Houthis the terror of resisting. Despite several waves of high-volume bombings across Houthi-controlled territory, the strategy failed. The coalition then shifted to targeting civilian infrastructure, including water irrigation systems and farms. As recently as June 2018, coalition jets destroyed a cholera treatment facility run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF), worsening an already-spiraling cholera crisis. As recently as June 2018, coalition jets destroyed a cholera treatment facility run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF), worsening an already-spiraling cholera crisis. The coalition initially blamed MSF for not notifying them that their target was actually a hospital for cholera patients, but MSF retorted, saying they had actually told the coalition on twelve separate occasions that the building was a hospital. Just one month later, in July 2018, Saudi airstrikes struck health, sanitation and water treatment centers in Hodeidah, Yemen’s port city and main lifeline for the majority of its people. Cases of cholera spiked immediately after the July 2018 bombings, as cholera-causing bacteria festered in Yemen’s stagnant and dirty water supply. Concurrent to the bombing campaign that started in March 2015, the coalition also began enforcing an on-and-off blockade around Yemen that continues to this day. Workers in Hodeidah offload a ship onto the dock (AFP/FILE) At one point in Nov 2017, the coalition imposed a total blockade over Yemen’s air and sea ports, preventing the shipment of vital food and medicine into the country. In the months leading up to the announcement, the coalition was imposing a de facto blockage of vital goods that choked off medical access. An Oct 2017 Reuters report found that no commercial pharmaceutical shipment had arrived in Hodeidah since August 2015. Despite insistences from coalition officials that they lifted the total blockade a few weeks after serious international pressure mounted, ships were still being denied entry months after. The blockade appears to be continuing into the present day: a French intelligence report that was leaked in April 2019 found that the U.A.E. has been stopping imports into the country with warships provided to them by France. These actions have destroyed Yemen’s ability to provide basic care for its own people while undermining international efforts to manage the humanitarian crisis, including the cholera epidemic.

Houthis responsible for the cholera crisis

Ty Joplin, April 23, 2019, Whose Fault is the Cholera Epidemic in Yemen?https://www.albawaba.com/news/whose-fault-cholera-epidemic-yemen-1281785 Al Bhawaa

The Houthis, a breakaway rebel group in the country’s northwest are responsible for exploiting the humanitarian situation for war-trime profiteering and local power plays. They’ve done so primarily by denying mass shipments of life-saving cholera vaccines while stealing aid shipments and selling them on the black market. In the summer of 2017, when the cholera crisis was spreading rapidly, a U.N. plane stocked with half a million cholera vaccines waited to receive clearance to land in Yemen. Houthi officials reportedly denied the plane entry, preventing the shipment of vaccines from reaching Yemeni civilians. “The Houthis are taking advantage of U.N. weakness,” an aid official said. “Corruption or aid diversion and all of this are because of the U.N.’s weak position.” Aid workers know that if the U.N. speaks out, “their visas will be denied and they would not be allowed back in the country.” In addition to directly blocking vaccines, Houthi fighters have also systematically funneled much of what little aid reaches their territory into black markets for a profit, an investigation by the World Food Program (WFP) found. In addition to directly blocking vaccines, Houthi fighters have also systematically funneled much of what little aid reaches their territory into black markets for a profit, an investigation by the World Food Program (WFP) found. “The misappropriation of food relief came to light in a WFP review conducted during recent months. It was prompted by an increasing number of reports of humanitarian food for sale on the open market in the capital. What the checks unearthed was fraud being perpetrated by at least one local partner organisation tasked by WFP with handling and distributing its food assistance,” the WFP said. “At a time when children are dying in Yemen because they haven’t enough food to eat, that is an outrage,” WFP’s director David Beasley said. “This criminal behavior must stop immediately.” Diverting aid into black markets has undoubtedly worsened the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, and weakened an already-vulnerable population even further. It likely makes cholera more deadly, as it infects malnourished, dehydrated individuals. Houthi fighters and militia leaders have contributed to acute deprivation in food and water-scarce regions under their control and show no serious dedication to alleviating humanitarian conditions.

Iran backs the Houthis

Ty Joplin, April 23, 2019, Whose Fault is the Cholera Epidemic in Yemen?https://www.albawaba.com/news/whose-fault-cholera-epidemic-yemen-1281785 Al Bhawaa
The Houthis’ main international supporter is Iran, who appears to support the rebels as a way to entangle their geopolitical rivals, namely the U.S. and Saudi, in an unwinnable proxy war. In Jan 2013, the U.S. intercepted a navy vessel from Iran en route to the Houthis with approximately forty tons of military armaments, including rockets, surface-to-air missiles, small arms and ammo. Since then, Iran has continued to support the Houthis with small arms and missile shipments, though exact numbers are hard to come by. Iran has also reportedly provided the Houthis with ballistic missiles including the Qiam-1. The Houthis have also deployed Bukran-1 and Bukran-2 scud missiles, which are essentially identical to the Iranian-produced Qiam-1.

NO new arms sales are going through

>Daniel Flately, 4-24, 19, Bloomberg, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-24/saudi-arms-deal-languishes-as-a-rebuke-of-trump-and-the-kingdom Saudi Arms Deal Languishes as a Rebuke of Trump and the Kingdom
The Trump administration has few options to move forward on a $2 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia that Congress is leveraging to censure the U.S. ally for alleged human rights abuses and to rebuke the White House for its unconditional embrace of the kingdom. Raytheon Co. has been blocked from selling precision-guided munitions kits to Saudi Arabia for more than a year now — far longer than the normal hold for Congress to review an arms sale. Senator Bob Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, says his April 2018 block on the order will continue until he sees evidence that this technology actually does reduce civilian casualties by turning gravity bombs into more precise “smart” bombs, as the administration claims. The sale is far from being resolved since the State Department and Defense Department have yet to provide this evidence, according to a person familiar with the proposed sales. Saudi Arabia’s relationship with lawmakers from both parties reached new lows last year over the kingdom’s killing of U.S.-based Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi in October and the impact that Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen is having on civilians. Attempted Reset This tension is in stark contrast to the situation at the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidency, when the Saudi royal family hosted his first foreign visit, replete with extravagant displays of friendship between the two countries and promises of mutual investment — including a package of defense deals Trump said could be worth $110 billion. Trump wanted to improve ties with Saudi Arabia after the relationship languished under his predecessor, Barack Obama, and arms sales were a major part of that. Now, even as the U.S. counts on its traditional ally to not only counter Iran’s regional influence but also to soften the oil supply shock of stricter Iran sanctions, the White House has hit the limits of what it can achieve without cooperation from Congress. The strongest bipartisan statement yet on U.S.-Saudi policy was a joint resolution to withdraw U.S. support for the war in Yemen, which prompted Trump’s second presidential veto. It will be up to Republican leaders in the Senate to schedule a vote to override that veto, and a spokesman for majority leader Mitch McConnell declined to comment on when that vote will take place. Warning Sent Even if that veto stands, as appears likely, Republican support for the underlying resolution serves to warn the administration against trying to force the arms sale by submitting a formal notification to Congress without Menendez’s consent. Members of Congress would then have 30 calendar days to introduce a joint resolution of disapproval to stop the sale. Raytheon didn’t respond to a request for comment about the status of the deal, nor did the Saudi embassy in Washington. The State Department declined to offer an on-the-record response to questions. The Yemen resolution was adopted with the support of 54 senators, including seven Republicans. Others like South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee and one of Trump’s closest allies, have spoken against any arms sales to Saudi Arabia until the kingdom addresses Congress’s concerns. Under a 1976 law, the State Department must notify Congress of commercial arms sales that exceed certain thresholds for ammunition, defense construction or defense articles and services. If the top Republican or Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations Committees have any concerns, they can place an informal hold on the sale by refusing to consent to the notification process. Demand for Change “I don’t think they’ll ever get arms sales through until there’s a change, until there’s more accountability,” Graham said in an interview, backing up Menendez’s unusually long informal hold. Dana Stroul, a former Senate staff member, now a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said Menendez has bipartisan support for continuing to block the deal, which includes $1 billion worth of precision-guided munitions kits to the U.A.E. “To override the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on something like this, I actually think a lot of Republicans would come and vote with Menendez, not because they oppose the sale but because of the affront it would be to Congress,” Stroul said.

Bipartisan opposition to Saudi Arms sales

Daniel Flately, 4-24, 19, Bloomberg, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-24/saudi-arms-deal-languishes-as-a-rebuke-of-trump-and-the-kingdom Saudi Arms Deal Languishes as a Rebuke of Trump and the Kingdom

Menendez and Graham this year re-introduced their Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act, which includes a suspension of arms transfers to Saudi Arabia as well as sanctions against anyone hindering humanitarian aid to Ymen or supporting the Houthi rebels active in that country. A 2018 United Nations investigation concluded the Saudi-led coalition may have committed war crimes in its disregard for civilian life. With roughly 17,700 civilian casualties in the four year conflict, Congress has hardened its attitude toward Saudi Arabia. “Congress is clearly in a bipartisan way saying ‘no, we need to re-evaluate this relationship’,” with Saudi Arabia, Stroul said.

The number of alternative suppliers is decreasing

Daniel Flately, 4-24, 19, Bloomberg, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-24/saudi-arms-deal-languishes-as-a-rebuke-of-trump-and-the-kingdom Saudi Arms Deal Languishes as a Rebuke of Trump and the Kingdom

Yet the U.S. is also counting on Saudi Arabia to ensure adequate oil supplies after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday there will be no more temporary waivers for other nations seeking to buy Iran crude despite U.S. sanctions. Saudi Arabia, the biggest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, will ensure that the oil market “does not go out of balance,” Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said Tuesday. The price of crude increased 38 percent this year to a high of $66 per barrel Tuesday as political woes in Venezuela and Libya have crippled production and the U.S. moves to bring Iranian oil exports to zero. Trump has closely watching gasoline prices for U.S. consumers, and he tweeted Monday that “Saudi Arabia and others in OPEC will more than make up the Oil Flow difference in our now Full Sanctions on Iranian Oil.”

Saudi Arabia will turn to Russia and China

Daniel Flately, 4-24, 19, Bloomberg, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-24/saudi-arms-deal-languishes-as-a-rebuke-of-trump-and-the-kingdom Saudi Arms Deal Languishes as a Rebuke of Trump and the Kingdom

Some experts, however, warn that suspending arms sales to Saudi Arabia could push the kingdom toward more pliant suppliers such as Russia or China. The Saudis see the Yemen conflict in “existential terms,” Stroul said, and will turn to other countries in violation of existing U.S. agreements if it means they can continue operations in Yemen. “Withholding arms sales to Saudi Arabia is not going to change their behavior,” said Ilan Goldenberg, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. “Eventually they will go to China and Russia.”

Without PGMS, Saudis will use dumb bombs, increasing civilian casualties

Daniel Flately, 4-24, 19, Bloomberg, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-24/saudi-arms-deal-languishes-as-a-rebuke-of-trump-and-the-kingdom Saudi Arms Deal Languishes as a Rebuke of Trump and the Kingdom

There are also concerns that suspending the sale of precision-guided munitions kits could actually cause more civilian casualties. The Saudis depend hugely on precision-guided missile imports from the U.S.,” said Paul Sullivan, a Middle East expert at Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies. “Without the U.S. PGMs, Saudi Arabia will have to take a different tactic. Sadly, that will likely mean using ‘dumb’ missiles that can have much larger impacts on unintended civilian and non-combatant targets. Simply put, more people die unintentionally from dumb bombs than from PGMs.” The implications for civilian casualties is one of the top concerns for Jim Risch, the Idaho Republican who with Menendez leads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “The Saudis are working to make the much-needed improvements the U.S. has been trying to help them adopt,” Risch said by email. “I would hope that Senator Menendez will review all the facts surrounding the efforts by the U.S. to limit civilian casualties using more precise targeting mechanisms.”

100,000 have died of famine, 10 million on the brink

France24 Live, 4-20, 19, https://www.france24.com/en/20190420-france-arms-exports-yemen-saudi-uae-khashoggi-disclose France under pressure to come clean over Yemen arms exports

Pitting a Saudi-led coalition against Iranian-backed Houthi militias, the four-year conflict in Yemen has shattered the country’s economy and created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations, whose investigators say both sides may have committed war crimes. More than 10,000 civilians have been killed during the conflict and some 10 million people have been driven to the brink of famine.

A child dies every 10 minutes

Tasmin News, April, 20, 2019, https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2019/04/20/1993247/congress-power-effectively-diminished-in-relation-to-trump-canadian-analyst Congress Power ‘Effectively Diminished’ in Relation to Trump: Canadian Analyst

The situation in Yemen is indeed so direaccording to UNICEF, a Yemeni child dies on the average every ten minutes due to malnutrition and lack of medicine – that, a few days ago, an official of the UK government (whose hands are also stained with the blood of Yemeni children) called on the United Nations to put more pressure on Saudi Arabia to live up to the truce it signed on January 7, 2019, brokered by the UN, to withdraw from Hudaydah, the port through which most of the humanitarian aid, destined for Yemen, enters the country.

Germany can veto UK sales to Saudi Arabia because they have US parts

Second Line Defense Info, 4-19, 19, https://sldinfo.com/2019/04/reworking-the-franco-german-arms-export-policies-a-crucial-challenge-facing-fcas/ Reworking the Franco-German Arms Export Policies: A Crucial Challenge Facing FCAS

Editor’s Note: Discussions with sources in London have confirmed the key concern which Britain also has with German vetoes on commonly built aircraft, in this case the sale of weapons and aircraft to Saudi Arabia. Britain has tested its unmanned prototypes on Australian ranges in the past, and with the announcement of the new loyal wingman program in Australia, the UK is certainly interested in this program and UK opportunities to work with Australia and export common aircraft. And Tempest unlike FCAS can draw upon the F-35 program in which the UK is a 15% stakeholder. If indeed the UK is a “European defense power,” then the UK and its involvement in the F-35 logically makes this a key aspect of European industry as well.

Can’t solve French weapons

Nadine Sayegh, April 19, 2019, https://www.trtworld.com/opinion/documents-reveal-french-arms-could-be-fueling-violence-overseas-25997 Documents reveal French arms could be fueling violence overseas

A new report from a collective of investigative journalists raises serious questions about the French government’s culpability for atrocities committed in Yemen. “To my knowledge, French weapons are not being used in any offensive in the war in Yemen. I do not have any evidence that would lead me to believe that French arms are behind the origins of civilian victims in Yemen,” insisted French Defence Minister Florence Parly on a French radio show yesterday, despite fresh accusations to the contrary. Earlier this week, French NGO, Disclose (a collective of investigative journalists), released a comprehensive 15-page paper citing a leaked report from French military intelligence agency DRM highlighting the use of different French weaponry likely used against civilians in Yemen. The report dates back to the end of September last year and reveals the use of French-made CAESAR guns, artillery, tactical canons, tanks, ships, and fighter-bomber jets. And as such, this gives us evidence, that the probability of the use of French arms in civilian deaths as highly probable. The report adds to this that all the information was presented to President Macron and his office on 3 October 2018 – including Foreign Minister and Minister for European Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and Florence Parly, at a Defence Council meeting. Parly later denies negotiating new deals with the Saudi-coalition, however, the report also cited a contract signed in December between Saudi Arabia and French government-owned weapons manufacturer Nexter Systems to deliver new armoured vehicles between 2019 and 2024. To understand the extent of the damage and the potential damage that may come to pass, specifically noted in the DRM report, through the use of CAESAR weaponry alone, “The population concerned by potential artillery fire is 436,370 people.” The report also deduced that “This showed that between March 2016 and December 2018, a total of 35 civilians were killed in 52 bombardments localised within the range of the CAESARs.” The report while making no grand claim points to worrying facts that certainly must be addressed by the highest levels of the French government. France, like many EU countries, is a signatory of the UN Arms Trade Treaty that regulates the international trade of conventional weapons and bans the sale of weapons that fuel human rights violations and war crimes – it, however, is also the third largest weapons exporter in the world. This reveals that at the very least there is a reason for a serious investigation, and until then, an arms embargo with Saudi Arabia and its Yemen coalition, until the inquiry is complete. The UN has also unequivocally stated that war crimes have likely been committed by all parties in the Yemeni war. For the French, in 2018, the highest arms sales recorded were to Egypt – which too has come under much public scrutiny due to the country’s alarming rate of human rights abuses. Macron responded that he did not deem it fit to lecture Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el Sisi on the matter. In January, the Human Rights Watch issued a statement saying “The French authorities contend that they have only licensed military equipment as part of the “fight against terrorism” in Egypt and not for law enforcement operations. But as recent reports by Amnesty International and FIDH have demonstrated, French-supplied armoured vehicles were used by Egyptian security forces to disperse peaceful sit-ins across the country violently. Amnesty International noted, “French vehicles were not merely assisting the security forces, but were themselves tools of repression, playing a very active role in the crushing of dissent.”

French exports to Saudi Arabia increasing

France24 Live, 4-20, 19, https://www.france24.com/en/20190420-france-arms-exports-yemen-saudi-uae-khashoggi-disclose France under pressure to come clean over Yemen arms exports

France is the world’s third-biggest arms exporter, its sales having increased fourfold under Macron’s predecessor, François Hollande. Between 2008 and 2017, Saudi Arabia and the UAE were, respectively, its second and sixth biggest export markets, according to the French defence ministry.

Hezbollah backed Iran is a threat, we must contain them

Aaron Kleigman, 4-17, 19, https://freebeacon.com/blog/folly-abandoning-saudi-arabia-yemen/ The Folly of Abandoning Saudi Arabia in Yemen

Last year, the Israeli military showed the security cabinet a list of scenarios in the event of a war between Israel and Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed terrorist organization based in Lebanon. The military told Israeli civilian leaders that, if and when war erupts on Israel’s northern border, the army would evacuate tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people who live within range of Hezbollah’s estimated 130,000 rockets and missiles. That firepower would rain down on Israel, attacking the Jewish state’s strategic targets and critical infrastructure. Indeed, in 2016, the Israeli military’s Home Front Command estimated that Hezbollah would be able to launch 1,500 rockets and missiles a day against Israel. To preempt Hezbollah’s barrage, Jerusalem would need to attack the group in Lebanon immediately, and with overwhelming force. Virtually all analysts agree that a third Lebanon war would be disastrous, and that Hezbollah, an organization obedient to Iran, poses a severe threat to Israel’s security. This is the reality that Saudi Arabia is trying to avoid in Yemen with the Houthi rebels, who Iran hopes to form into another Hezbollah, this time on the Saudis’ southern border. If Israel, the United States, and America’s Western (and Arab) allies could travel back in time and prevent Hezbollah from becoming so powerful, they would jump at the opportunity. That may not be possible in Lebanon, but it is still possible to prevent the same outcome in Yemen. Saudi Arabia formed a military coalition against the Houthis in the first place to avert what Michael Knights, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, has described as “the establishment of an Iranian-supplied ‘southern Hezbollah’ on the Arabian Peninsula, flanking the Bab el-Mandeb Strait and Suez Canal and posing a new missile threat to Saudi Arabia and Israel.” Having two Hezbollahs—a southern one on the Red Sea, and a northern one on the Mediterranean—would be a strategic mess for the United States, and for its Middle Eastern allies.

US arial assistance to Saudi Arabia has resulted in a humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen

Kristian, March 21, 2019, Bonnie Kristian is a fellow at Defense Priorities and contributing editor at The Week. Her writing has also appeared in Time Magazine, CNN, Politico, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, The Hill, and The American Conservative, among other outlets, https://thehill.com/opinion/international/435004-helping-saudi-arabia-bomb-yemen-is-not-a-plan-for-peace, Helping Saudi Arabia bomb Yemen is not a plan for peace

Whatever the revolution’s final fate, Pompeo’s claims are specious and false. There is no reason to believe the Saudi intervention has minimized the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, widely considered the world’s most acute. On the contrary, independent observers agree the opposite is true — Saudi-led forces have been credibly accused of war crimes — and that the Saudi coalition’s careless approach to civilian welfare is enabled by the support it has received from Western partners, chiefly the United States. Yemen would not overnight transform into a bastion of peace and plenty without the coalition’s involvement in its civil war. The Houthi rebels the Saudi forces oppose are hardly innocent of contributing to Yemen civilian misery, and Yemen was among the Middle East’s poorest nations even before its civil war began. But U.S. backing of the Saudi intervention has exacerbated this terrible situation. “The United States is implicated in the aerial destruction,” notes Paul Pillar at “The National Interest.” “U.S. assistance to the Saudi and Emirati air war includes mid-air refueling, targeting information, and voluminous sales of armaments,” including the bomb that struck a school bus, killing 40 young boys last year. With Washington’s help, the Saudi coalition has also launched strikes on civilian targets including homes, markets, weddings, funerals, medical clinics, water treatment plants, and more. A coalition naval blockade and restrictions on imports of food, medicine, and fuel has been cast as a means of choking opposition supply lines, but it’s more significant effect is widespread starvation and preventable disease among ordinary Yemenis. Prolonging U.S. assistance to this disastrous intervention will not, as Pompeo says, “alleviate the Yemeni people’s suffering.” It will do precisely the opposite. It will also accomplish exactly nothing for American security and interests. Backing Riyadh’s fight is hurting Yemen without helping us. “The United States does not have a stake in the outcome of civil warfare in Yemen,” as Pillar writes. “The Houthi rebellion is rooted in very local issues … [and the] Houthis [do not] pose more than a trivial threat to anyone else in the region.” A withdrawal of U.S. support could well encourage the Saudi coalition to seek a quick resolution to this conflict at the negotiating table, but even if such a pivot to diplomacy did not happen or was unsuccessful, the security risks to the United States would remain minimal. The Houthis would remain a parochial concern with no means to harm American interests. If anything, U.S. backing of the Saudi fight has been detrimental to our own security insofar as the ongoing chaos has permitted Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a regional terrorist organization which does have ambitions for overseas attacks, to flourish. In fact, coalition forces have been caught bribing and recruiting AQAP fighters, putting Washington in the absurd position of indirectly subsidizing a terrorist group with ties to the perpetrators of 9/11. American weaponry sold to Saudi Arabia has likewise been found in AQAP hands. The most plausible route to ending Yemen’s civil war and, in Pompeo’s words, “ensur[ing] a just peace,” is not to stay the course in supporting the Saudi coalition, as the secretary of state recommends. It is to end Washington’s backing for a catastrophic intervention which was never ours to fight. Continuing to help the Saudi war effort is a fool’s errand with cruel consequences for Yemeni civilians and no benefits for the United States.

Trump has vetoed Congressional efforts to restrain US support for the war in Yemen

Connor Friesdorf, Apri, 18, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/04/trump-veto-yemen/587332/ Trump Owns the War in Yemen Now. C ONOR FRIEDERSDORF is a California-based staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.

President Donald Trump issued the second veto of his presidency Tuesday to extend U.S. participation in Yemen’s civil war. In so doing, he acted against the will of the American public, the U.S. Senate, and the House of Representatives, allying instead with Saudi Arabia and the autocrats who rule it. The Saudis are leading a brutal military campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen. U.S. support for that campaign is a stark departure from the “America first” foreign policy that Trump has pledged. As Benjamin H. Friedman noted at Defense Priorities, “None of the limited U.S. interests in the Middle East—preventing the emergence of a regional hegemon, preventing large-scale disruptions to the global oil supply, and eliminating transnational terrorists who directly threaten the United States—justify supporting the Saudi-led war in Yemen.” Get the latest issue now. Subscribe and receive an entire year of The Atlantic’s illuminating reporting and expert analysis, starting today. Subscribe Issue cover image So how did Trump explain his veto? “This resolution is an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future,” he declared in a statement. The explanation is preposterous. The president has no constitutional authority to enmesh America in a foreign war that Congress rejects. Indeed, as David French observes, “If a president can fight when he wants, where he wants, and for as long as he wants, then Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 is meaningless.” And if the danger posed to Americans by Houthi rebels were sufficient to justify war, the U.S. would be at war in dozens of other countries, too. MORE BY CONOR FRIEDERSDORF Bernie Sanders Bernie Sanders Pierces the Fox News Bubble CONOR FRIEDERSDORF A child climbs onto a giant mockup laptop keyboard An Internet for Kids CONOR FRIEDERSDORF SPONSOR CONTENT This Woman Saw Bias in the Workplace. Now She Uses VR to Fight It. DELOITTE Ilhan Omar Falls Victim to the Outrage Exhibitionists CONOR FRIEDERSDORF A President Falsely Charging ‘Treason’ Is What the Founders Feared CONOR FRIEDERSDORF As if all that weren’t enough, the war is also a moral abomination, resulting in heavy civilian deaths due to indiscriminate air strikes. Millions are on the brink of famine. Daniel Larison explained: All of the aid organizations involved in providing humanitarian relief in Yemen have been clear and consistent in urging an end to U.S. support for the Saudi coalition. They understand what the consequences for the civilian population will be if the war is not brought to an end, and they can see that the war won’t be stopped as long as the foreign patrons of the warring parties continue providing unconditional support. When Trump vetoed S.J.Res. 7, he was proving yet again that he valued good relations with despotic war criminals more than the lives of the many millions of Yemenis being starved and subjected to the most horrific conditions imaginable. In 2016, when Democrats chose an interventionist hawk as their nominee, Trump was able to obscure his militarist instincts enough to run as a candidate who would keep America out of dumb wars. Now he has flagrantly kept the country entangled in a dumb, brutal, immorally waged war, even as the public wants out. In 2020, the opposition party needs a candidate who can call Trump out for a foreign-policy record that aligns with Saudi values more closely than American values, American law, the will of U.S. citizens, or the promises he made to voters. We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.

Houthi aggression enables Iranian aggression and the disruption of trade in the adjacent seas

Wall Street Journal Editorial Board, April 17, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-yemen-principles-11555542263 Trump’s Yemen Principles

Congress reminds us why the War Powers Act was a bad idea. President Trump isn’t known for eloquent defenses of his foreign policy, but on Tuesday he stood up for a crucial American principle. His veto of a congressional demand that the U.S. withdraw support from the Saudis in their war in Yemen keeps responsibility for foreign policy in the White House, where it belongs. Lest anyone forget—and Congress seems to—the Saudis are leading a coalition against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. Tehran aspires to use its proxies to build an arc of influence across the Middle East. Yemen is an inviting target since it controls the passage from the Red Sea into the Arabian Sea, and offers a convenient base from which to launch rockets into Saudi Arabia. Potomac Watch Podcast Bernie Sanders: Democratic front-runner? SUBSCRIBE These facts don’t make the war in Yemen less of a humanitarian disaster, or the Saudis more savory as allies. But they explain why both the Obama and Trump Administrations concluded the U.S. has a stake in supporting Saudi Arabia in this fight. This is true despite the murder of U.S.-resident journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year, perhaps with the knowledge of Saudi Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the country’s de facto leader. That event and Mr. Trump’s evident lack of concern beyond raw national interest inspired a rebellion even among some Senate Republicans, who joined Democrats in invoking the discredited War Powers Act to force the U.S. to stop offering Riyadh intelligence and other support. This is a case study in why that 1973 law, passed over the veto of a weakened Richard Nixon and resisted by every Administration since, is a bad idea. Congress has repeatedly supported Administration efforts to deter Iran, yet it now also wants to grandstand over the Khashoggi murder in the middle of a violent proxy battle with Tehran. The Founders vested broad foreign-policy responsibility in the executive to avoid precisely such waffling and confusion while still holding the President accountable to voters. Mr. Trump reminded Congress of this constitutional principle in his veto message: “This resolution is an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future.” Voters can pass their own verdict on Mr. Trump’s foreign policy in the 2020 election, as the Framers intended.

Continuation of arms sales backs MBS’ authoritarianism

Sara Aziza, 4-18, 19, https://theintercept.com/2019/04/18/trump-veto-yemen-saudi-arabia-mbs/Trump’s Veto on Yemen War Is a Sign That the Strongmen in the U.S. and Saudi Arabia Are Winning

April 18 2019, 11:57 a.m. WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 10: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media prior to his departure from the White House April 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump will sign an executive order on energy and infrastructure during his visit at International Union of Operating Engineers International Training and Education Center in Crosby, Texas. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media prior to his departure from the White House on April 10, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images ON TUESDAY, Donald Trump invoked his veto power for only the second time in his presidency. Trump’s move struck down a congressional resolution to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. In doing so, he stifled a moment of rare bipartisanship, flexing his own authoritarian tendencies to protect a fellow autocrat, the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is known by the initials MBS. By doing so, Trump not only signaled his loyalty to a prince who has been widely implicated in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as well as the imprisonment and torture of numerous human rights activists, but he has also ensured that the U.S. would remain complicit in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Far from an effort to protect the Constitution, as Trump claimed, the veto was rather the latest example of the autocratic, tit-for-tat deal-making that has in recent years increasingly dominated the geopolitics of the Middle East. Far from an effort to protect the Constitution, as Trump claimed, the veto was rather the latest example of the autocratic, tit-for-tat deal-making. Trump made clear that his decision was intended to augment his executive powers. In his statement, he called the bill — which would have made history as the first legislation under the 1973 War Powers Act to receive bipartisan support — a “dangerous attempt to weaken [his] constitutional authorities.” Trump said that scaling back U.S. involvement in the deadly Yemen conflict would imperil “American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future.” The bill, though, just like the president’s objection to it, had much more to do with Trump’s relentless and ill-advised devotion to MBS. The resolution first gained momentum in the aftermath of Khashoggi’s murder in October 2018, a crime that many — including the U.S. intelligence community — have linked to the crown prince. MBS is also responsible for leading the coalition of Persian Gulf states in its four-year offensive in Yemen, which has left thousands of Yemeni civilians dead and millions ravaged by famine and disease. In addition to overseeing this disastrous war, MBS has also ordered numerous crackdowns on his own civilians, including mass arrests and alleged torture of nonviolent human rights advocates. Making a Killing Read Our Complete Coverage Making a Killing By calling for an end to U.S. support for the war, Congress took aim at Trump’s obstinate and increasingly untenable loyalty to MBS. Since Khashoggi’s killing, even staunch supporters of the U.S.-Saudi relationship, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., have grown critical of Riyadh. In contrast, Trump has persistently ignored the ongoing abuse of Saudi human rights activists and downplayed the mounting catastrophe in Yemen, calling Saudi Arabia a “truly spectacular ally.” IT WAS NO great surprise, then, to see the president resort to veto power to protect MBS’s disastrous Yemen campaign. Beneath the shallow appeals to constitutionalism and national security, Trump is acting in accordance with a now-familiar pattern: gravitating toward fellow strongmen and personality-driven deal-making. This entrepreneurial narcissism has fueled much of the president’s volatile foreign policy, from his on-again-off-again “relationships” with Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un to his rabid devotion to building a wall on the Mexican border. Join Our Newsletter Original reporting. Fearless journalism. Delivered to you. I’m in This trend has dramatic implications in the Middle East. Since the collapse of the Arab Spring and in the wake of years of foreign intervention, hopes of democracy in the region have in large part given way to a cast of authoritarian rulers. From MBS in Saudi Arabia to Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey to the recently re-elected Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, the region has grown increasingly polarized under hawkish, right-wing leaders. Among this fray, Trump, along with his his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, identified MBS as an ideal partner. The president and crown prince share an alarmist message of Iran as a regional menace and both use this stance to justify destabilizing policies, such as the dismantling of the Iran nuclear deal and the war in Yemen. Trump has also lauded MBS and the Saudis for their alleged work to curb extremism in the region, despite reports that Riyadh has cut deals with Al Qaeda fighters in Yemen. The veto, for all its cynical implications about the state of U.S. foreign policy, should also concern Americans at home.

Trump needs Saudi Arabia’s support for Arab-Israeli peace deal

Sara Aziza, 4-18, 19, https://theintercept.com/2019/04/18/trump-veto-yemen-saudi-arabia-mbs/Trump’s Veto on Yemen War Is a Sign That the Strongmen in the U.S. and Saudi Arabia Are Winning

For his ongoing support, which includes billions in arms sales, Trump has expected cooperation from the Saudis on his own regional agenda, including in his efforts to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict. Trump and Kushner are preparing to push for this “deal of the century” in coming months — a negotiation that has far more to do with backroom bargaining than any democratic or humanitarian concerns.

Saudi bombings have killed 85,000. 14 million at risk-of famine. US is complicit

Common Dream, April 17, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/04/17/shameful-millions-brink-famine-yemen-trump-vetoes-resolution-end-us-complicity

President Donald Trump decided late Tuesday to continue America’s complicity in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis by vetoing the historic Yemen War Powers resolution. “With Trump’s veto of Bernie Sanders’ and my War Powers resolution, he is risking the lives of millions of Yemeni civilians to famine, deadly airstrikes, and the war crimes of the Saudi regime.” —Rep. Ro Khanna “Donald Trump’s veto today is reckless and shameful,” Stephen Miles, director of Win Without War, said in a statement. “Sadly, it is also to be expected from a president who has pretended to be a champion of peace while actually expanding every war he inherited and putting us on a collision course to war with Iran.” Trump’s veto—the second of his presidency—came nearly two weeks after the House of Representatives passed the Yemen measure with an overwhelming bipartisan vote, marking the first time Congress has sent a War Powers resolution to the president’s desk. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), who helped lead the House effort to end U.S. military involvement in Yemen, denounced Trump’s veto on Twitter. “With Trump’s veto of Bernie Sanders’ and my War Powers resolution, which passed with bipartisan support in Congress, he is risking the lives of millions of Yemeni civilians to famine, deadly airstrikes, and the war crimes of the Saudi regime,” Khanna wrote. “We must override his veto.” In a separate tweet, Khanna challenged Trump’s claim in his veto message that the Yemen measure represented “an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken [his] constitutional authorities.” Trump’s veto was immediately praised by Anwar Gargash, foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a key Saudi ally in the years-long assault on Yemen. According to a report published by the humanitarian group Save the Children last November, 85,000 Yemeni children under the age of five have died of malnutrition over the past three years, as the U.S.-backed Saudi coalition has relentlessly bombed the impoverished nation and restricted access to food and medicine. The United Nations has estimated that 14 million Yemenis—half the country’s population—are at risk of famine as the Saudi bombing continues with the help of American-made weapons and aircraft. “The people of Yemen desperately need humanitarian help, not more bombs,” tweeted Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who led the Senate effort to cut off U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia. Amid the worsening humanitarian crisis in Yemen, Peace Action executive director Jon Rainwater urged Congress to “keep the pressure up and continue the fight to stop U.S. complicity.” “They must pull out the stops to confront this president who thinks starving millions of Yemenis is a price worth paying for high arms industry profits,” Rainwater said in a statement. “Congress should work to block arms sales to the Saudi-led coalition and cut off funding for U.S. military involvement in Yemen. They should raise hell in the run-up to the 2020 election and lay each new casualty of this war at Trump’s feet where they belong.”

Saudis are losing the war

Michael Horton, 3-26, 19, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/saudi-arabia-is-losing-the-war-in-yemen/, Saudi Arabia is Losing the War in Yemen

As the war in Yemen marks the end of its fourth year this week, it is clear that, with the aid and complicity of the United States and United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have savaged an impoverished country. Yemen’s infrastructure has been laid waste to, as has some of its most productive farmland. The result has been the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet. Yet despite this destruction, Yemen has turned into Saudi Arabia’s Vietnam. Ditto for the UAE. The two countries have sunk billions of dollars and countless troops and mercenaries into what has become a quagmire of catastrophic proportions. What they had hoped would be a decisively quick war has turned into an albatross, with the rest of the world now questioning their motivations and urging their Western helpmates to withdraw support immediately. The overt reason for Saudi and Emirati involvement is to defeat the Houthi rebels, a Zaidi Shia group with deep roots in Yemen. Yet this hasn’t been achieved. The two Gulf States claim that the Houthis are proxies for Iran, but it has become increasingly clear that they are fiercely independent, and while they receive limited aid from Tehran, they do not take orders. Saudi and Emirati leaders would do well to learn from Yemen’s 2,000-year history of draining the blood and coffers of imperial and lesser powers. The Yemenis defeated the Romans, the Ottoman Turks twice, and evicted the British in 1967. They also defeated the Egyptians who invaded in 1962. Much like the U.S. in Vietnam more than 40 years ago and more recently in Afghanistan, the goliath invaders are fighting a war of attrition, bleeding their resources, and losing whatever moral and political authority they might have had in the process. Advertisement But were they ever being honest about their real intentions in Yemen? Saudi Arabia and the UAE have armed and supported a mushrooming number of Yemeni militias and factions, some of which have ties to al-Qaeda. These policies have purposefully turned Yemen into a patchwork of warring fiefdoms. This is because the covert purpose of the “intervention” has less to do with perceived Iranian influence than it does with securing access to Yemen’s strategic real estate and its natural resources. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are engaged in a neo-colonial war for power, resources, and territory. The two countries, which are increasingly in competition with one another, are trying to carve Yemen up into spheres of influence. Because it has a slightly more competent mercenary army, the UAE has the lead over Saudi Arabia in this regard. It’s set up military bases throughout southern Yemen where it supports separatists of various stripes who want everything from an independent south Yemen to an Islamic emirate. Not content with just occupying the mainland, the UAE has also established bases on the once pristine Yemeni island of Socotra—a UNESCO world heritage site—and the island of Perim. Saudi Arabia is playing catch-up with its ally and is laying claim to the governorate of al-Mahra in eastern Yemen. There, Riyadh hopes to build a pipeline that will allow it to bypass the Strait of Hormuz. However, as in other parts of Yemen, the people are fighting to stop what many view as a land grab by a foreign power. Residents of al-Mahra protested the construction of a Saudi-funded madrassa that would have undoubtedly used Saudi schoolbooks, the same schoolbooks that were used by the Islamic State. Residents are also blocking the construction of a Saudi military base. Both countries have much to learn from America’s costly misadventures after 9/11. Despite fielding the world’s most capable armed forces and spending several trillion dollars, the U.S. failed to achieve its aims in Iraq or Afghanistan, a country that is in many respects similar to Yemen. In Iraq, the invasion destroyed much of that country and paved the way for the rise of the Islamic State, as well as driving Baghdad into Iran’s open arms. In both nations, new and deadlier strains of extremism grew out of the power vacuums that were created. Saudis Find Out Hard Way: Yemen Is Another Graveyard of Empires A Yemen Ceasefire? Believe It When You See It The war in Yemen will have similar results. By continuing to fight the Houthis, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are paradoxically strengthening their enemies and providing Iran with more fertile ground for its influence operations. The Houthis are superb fighters, but have shown less competence with regard to governance. The war and Saudi and Emirati airstrikes have enhanced the Houthis’ legitimacy by allowing them to do what they do best: fight. It may be years before Yemen is a unified country with a functioning government again. In fact, Yemen may never again be unified. However, the UAE and Saudi Arabia are unlikely to ever see a return on their investment. Even a cursory reading of Yemen’s history would have told them this. And failing that, an examination of America’s failed wars should have dissuaded them from becoming involved in the first place. Without sustained international pressure on Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Iran, the war in Yemen will continue for years to come. All the while, it will drain both the UAE and Saudi Arabia of billions of dollars, spawn new militant groups, and ionically provide Iran with more opportunities to expand its influence. Most critically, the war will continue to kill, maim, starve, and impoverish tens of thousands of Yemeni civilians. Ironically, while Yemen may never be conquered, there might not be anything left worth conquering in the end.

Michael Horton is a foreign policy analyst who has written for numerous publications, including Intelligence Review, West Point CTC Sentinel, The Economist, The National Interest, and the Christian Science Monitor.

Turn – Abandoning US support makes the Saudis more reckless

Aaron Kleigman, 4-17, 19, https://freebeacon.com/blog/folly-abandoning-saudi-arabia-yemen/ The Folly of Abandoning Saudi Arabia in Yemen

Trump was right to veto the resolution. As the president mentioned in his statement, American involvement with the coalition is limited to logistical support—which includes identifying nonmilitary and civilian facilities for coalition aircraft to avoid. Tragically, this support has not avoided all civilian casualties, but it certainly has reduced them. Furthermore, the Pentagon ended its most direct military involvement—in-flight refueling of Saudi aircraft—last year, in the aftermath of Khashoggi’s murder. So the argument that the United States is supporting a belligerent Saudi war machine is not really accurate. Moreover, recall that Saudi Arabia launched its military campaign during the Obama administration, at a time when Riyadh felt it had to go rogue because the United States was an unreliable ally. The fact is ending American support for the coalition will, if anything, cause the Saudis to be more reckless, not less. Journalists and politicians fail to understand this basic point: allies are more likely to listen to Washington if they feel the United States supports them, not if they feel abandoned and pressured. And the United States has more influence when it is actively involved, not sitting back and watching events unfold from a distance.

Houthis will disrupt shipping routes, increasing oil prices

Aaron Kleigman, 4-17, 19, https://freebeacon.com/blog/folly-abandoning-saudi-arabia-yemen/ The Folly of Abandoning Saudi Arabia in Yemen

The most disturbing part about this congressional effort is the obvious motivation simply to punish Saudi Arabia, even at the expense of American interests. Like it or not, Saudi Arabia is an essential American ally. Riyadh is an important partner in counterterrorism, and a huge purchaser of American arms sales. The Saudis also are a necessary staple of the global oil market, which affects what Americans pay at the pump regardless of how much oil the United States exports. Not to mention that the Houthis (and Iran) would love control of the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, one of the world’s busiest oil highways. The Houthis have threatened to disrupt international shipping in this waterway, with weapons supplied by Iran.

Allowing the Houthis to attack Saudi Arabia will destroy Middle East stability

Aaron Kleigman, 4-17, 19, https://freebeacon.com/blog/folly-abandoning-saudi-arabia-yemen/ The Folly of Abandoning Saudi Arabia in Yemen

Moreover, few developments would be more catastrophic for the Middle East than the collapse of the House of Saud. As chaotic as the Middle East is, the Saudi government’s stability is one of the few threads keeping the region from reaching a deeper circle of hell. Allowing the Houthis to fire missiles at Riyadh and pose a constant threat on Saudi Arabia’s southern border risks destabilizing a key pillar of American interests in the Middle East. Khashoggi’s murder was heinous, and the administration’s moves to end the in-flight refueling and to impose sanctions on Saudi officials were warranted. But it would be the height of folly to blow up the alliance.

Houthis are the aggressors

Aaron Kleigman, 4-17, 19, https://freebeacon.com/blog/folly-abandoning-saudi-arabia-yemen/ The Folly of Abandoning Saudi Arabia in Yemen

Members of Congress should absolutely want to end the humanitarian suffering in Yemen. Indeed, the United States should continue to support the United Nations’ efforts to end the conflict. But abandoning Saudi Arabia would only perpetuate the violence. Too often lost in discussions about Yemen is the fact that the Houthis’s brutal and incompetent governance has worsened the humanitarian disaster. They have failed to repair sanitation services, worsening Yemen’s cholera epidemic, and have confiscated food and medical aid from civilians to support their fighters. The Houthis have also used child soldiers to field more fighters. The Saudis have certainly waged a clumsy and incompetent war, but too many critics are blinded by their hate of Riyadh to see the Houthis for the monsters that they are. And that does not include their anti-American, anti-Western, and anti-Semitic ideology, which is all too evident in their slogan: “Death to America, death to Israel, curse upon the Jews, victory to Islam!” Perhaps self-righteous journalists and politicians can find some time to criticize the Houthis, not just the Saudis. In sum, the United States cannot lose sight of the key strategic objective in Yemen: to prevent the creation of a southern Hezbollah, which would enhance Iran’s nefarious influence in the Middle East and only perpetuate violence and suffering. That means continuing American support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen, as hard a pill as that may be to swallow.

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