Obama's Unconstitutional War
- No obscure third world shit hole is too remote not to be a "threat" to American security.
(The Nation) - The Trump administration is sending signals that it is interested in getting more involved in the Yemen war. Those American voters who saw Trump as an isolationist or antiwar candidate appear to be in for a set of big disappointments.
The Yemen conflict is a civil war, with Saudi Arabia and its allies giving air support to the rump government of Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi in the south, which is seeking to dislodge from northern Yemen the rival government run by the Houthi militia. The war has created a humanitarian crisis in the country, pushing millions to the brink of hunger, and there is no universe in which further American involvement will redound to Washington’s credit. Trump’s interest is driven in part by Saudi propaganda that the Houthis are Iran-backed.
Last week, General Joseph Votel testified for the Pentagon before Congress, insisting that Yemen is key to US security. He pointed out that it sits astride the Bab al-Mandeb strait at the mouth of the Red Sea, and could be used by a hostile power to interrupt sea traffic in that key body of water, through which about 10 percent of world trade flows.
Oh The Horror - Yemen Might Fall Apart
Votel also pointed to the danger emanating from the Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The Yemeni press reports that the United States is regularly bombing and droning AQAP there. The murky Yemen civil war, however, is treacherous ground for a superpower. The first significant US military operation in Yemen under Trump was a January 29 raid on an alleged AQAP camp in al-Gheel in southern Bayda Province, in the course of which as many as 30 civilian noncombatants, including children, and one Navy Seal were killed.
The main target, Abd al-Rauf al-Dhahab, however, has switched back and forth between allying with Al Qaeda and with the government of Mansour Hadi. He had recently been enlisted by the latter to fight the Houthis. That is, the raid may have been based on old intelligence from before Dhahab’s recent change of allegiance.
Iran may have sent the Houthis small sums of money, but most of the movement’s arms are American, from Saleh-controlled depots, and most of its support is rooted in north Yemeni resentment of growing Saudi and Wahhabi hegemony, not only among Zaydis but also among some Sunni tribes (most Yemeni Sunnis dislike Wahhabism).
The Saudi air campaign, which has often indiscriminately targeted schools, hospitals, cultural institutions, and key civilian infrastructure such as bridges and ports, has made Riyadh thoroughly hated in the north. In late March, Sana residents held a massive demonstration of hundreds of thousands against the Saudi bombing. It is, however, entirely possible that were the United States to take on a more visible role in support of the Saudis in Yemen, the Houthis and their allies may feel they have no choice but to ally more closely with Iran.
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Yemen: A Failed State