Now is the Time to End Our Involvement in Yemen
It is always a good time to end a war, especially one as brutal and unnecessary as the war in Yemen. The current civil war in Yemen began in 2014. It is primarily between the Saudi/American-backed government in Sanaa and the Houthi rebel group. Power struggles have been active in Yemen for quite some time, as ethnic and religious groups struggle for autonomy and influence. Saudi Arabia became involved to primarily ensure that an Iranian-backed government did not succeed in gaining power.
The current civil war has proven difficult to end, as the Houthi’s are exceptionally resilient. The Saudi-led coalition, and its ally, the Southern Transition Council have the upper hand in terms of funding and weapons. The military situation is currently precarious. The Saudi coalition involves partners such as Bahrain, The United States, Egypt, and others. Saudi Arabia’s Air Force is greatly subsidized by American equipment, and it is well known that at least up until very recently, American Air Force personnel were training Saudi airmen and refueling the jets that the Saudis were using to bomb Houthi targets, (often military as well as civilian).
The United Arab Emirates is a key ally to Saudi Arabia in the conflict, but primarily funds different groups. The UAE supports the Southern Transitional Council and a Salafi group known by many as the Southern Giants Brigade. The Salafi school seeks to unify Islamic political ends with Islamic religious ends. Much of this is rooted in jihadist islam, and a goal to create a global caliphate. The extremist background of the Giants Brigade is controversial to some, but the United States continues to support and give intelligence to this group
Dating back to the Cold War, the Southern Transition Council is a group that initially wished for Southern Yemen to be separate from the rest of Yemen. This separatist group was in opposition with the Saudi-backed government until 2020, when a power sharing agreement was made. Now the STC has been given seats in the federal government, and increased regional autonomy.
Both groups fight against Houthi rebels in the conflict. Al Qaida is an interesting player in the war. Al Qaida has been active in Yemen for decades, and currently has end goals of ensuring that the government of Yemen is anti-West and distinctly Islamic. Al Qaida forces have clashed with Houthi forces, as well and have been targeted by US drones. However, Saudi Arabia has not prioritized opposing Al Qaida, and has even formed strategic agreements with the organization in Yemen.
This war is especially brutal to the civilian Houthi population. An estimated 400,000 civilians have been killed, (a majority children), with millions more suffering from starvation and malnutrition. The situation has been deemed the largest humanitarian crisis in the worldaccording to the United Nations. The actions taken by the Saudi Arabian coalition can be labeled as genocidal. Civilian infrastructure is targeted, and public health amongst the civilian population has drastically declined due to the conflict. Disease, starvation, and hopelessness run rampant amongst Houthis. The Houthis are a distinct ethnic group who are targeted by the Saudi Arabian coalition, thus, the United States is giving assistance to a power that is arguably committing genocide
Now is a perfect time to end this practice. The world is hyper-focused on another aggressive power in Eastern Europe. The United States has rebuked Russia for its behavior towards civilians in The Ukraine. If the United States is to be a consistent force for good, it must rebuke similar, (if not worse), behavior on the part of Saudi Arabia.
The double standard is astoundingly easy to point to, yet very few in the mainstream media are doing so. As long as the United States is in the business of subsidizing Kiev’s military efforts, it can offset the cost by ending monetary support to Saudi Arabia.
The world is likely on the brink of experiencing a recession. Energy instability is being experienced around the globe, and has the potential to reach the United States. Part of this instability comes from a coerced move towards alternative energy sources, but a major recent source is the Russian sanctions.
As OPEC+ countries increase oil prices, the United States should look to other oil producers for trade. Russia was a major energy supplier for most of Europe, and has provided energy to the United States. The United States cannot continue to rely on its strategic petroleum reserve, and there are other potential partners for trade. Washington could end some of its support towards Saudi Arabia and the UAE in retaliation for these price increases. This would not be unprecedented in American history, and could either lead to lower oil prices for America, or to less American involvement in the Yemen Civil War. Either option is a good outcome.
Politics of course has a part to play in America’s involvement in the conflict. President Trump vetoed war powers legislation in 2019. This legislation would have impaired the president’s ability to continue America’s involvement in the war without congressional approval. President Biden said that he would end US support in the war, but has not done so completely as of yet.
A new war powers bill has been crafted, and is currently awaiting an introduction in congress. The bill has cosponsors from both parties, but Democrats currently lead by a wide margin. Progressive Democrats seem potentially willing to hold President Biden accountable in this instance, and America First Republicans have every reason to do the same. Any Republican who is skeptical of President Biden should support this legislation
Now is the time to reach out to your member of congress, their offices are not difficult to reach. This tragedy in Yemen is really only possible on this scale because of American support. Anti-war progressives, constitutionalists, and America-First voters all have reasons to support war powers legislation. It is politically expedient, economically sensible, and morally correct. We have never had a better time to end American involvement in the Yemeni Civil War.