Who advised President Obama to intervene in Yemen any way?
The on-going carnage in Yemen is perhaps one of the least talked about issues in the US media. There’s too much else going on here that catches attention and is talked about non-stop. We have the Trump problem, the race menace, Islamophobia, the never-ending Louisiana nature-inflicted catastrophes and, of course, the constant bickering vis-à-vis playing a major global role at a time when many who dare to care, believe that the US must scale back its international commitments and focus on the burning priorities at home.
Speaking of global role (read ‘hobnobbing’), the crisis in Yemen is yet another example of the ‘ugly Americans’ landing themselves in muddy waters, acting like social miracle workers/honest brokers and ending up making an even bigger mess.
Whatever the case may be, it really doesn’t matter at this point. What matters is that after almost a year and half of active participation in this relentless madness and after selling more than $20 billion of military equipment to the brutal Saudis resulting in loss of almost 7000 civilian lives in addition to 2.5 million people being displaced, why in the world is no one paying attention to this merciless foreign policy disaster?
They say it is easier to get into something but harder to get out of it. That’s the story of the US Yemen quandary. I took the opportunity to talk to a few folks on the Hill recently and asked as to what compelled Washington to bloody its hands in this unwanted conflict.
What transpired from my discussions was that the President was caught between the rock and a hard place. He jumped into this rather blind alley since that the House of Saud threatened to withdraw all forms of cooperation, economic and otherwise, if the US did not back them up in the Yemeni expedition. This was around the time when Washington was trying to close the nuclear deal with Iran and the Saudis felt that they were side-tracked and not treated fairly. Just the right time to blackmail!
Perhaps more importantly the Saudis were afraid of the potential Iranian influence spreading in the region once the sanctions were lifted thereby turning Yemen into a hotbed of Shiaism. Just like anywhere else, Pakistan being a prime example, the Saudis wanted to subjugate and dominate the Yemenis and spread their dark brand of Islam, nipping any possibility of Houthi (Shia) militias running the government in the bud.
While the war goes on, US heavy military complex keeps producing what the world can live without – lethal weapons. The Saudis are good customers and have abundance of cash. Right-wing hawks in Congress itch for wars and the Yemen adventure is just another excuse to get the K-Street lobbying and Beltway contracting firms more influence and billions in their pockets.
Lately, there have been some faint voices airing scepticism about the involvement in the Yemeni charade. But such voices are likely to die down. In this US election year, no one has the desire or the capacity to change anything.
Just like ‘every rose has its thorn’, this is the thorn in Obama’s record. Whereas the US professes to fight ISIS and the extreme Islam menace all over the world, ironically they are playing into Saudi hands and have become partners in crime in the spread of extremism that poses the greatest threat to human integrity and survival. Being a part of the Saudi mass murder venture is an imponderable enterprise that can turn into a political lightening rod for the Obama administration. It’s a senseless exercise, one that should’ve been avoided.
As the Houthis and Saudis compete to kill and destroy more in Yemen, one wonders how many more kids will grow up traumatised, emotionally disconnected, and not ever knowing the phenomenon of death by natural causes.
How much more sacrifice is needed from the Omran Daqneeshs and the Alan Kurdis before the collective conscience of the world wakes up to the foolish desire of the powers that subdue populations by killing millions of innocent souls in geographical entities that are hurting and bleeding profusely? When will this incessant thirst for a few extra yards of territory, religious exploitation, profits and power give way to love, peace and focus on what’s better for humanity?
Obama needs to clean the mess and correct this historic wrong that he’s committed before he exits the White House. While the demented Saudi king has nothing to lose, the President has his legacy to protect. He better do it now lest the world will blame and condemn him for ever and ever.
And, if there is a God, He better act soon for many of us are quickly losing hope in humanity. If He’s listening, with all due respect, I humbly ask to alleviate our pain and suffering and give peace a chance. Until then, I’ll keep trying to reach out to Him and knock at His door without fail in the hope that He’ll answer my prayers someday.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.