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COLUMN: The U.S. plays a large role in Yemen crisis



Thanks to a deliberate, man-made humanitarian crisis, the nation of Yemen is experiencing the worst cholera epidemic in modern history, with a million cases likely by the end of 2017. 

Nearly 600,000 cases among children are expected, with a quarter of all reported cases involving children under 5 years old. A multi-pronged war helmed by the United States, United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia has ripped Yemen apart, creating the one of the most tragic yet unknown human disasters occurring in the world today. 

A mass blackout in the public conscious about Yemen is not coincidental, and it is due to the U.S. role in this monstrous campaign against the Yemini people. 

Furthermore, U.S. and British journalists bear particular responsibility, as they have worked tirelessly to frame the war as a proxy conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and not the latest episode in a decades long U.S. military project to reshape the Middle East. 

U.S. involvement in Yemen dates to a covert war against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula beginning in the early years of former President Barack Obama's administration. 

Yet, complicity in the conflict truly increased once Saudi Arabia, with shocking cooperation by the United States and United Kingdom, started its horrendous bombing campaign against Houthi rebels, enemies of its client government in Saana, Yemen. 

The bombing campaign has become an international scandal. Over 14,000 people have been killed and maimed, while coalition bombing has targeted weddings, funerals, agricultural production, a Doctor’s Without Borders hospital and schools. 

Other efforts to break the Yemini population include a blockade with the intent of mass starvation and preventing medicinal supplies, which undoubtedly has caused the current cholera epidemic. 

To be sure, deputizing the Saudi’s to carry out the humanitarian nightmare necessitated by U.S. policy likely allows the U.S. government to absolve itself of legal responsibility

This conflict in turn has been exclusively sold and framed as an aberration of Middle East politics. The phrase “Saudi-led coalition” is used alarmingly often when an establishment media outlet discusses the bombing campaign. 

Entire articles are published that don’t even mention U.S. involvement in generating this crisis. By all accounts, Saudi Arabia wants out of the conflict. The consequences of creating a basket-case failed state on its own border has no doubt shaken the country up, but the war continues. 

Worsening Yemen’s fate is the regime of global terrorism inaugurated by President Trump's administration. Trump is dropping bombs at a rate 80 percent higher than the last year of Obama’s presidency. 

The sickening “bomb the hell out of them” policy has become reality, as the anti-Islamic State bombing campaign alone has caused upwards of 4,500 civilian casualties in the first seven months of the Trump administration. 

Yemen has not been spared from the dogs of war unleashed by Trump. Outright bombing of the Arab world’s poorest nation by the U.S. military has doubled under Trump, at an average of once every two days. 

Some hopeful news amidst this misery is that a group of bipartisan representatives in Congress have recently pushed for a vote on legislation that would end U.S. support for the Saudi bombing campaign. 

The diversity behind the push for the vote, ranging from Noam Chomsky to Martin Sheen to the Tea Party-funded Freedomworks, shows that a broad coalition in the U.S. wants to end the U.S. role in this human catastrophe. 

Though if $100 billion in weapons sales to Saudi says anything, it’s that Trump and his owners in the arms industry want bloodshed to continue in Yemen. 

luwrobin@indiana.edu

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