By Michael Shank
Yemen is now a White House talking point. It was in President Donald Trump’s speech to a joint session of Congress last week and there’s speculation of increased American military involvement. While most Americans aren’t tracking the complexities of the civil war and humanitarian crisis in Yemen they should be. Recently, news reached American shores of hundreds of thousands of Yemeni children nearing starvation. In January, Yemen’s rising death toll exceeded 10,000, with another 40,000 injured, many of whom are civilians.
The United States is responsible for many of these deaths and could do more to alleviate the suffering. And unlike in Syria’s now chaotic civil war, a conflict the West also helped militarize, Yemen doesn’t have to share the same fate. But it requires some strategic action by America and as soon as possible.
America, so far, has largely and uncritically aided and abetted Saudi Arabia as it bombards this humanitarian crisis-stricken country, killing innocents and destroying hospitals, schools and civilian infrastructure. The Saudi coalition airstrikes, drone strikes and cluster munitions pummeling this poor country are being financed or manufactured by the United States or the United Kingdom.
We are responsible for this bloodshed in Yemen. The repeated assault on civilians looks a lot like war crimes, and it is as reprehensible as it is illegal. It must stop. That means putting an immediate end to the $115 billion worth of weapons offered to Saudi Arabia by the Obama administration, which is more than any previous U.S. administration has ever boosted the U.S.-Saudi relationship.