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article imageOp-Ed: US Secretary of State Pompeo defends US involvement in Yemen War

By Ken Hanly     Apr 30, 2019 in Politics
Washington - After US President Trump vetoed a Congress bill that challenged US involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has defended US participation before the veto is dealt with by the US Senate.
The Trump veto
In a statement Trump claimed: "This resolution is an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future."
International Rescue Committee president David Milliband said that Trump vetoing the bill in effect gave a green light for a war strategy that has created the world's worst humanitarian situation to continue. Milliband said: "Yemen is at a breaking point with 10 million people on the brink of famine. There are as many as 100 civilian casualties per week, and Yemenis are more likely to be killed at home than in any other structure."
As well as substantial arms sales to the Saudis, the US has provided refueling, intelligence, and logistics support for the war. The fact that Saudi killed the journalist Khashoggi and recently held a mass execution of 37 people some with confessions obtained by torture makes no difference.
Pompeio says support for the Saudis is in the US best interests
Pompeio's argument made reference to Houthi rebel missile attacks that hit an airport in Ryadh where there are some Americans: “Airplanes flying through King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh are at risk, and the United States has an obligation to protect our citizens. So the support we’re providing to the Saudis as they attempt to engage these dangerous missiles systems is in America’s best interest.”
A recent article criticizes Pompeo's argument: "The US is obviously not obliged to assist governments that start a war against their neighbor just because retaliatory strikes could potentially put Americans at risk. If the danger is so great, the responsible thing would be to advise US citizens to avoid those countries if at all possible. The more important point is that Pompeo’s argument is circular: he insists that we should keep backing a war that actually creates the threat that he claims to be guarding against. If not for the Saudi coalition bombing campaign against Yemen’s cities and villages, there would be no missile attacks on Riyadh or anywhere else."
The Iran factor
While Iran does support the Houthi rebels while the Saudis support the former government, the war is basically a civil war with the Houthis taking control of the capital and much of the north while the head of the former government was forced into exile in Saudi Arabia. He gained support for bombing and the establishment of the Hadi regime in the south again. The US and Saudi Arabia share hatred of Iran and the US is happy to help the Saudis try to win against the Houthis.
The huge US arms deal with the Saudis
In 2017 the US signed a humongous arms deal with the Saudis: "On May 20, 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud signed a series of letters of intent for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to purchase arms from the United States totaling US$110 billion immediately,[1][2] and $350 billion over 10 years.[3][4] The intended purchases include tanks, combat ships, missile defense systems, as well as radar, communications and cybersecurity technology. The transfer was widely seen as a counterbalance against the influence of Iran in the region[5][6] and a "significant" and "historic" expansion of United States relations with Saudi Arabia."
Saudi Arabia is one of the key countries that can assure that the US military industrial complex continues to enjoy large sales and profits during the coming years.
As Trump put it, he does not want to lose them as they buy a lot from the US. $450 billion according to Trump.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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