It appears the volume and magnitude of Saudi atrocities in the Yemen have finally reached a point where the US Administration feels compelled to speak out. This week, the US finally called for an end to the airstrikes in Yemen.
But there is a bit of a problem here. As Antiwar.com’s Jason Ditz notes in his write-up:
A top Human Rights Watch director noted that the call would’ve carried a lot more weight if the US wasn’t providing the bombs the Saudis are dropping on Yemen in the first place, though former US officials say its almost certain this won’t include any dial back in US arms sales.
In Yemen as with other countries, the US government finds itself in a familiar untenable position. On the one hand, it would like to perceived as caring about defending human rights, and many officials probably really do want to protect human rights. But on the other hand, that same US government is actually enabling, if not directly causing, a vast array of human rights abuses at the same time.
And while it is good that the US may finally be backing away from the PR / diplomatic cover it provides for the War in Yemen, the rest of its support for Saudi Arabia is unlikely to change.
Here, one of the absurdities of the US alliances in the Middle East is laid to bare. Of course, one of the reasons provided to justify the US allying with a repressive theocracy like Saudi Arabia, or other unsavory states, is that we can use our leverage to induce behavior that is less destructive than it otherwise would be. But when we have a clear situation where this theory would appear to apply, the US does less than nothing.
Behind the latest tepid criticism, the spigot of aid and arms for the Saudi regime will continue flowing unabated. So the US condemns a policy and supports it simultaneously. In the logic of US foreign policy establishment, this makes sense. To the rest of us, it is and ought to seem crazy.