Annelle Sheline comments on the encouraging news that President Biden will shortly announce the end of U.S. support for Saudi coalition “offensive operations” in Yemen:
Biden’s team may see the withdrawal of US support for offensive military action as fulfilling his stated commitment. Yet the move is insufficient to address US complicity in Yemen’s misery. Biden must insist that Saudi Arabia and the UAE fully withdraw from Yemen and end their support for warring factions. Foreign support tends to lengthen civil wars, and given the external resources supporting opposing sides in Yemen, the war is not going to end anytime soon. As long as the US remains the preeminent military force in the region and its main supplier of weapons, America is culpable for Yemen’s destruction.
Ending support for offensive operations is an important step in the right direction. It does not go quite as far in cutting off all US military assistance to the Saudi coalition states as I would like, but it is a very good start and Biden deserves credit for doing this so soon after taking office. Sheline is correct that the US will need to do more to pressure the Saudi coalition to end its campaign, lift the blockade, and cease their economic warfare against the people of Yemen. Biden’s announcement today marks a major win for supporters of a more peaceful and restrained foreign policy, and it is the result of many years of activism and advocacy by Yemenis and Yemeni-Americans and the work of many antiwar organizations. We should be proud that US support for Saudi coalition attacks is finally ending, but we need to keep the pressure on the Saudi coalition until Yemen is finally at peace. That will mean continued pressure on Congress and the White House to halt all arms sales to belligerents in Yemen at least until they halt their involvement in the conflict. It also means holding the Biden administration accountable if they should backslide on this policy.