Yemen crisis looms over Biden’s Saudi visit

A government report states that Washington has turned its blindeye to the pain caused by US weaponry

In a weekend opinion piece, Joe Biden claimed that the US president was responsible for the ceasefire between Yemen and Saudi Arabia. The GAO report, which stated that Riyadh had stopped being held accountable by the Pentagon and State Department for using US-supplied arms against civilians was not mentioned by Biden.

Biden had vowed to “completely disengage”Juan Cole of the University of Michigan, professor of Middle Eastern history and South Asian history, stated that the US tried to withdraw from the Saudi-led conflict in Yemen but was unsuccessful. 

Cole noted that the US provided $54.6 billion of military assistance to Saudi Arabia (UAE), since March 2015 when they started bombing Yemen. US law requires recipients of American military aid to avoid harming civilian non-combatants, but Cole said the Saudi-led coalition has flouted that requirement – and pointed to last month’s report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) showing that the US government did not bother enforcing it, either.

The State Department certified, in 2018, that Emiratis and Saudi governments had been recognized by the State Department “had made efforts to reduce harm to civilians in Yemen, but did not submit two subsequent, required certifications,”According to the GAO. Foggy Bottom “could not provide”They have evidence to prove it “incidents of potential unauthorized use of equipment”Transferred to Saudi Arabia, UAE or the Pentagon “has not reported”The watchdog also added any additional investigations.

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Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal (2nd R) welcomes US Vice President Joe Biden (C) at the Riyadh airbase. © AFP PHOTO / STR
Biden seeks to justify a Saudi Arabian trip

Biden will be traveling to Saudi Arabia and Israel this week. Biden attempted to deflect criticisms in a Washington Post opinion-piece on Saturday. He stated that he wants to visit Saudi Arabia and Israel later this week. “reorient – but not rupture – relations”With the Kingdom. Biden was credited with many other things. “our persistent diplomacy”With the Yemeni truce, which he stated the Saudis support fully.

Washington did not receive credit from either Saudi Arabia, nor Houthi rebels in Yemen for the first ceasefire at March’s end. The ceasefire was extended to at least August by both the Houthis and Saudi Arabia, although each side has accused the other not adhering fully to its terms.

In April, the Wall Street Journal reported that US-Saudi relations were at their worst since 1945, citing the Biden administration’s personal criticism of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the 2018 killing of dissident Jamal Khashoggi. 

Last week, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) released a report on the humanitarian situation in Yemen, with its author Basheer Omar calling it “unimaginable horror.” Two thirds of Yemen’s estimated 30.5 million people lacked access to basic healthcare and more than four million have been displaced by the fighting, the report said.

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A mother carries her malnourished child at al-Sabeen Maternity and Child Hospital in Sanaa, Yemen, March 2, 2021 © AFP / Mohammed Huwais
Yemeni mothers and babies facing ‘unimaginable horror,’ Red Cross tells RT

UN estimates that Yemen is number one. “world’s worst humanitarian crisis,”Over 377,000 people died by 2021. Over two-thirds (63%) of casualties occurred in children under five years of age.

While Biden himself used the UN phrasing in his oped, he has not spoken up in support of a bipartisan initiative in Congress to stop further US support to Riyadh – not just in terms of weapons but intelligence and maintenance support – and thereby compel the end to the war.



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