Sources within the Obama Administration are reportedly increasingly at odds over the Saudi war in Yemen, which the US has been participating in, and particularly the huge civilian death toll of Saudi airstrikes, with official estimates of about 1,500 civilians killed in Saudi airstrikes alone in the war.
But while those familiar with internal conversations say the White House has been “increasingly frustrated,” and has even privately complained about the toll to the Saudis, they also see the US “walking on eggshells” with public comments about the war, that even some officials are starting to see it as de facto support for Saudi war crimes.
Which as a practical matter it is, since the US has been refueling those Saudi warplanes for their airstrikes, and has also at times participated in the naval blockade that has brought much of Yemen to the brink of famine. Still, it’s clear when officials signed on for the Saudi war, they didn’t anticipate this.
Which may be the biggest problem, and why so many are up in arms. The US sees placating the Saudis as so desperately important right now that they feel as though they don’t dare criticize the enormous civilian toll of the war, a goal which really picked up amid trying to sell the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran.
The US has been openly trying to pay off opponents of the deal, chiefly Israel, to the tune of several billion dollars to acquiesce on the pact, but in the case of the Saudis it seems this is boiling down to the US looking the other way every time a wedding party is bombed or an airport destroyed.