After a solid 19 months of endorsing the Saudi war in Yemen, selling the Saudis massive amounts of arms, and refueling Saudi bombers over Yemen’s airspace, the Obama Administration today called on the Saudis to halt airstrikes against Yemen, and accept that there is no military solution.
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.
The call likely reflects the UN’s peace plan being presented to both sides and immediately rejected by the pro-Saudi officials. Huge civilian death tolls in recent Saudi attacks have added up to make the US a bit more gunshy than usual about supporting the Saudi war publicly.
At the same time, the US “opposition” to the air war is slim indeed, with the US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, insisting even in the announcement of their opposition to further strikes that the US supports Saudi Arabia’s right to “self-defense,” which in this case included an outright invasion of a neighboring country.
The US has insisted Saudi aid is “under review” since a recent attack on a funeral. That said, there is no sign that any real changes in US policy were made, and the expectation is that, as always, US interest in growing arms exports will win out.