US Dramatically Escalates Role Supporting Saudi Bombing of Yemen

Centcom Statement Presents War on Shi'ite Houthis as About al-Qaeda

Between the year and a half Saudi war against Yemen not achieving the expected quick victory, and the growing talk of war crimes as the civilian death toll from Saudi airstrikes soars, a lot of nations would be looking to distance themselves from the disastrous failure. Not the US, however, as they brag up their escalating support for the Saudi air war.

The newest data, released by Central Command, reveals that US refueling operations in Yemen are up some 60% over the past six months, a span of time which included a long ceasefire and failed peace talks. The Saudis never stopped bombing though, and the US never stopped facilitating.

US-sold bombs dropped by US-sold planes refueled by the US Air Force have been at the center of some of the most glaring war crimes in Yemen so far, and while the Obama Administration is claimed at times to be pushing the Saudis to reach some sort of settlement, there’s no sign that’s actually happening.

Indeed, Centcom’s effort to manage the public opposition is telling, as they bragged about 1,144 refueling missions for 5,525 warplanes in their statement, but made that materially the only mention of the Saudi war itself, instead talking up US drone strikes against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Yemeni affiliate.

Yet the Saudi war isn’t against AQAP, and never war. Indeed, the Saudi war gave AQAP cover to take several towns in southern Yemen, and on the ground AQAP and its allies have taken mostly fighting against the same Shi’ite forces the Saudis have. As Centcom insists the war in Yemen is important because AQAP is a threat, they continue supporting an air war which has done nothing but helped AQAP.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of