White House: Cooperation With Saudi Arabia ‘Not a Blank Check’

Promises Immediate Review of US Support for Coalition War Against Yemen

The White House has issued a statement of “concern” after Saudi Arabia attacked a funeral home in the Yemeni capital city of Sanaa, killing 155 people and wounding in excess of 500 others, announcing an “immediate review” of the level of US support to be provided to the Saudi-led war against Yemen.

The US has been openly backing the Saudi war since it was launched in March of 2015, and has played multiple roles, participating in the naval blockade and refueling Saudi bombers. The bombing campaign has killed many thousands of civilians, which is putting increasing pressure on the US and other countries to stop arming the Saudis.

US National Security Council spokesman Ned Price warned that US cooperation with Saudi Arabia is “not a blank check,” which if true would be a dramatic shift, as throughout the war the US has been an eager apologist for the huge number of civilians killed in the conflict, and backed Saudi efforts to keep the war crimes from being investigated by the UN.

The Obama Administration has sold over $100 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia over the last eight years, and while a number in Congress are starting to show a willingness to vote against future arms sales, so far they aren’t offering enough resistance to seriously threaten such sales.

The weekend funeral home attack is the deadliest single incident of the war, surpassing a 2015 attack on a wedding in Mocha. That attack had killed 131 civilians. In both cases, Saudi officials initially denied the incidents, though evidence is overwhelming that they were Saudi-conducted strikes.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.