Despite supporting the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen that has a history of bombing civilians and is actively blockading the country amid mass starvation, the US is “horrified” by the Houthi offensive on the Yemeni city of Maarib, the State Department said Friday.
When asked if the US is “fed up” with the Houthis, State Department spokesman Ned Price said, “The answer to that is yes. We are beyond fed up. We are horrified by the repeated attacks on Maarib.”
The Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition have been engaged in Omani-mediated peace efforts that initially appeared to be making progress. But so far, no deal has been reached. The Houthis want the Saudis to lift the blockade on Yemen before entering ceasefire talks, but Riyadh refuses to do so.
The US also refuses to pressure Saudi Arabia to lift the blockade despite UN warnings that 400,000 Yemeni children under the age of five will starve to death if conditions don’t change. The UN hasn’t officially declared a famine in Yemen, but there has been mass starvation in the country for years now due to the siege tactics of the US-backed Saudi-led coalition.
While the Houthi offensive on Maarib might not be helping the situation, the US has no control over what the group does. But the US could help end the horrors in Yemen by cutting off support for the Saudi-led coalition.
The US could quickly ground the Saudi air force if it stops servicing Riyadh’s warplanes, which the Pentagon is still doing despite President Biden’s vows to end support for Saudi Arabia’s “offensive” operations in Yemen. The Biden administration also has the power to end the embargo but instead gives the Saudis the political cover to continue it.