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Posts Tagged ‘Saudi Arabia’

Saudi Arabia Is No Ally of America | Cato Institute

Posted by M. C. on January 14, 2023

After two decades of disastrous misadventures attempting to micro‐​manage the Middle East, it is time for the US to disengage.

By Doug Bandow

This article appeared in 19FortyFive on November 10, 2022.


The Saudi royals were wailing about the prospect of an attack from Iran and America responded. The Biden administration rushed to coddle and comfort members of the absolute royal dictatorship, the world’s most ostentatious throwback to Medieval times.

Reported the Wall Street Journal: “the U.S. Central Command launched warplanes based in the Persian Gulf region toward Iran as part of an overall elevated alert status of U.S. and Saudi forces.” Even if Riyadh did not fabricate the supposed Iranian threat, as seems likely, what about the Saudi air force, furnished at such a great cost by America’s famous merchants of death?

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s flyers must have been busy, perhaps taking their friends on joyrides. Riyadh treats expensive warplanes as just another royal pleasure—acquired to allow princely dilettantes to pose as glorious warriors—and a disguised payment to Washington for the presence of US military personnel, who act as bodyguards for the King and courtiers. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, or MbS, as the heir apparent is known, is but the latest Saudi ruler to see Americans as nothing but the émigré “help,” brought in to deal with dirty jobs beneath the royals’ dignity.

The Crown Prince—who gained the sobriquet “Slice ‘n Dice” after having journalist Jamal Khashoggi murdered and dismembered in 2018—treated President Joe Biden accordingly. The latter abandoned his commitment to human rights and traveled to the Persian Gulf to kiss MbS’ feet. After a very public fist bump between the two, the president begged his host to supply some extra oil to speed the drop in gasoline prices, ostensibly to reduce revenue for Russia, but conveniently before the midterm elections. The Saudis took Biden’s measure and treated him with contempt, denying his claim to have mentioned human rights and then cutting oil supplies. Jimmy Carter was the last US president to be so ostentatiously and publicly humiliated.

After two decades of disastrous misadventures attempting to micro‐​manage the Middle East, it is time for the US to disengage.

Biden huffed and puffed, threatening “some consequences,” only to rush to the royals’ defense. Such was his response. If Biden’s inclination is to do Riyadh’s bidding after being savagely gelded by it, what would he have done had he been treated with respect? Offered the Saudis control of Central Command? Or the Pentagon itself? Unsurprisingly, Biden’s position toward Saudi Arabia has not struck fear in the hearts of authoritarians around the globe.

The US relationship with Saudi Arabia, inaccurately called “one of the most important on the planet,” has consistently put Riyadh’s interests above that of America. The reasons for doing so are difficult to discern.

No doubt, the Kingdom presents trade and investment opportunities and US business executives eagerly attended a Saudi economic conference, nicknamed Davos in the Desert, last month. However, such links do not depend on Washington’s celebrated commitment to the royals’ defense. Good capitalists can do commerce without an alliance.

The Kingdom sells oil, an important good, but not as critical as in years past. Moreover, Riyadh does so for its own benefit, not America’s. Without the resulting revenue MbS couldn’t build his palaces and purchase his yachtschateaus, and other necessities of royal life. A refusal to sell to the US wouldn’t matter since the oil market is global. And total supply would be much greater if the Biden administration had not restricted domestic production, continued sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, and imposed penalties on Russian supplies.

Washington might respond that the last three regimes are odious threats to the peace, but so is Riyadh. According to the group Freedom House, the KSA is more repressive than all three, none of which is known for chopping up regime critics. Although supposedly a US friend, the Kingdom imprisons nearly 100 American citizens, mostly for political offenses. Some of the longest sentences have been imposed in recent months, yet another conspicuous affront to the Biden administration.

The KSA is also aggressive and disruptive. Its war against Yemen has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. The Saudis funded jihadist insurgents in Syria and Libya, fomenting bloody conflict. Riyadh invited Lebanon’s prime minister to visit, and then detained him; sent troops to back up Bahrain’s dictatorial Sunni monarchy, which rules over a Shia majority; and launched a diplomatic and economic war against Qatar, backed by a threat of military invasion. MbS also is dallying with both Russia, despite its invasion of Ukraine, and China, despite US security concerns. An ally, friend, or partner of America the Kingdom is not.

Although Biden has been nothing but obsequious when dealing with Riyadh, Crown Prince “Slice ‘n Dice” misses the Trump administration, whose officials acted like mob consiglieri, doing their utmost to protect MbS from accountability for his crimes. Hence the Kingdom not only rejected Biden’s request for increased oil supplies but publicized the administration’s request for a delay to push any cuts past the midterm election. The crown prince recognized that though he could neither detain nor dismember the president, he could damage Biden’s political prospects.

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Choosing Sides in the New Cold War

Posted by M. C. on October 20, 2022

by Ted Snider

Outside the US, UK and Europe, the war in Ukraine looks more complicated than it does in the US. And many of those countries want to reserve the right to remain nonaligned and want to push for a diplomatic solution to the war. It is not true that the US does not ask those countries to choose sides, that it does “not ask any nation to choose between the United States or any other partner.”

In his September 21 address to the United Nations General Assembly, President Biden said “We do not seek a Cold War. We do not ask any nation to choose between the United States or any other partner.”

It took a lot of courage to make that claim.

On October 5, OPEC+ announced that they were cutting oil production by two million barrels a day. That represents a 2% reduction of the daily global supply, larger than expected and the biggest cut in over two years.

That cut in oil production comes despite Biden’s plea to Saudi Arabia to increase oil production to offset rising prices caused by Russian sanctions and, crucially, boost the efficacy of sanctions on Russia. Biden offered Saudi Arabia an expanded “strategic partnership,” a “commitment to supporting Saudi Arabia’s security and territorial defense,” and a further commitment to uphold Saudi Arabia as the dominant power in the region.

Biden welcomed the pariah kingdom back into the world community in a trade for siding with the US by increasing oil production. He got rejected. And that is when the White House proved that they do ask nations to choose sides: “It’s clear that OPEC+ is aligning with Russia with today’s announcement,” announced White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

And there is a penalty for not being on America’s side. Several members of congress have called for the US to respond by putting an end to all US military aid to Saudi Arabia. Senator Bob Mendez, the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, promised that, because of Saudi Arabia’s “decision to help underwrite Putin’s war,” he “will not green-light any cooperation with Riyadh until the kingdom reassesses its position with respect to the war in Ukraine.” Legislation has been introduced to remove US troops and missile systems from Saudi Arabia and to stop all arms sales to Saudi Arabia. The price that Saudi Arabia will pay is not for its decision’s effect on oil markets or anything other than choosing sides: the military relationship could be restarted if Saudi Arabia “reconsiders its embrace of Putin,” said Senator Richard Blumental and Representative Ro Khanna, describing the legislation they have proposed.

The experience of Saudi Arabia is not an isolated example that refutes Biden’s claim that the US does not ask countries to choose sides.

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Biden Goes Begging: To Offer Saudis Bombs For Oil

Posted by M. C. on July 12, 2022

President Biden’s trip next week to a Saudi Arabia, that not long ago he referred to as a “pariah state,” demonstrates just how desperate his Administration is to save the sinking ship of the US economy. Officials are now floating the idea of approving “offensive” weapons to the Saudis as Biden prepares to grovel for more oil. Also today: Iran sending drones to Russia? Really Jake? Finally: Congress adds a few billion to Biden’s military funding request. Business as usual for the Beltway bandits. Apply NOW to be a 2022 Ron Paul Scholar:…

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A ‘New Compact’ With Saudi Arabia Is a Terrible Idea

Posted by M. C. on July 5, 2022

We should make sure that the U.S. is never again in a position where it is expected to support another Saudi war.

This gets at the core problem with what Cook and Indyk are proposing: the closer relationship with Saudi Arabia that they want would be a destabilizing and destructive one. It would fuel regional rivalries and keep the U.S. ensnared in conflicts that have nothing to do with American security.

By Daniel Larison

Steven Cook and Martin Indyk urge Biden to bind the U.S. even more tightly to Saudi Arabia:

Biden should instead consider a more fundamental reconceptualization of the bilateral relationship. What both countries need is a new compact that focuses on countering a major strategic threat they both face: Iran’s nuclear program.

Cook and Indyk’s article is a fairly standard rehash of familiar pro-Saudi claims. While they propose a “new compact” between our governments, the ideas in their article are very old and largely outdated. They assert that the “benefits of reconciliation are self-evident,” but this hasn’t been true for years. If the benefits were so self-evident, they wouldn’t need to be justifying closer ties with Riyadh, and the truth is that the benefits to the United States are nowhere to be found.

Even if the Saudi government increased oil production, any increase it can deliver won’t matter much in the grand scheme of things, and the Saudi government makes its oil production decisions based on what it perceives to be in its own interests and not as a favor to America. Whatever benefits there are from the relationship, the Saudi government is the one receiving virtually all of them. It is not self-evident at all what the U.S. gets for its trouble, and except for inertia and the pleading of certain interest groups it is hard to see why the U.S. continues to align itself so closely with such an awful state. It would be one thing if someone could demonstrate what the U.S. stands to gain by continuing it, to say nothing of deepening it, but the possible rewards are never specified.

The authors imagine what this “reconciliation” would do: “The pariah would be transformed into a partner.” One problem with this is that Saudi Arabia was never treated as a pariah (quite the opposite), and it has proven itself to be a mostly useless and increasingly pernicious “partner.” Esfandyar Batmanghelidj turns their statement around on them in his response:

Maybe Saudi Arabia shouldn’t be a partner and maybe Iran shouldn’t be a pariah and maybe the US shouldn’t be lording the nature of its relationships with regional powers in ways that create regional imbalances and instability.

This gets at the core problem with what Cook and Indyk are proposing: the closer relationship with Saudi Arabia that they want would be a destabilizing and destructive one. It would fuel regional rivalries and keep the U.S. ensnared in conflicts that have nothing to do with American security. A “more stable Middle Eastern order” will not exist if the U.S. does what the authors want, and by increasing the commitment to Saudi Arabia they guarantee that the U.S. will end up fighting and supporting wars that it could otherwise easily avoid and oppose.

We have already seen in Yemen what indulging the Saudi government does to regional stability. The Saudi government has proven that selling them weapons for “self-defense” has just enabled them to wage an unnecessary and atrocious war against their neighbor. Our government should stop providing them with the means to engage in more aggression in the future, not least because their use of U.S.-made weapons in their war crimes implicates the U.S. in those atrocities. The current truce in Yemen is holding, and that’s good news for the people of Yemen, but we should make sure that the U.S. is never again in a position where it is expected to support another Saudi war, whether it is in Yemen or anywhere else.

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US Should Stop Playing the Supplicant to Saudi Arabia

Posted by M. C. on May 4, 2022

America, Not the Corrupt Medieval Dictatorship, Is the Superpowerby Doug Bandow

Pity President Joe Biden. His spendthrift fiscal policies spurred an inflationary wave. His sanctions against Russia roiled energy markets, already suffering from long-standing restrictions on the sale of Iranian and Venezuelan oil. When he went, hat-in-hand, to the oppressive Saudi monarchy the king refused to take his call.

The Emiratis treated him no better. Even though the US rushed to Abu Dhabi’s aid when Yemen’s Houthi rebels finally began shooting back after years of attacks on civilian targets, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayad al-Nahyan complained that Washington did not act sooner. Obsequious Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Abu Dhabi, prostrating himself while promising to do better in the future.

So far neither “friend” of America has produced any extra oil. Indeed, it appears that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MbS, is gambling on the return to power of Donald Trump, who acted as consigliere to the bin Salman crime family. The Saudi list of grievances is long, but all reflect anger that Washington sometimes puts America’s interests before those of the Kingdom: “the administration’s restrictions on arms sales; what [MbS] saw as its insufficient response to attacks on Saudi Arabia by Houthi forces in Yemen; its publication of a report into the Saudi regime’s 2018 murder of the dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi; and Biden’s prior refusal to deal in person with the crown prince.” For Crown Prince “Slice ‘n Dice,” used to kidnapping, jailing, killing, and even dismembering his critics, such behavior by Washington is unforgivable.

The Biden administration’s current fixation is finding increased oil supplies as it pushes to ban Russian sales. Going to America’s Persian Gulf “allies,” particularly the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, was Washington’s most natural move. However, both benefit from higher oil prices, collecting more revenue and stretching out production. Without being offered something in return, they had no reason to agree.

The administration also could satisfy its objectives by relaxing sanctions on Venezuela – Trump’s attempt to achieve regime change by starving an already impoverished people failed spectacularly. The Maduro regime is malign, but Washington has punished the Venezuelan people more than the government. Biden officials recently ventured to Caracas to discuss oil exports but so far have failed to act, presumably fearing the domestic political consequences.

Similarly, restoring the JCPOA, the nuclear deal with Iran, would bring substantially more oil onto the international market. The Trump administration’s decision to wreck the agreement, a political gift to Riyadh and Jerusalem, proved disastrous. Although candidate Biden said he favored America’s return to the pact, which limited Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, President Biden retreated, fearing congressional criticism. So far he has refused to lift poison pill sanctions imposed by Trump to forestall revival of the deal, and the agreement is in limbo.

So oil prices remain painfully high with mid-term elections just six months away.

Now members of the infamous Blob, America’s foreign policy establishment, are urging Biden to do a full kowtow to Riyadh (and presumably Abu Dhabi as well), doing the royals’ bidding as before. 

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Has Elon Musk stumbled into some scandalous truths about Twitter?

Posted by M. C. on April 16, 2022

Twitter shut down the president of the United States, which, if it’s controlled by the government, while the elites take the profits, it means the government itself shut Trump down.  What would be the implications of that, and how the heck could this scandal be corrected?  It would show the extent of the rot of the Deep State that an entity so closely connected to the federal government could carry out that kind of coup.  And that presents a constitutional crisis.  This kind of third-world behavior would have to be exposed by Musk — and Congress would need to stop it.

By Monica Showalter

Sure enough, Elon Musk pulled the trigger, handed Twitter a fat offer of a buyout, and it’s been nothing but bonkersville ever since.

According to CBS News:

Elon Musk is offering to buy Twitter for $43 billion, saying the social media company “needs to be transformed as a private company.”

The billionaire and founder of electric car maker Tesla, who earlier this month disclosed he owns a 9.2% stake in Twitter, proposed in a regulatory filing on Thursday to buy all of the company’s outstanding common stock for $54.20 per share. 

“I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy,” he said in the filing. “However, since making my investment I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form.”

The market acted as one might expect of a company that has seen stagnant growth over recent months:

Twitter shares rose 3.6% to $47.49 in early trading. Shares in the social media platform, which was valued at $37 billion prior to Musk’s offer, had declined by roughly a third over the prior year.

It prompted huffing and puffing from the likes of the Washington Post, owned by mega-billionaire Jeff Bezos, about Musk being a threat to democracy or something.

The blue checks, meanwhile, completely beclowned themselves:

David Leavitt, the third blue check on that list, recall, is the one who tried to shake down a Target employee for an $89.99 toothbrush for a penny, called the police, and then used Twitter to doxx her when he didn’t get what he wanted.

Here’s the obvious problem on the surface:

Glenn Greenwald


Yesterday was a flagship day in corporate media. It was the day they were forced to explicitly state what has long been clear: they not only favor censorship but desperately crave and depend on it. Even if Musk doesn’t buy Twitter, never forget what yesterday revealed.

Here’s the weird stuff:

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who owns roughly 5% of Twitter, tweeted that the bid significantly undervalues the company and that he will reject it.

Musk shot back in a tweet: “How much of Twitter does the Kingdom own, directly & indirectly? What are the Kingdom’s views on journalistic freedom of speech?”

Saudi Arabia’s richest man has a stake in Twitter? 

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Numbers don’t lie: more Saudi attacks on Yemen came after new US support

Posted by M. C. on March 22, 2022

It’s been seven years, but the Biden administration seems less likely than ever to follow through with its pledge to help end the war.

Written by
Annelle Sheline

Friday marks the seventh anniversary of the Saudi-led military intervention against Yemen, and thanks to Saudi Arabia’s escalation with U.S. assistance, the violence seemingly gets worse everyday.

On the sixth anniversary, Biden’s recent inauguration inspired hope that the U.S. might successfully encourage the warring parties towards a ceasefire. Yet over the course of the past year, it became clear that the Biden administration supported Saudi and Emirati objectives in Yemen almost as actively as the Trump administration, although they veiled their preference for the Saudi-led coalition in a veneer of diplomacy. 

A new brief from the Quincy Institute highlights ongoing U.S. assistance for the Saudi-led military intervention, despite Biden’s declaration that he would “end all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arms sales.” The administration paused two arms deals, but later proceeded with over a billion dollars in new sales to the kingdom. It characterized these weapons as defensive, yet as the brief argues, defensive capability converts directly to offensive advantage. By assisting Saudi Arabia and the UAE with defense, the U.S. allows these countries to attack Yemen with greater impunity. Further, both Saudi Arabia and the UAE already possess hundreds of billions of dollars in offensive weapons, mostly purchased from the United States, which they continue to use against Yemen.

Biden administration officials frequently condemn Houthi transborder attacks, yet fail to condemn Saudi air strikes. On February 10, 2021, State Department spokesperson Ned Price described the Houthis as “continually demonstrat[ing] a desire to prolong the war by attacking Saudi Arabia, including endangering civilians.” In August 2021, Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that since the beginning of the year, Saudi Arabia “has endured more than 240 attacks by the Houthis.” On January 24, 2022, Tim Lenderking, the special envoy, emphasized “the U.S. government’s condemnation of the recent Houthi attacks against the UAE and Saudi Arabia that killed civilians.” 

The problem with these statements is one of proportion. The administration’s narrative consistently blames the Houthis and stresses their transborder attacks as particularly dangerous, yet transborder attacks on Yemen carried out by the Saudi-led coalition far outnumber them and have been magnitudes more destructive.

Houthi transborder attacks never surpass and rarely even approach the number of coalition air raids conducted on Yemen each month. Crucially, with the help of U.S.–made defense systems, Saudi Arabia successfully deflects 90 percent of the Houthis’ transborder attacks.

The Saudi-led coalition has carried out more than 24,800 air raids since 2015, an average of almost 10 each day. Coalition air raids have killed almost 9,000 civilians and wounded more than 10,000.

In contrast, the Saudi coalition spokesperson reported in December 2021 that the Houthis have launched over 400 missiles and over 800 drones at Saudi Arabia since the start of the war in March 2015, killing 59 civilians. Added together, Houthi missile and drone attacks average approximately one attack every other day. 

Over the weekend, the Houthis launched a series of coordinated attacks on Saudi energy facilities: there were no casualties. In contrast, a Saudi air raid on a detention facility in Yemen in January killed 91 people and injured hundreds.

The Saudi air force relies heavily on U.S. military contractors to provide maintenance, spare parts, and repairs for their planes: without U.S. help, the Saudis could not bomb Yemen. Based on Biden’s post-inauguration declaration that the U.S. was ending support for offensive military action, it is surprising that coalition air raid levels remained relatively consistent from 2020 to 2021.  If the U.S. had genuinely withdrawn support for Saudi offensives, the rate of coalition air raids should have declined from the Trump era to the Biden era, but it has not.

Instead, coalition attacks began to increase dramatically in late 2021. Contrary to the characterizations of the Biden administration, this was not in response to Houthi transborder escalation, as Houthi attacks remained relatively stable. The Houthis may have escalated within Yemen, but they did not increase their attacks on Saudi territory. 

The war is often framed as a proxy conflict between Saudi Arabia, supporting the ousted government of President Abd Rabo Mansur Hadi, and Iran, backing the Houthi rebels. Yet in practice, the Saudi-led intervention constitutes a campaign of collective punishment against the Yemeni population, 80 percent of whom live in areas controlled by the Houthis. The Saudis justify their aerial bombardment and fuel blockade as necessary to counteract the Houthis and their Iranian allies, but the Houthis’ strength has only grown over the past seven years, while the lives of ordinary Yemenis have been shattered. Saudi actions have only contributed to Houthi strength: the longer the war continues, the more likely the Houthis will consolidate control, an outcome many Yemenis dread.  

There are no “good guys” in this war: All parties to the conflict have been credibly accused of war crimes by U.N. experts. In contrast to the Biden administration’s narrative that it is committed to supporting the resolution of the conflict, the U.S. nonetheless signals its ongoing support to the Saudis and Emiratis for their war on Yemen. By consistently reiterating U.S. support, the Biden administration risks escalating U.S. involvement in the war.

Competition with Russia and China has prompted Biden to prioritize close military ties with Saudi Arabia and the UAE. It is this calculation that has caused him to renege on his pledge to end the war. This not only risks dragging Washington deeper into the conflict; it also prolongs the war, compounding the destruction of Yemen. The Saudi and Emirati military aggression that the U.S. supports is little different from Russian actions in Ukraine.

The Biden administration should instead adopt a strategy that takes American national interests as its starting point. This would mean not deferring to Gulf partners on matters that undermine U.S. interests and could plunge it into yet another military confrontation in the Middle East. Deferring to Gulf partners as a means of countering China and Russia is also a questionable strategy, as the Saudis and Emiratis have already demonstrated that they will hedge their bets on U.S. competition with other great powers, as demonstrated by their unwillingness to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Written by
Annelle Sheline

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Exclusive: New FBI documents link Saudi spy in California to 9/11 attacks – Mike Kelly

Posted by M. C. on March 21, 2022

“It’s exactly what we’ve been saying,” said James Kreindler, one of the lead attorneys in a lawsuit by more than 10,000 9/11 victims and relatives against the Saudi government. “Saudi government officials at a high level were integral to the 9/11 attacks.”

Mike Kelly

Soon after the 9/11 attacks two decades ago, the FBI quietly launched an investigation into a seemingly obscure Saudi Arabian government bureaucrat in Southern California.

The man claimed to be nothing more than a Saudi aviation official who innocently happened to befriend two Islamic jihadists in the months before they carried out the 9/11 attacks. 

That story now appears to be false. The alleged aviation official was really a Saudi spy who reported directly to a Saudi prince who happened to be the kingdom’s influential ambassador in Washington and a close friend of President George W. Bush and other top U.S. government officials.  

The FBI concluded five years ago that there was a “50/50 chance” that this Saudi spy knew ahead of time that the two Islamists he befriended were about to join the plot to hijack commercial jetliners and crash them into buildings in what turned out to be America’s deadliest terrorist attack. But the FBI refused to go public with its findings — until now. 

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With Democrat Back in White House, MSNBC Returns to Ignoring U.S.-Backed War in Yemen – by Adam Johnson – The Column

Posted by M. C. on November 27, 2021

Adam Johnson

A review of MSNBC’s coverage from Nov. 3, 2020 to Nov. 22, 2021 shows MSNBC hasn’t run a single segment on the U.S.-backed war still raging in Yemen. 

To the extent MSNBC did cover Yemen’s “civil war” during this time frame it was exclusively to pass along, without skepticism, claims last spring from Democrats that President Biden had “ended U.S. support for the war”—which turned out to not be true in any meaningful sense, a fact evident at the time but not met with any questioning from MSNBC reporters or pundits.  

Since then, it’s become increasingly clear little has changed in the status quo. While the U.S. has halted some forms of assistance, like mid-air refueling of aircraft, other forms of vital participation remain, including: green-lighting of weapons transfers, maintaining spare parts for Saudi war planes, sharing some forms of intelligence, and training the Royal Saudi Navy, which is enforcing a catastrophic blockade on Yemen. 

And then there is the political cover that the Biden administration is giving the Saudi-led coalition, a vital form of support that noted in September by Annelle R. Sheline and Bruce Riedel at The Brookings Institute—hardly a far-left bastion of anti-imperial polemic: 

Biden’s broken promise on Yemen

…Unfortunately, Biden’s approach is fatally flawed. The president stated that he would “end U.S. support for offensive operations in Yemen.” Yet the Saudi-led war on Yemen by definition, is an offensive operation. Saudi Arabia is bombing and blockading another country: Between March 2015 and July 2021, the Saudis conducted a minimum of 23,251 air raids, which killed or injured 18,616 civilians. The Houthis, known formally as Ansarallah, launch missiles in retaliation but if Saudi airstrikes ceased, the Houthis would have little reason to provoke their powerful neighbor. As long as the U.S. materially and rhetorically backs the Saudis’ war of choice, Biden’s assertion that the U.S. would end support for offensive operations is a lie. 

The second crucial flaw in Biden’s approach is that he did not call for an immediate end to the Saudi blockade of Yemen. The blockade primarily blocks fuel from entering the Houthi-controlled Hodeida port; the Saudis also prevent the use of Sanaa International Airport. Blockades cannot be defensive: they are offensive operations, and therefore U.S. involvement should have ended following Biden’s declaration in February. The U.S. tacitly cooperated with the blockade by not challenging it, and the U.S. Navy occasionally announces it has intercepted smuggled weapons from Iran, suggesting a more active role than the administration admits. Congress should investigate.

Just this week, the Biden White House and State Department announced the US will be selling another $650 million in weapons to Saudi Arabia, hiding behind the nonsensical talking point that the weapons are “purely defensive.”

There was a time when MSNBC media personalities did act like they cared about what the UN calls the “world’s worst humanitarian disaster,” which has killed almost a quarter of a million people.  

MSNBC ignored the war almost completely during the Obama years and early Trump years. But after the Saudi coalition bombed a school bus in August 2018, and Saudi dictator Mohammad bin Salman ordered the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018, they—like much of the U.S. media—finally began reporting on the regime’s human rights abuses. For a while. 

MSNBC ran multiple segments on the war in the second half of 2018 when it was considered very much Trump’s war. 

After this spasm of concern in late 2018, the coverage largely died out. As I noted in FAIR at the time, when activist pressure to pass a resolution compelling an end to U.S. support for the war was at its most urgent in March 2019, MSNBC ignored the effort altogether. There was a brief aside about Trump’s veto of said Yemen war powers act by Rachel Maddow on April 16, 2019, but it amounted to little more than a passing mention. 

The next—and it turns out last—time an actual segment aired on the Yemen war was on Morning Joe in July 2020. This report, by NBC News’ Keir Simmons, did mention the war and the U.S.’s role in it, with a focus on how Covid was killing Yemenis. But since the July 2020 Morning Joe report, there have been no segments aired on MSNBC about the U.S.-backed Saudi bombing of Yemen.

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Biden Administration Approves $650 Million Missile Sale to Saudi Arabia – News From

Posted by M. C. on November 5, 2021

The missiles are made by Raytheon, the former employer of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin

You remember Saudi Arabia, they financed 9/11. That apparently paid off.

by Dave DeCamp

The Pentagon announced Thursday that the State Department approved a potential sale of missiles to Saudi Arabia worth about $650 million.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said Saudi Arabia requested a purchase of 280 AIM-120C air-to-air missiles, 596 LAU-128 Missile Rail Launchers, and other related equipment. The primary contractor is Raytheon Technologies, the former employer of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

The DSCA said the sale is in support of Saudi Arabia’s air force that is waging a major air campaign in Yemen. In February, President Biden vowed to end support for Riyadh’s “offensive” operations in Yemen. But it was revealed in April that the Pentagon is still servicing Saudi warplanes that are bombing the country.

The missile sale is another example of the US continuing to support the brutal war in Yemen and is the second arms deal for the Saudis approved by the Biden administration. In September, the State Department approved a deal worth $500 million to maintain Saudia Arabia’s military helicopters, including Apache and Black Hawk attack helicopters.

Without US support, Saudi Arabia’s air force would quickly be grounded, and they would be forced to negotiate with the Houthis. Saudi warplanes have been pounding Yemen in recent months around the city of Maarib, where the Houthis continue to make gains despite the airpower they face.

The US-backed war and blockade on Yemen has caused widespread disease and mass starvation in the country. Early this year, the UN warned that if conditions don’t change in Yemen, 400,000 children under the age of five will starve to death in 2021 alone. This means hundreds of thousands of children may have already died since the warning was made.

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