Why US still backs Saudi-led war on Yemen?
The CounterPunch website explains why the US is doing so despite the fact that “the Saudis are not America’s friends.”
The website, citing the Wall Street Journal, says that Saudi and Emirati “de facto rulers, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MBZ), respectively, are not taking President Joe Biden’s phone calls.”
According to CounterPunch, Biden wants to talk to them about oil prices that have jumped to at least 120 dollars a barrel following the Russian-Ukrainian conflict which began on February 24.
Nearly two weeks after Russia began its military operation, Biden banned US imports of Russian oil, natural gas and coal as part of sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine conflict. The move led to soaring gasoline prices in the US, which reached levels unseen since the 2008 financial crisis, with gasoline becoming “the most expensive in US history.”
Biden wants bin Salman and bin Zayed to “increase their oil production to offset rising prices at the gas pump”, the website says, describing the US president’s attempt as a “fat chance.” CounterPunch refers to a March 2 decision by OPEC Plus made up of major oil producers including Russia to adhere to their last year’s agreement to keep daily production at 400,000 barrels.
US’s role in Yemen War
Since the very beginning of the Yemen war, which according to the UN has left hundreds of thousands of Yemenis dead through direct and indirect causes, the US has been complicit in the conflict. It has provided the Saudi-led coalition with intelligence, targeting assistance, and logistics, among other things. The Biden administration “continues to sell the Saudis and Emiratis massive amounts of arms and provides coalition warplanes with servicing and essential spare parts” even though he has promised to end US support for “offensive operations” in Yemen.
And this past February, the US sent fighter jets to protect Saudi Arabia and the UAE from Yemen’s retaliatory attacks.
The Biden administration’s support for the Saudi-led coalition comes as American lawmakers have been pushing for a new War Powers Resolution (WPR) that would end all assistance to the Yemen conflict. There have also been attempts to override a veto by the US president, as former president Donald Trump once vetoed an earlier War Power Resolution passed by Congress in 2019 and Biden is expected to do the same.
The attempts to end the assistance to Saudi Arabia have not been fruitful so far. CounterPunch believes that “a consumers’ revolt” can end the US support, as “the defense contractors’ lobby will put up stiff opposition to a new WPR which will cut off arms sales to the Saudis and Emiratis.”
The website refers to the Yellow Vest Movement in France, which began in November 2015 over rising fuel prices and has continued up until now. CounterPunch says that the same movement “can happen in the US”, if energy prices remain high.
“If the US loses more from increased energy costs than it gains from arms sales, even the resistance [from the defense contractors] can be overcome,” said the website.