A leaked memo reveals U.S. support of Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen was made to preserve a U.S.-Saudi weapons deal.
America’s role in Yemen has more to do with war profiteering than any self-professed desire to defend Yemen’s democratic future – my statement here does not carry any hidden question marks. I’m stating a hard cold fact, as cold as the dollars U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is making at the expense of millions of innocent lives.
This fact is now as inescapable as the paper it was written on: the United States of America overlooked mass civilian deaths in Yemen for the sake of its bottom line.
As stated by ZeroHedge.com in a report published by MintPress this September: “A leaked classified memo shows Secretary of State Mike Pompeo decided to continue U.S. military involvement in the Saudi war on Yemen in order to preserve a massive $2 billion weapons deal with Riyadh.”
If Yemen sounds far too foreign for any of you to have any real empathetic connection to the millions upon millions of men, women, and children condemned to abject suffering – Stalin and other despots would be proud – then allow me to invoke America’s moral standing and ultimate responsibility before international law. While politics is a game for the shrewd, the pragmatic, and the strong, it can only be played from within the confine of the rule of law; sitting outside such theatre would automatically infer authoritarianism – and that would be bad for democracy wouldn’t it?
The Hypocritical Cries of US ‘Democracy’
True, if Washington were not selling Riyadh weapons Al Saud royals would more than likely buy them from someone else. And yes such logic, however harsh, absolutely reflects reality.
But then again the issue does not lie in the transaction itself – countries buy and sell weapons of war every day; it is how such countries dispense their arsenal that sits at the core of the matter.
Saudi Arabia’s propensity to rain lead on school-children while calling itself a responsible and benevolent power is a little difficult to reconcile with America’s eagerness to provide such lead.
To cry “Freedom” and go about denying millions theirs is a tad hypocritical, if not cynical to the point of pernicious malevolence.
Yes, Saudi Arabia declared war on Yemen with a clear U.N. mandate, and yes, technically speaking this could rationalize the kingdom’s military modus operandi.
Wars are after all messy and lives will be lost.
Nevertheless, a U.N. mandate and one prolonged U.N. silence do not absolve war crimes and what could potentially amount to crimes against humanity – not my words but that echoed by U.N. experts. A U.N. report published in 2016 clearly warned that “in certain cases the violations by the coalition were conducted in a widespread and systemic manner and therefore could qualify as crimes against humanity.”
As if born in a dystopian parallel universe the United Nations finds itself unable … or is it unwilling … or worse still, incapable, of putting a stop to what it initially mandated: an international war on Yemen. I say international because really if the onus has fallen on Saudi Arabia for pulling the proverbial trigger, many countries have been keen to join in on that war party. And it’s not the most savory of countries involved either if we consider that Sudan, a country labeled by the U.S. as a terror state has volunteered his men – for a fair price of course.
Profiting off the Deaths of Yemen Civilians
Yemen, for all intents and purposes, has become a grand death camp. Starved by a humanitarian blockade the U.N. has managed only to denounce and label cruel, Yemen’s 26 million souls have been put through their paces: famine, pestilence, political isolation, sectarian labeling and more.
In February 2016 Pope Francis made a rather incisive and intuitive comment when he relayed U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower’s warning of the nefarious pull the war complex will have over America’s foreign policy, should profiteering be allowed to drive the bus.
“The economic system orbits around money and not men, women. … So war is waged in order to defend money. This is why some people don’t want peace: They make more money from war, although wars make money but lose lives, health, education.”
And: “Here we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.”
One needs not to be of the Catholic faith to cry an Amen!
More than ever before weapon dealers have seen their profit margin increase, driving their want for more wars and more violence – maybe to the point of manufacturing threats to open up new markets.
Since the U.S. declared war on Terror back in 2001 America has increased its annual defense budget to the tune of billions of dollars. In between 1998 and 2010 the U.S. has spent an estimated $1.3 trillion on its military adventures, and $1.8 trillion in war technology.
In a report analyzing America’s military infatuation Carl Conetta makes the following observation:
“The sharp rise in the Pentagon’s base budget since 1998 (46 percent in real terms) is substantially due to strategic choice, not security requirements, per se. It reflects a refusal to set priorities as well as a move away from the traditional goals of military deterrence, containment, and defense to more ambitious ends: threat prevention, command of the commons, and the transformation of the global security environment.”
Medea Benjamin with Code Pink makes a similar conclusion when she points to the fortune five U.S. companies — Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and General Dynamics have made by furnishing Washington’s neocons and their foreign partners: $140 billion in weapons sales in 2017, and $35 million in export sales in 2017.
Yemen is but the last victim of America’s war dealers. Should we fail to recognize the dangers of such a profit-driven industry Yemen may soon become the norm. I can’t speak for you, but I’m not willing to accept the murder of children as a fact of life – it is an aberration that cannot stand!
The Sacrificing of American Ideals for War Profiteering
To pursue its military enterprise the United States has betrayed its own legal system, eroding at the very fabric of its system of governance, and therefore its sovereignty.
As Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies write in Foreign Policy in Focus:
“U.S. laws require the suspension of arms sales to countries that use them in such illegal ways, but the U.S. State Department has an appalling record on enforcing these laws. Under the influence of Acting Assistant Secretary of State Charles Faulkner, a former lobbyist for Raytheon, Secretary Pompeo falsely certified to Congress that Saudi Arabia and the UAE are complying with U.S. law in their use of American weapons.”
Before I take my leave, I would like to put to you a question that has troubled me of late.
If Saudi Arabia has felt so inclined as to unleash Hell on its neighbor, Yemen, to affirm its hegemonic claim over Arabia, how long before Riyadh will lay its hands – very heavily militarised hands I may add – on another? Recall how quickly the kingdom threatened Canada with a 9/11 type attack over criticism of Riyadh’s human rights record.
How long before we face the very monster we helped armed?