Yemen a Major Blot on Obama’s Foreign Policy Record

The United States doesn’t seem to have a clear understanding of what it is doing in Yemen. Pictured: Yemen’s capital, Sanaa. (Photo: Richard Messenger / Flickr Commons)

The United States doesn’t seem to have a clear understanding of what it is doing in Yemen. Pictured: Yemen’s capital, Sanaa. (Photo: Richard Messenger / Flickr Commons)

At the end of March the White House announced that it is providing logistical and intelligence support to Saudi Arabia’s military operations in Yemen. The main purposes seem to be to limit Iranian influence via the Houthis and deny Al Qaeda a refuge. Writes Micah Zenko in Foreign Policy, “make no mistake, the United States is a combatant in this intervention.”

U.S.-operated drones are supplying targeting intelligence to Saudi forces in Yemen, which goes well beyond the definition of logistics and intelligence, writes Zenko. In addition the U.S. is providing aerial refueling for Saudi fighter aircraft.

And

The manner and speed with which the Obama administration decided to wholly back one side in Yemen’s latest proxy civil war – with no clear outcome – should be alarming.

Ominously, Zenko concludes:

To see Yemen exlusively through the lens of U.S. counterterrorism goals, and thus deem it a foreign-policy “success,” is not only insensitive to the chaos Yemenis are experiencing, it is incredibly shortsighted – if not downright disingenuous.

Not to mention cruel: as always, it’s the civilians who bear the brunt of U.S. efforts to keep Iran in its place.