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Saudi Arabia Arms Sales Daily Updates

Saudi Arabia Arms Sales Daily Updates

10 million are at-risk of starvation and food is rotting because if existing conflict

Al Jazeera, February 11, 2019, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/02/yemen-food-aid-risk-rotting-190211174419940.html Yemen food aid to feed millions at risk of rotting: UN

Food aid in a warehouse on the front lines of Yemen’s war is at risk of rotting, leaving millions of Yemenis without access to life-saving sustenance, the UN said on Monday. The Red Sea Mills silos, located in the western port city of Hodeidah, are believed to contain enough grain to feed several million people. But the granary has remained off-limits to aid organisations for months. “The World Food Programme grain stored in the mills – enough to feed 3.7 million people for a month – has been inaccessible for over five months and is at risk of rotting,” said a joint statement by the UN aid chief and special envoy for Yemen. “We emphasise that ensuring access to the mills is a shared responsibility among the parties to the conflict in Yemen.” Hodeidah, and its food silos, have been in the hands of Yemen’s Houthi rebels since 2014, when the armed group staged a takeover of large swaths of Yemen’s territory. Yemen’s cancer patients suffer as clinics are closing (1:49) The move prompted the military intervention of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and allies the following year on behalf of the embattled government, triggering what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. More than 10 million Yemenis are on the brink of starvation. Rotting food UN Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths, who in December secured a ceasefire agreement for Hodeidah, and UN aid chief Mark Lowcock on Monday said the rebels had made “efforts to re-open the road leading to the mills”. Lowcock issued a public plea to the Houthis last week to allow relief groups to cross the front lines to reach the Red Sea Mills, warning the remaining grain could spoil. The Yemen war that began in 2014 has killed about 10,000 people since 2015, according to the World Health Organization. Other monitor groups estimate the death toll is significantly higher. As many as 85,000 children in Yemen may have starved to death over the past three years, the charity Save the Children estimated. The war has been at a stalemate for years, with the Saudi-UAE coalition and Yemeni forces unable to dislodge the Houthi movement that controls the capital city Sanaa and most urban centres.

TRT World, February 11, 2019, https://www.trtworld.com/middle-east/yemen-still-reels-under-humanitarian-crisis-does-anyone-remember-24068 Yemen still reels under humanitarian crisis. Does anyone remember?

According to reports to the UN Security Council by Mark Lowcock, head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, more than 24 million people in Yemen – nearly 80 percent of the population – are now in desperate need of aid, including humanitarian aid, food, medicine and petrol. According to the report: “10 million people just a step away from famine.”

Current agreement just sustains the status quo, won’t stop starvation

Munich Security Report, February 11, 2019, file:///Users/stefanbauschard/Downloads/MunichSecurityReport2019.pdf Munich Security Report 2019: The Great Puzzle: Who Will Pick up the Pieces

The war in Yemen continues to be “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis” with 24 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.16 Although the Swedish government brokered a ceasefire agreement under UN auspices for the port city of Hodeida, a major point of entry for imports to Yemen,17 there are still 250,000 people on the brink of starvation,18 as the deal is aimed at preventing a deterioration of the situation rather than improving it.19 It will be there and in the other crisis areas in the region where the United States’ ability to impose a regional order without actively intervening will be tested.

Fighting continues

Ali Mahmood, February 11, 2019, https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/fierce-fighting-in-south-yemen-after-houthi-rebels-blow-up-tribal-leader-s-home-1.824649 Fierce fighting in south Yemen after Houthi rebels blow up tribal leader’s home

Houthi rebels clashed with government forces in Yemen’s Dalea province for a third day on Monday in a battle triggered by the insurgents blowing up the home of a local leader. The rebels stormed Al Makla village in Al Hasha district on Saturday and destroyed house of the tribal sheikh AbdulJaleel Al Hothaiyfi for allegedly collaborating with the Saudi-led coalition supporting the government, according to a journalist working for the Yemeni army in the area. “The Houthis forced the family of Sheikh Al Hothaiyfi to flee the house, blew it up with TNT and burnt his car,” Ali Al Asmar told The National. He said it was the first time Houthis had entered the area since the civil war began in 2014 with the Iran-backed rebels’ seizure of the capital Sanaa. Al Hasha district lies in the north of Dalea, a southern province about 250 kilometres from Sanaa, and borders the rebel-held province of Ibb. Facing resistance from the residents, the rebels remained in the village and posted fighters on the hills around it. Armed tribesmen from the area then threw a cordon around the village on Sunday to trap the rebels, Saed Abdullah, a resident of the area, told The National. “They started clashing with them, preventing any rebel reinforcements from arriving from Ibb,” Mr Abdullah said. “This pushed the Houthis to blow up four other residences of civilians who stood up to them and joined the force surrounding the village,” he said. The fighting escalated on Sunday night with the arrival of government troops from central Dalea to support the tribesmen and of rebel reinforcements from Dammar province north of Ibb, according to Abdulwahab Al Mashriqi, a district official in Al Hasha. READ MORE • UN envoy to Yemen warns Hodeidah grain stocks at risk of rotting • Coalition jets strike Houthi rebel drone sites in Sanaa Mr Al Mashriqi posted a statement on a local news website on Sunday night saying that the two sides were engaged in fierce battles and calling on the Saudi-led coalition to launch air strikes to support the troops and tribal fighters and prevent more rebel reinforcements from arriving. The troops and the tribesmen were holding their positions but had suffered losses of weapons and equipment, Mr Al Mashriq said. At least three tribal fighters were killed on Sunday night, he said. Meanwhile, fresh fighting broke between the Houthis and the Hajoor tribe in the northern province of Hajjah on Sunday. The coalition launched 15 air strikes at rebel reinforcements sent to the Mandala and Abaisa areas of Kushar district where the clashes took place, according to Abdullah Al Hajoori, a journalist stated in the area. The Shiite Houthis and the Salafi Hajoori tribe have a historic enmity and have clashed repeatedly in recent months, worsening the humanitarian crisis in the province. According to a report by the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs released at the end of January, at least 30 civilians were killed and 52 injured by artillery shells and air strikes in the preceding month, while at least 300 families were displaced over a span of three weeks. Of the 31 districts in the province, 28 are categorised as being in a state of emergency, with the state of five pockets of population described by the UN as catastrophic.

Can’t solve UAE weapons

BBC, February 6, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-47143068 UAE arming Yemen militias with Western weapons – Amnesty

The United Arab Emirates is recklessly arming militias in Yemen with advanced weaponry supplied by the US and other states, Amnesty International alleges. Armoured vehicles, mortars and machine-guns are being diverted illegally to unaccountable groups accused of war crimes, according to a report. The UAE is part of a Saudi-led coalition backing Yemen’s government in its war with the rebel Houthi movement. It has not commented on the report, but denies violating US arms exports rules. A top US general said on Tuesday that officials would investigate whether weapons were being transferred to unintended recipients by the coalition. Yemen has been devastated by a conflict that escalated in early 2015, when the Houthis seized control of much of the west of the country and forced President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi to flee abroad. Media captionWhere the fighting in Yemen has stopped… but not the suffering Alarmed by the rise of a group they saw as an Iranian proxy, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and seven other Arab states intervened in an attempt to restore the government. At least 6,800 civilians have been killed and 10,700 injured in the fighting, according to the UN.

US influence doesn’t restrain Saudis in the war – the Saudi coalition is *targeting civilians

Ann Stavriankis, February 11, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/feb/11/uk-arms-exports-yemen-conflict Why can’t we talk about the UK sending arms to Yemen?

Whether you agree or disagree with the government’s support of the Saudi-led coalition, there are still rules that govern arms export policy and include things like respect for international humanitarian law. One of the charges levelled by Jones is that the Houthis use human shields, which contributes to increased civilian deaths. Yes, the use of human shields is a war crime. That doesn’t absolve the Saudi-led coalition of responsibility to engage the humanitarian principles of distinction and proportionality in the protection of civilian objects. Not only is the coalition failing to observe these responsibilities, its military strategy appears to revolve around targeting and pressuring the civilian population.

UK weapons exports have skyrocketed

Ann Stavriankis, February 11, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/feb/11/uk-arms-exports-yemen-conflict Why can’t we talk about the UK sending arms to Yemen?

Yet in nearly four years of war, weapons exports to Saudi have sky-rocketed, now accounting for almost half of UK arms exports. Since March 2015, more than £4.7bnin arms exports have been licensed to the kingdom, and that’s just the weapons we know about: government statistics significantly under-report on the likely value of exports.

Existing Congressional efforts fail – Trump vetoes

Reuters, February 11,2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-saudi-yemen/trump-objects-to-measure-ending-us-support-for-saudis-in-yemen-war-idUSKCN1Q102V Trump objects to measure ending U.S. support for Saudis in Yemen war

The Trump administration threatened on Monday to veto an effort in the U.S. Congress to end U.S. military support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in the war in Yemen, continuing a stand-off with lawmakers over policy toward the kingdom. U.S. President Donald Trump boards Air Force One for travel to a rally in El Paso, Texas from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis Democrats and Republicans re-introduced the war powers resolution two weeks ago as a way to send a strong message to Riyadh both about the humanitarian disaster in Yemen and condemn the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. SPONSORED The administration said the resolution was inappropriate because U.S. forces had provided aircraft refueling and other support in the Yemen conflict, not combat troops. It also said the measure would harm relationships in the region and hurt the U.S. ability to prevent the spread of violent extremism. The White House has angered many members of Congress, including some of President Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans, by failing to provide a report by a Friday deadline on the murder of Khashoggi last year at a Saudi consulate in Turkey. Khashoggi was a U.S. resident and columnist for the Washington Post.

US Support reduces civilian casualties

Foreign Policy 9-12-18 https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/09/12/trump-doubles-down-on-war-in-yemen-pompeo-congress-middle-east-saudi-arabia-united-arab-emirates-bombing-civilian-casualties/

Robbie Gramer is a diplomacy and national security reporter at Foreign Policy Lara Seligman is Foreign Policy’s Pentagon correspondent.

Michael Knights, a senior fellow with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said the coalition’s use of U.S.-made precision-guided munitions and U.S. refueling support does in fact reduce civilian casualties. Aerial refueling allows coalition aircraft to stay in the air longer so “they don’t have to hurry so much when they are undertaking strike operations,” he said.

Withdrawing aid causes states to switch to Russian arms – empirics.

Borshchevskaya, PhD Candidate, 18 (Anna, [email protected], Russia in The Middle East, ed. Theodore Karasik and Stephen Blank (PhDs), December, Jamestown Foundation)

Russia is the world’s top arms exporter, second only to the United States. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has emerged in recent years as Moscow’s second most important arms market after Asia. Moscow has made great strides in this region since Vladimir Putin came to power, and especially in recent years, after it embarked on major military reform following August 2008. Arms sales matter to the Kremlin because they are a major source of financial gain, but these arms sales are also a tactical foreign policy instrument for wielding influence. Russia’s arms—generally speaking—are well made, sometimes on par with the US, and well suited for the region’s needs. These platforms and armaments are also more affordable than Western weaponry. The US simply will not sell weapons to certain countries, which, therefore, turn to Moscow. Politically, Russian arms come with few strings attached and thus are a great choice when a country wants to diversify away from the West, or at least signal such an intent. Moscow has made inroads with traditional clients such as Iran, Syria and Egypt, but also diversified toward countries closer to the West, such as the Arab Gulf states, Morocco and Turkey. Russia’s overall influence in the region is growing in the context of Western retreat. The Russian defense sector has problems, but also demonstrated improvements, learning and flexibility. Undoubtedly, Russia’s arms sales to the MENA region will continue to present a challenge for American interests in this region in the coming years.

Russia’s aid allows them to form dangerous allies, give them more power, and create more global instability.

Asmus 18 Gerda Asmus of Universität Heidelberg (Russia’s foreign aid re-emerges) April 9 2018 https://www.aiddata.org/blog/russias-foreign-aid-re-emerges /MP

In that note, the Putin government drew on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and listed poverty reduction, disaster relief, and the development of trade and economic partnerships as major goals of its aid activities. But other parts of the document are more open about the geopolitical agenda behind Russia’s aid program. For instance, Russia’s development assistance officially seeks to “create a belt of good neighborliness along the Russian national borders,” “strengthen the credibility of Russia and promote an unbiased attitude to the Russian Federation,” and “influence global processes with a view to establishing a stable, fair and democratic world order.” That democracy promotion is nominally part of the stated objectives distinguishes Russia from other BRICS donors like China and India, whose development programs are built on the principles of South-South Cooperation and non-interference in internal affairs. (Some scholars question the veracity of Russia’s stated aim of creating stability, suggesting that Moscow might be a pioneer in de-stabilizing aid.)

Peace agreement isn’t making food accessible

Xinhua News Service, February 12, 2019, http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-02/12/c_137815716.htm UN envoy leaves Yemen for Riyadh amid attempts to break stalled peace

UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths left Yemen’s rebel-held capital Sanaa on Tuesday after a one-day visit to push for peace in the war-torn country. Griffiths will head for Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia, to meet the exiled Yemeni government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, said an official at the UN mission in Sanaa on condition of anonymity. It was Griffiths’ fourth trip to Sanaa in two months in his attempts to break a stalemate in the implementation of Stockholm Agreement that focused on Yemen’s Red sea port city of Hodeidah, the lifeline of the country’s most commercial imports and humanitarian aid. During his Monday’s visit, Griffiths warned that grain aid stored in the besieged Hodeidah city to feed over three million people is “at risk of rotting,” asking the rival parties to allow the UN team for urgently access to the mills to deliver the aid to the extremely needy. He said the stores have been inaccessible for over five months and demanded the warring parties for not further delay. The four-year civil war has pushed over 12 million people to the verge of starvation and created what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The warring parties reached a peace deal in Stockholm in December last year. They have largely held the cease-fire deal in Hodeidah but failed to withdraw their forces. The rebels continue to fortify themselves inside the city while the government troops have been massing in the southern and eastern outskirts. Last week’s negotiations led by Michael Anker Lollesgaard, head of the UN cease-fire monitor team in Hodeidah, resulted in what the UN called a “preliminary deal,” yet the warring parties showed disputes over it.

Cutting off arms is the only moral response to war in Yemen

Mohamed and Shaif 16 (Rasha Mohamed is Amnesty International’s Yemen researcher. Follow her on Twitter at: @RashaMoh2. Rawan Shaif is a freelance journalist covering Yemen. https://foreignpolicy.com/2016/03/25/civilian-casualties-war-crimes-saudi-arabia-yemen-war/)

These gruesome scenes are just two examples of the horrors that Yemen has seen since the Saudi-led military coalition launched its air campaign in March 2015. On one side of this war is the Houthi armed group, often referred to as the “Popular Committees,” which is supported by armed groups loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and parts of the army. On the other side is the military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and allied forces on the ground, usually referred to as muqawama, or the “resistance,” fighting on behalf of Hadi and his government. The Houthis and their allies — armed groups loyal to Saleh — are the declared targets of the coalition’s 1-year-old air campaign. In reality, however, it is the civilians, such as Basrallah and Rubaid, and their children, who are predominantly the victims of this protracted war. Hundreds of civilians have been killed in airstrikes while asleep in their homes, when going about their daily activities, or in the very places where they had sought refuge from the conflict. The United States, Britain, and others, meanwhile, have continued to supply a steady stream of weaponry and logistical support to Saudi Arabia and its coalition. One year on, it still remains unclear who is winning the war. Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners claim to have regained control of more than 80 percent of the country, but the Houthis remain in control of the key strongholds of Sanaa, Ibb, and Taiz. Moreover, armed groups such as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the Islamic State are gaining ground and support in the south and southeast parts of the country, taking advantage of the security vacuum to consolidate their power. One thing is clear: Yemeni civilians are losing the most. This wanton disregard for the lives of civilians continues unabated… At approximately 11:30 a.m. on March 15, the market in Khamees, a town in northern Yemen, was destroyed in two apparent airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition, claiming the lives of 106 civilians, including 24 children. One man, Hasan Masafi, who spoke to us over the phone, couldn’t even grieve his 18-year-old son’s death because he couldn’t locate his whole body. “We were only able to find his right leg,” he said. The facts speak for themselves, and evidence of violations of international humanitarian law cannot be dismissed as mere hearsay, as the British government has attempted to do with U.N. reports. Amnesty International and other organizations have presented compelling evidence over the past year that indicates all parties to the Yemen conflict have committed war crimes. But some countries do not want to see the evidence that is staring them in the face. Flooding the region with arms is akin to adding fuel to the fire. Attacks like the one on Khamees market have become the norm for civilians in Yemen. More than 3,000 civilians have been killed during the conflict, according to the United Nations. Thousands of others have been injured, more than 2.5 million have been displaced, and 83 percent of Yemenis are reliant on humanitarian assistance. There is barely a single corner of Yemen or a single soul that hasn’t in some way been touched and scarred by this war. The Saudi-led coalition’s response to reports of civilians unlawfully killed — and homes, schools, and infrastructure destroyed — has been to constantly repeat the mantra that “only military targets are hit by airstrikes.” The situation on the ground tells a very different story. With each unlawful coalition airstrike, it becomes more evident that Saudi Arabia and other coalition members either do not care about respecting international humanitarian law or are incapable of adhering to its fundamental rules. And yet, Britain, the United States, and France continue to authorize lucrative arms deals with the Saudi-led coalition — apparently without batting an eyelash. Since November 2013, the U.S. Defense Department has authorized more than $35.7 billion in major arms deals to Saudi Arabia.Since November 2013, the U.S. Defense Department has authorized more than $35.7 billion in major arms deals to Saudi Arabia. This includes the announcement of a $1.29 billion U.S. arms sale to Saudi Arabia in November 2015 that will supply Riyadh with 18,440 bombs and 1,500 warheads. Meanwhile, during his time in office, British Prime Minister David Cameron has overseen the sale of more than $9 billion worth of weaponry to Saudi Arabia, including nearly $4 billion since airstrikes on Yemen began, according to the Campaign Against Arms Trade, a London-based NGO. Regardless of when the weapons used by coalition forces in Yemen were acquired — whether before or since the start of the air campaign — the countries that supplied them have a responsibility to ensure that they are not facilitating violations of international law. While the relentless coalition airstrikes account for most of the civilian deaths in the conflict, civilians also find themselves increasingly trapped in the crossfire between Houthi and anti-Houthi armed groups, with each side supported by different units of the now-divided armed forces. A case in point is the southern city of Taiz, which has suffered restrictions on movement of food and medical supplies since at least November. Attacks continue to maim and kill civilians, including children. When Amnesty International visited the city in July 2015, we witnessed the irresponsible conduct of fighters firsthand and documented 30 ground attacks, which led to more than 100 casualties. One of those victims was 12-year-old Ayham Anees, who was killed in an apparent Houthi mortar attack in May. Munther Mohamed, Anees’s uncle, described rushing to the scene after hearing children’s screams following the attack. “I also saw my nephew Ayham, whose head had separated from his body,” he said. “I had told the children to play in the middle of the alley because it was the safest place, but it was not.” The crisis in Taiz has only gotten worse in recent days. While the Houthis have been partially pushed out of the city center, they still maintain control of the majority of the governorate. Where the Houthis have been forced to retreat, they have laid landmines — internationally banned weapons that have already claimed dozens of civilian lives. Last week, the spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition announced that operations are nearing their end in Yemen. What that means in practice is not yet clear, as airstrikes continue to pound the country. But accountability doesn’t take a back seat just because military operations may be winding down. It’s time to bring these crimes against civilians to an end. With peace talks expected to take place in Kuwait on April 18, all parties must prioritize several crucial conditions: protecting the long-term interests of ordinary Yemenis, ensuring an end to the horrors of the past year, and guaranteeing that those responsible will be held accountable. All those civilian lives lost as a result of violations won’t be forgotten, even if this chapter of war closes. It’s too late for the children of Salah Basrallah. But there’s no excuse not to do the right thing now. States should act immediately to ensure that none of Yemen’s warring parties is supplied — either directly or indirectly — with weapons, munitions, military equipment, or technology that would be used in any furtherance of the conflict. And they must do everything in their power to ensure there is an independent international investigation into violations by all sides aimed at ensuring justice and reparation — for Salah Basrallah and the thousands of other victims of this deadly war.

Reducing arms sends a signal to allies that US support must be earned encouraging moderation- this stabilizes the region, oil prices, reduces terrorism and proliferation

Walt, PhD, 18 (Stephen, [email protected], 1-16 https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/01/16/the-islamic-republic-of-hysteria-iran-middle-east-trump/)

Fortunately, no state inside or outside the Middle East was then — or is today — in a position to control it. As a result, the United States does not have to do much to maintain a regional balance of power. Instead of giving Saudi Arabia or Israel a blank check to counter some mythical Iranian hegemon, Washington should seek more balanced relations with all states in the region, Iran included. This more equitable approach would facilitate cooperation on issues where U.S. and Iranian interests align, such as Afghanistan. The prospect of better relations with the United States would give Tehran an incentive to moderate its behavior. Past U.S. efforts to isolate the clerical regime encouraged it to play a spoiler’s role instead, with some degree of success. This approach would also discourage America’s present allies from taking U.S. support for granted and encourage them to do more to retain its favor. America’s current regional allies (and their domestic lobbies) would surely protest vehemently if Washington stopped backing them to the hilt and sought even a modest détente with Iran. But that is ultimately their problem, not America’s. Excessive U.S. support encourages allies to behave recklessly, as Israel does when it expands illegal settlements and as Saudi Arabia is doing with its military campaign in Yemen, its diplomatic squabble with Qatar, and its bungled attempt to reshape politics inside Lebanon. If U.S. allies understood that Washington was talking to everyone, however, they would have more reason to listen to America’s advice lest it curtail its support and look elsewhere. Having many options is the ultimate source of leverage. Playing balance-of-power politics in the Middle East does not require Washington to abandon its current allies completely or tilt toward Tehran. Rather, it means using U.S. power to maintain a rough balance, discourage overt efforts to alter the status quo, and prevent any state from dominating the region while helping local powers resolve their differences. Lowering the temperature in this way would safeguard access to oil, dampen desire in the region for weapons of mass destruction, and give these states less reason to fund extremists and other proxies.

Continued assistance prevents coalition exhaustion- they won’t negotiate as long as we supply – arms sales eliminate pressure for peace Foreign Policy 15

(https://foreignpolicy.com/2015/12/10/flexing-new-powers-congress-to-review-arms-shipments-to-saudi-arabia/, 12-10)

The organizations leading the charge against the weapons sale include Oxfam America, Amnesty International USA, and Human Rights Watch. The groups accuse Washington of being complicit in what they call Saudi Arabia’s “indiscriminate” airstrikes in Yemen where about 2,500 civilians have died in the fighting. “Arms transfers give a green light to indefinite military intervention, substantially relieving the pressure on the coalition and the government of Yemen to agree to a ceasefire,” Oxfam America senior humanitarian policy adviser Scott Paul told Foreign Policy.

Yemen answers – compromise emerging now

France24.com, 2-7, 19, https://www.france24.com/en/20190207-yemen-warring-parties-compromise-hodeida-pullback-port-city-united-nations Yemen’s warring parties reach compromise on Hodeida pullback

Yemen’s government and Huthi rebels have agreed on a preliminary compromise for redeploying their forces from the port city of Hodeida, the UN said Thursday, shoring up a truce deal that marks the first step toward ending the devastating war. ADVERTISING The pullback from Hodeida was initially agreed under the ceasefire deal reached in December in Sweden. But deadlines for both sides to move their forces away from the ports and parts of the city were missed. Following three rounds of talks aboard a UN ship in Hodeida’s harbour, a proposal was put forward by Danish General Michael Lollesgaard, who heads a UN observer mission, “that proved acceptable, in principle,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric. “A preliminary compromise was agreed, pending further consultation by the parties with their respective leaders,” said Dujarric. ADVERTISING The two sides are to meet again next week to finalize details for the redeployment, if the compromise is endorsed by the Huthi and government leadership. The ceasefire and the redeployment of forces agreed in Stockholm have been hailed as a major step toward ending Yemen’s nearly four-year war that has left millions on the brink of famine. UN officials however have warned the peace gains are fragile. The first phase of the redeployment from the ports of Hodeida, Saleef, Ras Issa and from parts of the city where there are humanitarian facilities was scheduled to happen two weeks after the ceasefire went into force on December 18. But that deadline was missed as the government and Huthis haggled over the interpretation of the agreement. The Red Sea port is the entry point for the bulk of Yemen’s imported goods and humanitarian aid, providing a lifeline to millions in the Arab world’s poorest country. Access to grain silos While there was some progress on the pullback of forces, UN efforts to gain access to a food storage site in Hodeida that could feed millions of Yemenis hit a wall. UN aid chief Mark Lowcock urged the Huthis to allow relief groups to cross front lines “in the coming days” to reach the Red Sea Mills, which are located in a government-controlled area of Hodeida. UN Humanitarian ✔ @UNOCHA The @UN has been unable to access the Red Sea Mills in Hodeida, #Yemen since Sept 2018. Enough grain to feed 3.7 million people for a month has sat unused. “No-one gains anything from this: but millions of starving people suffer.” [email protected] https://reliefweb.int/report/yemen/under-secretary-general-humanitarian-affairs-and-emergency-relief-coordinator-mark-14 … 35 4:07 PM – Feb 7, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock,… English News and Press Release on Yemen about Food and Nutrition and Protection and Human Rights; published on 07 Feb 2019 by OCHA reliefweb.int 22 people are talking about this The Red Sea Mills silos are believed to contain enough grain to feed 3.7 million people for a month but the granary has remained off-limits to aid organisations for more than four months. The Huthis are refusing to allow UN aid agencies to cross front lines and reach the Red Sea Mills, because of security concerns, said Lowcock, who deplored that a solution remained “elusive” despite many rounds of talks. “Access to the mills grows ever more urgent as time passes and the risk of spoilage to the remaining grain increases,” said Lowcock in a statement. UN-led talks on a prisoner swap involving thousands of detainees on both sides were continuing in Jordan, the UN spokesman said, adding that it was a “good sign” that the negotiations were ongoing. Yemen’s rebels have been mired in a war with government forces backed since 2015 by a Saudi-led coalition. The United Nations has described Yemen as the world’s worst humanitarian emergency, with 10 million people on the brink of famine.

Yemen answers – New compromise means food deliveries

Arab News, February 9, 2019, [http://www.arabnews.com/node/1448811/middle-east, UN: Yemen’s warring parties reach preliminary pullout deal]

UNITED NATIONS: Yemen’s warring parties reached a preliminary compromise on a plan for the redeployment of opposing forces from the key port of Hodeidah, the United Nations said Thursday. UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the preliminary agreement was reached by representatives of Yemen’s government and Houthi rebels meeting on a UN vessel in Hodeidah’s inner harbor during UN-mediated talks between Feb. 3-6. He said the head of the UN monitoring mission “tabled a proposal that proved acceptable, in principle … pending further consultations by the parties with their respective leaders.” Dujarric said he couldn’t give details, but he said the UN monitoring team expects to reconvene the warring parties “within the next week, with the aim of finalizing details for redeployments.” Retired Dutch Maj. Gen. Patrick Cammaert, the outgoing head of the UN operation monitoring the cease-fire and redeployment of forces from the Hodeidah area that both sides agreed to in Sweden in December, chaired this week’s initial meetings, Dujarric said. His replacement, Danish Lt. Gen. Michael Lollesgaard, attended the meetings and has now taken over. The agreement in Sweden was seen as a key step in attempts to end the conflict in Yemen, which began with the 2014 takeover of the capital Sanaa by the Iranian-backed Houthis. The fighting in the Arab world’s poorest country has taken a terrible toll on civilians, with thousands killed and a catastrophic humanitarian crisis under way. UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said in a statement Thursday that the UN and its humanitarian partners are scaling up to reach 12 million people with emergency food, a 50-percent increase over 2018 targets He said the Red Sea Mills in a government-controlled area of Hodeidah has enough grain to feed 3.7 million people for a month, but the UN has been unable to gain access since September while the grain possibly spoils in silos He deplored that last month two silos were hit by mortar shells and the resulting fire destroyed some grain — “probably enough to feed hundreds of thousands of people for a month. Lowcock said the Houthis have refused to authorize the United Nations to cross front lines into government-controlled areas to access the Red Sea Mills, citing security concerns Discussions are continuing with both sides and Lowcock implored the Houthis and their affiliates “to finalize an agreement and facilitate access to the mills in the coming days.”

Yemen answers – Saudis want to end the war

Reuters, 2-7, 19, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-prisoners/yemens-houthis-prisoner-swap-talks-could-drag-on-for-months-idUSKCN1PW2I6 Yemen’s Houthis: prisoner swap talks could drag on for months

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – leaders of a Western-backed coalition battling the Houthis to restore President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government – want to exit a costly war that has dragged on for nearly four years. They have endorsed the U.N. push to reach a peace deal.

Yemen answers – Deal beginning to pay off

Mohammed Jamoon, 2-6, 19, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/02/un-efforts-yemen-ceasefire-deal-beginning-pay-off-190206140922527.html UN: Efforts for Yemen ceasefire deal ‘beginning to pay off’

The United Nations says its efforts to forge an agreement between Yemen’s government and Houthi rebels are “beginning to pay off”.

Yemen answers – can’t solve for UAE/AQAP battles

Sean Stevens, 2-7, 19, https://news.vice.com/en_us/article/mbzg58/inside-the-al-qaeda-heartlands-of-yemen Inside the Al Qaeda Heartlands of Yemen

AL-HAWTAH, Yemen — Fourteen-year-old Hareth Omar Al Moallem was asleep when armed men stormed his home and set fire to his bedroom one day last year. “It’s all ruined,” he said, pointing to a hole in the ground. “There’s nothing now. They came up and burnt it with gasoline.” The soldiers were after his brother, a member of Yemen’s deadliest terror group: al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). “When they came looking for him, he was already long gone. They should’ve gone after him. It shouldn’t have involved us,” Hareth told VICE News. ADVERTISEMENT Most Yemen coverage centers on the civil war between the Saudi-backed military and the Iran-backed Houthi rebels. But other groups have brought death and destruction to the impoverished country, most notably AQAP, and the United Arab Emirates forces trying to extinguish them. Here in the country’s east, where AQAP is active, Hareth’s story is not unique. Emirati forces, backed with U.S. support, have waged a ruthless campaign against the terror group — or anyone they suspect of being an al Qaeda fighter. And that’s taking a toll on Yemeni civilians, who say the operations are heavy-handed and sometimes target innocent people. The United Nations is currently holding peace talks aimed at staving off greater conflict between the Saudi coalition and the Houthis on the outskirts of Yemen’s largest port city, Hodeidah, but that has had little bearing on the war on terror. Just last month, AQAP launched three attacks on security forces throughout the country, according to Elisabeth Kendall, a senior research fellow at the University of Oxford tracking terror activity in Yemen. The Emiratis have been at the forefront of counterterror operations, leading several offensives against AQAP and Yemen’s other major terror group, ISIS-Y (Islamic State group in Yemen), active in Shabwa and Abyan provinces since early 2016. And they’ve had help. CENTCOM, the U.S. mission overseeing all military operations in the Middle East, revealed earlier this month that the U.S. conducted a combined 36 airstrikes against the two militant groups in 2018 alone. ADVERTISEMENT The offensive is working, to a degree. Since launching its biggest attack on foreign soil in 2015 — when the group claimed responsibility for the shooting that killed 12 at the Paris offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine — AQAP has been pummeled by a series of Emirati-led operations. The terror group remains Yemen’s top militant network and one of the biggest terror threats to the U.S. and its Western allies, but it has been greatly diminished, with numbers drastically reduced and fighters now dispersed from territory they once controlled. “They are scattered and displaced,” Waddah Omar, a commander with the security division of he Aden province, told VICE News. “There are constant campaigns against them in Aden and Abyan, and other provinces. So it’s impossible for them to flourish.” VICE News traveled to al Qaeda heartlands in Yemen last year to see towns and villages that had been liberated as part of the counterterror offensives. But support for the campaigns weren’t exactly forthcoming. Many Yemeni civilians insist they’ve suffered immensely in the crossfire — though the coalition denies this. “The entire sky was burning,” Abdulhadi Mohammed al Qarquoa, an elderly man who lives in the town of Al-Hawtah, said of the Emirati-led offensive. “They shot randomly, destroying homes. If a man is indeed a member of al-Qaeda, the military should run after him and not come here and destroy civilian homes.” ADVERTISEMENT The Emirati-led offensive is so costly to civilians that some locals say it risks actually helping AQAP’s recruitment efforts. “They force people to do that. The military does something, then the next week the locals go back to al Qaeda,” said Fahd Mohammed ba Shaibah, who has lived in al-Hawtah his entire life.

Yemen Pro – UAE weapons insignificant

Sean Stevens, 2-7, 19, https://news.vice.com/en_us/article/mbzg58/inside-the-al-qaeda-heartlands-of-yemen Inside the Al Qaeda Heartlands of Yemen

According to the Amnesty International report, since the start of the Yemen conflict, at least $3.5 billion worth of arms were sent to the UAE only. The numbers, meanwhile, are much higher for Saudi Arabia, totaling some around $50 billion.

Yemen Con – banning weapons is not enough, as existing weapons have a shelf life of 30years, and there are so many alternative suppliers of basic weapons

Yumar Jamshaid wrote today (February 8, 2019) that, https://www.urdupoint.com/en/world/review-watchdog-sounds-alarm-as-western-arm-548035.html, REVIEW – Watchdog Sounds Alarm As Western Arms Allegedly Diverted To Unaccountable Yemen Militias

Hensmans went on to note that the problem of arms diversion was complicated by the fact that most weapons “are very sturdy and can have a lifetime of more than 30 years,” posing a threat of their later re-emergence in other conflict zones, as is the case with Kalashnikov or FAL assault rifles. A kalashnikov costs only 25 US$ in Africa or the middle East. Bulgaria and other Balkan countries still produce them massively,” he noted. Even such a small country like Belgium has a powerful arms industry, which also benefits from supplies to the Gulf nations, according to Hensmans. “[Belgium’s] FN Herstal produces small arms but a group such as CMI in Liege, Belgium, produces canons and turrets for tanks that are assembled in Canada and then exported to Saudi Arabia. That contract alone is worth 3.6 billion EUR for CMI. Now Saudi Arabia wants to install its own tank-producing factory. Their ambition is to make it one of the 20 largest in the world. Where will these weapons systems end up? There are enough arms all over the world; there is no need for more factories,” he stressed. YEMEN AS MAIN VICTIM OF UNTRACED ARMS SUPPLIES Dwelling on Yemen, Hensmans reiterated the watchdog’s findings that some of Western weapons ended up in hands of UAE-backed militias Security Belt, Shabwani elite forces and “The Giants.” “Minimi, the light machine guns (7.62 mm NATO) designed by Belgian FN Herstal are being used by an armed group in Yemen, known as the Giant Brigades. Minimi light machine guns have been found in the hands of this special forces unit of the Yemeni army, now under nobody’s control, but armed & trained by the United Arab Emirates. The country is known to equip militias with war material as part of the conflict in Yemen,” he said. According to Hensmans, Yemen has long become a place dominated by UAE-backed militias, which are largely unaccountable but illegally receive a range of advanced weaponry, with “much of it sourced from Western countries, including the UK or Belgium.”

Yemen answers – can’t solve UAE sales

AL Jazeera, 2-7, 19, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/02/lawmaker-questions-arms-sales-saudi-uae-coalition-yemen-190207062710906.html US lawmaker questions arms sales to Saudi-UAE coalition in Yemen

Also on Wednesday, Amnesty International accused the UAE of diverting arms supplied by Western and other states to “unaccountable militias accused of war crimes” in Yemen. The rights group called on countries to suspend arms sales to the warring parties until there is “no longer a substantial risk” they may be used to breach humanitarian or human rights law.

Yemen answer – US has already stopped refueling Saudi planes

Daily Maverick, 2-7, 19, https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2019-02-07-senators-seek-to-punish-saudis-over-khashoggi-murder-yemen-war/

Legislation to punish Saudi Arabia for the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi and for its role in the conflict in Yemen was introduced Thursday by a bipartisan group of senators who said the Trump administration failed to hold a key ally to account. The bill would prohibit some arms sales to Saudi Arabia and bar U.S. in-flight refueling of Saudi coalition aircraft involved in the civil war in Yemen. The administration has said it already has halted the refueling.

Yemen Pro – New bill won’t pass and doesn’t ban all arms sales

Daily Maverick, 2-7, 19, https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2019-02-07-senators-seek-to-punish-saudis-over-khashoggi-murder-yemen-war/

The bill would prohibit some arms sales to Saudi Arabia and bar U.S. in-flight refueling of Saudi coalition aircraft involved in the civil war in Yemen. The administration has said it already has halted the refueling. The introduction of the bill comes ahead of what Senator Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, described as a Feb. 8 deadline for the Trump administration to determine whether Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is personally responsible for Khashoggi’s murder inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October. Menendez and former Senator Bob Corker, who was then chairman of Foreign Relations, triggered the investigation in October by sending a letter to the administration invoking the Magnitsky Act of 2016, which gives the administration 120 days to make a decision on new sanctions. ADVERTISING Even with bipartisan backing, the measure faces an uncertain fate in the GOP-controlled Senate. Lawmakers from both parties have expressed outrage over the killing, but Republicans are often hesitant to buck President Donald Trump.

Strong US-Saudi relations needed to prevent Iranian hegemony and growing Russian influence

Tim Dias, February 7, 2019, https://oilprice.com/Geopolitics/Middle-East/Trump-Under-Fire-For-Support-Of-Saudi-Led-Coalition-In-Yemen.html   Trump Under Fire For Support Of Saudi-Led Coalition In Yemen [Trump Under Fire For Support Of Saudi-Led Coalition In Yemen

Trump also needs a good relationship with Saudi Arabia as a balance of power check in the middle east, the most geopolitically charged region in the world. Without a strong House of Saud ruling in Riyadh, a power vacuum would open in the middle east that would be filled by Iran – a scenario, given the Islamic Republic’s rhetoric and actions to date, would no bode well for world peace. Related: Big Oil Is On A Startup Buying Spree This is the same dilemma that U.S. presidents have faced since Jimmy Carter and the establishment of the Islamic State of Iran in 1979. A strong Saudi Arabia is the only hedge to keep Iranian regional hegemony ambitions, now along with Russian influence, in check.

Weapons end up being transferred to terrorists groups and the Houthis

Nima Elgibar, February 2019, https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2019/02/middleeast/yemen-lost-us-arms/ Sold to an Ally, Lost to an Enemy, https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2019/02/middleeast/yemen-lost-us-arms/

Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners have transferred American-made weapons to al Qaeda-linked fighters, hardline Salafi militias, and other factions waging war in Yemen, in violation of their agreements with the United States, a CNN investigation has found. The weapons have also made their way into the hands of Iranian-backed rebels battling the coalition for control of the country, exposing some of America’s sensitive military technology to Tehran and potentially endangering the lives of US troops in other conflict zones. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, its main partner in the war, have used the US-manufactured weapons as a form of currency to buy the loyalties of militias or tribes, bolster chosen armed actors, and influence the complex political landscape, according to local commanders on the ground and analysts who spoke to CNN. By handing off this military equipment to third parties, the Saudi-led coalition is breaking the terms of its arms sales with the US, according to the Department of Defense. After CNN presented its findings, a US defense official confirmed there was an ongoing investigation into the issue. The revelations raise fresh questions about whether the US has lost control over a key ally presiding over one of the most horrific wars of the past decade, and whether Saudi Arabia is responsible enough to be allowed to continue buying the sophisticated arms and fighting hardware. Previous CNN investigations established that US-made weapons were used in a series of deadly Saudi coalition attacks that killed dozens of civilians, many of them children. The developments also come as Congress, outraged with Riyadh over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year, considers whether to force an end to the Trump administration’s support for the Saudi coalition, which relies on American weapons to conduct its war. Play Video Video: How US-made weapons end up in the wrong hands 10:11 In 2015, Riyadh launched a coalition to oust Iranian-supported Houthi rebels from the country’s capital and reinstate the internationally recognized government of President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi. The war split the country in two, and with it came the weapons — not just guns, but anti-tank missiles, armored vehicles, heat-seeking lasers and artillery — all flooding into an unruly and complex state. Since then, some of America’s “beautiful military equipment,” as US President Donald Trump once called it, has been passed on, sold, stolen or abandoned in Yemen’s state of chaos, where murky alliances and fractured politics mean little hope for any system of accountability or tracking. Some terror groups have gained from the influx of US arms, with the barrier of entry to advanced weaponry now lowered by the laws of supply and demand. Militia leaders have had ample opportunity to obtain military hardware in exchange for the manpower to fight the Houthi militias. Arms dealers have flourished, with traders offering to buy or sell anything, from a US-manufactured rifle to a tank, to the highest bidder. And Iran’s proxies have captured American weapons they can exploit for vulnerabilities or reverse-engineer for native production. ‘Do you have American guns here?’ In the narrow, ramshackle streets of Taiz’s historic district, weapons shops lie tucked between women’s clothing stores. Arms markets are illegal in Yemen, but that doesn’t stop them operating openly in this large, mountainous city in the country’s southwest. To one side hang veils, abayas and colorful dresses for sale; to the other are pistols, hand grenades, and US assault rifles available on special order. In one arms market, sweets were displayed among the ammunition. “Do you have American guns here?” CNN asked. “The American guns are expensive and sought after,” the weapons trader replied, in an exchange captured by undercover CNN cameras. In another of the city’s markets, a very young-looking boy handled weapons like an expert. Men joked and chewed khat, a commonly used drug, and the atmosphere was casual. But these shops don’t just take individual orders, they can supply militias — and it’s this not-so-hidden black market that in part is driving the demand for hi-tech American weapons and perpetuating the cycle of violence in Yemen. Once the intellectual heart of the country, Taiz is now a tinder box that set off a war within a war last year, when the various militias backed by the Saudi-led coalition turned their guns on each other.

Terrorist groups that are aligned with Saudi Arabia in Yemen get the weapons

Nima Elgibar, February 2019, https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2019/02/middleeast/yemen-lost-us-arms/ Sold to an Ally, Lost to an Enemy, https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2019/02/middleeast/yemen-lost-us-arms/

Amid the chaos of the broader war, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) made its way to the frontlines in Taiz in 2015, forging advantageous alliances with the pro-Saudi militias they fought alongside. One of those militias linked to AQAP, the Abu Abbas brigade, now possesses US-made Oshkosh armored vehicles, paraded in a 2015 show of force through the city. Abu Abbas, the founder, was declared a terrorist by the US in 2017, but the group still enjoys support from the Saudi coalition and was absorbed into the coalition-supported 35th Brigade of the Yemeni army. “Oshkosh Defense strictly follows all US laws and regulations relating to export control,” the firm told CNN. An Oshkosh armored vehicle rolls down a street in Taiz in 2015. And there are deadlier forms of weaponry that have made their way into the city. In October 2015, military forces loyal to the government boasted on Saudi- and UAE-backed media that the Saudis had airdropped American-made TOW anti-tank missiles on the same frontline where AQAP had been known to operate at the time. Local officials confirmed that the airdrop happened, but CNN’s attempts to conduct further interviews were blocked and the team was intimidated by the local government. A local activist joked that the weapons had probably been sold on. Graveyard of US military hardware At a graveyard of discarded US-made military hardware near the flashpoint port city of Hodeidah, it becomes clear that the Alwiyat al Amalqa — the Giants Brigade, a predominantly Salafi, or ultra-conservative Sunni, militia — is a favored faction. Nearly half a dozen Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles sit side by side, most bearing stickers with the insignia of the Giants Brigade. One even has the export label on it showing it was sent from Beaumont, Texas to Abu Dhabi, in the UAE, before ending up in the hands of the militia. The serial number of another MRAP reveals it was manufactured by Navistar, the largest provider of armored vehicles for the US military. An MRAP made by Navistar and in the hands of the Giants Brigade. The armored all-terrain vehicles are built to withstand ballistic arms fire, mine blasts and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). “It’s the vehicle that every crew wants when they’re out in the field,” Navistar’s website says. The firm declined to comment on this report. Recipients of US weaponry are legally obligated to adhere to end-use requirements which prohibit the transferring of any equipment to third parties without prior authorization from the US government. That authorization was never obtained. The Saudi coalition did not respond to multiple requests for comment. A senior UAE official denied “in no uncertain terms that we are in violation of end-user agreements in any manner.” The Giants Brigade is a “part of Yemeni forces,” the official told CNN, adding that the group was under the direct supervision of the UAE and, therefore, the equipment was in the “collective possession” of the coalition. The US Department of Defense, when asked specifically about the Giants Brigades, said it had not given Saudi Arabia or the UAE permission to hand over US weaponry to other factions on the ground. “The United States has not authorized the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates to re-transfer any equipment to parties inside Yemen,” Pentagon spokesman Johnny Michael told CNN. “The US government cannot comment on any pending investigations of claims of end-use violations of defense articles and services transferred to our allies and partners.” Iran is ‘assessing US military technology closely’ Because a majority of American troop deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq are caused by IEDs, it is critical that knowledge of MRAP vulnerabilities does not fall into enemy hands. But it’s already too late. In September 2017, a Houthi-run TV channel broadcast images of Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the de facto rebel leader, proudly sitting behind the wheel of a captured US-made MRAP in the capital Sanaa, as a crowd chanted “death to America” in the background. CNN obtained an image showing the serial numbers of a second American MRAP in the hands of another senior Houthi official last year in Hodeidah. The vehicle was part of a $2.5 billion sale to the UAE in 2014. The sale document, seen by CNN, certifies that “a determination has been made that the recipient country can provide the same degree of protection for the sensitive technology” as the United States. MRAPs like these, captured on the battlefield, have been probed by Iranian intelligence, according to a member of a secret Houthi unit backed by Iran known as the Preventative Security Force. The unit oversees the transfer of military technology to and from Tehran. The member of the force, speaking to CNN anonymously out of fear for his safety, revealed that Iranian and Hezbollah advisers have already gotten their hands on the armored vehicles and other US military hardware. “Iranian intelligence are assessing US military technology very closely,” the source said in an audio interview done from Sanaa. “Listen, there isn’t a single American weapon that they don’t try to find out its details, what it’s made of, how it works.” A barcoded serial plate The serial numbers of one MRAP captured by Houthi forces trace the vehicle back to a $2.5 billion US arms sale to the UAE in 2014. IEDs are now mass-produced in Yemen by Houthi forces on a scale only previously achieved by ISIS, according to a report published by Conflict Armament Research. The group tracks weapons and their supply chains in conflict zones, and has found IEDs containing Iranian components in Yemen. Hiram Al Assad, a member of the Houthi Political Council, confirmed to CNN that the MRAPs were still in Houthi hands but denied the existence of the Preventative Security Force. Iran has not responded to a CNN request for comment.

Weapons always end up in the wrong hands, we need to end the sales

Daniel Larson, 2-4-19, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/the-saudi-coalition-cant-be-trusted-with-u-s-weapons/  The American Conservative,  The Saudi Coalition Can’t

The coalition’s diversion of weapons to other parties is obnoxious, but it is just the latest reminder that the U.S. shouldn’t be providing the Saudis and Emiratis with any weapons for their war on Yemen. We know that they and their proxies use these weapons to commit war crimes and heinous abuses of the civilian population. We also know that they can’t be trusted to keep these weapons out of the hands of terrorists. When our government floods a war zone with weapons, it is more or less inevitable that those weapons will end up in the hands of armed groups that absolutely shouldn’t have them. This is what happened in Syria, and it is what usually happens when we throw weapons at an ongoing, multi-sided conflict. That is why the U.S. shouldn’t be so quick to provide clients and proxies with weapons that they are certain to use for their own purposes. In this case, some weapons have ended up in the hands of both Al Qaeda members and the Houthis. This latest outrage comes on top of the arming and financing that the Saudi coalition and its proxies have been providing to Al Qaeda members in Yemen and the alliance of convenience that has existed between the coalition and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) since the war began. U.S. weapons don’t just happen to make their way into the hands of terrorists. Our clients provide the terrorists with these weapons because they and our government are all on the same side in an indefensible war that our government has supported for close to four years. These latest reports are just the most recent evidence that the Saudis and Emiratis are not our allies and cannot be trusted with the weapons and support that our government has eagerly provided them. It is one more reason why the U.S. must end all involvement in the war on Yemen, cease all arms sales to the Saudis and the UAE, and downgrade our relations with these reckless and unreliable clients.

Humanitarian situation in Yemen is getting worse, ceasefire fails

Alex Ward, 1-30, 19, https://www.vox.com/2019/1/30/18203857/yemen-war-deaths-injured-chart-intelligence Yemen’s humanitarian catastrophe, in one chart

The war in Yemen — a bloody, ongoing conflict in which the US has played an important role — has fallen out of the news. But a new US intelligence report shows exactly why it shouldn’t. The annual Worldwide Threat Assessment report — which “reflects the collective insights of the Intelligence Community” including the CIA, the National Security Agency, the FBI, and many other federal bodies — contains a chart showing just how horrifying conditions for the Yemeni people have become. Of the nearly 29 million people in the country, about 22 million — nearly 76 percent of the population — need some form of humanitarian assistance. Among them, 16 million don’t have reliable access to drinking water or food, and more than 1 million Yemenis now suffer from cholera. Those figures, which apparently come from US intelligence and mostly comport with publicly available numbers, show how the war has caused one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. And it’s a crisis that the United States has helped fuel. “The only losers are the people — their grave suffering presents generational risk to Yemen’s future,” Dave Harden, a former US official leading humanitarian development response to Yemen, told me. Worldwide Threat Assessment 2019/Office of the Director of National Intelligence Yemen’s humanitarian crisis is horrible — and it’s likely to get worse Since 2015, the US has backed Saudi Arabia’s coalition and supported its war in Yemen against the Houthi rebels. It has helped coalition forces push back on Iran, the Houthis’ main supplier for weapons and funds. But until last November, the US refueled Saudi warplanes that drop bombs on Yemen — many of which killed civilians, including children. While the US has said it doesn’t do this anymore, it continues to provide other support to coalition forces including training and intelligence sharing, the Defense Department told me last November. The war has claimed tens of thousands of lives, with estimates ranging from around 13,500 to 80,000 dead. The problem is those numbers, like the chart’s figures, are just estimates, as conditions on the ground are so bad that no one can do an official count. What’s worse, the intelligence report — which, again, represents the consensus view of different US agencies involved in collecting and analyzing intelligence — indicates that the situation in Yemen won’t improve anytime soon. The warring parties “remain far apart in negotiating an end to the conflict, and neither side seems prepared for the kind of compromise needed to end the fighting, suggesting the humanitarian crisis will continue,” the report states. Harden, who now runs the Georgetown Strategy Group in Washington, also noted how the document fails to mention all the other problems in Yemen. For example, the ceasefire in Hodeidah, a vital port city in western Yemen that the Houthis have controlled since 2014, is falling apart, and the economy has ground to a halt. And there are other sources of conflict in the country, like America’s efforts against ISIS and al-Qaeda. Last November, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis called for fighters to reach a peace deal by the end of the month. That, however, hasn’t happened, and Mattis — whom many saw as the driving force for ending the war and America’s involvement — is gone. Still, Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich, a Pentagon spokesperson, told me on Wednesday that “an enduring solution will only come through a comprehensive political agreement, which will require compromise from all sides.” Multiple congressional efforts have also failed to stop America’s involvement in the fight, and it’s unclear if another one, launched Wednesday by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), will have enough support to overcome a certain veto by President Donald Trump.

14 million people at risk of starvation, and the war has failed – Iran and the Houthis have exxpanded

Jeffrey Feltman, November 26, 2018, is a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He was United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs from July 2012 until April 2018 and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs from 2009 to 2012, Foreigh Affairs. The Only Way to End the War in Yemen, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/print/1123390

The war in Yemen [1] has been a disaster for U.S. interests, for Saudi interests, and above all for the Yemeni people. It has sparked the world’s largest humanitarian catastrophe: tens of thousands of civilians have been killed and 14 million people are at risk of starvation. It has been a strategic blunder as well, producing the exact results the Saudi-led military campaign was designed to prevent. The Houthis are more militarily sophisticated and better able to strike beyond Yemen’s borders than they were at the start of the war; Iranian influence [2] has expanded; and the relationship between the Houthis and Lebanon’s Hezbollah has only deepened. Although the United Arab Emirates has waged an effective battle against al Qaeda in Yemen, terrorism remains a grave threat.

Despite a few violations, the Stockholm agreement is limiting the fighting now

Ariel Ahram, February 3, 2019, https://www.lawfareblog.com/stockholm-agreement-and-yemens-other-wars , Ariel I. Ahram is associate professor in Virginia Tech’s School of Public & International Affairs in Alexandria and the author of Break All the Borders: Separatism and the Reshaping of the Middle East. The Stockholm Agreement and Yemen’s Other Wars

The Stockholm Agreement, signed on December 13, 2018, is the first good news regarding Yemen in a long time, even though implementation has been uneven. The UN-brokered agreement provides a conduit for aid through Hodeidah, the demilitarization of Taiz, and an exchange of prisoners. More than a month in to the arrangement, the deal is intact despite a “complicated” implementation, UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths said last week. There is still sporadic fighting around Hodeidah and Taiz and violence continues unabated in areas not covered by the agreement, including Sana’a. In January, UN mediators convened a new set of meetings in Amman to clarify the agreement, boost confidence, and solidify enforcement. Despite this rocky start, it is a significant diplomatic step toward potential conciliation between the internationally-recognized government of Abdarrabah Mansur Hadi and Houthi rebels who have held Sanaa since 2014.

Despite a few violations, the ceasefire is holding ad it’s reducing conflict

The Guardian, 1-30-19, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/30/yemen-ceasefire-is-holding-says-un-envoy Yemen ceasefire looks dire but is holding, says UN envoy

Yemen’s fragile ceasefire is holding and Saudi Arabia remains intent on reaching a negotiated end to the four-year-old civil war, Martin Griffiths, the UN special envoy for the country, has said. Admitting the state of the ceasefire looked dire from the outside, he nevertheless said the key metric for the UN was the absence of offensive military operations to take territory and the end of Saudi airstrikes in the area. Yemen ceasefire: Houthi retreat suffers setback, says UN envoy Read more Griffiths has been in Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, and the Red Sea port of Hodeidah this week to discuss blockages to agreements reached in UN-led talks in Stockholm in December. Yemen has been gripped by civil war between Iranian-backed Houthi rebels and the Saudi-backed – and UN-recognised – Yemen government of Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi since 2015. Griffiths said the vital next steps were gaining access to grain in Hodeidah’s mills, and a UN-sponsored meeting between the warring factions to start the process of redeploying Houthi troops. Speaking on BBC Radio 4, he said the UN world food programme needed access to the mills in which enough grain to feed nearly 4 million Yemenis for a month had remained since October. Houthis claimed on Wednesday they were fired on by government forces as they tried to de-mine the route to the mills. Griffiths also said he had plans for the UN-led redeployment co-ordination committee (RCC), bringing together the rival military leaderships, to restart its meetings within the next few days. The Houthis recently refused to attend the RCCmeeting as it was due to be held in Yemen government-held territory. Griffiths refused to disclose the proposed venue or agenda for the next critical meeting but said: “It is the redeployments out of the port and out of the city which are the essential aim of the Stockholm agreement – to demilitarise the entire port and city area. If we don’t, the ceasefire will inevitably fray and disappear.” The Houthi forces are reluctant to withdraw from the city and port, and allow a new security force to take over. The nature of that security force is disputed and was not spelled out in the Stockholm agreement. Griffiths said: “The Saudis are incredibly helpful in trying to make these things work.” He added: “At the political level we have the will – making this happen operationally on the ground – the first time ever these two sides have promised to disengage – is complicated and one bullet can change somebody’s life. It is tricky, it’s not perfect but we have to move forward.” Some limited prisoner exchanges have started.

Many conflicts in Yemen beyond Saudi-Houthi, solving Houthi-Yemen could aggravate the other conflicts

Ariel Ahram, February 3, 2019, https://www.lawfareblog.com/stockholm-agreement-and-yemens-other-wars , Ariel I. Ahram is associate professor in Virginia Tech’s School of Public & International Affairs in Alexandria and the author of Break All the Borders: Separatism and the Reshaping of the Middle East. The Stockholm Agreement and Yemen’s Other Wars

For all of the immediate good that the Stockholm Agreement might do, it also complicates the long-term search for conflict resolution. Yemen is suffering through three separate but interlinked wars: 1) the civil war in the north between the Houthis and the central government, 2) another civil war between the central government and the Southern Movement (SM), a loose coalition of separatists centered around Aden, Shebwa, and Hadramaut, and 3) a nationwide campaign against radical Islamist terrorists groups, including al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). These conflicts began in the 1990s and 2000s and annealed during the popular uprising, the splintering of the Yemen security services, and the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011 and 2012. Neither the Houthis nor the SM were enthusiastic about the Saudi-financed and U.N.-backed regime transition process. The so-called National Dialogue Conferences seemed rigged to ensure that Hadi, Saleh’s vice president who succeeded him in a referendum, would maintain control of the government. Boxed out by Saleh’s rule and eager for the opportunity to assert greater political power, both the Houthis and SM were disappointed in what they saw as a continuation of the old regime. The Houthis, who had a long but complicated alliance with Iran, struck a new tactical alliance with the deposed Saleh, their former nemesis. Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah military advisors and Saleh loyalists from the army and northern tribes helped Houthi forces advance from their stronghold in the far north on Sana’a and the south, driving Hadi and the central government into exile in Riyadh. The SM leadership, in contrast, aligned with Saudi Arabia and the UAE to counter the northerners’ incursion. The UAE backed the formation of militias in Aden, Hadramaut, Mahra, and Shebwa. Abu Dhabi also encouraged Salafi militias that offset the influence of the older and more secular southern Yemeni leadership. With Emirati support, the Southern Transitional Council, a kind of political front for the SM, became the de facto government in Aden and other southern cities, effectively ignored the central government. In 2015, STC chairman Aidarous Zubaydi mobilized massive demonstrations in Aden and formally declared independence. The Hadi government deemed the SM’s moves illegal and unconstitutional. Saudi Arabia and the other Arab Gulf states insisted that Yemen would remain unified. Nevertheless, the UAE continued its operational partnership with the SM, bolstering the separatists’ hold in the south and laying bare a critical divergence between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi’s objectives in Yemen. The northern and southern conflicts inflamed Yemen’s long-simmering struggle with extremist groups. AQAP and other radical Wahhabi and Salafi groups joined the military campaign against the Houthis and Iran, whom they deemed heretics, and took advantage of the state’s collapse to seize cities far from the frontlines, like Mukalla and Zinjibar. The UAE and Saudi Arabia belatedly turned their attention to dislodging AQAP and the Islamic State, but the result has been equivocal. Though terrorist groups have retreated from many populated areas, some AQAP forces have merged with local militias that remain part of the Saudi and Emirati proxy networks. The Stockholm Agreement offers a breakthrough in the northern front, but could hamper efforts to deal with Yemen’s other wars. Although horrendously bloody, the Houthi conflict is in some respects the most tractable of Yemen’s troubles. The Houthis largely concur with the idea of a single, unified Yemeni state, even as they disagree with the Hadi government’s distribution of power and implementation of policy. With Hadi in exile, the Houthis tried keep the central bank and other key state institutions operational for the whole of Yemen. In this sense, the Houthis’ vision for Yemen accorded with the assumption of the international community, which has ritualistically affirmed its “commitment to the unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Yemen.” Subsequent negotiations building on the limited progress of the deal reached in December could provide a path to a power-sharing agreement that assures the Houthis political influence and access to the state’s fiscal and financial infrastructure. In contrast, the SM seeks to sever ties to the Yemeni state entirely. The STC denounced the Stockholm process for ignoring southern issues and reiterated calls for secession. Houthi leaders, in turn, accused the UAE and the SM of trying to scuttle the agreement. Even though the international recognition of South Yemen’s independence is unlikely, the Hadi government lacks the military means to remove SM control over the south, setting the stage for future conflict. AQAP and other radical groups disagree about whether statehood is even a worthy goal, but they all seek to preserve their areas of safe haven. They have occasionally served as pro-government militias when their interests coincided with the central government. A stronger, more effective Yemeni state, though, is a clear danger to them. Conciliation with the Houthis and Iran will likely alienate the Salafi and Wahhabi groups that the Saudis and the UAE have relied on as local proxies. Their trenchant sectarianism, once an asset to the Gulf allies, makes them potent spoilers. In Yemen, the international community has followed the customary formula of using state-building to get to peace. Stability comes from a state that is strong, cohesive, and capable. Secession leads to a slippery slope of state fragmentation. Power-sharing can entice recalcitrant groups to submit to state control in return for access to state resources, and will ultimately enhance the state’s legitimacy. Eventually, the state will rebuild administrative and militarily and regain control over previously “ungoverned” territories—or so the conventional wisdom goes. But, state-building is an inherently “wicked problem,” as Somalia specialist Ken Menkhaus puts it. Solutions that work once are unlikely to be replicable in another time and place. In the case of Yemen, the approach taken in the Houthi war will likely lead to more stringent resistance in the country’s other conflicts.

We can have a functioning Yemen state if we push for peace

Ariel Ahram, February 3, 2019, https://www.lawfareblog.com/stockholm-agreement-and-yemens-other-wars , Ariel I. Ahram is associate professor in Virginia Tech’s School of Public & International Affairs in Alexandria and the author of Break All the Borders: Separatism and the Reshaping of the Middle East. The Stockholm Agreement and Yemen’s Other Wars

An alternative to state-building is to buttress the various forms of local order that have already emerged from the ashes of Yemen’s national implosion. Working from the bottom up, non-state actors can become the foundation of future hybrid stability. The best outcome is for Yemen to resemble Somalia, Moldova, or Cyprus, where weak central states co-exist with territories of consolidated separatist rule. De facto states like Somaliland, Transnistria, or North Cyprus lack formal recognition from the international community, but they are not geopolitical black holes or anarchic zones. Instead, they operate in concert and connection with global flows of capital and ideas. These arrangements are far from perfect; peace is still precarious, and political and economic development often stunted. But these may be better outcomes for Yemenis and the international community than further war.

When there are cease fire violations it’s the fault of the HOUTHIS

Edith Lederer, February 1, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/yemen-coalition-alarmed-at-houthi-cease-fire-violations/2019/02/01/22a3fb50-2682-11e9-b5b4-1d18dfb7b084_story.html?utm_term=.9334ad505f90 Yemen coalition alarmed at Houthi cease-fire violations

Yemen’s government and its key coalition partners Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates expressed “growing alarm” at what they say are “persistent, deliberate violations” by rival Houthi Shiite rebels of the December cease-fire agreement in the key port of Hodeida. Ambassadors of the three countries said in a letter to the U.N. Security Council obtained Friday by The Associated Press that they are also alarmed at the Houthis’ refusal to redeploy troops from the port area and allow a free flow of humanitarian aid, as called for the in the Dec. 13 agreement signed in Stockholm, Sweden. The coalition partners said they remain committed to the U.N.-facilitated deal and urged council members “to do everything in their power to demand that the Iran-backed Houthis comply with the terms of the Stockholm agreement.” They warned that if the Houthis fail to comply “they will be held responsible” for the collapse of the Stockholm agreement. The letter lists what it says were 970 Houthi violations between Dec. 18 and Jan. 29 that killed 71 people and wounded 534. The coalition’s assessment of the cease-fire differed sharply from the U.N.’s. Kuwait’s U.N. Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi said the U.N. envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, told the Security Council in a closed briefing Thursday that he “is optimistic” the cease-fire in Hodeida is holding despite some violations. He said Griffiths also cited statements from Yemen’s government and Houthi Shiite rebels that they are committed to redeploying their forces. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric reiterated Friday that Griffiths and the outgoing head of the U.N. operation monitoring the cease-fire, Dutch Maj. Gen. Patrick Cammaert, “have said publicly that the cease-fire is generally holding.” The coalition partners warned, however, that the Houthis’ failure to implement the Stockholm agreement could end prospects for peace. “The coalition believes that the Stockholm agreement should be the beginning of a series of agreements to end the conflict in Yemen,” they said. “If the purpose and spirit of the Stockholm agreement continue to be disregarded by one side in the conflict, the prospects for a peaceful solution will continue to remain elusive,” the ambassadors of the three countries said. The conflict in Yemen began with the 2014 takeover of the capital Sanaa by the Iranian-backed Houthis, who toppled the government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. A Saudi-led coalition allied with Hadi’s internationally recognized government has been fighting the Houthis since 2015.

The only way to end the war is to get the Saudis to stop fighting, continued negotiations fail and strengthen the Houthis

Jeffrey Feltman, November 26, 2018, is a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He was United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs from July 2012 until April 2018 and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs from 2009 to 2012, Foreigh Affairs. The Only Way to End the War in Yemen, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/print/1123390

For three and a half years, Saudi Arabia has insisted, with diminishing credibility, that military victory was imminent; and for just as long, the United States and other powers have largely turned a blind eye to the intervention’s consequences. But the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October has focused the world’s attention on the kingdom’s reckless conduct—including its disastrous war in Yemen. However belatedly, in October 2018, Mike Pompeo, U.S. secretary of state, and James Mattis, U.S. secretary of defense, both called for an end to the fighting and publicly expressed support for peace talks proposed by the United Nations. But to bring a complex war such as Yemen’s to a cease-fire through talks will take time, during which the country’s agony and the strategic crisis in the Gulf will only deepen. There is only one expeditious way for Saudi Arabia to end this counterproductive war, and that is to stop its military campaign unilaterally and challenge the Houthis to respond in kind. Doing so will not end all of the fighting inside Yemen. But it will create the conditions necessary for peace talks to gain traction and for Yemeni leaders, supported by regional and international partners, to address the country’s domestic troubles and the growing influence of Iran. The United States should lead an alliance of powers in pushing Saudi Arabia to move first, rather than letting it drag out talks as the war rages on. AW-JAW WON’T STOP WAR-WA Charged with the difficult task of getting meaningful peace talks off the ground, Martin Griffiths, the UN special envoy for Yemen since February 2018, has focused his efforts on several fronts at once. He seeks to secure humanitarian access to the Red Sea port of Hodeidah, through which more than 70 percent of Yemen’s imports flow. At the same time, Griffiths is seeking to persuade the Saudi-led coalition to refrain from air strikes in response to Houthi restraint from cross-border missile and rocket attacks. The envoy is working to build confidence on both sides through steps such as prisoner exchanges, and he is leading political talks addressing transitional arrangements and the threat of southern secession. Griffiths’ approach seems sensible. Leaders on both sides can more easily accept (and the UN can more easily monitor) a quid pro quo cessation of Houthi missile strikes and Saudi air strikes than a comprehensive cease-fire. Griffiths is wise to begin political discussions without waiting for a cessation of hostilities or an answer to the “who goes first” question. Further, he has set forward his agenda for Yemen at exactly the moment the United States was most receptive. He seems to have won support from Trump administration officials during his recent consultations in Washington, including one with Mattis just days before the secretary of defense announced his support for peace talks at the Manama Dialogue, an annual high-profile security forum in Bahrain, sponsored by the International Institute for Strategic Studies. But the problem with Griffiths’ step-by-step negotiation strategy is that it will take too long. In Yemen, a catastrophic war drags on, and nearly half the population faces a potential famine. This is no time for bickering, yet bickering is precisely what Griffiths’ process is likely to invite. That is in part because any of the belligerents could hold the negotiations hostage to unreasonable demands; and attempts to negotiate a cease-fire could easily get tangled up with the question of transitional leadership. Unpopular and in poor health, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the president of Yemen, is widely considered dispensable. He knows that his patrons—Saudi Arabia and the United States—would happily trade him for a solution to the conflict, and this knowledge makes him a difficult and paranoid negotiator. But replacing Hadi will be complicated. His vice president, General Ali Mohsen, is hated by the Houthis for his role in the brutal wars against them from 2004 to 2009 and distrusted by the Emiratis for being a member of Islah, Yemen’s Muslim Brotherhood party. Without an obvious candidate for transitional leadership who could win support of a broad spectrum of Yemenis and their outside patrons, conditioning a cease-fire on a succession agreement prolongs the fighting. THE ROAD TO PEACE RUNS THROUGH RIYADUnilaterally ending its military campaign would serve Riyadh’s interests as much as it would everyone else’s. Not only would such a halt stanch the bloodshed in Yemen, it could slow or stop the slide in Saudi Arabia’s global reputation. If Saudi Arabia waits to end the conflict through talks aimed at a cease-fire, the Houthis may decide that the kingdom loses more in a continuation of hostilities than they do. The Houthis could gain the upper hand in negotiations and hold them hostage by making unreasonable demands on the Saudis.   Yet the Saudis do not seem to be moving in this direction. They answered the calls for peace from Pompeo and Mattis with more air strikes. The Trump administration’s November cessation of midair refueling of Saudi-coalition flights does not seem to have changed Saudi calculations. Clearly, the United States needs other means to persuade them. There have been frequent calls [3] to suspend arms sales to Riyadh. But Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, has pointed out that suspending the sale of military spare parts to Saudi Arabia would quickly ground the Saudi air force and be more effective.

Argues that the US needs to threaten to cut off weapons to Saudi Arabia — . The plan ENDS SALES. That removes leverage

Jeffrey Feltman, November 26, 2018, is a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He was United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs from July 2012 until April 2018 and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs from 2009 to 2012, Foreigh Affairs. The Only Way to End the War in Yemen, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/print/1123390

The U.S. Congress is currently willing to take punitive actions against Saudi Arabia, and the Trump administration can use this as leverage

Turn — Continuing the war increases Iran’s influence

Jeffrey Feltman, November 26, 2018, is a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He was United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs from July 2012 until April 2018 and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs from 2009 to 2012, Foreigh Affairs. The Only Way to End the War in Yemen, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/print/1123390

The threat of expanding Iranian influence is not a reason to delay a cease-fire, however. While ending the war unilaterally and focusing on UN-sponsored political talks will not eliminate Iranian influence, such steps could halt its expansion. A drawn-out war in Yemen, on the other hand, will only produce the same result as the wars in Iraq and Lebanon: a permanently entrenched Iranian presence that operates through military proxies and is eventually able to direct domestic policy.

Unilaterally ending the war puts pressure on the Houthis to stop fighting

Jeffrey Feltman, November 26, 2018, is a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He was United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs from July 2012 until April 2018 and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs from 2009 to 2012, Foreigh Affairs. The Only Way to End the War in Yemen, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/print/1123390

A Saudi cease-fire is not a panacea. There is no guarantee that the Houthis would respond by agreeing to share power with Saudi-backed Yemeni leaders or that the south would stop trying to secede. Lower-level domestic fighting would likely continue, even if the Saudi-Houthi war ends. But Saudi Arabia stands to benefit from ceasing its military operations even if the Houthis respond by continuing to fire missiles across the border: the role reversal would be in the Saudis’ favor. The world would turn its attention to the Houthis as the aggressors and spoilers, and Saudi self-defense would be widely tolerated.

Need to end the war now

Jeffrey Feltman, November 26, 2018, is a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He was United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs from July 2012 until April 2018 and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs from 2009 to 2012, Foreigh Affairs. The Only Way to End the War in Yemen, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/print/1123390

CUTTING LOSSES

After three and a half years, the Saudi-led coalition’s goals remain elusive, while conditions on the ground deteriorate: the humanitarian situation is worsening, disease is spreading, the Houthis are more entrenched than ever, and Iranian influence has grown. Yemen desperately needs good-faith negotiations on long-term political and security arrangements. Support from Pompeo and Mattis for UN-sponsored political talks is a welcome development. But negotiations will not outpace the coming humanitarian calamity or distract the world from Saudi Arabia’s questionable conduct in this war. The security risks to Saudi Arabia from an increasingly sophisticated Hezbollah-like militia and growing Iranian military presence just across the Saudi border are clear and become more acute as the war continues. A unilateral Saudi cease-fire will save lives and could change the narrative of the war to focus on these very real threats. But Saudi Arabia is unlikely to make this move unless the United States demonstrates to it that continuing the war will come at a cost to the relationship between the two countries.

Turn – Saudi Arabia won’t end the war unless the US THREATENS to end its relationship with the country. The plan ENDS the relationship, killing leverage

Jeffrey Feltman, November 26, 2018, is a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He was United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs from July 2012 until April 2018 and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs from 2009 to 2012, Foreigh Affairs. The Only Way to End the War in Yemen, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/print/1123390

A unilateral Saudi cease-fire will save lives and could change the narrative of the war to focus on these very real threats. But Saudi Arabia is unlikely to make this move unless the United States demonstrates to it that continuing the war will come at a cost to the relationship between the two countries.

Relations answer – Non-unique: Saudis already moving to military independence, relations with the US will inevitably collapse

CNBC, 2-1, 19, https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/01/middle-east-arms-race-fears-spike-over-alleged-saudi-arabia-missiles.html Alleged Saudi ballistic missile base signals greater divergence from Washington, experts say

Satellite imagery reportedly revealing a ballistic missile facility deep in the Saudi desert spotlights Riyadh’s increased investment in its independent warfighting capabilities, U.S. defense experts say. Riyadh has long operated its missile program outside the realm of U.S. approval and without U.S. assistance, starting with its purchase of Chinese D3-F Silkworm ballistic missiles in 1988. This development could further complicate relations between the U.S. and the Saudis, given the already increased anger of many lawmakers over Riyadh’s activities in Yemen and the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October. Premium: Mohammed bin Salman 171025 EU Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Fayez Nureldine | AFP | Getty Images Satellite imagery reportedly revealing a ballistic missile facility deep in the Saudi desert spotlights Riyadh’s increased investment in its independent warfighting capabilities, U.S. defense experts say. This, they believe, indicates a growing desire by the longtime ally to be able to take offensive measures without the approval of its main weapons sponsors in Washington. “There’s an arms race underway,” Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon official and Arab affairs expert at the American Enterprise Institute, told CNBC. “Whiplash policy changes in Washington have had their impact on Riyadh: Saudi authorities are no longer going to be constrained by White House whispers. The Saudis are demonstrating that they can take matters into their own hands.” Images analyzed by missile defense experts at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California, and first reported by The Washington Post, appear to show the testing and possible manufacturing of ballistic missiles. These can carry nuclear warheads to targets thousands of miles from their launch point. International powers have sanctioned Iran for its own frequent testing of the weapons….[CONTIUES]… Foreign policy analysts note that this development could further complicate relations between the U.S. and the Saudis, given the already increased anger of many lawmakers over Riyadh’s activities in Yemen and the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last fall, which has been blamed on Saudi government operatives. But they also warn that any sanctions would likely accelerate the kingdom’s shift eastward. One of the many former U.S. government officials wary of Saudi intentions is Bruce Riedel, a 30-year CIA veteran and expert on Gulf affairs. “The timing of the construction suggests that Mohammed bin Salman and his father (King Salman) embarked on building this facility very early after he took charge of the Defense Ministry,” he told CNBC in an email Wednesday. “It underscores a willingness to ignore Washington’s interests and policies from the beginning of his rise to power.” Could Washington be underestimating Saudi capabilities? The AEI’s Rubin believes so. “The history of America in the Middle East is a history of underestimating what regional states are willing to do,” he said. “So, yes: the U.S. underestimates Saudi Arabia

Solvency answer — Saudis will switch to ballistic missiles – they don’t need American parts for those

In this Nov. 13, 2018 satellite image from Planet Labs Inc that has been annotated by experts at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, a suspected Saudi ballistic missile base and test facility is seen outside of the town of al-Dawadmi, Saudi Arabia.

Planet Labs Inc, Middlebury Institute of International Studies As America’s top weapons buyer and foremost security partner in the Arab world, one might question why Riyadh would need to invest in its own ballistic missile facility. It already has a fleet of top-of-the-line F-15 fighter jets, Tornados and Typhoons, giving it an airpower advantage over regional arch-rival Iran, the majority of whose air force hasn’t been updated since the 1970s. The catch is that Saudi Arabia’s air force still needs maintenance and logistics support from the jets’ countries of origin — the U.S. and the U.K. — and that support could be terminated if the aircraft is used in an unapproved manner. Homegrown missiles, meanwhile, have no such limit. Furthermore, missiles don’t need pilots who require training and risk being shot down and captured by the enemy. Chinese assistance? Riyadh has long operated its missile program outside the realm of U.S. approval and without U.S. assistance, starting with its small purchase of Chinese D3-F Silkworm ballistic missiles in 1988. The program is overseen by the kingdom’s secretive Strategic Rocket Forces (SRF), which unlike other military branches, reportedly do not mix with American advisors. One former Pentagon official, who requested to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the topic, told CNBC that the SRF likely “operates with Chinese input,” adding that “given that Pakistan has close ties with both China and with the Kingdom and has numerous advisors working with Saudi security agencies, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some Pakistani assistance as well.” WATCH NOW VIDEO03:32 Saudi Arabia is the receiver of a ‘barrage’ of ballistic missiles: Energy minister If true, the links illustrate a longtime Saudi strategy of diversifying its diplomatic and security alliances and highlight a potential shift eastward. Weapons purchases from China, though a tiny fraction of those from the U.S., now feature armed drones — something the U.S. currently won’t sell to the Saudis. And American arms dealers have voiced alarm over Riyadh’s expressed interest in purchasing Russia’s flagship S-400 missile defense system, a cheaper alternative to the U.S.-made THAAD system. China’s Ministry of Defense, its foreign ministry and embassy in Riyadh did not immediately respond when asked for comment by CNBC. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying responded to the Associated Press last week, saying: “I have never heard of such a thing as China helping Saudi Arabia to build a missile base.” Pakistan’s Ministry of Defense, its foreign ministry and its Saudi embassy also did not immediately respond when contacted by CNBC. Countering Iran is ‘common sense’ And at a time when Iran, which the U.S. and Saudi Arabia designate the world’s top state sponsor of terror, has increasingly sophisticated ballistic missile capability thanks to Russia, the investment is “common sense,” some experts say. “If the Saudis are developing an indigenous ballistic missile capacity, part of the blame for this should be placed on the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) with Iran,” David DesRoches, an associate professor of security studies at the National Defense University in Washington D.C., told CNBC, referencing the multilateral 2015 deal that lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits to its nuclear program. In doing this, DesRoches argues, “the West in effect gave Iran absolution for its missile program … Given the plethora of missiles in the Iranian inventory, it is not unlikely that the kingdom sought to match its rival.” It underscores a willingness to ignore Washington’s interests and policies from the beginning of (Crown Prince’s Mohammed bin Salman’s) rise to power. Bruce Riedel FORMER CIA OFFICER AND GULF AFFAIRS EXPERT The kingdom has long asserted its right to self defense, particularly at a time when it’s been subject to missile and other projectile fire from Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen, where it’s led a bloody offensive since 2015. Weapons experts have confirmed that the missiles fired at Riyadh, Medina and other cities from Yemen in recent years are of Iranian origin.

Pro – Yemen is a humanitarian nightmare

Stevie Liam, 2-1, 19, http://felixonline.co.uk/articles/2019-02-01-yemen-an-unseen-issue/ Yemen: an unseen issue

The world has a problem. Absent from the front pages of our newspapers and digital screens is one of the largest humanitarian crises in modern history. Often referred to as “The Forgotten War”, Yemen has been caught in the middle of violent conflict between the Houthi forces – an anti-government militant group – and the Saudi Arabian led coalition – a group of nine African and Middle-Eastern countries, of which the UK and US have provided intelligence and logistical support. In the past 3 years, widespread destruction has erupted across the country with bombing and shooting threatening the security of its people. This has driven the country into an emergency where 22.2 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, making up approximately 75% of the entire population. Food supplies and clean water are scarce, precipitated by attacks on local infrastructure. Strategic aerial and naval blockades imposed by the coalition to stop Houthi military supplies has limited the Yemeni people from receiving even the most basic of goods. With 90% of Yemen’s food supply being reliant on foreign exports, these blockades have had disastrous consequences on the people’s access to food. Worsened by the deteriorating economy – with the Rial losing nearly 50 per cent of its value – affected families struggle to purchase food as a result. All of this means that Yemen is now struggling with one of the largest famines in history: an estimated 12 million Yemenis, including 2 million children, will be dependent on food assistance in 2019. Diseases that have almost been eradicated from the country have reappeared, with outbreaks of cholera and diphtheria posing a threat to Yemen’s health infrastructure. Violence has led to the destruction of water and sanitation facilities, allowing cholera to spread quickly. Over a million cases of cholera have been reported thus far, meaning that Yemen is currently facing the world’s largest ongoing cholera outbreak. Furthermore, those who require medical treatment can’t afford it and with some 20% of health facilities having been destroyed, the health system is in a state of near collapse. This, amongst targeted attacks on civilian homes and buildings, contravene international law. This atrocity cannot be ignored within campus. Therefore, charity societies on campus including Amnesty, Doctors Without Borders, Save the Children and Unicef have decided to collaborate on a week-long campaign kicking off on Monday 4th February, to shed light on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Some of the work of these NGOs are shown below. Amnesty is working to stop the flow of weapons to Yemen. The UK and the US have made and sold weapons to Saudi Arabia that were then used to destroy schools, hospitals and other civilian infrastructure in Yemen. These arms sales only fuel the ongoing conflict, and by stopping the sale of weapons, violations against civilians could be curbed. Unicef has been tackling Yemen’s cholera outbreak with the improvement of sanitation and access to clean water. The water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programme allowed 6 million people access to drinking water through the operation, maintenance and rehabilitation of public water systems. Save the Children is treating sick and injured children through over 150 fixed health facilities, 21 hospitals and five mobile health and nutrition teams. They are involved in the prevention of hygiene related health diseases with raising awareness. They also train health volunteers in the prevention and management of malnutrition. MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières) are fighting against malnutrition in Yemen. Between January and October 2018, MSF hospitals and supported health facilities have treated 4,855 cases of malnutrition. With over 2,200 MSF staff working on-the-ground across 12 hospitals and health centres, they have so far treated 973,098 patients in their emergency rooms.

Houthis won’t stop fighting even when there is an agreement, taking away the Saudis weapons won’t turn them into Pacificsts

Khaleej Times, 2-1, 19, https://www.khaleejtimes.com/region/uae-saudi-arabiayemen-ask-un-to-pressure-houthis UAE, Saudi Arabia,Yemen ask UN to pressure Houthis

The three governments accused the Houthis of violating the ceasefire in the port city of Hodeida.

In a letter to the United Nations Security Council, the Saudi-led Arab Coalition has expressed its concerns over ceasefire violations by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels and their impact on the implementation of the Stockholm Agreement. In the letter, delivered to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday, the Coalition raised the alarm over the persistent and deliberate violations of the agreement by Houthi militias. Commenting on the meeting, Dr Anwar Gargash, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said, “We have a distinct opportunity to address the Yemen crisis”. “The UN role is critical,” he said, adding that the Arab Coalition members will continue to support the UN and its work. “We must make Stockholm work,” Gargash stressed. Since the agreement, the Iran-backed militias have committed 1,038 violations, reinforcing their military positions among civilian populations. Attacks targeting civilian populated areas have killed a total of 74 individuals, and wounding 563 others. The Houthis have also failed to withdraw from Hodeida’s ports as agreed in Stockholm. “All these actions are direct violations of several provisions of the Stockholm Agreement and Resolution 2451 (2018),” the Coalition added. One of the most blatant violations, the Coalition noted, was the targeting of the Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) on January 17, in an attempt to intimidate its members. The RCC plays a central role in implementing the Stockholm Agreement. Among the multitude of violations, the Coalition noted that the Iran-backed Houthis continued to block the passage of major humanitarian relief convoys, despite vessels being cleared by the UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism in Hodeida and Al Saleef ports. According to the Coalition, a mortar shell was launched from Houthi-controlled territory on January 24, striking a grain silo at the Red Sea Mills, destroying thousands of tonnes of grain. The silo is the most critical food storage site in Hodeida. This attack is a “callous disregard” for the well-being of Yemenis, the Coalition reiterated. The Stockholm agreement is made up of key elements, including a prisoner swap, the creation of a demilitarised zone around Yemen’s vital Red Sea trade corridor through a series of withdrawals by Houthi militias, and the formation of a committee to discuss the future of Taiz.

Saudi-US relations hyped and useless

Daniel DePetris is a fellow at Defense Priorities, a nonpartisan foreign-policy organization focused on promoting security, stability and peace, December 8, 2018, Three Ways to Rethink the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Alliance, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/three-ways-rethink-us-saudi-arabian-alliance-38052

Who ordered the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi dissident writer and Washington Post columnist who was ambushed and killed last month in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by a fifteen-man assassination squad? Courtesy of in-depth reporting from the late Khashoggi’s former employer, that question is now all but answered. Based in part on electronic U.S. intelligence intercepts and other evidence handed over by Turkish authorities, the Central Intelligence Agency has concluded with high confidence that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) likely gave the kill order. With Riyadh’s culpability in the murder increasingly apparent, there is another mysterious question that deserves an answer: why does President Donald Trump continue to refer to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a strategic ally of the United States? Addressing reporters on November 17 en route to California, Trump called the Saudis “a great ally” in the Middle East and a “truly spectacular ally in terms of jobs and economic development.” Nothing could be further from reality. Saudi Arabia is not an ally the United States can depend on, nor has it proven to be an especially helpful security partner either. Saudi Arabia, rather, is a nation with its own unique set of national interests, some of which align with America but many of which do not. The sooner the Trump administration sees the U.S.-Saudi relationship for what it is—and equally important, what it is not—the sooner Washington can undertake the strategic reassessment that is urgently required and long past due. For decades, the American people have been sold by their leaders the idea that U.S.-Saudi ties being indispensable to the security of the U.S. homeland and a vital facet of promoting peace in the Middle East. With a few notable exceptions—Harvard University Professor Stephen Walt and former U.S. Ambassador to Riyadh Chas Freeman among them—the foreign policy intelligentsia and commentariat have eagerly served as the messenger of this hypothesis. U.S. administrations across the political divide have reflexively viewed the Saudis as integral to containing Iranian power in the Middle East, stabilizing energy prices during gluts in the energy market, and providing America with instrumental information on terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Most of these arguments, however, are hyped, exaggerated, and inaccurate. Riyadh’s behavior is as clear an indication as any that, far from being the amazing ally the foreign policy establishment frequently claims, the Kingdom is at best a nettlesome, half-hearted partner on very specific issues of common interest. Concerning stabilizing the oil market, the Saudis have a mixed record. Riyadh’s motivation in maintaining stability in the market has nothing to do with being a good friend to America and everything to do with Riyadh’s economic interest. A country that depends on oil returns to pad its budget, build up its foreign exchange reserves, and finance its national subsidies on everything from gasoline and food to housing can’t afford a long period of low profits. If prices rise too high over an extended period, the Kingdom will increase crude exports to preserve market share and assure that overseas buyers don’t switch suppliers. The Saudis do so not as a favor to the American consumer but rather as a necessity their bottom-line. Moreover, the Kingdom’s role as a force multiplier for the United States is also vastly overstated. The facts belie the idea of Riyadh as a stabilizing force in the Middle East. Since Mohammed bin Salman was named Defense Minister in 2015 and ascended to second-in-line to the throne in 2017, Saudi Arabia has been as destabilizing to the region’s security and politics as its Iranian archenemy. In fact, Saudi foreign policy under the reign of Crown Prince Mohammed has been an unending series of humanitarian debacles punctuated by strategic recklessness. Report Advertisement For instance, Riyadh’s three and a half year air campaign in Yemen has failed in its primary military objective of pushing the Houthis out of the Yemeni capital and back into the northern highlands. Instead, Saudi (and Emirati) bombing has transformed Yemen into hell on earth, where small children die of disease and starvation every day, weddings are turned into funerals, food is enormously expensive, and the country’s economy is insolvent. The Saudi-led political isolation and economic blockade of Qatar, meant to force Doha to sever relations with Iran, has only solidified ties between both. The kidnapping and forced resignation of the Lebanese prime minister earlier in the year—later taken back upon his release under French pressure—was an international embarrassment, giving further proof to MbS’s highly impulsive decision-making. Finally, there is now the state-sanctioned murder of a permanent American resident and journalist, apparently on the orders of the Crown Prince. This has exposed the Saudi government’s true nature to the world: that of an authoritarian system run by fear of dissent, self-interest, and paranoia. Amidst all of these developments, Washington can no longer drag its feet or offer more explanations to excuse the Kingdom’s poor judgment. A bipartisan majority in the U.S. Senate is finally coming around to that judgment, having voted last week to move forward with a bill that would remove U.S. military forces from Yemen’s civil war. The vote in the Senate came several weeks after the Trump administration’s recent decision to terminate mid-air refueling support to Saudi jets in Yemen, is a long overdue but welcome change of course. But U.S. policy would benefit from a hard-nosed, uncensored reappraisal of the entire decades-old U.S.-Saudi relationship.

Houthi are the aggressors in Yemen

Anthony Cordesman, Center for Strategic and International Studies, March 13, 2018, Military Spending: The Other Side of Saudi Security, https://www.csis.org/analysis/military-spending-other-side-saudi-security

A Houthi threat—tied to other internal forces and linked to Iran— in Yemen. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are fighting the Houthi in a deeply divided Yemen, with AQAP and other violent elements. This threat originated in border conflicts that began in 2009. The threat became a serious conflict when the Houthi—then allied with Yemen’s deposed President Saleh— pushed the recognized government of Yemen out of the capital and then out of the country in March 2015. The conflict has since developed into a major civil war and has been a stalemate for several years despite a major Saudi and UAE air campaign and ground effort in support of the deposed President—one that has nearly destroyed the country’s economy and affected millions of civilians. Iran has had increasing influence on the conflict, and shipped land-attack ballistic missile systems to the Houthi’s, who are now using the missile systems to attack Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have not reported the war’s cost, but it has been well over $10 billion, and possibly well over $25 billion.

Iran is a threat to the region

Anthony Cordesman, Center for Strategic and International Studies, March 13, 2018, Military Spending: The Other Side of Saudi Security, https://www.csis.org/analysis/military-spending-other-side-saudi-security

Iran renewed the nuclear weapons program started under the Shah in the late 1980s as a result of the Iran-Iraq War, and probably would have been ready to test a fission nuclear weapon in 2018-2019 if it had not signed a nuclear arms agreement called the JCPOA on July 14, 2015 that went into effect on October 15th. The implementation of this agreement seems to have halted Iran’s near-term efforts to acquire fissile materials and nuclear weapons, but Iran remains at, or near, the nuclear break out stage. The U.S. has hinted at possible nuclear guarantees, but Saudi Arabia has no nuclear reactors as of yet and no near-term options for matching Iran’s technological progress. Iran’s ballistic and cruise missile forces. Iran is building up a major force of ballistic and cruise missiles, and armed drones. Almost all currently of these systems lack the accuracy and/or lethality to do major damage to major military and infrastructure targets, but Iran is actively seeking to give its ballistic missiles the level of accuracy and reliability that would give them such capability. If successful, Iran will have created “weapons of mass effectiveness” even if they lack the nuclear warheads to make them “weapons of mass destruction.” It is unclear much progress Iran has made in cruise missile and UCAV design and the lethality of such systems in carrying out very precise strikes. Such systems are also capable of effective line source delivery of chemical and biological weapons. Iran has a wide range of systems under development or being improved. The IISS Military Balance for 2018 credits Iran’s IRGC with deployed long-range systems, including 22+ conventional MRBMs: 12+ Shahab-3/Ghadr-1(mobile); 10 Shahab-3/Ghadr-1 (silo); and some Sajjil-2 (developmental), plus 18+ conventional SRBMs: Fateh 110; 12–18, Shahab-1/2 (ε200–300 missiles); plus, some It also credits Iran with 129 Shahed high endurance Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs). Iran’s naval-missile-air threat to Gulf and Indian Ocean shipping. Iran has also built up a major force of asymmetric threats to shipping and naval forces in the Gulf and Indian Ocean. These include: land, sea, and air based anti-ship missiles like the HY-2, C-704, C-801K, and C-802, 78 guided missiles and 108 other patrol boats, high speed suicide and unmanned ships with explosive payloads, smart and other mines, 3-4 kilo-class submarines, 20+coastal submarines and submersibles, marines and naval special forces, and a variety of other systems. While sometimes being described as designed to close the Gulf, they are capable of quick dispersal throughout the Gulf, at the Straits, in the Gulf of Oman, and the Indian Ocean. Iran may be seeking basing in Yemen and the Red Sea area. Iran’s expanding influence in the region. Iran’s growing influence includes ties to the Hezbollah in Lebanon; Palestinian elements in Gaza; the Assad regime in Syria; the central government and a wide range of paramilitary and hostile political elements in Iraq; some elements of the Hazara and warlords/political power brokers in Afghanistan; extremist elements in Bahrain; the Houthi in Yemen; and other elements hostile to Saudi Arabia that Iran may be able to use against it.

War in Yemen has not stopped Iran’s rise there

Anthony Cordesman, Center for Strategic and International Studies, March 13, 2018, Military Spending: The Other Side of Saudi Security, https://www.csis.org/analysis/military-spending-other-side-saudi-security

The war in Yemen has become a particularly expensive stalemate, compounded by a growing number of additional political and security divisions in Yemen, growing Iranian influence, and missile attacks on the Kingdom. The Saudi/UAE effort to pressure Yemen has been a dismal fiasco that has further weakened and already weak and half-formed Gulf Cooperation Council. So far, it is Iran whose influence is increasing in Syria and Iraq, and the situation in other problem areas like Bahrain is not improving.

Turn – high security spending undermines Saudi domestic reform needed for stability

Anthony Cordesman, Center for Strategic and International Studies, March 13, 2018, Military Spending: The Other Side of Saudi Security, https://www.csis.org/analysis/military-spending-other-side-saudi-security

But, Saudi Arabia Must Also Increase Domestic Spending and Fund Major Economic Reform At the same time, King Salman and Mohammed bin Salman has made it clear that Saudi Arabia has a critical priority for increased domestic spending on every domestic aspect of governance, and to fund economic and social reform. While Saudi Arabia is anything but poor, it is now a highly populated state by its past standards and faces at least a decade in which a massive youth bulge will create new demands for jobs, education, and services. Saudi Arabia’s 2030 plans have clearly acknowledged that its oil wealth has serious limits in meeting these needs, and that Saudi Arabia faces major challenges in funding both its security efforts and its need for reform and improved development plans. As Saudi Arabia’s 2030 development plans— and other Arab Development Plans since 2002—point out, the Kingdom faces a wide range of social, political, governance, and economic challenges that will require a massive level of government direction and investment to correct. Saudi Arabia has serious problems in diversifying its economy, expanding its private sector, and reducing its over-dependence on the petroleum sector. Saudi Arabia must deal with a range of issues. These issues include: an over-dependence on it petroleum sector, the threat of ideological extremism and terrorism, sectarian differences between its Sunni majority and Shiite minority, the need for social change at every level, modernizing education and making it more functional, the need to sharply reduce dependence on the state sector and create a far larger modern private sector, and the need for major reductions in corruption and crony capitalism. Most important, Saudi Arabia is under acute demographic pressure. This is especially true if one considers disguised unemployment and work jobs that are not needed and provide no net increase in productivity. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that its population was only 3.86 million in 1950, but rose to 4.178 million in 1960, 6.109 million in 1970, 10.222 million in 1980, 16,061 million in 1990, 21.322 million in 2000, 25,732 million in 2010, and 28,160 million in 2016. (The CIA estimates 28.6 million in 2017). The Census Bureau does estimate a declining future birth rate, but still estimates that the population will rise to 31.877 million in 2025 and 40.251 million in 2050. The Kingdom’s most critical challenge—and priority for maintaining and improving its internal security—is to properly educate, employ, and support the steady flow of young men and women that will form a “youth bulge” for at least the next decade. Well over 500,000 young Saudi men and women already reach the age where they should enter the labor force each year, and the Arab Development report for 2016 only includes some of these youth in estimating that Saudi Arabia now had over 30 percent youth unemployment. In addressing the issue of youth unemployment, Saudi Arabia must make major reductions in foreign labor and its impact on Saudi payments abroad. Here it is critical that Saudi Arabia and all its strategic partners like the United States recognize that civil stability is Saudi Arabia’s most important single security priority. All of these civil challenges interact and collectively threaten Saudi Arabia’s stability and internal security. Former King Abdullah was one of the few Arab leaders to recognize this reality after the political upheavals began in the Middle East in 2011, and funded a massive multi-billion-dollar effort to create jobs. These programs and payments help, but as the analyses that have led to the 2039 plan make clear, far more must be done and far more must be spent to address these problems. Defense and Security Spending Cost Saudi Arabia Well over 10 Percent of its GDP: Far More than the U.S. and European States Spend Saudi Arabia can only address these challenges to civil stability if brings its security spending under control, and creates a better balance between spending on security and its civil sector. To put this issue in the proper perspective, it is necessary to consider just how much of a burden Saudi security spending puts on its economy as well as on its government budget. The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) produces directly comparable national estimates that include both military and other security spending. The IISS estimates that Saudi Arabia spent 12.51 percent of its GDP in 2015, 12.61 percent in 2016, and 11.30 percent in 2017. This is an extraordinary level of effort for a country with some many other pressing domestic need and that is seeking to transform itself by 2030. In contrast, the IISS estimates that Russia now spends some $61.2 billion a year, and that while Saudi Arabia spends 1.25 times more than Russia at $76.7 billion. As for other leading military spenders, Britain spends $50.7 billion, France sends 48.6 billion, Germany $41.7 billion, and Italy spends $22.9 billion — all far less than Saudi Arabia. The Real-World Limits to “Oil Wealth” Wealth is always relative, and it must always be defined relative to the its ability to meet the needs of a population and how well it is distributed and spent. Saudi Arabia is a comparatively wealthy state by the standards of the developing world, but it is also extremely dependent on petroleum and produce exports, and its relative wealth is already limited by its high population growth. The CIA World Factbook estimates that the Saudi GDP was $1,798 trillion in purchasing power parity terms in 2017, and $1,787 trillion in 2016 — measured in 2017 dollars– ranking 16th highest in the world. It was only $678.5 billion at the official exchange rate, however, which is a more valid measure of the size of its modern economy. Its per capita income was $55,300 in 2017, in 2017 U.S. dollars. Again, a relatively high figure ranking 21st in the world, but one where Saudi Arabia can only meet these challenges if brings its security spending under control, and creates a better balance between spending on security and its civil sector. As the analyses that helped shaped the Saudi 2030 reform plan show, Saudi Arabia’s GDP is poorly distributed in ways that leave a large under class, ignore dependence on foreign labor and the lack of jobs and earning power for Saudi women, the scale of state overspending and waste, and the impact of corruption, cronyism, and privilege. The number still, however, impose serious limits on what Saudi Arabia can spend on defense and security without hurting its civil economy and ability to carry out anything like the 2030 reform plan. The CIA World Factbook estimates that the Saudi petroleum sector accounts for roughly 87 percent of budget revenues, 42 percent of the GDP, and 90 percent of export earnings. Given the fact that this sector is the main source of Saudi wealth, unless its 2030 plan is fully effective, it is clear that Saudi economic reform is critical. Moreover, the volatility of this income is illustrated by the impact of the major drop in oil prices in 2014. The OPEC Annual Statistical Bulletin for 2017 still reports relatively high figures for total oil export revenues, but also reports a massive annual drop in 2013-2015. It estimates that estimates that Saudi oil revenues—measures in current dollars—dropped from $337.5 billion in 2012 and $321.9 billion in 2013, to $284.6 billion in 2014 and lows of $152.9 billion in 2015, and $134.4 billion in 2016. The U.S. government Energy Information Administration (EIA) OPEC Revenues Fact Sheet for May 2017 estimates that Saudi net oil export revenues— the key source of Saudi wealth— were only $133 billion in 2016, and $4,132 in nominal per capita terms. It also estimates that Saudi oil revenues suddenly dropped from $12.5 billion in 2012, $11.9 billion in 2013, and $10.8 billion in 2014 to lows of $5.15 billion in 2015, and $4.1 billion in 2016—measured in constant 2016 US dollars. It is scarcely surprising that Saudi Arabia incurred a budget deficit estimated at 8.3 percent of it GDP in 2017, which had to be financed by bond sales and drawing down reserves. This deficit occurred long before the major costs of implementing the 2030 reform plan could impact on the Saudi budget, and highlights the need to carefully control Saudi security spending. Saudi Defense Places a Massive Burden on Its Budget Substantial Saudi military and security spending has been prioritized over the welfare of the economy and the effort to meet the Kingdom’s rising civil needs. Despite some strange comments by President Obama criticizing Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states for not doing their share as strategic partners during his administration, countries like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, the UAE—and recently Qatar— have spent far more of their economies on defense than any major U.S. European ally. Saudi Arabia and a number of other Arab strategic partners in the Gulf have also made massive arms purchases, many from the U.S. The IISS estimates that the U.S only spent a comparable 3.25 percent of its GDP on military forces and security in 2015, 3.19 percent in 2016, and 3.11percent in 2017, using directly comparable definitions of defense spending and GDP. Russia only spent 3.82% of its GDP in 2015, 3.47 percent in 2016, and 3.10 percent in 2017. Europe averaged only 1.37 percent of its GDP in 2015, 1.33 percent in 2016, and 1.34 percent in 2017. Germany consistently spent less than 1.10 percent. The United Kingdom was the only major European power to meet NATO’s 2 percent of GDP goal during this period and it failed to do so in 2017: It spent 2.03 percent of its GDP in 2015, 2.00 percent in 2016, and 1.98 percent in 2017. From this perspective, the challenges that Saudi Arabia (and the King and Mohammed bin Salman) faces in the military and security sector go far beyond the issue of better planning, command efforts, and management of resources. Saudi Arabia is spending so much on its military forces and security that efforts to improve security threaten its domestic stability and security more than it improves it. Similarly, U.S. and other efforts to get Saudi Arabia to spend even more on security make things worse. The exact level of Saudi security spending is difficult to determine and the Saudi budget is less than transparent on the subject. Reports by Jane’s and Bloomberg, however, indicate that Saudi Arabia will set a new budget record in 2018 of some $261 billion versus $250 billion in 2017. Saudi Arabia still projects relatively low petroleum export earnings compared to peak years, and it plans for a 2018 deficit of 195 billion riyals ($52 billion), or 7.3 percent of gross domestic product. This compares with 230 billion riyal deficit in 2017—some 8.9 percent of GDP. (The planned deficit was 198 billion riyals.) Saudi Arabia is also hoping for more non-petroleum sector growth — although its goal of a 3.7 percent seems unrealistic, given the fact it only grew by 1.5 percent in 2017. IHS Jane’s reports that the Saudi Ministry of Finance reports that that 210.0 billion Saudi riyals ($56.0 billion US) will be spent on security, a 10 percent increase over 2017. There are few details, but 10.2 billion riyals would go to “new development programs and projects;” 26.5 billion riyals would go to enhancing military capabilities and readiness, including supporting the defense industry. and 3.5 billion riyals to military education. To put this spending in perspective, Jane’s estimates that actual defense spending in 2017 is expected to reach 224 billion riyals, a 17.4 percent increase over the SAR190.9 billion approved in the initial 2017 budget. Accordingly, while the 2018 budget is a 10.2percent increase over the approved 2017 budget for 2017, it is 6.7 percent lower than expected real spending. Given the stalemate in—and probable current and future cost of—the war in Yemen, this means that spending of at least 225 billion riyals ($60 billion US is more likely) reduction compared to expected levels of expenditure for 2017. Even 210 billion riyals ($56 billion) for military spending, however, is larger than the 192 billion riyals allocated to education and far larger than the 147 billion riyals the kingdom intends to spend on health and social development. Security Spending Adds to the Burden Military spending is also only part of the total level of security spending. The Saudi budget statement for 2018 notes that there are two major sectors for Saudi military and security spending: Security and Regional Administration Sector: SAR 101 billion is allocated for Security and Regional Administration. The sector’s budget includes allocations for new projects and the expansion of ongoing ones, with a total cost of SAR 12.6 billion. The funding aims to provide security requirements incorporating facilities, supplies, equipment, weapons, and ammunition. Spending on projects currently being implemented will continue, most notably of which is the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Project for the Development of Security Headquarters, which has five stages and includes establishing 1,296 security sites during 2016-2020. The number of security sites that are to be handed over during 2016- 2018 will be 551 or 43 percent of the total planned number for the five years (2016-2020). Further, projects in this sector cover the establishment of 14 residential complexes consisting of 10,000 residential units in five regions. The number of complexes that are to be handed over during 2016-2018 will be two or 14 percent of the total planned number for the five years (2016-2020). The two complexes will include 600 residential units or 6 percent of the total planned units for the five years (2016-2020). The construction of two medical cities, with a capacity of 2,500 beds, is underway and will not be completed at the end of the fiscal year 2018. Military Sector: SAR 210 billion is earmarked for Military. The sector’s budget includes allocations of SAR 10.2 billion for new development programs and projects covering building advanced systems and capacities. In addition, SAR 3.5 billion is allocated for military education, covering military colleges and King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences. Moreover, SAR 26.5 billion are designated for military medical services besides allocations for development initiatives that embrace developing weapon and defense systems, improving military readiness, reinforcing capabilities, increasing performance efficiency, updating strategic planning mechanisms, developing military bases, supporting the nationalization of military industry, and developing accommodation and service facilities. The sector’s budget also incorporates salaries and wages of military personnel. Spending on operational and support programs and military construction and service projects needed will continue.

US needs to stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia

RHIANNON TURGEL-ETHIER, MCGILL UNIVERSITY, 2017, THE U.S. GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO STOP SELLING WEAPONS TO SAUDI ARABIA, https://symposia.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/symposia/article/download/28094/20571

The twenty-first century has been thus far marked by tensions between religion and foreign relations with countries in the Middle East. The political situation in Yemen is fragile at the moment, as they are in the middle of a civil war. At the root of this civil war is political and religious revolution that led to the overthrow of their government. With a long history of religious tensions between certain Middle Eastern nations, countries such as Saudi Arabia felt the need to get involved. The ways in which the kingdom has involved itself through military action has led to the death of many innocent civilians. 7,500 miles away, the United States of America is enabling the death of these Yemenites through their mass military weapons sales to Saudi Arabia. This economic venture must stop immediately. In 1940, the United States of America established full diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia. According to the U.S. Department of State, friendly ties with the Saudi kingdom are extremely important because of their strategic location and immense oil reserves. The Department of State also states that a friendship with Saudi Arabia is important because its leadership is promoting a peaceful and prosperous future for the region. In addition, the American government believes that this Middle Eastern country is a strong partner in regional security and is extremely helpful in counterterrorism efforts by providing military, diplomatic, and financial cooperation. There are problems with these statements made by the U.S. Department of State. In recent years, Saudi Arabia has become one of the largest American export markets in the Middle East. The main export is military equipment, especially bomber planes.1 Since 2012, there have been massive weapon sales to the kingdom.2 But what are these weapons being used for? Saudi Arabia has been using these planes and weapons to bomb Yemen3 , a country with which the American government has zero issues.4 In fact, the American government claims that they support the Yemeni government and people. The government also claims that they are providing humanitarian assistance in Yemen. According to the U.S. Department of State, the United States of America have provided nearly thirty-nine million dollars to help Yemen since 2011. This is absolutely absurd. How could the U.S. government keep selling weapons and bomber planes to a country that is bombing and devastating a country, which Americans claim they are helping? The government’s humanitarian aid and support in Yemen will continue to be useless if they do not stop selling weapons to the Saudis. U.S.-Saudi Relations In the early 1970s, the U.S. had a special relationship with the Saudi royal family. Saudi Arabia had played an important role in turning African and Middle Eastern countries that supported the Soviet Union into American allies. In the 1980s, the Saudis became great friends of the Reagan administration. In 1985, Secretary of State Richard W. Murphy declared that Saudi Arabia was the “only government in the Arabian Peninsula both friendly to the United States and capable of playing a regional security role”.5 This type of “special” relationship between the two nations changed at the turn of the twenty-first century. By the mid 2000s, Saudi Arabia lost its ability to influence the price of oil. This could have been caused by the U.S.’ invasion of Iraq in 2003. Several American government officials believed that a larger import of Iraqi oil would put financial pressure on Saudi Arabia and lead the Kingdom to economic and political reform.6 Since then, the United States has tried to find other cleaner and cheaper alternatives to gas and Saudi Arabia has turned its attention to other markets such as China, India and other Asian countries. U.S.-Yemen Relations In 1946, the U.S. recognized the Kingdom of Yemen as a sovereign state. This is when the first diplomatic relations were established with Yemen. In 1962, the United States became one of the first countries to recognize the Yemen Arab Republic. Unfortunately, in 1967, in the wake of the Arab-Israeli conflict, 5 Richard W. Murphy, “An Overview of Developments in the Middle East,” Current Policy 740, 18 September 1985 (United States Department of State, Bureau of Public Affairs, Washington, DC). 6 “World Oil Markets and the Invasion of Iraq,” Middle East Research and Information Project, 2003. http://www.merip.org/mer/mer227/world-oil-marketsinvasion-iraq. relations started deteriorating. By 1969, the American Embassy in South Yemen was closed. However, four years later, after a visit to Sana’a by Secretary of State William P. Rogers, the United States resumed their diplomatic relationship with the Yemen Arab Republic. Although U.S.-Yemen relations have been rocky, in the past three decades, the U.S. has built a strong and growing partnership with Yemen. When comparing America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia and its relationship with Yemen, many might say that it is more important to back up the Saudis because of America’s historic friendship with the kingdom. I disagree. Although the U.S. has had a history of strong friendship with Saudi Arabia, this relationship has changed. It is no longer reasonable to say that the Saudi Arabian government has America’s best interests at heart. The United States needs to stop supporting the Saudi monarchy that encourages terrorism and that violates human rights. Instead, it should focus more of its attention on helping Yemen that has recently been a strong ally to the U.S. Counterterrorism When it comes to the U.S. Department of State’s claim that Saudi Arabia are active in counterterrorism efforts, there is nothing they could be more wrong about. Let us not forget September 11, 2001. Fifteen of the nineteen hijackers who participated in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were Saudi nationals. Later that year, the American military that was fighting in Afghanistan found out that the Taliban regime was also in fact Saudi. Although some may argue that the acts of these few terrorists should not affect relationships between the American government and the Saudi royal family and government, I beg to differ. Since 9/11, the Saudi government has left the United States aside to pursue their own interests. The United States is actually indirectly funding terrorism through their economic relationship with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabian political analyst and journalist Turki al-Hamad even insists that the religious extremism that the Saudi monarchy propagates “serves as fuel for ISIS”.7 According to the CATO institute, the Saudi government is useless in the fight against terrorism. In fact, the kingdom had been the principal financial backer of the Taliban movement in Afghanistan since 1996. Saudi Arabia has also been sending funds to terrorist groups such as Hamas. When it comes to Yemen however, they have actually been cooperative with the U.S. in counterterrorism efforts. After the terrorist attacks on 9/11, “the Yemeni Government took practical steps to enhance its intelligence and military cooperation with the United States”.8 During the next decade, the Yemeni government has done its best to help the United States of America fight against terrorism: [T]he Government of Yemen continued its fight against alQaida in the Arabian Peninsula, although struggled in this effort in the latter half of the year due to political instability brought on by the armed Houthi movement (…) President Hadi (…) encouraged greater cooperation between U.S. and Yemeni counterterrorism forces. 9 This report demonstrates that the American and Yemeni governments were able to work together to fight against terrorist groups. Hence, the U.S. needs to stop selling military 7 “How Saudi Arabia Exports Radical Islam,” The Week, August 8, 2015, http://theweek.com/articles/570297/how-saudi-arabiaexports-radical-islam. 8 United States Department of State, Patterns of Global Terrorism (2001), 60. 9 Bureau of Counterterrorism, Country Reports on Terrorism (2014). equipment to Saudi Arabia that is being used against the people of Yemen in order to help their country. The U.S. government should focus their efforts on actually helping the Yemenites getting back on their feet with a stable government. This will be impossible until the American government stops enabling the Saudi bombings in Yemen. Human Rights The United States should stop selling weapons and bomber planes to Saudi Arabia in order to send a message about the importance of human rights. The American government has a history of supporting human rights throughout the world. By selling weapons to the Saudis, a country that does not respect its people’s freedom, the U.S. is condoning that kind of political regime and ideology. The Second World War could be considered as the beginning of an important link being formed between American foreign policy and the respect of human rights. In the early 1940s, President Franklin Roosevelt declared that the purpose of the United States fighting in World War II was to protect “the four freedoms.” In the late 1970s, President Jimmy Carter pledged to link foreign assistance to the recipient’s country performance in human rights. According to these ideas, the Saudis would not be eligible for American aid, nor to buy American weapons. By the presidency of George H. W. Bush, human rights was but on the backburner. This changed with the election of Bill Clinton. In his rhetoric, Bill Clinton warned the Chinese government that his administration had decided to make human rights an important part of their foreign policy. Since 1993, there has been a positive relationship between aid distribution and respect for human rights. Today, according to the U.S. Department of State: The protection of fundamental human rights was a foundation stone in the establishment of the United States over 200 years ago. Since then, a central goal of U.S. foreign policy has been the promotion of respect for human rights, as embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.10 Since 9/11, Saudi Arabia has been scrutinized on its poor human rights record. There have been many initiatives by the National Society for Human Rights to alter Saudi Arabia’s human rights violations. Unfortunately, none of these initiatives have worked. In fact, since Abdullah took the Saudi throne in 2005, human rights conditions in the kingdom have greatly deteriorated. Although the Saudi government has passed a resolution aimed at making it easier for women to find employment, this policy has never been implemented. Women continue to face injustice in this country. For example, the government provided no legal help for women who want to get married against their father’s will or who want to open up a bank account without a consenting male guardian. The lack of policies in place makes it impossible for a woman with an abusive guardian to break free. Life in Saudi Arabia is also bad for children.11 The government officials assume that children can be sentenced to capital punishment, if they appear to exhibit physical signs of puberty during the time the crime was committed. In 2007, a boy who was only thirteen years old at the time of his alleged crime was executed. Recently, a young Saudi Arabian blogger and activist for reform named Raif Badawi was charged with apostasy and was sentenced to ten years in jail and one thousand lashes. This particular story has been all over the news and 10 U.S. Department of State, ‘Human Rights’ http://www.state.gov/j/drl/hr/index.htm. 11 Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015: Saudi Arabia (2015), Section 6. has truly captured international attention. Atrocities such as these happen very often in Saudi Arabia. Even though the country puts up a front and speaks to the American government about their plans to foster positive human rights, progress is not quick enough. The United States is clearly not blind to these violations of human rights. In the 2006 U.S. Record, in the section about Saudi Arabia, the government reported “US officials frequently urged the government to promote political participation, transparency, accountability in government, religious freedom, and rights for women and workers”.12 This means that the American government knows that something has to be done about the situation in the kingdom, but still, with all of this injustice happening in Saudi Arabia, the U.S. keeps funding them by buying their oil and selling them weapons. This absolutely absurd! For a country like the United States that takes so much pride in its encouragement of human rights, it is crazy to see that they continue to fund and support such a cruel government. Clearly, promoting peace and human rights through discussion and diplomacy with the Saudi government is not working. The U.S. should completely stop selling weapons and military equipment to the kingdom until they make substantial improvements in the human rights of their people. The situation is quite different in Yemen. Although the country is presently going through a devastating civil war, the government does have legislation in place to protect its people. In Yemen, “Laws governing trial procedures apply to all citizens. The law considers defendants innocent until proven guilty”. 13 Although Yemen has institutions and laws in place to insure the security of their people’s human rights, the civil war has taken over and has taken the human rights of the Yemenites away. This means that in order to allow the Yemenites to reassume their human rights, the U.S. government needs to stop supplying the Saudi Arabians with military equipment because the Saudi intervention is just making the civil war more devastating and dangerous. Attacks on Yemen Not only is the Saudi government unjust to its own people by disrespecting human rights, it is also committing war crimes in Yemen. The Saudi-led coalition has been intervening in Yemen since 2015 in order to influence the outcome of the Yemeni Civil War. In March 2015, the military coalition led by the Saudis has launched an air campaign. They have been bombing innocent civilians since then. According to the UN, over three thousand civilians have been killed in Yemen over the course of this conflict. When the civilians look up to the sky to look at what is dropping those bombs, they see American bomber planes. The Saudi government keeps claiming that only military targets have been hit by airstrikes, yet the evidence on the ground shows a very different story. The military coalition has failed to protect civilians by targeting schools, hospitals, markets and mosques. The Saudis have clearly violated international humanitarian law in Yemen. During the last decade, the U.S. has sold over 100 billion dollars worth of military equipment to Saudi Arabia.14 How could a government that claims to be supporters of peace and international law continue to sell weapons to a country like Saudi Arabia that 14 Al Franken, ‘Sen. Franken: We Must Block Controversial Billion Dollar Sale of U.S. Weaponry to Saudi Arabia’, September 21, 2016. https://www.franken.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id= 3545. keeps violating international humanitarian law and killing thousands of innocent people? This must stop. The U.S. Department of State claims that their “aid is also focused on partnering with the Yemeni government to meet the critical needs of its citizens”.15 This statement is extremely hypocritical. The American government needs to seriously reconsider what they are condoning and enabling through this economic alliance with the Saudis. The United States of America need to stop selling military equipment to Saudi Arabia. The U.S. was founded upon the values of liberty. In history, America has been a strong supporter and defender of human rights and has advocated against regimes that violated those rights. If the United States is as devoted to human rights as they claim, then why are they still selling arms on a massive scale to Saudi Arabia? The kingdom has a very bad record of human rights. Women and children especially are left with little to no rights under the Saudi government. Moreover, Saudi Arabia is using American military equipment to conduct airstrikes on innocent Yemenites, targeting schools, hospitals, mosques and markets. Also, Saudi Arabia has been funding many terrorist groups; groups that the United States are actively fighting against. By selling arms to Saudi Arabia and by buying their oil, the U.S. is indirectly funding their own terrorist enemies. The United States of America need to send a strong message to the Saudi government by stopping these weapon sales and cutting ties with the kingdom until they stop bombing innocent Yemenites and actively start progressing when it comes to human rights.

Saudi arms sales used in counterterror operations

US Department of State, October 16, 2018, https://www.state.gov/t/pm/rls/fs/2018/279540.htm   U.S. Security Cooperation With Saudi Arabia

As a result of U.S. security cooperation, the Kingdom has foiled numerous terrorist attempts against Saudi and foreign targets, and has been able to successfully deter external attacks. The United States remains committed to providing the Saudi armed forces with the equipment, training, and follow-on support necessary to protect Saudi Arabia, and the region, from the destabilizing effects of terrorism, countering Iranian influence, and other threats. Toward that end, the United States will continue to collaborate with Saudi Arabia to improve training for special operations and counterterrorism forces, integrate air and missile defense systems, strengthen cyber defenses, and bolster maritime security.

No evidence that stopping bombing is enough – we need to do many other things, including getting the Houthis to stop fighting. Ending arms sales would only disarm one side

Tawakkol Karman, November 21, 2018, Washington Post. Enough is Enough. End the War in Yemen. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/democracy-post/wp/2018/11/21/enough-is-enough-end-the-war-in-yemen/?utm_term=.6a4a7a80d956

The path to ending the war is clear. First, the United States and other countries must cease arms exports to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The Security Council should pass a resolution demanding an immediate end to the war and compelling the Saudis and Emiratis to withdraw from Yemen. The United Nations must sponsor a political process that begins by obligating all parties to the conflict to disarm their militias. This will allow Yemen to resume the political process that was disrupted by the coup. The United Nations should oversee the formation of government of national unity that will organize a referendum on the draft constitution and prepare for fresh elections. It is crucial to establish a national reconciliation commission responsible for providing redress to victims of the war. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates must be held accountable and compensate Yemen for the damages they have caused. The Saudis, the Emiratis and their allies are not the only ones responsible for the tragedy in Yemen. The Houthis, too, must be compelled to cease their destructive behavior. They must be prevented from receiving any weapons and other support from Iran. They are an extremist group that is deeply hostile to civic values, and they have committed countless human rights violations and crimes. They believe in a theocratic ideology that grants them a divine and exclusive right to rule. Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the Houthis must be told with one voice: Enough is enough.

Turn – US-Saudi cooperation trains Saudi Arabia to minimize civilian casualties

 

US Department of State, October 16, 2018, https://www.state.gov/t/pm/rls/fs/2018/279540.htm   U.S. Security Cooperation With Saudi Arabia

The Saudis have agreed to receive training from U.S. forces on Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) and best practices for preventing civilian casualties. Planned training events for the Royal Saudi Air Force and other Saudi security forces will specifically include further training on the LOAC and air-to-ground targeting processes.

Yemen faces a humanitarian disaster

 

BBC, December 18, 2018, Yemen Crisis: Why is there war? https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-29319423

In short, the situation in Yemen is, the UN says, the world’s worst man-made humanitarian disaster. The UN says more than 6,800 civilians have been killed and at least 10,700 injured in the fighting since March 2015, with well over half of the casualties caused by Saudi-led coalition air strikes. An international group tracking the civil war believes the death toll is far higher. The US-based Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project estimates that more than 60,000 civilians and combatants have been killed since 2016, based on news reports of each incident of violence. Media captionInside Yemen’s industrial-scale prosthetic limb factory Thousands more civilians have died from preventable causes, including malnutrition, disease and poor health. The UN’s Emergency Relief Co-ordinator, Mark Lowcock, confirmed in December 2018 what he called “Yemen’s descent toward famine”. More than 20 million Yemenis – two thirds of the population – are food insecure. Ten million of them are severely food insecure – more than twice the number of four years ago. More than half of Yemen’s districts have slipped into “emergency” conditions – one step below famine in the international classification. Media captionThe sick children trapped by war in Yemen Almost two million children are currently acutely malnourished, which makes them more vulnerable to disease. The charity Save the Children estimates that 85,000 children with severe acute malnutrition may have died between April 2015 and October 2018. With only half of the country’s 3,500 health facilities fully functioning, at least 16 million people are lacking basic healthcare. Medics have struggled to cope with the world’s largest cholera outbreak, which has resulted in more than 1.2 million suspected cases and 2,500 related deaths since April 2017. The war has also forced more than 3 million people to flee from their homes, with 2.3 million still displaced.

Yemen conflict part of larger Sunni-Shiite conflict

 

BBC, December 18, 2018, Yemen Crisis: Why is there war? https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-29319423

What happens in Yemen can greatly exacerbate regional tensions. It also worries the West because of the threat of attacks – such as from al-Qaeda or IS affiliates – emanating from the country as it becomes more unstable. The conflict is also seen as part of a regional power struggle between Shia-ruled Iran and Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia. Gulf Arab states – backers of President Hadi – have accused Iran of bolstering the Houthis financially and militarily, though Iran has denied this. Yemen is also strategically important because it sits on a strait linking the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden, through which much of the world’s oil shipments pass.

Saudi Arabia developing ballistic missiles

 

Middle East News, January 27, 2019, https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/middle-east/194023-190126-satellite-images-appear-to-show-saudi-arabia-working-on-ballistic-missile-program Satellite images appear to show Saudi Arabia working on ballistic missile program

Newly analyzed satellite imagery may suggest that Saudi Arabia is advancing its ballistic missile development at a suspected testing facility in the country’s center.Experts at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in northern California reviewed satellite images taken by Planet Labs Inc. at the end of last year and found evidence that Saudi Arabia may be manufacturing technologies it has consistently criticized its enemy Iran for developing. Last year, the Kingdom’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, said that his government would respond in kind to Iran’s brazen development of ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads to targets across the world. The images and corresponding findings of experts were originally published in the Washington Post.Jeffrey Lewis, one of the experts from Middlebury who discovered the purpose of the base, reportedly said the United States may be “underestimating” Saudi nuclear ambitions.The military base – first discovered in 2013 by Jane’s Defense Weekly – is located about 145 miles west of the capital Riyadh.Another expert from Washington’s International Institute for Strategic Studies confirmed Lewis’ findings, saying the facilities appear large enough both build and fuel ballistic missiles.According to Lewis, the suspected rocket-engine test stand at the Saudi base closely resembles Chinese design, raising the question of where Riyadh learned how to develop the facilities.China and Saudi Arabia have an increasingly strong relationship, particularly in regards to arms sales.“I have never heard of such a thing as China helping Saudi Arabia to build a missile base,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told the Associated Press when asked for comment on the images.

Can’t solve UK sales

Left Foot Forward, January 2019, https://leftfootforward.org/2019/01/arms-dealers-annual-gala-dinner-attracts-protests/

The smartly-dressed diners queued to get into Grosvenor House next to protestors holding banners reading ‘arms dealers dine while Yemen starves’ and chanting ‘blood on your hands’. At one point, the diners stepped over protestors to enter the hotel ballroom. The dinner is organised by the Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space (ADS) association – the trade body which represents many arms companies. The dinner was addressed by the Chief Executive of BAE Systems, a UK-based company which provides fighter jets to the Saudi Air Force. Saudi fighter jets have been used in a bombing campaign on Yemen which has killed at least 10,000 civilians and left millions on the edge of starvation. The Air Force has also been accused of targetting civilians and food supply an a United Nations report accused the Saudi-led coalition of torturing detainees, raping civilians and using child soldiers. Despite this, BAE Systems is currently in negotiations to sell another 48 fighter jets to the Royal Saudi Air Force.

Yemen facing the worst famine in 100 years

Barbara Ellis, January 22, 2019, https://truthout.org/articles/us-taxpayers-have-been-funding-big-businesss-wars-for-233-years/, US Taxpayers Have Been Funding Big Business’s Wars for 233 Years

The UN prediction is that the Yemen situation may result in the “worst famine in the world in 100 years” because its major port of Hodeidah is blockaded.”

Yeminis lack access to potable water, triggering a cholera outbreak

AL JAZEERA, January 19, 2018, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/01/19-million-lack-access-clean-water-yemen-190123124307585.html

Potable water has become increasingly hard to come by in Yemen since the war started in 2015, highlighted by the nation’s cholera outbreak. International aid agencies have asked for more help, as well as a long-term political solution, but millions of Yemenis are struggling as the conflict continues.

10,000 new cholera cases a month

Reuters, October 18, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-cholera/yemen-cholera-outbreak-accelerates-to-10000-cases-per-week-who-idUSKCN1MC23J

Yemen’s cholera outbreak – the worst in the world – is accelerating again, with roughly 10,000 suspected cases now reported per week, the latest data from the World Health Organization (WHO) showed on Tuesday. FILE PHOTO: A boy pushes a wheelbarrow filled with water containers after collecting drinking water from a charity tap, amid a cholera outbreak, in Sanaa, Yemen October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed al-Sayaghi/File Photo That is double the average rate for the first eight months of the year, when 154,527 suspected cases of cholera – which can kill a child within hours if untreated – were recorded across the country, with 196 deaths. WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said 185,160 suspected cholera cases were reported into September. Some 1.8 million Yemeni children are malnourished, making them more vulnerable to disease, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says. They include nearly 400,000 whose lives are at risk from severe acute malnutrition. Since Yemen’s cholera epidemic erupted in April 2017, a total of 1.2 million suspected cases have been reported with 2,515 deaths, Jasarevic told a news briefing. Children account for 30 percent of infections. SPONSORED “We have been seeing the number of cholera cases increasing in Yemen since June. This increase has been even more important in the last three weeks,” Jasarevic said. In the first week of September, nearly 11,500 suspected cases were reported, up from 9,425 the week before, he said. The charity Save the Children said air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition in late July had damaged a sanitation facility and water station that supplies water to Hodeidah, a port city and supply lifeline held by Houthi forces. “After this incident, suspected cholera cases almost doubled between July (732) and August (1,342) in Save the Children-supported health centers,” it said. The WHO said 16 percent of Yemen’s cholera cases were in Hodeidah where only half of the health facilities are operational. If caught early, the acute diarrhea can be treated with oral hydration salts, but more severe cases require intravenous fluids and antibiotics. The WHO is administering vaccinations, targeting 540,000 people in three vulnerable districts in Hodeidah and Ibb governorates. In a first round, 387,000 people – 72 percent of those targeted – received an initial dose, Jasarevic said, adding that the organization wanted to extend the program to other parts of Yemen.

5 million face a food crisis, it’s an emergency for 3 million

Reuters, October 17th, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-cholera/yemen-cholera-outbreak-accelerates-to-10000-cases-per-week-who-idUSKCN1MC23J Yemen cholera outbreak accelerates to 10,000+ cases per week: WHO

It is almost 4 years since war erupted in Yemen, with devastating consequences for the country’s infrastructure and health system. Despite ongoing humanitarian food assistance the latest IPC analysis – covering December 2018 to January 2019 – revealed 15.9 million people (53% of the population) faced food shortages. Of these, 17% of the population – about 5 million people – are classified as IPC Phase 4 (Emergency), and 36% – 10.8 million people – as IPC Phase 3 (Crisis).

Banning arms sales won’t solve Houthi aggression

Qasim Abdul-Aziz, January 20, 2019, https://globalriskinsights.com/2019/01/yemen-hopeful-ceasefire-in-hodeida/ Yemen – Hopeful Ceasefire in Hodeida

On Friday 21 December, a resolution was unanimously passed by the UNSC, authorising the UN Secretary General to deploy a monitoring team to Yemen to oversee the preliminary ceasefire. Despite the willingness of key players such as Saudi Arabia and Iran to back the UN agreement at this stage, the progress is tenuous. Whilst both sides have largely stuck to the ceasefire, there have been accusations of breaches by both parties. On 10 January 2019, a drone attack by the Houthis on a military parade killed numerous government soldiers and seriously jeopardizes the prospects of further peace talks. CONTINUES.   The reputational damage caused by Khashoggi’s murder should not be underestimated, with Saudi Arabia facing increasing international pressure. However, if the Saudi-led coalition were to leave the conflict, this would not completely end the fighting in Yemen – indeed, the existing conflict between the Houthis and the government require complex negotiations

Saudis already willing to stop fighting in Yemen

Qasim Abdul-Aziz, January 20, 2019, https://globalriskinsights.com/2019/01/yemen-hopeful-ceasefire-in-hodeida/ Yemen – Hopeful Ceasefire in Hodeida

The killing of Jamal Khashoggi is an example of a recent event that has contributed to Saudi Arabia’s threatened stature. U.S senators have made it known that they believe that the crown price is complicit in the murder of Khashoggi. The murder also focused the world’s attention on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, something that had previously been ignored. The Saudi narrative explaining the death of Khashoggi has been widely criticised and diminished their public credibility, casting further doubt on the Saudi interpretation of the war in Yemen. This partly explains Saudi Arabia’s decision to opt for diplomacy with the Houthis and their support for the ceasefire.

Turn – THREATENING Saudi Arabia with reduced ties means the US has leverage to get the Saudis to stop fighting in Yemen.   Their advocacy ends all of our leverage

Qasim Abdul-Aziz, January 20, 2019, https://globalriskinsights.com/2019/01/yemen-hopeful-ceasefire-in-hodeida/ Yemen – Hopeful Ceasefire in Hodeida

The U.S. Senate’s recent vote to end its involvement in the war also signals that Saudi Arabia is falling out of favour, sending a clear message to MBS that he no longer has unconditional support. This will not compel Saudi Arabia to drastically change its foreign policy, as both the Kingdom and the U.S have many common regional interests, including quelling the threat of Iran. However, Saudi Arabia will be well-served by changing its strategy in Yemen if it is to win back support from figures in the U.S. Winding down the war and embracing the ceasefire will do that.

Other suppliers have cut sales

Qasim Abdul-Aziz, January 20, 2019, https://globalriskinsights.com/2019/01/yemen-hopeful-ceasefire-in-hodeida/ Yemen – Hopeful Ceasefire in Hodeida

Germany, Norway, and Denmark have all suspended new licenses for arms exports, specifically citing their concerns over their use in the war in Yemen

Peace in Yemen is possible

Qasim Abdul-Aziz, January 20, 2019, https://globalriskinsights.com/2019/01/yemen-hopeful-ceasefire-in-hodeida/ Yemen – Hopeful Ceasefire in Hodeida

However, the growing international outcry for humanitarian concerns in Hodeida, as well as support from the UN in the form of a new resolution to support the Hodeida agreement (UNMHA), provide strong incentives for the Houthis and the government to cooperate. The initial willingness of the factions, as well as regional players such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, to back the initial UN agreement, signals that peaceful progress is possible. If all parties remain committed and cooperate with the UN monitoring team, then a broader regional ceasefire is possible.

Existing peace agreement collapsing

Adam Baron is a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations and a fellow in the International Security Program at New America, January 17, 2019, https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/27218/peace-in-yemen-requires-far-more-than-what-s-on-the-table-in-fragile-talks Peace in Yemen Requires Far More Than What’s on the Table in Fragile Talks

It has been more than four years since the Houthis, a Zaidi Shiite-led rebel group, took over Sanaa and forced Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi into exile, spurring Saudi Arabia to lead a military intervention to oust the Houthis and restore Hadi to power. Long-stagnant diplomacy to end the conflict, which has torn the already impoverished country apart and created what has been called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, finally gave way to a breakthrough of sorts in December. After three rounds of unsuccessful talks in Switzerland and Kuwait, twin delegations affiliated with Houthi rebels and the internationally recognized government agreed to a tripartite deal in Sweden on Dec. 13 after over a week of consultations. The agreement struck in Stockholm may have been far from conclusive, but international diplomats cast it as a clear step in the right direction. The deal has three key components. It aims to prevent a looming military offensive by the Saudi-led coalition on the Houthi-held port of Hodeida, a key outlet for humanitarian aid into Yemen. The parties also committed to jumpstart talks to de-escalate the fighting over Taiz, Yemen’s third-largest city, which remains under siege by the Houthis and their allies. And, in a prisoner exchange, both parties pledged to release thousands of detainees, some of whom had been held for more than four years. In the weeks since then, though, there’s been little concrete progress on any front. The outcome of the prisoner exchange deal remains dependent on a follow-up meeting in Amman this week. And while a retired Dutch general, Patrick Caemmart, was dispatched to head the United Nations’ cease-fire monitoring mechanism in Hodeida, both sides have continued to bicker, failing to make significant progress toward a prospective pullout. The Houthis, meant to redeploy from Hodeida, have instead reinforced their positions and built trenches, while accusing coalition-backed forces of continuing to launch attacks. Escalation outside of the parameters of the cease-fire has continued, most of all in the form of a brazen Houthi drone attack targeting a key Yemeni military base near Aden that killed senior Yemeni officials.

Can’t resolve who will control the government, what happens to the weapons

Adam Baron is a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations and a fellow in the International Security Program at New America, January 17, 2019, https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/27218/peace-in-yemen-requires-far-more-than-what-s-on-the-table-in-fragile-talks Peace in Yemen Requires Far More Than What’s on the Table in Fragile Talks

As diplomats working on Yemen privately acknowledge, the current process only represents a tentative start. Crucial factions and stakeholders have yet to be fully brought into the process. And many of the key questions that any accord would need to tackle—ranging from the fate of the Houthis’ weapons, the future status of coalition troops, and the shape of a future Yemeni government—remain undecided. This is all to say nothing of the current state of Yemen itself. Even if the conflict ends tomorrow, Yemen faces devastating fallout from years of bombardment and blockade. Fighting has left the country’s infrastructure in shambles, set back decades of development efforts, ruptured the country’s social fabric, robbed a generation of young Yemenis of peace and education, and decimated the capacity of currently divided state institutions. In short, ending the war is only a small part of the battle. Yemen needs full-scale rebuilding. Some efforts, largely headed by the Saudi-led coalition, have already started. Both Saudi and Emirati officials have pointed to their increasing humanitarian and redevelopment efforts. It’s more than simply a cynical ploy to distract from the ongoing devastation wrought by the conflict, though it’s also more than altruism. Gulf officials have stressed that they view their role in Yemen as longer-term, noting the need for redevelopment and their anxieties over a potential power vacuum. In some sense, it’s an acknowledgement of the need to win the peace. Even in the event of a comprehensive peace settlement, Yemen remains at high risk of falling back into conflict without wide-ranging reforms, a functional transitional process, widescale reconciliation efforts, and significant foreign aid and investment.

Failure to punish Saudi Arabia for the Khassogi killing wrecks the global order. We need to reaffirm it now by sending a clear signal that the killing is unnaceptable

Ana Palacio is former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain and former Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the World Bank Group. She is a visiting lecturer at Georgetown University, October, 29, 2018, Project Syndicate, https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/khashoggi-murder-killed-global-order-by-ana-palacio-2018-10

Did the Global Order Die with Khashoggi? Trump’s response to the Khashoggi episode, however, is fully decoupled from any overarching values. To be clear, US presidents, together with European leaders, have been coddling Saudi Arabia for decades, and leaders worldwide often base their foreign-policy decisions on realpolitik, rather than moral considerations. But this is the first time a US president has unabashedly acknowledged the purely transactional nature of their policy decisions. The Saudis, Trump declares bluntly, are “spending $110 billion on military equipment and on things that create jobs” in the US. “I don’t like the concept of stopping an investment of $110 billion into the United States.”1 Notwithstanding the dubiousness of the figures involved, Trump’s comments are a bald statement of monetized interest. The comfort, even pride, with which he makes such statements indicates that we really have entered a new era, in which we cannot expect our leaders to clear even the low bar of trying to fit their decisions into a rules- or values-based narrative. This is dangerous, because such narratives are vital to maintain the credibility of the global order and the support of domestic constituencies for it. Just like effective leadership and respect for the rule of law, a certain amount of faith in the system – even if it is qualified by frustration with inequality or impunity – is essential to its survival. A world in which all that matters is the deal, in which there is no ethos guiding our actions and underpinning our governance systems, is one where citizens do not know what to expect from their leaders and countries do not know what to expect from their allies. Such an unpredictable and unstable world is not one that we should blindly accept. It is not too late to respond to Khashoggi’s brutal murder in a way that reinforces, rather than undermines, the rules on which we all depend. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s suspension of arms sales to Saudi Arabia is a good start, even if it was driven largely by her desire to shore up support for her Christian Democratic Union ahead of regional elections in Hesse; so, too, is the current pushback from Washington against a business-as-usual approach to Saudi Arabia. But more must be done, with principled leaders declaring clearly that what happened in Istanbul is not acceptable. Otherwise, we will effectively be giving up the discourse of values and rules – a decision that could well leave us with no coherent and stabilizing discourse at all.

In light of the Khassogi killing, the US must take a stand in favor of global free speech

Kathy Kiely is the Lee Hills chair in Free Press Studies at the Missouri Journalism School, USA Today, October 19, 2018, https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/10/19/khashoggi-free-speech-warrior-latest-casualty-crimes-journalists-column/1683694002/   Khashoggi was a free speech warrior and the latest casualty in a global war on journalists

Kamal Khashoggi gave us a road map for making sure he did not vanish in vain. In his last column for The Washington Post, written just before his apparent murder and published Wednesday, the Saudi writer presciently wrote that “Arab governments have been given free rein to continue silencing the media.” He laid part of the blame for this on people who do not speak out against the censorship. Khashoggi lamented the lack of “backlash from the international community” and the ineffectuality of “condemnation quickly followed by silence.” His journalistic colleagues, along with freedom-loving people of any profession, need to make sure that doesn’t happen again. No help appears to be forthcoming from President Donald Trump. As a candidate, he had no hesitation about declaring the entire nation of Mexico “drug dealers, criminals and rapists” on his own say-so. He early and often questioned his predecessor’s birthplace despite clear proof that he was peddling untruths. But now, the brash defier of political correctness has turned punctilious: In the face of mounting evidence that Saudi Arabia is implicated in the murder of a U.S. resident, the president frets about a rush to judgment. Ideals, not weapons deals, make America great Other American leaders, however, are stepping up and speaking out. Members of Congress, including members of Trump’s party, are expressing their horror in unvarnished terms and promising reprisals. “I can’t imagine that if what we think happened that we would take no action,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told Bloomberg. U.S. business leaders are boycotting a Saudi investment conference. At least three blue-chip Washington lobbying firms — Glover Park, Harbour and BGR — have reportedly severed ties with the Saudis. (OK, that’s justthree Saudi lobbyists down and 63 to go — and one of those three might have been inspired to do the right thing by an ultimatum. But it’s a start). To borrow a term popularized by former President George H.W. Bush, these are points of light — signs that in at least some quarters, Americans are remembering what truly makes this country great: Its ideals. Not its military contracts. The momentum toward decency needs to build. As Khashoggi warned, silence in the face of evil equals consent. Impunity for thugs begets more thugs. And Khashoggi’s disappearance was not an isolated incident. It is just the latest in a series of horrific crimes against journalists. More: Can Donald Trump handle the truth about Jamal Khashoggi? Trump’s Khashoggi reaction sure makes him seem bought and paid for by Saudi Arabia Khashoggi wake-up call for US: Stop following Saudi Arabia’s lead. It’s a police state. As Kathleen Carroll, president of the board of the Committee to Protect Journalists, pointed out in a tweet, reports of Khashoggi’s murder capped a fortnight in which journalists were murdered in Bulgaria, Somalia and Mexico. Last week, Myanmar, which just sentenced Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo to seven years in jail on phony charges, arrested three more journalists after they wrote stories critical of the government. Egypt has yet to free Shawkan, the photojournalist jailed for more than five years for the “crime” of taking pictures of an anti-government protest, The government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which has accused the Saudis of murdering Khashoggi in Istanbul, is certainly not doing so out of love for freedom of the press: Under Erdogan’s leadership, Turkey has become the world’s No. 1 jailer of journalists. And let’s not forget that Erdogan’s thugs attacked protesters and the reporters covering them on U.S. soil. In this country, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials continue to push for the deportation of Emilio Gutiérrez-Soto, a law abiding Mexican journalist who sought asylum here when his reporting on official corruption in his country made him the target of death threats. Khashoggi was a warrior for free speech There’s a global war going on, and it’s not just against journalists. It’s against what journalists represent: free speech. Joseph Bahout, a friend of Khashoggi and a scholar with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, was speaking of the Middle East but could have been talking about the larger world when he told NPR this week that “spaces of freedom and action and even thinking are narrowing by the minute.” Americans have always had a healthy resentment of elites. President Trump rode that into power in 2016. Around the world, we now are seeing where unchecked elitism can lead: to dictatorial oligarchies run by governments or criminal cartels whose leaders think that their oil or their drugs or their power gives them the right to play by a different set of rules than those that apply to the rest of us. Journalists make a living from calling out that kind of entitlement, and now they are getting killed for it. It’s time for Americans to decide, and to ask their leaders to declare: Which side are you on?