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Thread: Pick a side? The Saudis and Yemen

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    Pick a side? The Saudis and Yemen

    At least as clear a lesson both in the fallacies of the Manichean perspective and the mistake of the United States taking sides in such conflicts is found in the current strife in Yemen. But the lesson does not seem to have been learned, as reflected in U.S. support for the Saudi military intervention in Yemen. Three major features of the conflict in Yemen are pertinent to that lesson.

    One is that the conflict is at least as complicated and multidimensional as any others in the Middle East. It is impossible to draw a line that would put everyone worth supporting on one side and everyone worth opposing on the other, or even to come close to doing that. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula—often considered the most capable Al-Qaeda affiliate today—is completely at odds with, and a confirmed enemy of, the Houthi forces who are the principal target of the U.S.-backed Saudi intervention. One of the most significant allies of the Houthis is Ali Abdullah Saleh, who for three decades was America’s guy as ruler of Yemen.

    Second, this war is, as Adam Baron has put it, “by and large, an internal Yemeni political conflict” that “remains deeply rooted in local Yemeni issues.” This fact has been obscured by those who, intent on depicting Iran as a dangerous wide-ranging regional renegade, portray the Houthi rebellion as part of some Iranian expansionist plan. It is nothing of the sort. The Houthis have been driven for years by grievances involving the distribution of resources and power within Yemen, and their more recent gains have mostly reflected the sympathy for those grievances among other Yemeni elements who have been similarly displeased and disadvantaged by the most recent Yemeni regimes.

    Third, the motivations of outside actors intervening in this conflict are not ones that the United States ought to associate itself with. One set of motivations is sectarian. There is no advantage at all, and lots of disadvantage, for the United States to be seen identifying with one side or another in sectarian disputes within the Muslim world. Another set of motivations, rooted in decades of Saudi-Yemeni strife dating back to when the expansion of the Saudi kingdom first led to seizure of traditionally Yemeni provinces and to lingering border disputes, involves a Saudi desire to exercise dominance over the Arabian Peninsula and in particular this part of it. Graham Fuller observes, “Riyadh has always loathed Yemeni feistiness, independence, its revolutionary politics, and even its experiments with democracy.” The Saudis publicly play up the Iranian angle, but what they really don’t like about the Houthis is that they haven’t been able to buy off the Houthis as effectively as they have many other Yemeni elements. The Saudi objective of maintaining this kind of overlordship over its neighbors is also not an interest that the United States shares.

    And yet the urge to take sides and intervene persists...
    Yemen and the American impulse to take sides - Brookings

    This article offers a more transparent look at the conflict. It does not involve emotional blackmail and Brookings largely has no interest in (or benefit from) being biased.

    It is believable that the Saudis are lying about Iran's involvement, but it is also as believable that Iran is lying about whether they are involved. I do not think that either country can be trusted. I also found it interesting that another article mentioned the cause of the Saudi blockade as being in response to ballistic missiles that were launched towards the Saudis. That seems like a reasonable excuse to use a blockade to try and prevent more weapons from entering Yemen, but it also took place almost 2 years now.

    I have previously advocated not taking a side on the personal level because they have both committed war crimes and neither is reliable, but I also don't think the US should be involved beyond how they/we would be involved if no conflict were occurring (meaning continued trade with Saudis, continued strikes on AQ, etc.). As the article points out, there is nothing to be gained.

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    We have stopped Iranian ships bringing weapons to the rebels.
    Molon labe
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    Im not going to pick either addie, there are some members here that "appear" to have vast knowledge of the intrical dynamics of the middle east, I do NOT, I know next to nothing about it. I know that the saudis are sneaky mutts who have financed killing us, I dislike Iran the most and syria and jordan and yemen, I dont give much thought too.

    Theres too much to worry about in the United States. I do wish that those that are very vocal against Israel and those that ardently defend Israe.l, worried about our homeless many of whom are vets as much
    Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.

    GROUCHO MARX,

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adelaide View Post
    Yemen and the American impulse to take sides - Brookings

    This article offers a more transparent look at the conflict. It does not involve emotional blackmail and Brookings largely has no interest in (or benefit from) being biased.

    It is believable that the Saudis are lying about Iran's involvement, but it is also as believable that Iran is lying about whether they are involved. I do not think that either country can be trusted. I also found it interesting that another article mentioned the cause of the Saudi blockade as being in response to ballistic missiles that were launched towards the Saudis. That seems like a reasonable excuse to use a blockade to try and prevent more weapons from entering Yemen, but it also took place almost 2 years now.

    I have previously advocated not taking a side on the personal level because they have both committed war crimes and neither is reliable, but I also don't think the US should be involved beyond how they/we would be involved if no conflict were occurring (meaning continued trade with Saudis, continued strikes on AQ, etc.). As the article points out, there is nothing to be gained.

    We know by now that our involvement in modern ME conflicts will do more harm than good. But supplying arms to the Saudis we have already picked a side. Interventionism has failed in the ME and it's time to try something else. Of course the supporters of our interventionism believe that things would be "even worse". Yet they offer no proof. In fact they have been duped. The goal was always instability in the reason and that goal is the ONLY logical explanation for our actions over time.
    We have oil now so to what end do we continue? Arms sales, petro dollars, lobbyist, political gains? Fear of the enemies we have begat?

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    Quote Originally Posted by donttread View Post
    We know by now that our involvement in modern ME conflicts will do more harm than good. But supplying arms to the Saudis we have already picked a side. Interventionism has failed in the ME and it's time to try something else. Of course the supporters of our interventionism believe that things would be "even worse". Yet they offer no proof. In fact they have been duped. The goal was always instability in the reason and that goal is the ONLY logical explanation for our actions over time.
    We have oil now so to what end do we continue? Arms sales, petro dollars, lobbyist, political gains? Fear of the enemies we have begat?
    I agree that you have been duped. No argument from me.

    As long as SA is hurting Iran, I'm satisfied. We don't have any business putting troops in but selling weapons to SA is just business. We don't have to trust them for their use. They can't use them on us so that's their concern.

    We do have a national interest in keeping Iran from being able to shut the Persian Gulf down. You may not know this but Iran is a terrorist state run by renegades from normal thinking.
    Liberals are a clear and present danger to our freedom and our society and our morals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Common View Post
    Im not going to pick either addie...
    But Trump has picked a side. And when Trump ran for president, he truthfully called out Saudi Arabia for its deep connections to international terrorism and the 9/11 attacks specifically. Now he kisses Saudi butt like every other president did. Trump is obviously scared. He gets it now. The political class has made him understand the arrangement...

    ...there are some members here that "appear" to have vast knowledge of the intrical dynamics of the middle east, I do NOT, I know next to nothing about it. I know that the saudis are sneaky mutts who have financed killing us, I dislike Iran the most and syria and jordan and yemen, I dont give much thought too.

    Theres too much to worry about in the United States. I do wish that those that are very vocal against Israel and those that ardently defend Israe.l, worried about our homeless many of whom are vets as much
    I agree. We should be putting America first, like Trump promised he would. But he's not doing that. He's putting Saudi Arabia first. And contrary to what Trump has claimed, withdrawing US support for the war in Yemen would not jeopardize our core interests in Saudi Arabia.

    Anyway, the situation in Yemen is complicated, but from the perspective of Americans, it's simple: There is no clear connection to our "national security", so we should just remain neutral.
    Two things awe me most, the starry sky above me and the moral law within me.
    --Immanuel Kant

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    Quote Originally Posted by Captdon View Post
    I agree that you have been duped. No argument from me.

    As long as SA is hurting Iran, I'm satisfied. We don't have any business putting troops in but selling weapons to SA is just business. We don't have to trust them for their use. They can't use them on us so that's their concern.

    We do have a national interest in keeping Iran from being able to shut the Persian Gulf down. You may not know this but Iran is a terrorist state run by renegades from normal thinking.

    Just business? Good God. Will it be "just business" when the public finally finds out that weapons we sell and give away kill families, allies and even Americans??
    I wonder what would happen to you or I if we tried to enter this "just business" Prison, dark hole without a trial?
    Iran won't shut down the Gulf because it would bring hellfire down on them from the "free world" and other players. No occupation, arms sales, boots on the ground or $#@!ing with the internal politics thereof necessary. . Next excuse you memorized from FOX NEWS please.

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    Quote Originally Posted by donttread View Post
    Just business? Good God. Will it be "just business" when the public finally finds out that weapons we sell and give away kill families, allies and even Americans??
    I wonder what would happen to you or I if we tried to enter this "just business" Prison, dark hole without a trial?
    Iran won't shut down the Gulf because it would bring hellfire down on them from the "free world" and other players. No occupation, arms sales, boots on the ground or $#@!ing with the internal politics thereof necessary. . Next excuse you memorized from FOX NEWS please.
    Iran won't shut down the Gulf, because as you say they can't- at least for very long. A couple of hours maybe.

    But Iran has designs for the region. Over the years I have read articles from many povs and they seem to agree that Iran's goal is a "Shiite crescent" from the Iranian plateau to the Mediterranean Sea which would stretch across northern Iraq and into Syria, then Lebanon. Most of the ME oil would be in Sunni controlled areas. I don't mean that Iran wants to add that territory to Iran, but rather have a great deal of influence. If that occurred it could create a general war between Sunnis and Shiites. It also would be bad for Israel.

    The US could exert influence to protect its influence, but a general war between Sunnis and Shiites isn't all bad for the US, assuming we don't get in the middle of it.

    It would spike oil prices and likely cause a global recession.
    Molon labe
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captdon View Post
    I agree that you have been duped. No argument from me.

    As long as SA is hurting Iran, I'm satisfied. We don't have any business putting troops in but selling weapons to SA is just business. We don't have to trust them for their use. They can't use them on us so that's their concern.

    We do have a national interest in keeping Iran from being able to shut the Persian Gulf down. You may not know this but Iran is a terrorist state run by renegades from normal thinking.
    It's hilarious that you probably think of yourself as a moral person. Diffusion of responsibility is a hell of a thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter1469 View Post
    Iran won't shut down the Gulf, because as you say they can't- at least for very long. A couple of hours maybe.

    But Iran has designs for the region. Over the years I have read articles from many povs and they seem to agree that Iran's goal is a "Shiite crescent" from the Iranian plateau to the Mediterranean Sea which would stretch across northern Iraq and into Syria, then Lebanon. Most of the ME oil would be in Sunni controlled areas. I don't mean that Iran wants to add that territory to Iran, but rather have a great deal of influence. If that occurred it could create a general war between Sunnis and Shiites. It also would be bad for Israel.

    The US could exert influence to protect its influence, but a general war between Sunnis and Shiites isn't all bad for the US, assuming we don't get in the middle of it.

    It would spike oil prices and likely cause a global recession.
    The last time the US exerted forceful influence on the region it fractured the balancing force against Iran and created Isis less than a decade later. It amazes me how gut strong some tax payers are about what to do and who to trust in the region.

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