The announcement by the administration of US President Joe Biden to stop supporting the Saudi aggression against Yemen raised questions about the possibility that the Al Saud regime would admit its defeat.
Biden also appointed Timothy Lenderking as a special envoy to Yemen. Timothy Lenderking previously served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Middle East affairs.
According to the Saudi WikiLeaks website, the announcement represents a partial response to years of efforts by activists and members of both parties in Congress. “However, it is not clear what the new policy will do.”
The United States is not only complicit in supporting Saudi air strikes, but also in imposing the blockade that has put millions of Yemenis at risk of starvation.
But the problem now is who will determine whether the action is offensive, the United States or Saudi Arabia? How will this be defined?
Biden’s team may find that withdrawing US support for offensive military action fulfills its stated commitment.
This step, however, is not sufficient to address the complicity and responsibility of the United States in the disaster that Yemen is experiencing.
Biden must insist that Saudi Arabia and the UAE withdraw completely from Yemen and end their support for the warring factions.
Given the availability of external resources supporting the warring parties in Yemen, the war will not end anytime soon.
As long as the United States remains the pre-eminent military power and the main supplier of weapons in the region, the US will remain responsible for the destruction of Yemen.
The Yemenis know this, even if not many Americans are unaware of it, the current conflict is known as the US-Saudi War in Yemen.
Wars usually end when the warring parties’ resources are depleted or when one side decisively defeats the other.
It is unlikely that any of these outcomes would occur in Yemen without decisive action from the United States.
Cutting off Foreign Funding
The Saudis support the government of Hadi, but it is weak and exiled. Although the UAE joined the Saudi-led coalition in 2015 to support the Hadi government as well, it eventually moved to support the Southern Transitional Council.
The “Southern Transitional Council” is an alliance of separatist forces that are pressing for the independence of southern Yemen, which was a sovereign state before the unification of Yemen in 1990.
While the Hadi government wants to restore control of all of Yemen, this goal is inconsistent with the goal of the “Southern Transitional Council.”
This means that the Saudis and the Emiratis now support opposing parties, despite their pledge to work together under the 2019 Riyadh Agreement.
Bin Salman’s Defeat
As for the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, Ansarullah’s missiles threaten the safety of his country, although the threat was initially limited to areas near the borders.
The Yemeni Armed Forces launched missiles deep into Saudi Arabia, and even threatened the capital, Riyadh, more than 600 miles from the border with Yemen.
Saudi Arabia can try to neutralize Ansarullah by investing in development. In 2018, the cost of the war was estimated at 100 billion US dollar, and the number has now doubled; While the investment in northern Yemen will cost much less.
The transition from launching airstrikes to providing aid will require bin Salman to admit defeat, while it is a humiliation that the young prince seems unwilling to endure.
Bin Salman may fear that ending the war in Yemen will make him appear weak, despite repeated reports that the Saudis are keen to end their failed war, especially after the unilateral ceasefire in April 2020.
Biden needs to make bin Salman and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed, understand that they have to choose between remaining involved in the war in Yemen, or maintaining a good working relationship with the United States.
The fact that no foreign power has yet succeeded in subduing Yemen by force is not because of lack of attempt but because of its mountainous nature and the steadfastness of its people.
Ending US support for Saudi air strikes on Yemen is an important first step for the Biden administration, but it will not be enough.
If Biden tried to get out of the Yemen issue simply by ending the US intervention, that would not stop the bleeding of hundreds of thousands of Yemenis who have already died and are dying.
Instead, Biden should demand that the Saudis and the Emiratis withdraw completely from Yemen and end their support for the factions there.
-Saudi Defeat in Yemen