US Must Do Something About Saudi Arabia

| by Mark Jones
White phosphorous explodes in the air.White phosphorous explodes in the air.

The U.S. has to respond to Saudi Arabia’s involvement in Yemen.

Many factors have contributed to Yemen’s ongoing civil war. In 2015, Saudi Arabia began intervening in its neighbor’s civil war.

Saudi-led bombing campaigns in Yemen have been responsible for the deaths of many civilians, according to The New York Times. The U.S. supplied the bombs and many of the weapons that Saudi Arabia has used against the people of Yemen.

On Sept. 19, news sources reported that Saudi Arabia began illegally using white phosphorous as bombing material in Yemen. Like other war materials, Saudi Arabia acquired the white phosphorous from the U.S., according to the Independent.

U.S. officials admitted to supplying white phosphorous to Saudi Arabia in the past. When the chemical explodes, it releases a thick white smoke that many military groups use to signal troops from a distance.

Although the U.S. government supplied Saudi Arabia with the chemical to use for signaling purposes, it appears it has been used for other, more dangerous purposes.

When the chemical explodes close to a person, the smoke burns flesh down to the bone, often killing those nearby, according to the Independent. By using white phosphorous in this way, Saudi Arabia violated agreements with the U.S.

“The United States expects any recipient of U.S. military assistance to use those items in accordance with international law and under the terms and conditions of any U.S. transfer or sale,” said a State Department official, speaking anonymously. 

Expectations, however, do not always reflect in reality.

As a global power and supposed peacemaker, the U.S. must discontinue support for the Saudi military.

Although the Obama administration continues to support Saudi Arabia as an ally, members of Congress are beginning to protest. Rightfully, detractors say supplying Saudi Arabia with the weapons necessary for dangerous intervention in Yemen makes the U.S. partially responsible for the deaths of civilians and soldiers.

Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, is one of the critics.

“We try to maintain some distance from this, but that doesn’t sell inside Yemen,” said Murphy, reports The New York Times. “I’m petrified about the long-term prospects of a Yemeni population that is radicalized against the United States.”

If the U.S. wants to remain at a distance from the war in Yemen, the government needs to discontinue any support for Saudi Arabia that could be interpreted as involvement in Yemen’s civil war.  Ironically, to reduce involvement, the U.S. needs to take action.

The time has come to stop sales of weapons to Saudi Arabia completely. 

Click here for the opposing view on this topic.

Sources: BBC, Independent, The New York Times / Photo credit: Leigh Blackall/Flickr

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