Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

'The Obama administration must choose diplomatic over military solutions for Yemen,' writes Bayoumi. 'It should demand an immediate and unconditional cease-fire from all parties involved, which would let the dire humanitarian needs be addressed and allow the people of Yemen the opportunity to find a path to reconciliation.' (Image credit: Martin Sojka/The Progressive)

US Needs to Stop Fomenting Violence in Yemen

Moustafa Bayoumi

 by The Progressive

The United States response to the civil war in Yemen should be the opposite of what it’s doing.

Since late January, Yemen—the poorest Arab country—has been embroiled in a bloody civil war that is escalating in brutality. A Saudi-led air campaign against the rebel movement has repeatedly hit factories, schools, water systems and residential neighborhoods, degrading the civilian infrastructure and killing hundreds of civilians. At least 150,000 people have fled their homes due to the fighting. 

Despite reports indicating that Washington has been attempting to quietly persuade the Saudis to curb their bombing, actions speak louder than words. The Obama administration has been supplying intelligence for the campaign, has moved eleven warships to the waters off of Yemen in a show of support for the Saudi-led effort, and has expedited arms shipments to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen. Seemingly without irony, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest then charged that Iran was continuing “to supply arms to one party to that dispute so that the violence can continue.”

In Washington, the civil war in Yemen is being framed as a proxy war between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran, with the Houthi rebels supposedly beholden to Iran and the ousted government evidently loyal to the Saudis. This is utterly simplistic. The origins and grievances of the war are many, but Yemen has long been plagued by its own fissures, endemic corruption and abysmal governance. Iran’s influence in Yemen is limited. “It remains our assessment that Iran does not exert command and control over the Houthis in Yemen,” a spokeswoman for the National Security Council recently admitted to The Huffington Post

The only sensible action for the United States is to change its course entirely. Washington’s assistance to Saudi Arabia will escalate this conflict and further inflame a volatile region. The Obama administration must choose diplomatic over military solutions for Yemen. It should demand an immediate and unconditional cease-fire from all parties involved, which would let the dire humanitarian needs be addressed and allow the people of Yemen the opportunity to find a path to reconciliation. 

The last thing anyone—Yemeni or otherwise—needs is another war persisting in the Middle East.


© 2021 The Progressive

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Reckless Misuse of Resources': House Approves $778 Billion Military Budget

"There was no CBO score needed. No concern about the deficit. No mention of inflation," said Rep. Jamaal Bowman.

Jake Johnson ·


Senate Dems Help Torpedo Resolution That Would Have Blocked $650 Million Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia

"My simple question is, why in the world would the United States reward a regime that has caused such pain in Yemen with more weapons," Sanders asked after the vote. "The answer is we should not."

Brett Wilkins ·


Amnesty Scorecard Finds Twitter Failing to Protect Women From Online Abuse

"As our world has become increasingly dependent on digital spaces during the Covid-19 pandemic, it's critical that Twitter meet this moment with demonstrated commitment to improving the online experiences of all users, regardless of their identity."

Jessica Corbett ·


Filibuster Reform for Debt Ceiling Fight But Not Voting Rights or Reproductive Freedom?

"If our senators are willing to suspend the filibuster to protect our economy, they should be willing to suspend it to protect our democracy and our freedom to vote."

Jessica Corbett ·


As Senate Holds Guantánamo Hearing, Biden Urged to 'Finally End This Chapter of Injustice'

"Guantánamo is a centerpiece of the forever wars. It is a shameful symbol of racial injustice, torture, and violations of the Constitution and international law."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo