When Yemeni Houthi rebels struck Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, killing three people on Jan. 17, the Biden administration strongly condemned what it called “terrorist attacks.” It was the 14th time the State Department had condemned the Houthis since President Joe Biden entered the White House.
In many ways, this unquestioning support for the Saudi dictatorship is unremarkable.
Yet, days later, when Saudi Arabian airstrikes killed at least 70 civilians in Yemen, including three children, the Biden team only mustered a meek call for all parties to de-escalate. Despite the carnage, Biden sustained his perfect record of never condemning Saudi Arabia for its devastation of Yemen, let alone calling it terrorism. It’s time for Biden to make a real break with past U.S. policy by ceasing to take sides in other countries’ conflicts.
In many ways, this unquestioning support for the Saudi dictatorship is unremarkable. Former President Donald Trump coddled the notorious Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and even refused to slap him on the wrist after his intelligence operatives kidnapped and beheaded Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. As president, Barack Obama had a contentious relationship with then-Saudi King Abdullah, yet it was Obama who greenlighted Saudi Arabia’s war against Yemen in the first place. And the Bush family was so close to the Saudi royal family that Riyadh’s longtime ambassador to Washington, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, was nicknamed “Bandar Bush.”
Biden himself created the expectation that his presidency would see an end to business as usual with the Saudi dictatorship. In his first major foreign policy speech, in February, he declared that “the war in Yemen must end.” During the presidential debates in 2020, he pledged to make the Saudis “pay the price and make them in fact the pariah that they are.”
Read the full article at MSNBC.com.