Will Biden Deliver on His Promise to End U.S. Complicity in Yemen’s War?

On February 4, President Biden committed to ending support for offensive Saudi military action in Yemen, as well as relevant arms sales. However, it is not clear how U.S. policy changed after this date, as the U.S. continues to support the Saudis, especially by maintaining the Saudi Air Force, and has allowed some weapons sales to proceed. If Biden is serious about fostering a resolution to the violence and humanitarian crisis in Yemen, why has he not pressured the Saudis to lift the blockade? What role can and should the U.S. play, given Yemen’s complex internal as well as geopolitical dynamics? Join Brookings Senior Fellow Bruce Riedel; Chairperson of the Yemeni human rights organization Mwatana, Radhya al-Mutawakel; and Research Fellow for the Middle East at the Quincy Institute Annelle Sheline, as they discuss what the U.S. administration should do to help achieve Biden’s statement that “this war must end.” Trita Parsi, Quincy Institute Executive Vice President, will moderate the conversation. The discussion will take place on Wednesday, June 23, from 11 am to 12 pm ET. REGISTER FOR EVENT


Bruce Riedel

Bruce Riedel is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He served thirty years in the Central Intelligence Agency serving overseas in the Middle East and Europe as well as eight years in the National Security Council at the White House for four Presidents. A graduate of Brown, Harvard and the Royal College of Defense Studies in London, he is the author of eight books. His next book is Jordan and America: An Enduring Friendship which will be published in September.

Radhya al-Mutawakel

Radhya al-Mutawakel is is a Yemeni human rights defender, and the chairperson and co-founder of Mwatana, a human rights NGO. She has worked in the human rights field since 2004, covering war crimes, arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, and freedom of the press. She has testified about the war in Yemen before the US Congress, European Parliament, and the UN Security Council. Al-Mutawakel was on TIME's list of the 100 most influential people of 2019. Her organization, Mwatana, is nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.

Annelle Sheline

Annelle Sheline, PhD, is the Research Fellow in the Middle East program at the Quincy Institute and an expert on religious and political authority in the Middle East and North Africa. Sheline is completing a book manuscript on the strategic use of religious authority in the Arab monarchies since 9/11, focusing on the cases of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, and Oman. Her non-academic writing has appeared in The Nation, Politico, and Foreign Policy. She earned her PhD in political science from George Washington University and is a non-resident fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Trita Parsi (Moderator)

Trita Parsi, PhD, is an award-winning author and the 2010 recipient of the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. He is an expert on US-Iranian relations, Iranian foreign politics, and the geopolitics of the Middle East. He has authored three books on US foreign policy in the Middle East, with a particular focus on Iran and Israel. He is the co-founder and former President of the National Iranian American Council. He received his PhD in foreign policy at Johns Hopkins’ School for Advanced International Studies, a Master's Degree in International Relations from Uppsala University, and a Master's Degree in Economics from the Stockholm School of Economics.