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Tags: trump | saudi arabia | yemen | iran

Trump's Allies in Yemen

Trump's Allies in Yemen

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a "Make America Great Again" rally at Landers Center in Southaven, Mississippi, on October 2, 2018. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Ahmed Charai By Tuesday, 09 October 2018 11:40 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

U.S. President Donald Trump repeated a remark about close ally Saudi Arabia saying he warned Saudi Arabia's King Salman he would not last in power "for two weeks" without the backing of the U.S. military.

"We protect Saudi Arabia. Would you say they're rich. And I love the King, King Salman. But I said 'King — we're protecting you — you might not be there for two weeks without us — you have to pay for your military,'" Trump said to cheers at a rally in Southaven, Mississippi.

Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman responded publicly to President Donald Trump's recent spate of tweets and statements concerning oil. While the president has been asking for Saudi Arabia to increase oil production to flood the market and keep prices down, the prince said no. This is a risk for Saudi Arabia, because Saudi Arabia has always depended a great deal on the United States —even its currency is pegged directly to the U.S. dollar — and the Trump administration has shown that it will take a hard stance on economic issues even with its closest allies.

Despite the harsh words, the Trump administration has had a close relationship with Saudi Arabia, which it views as a bulwark against Iran's ambitions in the region.

In Yemen, U.S. forces are fighting there and Yemen's government and U.S. forces had to face an even deadlier foe: Iran-backed militias mostly populated by Houthis, an off-shoot of Shi'ite Islam.

With a common religious bond, Iranian agents built political alliances with Houthi clans with flattery, funds, and strategic marriages.

It is clear that the UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism (UNVIM), which provides clearance for commercial shipping to Houthi-controlled territory, has failed to stop the flow of illicit arms to the rebels. Since the war broke out and the Houthis unseated the legitimate government of Yemen, the group has received training, expertise, and weapons from Iran and Hezbollah.

Over 80 percent of the population in war-torn Yemen is in need of humanitarian aid and many are facing starvation.

Over 14 million Yemenis are hungry and 21.2 million — 82 percent of the population — urgently need humanitarian assistance, according to Oxfam.

The conflict, escalated hugely by a Houthi and Iranian bombing campaign, has caused significant problems for Yemen’s food supply, with rising prices and food becoming less available.

Houthi forces have deployed sea mines in the Red Sea, which could impede access to humanitarian assistance through Red Sea ports — and could remain a threat for up to ten years.

USAID Acting Deputy Administrator David H. Moore highlighted that the U.S. government has provided more than $1.2 billion in total humanitarian funding to the Yemen response since FY 2017 during the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

From January 1, 2018, to August 5, the UAE has also provided $1 billion in aid, according to the Financial Tracking Service, an independent monitoring organization.

The UAE has focused on building a humanitarian infrastructure to head off mass tragedy. It has built a string of new bakeries to provide bread, re-opened Al Khawkhah, a fishing port, and built a new hospital — one of several that the UAE has sought to quickly rebuild to ensure that Houthi rebels and Al-Qaeda terrorists do not use the lack of public services as a recruitment tool or succeed in exterminating the civilian population.

Elsewhere in the country, the U.N. World Food Program is also working to meet the needs of those in suffering. However, it often must overcome the threats of violence. Houthis have planted landmines and initiated occasional shelling. Kidnapping and sudden arrests are a constant menace. Earlier this summer, Houthi rebels kidnapped two WFP food workers in Yemen. They have not been seen since.

In the early 2000s, the world was moved by the sight of starvation, war, and disease in Darfur. Campuses held demonstrations, and network cameras trekked to the Sahara to record the civilized world's efforts to prevent genocide.

This time, however, the colleges and networks do not seem to notice. It is welcome that President Donald J. Trump has, and that timely action is preventing a death toll possibly equal to World War II.

The good news about the bad news is that the U.S. is engaged and helping.

Ahmed Charai is a Moroccan Publisher. He sits on the Board of Directors of The Atlantic Council in Washington and International Councillors at The Center for Strategic and International Studies. He's also on the Board of Trustees of the The Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia and member of The National Interest’s Advisory Council. Mr. Charai is a Mid-East policy advisor in Washington whose articles have appeared in the major U.S. media. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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U.S. President Donald Trump repeated a remark about close ally Saudi Arabia saying he warned Saudi Arabia's King Salman he would not last in power "for two weeks" without the backing of the U.S. military.
trump, saudi arabia, yemen, iran
Tuesday, 09 October 2018 11:40 AM
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