Yoav Elinevsky: Biden’s measures on Yemen war not enough

Published: 2/11/2021 4:13:06 PM

On Feb. 4, President Biden announced the United States will be playing a more active diplomatically to bring an end the war in Yemen, that already caused an estimated 233,000 deaths. Between 2015 and 2018, the U.S. has been active participant in the war.

In his speech the president said: “We must start with diplomacy rooted in America’s most cherished democratic value.”

Does this principle apply to the medieval-type kingdom of Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates? The U.S. has more than 80,000 civilian contractors in Saudi Arabia and thousands of troops there.

What President Biden should have said, but did not say: 1. End all arms sales and maintenance agreements with Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates as long as they are engaged in the war and beyond. 2. Remove the Houthis from the terror list so they can participate in peace talks. 3. Acknowledge the role of the U.S. and the military industrial complex in the war by apologizing to, and paying reparations to, the Yemeni people. Apologize to the American people who had to pay for the US participation in the war. 4. End all U.S. military presence in Yemen. Reparations to the people of Yemen should not be paid by U.S. taxpayers, but by the arms industry. In the five years before the war, U.S. arms transfers to Saudi Arabia amounted to $3 billion; between 2015 and 2020, the U.S. agreed to sell over $64.1 billion worth of weapons to Riyadh, averaging $10.7 billion per year.

It is no wonder the giant arms manufacturers like Raytheon and L3 Harris can pay their CEOs an average of more than $40,000 per day. The arms manufacturers who benefited so outrageously from the war should also reimburse the U.S. Treasury for the amount of money paid by taxpayers that allowed the U.S. to participate in the war.

The opportunity is now before President Biden to do justice and establish peace and friendship with the people of the Middle East and he must do it.

Yoav Elinevsky

Amherst




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