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Aggression Against Yemen
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Western Governments Whitewash Saudi Dictator MBS as 'Reformer' : Publishing Date: 3/15/2018
Ali Al-Ahmed : is a Saudi scholar and expert on Saudi political affairs including: terrorism, Islamic movements, Wahhabi Islam, Saudi political history, Saudi-American relations, and the al-Saud family history. He is a writer, and public speaker on Saudi political issues.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), Mr. Mattis warned that the proposal would undermine American interests in the Middle East, jeopardize the country’s partnership with Saudi Arabia and increase the risk of a regional war with Iran.

Mr. Mattis made the personal appeal as part of an aggressive Pentagon effort to derail a resolution that could come up for a vote next week, when Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrives in Washington to meet with President Donald Trump.

Prince Mohammed, the 32-year-old heir to the throne, is seen as the architect of the country’s war against Iranian-backed Houthi militants in Yemen. The United Nations says that airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition have killed thousands of civilians in Yemen, triggering international calls for the U.S. to stop helping the kingdom.


The U.S. provides Saudi Arabia with precision-guided weapons and carries out aerial refueling of jet fighters. That support has drawn bipartisan concern in Congress, where more lawmakers are questioning the U.S. role.

Next week, the U.S. Senate could vote on a resolution co-authored by Sens. Mike Lee, (R., Utah), Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and Chris Murphy (D., Conn.) that calls on Mr. Trump to end American support to Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Lee told The Wall Street Journal that U.S. support for Saudi Arabia was fueling a regional conflict without having proper backing from Congress.

In his letter opposing the resolution, Mr. Mattis argued that ending U.S. support would be counterproductive.

“New restrictions on this limited U.S. military support could increase civilian casualties, jeopardize cooperation with our partners on counterterrorism. and reduce our influence with the Saudis—all of which would further exacerbate the situation and humanitarian crisis,” Mr. Mattis wrote in the letter, reviewed by the Journal.

“Withdrawing U.S. support would embolden Iran to increase its support to the Houthis, enabling further ballistic missile strikes on Saudi Arabia and threatening vital shipping lanes in the Red Sea, thereby raising the risk of a regional conflict,” he wrote.

The U.S. and Saudi Arabia have deepened their ties since Mr. Trump took office. The two countries are working closely together to battle Islamic State forces across the region, cripple al Qaeda fighters in Yemen, contain Iran’s military ambitions and craft a new Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

Prince Mohammed is due to arrive in Washington on Tuesday for meetings with Mr. Trump and top U.S. officials. A Senate vote to end U.S. support for Saudi Arabia could be an embarrassment for the Trump administration while the prince is in town.

American assistance to Saudi Arabia’s campaign in Yemen has been a source of friction in Washington from the beginning.

President Barack Obama offered Saudi Arabia limited support when the country launched the military operation in 2015. But he suspended the sale of precision-guided weapons and withdrew military advisers from Saudi Arabia right before he left office because of concerns that the country wasn’t doing enough to prevent civilian casualties in Yemen.

But the U.S. kept refueling jet fighters carrying out the airstrikes and offered other support to Saudi Arabia as the two countries worked to target al Qaeda fighters in Yemen.

Mr. Trump resumed the sale of advanced weapons to Saudi Arabia when he took office. The U.S. military also stepped back in to provide more intelligence to the Saudis.

“We provide intelligence that helps them secure their border,” said one U.S. military official. “We do not provide or vet coalition targets, and there are currently no plans to provide offensive targeting support of any kind.”

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