Twenty days after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) bombed a school bus full of children in Yemen this August, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis hosted officials from the two US allies at the Pentagon. They were all gathered as part of a meeting of representatives from the Gulf Cooperation Council, at which Mattis thanked them for their “regional leadership and years of close cooperation with the United States.”
The US bears tremendous responsibility for the August attack, and for broader devastation and suffering in Yemen, where it is waging not one, but two wars.
There is the first, ongoing war that started under President Bush — and was dramatically escalated under Obama — as part of the so-called “War on Terror.” Since 2002, the US has killed over 1,000 people in Yemen through drone strikes, cruise missile attacks and other activities involving Special Operations personnel — and has brought untold death and misery the world over under the banner of “counterterrorism.”
The second war is the one that has garnered more headlines recently and has eclipsed the first in its destruction: The aerial siege prosecuted by Saudi Arabia and the UAE with extensive cooperation from the United States. The coalition has carried out over 16,000 air strikes since 2015, framing their operations as an intervention on behalf of Yemen’s nominal government since the country’s Houthi opposition seized the capital, Sanaa.