Pompeo shames Senate by invoking Iranian bogeyman after Yemen war powers vote

© Reuters / Yuri Gripas / Free

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has condemned the Senate for passing a resolution to end US involvement in the war in Yemen, suggesting US military aid to the Saudis is the only thing standing in the way of a new Persian Empire.

The senators who voted ‘aye’ say they want to end the bombing in Yemen and support human rights,” Pompeo said. “But we really need to think about whose human rights.” This rare candid moment from the top American diplomat was followed up with an appeal to his favorite bogeyman as he spoke to reporters on Friday. 

If you truly care about Yemeni lives, you’d support the Saudi-led effort to prevent Yemen from turning into a puppet state of the corrupt, brutish Islamic Republic of Iran,” he said, stressing that care for Yemeni lives must be balanced with care for Saudi lives, menaced by missiles launched at Riyadh by the Houthis, as well as the specter of Iranian regional dominance.

The way to alleviate the Yemeni people’s suffering isn’t to prolong the conflict by handicapping our partners in the fight, but by giving the Saudi-led coalition the support needed to defeat Iranian-backed rebels and ensure a just peace,” Pompeo added, demonstrating a tenuous grasp on cause and effect.

The Saudi-led coalition has so far used US support to kill thousands of Yemenis, plus approximately 80,000 who have died of famine and malnutrition. Coalition forces – armed, trained, and equipped by the US – have bombed hospitals and civilian infrastructure, resulting in a raging cholera epidemic and conditions both Pompeo and the UN have described as a humanitarian disaster. By blockading the only port through which aid enters the country, the Saudi-led coalition has placed the half of the Yemeni population that relies on food aid to live in immediate danger of starvation – some 14 million people.

The Senate narrowly passed the Yemen War Powers resolution on Wednesday, with a few Republicans crossing party lines to join Democrats in opposing Trump’s unconditional support for Saudi Arabia. It would bar US forces from any further involvement in the wildly unpopular war against the Middle East’s poorest country without approval from Congress. 

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