May 27, 2019
On May 24, the Trump Administration invoked a “state of emergency” with Iran to complete the sale of 8 billion dollars worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan. These weapons include bombs, parts for military aircraft, and anti-tank missiles. While he cited no recent specific Iranian actions in justifying this move, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote that “Iranian malign activity poses a fundamental threat to the stability of the Middle East and to American security at home and abroad.”
In selling these weapons, the U.S. is reinforcing its support for the Saudi regime in its ongoing struggle against Iran for power and influence across the Middle East.
Under the Obama administration, the U.S. worked with Iran to help stabilize Syria and Iraq, over Saudi objections. At that time, the U.S. was concerned about Saudi support for ISIS and other radical Islamist groups. Now the Trump administration calculates that supporting the Saudis to the hilt will pay off for U.S. imperialism.
To them, it is not a problem that Saudi Arabia wants these weapons for its war in Yemen against Iranian-backed rebels. Saudi planes – built in the U.S. – have bombed homes, markets, hospitals, schools, and mosques, killing hundreds of civilians. An April 2018 attack on a wedding killed 22 people. A strike last August hit a school bus, killing and wounding dozens of children. And since 2015, Saudi Arabia and its allies have imposed a blockade of Yemen that has caused a serious shortage of medical supplies and food, creating a famine in the country. Now more U.S.-made weapons will help murder children and starve a whole population.
This arms deal illustrates once again that U.S. imperialism is the real force behind the “malign activity” that has kept the whole Middle East in a constant state of war for decades. To the U.S., Yemeni deaths are simply “collateral damage!”