News Release

Is Biden Prolonging the Yemen War?


Ryan Grim of The Intercept writes in “The Yemen War Can Be Over — If Biden Wants It” that: “The U.S. is slow-walking peace negotiations, effectively pushing for a resumption of the war.”

Grim writes: “Everybody else directly or indirectly involved — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Houthis, China, Oman, Qatar, Jordan, etc. — appears to want to put the war behind them. A ceasefire has held for more than a year, and peace talks are advancing with real momentum, including prisoner exchanges and other positive expressions of diplomacy. Yet the U.S. appears very much not to want the war to end; our proxies have been thumped on the battlefield and are in a poor negotiating position as a result.

“Reading between the lines, the U.S. seems to be attempting to slow-walk and blow up the peace talks. Triggering a resumption of hostilities would unleash yet another Saudi-led bombing campaign that could win U.S. proxies better terms when it comes to control of the strategically positioned Yemeni coastline. (The Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden link the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean at the southwestern corner of Yemen, an area so geopolitically important to the flow of oil and international traffic that the U.S. has one of its largest bases, in Djibouti, across the strait.)…

“The Houthis, for their own political and literal survival, need the blockade lifted. If the talks drag on for too long, the Houthis are likely to resume cross-border strikes. Everybody on all sides knows that, which is why the Saudis appear eager to get to a final deal, while the U.S. keeps throwing up new conditions.”

Grim quotes Erik Sperling, executive director of Just Foreign Policy: “It’s surreal to think that the Biden administration is more hawkish on Yemen than the brutal regime of Mohammed bin Salman, but that’s the current reality,”

HASSAN EL-TAYYAB,, @HassanElTayyab

Legislative director for Middle East policy for the Friends Committee on National Legislation, El-Tayyab, said: “I’m very concerned that the administration is adding all these conditions to a full U.S. military exit and a Saudi-Houthi deal. I’m worried that they’d use the idea that we need to have a perfect inclusive peace as a precondition to lifting the blockade. … Yemenis should be allowed to chart their own future. It increasingly seems like the Biden administration would rather slow down diplomatic progress instead of finally just ending the Saudi-Houthi conflict.”