Statement on the Conflict in Yemen
Statement written by the Anti-War Working group as an introductory statement to the Party Webinar "Conflict in Yemen: Why it Must Stop" and passed by the National Action Committee
Socialist solidarity extends past family, friends, local, regional, and state community. It does not acknowledge arbitrary borders and does not subdivide them into race, creed, and color. Compassion, empathy, and respect are the foundations of a Socialist solidarity that discriminates only between dominated and dominator, exploiter and exploited. While we may be separated nominally into ‘Yemeni’ and ‘American’, we can just as easily be unified by ‘comrade.’ As comrades, we struggle in unity towards self-sovereignty.
As members of the Socialist Party USA, we demand the abolition of capitalism and work towards the reformation of the current social and economic order so that agency may be retained universally by workers and community members. It is in the name of this capitalistic status quo that the US government has involved itself in war crimes and crimes against humanity in Yemen (as in many other countries, but Yemen is the subject of this essay).
In 2015, Saudi Arabia intervened in an internal Yemeni conflict using internationally banned cluster munitions and fighter jets manufactured in the United States. During these airstrikes, they regularly hit civilian targets. According to American political activist and author of The Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the US-Saudi Connection Medea Benjamin not only were over 3,000 civilians murdered in those strikes but also, the ensuing humanitarian crisis-affected 80 percent of the population. The US also provided services such as mid-air refueling and intelligence analysis. Moreover, it gave Saudi targeting information which was used to mark hospitals, markets, and schools.
The same year, the US State Department authorized a $1.29 billion sale which included equipment from bombs to weapons. This was while the US remained a signer of the UN Arms Trade Treaty, which prohibits weapon sales if the nation party is aware that the items will be used for the purpose of committing genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the like. Medea Benjamin states that the US spends billions of dollars a year in the Middle East (ME) and has yet to secure peace. Additionally, the attack on USS Cole in 2000 would not have occurred had the ship not been in Yemen, and 9/11 may not have been perpetrated if troops from the US had not occupied Saudi Arabia and the rest of the ME.
Critics of this statement’s condemnation will point to the Biden administration’s recent pause of weapon sales to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. They may claim that a new era of foreign policy is here, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the fore. Aside from a coat of blue paint, nothing has fundamentally changed. To summarise, Blinken supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq, 2011 Libyan intervention, has been an advisor or board member for investment and venture capital firms, and was a founder of WestExec Advisors, a ‘strategic advisory firm’ which has worked with clients such as Israeli artificial-intelligence company Windward, artificial intelligence robotics company Shield AI — which recently signed a contract with the Air Force for as much as $7.2 million — and the inarguably evil investment behemoth Blackstone. It seems unlikely that Secretary of State Blinken, who is affiliated with companies who make money from the manufacturing and use of Unmanned Aerial Devices (drones), will not be the one who fights for an end to their reign of terror in Yemen or beyond. We must stand collectively to oppose intervention and arm sales from the American Government.
It was Obama’s administration that was responsible for drone strikes on a Yemeni wedding and Kunduz Trauma Center in Afghanistan. It will not be Biden’s administration which ends them, unless it is given a clear, direct, and unavoidable message from citizens of the United States.
As the Socialist Party international platform declares, we must call for the termination of all foreign military training and facility operations abroad. To live up to our promise of fellowship with our Yemeni comrades, we must demand the US military to urgently and unconditionally withdraw its forces from the ME. The consequences of American imperialism and military industrial complex should not fall on our comrades on any continent, and this stance does not require backing a government. The Socialist Party does not align with any nation, but aligns universally with working people. Conflict and war consolidate power for the minority, undermine the stability of daily life, and turn resources which could alleviate social issues into resources which cause social issues.
Passed by the National Action Committee 2/22/2021