Trump Tells Saudi Arabia to Stop Blockade in Yemen

Saudi Arabia and the Trump Administration are at odds on Yemen and Jerusalem.

For those of us hoping that Trump would end an era of close alliance to Saudi Arabia, there are some hopeful but small signs. The Trump Administration is apparently fed up with the Saudi bloodshed in Yemen even though we have supported it. The war crimes are getting to be a bit too much.

Perhaps recognizing Jerusalem will be the turning point in U.S.-Saudi relations.

The Wall Street Journal reports, “U.S. Warns Saudi Arabia on Mideast Actions as Allies’ Ties Fray.

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The Trump administration delivered an unusually blunt warning to Saudi Arabia on Friday, saying the U.S. might curtail its support for Riyadh’s military campaign in Yemen unless the kingdom takes immediate steps to allow more humanitarian aid into the besieged country.

In a series of public comments and private conversations in recent weeks, the Trump administration has urged the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen to lift a blockade on the country to allow food, water, fuel and medicines to reach those in need.

The White House stepped up that call on Friday, saying the U.S. is “gravely concerned by the recent escalation in violence and continued dire humanitarian conditions in Yemen.” A senior administration official warned that the situation “could constrain the U.S. if steps aren’t taken” to ease the conditions.

The warning came amid the first signs of friction between Riyadh and Mr. Trump. The kingdom publicly criticized the U.S. decision this past week to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the U.S. Embassy there, calling it an “irresponsible and unwarranted step.” Saudi Arabia said the announcement represented a major setback to shared efforts to revive stalled peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Friday for Saudi Arabia to temper its military and diplomatic actions in the Middle East.

“I did particularly urge them to be a bit more measured and a bit more thoughtful in those actions, to, I think, fully consider the consequences,” Mr. Tillerson said during a news conference in Paris when asked about Saudi Arabia.

Even Antiwar.com seemed surprised by recent events.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson cited problems with not only the Saudi actions in Yemen, but the Saudi blockade of Qatar and their increasingly threats against Lebanon, saying the Saudis need to be “a bit more thoughtful” about their actions across the Arab world. While that’s putting it mildly, that’s an almost unprecedented amount of US criticism with respect to the Saudis.

Read the entire Wall Street Journal story.

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About the author

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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