"JS: Iona, I wanted to ask you — I think a lot of people don’t understand why the United States would be supporting what amounts to the utter decimation of Yemen in this merciless, kind of scorched earth, Saudi campaign — and also the reality, as you were describing: That the United States in several concrete ways is finding itself on the side of al Qaeda in Yemen, and simultaneously, trying to kill al Qaeda in Yemen. But what does the U.S. want out of this? Like, why support the just utter pummeling of Yemen?
IC: Well, it’s good business. In the first year of the war, the U.S. sold 20 billion dollars worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, and Saudi Arabia has been buying more and more weapons as a result of this war. And the same goes for the British government as well. This is ultimately about money, really. And Saudi being an ally is obviously important, and it, you know, plays into this regional conflict that we’re already talking about between Saudi Arabia and Iran because the Saudis see the Houthis as an Iranian proxy. But really, it all boils down to financial gain. And that’s the greatest win, really, for the U.S. But it’s an extremely costly one, obviously, for the civilian population of Yemen. You’ve got 20 million people out of a population of 25 million in need of humanitarian aid now. It’s the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world. Because of the blockade that has been put on the country by the Saudi-led coalition, the country can’t import its food, and it relies on — 90 percent of its food comes from imports. At the same time, the Houthis have also been blocking access to food and to aid on the ground as well, so the two worst areas affected in Yemen by this looming famine are actually on both sides of the frontlines. So the civilians on both sides are getting completely screwed.
But yeah, at this rate, the U.S. is liable to be owning a famine in Yemen, and along with the rest of the international community, as long as they keep supplying Saudi Arabia with not just the weapons as well, but the U.S. is obviously, you know, heavily involved in the refueling of aircraft, which are carrying out all of these air raids in Yemen. And certainly, without doing that, without the logistical support, if the Americans stopped doing that today, that refueling, the Saudis would have to stop bombing tomorrow, quite literally. So they have a huge influence over what Saudi Arabia is doing in Yemen. But yeah, it all comes down to big business in the end.”