The Biden administration has taken two small steps toward ending the horrific US-backed mass atrocities in Yemen, with temporary holds placed on both a murderous sanctions measure and on arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the UAE pending review. Both items being reviewed are unconscionable decisions made by the previous administration.
“The Biden administration has imposed a temporary freeze on U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as it reviews billions of dollars in weapons transactions approved by former President Donald Trump,” The Wall Street Journal reported today, adding that “U.S. officials said it isn’t unusual for a new administration to review arms sales approved by a predecessor, and that despite the pause, many of the transactions are likely to ultimately go forward.”
This follows an earlier announcement of a one-month pause on the Trump administration’s designation of Yemen’s Houthis (Ansar Allah) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, an unforgivably brutal measure which would cut off badly needed aid to an already starving populace and potentially kill millions. Like the arms sale hiatus, this measure could easily still move forward, and its temporary nature has provided insufficient assurance to companies that are backing away from trade with Yemen for fear of future US sanctions.
The UN is still hearing from companies that are suspending trade in Yemen despite Washington issuing a temporary waiver for trade with the Houthis. Until a complete reversal of the terror designation, people will starve because of it. https://t.co/S40szMVXgx
— Dave DeCamp (@DecampDave) January 26, 2021
So it isn’t much; a brief pause on an arms sale which appears to be standard procedure between administrations, and a brief pause on a sanctions measure that is still effectively starving people anyway.
But it’s also not nothing.
“Wow. I’ve been organizing to end US arms sales to the Saudi/Emirati-led coalition in Yemen since their disastrous intervention began and we’ve never been this close to potentially permanently banning these sales,” tweeted activist Kate Kizer in response to the latest news. “Let’s pocket this victory and keep organizing!”
Wins are few and far between for those who support peace and justice in this world,