As thousands starve and die because of a war in Yemen and an accompanying blockade, which can be directly attributed to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, The New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman flew to Saudi Arabia to tell us:
I never thought I’d live long enough to write this sentence: The most significant reform processAh yes, the tyrant lets women drive. Wonderful.
underway anywhere in the Middle East today is in Saudi Arabia. Yes, you read that right. Though I came here at the start of Saudi winter, I found the country going through its own Arab Spring, Saudi style.
Unlike the other Arab Springs — all of which emerged bottom up and failed miserably, except in Tunisia — this one is led from the top down by the country’s 32-year-old crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, and, if it succeeds, it will not only change the character of Saudi Arabia but the tone and tenor of Islam across the globe....
He has not only curbed the authority of the once feared Saudi religious police to berate a woman for not covering every inch of her skin, he has also let women drive.
The man is a serious warmonger:
His general view seemed to be that with the backing of the Trump administration — he praised President Trump as “the right person at the right time” — the Saudis and their Arab allies were slowly building a coalition to stand up to Iran...
Iran’s “supreme leader is the new Hitler of the Middle East,” said M.B.S. “But we learned from Europe that appeasement doesn’t work. We don’t want the new Hitler in Iran to repeat what happened in Europe in the Middle East.”And as for the reports of torture of some of the 11 crown princes that MbS has had arrested as a power and money grab that he is calling an anti-corruption campaign , Friedman writes:
The stakes are high for M.B.S. in this anticorruption drive. If the public feels that he is truly purging corruption that was sapping the system and doing so in a way that is transparent and makes clear to future Saudi and foreign investors that the rule of law will prevail, it will really instill a lot of new confidence in the system. But if the process ends up feeling arbitrary, bullying and opaque, aimed more at aggregating power for power’s sake and unchecked by any rule of law, it will end up instilling fear that will unnerve Saudi and foreign investors in ways the country can’t afford...
While foreigners, like me, were inquiring about the legal framework for this operation, the mood among Saudis I spoke with was: “Just turn them all upside down, shake the money out of their pockets and don’t stop shaking them until it’s all out!”So in the end, what does Friedman conclude about the feminist tyrant who is starving people in Yemen and expects U.S. help in confronting Iran?
He has his flaws that he will have to control, insiders here tell me. They include relying on a very tight circle of advisers who don’t always challenge him sufficiently, and a tendency to start too many things that don’t get finished. There’s a whole list. But guess what? Perfect is not on the menu here. Someone had to do this job — wrench Saudi Arabia into the 21st century — and M.B.S. stepped up. I, for one, am rooting for him to succeed in his reform efforts...
.I told him his work habits reminded me of a line in the play “Hamilton,” when the chorus asks: Why does he always work like “he’s running out of time.”Bottom line: The Deep State appears to be behind MbS.
It appears that Friedman was sent to Riyadh to send smoke signals to the establishment that MbS needs to be protected.
And Trump is acting as if he is bought and paid for.
Pat Buchanan correctly observes:
[W]hat the Saudis, with U.S. support, are doing today with this total blockade of that impoverished country appears to be both inhumane and indefensible.
Almost 90 percent of Yemen’s food, fuel and medicine is imported, and these imports are being cut off. The largest cities under Houthi control, the port of Hodaida and Sanaa, the capital, have lost access to drinking water because the fuel needed to purify the water is not there.
Thousands have died of cholera. Hundreds of thousands are at risk. Children are in danger from a diphtheria epidemic. Critical drugs and medicines have stopped coming in, a death sentence for diabetics and cancer patients.
If airfields and ports under Houthi control are not allowed to open and the necessities of life and humanitarian aid are not allowed to flow in, the Yemenis face famine and starvation.
What did these people do to deserve this? What did they do to us that we would assist the Saudis in doing this to them?
The Houthis are not al-Qaida or ISIS. Those are Sunni terrorist groups, and the Houthis detest them.
Is this now the American way of war? Are we Americans, this Thanksgiving and Christmas, prepared to collude in a human rights catastrophe that will engender a hatred of us among generations of Yemeni and stain the name of our country?...
Without U.S. targeting and refueling, Saudi planes could not attack the Houthis effectively and Riyadh could not win this war. But when did Congress authorize this war on a nation that never attacked us?-RW
President Obama first approved U.S. support for the Saudi war effort. President Trump has continued the Obama policy, and the war in Yemen has now become his war, and his human rights catastrophe.
Yemen today is arguably the worst humanitarian crisis on earth, and America’s role in it is undeniable and indispensable.
If the United States were to tell Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that we were no longer going to support his war in Yemen, the Saudis would have to accept the reality that they have lost this war.
This Tom Friedman hagiography of the Saudi tyrant who is killing actual reformers & imposing famine and destruction on Yemen is - without hyperbole - utterly disgusting. If the Saudi regime bought a full-page ad in the NYT, it'd be less fawning and shameless than this column: https://t.co/5vHJ1ilWyJ— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 24, 2017
Daniel Larison writes:
#Saudi coalition pretending it lifted the blockade and reopened sea land ports but that's is wrong they reopen only for few a humanitarian aid & for UN flight to Sana'a then nothing real has changed the blockade still active and ppl of #Yemen still in severe need to urgent aid https://t.co/LzpB2OaeI3— محمدالحجيلي (@Mohammed_Hojily) November 23, 2017