Related item: Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations (PDF) | September, 2018 (Congressional Research Service).
The Trump Administration’s effort to rebuild the U.S.-#Saudi partnership isn’t popular in the salons of Washington, but the kingdom is a force for stability in the Mideast. Degrading our ties would be a mistake for U.S. national security. Read my op-ed: https://t.co/DcUyXYd1os
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) November 28, 2018
Mike Pompeo’s Faustian bargain – The Washington Post https://t.co/D8z5tLW7GF
— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) November 29, 2018
Pompeo: “Saudi Arabia is a powerful force for stability.”🤦🏽♀️
– The Saudis backed the coup in Egypt
– Support oppression in Bahrain
– Bomb/starve Yemen
-kidnapped Lebanese PM
MBS is many things, but a force for stability isn’t one of them https://t.co/9ZXvIad9XN
— Rula Jebreal (@rulajebreal) November 28, 2018
Opinion: Pompeo goes from diplomat to hack https://t.co/4sT3IwIDIf
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) November 29, 2018
"Pompeo’s latest apologia on behalf of Saudi Arabia is a desperate effort by the Secretary of State to discourage senators from voting for S.J.Res. 54 later this week, and it should be dismissed as the mendacious piece of propaganda that it clearly is." https://t.co/TLJsOMSUXQ
— Daniel Larison (@DanielLarison) November 28, 2018
Pompeo’s outrageously unconvincing Wall Street Journal op-ed reads as if it were dictated by the crown prince’s high-priced public relations agents (which, for all we know, it might have been). My latest in @PostOpinions: https://t.co/aW70VVDmy3
— Max Boot (@MaxBoot) November 29, 2018
The Saudis will ruthlessly torture their cousins to accrue powerhttps://t.co/cnDVJZ6KVM
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) November 28, 2018
This Pompeo op-ed is BANANAS.
After several paragraphs of lavish fawning praise for Riyadh, Pompeo drops the HAMMER:
“The US doesn’t condone the Khashoggi killing.”
Huh? So wait…there was a chance we might?? Awesome.
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) November 28, 2018
My favorite part of this absurd piece is how Pompeo tries to present support for the US-Saudi relationship as a bold rejection of DC establishment thinking. Bravo. https://t.co/5d27DbHqnq
— Matt Duss (@mattduss) November 28, 2018
On November 28, the Secretary of State told the world that “Saudi Arabia has invested billions to relive suffering in Yemen.” Pretty soon, Saudi Arabia’s spokesman would not have a job anymore.
The Guardian reported that in 2017, the Yemen appeal for $2.5bn was only 73% funded, but that the needs have intensified in a country battered since 2015 by a Saudi-led military offensive aimed at repelling Iran-backed Houthi rebels who control the capital. In April this year, during a UN donor conference for people affected by war in Yemen – labelled as the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis” – has received pledges of more than $2bn, close to half of which is promised by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two key protagonists in the conflict, according to the same report. Click here for the OCHA page for pledges and paid contributions for Yemen.
On October 24, 2017, U.S. Ambassador Matthew H. Tueller re-issued a disaster declaration for the ongoing complex emergency in Yemen for FY 2018 due to “continued humanitarian needs resulting from the complex emergency and the impact of the country’s political and economic crises on vulnerable populations.” USAID’s November 9, 2018 Factsheet on Yemen Disaster Assistance indicates that the United States humanitarian funding for the Yemen response in FY2018 is $566,273,269 (includes funding through the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), the Office of Food for Peace (USAID/FFP), and the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (State/PRM)). Secretary Pompeo’s tweet on November 28 says that the United States is providing an “additional” $131 million in food assistance to Yemen.
According to the CRS, since March 2015, the U.S.-trained Saudi military has used U.S.-origin weaponry, U.S. logistical assistance, and shared intelligence in support of military operations in Yemen. Excerpt:
In May 2017, President Trump signaled a continuation and deepening of bilateral defense cooperation, announcing completed and proposed defense sales during his visit to Riyadh with a potential value of more than $110 billion. The sales include cases that the Obama Administration had proposed and notified to Congress, cases developed under the Obama Administration on which Congress had been preliminarily consulted, and new sales that remain under development.
The United States’ role in supporting the Saudi-led coalition’s military operations in Yemen has evolved over time. 65 At present, it consists of some intelligence sharing, aerial refueling, and the deployment of advisers to Saudi Arabia for border security and anti-ballistic missile purposes.66 In his latest biannual War Powers letters to Congress on the deployment of U.S. forces abroad in combat operations (P.L. 93-148), President Trump informed Congress about ongoing U.S. counterterrorism operations in Yemen and stated that U.S. forces in noncombat roles were providing “military advice and limited information, logistics, and other support to regional forces combatting the Houthi insurgency.”
So, on one hand, we’re supporting the side that’s indiscriminately bombing hospitals, school buses and children, and on the other hand, we’re spending millions of dollars for food and humanitarian assistance to help those who are bombed and starved. Also, our Secretary of Swagger did not just announced the additional millions in food assistance but also cited “our generous example” in “galvanizing humanitarian assistance.” When is this going up on Instagram, people?
By the way, the most recent USAID/OFDA official said “no amount of aid money can prevent this famine” and that absent massive political pressure on the Saudi, this is just “window dressing.”
Related item: Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations (PDF) | Updated September 21, 2018 (Congressional Research Service).
Iran’s regime has no interest in easing Yemeni suffering; the mullahs don’t even care for ordinary Iranians. Saudi Arabia has invested billions to relieve suffering in #Yemen. Iran has invested zero.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) November 28, 2018
Through our generous example, the U.S. has galvanized humanitarian assistance to ease Yemeni people’s suffering. Today we’re announcing nearly $131 million in additional food assistance in #Yemen, bringing total humanitarian aid to more than $697 million over the past 14 months.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) November 28, 2018
The idea that Saudi Arabia cares about ordinary Yemenis and is seeking to “relieve suffering” in Yemen is ludicrous. The fact that Pompeo has to use such talking points shows how weak the case for US support of this war is. https://t.co/FsEJ7fS99p
— Amy Hawthorne (@awhawth) November 29, 2018
Mr. Secretary, Iran is not bombing Yemen. Saudi Arabia is, using munitions from US defense contractors, precipitating the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. https://t.co/3GTChdmZGv This happened on your watch. What will you do about it? cc @statedeptspox pic.twitter.com/2nJFDkXDWw
— Alex Howard (@digiphile) November 28, 2018
Pompeo today to Senators on Yemen: "I know many of you
think it’s time to pack up and abandon the role we’ve been playing since the previous
administration. I’m here to tell you why that’s a bad call."
Five & change hours later, 63 Senators voted to rebuke him.
— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) November 28, 2018
As the guy who used to oversee that very aid, let me say explicitly: no amount of aid money can prevent this famine. Without massive political pressure on the Saudis, this is just window dressing. https://t.co/gj01ePZaOn
— Jeremy Konyndyk (@JeremyKonyndyk) November 28, 2018
Every day, 130 children under 5 were dying from extreme hunger & disease in #Yemen at the end of last year.
Nearly 50,000 children during the course of a year.
— UN Humanitarian (@UNOCHA) October 23, 2018
"Desperate. Devastated. Financially, mentally, morally. Completely devastated." pic.twitter.com/0GZYlHa7RX
— VICE News (@vicenews) November 25, 2018
Responding to Sec. of State Pompeo’s op-ed today in the WSJ, Yemen’s Houthi-backed foreign minister launched a scathing appeal to the US to not use Yemen to fight a proxy war with Saudi Arabia.
They “are trying to fight Iran in our territory. Why don’t they go to Iran?" pic.twitter.com/dTDcZ0kcyl
— Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) November 28, 2018
This is a shocking statement from the president that gives comfort and encouragement to dictators and cedes the moral authority of the United States. https://t.co/xSgF1tejOq
— Dan Balz (@danbalz) November 20, 2018
“It’s a mean, nasty world out there,” Pompeo says, reiterating Trump’s statement the U.S. will continue its "important partnership" with Saudi Arabia pic.twitter.com/c37IJQVk1x
— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) November 20, 2018
I criticized Obama and his then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plenty back in 2011. The State Dept responded to my tweet (I’m a dual citizen) and US embassy staff in Cairo spent Thanksgiving looking for me in police stations & hospitals.
— Mona Eltahawy (@monaeltahawy) November 20, 2018
AND NOW THIS:
Khashoggi feast… #TrumpPardons #MBS #MohammedBinSalman #MrBoneSaw #JamalKhashoggi #KhashoggiMurder #journalism #POTUS #SaudiArabia #TurkeyPardon #Trump @TheBuffaloNews https://t.co/Vrae4BllMu pic.twitter.com/ZiArRF3Vyg
— Adam Zyglis (@adamzyglis) November 20, 2018
— Signe Wilkinson (@SigneWilk) November 21, 2018
— Marquil (@EmpireWireNY) October 23, 2018
#politics #news #cartoon #comic #trump #resist #resistance #notmypresident #politicalcartoons #editorialillustration #america #msnbc #cnn #nbc #senate #Trump #trumpmemes #politico #dailybeast #impeachtrump #illustration #saudiarabia #mbs #coverup #jamalkhashoggi #freespeech pic.twitter.com/P5GbwpZcDr
— Joshua Brehse (@JBrehse) October 21, 2018
On November 13, the White House announced the president’s intent to nominate retired U.S. Army four-star General John P. Abizaid to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. The WH released the following brief bio:
John P. Abizaid of Nevada, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
General Abizaid currently serves as the first Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and works as a private consultant at JPA Associates. Previously, he held the Distinguished Chair of the Combating Terrorism Center at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He has worked with the Preventative Defense Project at Stanford University and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. General Abizaid began his career in the U.S. Army as an infantry platoon leader and rose to become a four-star general and the longest serving commander of United States Central Command. He served as the Director of Strategic Plans and Policy on the Joint Staff and then Director of the Joint Staff among other leadership positions. General Abizaid was a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and earned his M.A. in Middle Eastern Area Studies from Harvard University. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies. General Abizaid is a recipient of the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Army Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, and the Bronze Star.
If confirmed, General Abizaid would succeed Joseph William Westphal (1948–) who was Ambassador to the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh from March 28, 2014–January 9, 2017. Ambassador appointments to Saudi Arabia going back to the mid-1990’s have all been noncareer political appointees. The last career diplomat appointed as Ambassador to Saudi Arabia was Charles W. Freeman Jr. who served from 1990-1992 under George H. W. Bush.
New: After nearly two years in office, President Trump has finally announced the nomination of an ambassador to Saudi Arabia: John Abizaid, a former US Army general and current visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution
— Robbie Gramer (@RobbieGramer) November 13, 2018
If confirmed as U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, John Abizaid would fill a key diplomatic vacancy at a time of tense U.S.-Saudi relations over the slaying of a journalist critical of the Saudi royal family. https://t.co/rP47Bl4s4E
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) November 14, 2018
John Abizaid would take up the posting in Saudi Arabia at a time when U.S. ties with the kingdom are strained by the killing of Jamal Khashoggi https://t.co/a1L814EZy3
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) November 14, 2018
Trump nominates Abizaid as US Ambassador to Saudi signaling it will be business as usual plus. Would be a good move if it suggested adult supervision and limiting of Kushner role. https://t.co/VjQdhdeCTX rump nominates Abizaid as US Ambassador
— Aaron David Miller (@aarondmiller2) November 14, 2018
— Diplopundit (@Diplopundit) November 14, 2018
— Sharon Hudson-Dean (@CGSydney) October 31, 2018
— U.S. Embassy London (@USAinUK) October 31, 2018
— US Embassy Podgorica (@USEmbassyMNE) October 31, 2018
— USConsulateHalifax (@usconshalifax) October 31, 2018
— US Embassy Canberra (@USAembassyinOZ) November 1, 2018
— M.E.Countryman (@mecountryman) October 30, 2018
ALSO IN FRIGHTFUL NEWS: The United States could deploy 7,000 armed troops to the US-Mexican border a week before Election Day. It could go up to 15,000, roughly what we have in Afghanistan and three times what the United States deployed to Iraq. Since Mexico refused to fund that wall, the President of the United States now says “”We have to have a wall of people”. Presumably, our friends to the south are not going to pay for this “wall of people” either, so U.S. taxpayers are already saddled with this tab. And since the deployment to the border number will likely kept growing the next few days, the Pentagon probably should ask how deep is this “wall of people” the Commander-in-Chief is talking about.
Meanwhile in Yemen, people have been dying the last three years. Now 14 million people face starvation as the U.S. government continue its military support of Saudi Arabia’s war (see Secretary Pompeo Saves $2Billion Weapons Sales From Jeopardy). USG is now seeking a cease-fire over there. Why now? Is it because half of Yemen’s population is on the brink of famine? Or is it because the world is finally paying attention to US-support of the war in Yemen after the Khashoggi murder? Former USNATO Ambassador Robert Hunter writes that “blanket U.S. support for the Saudi air campaign means that it cannot escape its own share of responsibility.”
Also back in 2010, a State/OIG report estimated that the Yemeni-American community in that country was about 55,000. There were no USG-organized evacuations when war broke out. For those covering Yemen, please ask the Secretary of State his department’s estimate on how many Yemeni-Americans were killed in this war.
JUST IN: Pentagon has identified about 7,000 troops who could be deployed to border with Mexico: official https://t.co/fF5qrITIlB
— Reuters World (@ReutersWorld) October 31, 2018
Our cover story this week: Saudi Arabia thought a bombing campaign would quickly crush its enemies in Yemen. But three years later, the Houthis refuse to give up, even as 14 million people face starvation. https://t.co/cgNfeRB1bQ pic.twitter.com/dZoabriGfQ
— NYT Magazine (@NYTmag) October 31, 2018
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo commented on the Khashoggi murder during his remarks to the press on October 23 (via state.gov):
… the State Department will continue to seek all relevant facts, consult with Congress, and work with other nations, and work to hold accountable those responsible for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. The administration is also taking appropriate actions now, given the information currently available to the United States.
We have identified at least some of the individuals responsible, including those in the intelligence services, the Royal Court, the foreign ministry, and other Saudi ministries who we suspect to have been involved in Mr. Khashoggi’s death. We are taking appropriate actions, which include revoking visas, entering visa lookouts, and other measures. We are also working with the Treasury Department to review the applicability of Global Magnitsky sanctions to those individuals.
These penalties will not be the last word on this matter from the United States. We will continue to explore additional measures to hold those responsible accountable. We’re making very clear that the United States does not tolerate this kind of ruthless action to silence Mr. Khashoggi, a journalist, through violence. We continue to maintain a strong partnership with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Neither the President nor I am happy with this situation.
Our shared strategic interests with Saudi Arabia remain. We continue to view as achievable the twin imperatives of protecting America and holding accountable those responsible for the killing of Mr. Khashoggi.
Trump on Khashoggi's killing: "They had a very bad original concept. It was carried out poorly and the cover-up was one of the worst cover-ups in the history of cover-ups. It's very simple. Bad deal. Should have never been thought of. Somebody really messed up." (via ABC) pic.twitter.com/w9L4yDwsHe
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 23, 2018
With news–"US to Revoke Visas of Some Saudi Officials Implicated in Death of Washington Post Writer Jamal #Khashoggi"
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) October 23, 2018
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for the eighteen suspects Saudi Arabia arrested for the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi to be put on trial in Istanbul. More in the Daily News Brief: https://t.co/G5sJHaqFQh (Photo: Umit Bektas/Reuters) pic.twitter.com/xYTfp9vRge
— CFR (@CFR_org) October 23, 2018
— Kevin Siers (@KevinSiers) October 16, 2018
— Adam Zyglis (@adamzyglis) October 17, 2018
— Gonzalo Semprún (@gsemprunmdg) October 17, 2018
— Global Cartoons (@globalcartoons) October 18, 2018
— Emad Hajjaj Cartoons (@EmadHajjaj) October 18, 2018
— Peter Brookes (@BrookesTimes) October 18, 2018
— Political Cartoon (@Cartoon4sale) October 17, 2018
— Financial Review (@FinancialReview) October 17, 2018
Journalist Jamal Khashoggi murder investigation. Toronto Star editorial cartoon by Patrick Corrigan on apparent cover-up. @startoons #JamalKhashoggi #journalism #uspoli #SaudiArabia #DonaldTrump @TorontoStar #WashingtonPost pic.twitter.com/zVzNJWtCmN
— Seán O’Shea (@ConsumerSOS) October 19, 2018
— Rod Emmerson (@rodemmerson) October 18, 2018
— Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) October 16, 2018
As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed in Riyadh, $100 million in Saudi cash, earmarked for aid to help stabilize Syria, arrived in American accounts https://t.co/XgKq2xdoL7
— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) October 17, 2018
stmts by @SecPompeo & @realDonaldTrump are a betrayal of US historic commitment to protection of journalists. the only viable response right now is a credible int’l investigation not a whitewash. #JamalKhashoggi https://t.co/Mb1YHydT7Y
— David Kaye (@davidakaye) October 17, 2018
— Matt Lee (@APDiploWriter) October 16, 2018
Pompeo says Saudis promise to punish wrongdoers in Khashoggi case https://t.co/9gDod1civf
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) October 17, 2018
"I emphasized the importance of conducting a thorough, transparent, and timely investigation, and the Saudi leadership pledged to deliver precisely on that," Sec. Pompeo says following meetings with Saudi leaders. https://t.co/Zj4mlZb9UV pic.twitter.com/TTiiAHHJta
— ABC News (@ABC) October 16, 2018
Pompeo “is providing cover for the Saudis to say ‘Yes, we’ll have a credible investigation of ourselves.’…The United States – the President and the Secretary of State – are playing press officers for the King and the Crown Prince,” says @djrothkopf @NewsHour tonight.
— Joe Cirincione (@Cirincione) October 16, 2018
AND NOW THIS – THE 70th SECRETARY OF STATE GETS THE ONION TREATMENT – THE GORY VERSION.
— The Onion (@TheOnion) October 16, 2018