On rare occasion a story is unearthed in the mainstream media which demonstrates in stunning clarity how major foreign policy decisions are really made in Washington, especially when it comes to waging perpetual war in the Middle East often under the official rhetorical guise of “protecting civilians”.
– Tyler Durden
A bombshell Wall Street Journal report details a leaked classified memo which shows Secretary of State Mike Pompeo decided to continue US military involvement in the Saudi war on Yemen in order to preserve a massive $2 billion weapons deal with Riyadh.
This should come as no surprise to those aware of the decades long “oil for weapons” relationship that has defined Gulf countries’ ties to the West in modern history, but it’s unusual to have such high level confirmation of the decision-making process almost in real time.
The WSJ summarizes the importance of the classified memo, which its reporters have seen in full:
Mr. Pompeo overruled concerns from most of the State Department specialists involved in the debate who were worried about the rising civilian death toll in Yemen. Those who objected included specialists in the region and in military affairs. He sided with his legislative affairs team after they argued that suspending support could undercut plans to sell more than 120,000 precision-guided missiles to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, according to a classified State Department memo and people familiar with the debate.
The number of civilian casualties cited in the WSJ report — 16,700 killed or injured — is on the very lowest end of estimates to emerge over the past three years of the conflict. Some Yemeni reporters and regional humanitarian organizations have suggested the actual figure is closer to 70,000 killed.
In August the Saudi-US coalition bombing campaign, which has been largely ignored in international media since it began in 2015, was thrust into the American media spotlight after a bus full of school children was struck by a guided bomb produced by Lockheed Martin.
The attack, which killed 40 children, was described by the Saudi coalition — of which the US plays a central role — as part of ongoing “legitimate” military operations against pro-Iran Houthi forces. ….