Marxist Dialectic of The Sewer People
This is going to be broken-brain stuff. And it's for subscribers. But there's a playlist.
Edited by Sam Thielman
REAL BUSY WEEK FOR ME. On Thursday night, Wajahat "Go Back To Where You Came From" Ali and I are doing a remote event "at" the Sixth & I Synagogue moderated by WAMU's Jenn Smith. The next morning, I'll be part of Middlebury College's also-remote retrospective on 9/11 and its lessons. Both will be streaming, should you wish to attend.
But the point is: I have to focus on other stuff this week, to include writing a 20-minute academic-appropriate spiel, and so this edition is going to be backfilled with broken-brain stuff. I'll make this one for subscribers. Subscribers get to read the stuff that's either too hot or too shambling for the general public. If that appeals to you, why not buy a subscription? We're still packaging a year of FOREVER WARS with Luke O'Neill's Welcome To Hell World and Derek Davidson's Foreign Exchanges. (And, of course, REIGN OF TERROR is still on sale!)
We'll have a substantive edition of FOREVER WARS later this week. Something I want to write about won't be public until closer to the weekend. I'm going to try to knock that one out early in the week, but other stuff I have in the works won't be ready before it, and I need another edition before it because of a schedule I have to maintain that doesn't have to make sense to anyone who isn't me. Like I said, it's broken-brain time today.
OBSERVERS OF THE YEMEN WAR could guess that the Houthi air/missile attack on Abu Dhabi last week would result in a pulverizing mass reprisal in Yemen. It came on Friday. The Saudi/UAE/U.S. coalition—yes, the U.S. is a party to this conflict, even if it is no longer providing logistical and intelligence support—launched an air assault that killed, as of Sunday, 87 people, wounded 190 and knocked Yemenis entirely off the internet. When a Saada health official spoke to the New York Times for the Saturday edition, "there were about 50 people still in the rubble."
The Times saw it as "fresh proof of the conflict's obstinacy a year after President Biden took office vowing to bring the war—and one of the world's worst humanitarian disasters—to an end." It might be better seen as the inevitable result of erasing the distinction between peace and a Saudi/UAE victory, to paraphrase something Don Oberdorfer famously said about Nixon and Vietnam. The State Department's Yemen envoy adopts the Saudi position on the conflict and views the Houthi regime as the central problem in Yemen, not the U.S.-backed war. As we've covered, the administration went ahead with massive weapons sales to the Saudis and the Emiratis. Now Biden is considering reinstating the Houthis to the foreign-terrorist organizations list less than a year after removing them. What an obstinate conflict! Who can possibly say why it persists? President Biden and his whole team are searching for the guy who did this.
In November 2018, a host of former Obama administration and future Biden administration officials wrote an open letter urging the Trump team to "cease support altogether" for the Yemen war—a war that, they acknowledged, they had accepted when Obama was in power. (The Washington Post reported that year that the Obama team gave the Saudis and Emiratis the Yemen war as a palliative for the Iran deal, a deal that the Biden team is trying to resurrect.) That was easy when Trump was in office. The U.S. may have ceased logistical aid to the war, but "support altogether" obviously continues, particularly diplomatic support around the blockade of the port of Hodaidah, to say nothing of the arms sales. Signatories to the 2018 letter include Tony Blinken, now secretary of state; Avril Haines, now director of national intelligence; Samantha Power, now USAID administrator; Linda Thomas-Greenfield, now U.N. ambassador; and Lisa Monaco, now deputy attorney general.
The rest of this post will be paywalled. See you on the other side.