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.

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, but it does look like we might-maybe-possibly be approaching a tipping point in the general consensus on Yemen in America. Which is encouraging, because it’s one of the easiest ways the US government could make the world a lot less horrible very quickly. The American Conservative‘s Daniel Larison explains:

Yemen is the most urgent and dire case, but it is also the one where changes in U.S. policy can have the most immediate positive effect for the civilian population. Biden should reverse the Houthi designation, resume the funding for aid that had been suspended last year, and end all U.S. backing for the coalition. There are already some promising signs that the administration intends to do all of these.

The main reason why Yemen has to take precedence over the other crises is that it is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and it threatens to become even more appalling in the coming weeks and months. It is in danger of becoming a full-blown famine that could claim millions of lives, and the people of Yemen have been put in this terrible position in large part by the actions of our government and the governments in the Saudi coalition. We are responsible for much of the harm that has been done to Yemen since 2015, and the Biden administration has a special obligation to end the disastrous policy that began under Obama. At the very least, the U.S. must stop driving Yemen deeper into famine, and ideally our government should be working to pull the country back out of the abyss into which our policies have pushed it. Reversing the Houthi designation is the most pressing action that Biden needs to take, but he also has to put a stop to U.S. involvement in the war as soon as possible.

So we’ve got a fighting chance at this, but we also can’t rely on the DC swamp monsters to make the moral and ethical call every step of the way. We’ve got to keep making noise about this the whole way through, because the Biden administration reversing its decision on either the arms deals or the Yemen sanctions will translate directly into a mountain of human corpses.

Your voice matters. Speaking out makes a difference. Keep pointing at Yemen and forcefully demanding the US government end this terrible atrocity it helped start. Call your senator, call your representative, email the White House, use social media, do whatever you can to skillfully get the word out and make sure it’s being listened to by those in power.

We really do have a chance to make the earth a better place here.


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59 responses to “Biden Takes Two Small Steps Toward Ending Yemen War. Keep Up The Pressure!”

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  5. Yemen Explained. Why the US is there in the first place.

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  7. Australian lady Avatar
    Australian lady

    No amount of small steps can disguise the fact that your bias is showing, Caitlin Johnstone.
    The “My President” picture of Joe Biden says it more than a thousand words.
    47 years a Democratic political operative. Think about his and his party’s role in the M.E. foreverwars.
    The Yemeni situation is complex, to say the least. The deliberate starvation of the northern Houti suzerainty by Saudi Arabia is a particularly egregious war-crime. U.K., U.S. and France have their own geostragic priorities in Yemen and all sell weaponry to S.A. Certainly, there is a lot to investigate here.
    But to invest hope in a petition?
    I can only think that the thrill of seeing Mr Trump exit and the Dems takeover has made you a it giddy.

    1. People accuse me of being biased toward Trump constantly too, so that’s a doofy accusation. You’re probably just biased toward Trump and are whining that I don’t share your bias. No idea what a “My President picture” is.

      1. Australian lady Avatar
        Australian lady

        Well, yes I am biased towards Trump because of the foreverwars, incessant media vilification, Russiagate, etc, etc. Am I whining? As in a “sore loser”?
        Bloody well hope not. It ain’t over yet.
        Now, the “Mr President” picture. Caitlin you are an artist and you must have appreciated how flattering that portrait of Joe was.
        If you had published a nicely posed PR approved portrait of Trump above one of your articles written during his administration, I imagine you would be accused of bias towards Trump.
        But to my recollection his image was never used that way. There was always “field day” on his image.

  8. Strange headline… what exactly do we do that amounts to ‘pressure’ in these matters? Worth thinking about.

  9. This makes me feel so glad to be a human being, I have to share it. Hooray for badass guitar players and the marvelous wonder of a small child moving to music. Hooray for the human spirit.

  10. Mohammed Ali al-Houthi recently called on Biden to stop the arms sales too:
    “In Hodeida, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi was the keynote speaker at a rally where he delivered a sermon to hundreds of thousands of protesters. “We are not afraid of Americans, and our nation is standing firmly in the face of threats and aggression,” he said. Al-Houthi called on Biden to impose an embargo on sending weapons, warplanes, and logistical support to Saudi Arabia and its allies instead of designation a political movement fighting against a foreign invasion as terrorists.”
    It appears the US designation of Ansar Allah as a terrorist group is clobbering remittances, uniting even more Yemenis against the barbarians.

  11. Caitlin, do you really believe that top puppet politicians in the US will work for peace and justice? Surely you know that the Deep State controls top politicians and keeps fomenting wars, terrorism, and insurrection so that they can continue their unjust, illegal occupations, oppressive exploitation and lucrative arms sales?

    1. “it does look like we might-maybe-possibly be approaching a tipping point in the general consensus on Yemen in America”

      Hardly sounds like Caitlin believes US politicians are suddenly going to change their stripes, more like she sees it as a somewhat suspect possibility. But isn’t it worth jumping on this opportunity while it lasts, in the hope, however faint, their stripes might, just might, be shifting? What harm is there in saying, Yeah, Joe, we’re with you on that if nothing else?

      1. Yes, indeed each to their own. But I have no faith in the ability of politicians to legislate justice, honesty, generosity, peace and wisdom into the world. Laws, constitutions, treaties, sanctions, the Bible, whatever one may write and promote, psychopaths will ignore these documents, corrupt society and their electorate will endorse them through ignorance as long as they get their bread and circus. This is the history of the world. Why will it change now?

        1. I’m certainly not saying it will change now, and I’m not sure Caitlin is either. I’m absolutely not saying we must all get solidly behind Biden and cease all criticism; likewise Caitlin, the way I read her. I’ve little faith in politicians, and Biden isn’t even mentioning full-on socialism, let alone promising it. I wonder how sincere he is, if at all, and whether his primary loyalties – to Wall Street or whatever – will soon override any concern he might feel for the people of Yemen.
          In the meantime, what harm is there in writing to him, or signing a petition or two, in the hope of at least stopping this particular war?

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  13. Ms Johnstone, if you have the time please peruse this:
    The U.S. National Security Agency has ways and means to find out who was behind the SolarWinds hack. But if Israel is the real culprit no one will be allowed to say so publicly. Some high ranging U.-S. general or official will fly to Israel and read his counterpart the riot act. Israel will ignore it just as it has done every time when it was caught spying on the U.S. government.
    With more then half of Washington’s politicians in its pockets it has no reason to fear any consequences.
    This great article can be read here:
    More Cyber Crimes, Attributed To Russia, Are Shown To Have Come From Elsewhere

    1. Correction.
      Some high ranging Israeli general or official will fly to the USA and read the riot act, eg., “Fight Iran or we nuke them.”

      1. Iran may have to sacrifice itself with serious nuclear destruction in order to finally unify the Islamic world, Shia and Sunni, overthrow Zionist puppets in said world, and go to the US and UN and say NO MORE. If all unite, they can sweep away US occupiers, sweep away the US (imagine muslim Indonesia allowing anglo/zionist shipping) commerce, sweep it all away. Israel might be physically safe, but no ships or planes will go near it and if any do, they are under threat of millions of angry muslim men ready to sacrifice themselves.

        Yea Israel, go for it.

  14. Team Biden is just opening negotiations with Iran as new pipeline changes the power relationships.
    Over and above the technical details involved in the Goreh-Jask pipeline project, the key point is that the pipeline will allow Iran another method by which it can export huge amounts of oil without being prey to U.S. sanctions and it will also allow Iran to do this whilst at the same time causing chaos for a third of the rest of the world’s oil shipments through blockading the Strait of Hormuz, should it wish to do so again. “The logistical model Iran has at present is not sustainable in the current circumstances, with around 90 per cent of all of its oil for export currently loaded at Kharg Island – with most of the remaining loads going through terminals on Lavan and Sirri – making it an obvious and easy target for the U.S. and its proxies to cripple Iran’s oil sector and therefore its economy,” a senior oil and gas industry source who works closely with Iran’s Petroleum Ministry told “Conversely, Iran wants to be able to use the threat – or reality – of closing the Strait of Hormuz for political reasons without also completing destroying its own oil exports revenue stream,” he said.

  15. Caitlin Johnstone wrote:
    > Biden Takes Two Small Steps Toward Ending Yemen War. Keep Up The Pressure!
    More on Yemen:
    Posts Tagged “Yemen” — Caitlin Johnstone
    Petition — Stop the war and end the famine in Yemen —
    Sign the SFY Petition — Salam For Yemen — Peace for Yemen
    [Video and resources] Yemen crisis: How you can help — SBS News — Australia

  16. CODEPINK have a petition going:

    “Dear President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken,

    We were excited to learn on January 27th, 2021 that you would be putting a hold on foreign arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

    We are now demanding that you make the suspension of arms transfers to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates permanent.”

  17. All you need to know about this war and every other one you can read in USMC General, Smedley Butler’s small book…War is a racket. The good General was an enforcer for the empire about a century ago and nothing has changed other than the starvation sanctions and death by debt now practiced. He explains just what a racket is and how to stop war’s. Que Bono; with the great propaganda of today that puts Bernays and Goebbels to shame it’s hard to figure out who benefits but if you follow the money you’ll be close. I’m not a fan of the BLM but they have shown us that the foundational mythology is just that. Elite’s are almost always sociopaths and nowhere more so than in the USA and UK and the west to a lesser extent. Anyhow, well worth the read time.

  18. I said that all during the Obama years but sadly, I was not wrong. The Democrats are masters of saying one thing, and then when your back is turned, doing the opposite.

  19. “THE GIRL IN THE BUCKET” (a poem about Yemen)
    S.A. Hogan

    The first time I saw her she was wearing only a dirty pair of pink pants with a torn left leg,
    A fresh bandage with two needles but no tubes in the crook of her right arm.
    Her hair— reddening in front, a telltale sign of iron depletion,
    Pulled back to reveal a prominent, beautifully shaped ear—was tied in a ponytail,
    While her small left hand rested on the edge of a blue bucket—
    Actually a washbasin, of a type used in Third World countries for everything from doing dishes
    To bathing babies—converted into a scale;
    A bucket she was being weighed in.

    Context is everything, the alarming context of jutting ribs
    In a different context becoming the striations of a smooth, beautiful seashell,
    Yet there was nothing aesthetic in the gaunt concavity of her armpits,
    The ravaged-looking bellybutton that spoke of a delivery both hasty and homemade.
    The white and gray tile floor in the background on which stood two other figures—
    A pair of sandaled feet and a bit of colorful skirt that could have belonged to her mother;
    A rubber-gloved hand holding a pen that could have belonged to the doctor weighing her—
    Seemed to echo the antiseptic harshness her life had been reduced to.

    Yet with all these details, it was her face that commanded attention:
    A pert little nose; a small, quiet mouth; a look that can best be described as angelic
    Rising above the indignity she found herself in.
    A face that was strangely serene,
    With a calm acceptance of the harsh realities the U.S.-backed Saudis are inflicting
    In their war on Yemen: eighty-five-thousand children starved to death so far;
    A transcendent face.

    This was months ago, and I have prayed for this little girl ever since.
    Wishing I had saved the photo, I began looking for it
    Only to find it along with a whole bunch of images and news I did not want to see or hear—
    Including other photos of her: The ears, the look on her face, were unmistakable.
    Sadly, they depicted her in an even more reduced state,
    Her deathly gauntness testimony to an irretrievable barrier having been crossed.

    Suddenly I knew everything about her:
    Her name: Amal Hussain;
    Her age: seven (due to her shrunken size, I figured her to be much younger);
    The fact the clinic had sent her home—
    Not because she was cured but because of others whose scared, stricken look
    Told them they were more needy, as opposed to a little angel who had things under control
    In spite of her earthly sufferings—
    And proceeded to do what angels do:
    Return to the heavenly realm where they belong.


    (written 7th March ’19)

    1. Gripping, haunting poem– terribly, horribly beautiful. Thank you, S.A. Hogan for giving voice to the voiceless and allowing us to hear it.

      1. Newton,

        Thanks for the kind words! Glad this registered with you. Email me––and I’d be happy to send you the photo that inspired it. Indeed, what is happening in Yemen NEEDS to be shared, as widely and urgently as possible. Feel free to circulate both pic and poem.
        Sean (a.k.a. horror/thriller author S.A. Hogan)

  20. Oh, dear. Caitlin, are we sinking into incrementalism? The idea of dealing with sociopathic regimes by wheedling trivial concessions from such regimes?

    The thing that has long struck me about the Yemen situation is how it demonstrates the need for some type of international force that can go in on the ground, stop this kind of thing, and deliver aid. Then create the safe space in which people can rebuild.

    For sure such an entity cannot be run through the UN. I am thinking that at some time in the near future, the nonsubjegated countries will see the necessity of such a force.

    1. You seem to be falling into the old trap of making the perfect the enemy of the good. Magical thinking–unlike incremental steps toward truth and beauty and goodness–never has changed and never will change the world outside our heads. Biden will surely disappoint us in many ways; it would be shocking if he didn’t. But as Caitlin indicates, what he has done here, and what he has also begun to do on crucial environmental issues and others, while woefully inadequate, is “also not nothing.” Already, it has become obvious IMHO that Biden, despite what so many (including Caitlin?) told us, will likely be an improvement over his obscenely awful predecessor.

      1. “Biden will surely disappoint us in many ways; it would be shocking if he didn’t.”
        True enough, but he’s shocked me twice already in the short time he’s been president. Once with his stance against climate change, and once with this. It remains to be seen how much of it is hot air, leaving matters much the same as before but with different rhetoric. Past experience of leaders promising heaven while delivering hell doesn’t make me over-optimistic.
        In the meantime, I’m feeling just a teeny bit hopeful things may be changing for the better.

  21. It will be very interesting to see if this sticks. Big $$$ and Israel’s interests are at stake. I suspect if they do stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia and prevent Yemeni genocide there will have to be some kind of trade-off to satisfy the war machine and the zionists. I don’t see world peace suddenly breaking out under a Biden regime. Please God, let me be wrong!

    1. Let me second that prayer, which is all we have.

    2. I said that all during the Obama years but sadly, I was not wrong. The Democrats are masters of saying one thing, and then when your back is turned, doing the opposite.

      1. I’d like to ‘third’ what Skip said, but I sure won’t be turning my back safe in the knowledge Biden and the Democrats have earned my trust based on a couple of announcements. So far though, so much better than I expected.

  22. Don’t be concerned, I’m sure Biden will make up for this moment of sanity at a later date.

  23. Raytheon should be forced to provide aid to Yemen, and reparations
    in trade for not sending the executives to life prison sentences.

  24. Thank you, Caitlin, for suggesting we contact the White House directly. I don’t think of myself as a Christian, but I think the following email, just sent, is sincere nonetheless:

    Dear President Biden,
    I thank heaven you are suspending arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. I pray you will not be swayed by those who place the profits of weapons manufacturers above the lives of millions of Yemenis, and this suspension will last at least until the end of this brutal and barbaric war.
    Ian Perkins

    1. Letters to politicians just makes you feel better. Sort of like spitting on your lawn to water the grass.

      1. One way of encouraging new growth. Other types of letter have their proponents too.

        1. I also emailed the White House, Ian, for what it’s worth. If all of Caitlin’s readers joined in–yes, even jaded Khatika–it sure wouldn’t hurt.

          1. Agreed entirely.
            Assuming Biden’s at least half sincere, he’ll be in a much better position to stand up to critics of this suspension if he can point to a hundred million – let’s hope a billion – signatures saying “We’re with you on that at least, Joe.”
            And critics there will be, even if they’re not so public about it. Raytheon and the stock market for starters, doing all in their considerable power to get sales resumed and expanded ASAP.
            They got the guns, we got the numbers.

            1. The numbers AND the holy trinity of truth, goodness, and beauty. In the long run, I like our hand, not theirs, in this unremitting game of life and death. May Yemen be where the momentum started to shift.

  25. Zwei Seelen wohnen, ach! In meiner Brust. Avatar
    Zwei Seelen wohnen, ach! In meiner Brust.

    Looks like the whole US financial system (ergo ours too) is teetering on the brink of collapse as Biden sails the Teddy Roosevelt through the south china sea After inviting the Taiwan ambassador to his party. He trying to start WW3 before the 1930’s style crash arrives ??

    Weird to see Putin giving the WEF Great Reset techno fascists a lecture on how to run a successful society too.

    High Weirdness everywhere one turns

    1. Far more likely the 1920s Weimar style crash.

  26. KSA has also signed up to the BRI (so has Yemen ) – which is very telling !

    It is ALL about stopping the BRI – the BRI will make the Rothschild’s banking cartel REDUNDANT !

    China and Russia have not been hoarding GOLD for their HEALTH !

  27. The pressure on the KSA by the ZIO/US to continue the war is unrelenting !

    ONLY Russia can end this slaughter for OIL – Yemen has not been able to produce OIL since the ‘shock and awe’ moment in Iraq !

    After King Salman’s historic visit to Russia in 2017 – agreements were reached to allow for KSA oil exploration contracts on Russian territory !

    This was done because Putin KNOWS the KSA is almost out of oil – despite their denials !

    OIL is the VERY reason for the war on Yemen and Putin was buying ‘leverage’ with the KSA to end this atrocious war !

    KSA wanted to pull out but the ZIO/US would not allow this – the KSA has purchased the S400s’ for a REASON !

    Eventually they are going to have to accept Putin’s ‘deal’ in the name of self preservation !

    This will then make them a target of the ZIO/US which is the very reason for the S400s’ purchase !

    If you have the S400s’ or the new S500s’ – well – you CAN’T be attacked by AIR !

    In 2018 Syria brought down an F16 AND an F35 with the Russian S200 ‘missile defence system’ that is FIVE decades old !

    Israel will no longer fly anywhere near Syria – Russia have the S400s there to protect their own assets and Syria has the S300s ( 300 kilometre range ) !

    That’s why Israel’s missiles land in the provincial areas of Syria – outside the range of the missile defence systems – EVERYTHING else is intercepted !

    There will be NO war – ZIO/US would be humiliated and they simply can’t afford the global embarrassment !!

  28. It would be nice if the United States government stopped killing people the world over. However, I am very skeptical of that ever happening. I laud your efforts Ms Johnstone and I hope that your are successful in this cause for humanity.

  29. I hope you don’t mind a small discrepancy.
    The now previous administration was trump.
    “Both items being reviewed are unconscionable decisions made by the previous administration.”
    Both items were initiated by the previous previous administration. obomber/biden.
    Let’s give credit where it is due.
    Well done Caitlin.
    Keep the pressure beyond boiling point.

    1. No this particular arms sale and those particular sanctions are both Trump policies. But yes Obama and Biden do have special responsibility for this genocide.

      1. Dont hold your breath on this one. Odds are after a review, the sale will go through. Simply a political move to act like they are concerned.

  30. Great news regarding Yemen. Ignored by the entire Western Governments. The greatest killing, and torture existing for decades. Finally, perhaps some sanity, and good will. Let’s see how far the Biden administration will go.

    1. Not ignored. The UK government did something similar recently, suspending arms sales pending a human rights review or something, then continued arms sales in defiance of their own ban.
      They know exactly what they are doing in terms of profits before lives. But as you say, perhaps finally some sanity and good will.

      1. Exactly what Biden is going to do as well.

        1. Some people are so predictable.

    2. I am not sure Yemen is the worst in decades. To me Serbia and Idi Amin take the top spots. However it is horrific.

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