24 June 2017   Leave a comment

The conflict in Yemen has been going on for years as Saudi Arabia and Iran fight over control of the small country.  The Saudi Arabian attacks have been devastating and ruthless, and the consequences of the destruction of civil society is unfortunately predictable.  The people of Yemen are now confronting one of the largest outbreaks of cholera in recent years, with over 200,000 people infected and 5,000 more each day.  The outbreak is due to the breakdown of medical and sanitation facilities.  The victims of this outbreak should be regarded as victims of the war.  The recent elevation of Mohammed bin Salman to be the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia likely means that the Saudi attacks on Yemen will only become more savage.   The United Arab Emirates (UAE), a member of the Saudi coalition, has maintained control over the city of Aden in southern Yemen where the former President of Yemen, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, remains sequestered waiting for the Saudis to return him to power.  The Saudis believe that the Houthi rebels who overthrew Hadi are under control of its arch-rival in the Gulf region, Iran.  Several human rights groups accuse the UAE of running secret detention and torture cells in Aden.  The Saudis and its coalition partners are using weapons provided by the US to conduct the war in Yemen and US President Trump has recently sold the Saudis significantly more weapons, assuring that the war will not end soon.

 

China and the US have reached an agreement to structure security talks in the future, suggesting that the two sides will engage in regular discussions about matters of disagreement.  According to Global Times, a media outlet generally regarded as representing the voice of the Chine Communist Party:

“China and the United States reached an important consensus on the development of bilateral relations and security issues at a high-level dialogue held Wednesday in the US capital of Washington D.C..

“The First Round of China-US Diplomatic and Security Dialogue, which was described by both sides as “constructive” and “fruitful,” represents a major step in implementing the consensus reached by Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump during their meeting in Florida in April.

“Looking ahead, the two sides pledged to expand mutually-beneficial cooperation and manage differences on the basis of mutual respect, all in a bid to promote the steady development of China-US relations in the long term.”

One interesting feature of the agreement is that apparently the Chinese have finally agreed with the US that the objective of discussions with the North Koreans should be the “complete, verifiable and irreversible” denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.  It is extremely doubtful that the North Koreans will ever agree to that objective as long as American troops are stationed in South Korea.

It has been reported earlier that US President Trump has given greater authority to the US Secretary of Defense, General Mattis, to determine troop levels in Afghanistan and that Mattis has decided to send an additional 4,000 American troops at this time.  The ability of the US State Department to support the diplomatic aspects of a renewed military commitment to Afghanistan, however, has slowly declined.  There was a special office set up in the State Department, the Office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, during the height of the American war effort in the country.  That office had about a hundred staff members, but it is now down to a handful of staffers and the Trump Administration is thinking about abolishing the office.  Decreasing the level of diplomatic expertise at the same time an increased military commitment is being contemplated is a foolish policy.

Posted June 24, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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