Sheldon Richman: Why Does Obama Help the Saudis Murder Yemenis?

The turmoil in civil-war torn Yemen is not an instance of Iranian expansion.

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White House/Instagram

Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab Gulf states are portraying the turmoil in Yemen, long racked by civil war, as an instance of Iranian expansion. The narrative has caught on in U.S. media, with mainstream news outlets referring to Houthi rebels in Yemen as "Iran-backed Shiites" fighting a proxy war. But the Houthis practice a Shiite offshoot that differs significantly from Iranian Shiism, explains Sheldon Richman. And Iranian representatives actually discouraged Houthi rebels from taking the Yemeni capital of Sanaa last year. 

American intelligence officials have even directly stated: "It is wrong to think of the Houthis as a proxy force for Iran." So why, asks Richman, does the Obama administration help the Saudis murder Yemenis? 

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