If the U.S. had supported pro-democracy forces in 2011, the current situation might be very different.

by Stephen Zunes, The Progressive

There are a number of issues of concern regarding the U.S.-led bombing campaign against Houthi targets in Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the world. Like other military operations ordered by the President without Congressional authorization, it raises serious constitutional questions. The strikes have thus far not had the intended effect of curbing Houthi attacks on international shipping. They have undermined the UN-led peace process to finally end that country’s nine-year civil war. Not surprisingly, there is a degree of incredulity in the Biden Administration’s claim that “We will continue to work to avoid a wider conflict in the region” while bombing Yemen, Syria, and Iraq.

Moreover, the United States may have played a significant role in bringing the Houthis—once a small rebel group representing a minority tribe in the north of Yemen—to control nearly three-quarters of the western part of that country, where the vast majority of its thirty-three million people live.

Soldier fighting in the ranks of the legitimate army against Al-Houthi militia in Taiz City .

Middle Eastern governments may condemn Israel’s war on Gaza and criticize the United States for supporting it, but none of them dare to take on Israel or the United States directly. Irregular groups, however—as well as Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis, and various militias operating in Syria and Iraq—have more freedom of action. In doing so, they increase their power and influence among the region’s peoples angered by the ongoing mass killing of Palestinian civilians and their governments’ inability or unwillingness to act.

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