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Cauldron of conflicts

Cauldron of conflicts

The decision of the US to provide emergency sale of arms to its Arab allies comprises two most-critical aspects in the fray – Iran's aggression and Saudi-led war in Yemen. The Trump administration's support for Saudi and other Arab allies is an indirect method to contain the Iranian conundrum following withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and slapping of sanctions on Iran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's statement regarding the sale of arms clearly read the need "to deter Iranian aggression and build partner self-defence capacity", even as Congress's concern for human rights loomed at large. The Trump administration understands the cost of its decision but Mike Pompeo's statement over the presiding issue only infers the classic 'business as usual' attitude in the face of potential genocide of Yemenis. Tens of thousands dead and millions on the brink of starvation as Saudi attempts to restore the elected government in the nation. Iran aided Houthi rebels are natural adversaries of the US and hence, supporting the Saudi-led war in Yemen with the emergency provision of arms is only fitting. However, apprehensions hover over how US-supplied arms will put millions of civilians at risk. The added advantage in this arms deal is the empowerment of Arab allies to check Iranian aggression. Pompeo defended the support extended to Saudi by citing how the Houthi threat to Saudi can also hurt America since its aerial attacks could kill Americans taking commercial flights. Now, while Pompeo's concern is genuine, it does not counter that of Congress viz. risk to Yemenis. However, this is not the first nor the last time that the US administration has trumped all other concerns for its prime agenda. With a hawk eye over Iranian strides, US's heightened attention towards its adversary is only validated through the deployment of warship near Iran and additional 1500 US troops. Two indefinite conflicts – US-Iran and Houthi-Saudi – are intermingling and pushing the Middle East to fringes of grave Human Rights crisis, while UN watches. The entire conflict builds a big cauldron of animosity between powers for their cause, burning people and morality alike. While Iran now has more reasons to express its anti-US sentiment, simple withdrawal of support to Houthi rebels can allay the massive collateral damage. But Iran would not do that, and certainly not after US sanctions tend to impact its entire financial lifeline – sale of oil. Curbing the sale of arms to Arab allies will weaken the Saudi forces in Yemen, allowing Houthis to take over entire Yemen which is not acceptable to the US and its Arab allies. The situation only speaks more of war than peace and scope for dialogue seems low.

While the US may find itself in a tight spot, there is not much it can do to allay the apprehensions of Congress regarding potential deaths of many in Yemen due to American-supplied weapons. Has the world not learnt that already through history? Liberating Yemen from the rebels is necessary but at the cost of millions of Yemenis? US and Iran may both feel right in their actions however their actions are aggravating the situation. Iran will not consider anything less than the US's withdrawal of sanctions – a decision that impacted global oil trade with ramifications reaching as tremours to even India – which looks highly unlikely. Sale of arms may not alone be just a decision taken keeping potential Iranian threat in the head but more on America's regular business-oriented approach. Arms and ammunition will not be necessary if Yemen-conflict was resolved at the earliest. Hence, a dialogue remains a distant dream right now even as collateral damage reaches absurd figures and the rest of the globe watches from afar. The US' anti-Iran sentiment – amplified by sanctions – is only going to promote Iran to build nuclear weaponry which it apparently refrained from owing to the Iran nuclear deal. Likewise, Iran's aggression is only urging the US to intervene with greater interest signified by increasing military presence apart from ally support in the region. Provocation from either side is fuelling the ambitions of the other and strides in this direction certainly do not augur well for people in Yemen since, in the clash of powers, they are getting reduced to ashes.

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