buy facebook likes
Published On: Sat, Apr 25th, 2015

Saudi “Disorientation,” the Yemen War, and America’s (Self-Imposed) Decline in the Middle East: Hillary Mann Leverett on CNN and RT’s CrossTalk

TND Guest Contributors:  Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett |

On RT’s CrossTalk see here and (for YouTube) here, and CNN, see here, Hillary took on the Saudi-led narrative that U.S.-backed Saudi military attacks in Yemen should be seen in the words of Saudi Ambassador to Washington, Adel Jubeir, as a “good-versus-evil” battle, between “good” Saudis and “evil” Iranians.  Instead, Hillary argued that the unfolding tragedy in Yemen needs to be understood in the context of Saudi Arabia’s deeply destructive reaction to popular demands in Arab countries for more representative and independent political orders.  The negative impact of Riyadh’s highly militarized reactions to internal protests across the Middle East—in Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Yemen—is magnified by Washington’s apparent inability to separate itself from aspects of Saudi policy in the Middle East that are clearly bad for U.S. interests.

On CNN, Hillary recounted how “Saudi Arabia has been militarily involved and trying to manipulate political outcomes in Yemen for decades.  The last time they did this in 2009, they lost militarily to the Houthis.”

So why is Saudi Arabia once again intervening militarily in Yemen.  As Hillary put it on RT’s CrossTalk:

“This can largely be explained in terms of Saudi Arabia reeling since the 2011 Arab Awakening, pursuing disastrous policy after disastrous policy:  helping to overthrow the government in Libya, trying to overthrow the government in Syria, trying to impose a military dictatorship in Egypt and now in Yemen.  I think what we’re seeing is a product of Saudi disorientation and terror at a region that could become more representative in terms of its governance, more independent in terms of its foreign policy.  The Saudis are trying to prevent that kind of independence in foreign policy from emerging in Yemen, and they have yet again gone down this road with the United States to a war that has no end.  And it’s a disaster both for the Saudis and certainly for the Americans.”

As for the repeatedly elaborated Saudi narrative that the Kingdom’s intervention in Yemen is a purely defensive response to Iranian subversion, Hillary told CNN, “There’s no public evidence of Iranian arming or doing any kind of significant arming of the Houthis in Yemen.  The Houthis have long been marginalized in Yemen.  And they’ve long been a restive, rebellious population.  They got a new lease on life during the Arab Spring in 2011, and the Saudis have been furious about that ever since, trying to roll back that outcome and install their puppet, President Hadi, who has now fled to Saudi Arabia.”

On CrossTalk, Hillary responded to the proposition that the only “winner” in Yemen is likely to be al-Qa’ida, by offering a broader perspective on the regional consequences of U.S.-backed Saudi intervention there:

There are actually going to be two winners in Yemen, as we saw in other arenas (for example, in Afghanistan):  one is going to be al-Qa’ida, and the other is going to be Iran.  Even though people hate to hear this, a critical component of Iranian foreign policy is to support, not necessarily with weapons, but politically to support politically disenfranchised groups—whether that’s groups in Afghanistan, whether that’s groups in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Palestine.  They work to empower those groups to participate in political processes.  At the end of the day, this means that Iran gains favor in those countries, because it has supported the political empowerment of previously marginalized groups, who then come to power in elections.  So Iran is going to come out ahead—just as it has in Afghanistan, in Lebanon, in Iraq.  They’re going to come out ahead.

And then the militant group, the terror group on the ground, is going to be al-Qa’ida.  And I think that, like in Syria, we’re going to be hoping and praying that al-Qa’ida is actually the ‘junior league’ to an Islamic State/ISIS-type of even more radical, even more brutal group on the ground that the Sunnis look to because they have nothing else.  [And they have nothing else] because the United States, with Saudi Arabia, has undercut the representative groups that could represent Sunnis in a political process, like the Muslim Brotherhood—whether it’s in Egypt or their colleagues in Yemen like the Islah.”

On CNN, too, Hillary pointed out that “the train has left the station here.  Iran’s influence in Yemen is now solid.  We’ve lost yet again in another battlefield to Iran in the soft power arena.  In Yemen, Iran has won the soft power argument.  And al-Qai’da has won the military battle there.”

On CrossTalk, Hillary identified an important part of Saudi Arabia’s motivation for persisting in its misadventures in Yemen by looking at the Kingdom’s own internal politics.

“This Saudi intervention in Yemen is enormously popular in Saudi Arabia.  If you look at the Twitter traffic in Saudi Arabia, look at some of the polling data that’s available in Saudi Arabia, it’s enormously popular.  And it allows this new government in Saudi Arabia, with King Salman, to shift from an enormously unpopular policy, where they were going against Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, or even against ISIS with the United StatesThat was enormously unpopular in Saudi ArabiaIt allows this new king to pivot from that unpopular position to something that is enormously popular—something that they can frame as a sectarian conflict against what they call the ‘infidel’ Shi’a...

This is something that the United States should not want to be associated withIt clearly is against our interestsBut we’ve been doing this with the Saudis going back to 1979 in Afghanistan—that brought us al-Qa’ida and, of course, the direct line to 9/11.”

On CrossTalk, Hillary also noted the disappointing international reaction of the Saudi-U.S. military campaign in Yemen:

“The world is actually standing with the United States in the Security Council—and with the Saudis—to blockade Yemen.  There’s nothing, by definition, hopeless about Yemen.  They need an immediate ceasefire, they need an immediate national dialogue and all the stakeholders in the region should be involved.  It’s a simple as that.  Instead, the United States, Saudi Arabia, and a lot of the world community are aiding and abetting the destruction of yet another Muslim country in the Middle East.”

# # # #

Click here to learn about “Going to Tehran,” co-authored by Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett.  This article originally appeared at the “Going to Tehran” website and is reprinted with permission.

About the authors:

flynt_leverettFlynt Leverett is a professor at Pennsylvania State University’s School of International Affairs and is a Visiting Scholar at Peking University’s School of International Studies.

Dr. Leverett is a leading authority on the Middle East and Persian Gulf, U.S. foreign policy, and global energy affairs. From 1992 to 2003, he had a distinguished career in the U.S. government, serving as Senior Director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council, on the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff, and as a CIA Senior Analyst. He left the George W. Bush Administration and government service in 2003 because of disagreements about Middle East policy and the conduct of the war on terror.

Dr. Leverett has written extensively on the politics, international relations, and political economy of the Middle East and Persian Gulf. In a series of monographs, articles, and opinion pieces (many co-authored with Hillary Mann Leverett), he has challenged Western conventional wisdom on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s foreign policy and internal politics, documented the historical record of previous Iranian cooperation with the United States, and presented the seminal argument in American foreign policy circles for a U.S.-Iranian “grand bargain”. His new book is Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic(also co-authored with Hillary Mann Leverett).

Dr. Leverett has published opinion pieces in many high-profile venues, including The New York Times, POLITICO, and CNN, and contributes frequently to Foreign Policy. He has been interviewed about Iran and its geopolitics on leading public affairs programs around the world, includingCharlie Rose, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Empire and Riz Khan (Al Jazeera English), Viewpoint(Abu Dhabi Television), Spotlight (Russia Today) and Washington Journal (C-Span), as well as in leading publications such as Der Spiegel and Le Monde. Along with Hillary Mann Leverett, he was featured in the PBS Frontline documentary, “Showdown With Iran”, and profiled in Esquiremagazine.

Dr. Leverett has spoken about U.S.-Iranian relations at foreign ministries and strategic research centers in Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. He has been a visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale University.

Dr. Leverett holds a Ph.D. in politics from Princeton University and is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

# # # #

hillary-mann-leverettHillary Mann Leverett is a Senior Professorial Lecturer at the American University in Washington, DC and a Visiting Scholar at Peking University in Beijing, China. She has also taught at Yale University, where she was a Senior Lecturer and inaugural Senior Research Fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. She is also CEO of Strategic Energy and Global Analysis (STRATEGA), a political risk consultancy. Her new book is Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic (co-authored with Flynt Leverett).

Mrs. Leverett has more than 20 years of academic, legal, business, diplomatic, and policy experience working on Middle Eastern issues. In the George W. Bush Administration, she worked as Director for Iran, Afghanistan and Persian Gulf Affairs at the National Security Council, Middle East expert on the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff, and Political Advisor for Middle East, Central Asian and African issues at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. From 2001-2003, she was one of a small number of U.S. diplomats authorized to negotiate with the Iranians over Afghanistan, al-Qa’ida and Iraq. In the Clinton Administration, Leverett also served as Political Advisor for Middle East, Central Asian and African issues for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, Associate Director for Near Eastern Affairs at the National Security Council, and Special Assistant to the Ambassador at the U.S. embassy in Cairo. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and a Watson Fellowship, and in 1990-1991 worked in the U.S. embassies in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Egypt and Israel, and was part of the team that reopened the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait after the first Gulf War.

Ms. Leverett has published extensively on Iran as well as on other Middle Eastern, Central and South Asian, and Russian issues. She has spoken about U.S.-Iranian relations at Harvard, MIT, the National Defense University, NYU, the Norwegian Institute for International Affairs, and major research centers in China. She has appeared on news and public affairs programs on BBC, CNN, MSNBC, and Al Jazeera (Arabic and English), and was featured in the highly acclaimed BBC documentary, Iran and the West. She appeared in the PBS Frontline documentary, “Showdown With Iran”, and was profiled in Esquire magazine. Her articles, often co-written with Flynt Leverett, have appeared in Harper’s, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, The National Interest, Politico, the Penn State Journal of Law and International Affairs, the Washington Monthly, and The International Spectator. She has provided expert testimony to the U.S. House Government Reform and Oversight Committee.

Mrs. Leverett holds a Juris Doctor from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts in Near Eastern Studies from Brandeis University.

TND full (1)

Follow All Of TheNewsDoctors.com’s Exclusive Articles:

http://thenewsdoctors.com/category/thenewsdoctors-exclusive/

OR

Subscribe To Receive All TND’s Exclusive Articles In Your RSS Feed:

http://thenewsdoctors.com/category/thenewsdoctors-exclusive/feed/

 

Best Silver Coin Prices Online

About the Author

Categories