“Senator Murphy joined Brookings Senior Fellows Bruce Riedel and Tamara Wittes for a discussion on the U.S.-Saudi partnership, one of America’s longest-standing relationships in the Middle East. Senator Murphy, whose committee memberships include Senate Foreign Relations, expressed his view that despite the importance of the U.S.-Saudi relationship and Saudi Arabia’s critical role in the region, “it is harder and harder to ignore the holes in the relationship.” Watch as he talks about two issues that particularly trouble him: the Saudi family’s support of Wahhabi movement and Saudi Arabia’s objectives in its war in Yemen”.
“Riedel, who directs the Intelligence Project at Brookings, put the war in Yemen into stark terms, noting that 20 million Yemenis “are facing a humanitarian catastrophe.” He added that by refueling aircraft and providing ordnance, intelligence, and logistics to the Saudis, the U.S. “is a partner in this war.” He added that “if the United States of America and the United Kingdom tonight told King Salman that this war has to end, it would end tomorrow [because the Royal Saudi Air Force cannot operate without American and British support.]””
“Riedel added that while we should have a relationship with Saudi Arabia and especially it’s likely next king—Muhammad bin Salman, who Riedel called the “architect” of the war in Yemen—we also:”
should also have a relationship in which we are prepared to say to our friends, “don’t drive drunk.” And what Saudi Arabia has been doing for the last year in Yemen is effectively driving drunk. It’s time for the United States to get out of the back seat and tell the Saudis, “let’s find a way to end this war, which is in our mutual interest.”