Tulsa Peace Fellowship

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TPF board member critical of both Oklahoma Senators

"Inhofe, Lankford on the wrong side of history with Yemen vote"

By Jeremy Kuzmarov Dec 18, 2018

Tulsa World, letter to the editor

Oklahoma’s Republican Sens. Jim Inhofe and James Lankford voted in opposition to a Senate amendment to end U.S. support for the civil war in Yemen.

Despite their votes, the measure passed 54-41.

The vote places the two statesmen on the wrong side of history — and humanity.

Since the Saudi-led invasion of 2015, Yemen has been thrust into a biblical-type humanitarian disaster. Over 50,000 children are estimated to have died from a cholera outbreak, and 8 million are on the brink of famine. Hundreds of civilians havw also been killed in air strikes, some using U.S.-supplied ordnance.

In recent weeks, public opinion has shifted against Saudi Arabia because of the exposure of Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman’s role in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was reporting on the war on Yemen.

Major American newspapers have displayed images of sickly Yemeni children affected by the famine and war.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Inhofe claimed that the anti-war Senate resolution was flawed because the United States was not engaged in military action in Yemen.

This is simply untrue.

In May 2018, The New York Times reported on the presence of American Green Berets on the Saudi-Yemen border.

They had been training Saudi ground forces and pilots, providing intelligence for bomb targeting, and helping locate and destroy caches of ballistic missiles at a launch site that Houthi rebels were using to attack Riyadh.

Private American contractors also trained the Saudi Navy and commanded Yemeni army units.

The United States sold over $100 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia over three years and $27 billion in arms to the United Arab Emirates, whose ruling al-Nahyan dynasty trained, paid and equipped more than 25,000 Yemeni soldiers.

Lankford claimed that American disengagement will not protect Yemeni civilians.

This is untrue since many civilians have been killed by American-made weapons and cutting off American support would place pressure on the Saudis to accept a peace agreement.

The faulty logic behind Lankford’s position only makes sense if we consider the source of his campaign donations.

According to OpenSecrets.com, from 2013 to 2018, he took $885,385 from the oil and gas industry, which has deep ties to Saudi Arabia. Inhofe took $377,000 in that time and nearly $2 million since 1989.

Inhofe has also received $758,859 from defense companies that do business with the Saudis, including BAE Systems and General Dynamics. The broker who controls Inhofe’s investments is reported to have purchased and quickly sold tens of thousands of dollars of stock in Raytheon, whose missiles killed 23 civilians in Northern Yemen in April when they struck a wedding party.

Inhofe is thus a war profiteer growing rich off the immiseration of Yemen’s children. He and Lankford are on the wrong side of history and bring shame to the state through their vote.

byline:  Jeremy Kuzmarov teaches at Tulsa Community College as an adjunct lecturer in American history and is author of three books on U.S. foreign policy. He is active in the Tulsa Peace Fellowship.


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