The civil war in Yemen, ongoing since 2014, resulted in one of the worst humanitarian disasters of our times, with widescale famine accompanying the direct toll of war. The American approach to the war has vacillated between support for Saudi Arabia’s war effort against the rebelling Houthis, under Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, to a push for a ceasefire under President Joe Biden, which was reached in 2022 with U.N. mediation.
In his new book, “America and the Yemens: A Complex and Tragic Encounter,” Brookings Nonresident Senior Fellow Bruce Riedel places America’s involvement in the bloody war in the context of the history of U.S. relations with the political entities that have comprised Yemen, north and south. Riedel traces the history of U.S.-Yemen relations to President John F. Kennedy’s response to the Egyptian and Soviet involvement in Yemen in 1962, in a first in-depth review of America’s role there.
On October 5, the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings hosted a discussion about the book and its conclusions, examining the historical context behind the war and the history of America’s engagement with Yemen, and what lessons history offers for abating the humanitarian suffering today.
Viewers submitted questions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by joining the conversation on Twitter with #AmericaandYemen.
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