Given Call for War, Pakistan’s Parliament Chose Peace. Will US Congress Ignore Call for Peace, Choose War?

As Congress here in the US creeps ever closer to amassing a veto-proof margin for war with Iran by keeping sanctions in place even after a final P5+1 agreement would end them, it comes as especially refreshing that Pakistan’s Parliament has expressed clear sentiment against committing troops to a foreign exercise in folly. Especially remarkable is that this blunt refusal in the face of the Saudi request for Pakistani troops in Yemen comes only 13 months after the Saudis were found to have been the source of a critical $1.5 billion infusion of support when Pakistan’s economy was teetering.

Tim Craig gives us the essentials of Parliament’s move:

Pakistan’s parliament voted unanimously Friday to remain neutral in the conflict in Yemen, a major blow to Saudi Arabia as it seeks to build support for its offensive against the surging Houthi rebels there.

The parliament’s decision came after five days of debate in which lawmakers expressed major concern that Pakistan’s 550,000-man army could become entangled in an unwinnable conflict.

On Monday, Pakistan’s defense minister, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, said Saudi Arabia had requested that Pakistan send troops, warships and fighter jets to help it battle the Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen. But several Pakistani political leaders were strongly opposed to the request, saying the crisis in Yemen didn’t pose an immediate threat to Saudi Arabia.

The next paragraphs provide sharp contrast between the US Congress and Pakistan’s Parliament:

Instead, the resolution approved by Pakistan’s parliament warned that the Yemen crisis “could plunge the region into turmoil” if a negotiated peace and settlement was not reached soon.

“This bombing needs to be stopped because, as long as this is happening, the peace process can’t be launched,” Mohsin Khan Leghari, a Pakistani senator, said on the floor of parliament Friday.

A unanimous resolution against involvement in a foreign conflict that points out that Pakistan’s involvement “could plunge the region into turmoil”. Just wow. The US has sown turmoil on so many fronts throughout the Muslim world recently and yet Congress not only doesn’t see their own role in that turmoil but instead are doing their best to overcome the one opportunity we have there of establishing a peace process. I can’t think of a more damning indictment of Congress now than to put this move by Pakistan’s Parliament alongside Congress’ attempt to derail the Iran nuclear agreement. Given a call for war, Pakistan’s Parliament chose peace. Given a call for peace, the US Congress may still choose war.

For more details on the various forces at play in Yemen, this piece by Sophia Dingli at Juan Cole’s blog lays things out clearly.

The full text of the resolution can be found here.

4 replies
  1. bevin says:

    I note that Dingli makes no reference to the Iranian “backing” of the Houthi of which Craig writes. I suspect that this is because there is none of any real substance.
    It is most important that, at a time when warmongers are deliberately distorting Iran’s foreign policy, those who claim “Iranian backing” are required to provide evidence thereof.
    There has been no evidence, during a period in which Arab shia have been extremely bad used by the saudis and their gulf allies, that Iran has supplied either Bahraini or Saudi shi’ite communities with the means to resist Riyadh’s state sponsored takfiri terror.

  2. emptywheel says:

    I follow @BaFana3 on twitter–a really wired in Yemeni lawyer. He keeps close track on Houthi incursions in Saudi Arabia and notes that Saudis have been keeping deaths in such conflict under wraps. But the sense is that Saudi ground troops don’t have the skills that Pakistani troops have (or Egyptians). I suspect it’s also an attempt to keep popular support for the war in KSA. But the Saudis are in a bit of trouble.

    • Tom in AZ says:

      The Saudis deserve to have their chickensh*t asses handed to them. The have fomented death and destruction all over the ME for decades now, while we have had their cowardly back sides covered.

  3. Tom in AZ says:

    From the Dingli post… “The ideal outcome from Riyadh’s point of view is an order that stabilises the country under a patronage system which they can manipulate, allowing the Saudis to exert their influence in Yemen unabated while curbing the Yemeni people’s democratic impulses.”

    So, we should be on board with that goal, to the point of help KSA bomb the hell out of all the infrastructure, all the food supplies, and once that is done flatten everything else where the Houthi’s may be hiding?

    And starting with the second sentence in her post, she is most definitely NOT laying things out clearly, if I understand correctly. ” Aden is caught in a stand-off between Houthi rebels and forces loyal to the government they are trying to overthrow”

    When Saleh, the ex-president who ran the country for over 30 years was ‘eased’ out by us and KSA, Hadi was his vice president, and ‘our guy’ to use a Nulandism. The ‘election’ in 2012 had only him on the ballot, no one else. And it was for a 2 year term that expired last year. The promised elections that were to follow were, oddly, never held. So he has NOT been the president for over a year and that is one of the many reasons the Houthis ran his ass right off the peninsula. Our press refuses to point his out and keeps spouting the swill our government is handing them.

    And for all of our ‘help’ coordinating bombing targets, we can’t seem to quit bombing the food supplies of all Yemenis long enough to drop any on AQAP. It is hard to keep the players straight what with all of our meddling these days, and harder to find real info. But am I way off base here? Thanks for all your efforts, everyone here. I really appreciate all of you.

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