A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, September 22, 2016

More Geographically Challenged US Political Leaders

In the wake of the "What is Aleppo?" controversy one would hope that US politicians would spend a little time with a map before speaking in public. In the midst of the Senate debate over an arms sale to Saudi Arabia, which was opposed by critics of the Saudi air campaign in Yemen, two Republican senators who really ought to know better seem to have confused the Strait of Bab al-Mandab with the Strait of Hormuz. Senator John McCain of Arizona, former Presidential candidate and a specialist in national security issues, and Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, defended the Saudi campaign by arguing that if the Houthis had been allowed to occupy all of Yemen, they could have posed a threat to shipping in the Strait of Hormuz.

The Strait of Hormuz, of course, runs between Iran on one side and Oman and the UAE  on the other; no part of Yemen comes anywhere near it. (And don't get me started on the notion that the Houthis are Iranian stooges, because, um, the Saudis say they are. I'm no fan of the Houthi movement, but it's a home-grown Yemeni Zaydi movement.)

1 comment:

Garry Fallwell said...

Two observations on Senators McCrazy and Corker.

(1) When you think God talks to you, it's not necessary to check facts. In fact it's downright impolite if not blasphemous.

(2) If you can't get the details right, why on earth should you be trusted with the larger picture.