It wasn’t hard to see this coming. President Trump’s National Security Advisor, Gen. Michael Flynn, delivered a clear threat to the government of Iran today, ominously stating that “as of this day, we are officially putting Iran on notice.” What is less clear is the the General’s rationale for issuing the threat.
Flynn cites two justifications for bringing the US on war footing against Iran. Both are dubious. First, he blames Iran for a recent attack on a Saudi naval vessel carried out by Houthi forces in Yemen. According to Flynn, because the Houthis are backed by Iran – itself a specious claim – it is Iran that is actually responsible for the attack.
Even if it were true that the Houthis are Iranian proxies, this kind of guilt-by-association reasoning gets quite awkward when considering what some US-backed rebels in Syria have done with US-provided weapons and training. Like beheading young boys.
What Flynn fails to mention is that Saudi Arabia has been attacking neighboring Yemen since 2015, with US assistance, leaving tens of thousands killed and injured and the Middle East’s poorest country in the midst of devastating famine. Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen was unprovoked, initiated only to force Riyadh’s preferred leader onto its southern neighbor. Under Flynn’s logic, it is perfectly fine for Saudi Arabia to initiate a genocidal war of aggression against another country. But the victim of the attack had better not fight back or the United States will blame yet a third country that has nothing to do with it.