Guest Columnist

Grassley, Ernst should cut off aid to Saudi Arabia

U.S. Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., speak after members of the Senate voted on a resolution ending U.S. military support for the war in Yemen on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 13, 2018. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
U.S. Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., speak after members of the Senate voted on a resolution ending U.S. military support for the war in Yemen on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 13, 2018. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
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U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst need not only rethink their position on Saudi Arabia (as urged by a Gazette editorial on Dec. 8) but also take an aggressive, but positive, stance toward a peaceful conclusion of the war in Yemen. They can do this by voting for any congressional resolution that directly links Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to the murder of Journalist Jamal Khashoggi, that condemns the aggressive Saudi war in what was once a peaceful country, Yemen, and in a final act, support a resolution that cuts off all military and logistical aid to Saudi Arabia in their unjust war to confront their enemy, Iran. We are four years too late and very much in a reactive mode on this conflict. Khashoggi’s execution has brought to the forefront this conflict in Yemen which has starved and killed tens of thousands of innocent civilians and has made the poorest country in the world dependent on foreign aid for decades to come. This country has been destroyed.

We have, as a country, been complicit in prolonging this war by supporting it at the highest levels of our government. We are supporting a highly corrupt, evil and regressive government that outsmarts our president by showering him with the hope of billions of dollars in deals and massaging his ego as they understand that, through this method, they will have him in their pocket. We may have Iran in mind when we justify this proxy war, but why should we support one dictator over another when both are repressive?

I urge your readers, including Ernst and Grassley, to read Khashoggi’s last editorial in The Washington Post, dated October 17, “What The Arab World Needs Most Is Free Expression.” This article explains the essence of the problems in the Arab world.

As a point of reference, I once worked for a large multinational company in marketing beverage products to Yemen. In comparison to other Arab, Middle Eastern and North African countries, I found the Yemeni people to be the most peaceful, sincere, gracious and soulful found anywhere. I am an Iowa native and am very much perplexed by the stance of the two senators in this editorial. The Cedar Rapids I grew up in was a well-educated, diverse community that respected progressive, factual views of this world. What has happened to the State of Iowa?

• Kamel Aossey was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, graduated from Northeast Missouri State and earned a masters in international management from Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona. He worked in the beverage industry for Dr Pepper and Coca-Cola in both domestic and international markets, including assignments in the Middle East and North Africa. He taught international marketing at the University of St. Thomas and Metro State University in the Twin Cities before retiring 10 years ago. He lives in Minnetonka, Minn.

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