A little noticed decision by Mike Pompeo Sunday may result in tens of thousands dying of starvation and also a massive oil spill 4 times bigger than the Valdez.

1/ A THREAD of the mind blowing insanity of Pompeo's decision to name Yemen's Houthis as a terrorist group.
2/ A civil war has been raging in Yemen since 2014. Saudi Arabia and the U.S. are on one side. The rebel Houthi tribe and Iran on the other. It has caused a humanitarian crisis - the worst in the world. 100,000 children have died of starvation or disease. 16m are malnourished.
3/ The Houthis are bad guys. They target civilians. They steal food aid. But they aren't what we would traditionally consider a "terrorist group". They are using barbaric tactics in the conduct of war. But so are the Saudis. They intentionally target civilians too.
4/ Only food aid keeps people alive in Yemen. But humanitarian organizations can't work in areas of countries controlled by terrorist organizations. Now, these programs will shut down in areas of Yemen controlled by the Houthis.
5/ Gets worse. Commercial food importers will not send food into the same areas. Yemen imports almost all its food. So the designation is essentially a death sentence for millions. No humanitarian food. No commercial food.
5/ Gets worse. The only way to achieve a political settlement is for the U.S. and the UN to broker a settlement between Houthis and the Saudis. But by law, the U.S. can't talk to terrorist groups, and frankly, the Houthis won't talk now anyway. They've been backed into a corner.
6/ And in that corner is Iran. At the start of the war, there was a loose relationship between the Houthis and Iran. As the war has dragged, the alliance has grown stronger. Now, it cements. The Iran-skeptic wing of the Houthis is now pushed into Iran's waiting arms. Disaster.
7/ Gets worse. A Houthi controlled rotting oil tanker sits right off the coast of the country's most important port. Soon, it will start leaking oil, or worse, explode, making the Beirut blast look like child's play. Houthis will now be much less willing to deal with UN on this.
8/ Finally, there's no upside. At all. Pompeo says it will send the Houthis a message. What? The State Dept. briefing today was a disaster. They had no answers for how this will drive Houthis to the negotiating table. No answers for how to prevent starvation.
9/ Biden can, and should, reverse the designation on day one. It's a no brainer. But the damage will be lasting. Some humanitarian groups may be spooked out of Yemen. The Houthis will be pushed to Iran. Peace negotiations will be less likely. A disaster of our own making.

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More from @ChrisMurphyCT

14 Dec 20
So a holiday tip for Hartford area families. There’s a new light display on the South Green in Hartford (intersection of Main, Wethersfield and Maple Aves).

It’s pretty magical. Read Anne’s post below. She asks how it happened, so here’s the quick story.
In 2020, smiles have been harder to find. I spend my days working to get more testing and UI and food assistance to CT. Yes, economic security brings smiles.

But for kids especially, so do the whimsical silly things. And there aren’t many of those to be found this year.
There’s this big, beautiful, historic green a block from our new house in Hartford and next to Hartford Hospital. Tons of passing traffic, big gorgeous trees. And I knew what it needed - Christmas lights. Millions of them.
Read 5 tweets
7 Dec 20
1/ Please read this THREAD - the wild story of the reclusive Blue brothers, who are about to make $3 BILLION from the UAE arms sales.

I wrote about them in my book, The Violence Inside Us. An example of how profits, not U.S. security interests, often dictate U.S. arms policy.
2/ As Yale students, the Blue brothers made the cover of Life Magazine, recounting the story of a daredevil adventure flying a small plane from New Haven to Columbia, and along the way befriended the brutal Somoza regime in Nicaragua.
3/ After college, Linden and Neal went into business with the dictator, running their plantations. Then they took over a small uranium company, General Atomics (GA), and got into trouble by keeping a processing facility open that was contaminating the local water.
Read 11 tweets
2 Dec 20
I have introduced a privileged resolution (meaning it must receive a floor vote) with @SenatorMenendez and @RandPaul to stop a massive, $23 billion sale of F-35s, Reaper drones, and munitions to the UAE.

This is really important, and I want you to understand why.

2/ First, a stipulation - the UAE has been a strong ally of the United States. They partner in fighting ISIS and countering malign Iranian influence, and they've been a key player in the détente between Gulf states and Israel, culminating in this fall's recognition accords.
3/ The UAE's recognition of Israel is a big deal. I fully support the Abraham Accords. But there was no invisible ink in that deal that obligated the United States to compromise our own security by selling wildly lethal weapons in the Middle East.
Read 9 tweets
24 Nov 20
THREAD: Yes @ABlinken and Biden’s national security team have loads of experience, but they are open to new ideas.

That’s key, bc U.S. foreign policy has become dangerously sclerotic, and progressives have offered several productive critiques of the national security consensus.
1/ For instance, it’s time for America to finally shake our hubris of what can be accomplished by military deployments in far off places. Restraint IS a policy. Often our intervention (think Iraq or Libya or Syria) ends up doing much more harm than good.
2/ Secret wars, exempt from public view or oversight, too often go off the rails. For example, our drone program more often kills the wrong target, adding fuel to extremist groups recruitment drives.
Read 11 tweets
20 Nov 20
Due to Trump's petulant, delusional, democracy-smashing refusal to accept the election results, his Administration is refusing share details with President-elect Biden's team about their vaccination distribution plan .

1/ A short THREAD on why that's going to get people killed.
2/ Vaccinating 300m people would be an enormous undertaking w a single, simple vaccine. But this plan envisions multiple vaccines, with some vaccines requiring ultra-cold storage (which we don't much of) and multiple doses (requiring tracking systems).
3/ Trump and his team have screwed up every logistical element of COVID response so far. 80% of nurses say they don't have adequate PPE. Many have to wait in 3 hour lines for a test. Why would Trump's vaccine plan be magically different?
Read 7 tweets
9 Nov 20
1/ The disarray of the lame duck Trump White House, especially in the national security space, could be staggering. And our adversaries may try to take advantage.

A short THREAD on what could go wrong in the next 60 days, and how Congress can help fill the void.
2/ Reports suggest Trump's post-defeat rage could lead to the firings of Esper or Haspel. DoD and/or CIA could be leaderless by Thanksgiving. And if Trump refuses to concede, other national security officials could bail to try to save their careers.
3/ Emerging global powers could try to take advantage of the vacuum. At the top of that list is China. They could finish their crack down in Hong Kong, or they could make a move on the disputed islands with Taiwan.
Read 6 tweets

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