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Politics & Government

Award-Winning Mid-East Correspondent in CNY on Horrors of Yemen War & How US Policy Shift Could Help

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A long-time Middle East Correspondent who visited Syracuse is focusing attention on the war in Yemen and U-S involvement there.  The Peabody Award winner hopes his writing sheds light on misconceptions about the violent region.

Reese Erlich’s first trip to the Middle East came in 1987.  He’s since visited every country in the region as a freelance reporter.   Erlich has recently chronicled the war in Yemen and  believes the Trump administration should re-think its policy.

“The war in Yemen is the worst humanitarian disaster in the world today and it’s a result of the US-backed Saudi bombing and occupation of parts of Yemen.  The US could end the war tomorrow if it stopped selling arms, if it stopped providing fuel.”

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The different colors show what lands are controlled by government Saudi-backed, and other groups in Yemen

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Erlich offers more background on Yemen, how the killing of Jamal Khashoggi is impacting Middle East Policy, and his interests in the region.

Some four-million Yemenis are in danger of starvation, and 85-thousand children have already died there.  Congress is about to vote on a measure that would end U-S support for Saudi Arabia in the war.  He says President Trump is honest about U-S – Saudi relations, acknowledging that they’re based on oil and weapons sales.  Erlich recently finished a book titled, “The Iran Agenda Today”.  He says the Iran-nuclear deal could have begun to improve understanding and relations.

“It didn’t’ solve all the problems; it didn’t resolve all the differences, but it was an important step forward.  So when Trump pulled out of it, it was a big blow.  Imagine if the situation was reversed and Iran had pulled out and said, ‘ok, we’re now going to enrich uranium beyond what we said.’  My god, the US would be threatening war by now.  But when the US pulls out, somehow that’s ok.”

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Erlich's book paints a different picture of realities in Iran today and how US policy might ease tensions.

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Erlich visited Iran numerous times before his book, The Iran Agenda Today, came out. He offers insights on the people there and the impacts of the US pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal.

He contends Iran hasn’t had a nuclear weapons program in 15 years … but the issue is used to stoke fears.  After his years of Middle East reporting, Erlich hopes U-S citizens would pay attention to when they’re being lied to.

What those folks are doing in the mainstream media is parroting, or at least operating within the parameters that Washington has set.  And that’s my criticism of all the mainstream media.  Instead of going to the country and reporting, let’s say, the political situation as seen by the people of that country, it’s reflected through the prism of Washington.”

Erlich hopes his book provides more insight into what he calls the errors of U-S Foreign policy.  He spoke at Thursday Morning Roundtable.

Some of Reese Erlich’s other writing can be found online on sites such as The Progressive, Foreignpolicy.com and Antiwar.com