Rep. Ed Royce, a senior Republican who, at the time, chaired the Foreign Affairs Committee, gave a speech on the House floor in November 2017 imploring his fellow lawmakers to maintain support for the Saudi Arabian-led war in Yemen. Royce warned that foreign adversaries — namely, Iran — could gain a foothold in Yemen through the Houthi rebels.
“Part of the problem here is the leaders of the Houthi militia were indoctrinated in Qom, in Iran, as part of an Iranian attempt to construct a Hezbollah-like proxy in Yemen,” warned Royce, suggesting that the rebels in Yemen were merely Iranian cutouts, something experts dispute.
The inflammatory line had been scripted by a lobbyist for Saudi Arabia — like much of Royce’s impassioned speech. “During the 1990s, the leaders of the Houthi militia were indoctrinated in the Iranian city of Qom as part of an Iranian attempt to construct a Hezbollah-like proxy in Yemen,” says a set of lobbyist talking points obtained by The Intercept.
Royce had received talking points earlier that day from a lobbyist retained by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, according to federal disclosure forms, in order to undermine congressional opposition to the Yemen war.
The talking points provided to Royce are among the many hidden ways in which Saudi money has quietly influenced the debate.
“The fact that Rep. Royce is repeating word for word talking points from wealthy law firm Hogan Lovells, not his own unique thought and hearing what his constituents have to say, speaks to the very stifling our democracy suffers from,” said Heather Purcell, a spokesperson for Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., who introduced the bill Royce was speaking against.
Our “Friends” in Riyadh, huh?
The sooner that the House of Saud falls from power the better.