The US may have missed many an opportunity in the Middle East in the wake of the so-called Arab Spring; the people-led revolution. Of course, this ought to come as no surprise to anyone. For it is but a short line to cross over from world policeman to world jailer. And nowhere is this truer than in Yemen — where the international community has effectively sentenced the people of one of the poorest countries in the world to a life sentence of solitary confinement. Before promptly throwing away the key.Or at least that’s how bleak the future now looks for the Yemeni people. Especially given this week’s execution of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh; reportedly at the hands of the Houthis, with whom he had entered into an uneasy alliance. He had, of course, just two days previously made the controversial decision to reach out to Riyadh indicating he wanted to talk peace. It has been said that he did so in a bid to bring the Saudi-led military campaign to an end. It may or may not be true that he had been promised a political position in the new post-war set-up. Yet whatever the case may be it is a decision that he paid for with his life. And one thing is clear: it is the Kingdom, and by extension the US, that benefit the most.This is because Saudi Arabia likely has no intention of backing off from its proxy war with Iran for regional dominance. Now the Houthis have ‘justified’ yet more military aggression on the basis that they are not interested in peace; while Riyadh is. And naturally, the assassination allows yet more finger-wagging at Tehran. Which has already all but been accused of Saleh’s murder.The US should never have let it come to this, especially in the immediate post-Arab Spring climate when Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) had managed to truly consolidate its presence in Yemen; which was at one time believed to be the most bloodthirsty of all Bin Laden franchises. True, Washington did run a parallel drone programme there much like it did at one time here in Pakistan. But to what effect?All of which goes to underscore that either the most powerful military in the world is totally inept or that it has been double bluffing all along. Or put another way — it has never been interested in a peaceful Middle East. The only American priority has always been serving its own hegemony; the very high cost of which is traditionally picked up by ordinary people, including children, in the form of very real collateral damage. And no amount of blacklisting of its regional front man by the UN on the issue of protecting children in armed conflict will persuade it otherwise.Bluntly put, if Yemen is declared a failed state — then so, too, should all the so-called peace loving nations of the international community. *Published in Daily Times, December 7th 2017.