The United States needs to ramp up its military backing of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen to pressure the Iranian-backed Houthis into diplomatic talks aimed at resolving the two-year civil war, according to policy experts. Defense Secretary James Mattis on Wednesday called for a political solution between the warring sides, urging the Saudis and Houthis to engage in negotiations brokered by the United Nations. Mattis, who delivered remarks after a two-day meeting in Saudi Arabia, reinforced American support for its ally while echoing appeals by officials in the region who say the war cannot be resolved militarily.
Jon Alterman, the director of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Mattis delivered a clear message to the Saudis that military action must be in conjunction with diplomacy, not in place of it. Mattis doing was reinforcing privately to the Saudis that we’re on their side against Iran’s clients, and stating publicly that this has to have a diplomatic solution, not a military one,” Alterman told the Washington Free Beacon. “To the Houthis, the message is the U.S. is going to be both more supportive of the Saudis but also more supportive of diplomacy, so you should get on board with the diplomacy,” he added.
The United States already assists the Saudi coalition through surveillance, intelligence sharing, and refueling. David Weinberg, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said enhanced support would likely include more U.S. reconnaissance and refueling flights along with additional advising by Special Forces.
He said such aid would likely help the coalition gain ground in coming months, but predicted it would not have an immediate impact on the war unless the Saudis move forward with plans to conquer the port city of Al Hudaydah, a critical harbor for Houthis logistics and humanitarian supplies.
“U.S. officials rightly believe that more pressure on the battlefield will be needed before Yemen’s insurgents will agree to a lasting peace accord,” The challenge for Washington is how to help the Saudis wrap up this war while keeping civilian casualties to a minimum.”
The Source: Washington Free Beaconخليك معنا