President Biden on Thursday will announce he’s ending US support for the Saudi Arabia-led military intervention in Yemen’s civil war, his national security adviser Jake Sullivan said.
US support for the Saudi-led bombing and ground offensives in Yemen began in 2015 when Biden was vice president. Then-President Barack Obama resisted calls to withdraw US support.
The US military primarily supplied intelligence on targets. US officials also approved arms sales to Arab states waging the campaign. The fighting often kills civilians.
Biden “will announce an end to American support for offensive operations in Yemen” during an afternoon speech at the State Department, Sullivan told reporters at a White House press briefing.
“That is a promise that he made in the campaign that he will be following through on,” Sullivan said.
Biden also will announce a special envoy to help resolve the long-running civil war, which pits an Iran-allied Shiite militia that controls most of the country’s population centers and the north of the country, against a diverse coalition of opponents.
Congress voted in 2019 to end US involvement in the civil war, but then-President Donald Trump vetoed the bill.
The Saudi campaign has failed to restore Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, who was elected in a one-man contest in 2012. Some Saudi-affiliated fighters have links to jihadists.
Others fighters are allied with the United Arab Emirates and want to revive the independent nation of South Yemen. At points, UAE-backed and Saudi-backed forces have fought each other.
Sullivan said that Biden’s announcement will not cover US attacks on Yemen’s branch of al-Qaeda.
The national security adviser said Saudi and Emirati leaders were told of the latest changes.
The new prohibition “extends to the types of offensive operations that have perpetuated a civil war in Yemen that has led to a humanitarian crisis. The types of examples of that include to arm sales of precision guided munitions that the president has halted that were moving forward at the end of the last administration,” Sullivan said.
“We have spoken with both senior officials in the UAE and senior officials in Saudi Arabia. We have consulted with them. We are pursuing a policy of no surprises when it comes to these types of actions, so they understand that this is happening, and they understand our reasoning and rationale for it.”
Author : Steven Nelson