The Trump administration has “significantly increased” military support for the Saudi-led coalition fighting al Qaeda and Iranian-backed militias in Yemen, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The increase in support by the Trump administration raises the stakes for the United States in the war in Yemen, now entering its third year. It also continues a warming trend in U.S.-Saudi relations under President Trump.
According to the Wall Street Journal, American support now includes “greater intelligence and logistical support for the militaries of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates,” the paper said, citing unnamed officials.
According to reports, discussions regarding the change in U.S. support for Saudi Arabia and other Gulf allies in Yemen “were triggered by a memo from US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster that offering ‘limited support’ for Yemen operations conducted by Saudi Arabia and the UAE — including a planned Emirati offensive to retake Hodeidah port — would help combat ‘a common threat.'”
The war has already claimed at least 10,000 lives, displaced 3 million, and left millions more at risk of famine since it began in March 2015.
The Trump administration has signaled a harder line against Iran, the main regional adversary of key ally Saudi Arabia. Iran supports the Houthi militias who overthrew the legitimate President in Yemen and is currently fighting the Saudi-led coalition.
On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia intercepted four missiles fired by Yemeni rebels in what the Saudi-led coalition described as “evidence of arms smuggling through a rebel-held Red Sea port.”