Expedited weapons deliveries to Saudi Arabia signal deepening U.S. involvement in Yemen

The New York Times reports: The United States said on Tuesday that it was expediting deliveries of weapons to Saudi Arabia, a sign of the Obama administration’s deepening involvement in the Saudi military offensive against the Houthi movement in Yemen.

Speaking to reporters in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, Antony J. Blinken, the deputy secretary of state, said the United States had also increased its intelligence sharing and established a “joint coordination planning cell” with the Saudi government to help its war effort, according to the Reuters news agency.

The show of support by the United States came two weeks after the Saudi military launched an air war against the Houthis, members of a rebel movement from northern Yemen that has seized territory and steadily expanded its influence in the country in the past eight months.

The Saudis said they were aiming to restore stability to Yemen by crippling the Houthis and returning President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who is backed by the Americans and the Saudis, to power. On Tuesday, Mr. Blinken praised the Saudis for “sending a strong message to the Houthis and their allies that they cannot overrun Yemen by force,” according to Reuters.

The Houthis have defended their military actions, including the capture of the capital, Sana, in September, as part of an effort to overturn a corrupt political order in Yemen. The Houthis, who are allied with forces loyal to Yemen’s former autocratic president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, have seemed undeterred by the relentless Saudi bombing.

The fighting and the airstrikes have led to widespread civilian suffering in Yemen, the Middle East’s poorest country, and warnings by international relief agencies of an unfolding humanitarian disaster. [Continue reading…]

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