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Trump administration mulls escalating military role in Yemen

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Author: JOYCE KARAMTue, 2017-03-28 (All day)ID: 1490646817121049500
WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump could reverse two-year-long restrictions placed by his predecessor Barack Obama on military engagement in Yemen, reported the Washington Post.
The White House and other agencies are reportedly completing a review on the conflict and considering “lifting Obama-era restrictions on U.S. military support” to Gulf partners participating in the war.
The discussions, reported the Washington Post, 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 memo initiated a review in the White House, and with the Pentagon and Central Command.
But “there has been no decision yet as to whether [the restrictions] will be lifted,” said the newspaper, quoting a US official, and “there is certainly broad disagreement across our government.” The review could be completed within a month.
A Gulf diplomatic source told Arab News that while the “review is significant and would roll back Obama’s restrictions, such support, if it goes through, would be limited in nature.”
But it would signal an escalation in the US role in Yemen beyond fighting Al-Qaeda and securing maritime navigation, according to the Washington Post.
The Mattis memo is based on an Emirati proposal submitted to the Pentagon, and the US could agree only partially to some of the requests, the newspaper reported.
But it falls in line with Trump’s campaign statements viewing Yemen as a proxy battlefield for Iran.
He said in January 2016: “Now they (Iran) are going into Yemen… They’re going to get Syria, they’re going to get Yemen… They didn’t want Yemen, but you ever see the border between Yemen and Saudi Arabia? They want Saudi Arabia.”
The Trump administration hinted earlier this year at US action in Yemen, saying: “Iran seeks to leverage this relationship with the Houthis to build a long-term presence in Yemen… We are going to take appropriate action. We are considering a whole range of options.”
Main category: Middle-EastTags: YemenYemen WarJim Mattisrelated_nodes: Explorers, De Niro denounce Trump on climate changeChild marriage soars in Yemen as famine looms — UNHouthis committed ‘massacres’ in Yemen: ReportSaudi Navy ‘sweeping Yemen shores for Houthi mines’

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