U.S. troops now hold a direct role in the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen, diverging from previous statements from the Pentagon and Trump administration claiming U.S. support was limited to arms sales, aircraft refueling, logistics, and intelligence.
In the News:
“The Pentagon and the Trump administration apparently have misled Americans about growing military involvement in a war in Yemen that we should have nothing to do with. In the latest expansion of America’s secret wars, about a dozen Army commandos have been on Saudi Arabia’s border with Yemen since late last year, according to an exclusive report by The Times. The commandos are helping to locate and destroy missiles and launch sites used by indigenous Houthi rebels in Yemen to attack Saudi cities.”
“This involvement puts the lie to Pentagon statements that American military aid to the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen is limited to aircraft refueling, logistics and intelligence, and is not related to combat. When senators at a hearing in March demanded to know whether American troops were at risk of entering hostilities with the Houthis, Gen. Joseph Votel, head of the Central Command, assured them, ‘We’re not parties to this conflict.'”
“In at least 14 countries, American troops are fighting extremist groups that are professed enemies of the United States or are connected, sometimes quite tenuously, to such militants. The Houthis pose no such threat to the United States. But they are backed by Iran, so the commandos’ deployment increases the risk that the United States could come into direct conflict with that country, a target of increasing ire from the administration, the Saudis and Israelis. Such significant military decisions require public debate to force presidents and their generals to justify their decisions and be held accountable for the consequences. But checks and balances have eroded since Sept. 11, 2001, as ordinary Americans became indifferent to the country’s endless wars against terrorists and Congress largely abdicated its constitutional role to share responsibility with the president for sending troops into battle. The United States initially deployed troops to Yemen to fight Al Qaeda’s forces there, under post-Sept. 11 congressional authorization measures. But Congress never specifically approved military involvement in the Saudi-Houthi civil war.”
Support from Peace Science:
- When states receive foreign outside military support, civil wars last longer.
- When U.S. troops are deployed, the more central a host country is to U.S. security interests, the greater the decrease in local human rights levels.
- Foreign military support increases the risk of retaliatory terrorist attacks by groups from countries experiencing the conflict. Weapons sales are the most significant factor in increasing the likelihood of a terrorist attack.
- Why Are American Troops in the Yemen War? By the Editorial Board of the New York Times. May 3, 2018.
- Peace Science Digest:
- Vol. 1, Issue 6 “Military Support And An Increased Vulnerability To Terrorist Attacks”
- Vol. 2, Issue 4 “External Support in Civil War Termination”
- Vol. 2, Issue 5 “Human Rights Implications Of Foreign U.S. Military Bases”