The US is set to end its support for offensive operations by its allies in Yemen, which has been devastated by a six-year war in which more than 110,000 people are believed to have died.
In President Joe Biden’s first major foreign policy speech, he said;”The war in Yemen must end,”
Prior to Joe Biden, his two predecessors backed a coalition led by Saudi Arabia against Houthi rebels in Yemen. This conflict led to millions of Yemenis on the brink of starvation. The fighting began in 2014 between a weak Yemeni government and the Houthi rebel movement. It then escalated a year later, when Saudi Arabia and eight other Arab states – backed by the US, the UK and France – began airstrikes against the Houthis.
Mr Biden declared other changes to US foreign policy, such as a large increase in the number of refugees accepted by the US, and a reversal of the decision to withdraw American troops from Germany, where they have been stationed since the end of World War Two. His speech marks a sharp break with the policies of former President Donald Trump, who left office last month.
What does the Yemen announcement imply?
As a result of Thursday’s announcement, the US will stop supporting offensive operations, including the sale of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Prior to this decision, the US had been backing the Yemeni government and its Saudi-led allies in their war against the Houthis.
However, this will not affect operations against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The Biden administration had already put a temporary halt on arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.