Small Wars Journal

Mattis Supports Saudi War in Yemen, Rejects Privatizing Afghan Fight

Mattis Rejects Plan to Privatize Military Effort in Afghanistan by Ellen Mitchell - The Hill

Defense Secretary James Mattis on Tuesday shot down recently recirculated plans to privatize combat efforts in Afghanistan.

“When the Americans put their nation’s credibility on the line, privatizing it is probably not a wise idea,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon.

The former head of U.S. Central Command did not mention by name Erik Prince, the Blackwater founder who in recent weeks has shopped a plan to replace most U.S. troops in Afghanistan with private contractors.

Mattis had been asked if there was an advantage to privatizing forces if there are going to be boots on the ground in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future.

About 14,000 U.S. military personnel are currently in Afghanistan to counter terrorist groups including the Taliban, al Qaeda and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, as well as to train and assist Afghan forces.

More than 3,000 troops were added to the fight after President Trump in August 2017 announced a new strategy to turn around the war, which top generals had compared to a stalemate at the time.

Mattis that the U.S. military remains in the 17-year war “in order to ensure America’s security.”…

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Mattis Supports Saudi War in Yemen, Rejects Privatizing Afghan Fight by Paul McLeary and Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. - Breaking Defense

Under growing pressure from human rights groups and the United Nations, Defense Secretary James Mattis said Tuesday that Washington’s support for the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen is “not unconditional,” following several high-profile attacks by Saudi jets that left dozens of civilians dead, including children.

Mattis didn’t offer any indication what conditions would have to be met, however, for the US to turn off the spigot of arms sales, training, intelligence and operational support which allows Saudi and Emirati jets to continue their assaults against Houthi rebels in the war-ravaged country.

“We reviewed the support for the Arab Coalition when we came into office,” Mattis told reporters during a rare and wide-ranging appearance in the Pentagon briefing room alongside Joint Chiefs chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford. “We determined that it was the right thing to do to support them in the defense of their own countries, but also to restore the rightful government there.” …

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