U.S. Weighs Expanding Military Role in Yemen War by Dion Nissenbaum – Wall Street Journal
The Trump administration is weighing an appeal from the United Arab Emirates for direct U.S. support to seize Yemen’s main port for humanitarian aid from Iranian-backed Houthi fighters, according to U.S. officials, a move they worry could have catastrophic effects on the country.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has asked for a quick assessment of the UAE’s plea for assistance such as surveillance drone flights to help a Saudi-led coalition retake Hodeidah, which currently serves as a vital lifeline for the country’s 29 million residents, U.S. officials said.
U.A.E. and Saudi Arabian officials have assured the U.S. that they won’t try to seize the Red Sea port until they get backing from Washington, American officials said. But there is growing concern in the Trump administration that fighting around the city could spiral out of control and force Washington’s hand. Yemeni fighters backed by the coalition are battling Houthis near the city.
“We continue to have a lot of concerns about a Hodeidah operation,” said one senior U.S. official. “We are not 100% comfortable that, even if the coalition did launch an attack, that they would be able to do it cleanly and avoid a catastrophic incident.”
The debate over increasing U.S. support to the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia is competing for the attention of top administration officials working furiously to prepare for the planned summit with North Korea in Singapore on June 12. But escalating military operations around the Yemeni port have triggered new urgency in Washington…