An armed man gestures as he stands on the rubble of houses destroyed in an air strike near Sanaa Airport in Yemen on March 26, 2015.
Khaled Abdullah | Reuters
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden on Thursday announced the end of US support for offensive operations in Yemen and appointed a new envoy to oversee the nation’s diplomatic mission to end the civil war there. This is part of a broader foreign policy address that highlights greater US engagement in the world.
“This war has to end,” said Biden during his first foreign policy address as president. We are ending all American support for offensive operations in the Yemen war, including arms sales. “
“At the same time, Saudi Arabia is facing rocket attacks, UAV strikes and other threats from Iranian forces in several countries,” said Biden. “We will continue to help Saudi Arabia defend its sovereignty, territorial integrity and people.”
The president also appointed Tim Lenderking, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iran, Iraq and Regional Affairs to oversee the US diplomatic mission in Yemen.
Biden’s policies, however, will not extend to US offensive operations against Al Qaida’s subsidiary in the region known as AQAP.
“It does not extend to measures against AQAP, which we are taking to protect the homeland and American interests in the region, as well as our allies and partners,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters at a press conference at the White House earlier Thursday.
“It extends to the types of offensive operations that perpetuated a civil war in Yemen that turned into a humanitarian crisis,” Sullivan said.
Continue reading: Biden’s hiatus in golf gun sales suggests a tougher relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia
The US has informed Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates of its decision, Sullivan said. The Saudis and the UAE have been launching attacks against Houthi forces in Yemen since March 2015.
Allies of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Houthis took over the capital of Yemen in 2014, escalating tensions and accelerating intervention in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The US accuses the Houthis of receiving support from Iran.
The United Nations previously said that the ongoing armed conflict in Yemen has caused the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. The US provided more than $ 630 million in humanitarian aid to Yemen in fiscal 2020, according to the State Department.