Mattis: Pulling back US military support in Yemen would be misguided

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US Secretary of Defense James Mattis has said that pulling American military support in Yemen and weapons sales to partners would be misguided.

Mattis’ statement came during his meeting with US senators in a closed briefing at Capitol Hill on Wednesday.

“It is in our interests to end the civil war, to counter Iranian influence and stop Iranian-supplied Houthi rocket and unmanned aerial vehicle attacks on UAE and Saudi Arabia and their civilian populations,” Mattis was quoted as saying.

“Our withdrawal of limited military support would further remove any reason for the Arab coalition to hold up their operation against Hodeidah Port. Taken together, our disengagement and resultant loss of influence would have the opposite effect of mitigating the humanitarian crisis,” Mattis added.

Mattis cautioned senators that it took the US “too long to get here” and that a change in American approach would work against U.N. Special Envoy Martin Griffiths’ efforts by breathing new life into the Houthis' combat operations, “just when they are reluctantly engaging with the UN interlocutor,” he said.

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