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US foreign policy

Pentagon doubles down on support for Saudi Arabia amid Houthi attacks

Biden’s special envoy to Yemen says Saudi Arabia will have to play a leading role in Yemen. “After all, this is their backyard. This is the Gulf region’s backyard,” Timothy Lenderking said.

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The Pentagon Wednesday doubled down on its condemnation of continued attacks against Saudi Arabia and said it was committed to supporting Riyadh’s self-defense capabilities.

“The Houthi attacks are a violation of international law,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters at the Pentagon.

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Kirby added that the US would continue to work with Saudi Arabia to counter external threats and dangers.

Despite a recent decision by the Biden administration to revoke the terrorist designation of the Houthis and their leaders, the Iran-backed group has seemingly escalated its attacks on Saudi Arabia and within Yemen.

The group claimed a rocket attack that struck a civilian airplane at Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport last week.

Critics of Biden’s move have said this would embolden the Houthis.

Separately, on Wednesday, Biden’s special envoy to Yemen, Timothy Lenderking, admitted that Saudi Arabia was needed to end the conflict in Yemen.

“And in the Yemen conflict, you need Saudi Arabia. And they will have to play a leading role. After all, this is their backyard. This is the Gulf region’s backyard. And just as we are - follow things that happen in our backyard very carefully, so must the Saudis and so will the Saudis,” he said in an interview with US-based Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).

“So, they will be a very strong partner in this effort, I’m convinced, and we will be able to maintain the president’s commitments with regard to Saudi Arabia, while ensuring that the Yemen conflict is brought to a close. That is very much the goal.”

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