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US foreign policy

US to ensure Saudi Arabia has ‘tools’ to defend itself from Iran-backed attacks

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The United States said Tuesday that it would ensure Saudi Arabia had all the tools needed to defend itself against threats from Yemen and Iranian-backed attacks.

“We will ensure Saudi Arabia and our regional partners have the tools they need to defend themselves, including against threats emanating from Yemen that are carried out with weapons and support from Iran,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said after the US sanctioned two Houthi militia commanders.

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Earlier Tuesday, the US sanctioned the naval commander and the air force commander of the Houthis.

The Treasury Department said Mansour al-Saadi and Ahmad Ali Ahsan al-Hamzi were being sanctioned for being responsible for “orchestrating attacks by Houthi forces impacting Yemeni civilians, bordering nations, and commercial vessels in international waters.”

Blinken blasted “Iran’s involvement in Yemen” as fanning “the flames of the conflict, threatening greater escalation, miscalculation, and regional instability.” Blinken called out the Houthis for using Iranian weapons, intelligence, training, and support to “conduct attacks threatening civilian targets and infrastructure in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.”

The US will continue to work to bring an end to the conflict in Yemen, Blinken said. “We urge all parties to work in good faith towards a lasting political solution, the only way to end the conflict, and address the terrible humanitarian crisis faced by the people of Yemen.”

Read more: US slaps sanctions on two Houthi commanders, upping pressure on Iran-backed group