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Saudi-led military campaign gets bipartisan U.S support

The statements of support come after similar comments by the Obama administration

Published: Updated:

U.S. lawmakers of both parties reiterated their support for the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen against Houthi rebels on Friday.

“I applaud the Saudis for taking this action to protect their homeland and to protect their own neighborhood,” House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, said at a news conference. “If America leads, our allies in the region would be tickled to death and would be happy to join a coalition. But America has to lead.”

The statements of support come after similar comments by the Obama administration.

Republican senators John McCain, and Lindsey Graham respectively chairmen of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Foreign Aid spending panel, gave similar views.

“Saudi Arabia and our Arab partners deserve our support as they seek to restore order in Yemen, which has collapsed into civil war,” the two officials said in a joint statement. “We understand why our Saudi and other Arab partners felt compelled to take action. The prospect of radical groups like Al-Qaeda, as well as Iranian-backed militants, finding safe haven on the border of Saudi Arabia was more than our Arab partners could withstand.”

The Obama administration has said it is providing “logistical and intelligence support” for the operations. National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan justified the offensive against the Houthis as having been requested by Hadi and Yemen’s “legitimate government.”

“While U.S. forces are not taking direct military action in Yemen in support of this effort,” she said in a statement, “we are establishing a joint planning cell with Saudi Arabia to coordinate U.S. military and intelligence support.”

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce, a Republican, endorsed the U.S. assistance.

Regional threat

“The takeover of southern Yemen by the Iranian-supported Houthis has led to chaos, threatening the national security interests of our regional partners and the United States,” Royce said in a statement. “Regional states, led by Saudi Arabia at President Hadi’s request, are taking action from the air. The United States should support our Saudi and Gulf partners with appropriate logistical and intelligence support to combat this threat.”

Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the Intelligence panel, said the Obama administration “made the right decision” in supporting the Saudi-led effort.

“The military action by Saudi Arabia and its partners was necessitated by the illegal action of the Houthi rebels and their Iranian backers,” Schiff said. “But ultimately, a negotiated end to this crisis is the only way to restore order in Yemen and shrink the space for terrorism — all possible efforts must be made to advance this objective.”

Senate Foreign Relations member Tim Kaine, a Democrat, agreed - but warned against allowing Yemen to “spiral[ing] into civil war or regional proxy war.”

Meanwhile, the United States has confirmed that it would fight “with all its might” anyone who attacks Saudi Arabia and Riyadh has been informed of this, Al Arabiya News Channel reported on Friday.