Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

"Everywhere you look, if there's trouble in the region, you find Iran," the defense secretary said Wednesday. (Photo: Jim Mattis/flickr/cc)

"We're Not Leaving": US Weighs Helping Saudis Bomb Yemen Even More

Defense Secretary James Mattis cites Iran as reason the U.S. is considering helping Saudi Arabia-led bombing coalition

Nadia Prupis

The U.S. is looking to increase support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen, officials said Wednesday—a move that some see as another signal that President Donald Trump is itching to take the U.S. to a new war.

Among the options for support are boosting intelligence-sharing and logistical efforts. Officials say increased military pressure on the Houthis is needed to push them into negotiating an end to the conflict—but the rebel group has shown no interest in peace talks since a previous attempt failed last summer, Stars and Stripes reported.

While the U.S. said it would not put boots on the ground, officials said the support would make clear the administration's hard-line stance on Iran.

During a visit to Saudi Arabia this week, Defense Secretary James Mattis accused Iran of being a troublemaker, saying the country was destabilizing the region by supplying the Houthis with weapons.

"Everywhere you look, if there's trouble in the region, you find Iran," Mattis said Wednesday after meetings with King Salman and other top Saudi officials. "So right now what we're seeing is the nations in the region and others elsewhere trying to checkmate Iran and the amount of disruption and instability they can cause."

The U.S. would "reinforce Saudi Arabia's resistance to Iran's mischief," he continued, adding that "we are not leaving this region."

The news comes amid tense relations between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. One of the Obama administration's parting moves was to halt planned armed sales to the Gulf kingdom over civilian casualties caused by the coalition's bombing campaign in Yemen—a decision which the Trump administration immediately looked to undo.

Just last week, dozens of bipartisan lawmakers sent a letter to the president urging him to seek approval from Congress before expanding military action in Yemen.

But Mattis on Wednesday said, "We can overcome any past frustrations."

Since the war began in 2015, some 10,000 people have been killed, including 4,000 civilians, and roughly 3 million Yemenis have been displaced, according to the United Nations.

The announcement also comes just after Trump authorized an airstrike on a Syrian air base and deployed the "mother of all bombs" in Afghanistan, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed that a preemptive strike against North Korea was "on the table."

As Middle East expert Phyllis Bennis, who directs the New Internationalism project at the Institute for Policy Studies, wrote for Foreign Policy in Focus, "Not one of these actions was necessary. Not one will make people in this country—let alone the Afghans, Iraqis, Syrians, Yemenis, Somalis, or others—any safer."

"The question now isn't what Trump—or the generals and billionaires filling his cabinet—will do next," Bennis wrote. "It's what will we do next, as opponents of these wars?"


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Advocates Applaud as FTC Sues to Stop Microsoft-Activsion Mega-Merger

Biden's FTC, said one consumer campaigner, "is showing, once again, that it is serious about enforcing the law, reversing corporate concentration, and taking on the tough cases."

Brett Wilkins ·


Press Freedom Champions Renew Call for DOJ to Drop Charges Against Assange

"It is time for the Biden administration to break from the Trump administration's decision to indict Assange—a move that was hostile to the media and democracy itself."

Jessica Corbett ·


Oral Arguments Boost Fears of SCOTUS Buying Theory That Would 'Sow Elections Chaos'

"This reckless case out of North Carolina could explode the unifying understanding that power ultimately rests with the people of this country," one campaigner said of Moore v. Harper.

Jessica Corbett ·


War Industry 'Celebrating Christmas Early' as House Passes $858 Billion NDAA

"There is no justification to throw... $858 billion at the Pentagon when we're told we can't afford child tax credit expansion, universal paid leave, or other basic human necessities," said the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen. "End of story."

Brett Wilkins ·


GOP Florida Lawmaker Behind 'Don't Say Gay' Law Charged with Covid Relief Fraud

"It does not surprise me that someone who exploits queer kids for political gain would be charged with exploiting taxpayers for personal gain," said one Democratic state lawmaker.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo