[pjw] NEWS: Saudi coalition attacks Yemeni Port with US support (Wall St Journal 6/12)

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Wed Jun 13 21:48:12 EDT 2018

PJW supporters
At our Iraq Affinity Group meeting Monday, we wondered if there was any 
action we could take to support the UN and (to some extent) the US warning 
off the Saudi Coalition (UAE and Saudi Arabia, mostly) from beginning this 
attack. It appears to have started, with this summary headline at The 
Hill yesterday answering our question in a way:

Saudi-led coalition launches attack on Yemen port despite US warnings

A Wall Street Journal article (below) outlines how the US is still sending 
targeting information to the Saudis despite making noises about being more 
"humanitarian" about bombing.

On the bright side, we also talked about how the House (but not yet, the 
Senate) voted UNANIMOUSLY to add a provision in the Defense Authorization 
Act saying there is no Congressional Authorization for using force against 


...but then back in the negative karma column, we find the US Air Force 
deliberately trying to recruit young people by offering them a "cool" 
video game on line.

OK, here's the WSJ article....
--dan h
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

U.S. Deepens Role in Yemen Fight, Offers Gulf Allies Airstrike-Target 
American military to provide information to fine-tune list of targets in 
important port
By Dion Nissenbaum
June 12, 2018 3:06 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON The U.S. military is providing its Gulf allies with 
intelligence to fine-tune their list of airstrike targets in Yemen's most 
important port, one sign of the Trump administrations deepening role in a 
looming assault that the United Nations says could trigger a massive 
humanitarian crisis.

While the U.N. is working furiously to broker a deal to avert a United 
Arab Emirates assault on a Red Sea port, the U.S. is helping the Gulf 
nation develop a list of targets meant to be off limits for airstrikes, 
American military officials said Tuesday.

The intent is to minimize the number of civilian casualties and the harm 
to critical infrastructure, said one U.S. military official.

The expanded U.S. military help comes as the Trump administration is 
giving the U.A.E. cautious backing for its developing efforts to seize the 
port of Hodeidah from Iranian-backed Houthi forces.

Hodeidah serves as the main gateway for three-quarters of the humanitarian 
and commercial goods flowing into Yemen, where most of the population 
relies on international aid.

The U.N. has warned that an assault on the port could trigger a broad 
humanitarian crisis, derail new efforts to broker a peace deal and leave 
up to 250,000 people dead.

Martin Griffiths, the U.N. special envoy for Yemen, has been working to 
broker a last-minute agreement for the U.N. to manage the port, according 
to people familiar with the talks, but the U.A.E. appeared to be moving 
forward with its military planning. The U.N. and aid groups were 
scrambling to get their international staff out of the port as the U.A.E. 
has indicated that a military offensive could begin as soon as this week.

Mr. Griffiths has warned that any assault on the port could be a 
death-knell for his nascent attempts to broker a deal.

Initially, the U.A.E. assured the U.S. and United Kingdom that it wouldn't 
target the port without support from both Western allies. But that changed 
over the weekend when the U.A.E. said its forces near the port had come 
under attack.

Top Trump administration officials have expressed strong concerns about 
the U.A.E.s efforts to target the port, but they have tempered their 
objections in recent days.

One U.S. official said that Washington was giving the U.A.E. a blinking 
yellow light of caution.

On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis 
offered qualified support for the U.A.E. as the U.S. dropped its appeal 
for a de-escalation and instead turned its focus toward ensuring that an 
expected assault doesn't make things worse for Yemen.

In a statement, Mr. Pompeo said he had made clear to Emirati leaders the 
U.S. desire to address their security concerns while preserving the free 
flow of humanitarian aid and lifesaving commercial imports.

We expect all parties to honor their commitments to work with the U.N. 
Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary General for Yemen on this 
issue, support a political process to resolve this conflict, ensure 
humanitarian access to the Yemeni people, and map a stable political 
future for Yemen, he said.

Mr. Mattis told Pentagon reporters on Monday that he backed that view.

How do we support that humanitarian effort, the U.N. special envoy and try 
to drive this to a negotiated, you know, end to the fighting? he said.

Mr. Mattis has privately expressed reservations about the looming 
operation, according to the people familiar with the talks, but others in 
the Trump administration see the U.A.E. military moves as a chance to give 
the Gulf nation more bargaining power in peace talks. The Pentagon chief 
has voiced concerns that a protracted assault on the port could worsen the 
humanitarian crisis and undercut American counterterrorism operations in 
Yemen, where elite U.S. forces work alongside their UAE counterparts to 
target Islamic militants.

The U.S. provides the Saudi-led coalition with modest support for the 
fight in Yemen. U.S. pilots carry out midair refueling operations for 
coalition warplanes that use American made weapons to carry out airstrikes 
in Yemen. The U.S. shares limited intelligence with the Saudi-led 
coalition, including information used to pinpoint hospitals, mosques, U.N. 
offices and other locations meant to be off-limits for airstrikes. The 
coalition already has more than 41,000 locations in Yemen on its no-strike 
list, and now the U.S. military is helping its allies fine-tune its 
targeting plans for Hodeidah.

The Trump administration views the fight in Yemen as a key strategic 
battle in its effort to combat Iran's expanding influence across the 
Middle East.

U.S. and U.N. officials say that Iran has provided the Houthi fighters in 
Yemen with ballistic missiles they have used to repeatedly target 
neighboring Saudi Arabia-- a charge that Tehran denies.

Opposition to the U.A.E. move is rising in Washington, where lawmakers 
from both parties were circulating letters of concern about the U.A.E. 
plans. U.S. lawmakers have unsuccessfully tried to cut off American 
support for the war because of concerns about American culpability in 
airstrikes that have killed more than 4,000 civilians, according to the 

In the House of Representatives, lawmakers were gathering signatures for a 
letter that urges Mr. Mattis to do all he can to forestall the attack.

We urge you to use all available means to avert a catastrophic military 
assault on Yemen's major port city of Hodeida by the Saudi-led coalition, 
and to present Congress with immediate clarification regarding the full 
scope of the U.S. military involvement in that conflict, according to a 
copy of the letter reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Appeared in the June 13, 2018, print edition as 'U.S. Expands Its Role in 
Yemen Fighting.'

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