In a previous post, I explained my concerns with the Department of Defense proposal to offer direct military assistance to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. Daniel DePetris has a good piece in National Interest that explained why this would indeed be a bad idea. DePetris focuses on the impact of further U.S. involvement on the current humanitarian crisis, and also notes the violation of the laws of armed conflict by all sides. The most interesting argument he offers, however, focuses on how our intervention will hurt efforts to negotiate a peace:
The civil war in Yemen isn’t a top-tier priority for policymakers in Washington, but when it is discussed in the public domain, U.S. officials often repeat the mantra that there is no military solution to the conflict. The State Department talking points are repetitive, but ultimately correct: only a Yemeni-led peace process among all of the country’s belligerents and stakeholders will end the conflict and allow Yemenis and the international community to begin the expensive process of rebuilding the country’s infrastructure. During his last months in office, Secretary of State John Kerry flew to the region and met with Arab leaders on multiple occasions, ultimately coming to the same exact conclusions: that the war is at a military stalemate; no combatant is strong enough to vanquish their enemies without completely destroying Yemen as a nation; and the most durable way to resolve Yemen’s many political problems is by striking a fair political agreement that ushers in a new era of Yemeni politics.
If the U.S. does indeed decide to plunge further into the conflict and assist the Saudis and Emiratis in their campaign, Washington is effectively deepening its role as a belligerent to the advantage of one side in an internal conflict. In other words, at the same time that the United States would be trying to work with the UN to resurrect a dormant Yemeni peace process that is hanging on by a thread, Washington would be sending thousands of smart bombs to Riyadh and improving the intelligence picture for Saudi and Emirati aircraft searching for Houthi targets. The two are completely contradictory; the United States would be dousing a burning house with water on one day, only to light a match the next.You can read the entire article here. As I explained in my last post on Yemen, the motivating factor here within the Administration seems to be a desire to push back on Iran. In my view, Yemen is not the time or place for this pushback.