The United States is involved in wars in Iraq and Syria and now is getting involved in another conflict in Yemen. The country has been in a state of Civil War for the last 2 years. In 2015 the Houthis, a group backed by Iran, seized the country and the US shut its embassy and evacuated all its personnel. Obama wanted nothing to do with Yemen. The American withdrawal affected the fight against Al Qaeda as Special Forces fighting this terror group were also withdrawn. The Saudis felt that the coming to power of the Houthis was a threat to them and they cobbled a military alliance to overthrow the Iran-backed regime.
Two years have elapsed since then but the Saudi coalition, despite carpet bombing, has not made much headway. Events have moved fast after Trump became president. He authorized a SEAL raid on a mountain hideout which was anything but a success. One seal was killed and a helicopter was lost. This is the beginning and the US military finds itself increasingly involved in the battle in Yemen, as reported by Fox News.
The ground for the present involvement was laid by a Houthi missile attack on two US destroyers in October last year. The attacks failed and, in retaliation, the US warship fired a string of missiles that destroyed Houthi radar sites on the coast. The Pentagon claimed that the radar stations were directing attacks on US ships. The United States is supporting a Saudi Arabia-led coalition fighting the Houthis. The coalition has not achieved much although 2 years have elapsed.
The Houthis are proving to be a resilient force. The United States, perhaps under pressure from the Saudi’s, have committed special troops to help the Saudi alliance. This marks a new engagement in Yemen. The US is already intricately linked in battle in Iraq and now has entered Syria as well. It is supporting the Free Syrian Army and the Kurdish rebels. Yemen will be the third country that will now bear the brunt of US intervention.
The United States is slowly getting sucked into the Yemen Civil War. Many feel it will be an open-ended intervention as the Saudi alliance, despite the latest US weapon and warplanes, have been unable to subdue the Houthis. The US air raids have also dramatically increased in Yemen.
These are in support of the Saudi alliance. Trump has delegated responsibility in military matters to Mattis and the armed forces but the overall policy is framed by him. It will be interesting to watch if he authorizes a full-scale intervention in Yemen. To an outsider, it might look like a losing proposition.