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Last Update: 1 Day and 13 Hour and 4 Minute ago
News code: 25018
Published Date: Thursday 15 March 2018 - 15:59:24
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Pentagon continues to back Saudi war in Yemen

Pentagon continues to back Saudi war in Yemen
World  - Defense Secretary Jim Mattis urged lawmakers on Wednesday to reject a bipartisan proposal that seeks to cut off American support for Saudi Arabia’s controversial three-year war in Yemen.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), Mr. Mattis warned that the proposal would undermine American interests in the Middle East, jeopardize the country's partnership with Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Mattis made the personal appeal as part of an aggressive Pentagon effort to derail a resolution that could come up for a vote next week, when Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrives in Washington to meet with President Donald Trump.

Prince Mohammed, the 32-year-old heir to the throne, is seen as the architect of the country's war against Houthi militants in Yemen. The United Nations says that airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition have killed thousands of civilians in Yemen, triggering international calls for the U.S. to stop helping the kingdom.

The U.S. provides Saudi Arabia with precision-guided weapons and carries out aerial refueling of jet fighters. That support has drawn bipartisan concern in Congress, where more lawmakers are questioning the U.S. role.

Next week, the U.S. Senate could vote on a resolution co-authored by Sens. Mike Lee, (R., Utah), Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and Chris Murphy (D., Conn.) that calls on Mr. Trump to end American support to Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Lee told The Wall Street Journal that U.S. support for Saudi Arabia was fueling a regional conflict without having proper backing from Congress.

In his letter opposing the resolution, Mr. Mattis argued that ending U.S. support would be counterproductive.

"New restrictions on this limited U.S. military support could increase civilian casualties, jeopardize cooperation with our partners on counterterrorism. and reduce our influence with the Saudis-all of which would further exacerbate the situation and humanitarian crisis," Mr. Mattis wrote in the letter, reviewed by the Journal.

News Code: 25018
Published Date: Thursday 15 March 2018 - 15:59:24
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