The Obama administration has said little about its fresh deployment of American troops to Yemen, where the U.S. has spent the past year backing the ruthless Saudi Arabia-led military intervention by shipping weapons, identifying bomb targets and sending its warships to assist the naval blockade.
In fact, when he briefed reporters last week, Pentagon spokesperson Navy Capt. Jeff Davis would not even say how many U.S. troops had been deployed, for what exact length of time and under what legal authority (Obama has not held a congressional vote over the Yemen war). Davis only said the U.S. is sending a “very small number” of forces to support United Arab Emirate’s ground combat against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
This development goes hand-in-hand with an escalation in U.S. intelligence and aerial refueling to back the UAE, as well as the deployment of U.S. assault ships off the coast of Yemen. Meanwhile, Central Command announced last week that the American military “has conducted four counterterrorism airstrikes against the [AQAP] terrorist organization in Yemen in recent weeks.” At least a dozen countries (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Pakistan, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the United States and Britain) are participating in or backing the military coalition.