James Mattis urges Trump to be more aggressive in Yemen

The Secretary of defense wants to escalate America's military support to stop Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen

Published March 27, 2017 2:57PM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
(AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

Two of the more controversial aspects of President Donald Trump's foreign policy has been his botched raid of Yemen and the fact that Secretary of Defense James Mattis has a well-known obsession with Iran; he even said in April that ISIS is "nothing more than an excuse for Iran to continue its mischief."

Now it looks like those two components of Trumpian foreign policy are about to be merged.

Mattis wants Trump to take a more aggressive approach to confronting Iran in Yemen, according to senior administration officials who spoke to The Washington Post. It would mean that the U.S. would work more closely with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — but would stop short of putting boots on the ground to take the Red Sea port of Hodeida.

So far, the American involvement in Yemen has been limited to airstrikes and the aforementioned botched raid, which was not directly related to the internal conflict there. The Trump team has averaged staging a drone strike every day. Yemen has been reeling from the effects of the bombing, which has caused a major famine in the country:

In addition to thousands of Yemeni civilians being killed directly by Saudi bombs, the bombing has also been responsible for the massive destruction of civilian infrastructure, from water facilities to sewage treatment plants to hospitals. Particularly devastating has been the bombing of the port of Hodeidah, where most of the humanitarian aid has been entering the country.

An estimated 10,000 civilians have been killed by the airstrikes and on-the-ground fighting, The Washington Post has noted.


By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. His diverse interests are reflected in his interview, including: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, inventor Ernő Rubik, comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, voice actor Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs"), mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (2013-present), dog cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), comedian and writer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld"), Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), biologist and genomics entrepreneur William Haseltine, comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2"), linguistics consultant Paul Frommer ("Avatar"), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (2007-2015), computer engineer and Internet co-inventor Leonard Kleinrock and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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Donald Trump Iran James Mattis Yemen