Reflections

In Yemen, a Ready-Made Quagmire Awaits

Feb 7, 2017 | 04:02 GMT
U.S. goals in Yemen's Civil War
Newly recruited Houthi fighters in Sanaa on Feb. 2. If the United States gets more involved in the conflict against the Houthis, it will expose itself to a host of dangers, not least of all the risk of mission creep.
(MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)

For the past few days, the USS Cole has been patrolling the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. Washington deployed the ship to the narrow waters between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden on Friday in response to a suicide attack that Houthi rebels launched on a Saudi frigate days earlier. The Cole's presence is meant first and foremost to deter or, failing that, to respond to further attacks that would jeopardize civilian shipping routes. It is also meant as a warning to Iran, one of the Houthis' sources of material support in their fight against Yemen's government. In a statement on Friday, U.S. National Security Adviser Gen. Michael Flynn said that "the days of turning a blind eye to Iran's hostile and belligerent actions" had come to an end. A statement from Flynn two days earlier in the week specifically blamed Iran for Houthi actions against U.S., Saudi and Emirati...

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