US mulling direct military assistance to help seize key Yemen port: report

US mulling direct military assistance to help seize key Yemen port: report
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The U.S. is considering giving direct military support to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in an effort to capture a key port in Yemen from Houthi rebels, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The UAE has reportedly asked the U.S. for assistance in helping the Saudi-led coalition retake Hodeidah, which provides support to the whole of Yemen. 


U.S. officials told the Journal that the Saudis and the UAE will not act until they receive U.S. support, but Washington worries about the toll such a move could take on the war-torn country. 

“We continue to have a lot of concerns about a Hodeidah operation,” a high-ranking official told the Journal. “We are not 100 percent comfortable that, even if the coalition did launch an attack, that they would be able to do it cleanly and avoid a catastrophic incident.”

Administration officials familiar with the situation in Yemen are planning to meet on Monday to discuss next steps, according to the newspaper.

The coalition also decided that UAE forces would not interfere in the port in the near future so the United Nations envoy can begin peace efforts in the country's civil war, the Journal reported.

The U.S. already supports the Saudi campaign with billions of dollars in arms, intelligence and logistics such as air refueling.

U.S. lawmakers have not warmed to the idea of additional involvement in Yemen. 

The House last year passed a nonbinding resolution that called U.S. military involvement in the war unauthorized, while the Senate recently blocked a resolution that would have put an end to U.S. military support for the campaign.