News / Middle East

US General Says Yemen Could Become Iran-Saudi Proxy War

Multimedia

Audio
Al Pessin

The commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, General David Petraeus, says there are indications the domestic conflict in Yemen could become a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia.  Petraeus spoke in Washington Friday at the Institute for the Study of War. 

General Petraeus was asked whether he sees the civil war between Yemen's government and rebel Houthi forces in the north as a proxy war, with Iran supporting the rebels and Saudi Arabia helping the government.  The general said it is not a proxy war now, but has the potential to become one, and there may already have been some movement in that direction.

"Frankly, although there is a lot of rumor, there's a lot of allegations, and so forth, we have been hard pressed to find indications of substantial levels of that," he said.  "Although there have been some indicators in the past month or so that some of that is indeed beginning to happen."

General Petraeus says he has been concerned about growing militancy in Yemen for more than two years.  When he became commander of U.S. forces in the region a year-and-a-half ago he ordered his staff to develop a plan for engagement with Yemen, and last year he made two secret visits to the country.

"[The] first trip, candidly didn't go entirely according to what we hoped it would be," he said. "It was more along the lines of 'frank and open' conversations.  The visit in July, on the other hand, was a literal as well as figurative embrace."

After that more-productive visit, General Petraeus went to Yemen again on January 2, for what he thought would be another secret visit.  But this time, to his surprise, he was greeted by a television camera in the office of President Ali Abdallah Salih.

"There was no reticence to show he [the president] was meeting with the commander of [the U.S.] Central Command," he said.  "And, indeed, announcing that the reason I was there was to talk about how we could support them, assist them, in the effort to deal with the growing al-Qaida in the Arabian Penninsula."

After that visit, General Petraeus announced a doubling of U.S. military aid to Yemen, to $150 million this year, but Pentagon officials said the final figure had not yet been officially determined.

The general praised Yemeni military strikes in December that killed insurgent leaders and suicide bombers, and destroyed two training camps.  But he said, as with all places where insurgents and terrorists find fertile recruiting grounds, the key is to put together an international civilian effort to help provide the kind of aid and services the people want and need.  He said Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf states can be very helpful in that effort. 
 

You May Like

US Storm Falls Short of Severe Predictions, Yet Affects Millions

NYC mayor says, 'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' yet blizzard warnings, travel bans remain for several East Coast states More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle with Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people were displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid