Air strike on Sana’a, Yemen, 2015. (photo Ibrahem Qasim)
Air strike on Sana’a, Yemen, 2015. (photo Ibrahem Qasim)

Joe Biden has repeatedly voiced his intention to stop the US’s backing of the Yemen conflict, making it one of his key promises on the campaign trail.

Iran’s foreign ministry said on Saturday that a new US stance on the Yemen war can signal a whole new course of action, after President Joe Biden announced this week that Washington was ending its support for the Saudi Arabia-led military campaign targeting Houthis.

“Stopping support … for the Saudi coalition, if not a political manoeuvre, could be a step towards correcting past mistakes,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh was quoted as saying by state media.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Thursday that US President Joe Biden was set to announce in his speech at the State Department the end of America’s support for operations in Yemen, in what will in effect be the fulfilment of one of the new president’s campaign pledges.

Biden is expected to choose Timothy Lenderking as the US’s special envoy to Yemen, where he will have the task of bringing the warring sides to the negotiating table and then a ceasefire.

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Yemen has been embroiled in a lengthy conflict between government forces, led by President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, and Houthi rebels since 2014. Saudi Arabia and a coalition of mostly Gulf States have been seeking to restore Hadi to power since March 2015, when it launched a military operation to push the Houthis out of the areas they control, in the wake of a revolution in late 2014.

In mid-January, before President Joe Biden was sworn in, the State Department announced that the US would add Yemen’s Houthi militia to its list of terrorist organisations, with the United Nations subsequently warning that the move would probably “have serious humanitarian and political repercussions”.

Biden’s administration, on the contrary, is moving to revoke the designation of Houthis as a terrorist group, in light of the need to mitigate one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, with a staggering over 80 percent of the population being in dire need of assistance.