Pakistan in Talks to Send Combat Troops to Saudi Arabia-Yemen Border

Plan Said to Involve Single Brigade of Troops

by Jason Ditz, March 13, 2017

Reports out of Pakistan suggest that negotiations are ongoing, and potentially virtually completed, on a plan for the Pakistani Army to send a combat brigade to Saudi Arabia, to be deployed along the southern border with Yemen to prevent cross-border raids.

A combat brigade would likely be around 2,000 to 3,000 troops, which seems an excessive deployment since throughout Saudi Arabia’s invasion of Yemen, fighting along the border itself has been rare and usually brief skirmishes that don’t amount to much.

It is particularly noteworthy that the deployment is happening now, because two years ago Pakistan openly refused a Saudi invitation to join the war, leading to a series of threats from Saudi Arabia and its allies. There was concern in Pakistan that joining the sectarian war would raise tensions with its own Shi’ite minority.

Pakistani military officials also made it clear at the time of the Yemen invasion that their historical support for Saudi Arabia meant they’d help defend Saudi territory if it was threatened, but didn’t feel obliged to participate in Saudi offensive wars.

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