After the Thursday resignation of Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his entire cabinet, US officials say their “counter-terror operations” in Yemen are virtually entirely paralyzed.
The officials are saying they have put an entire halt to Yemen drone strikes and other operations in the wake of Hadi’s ouster. They insist this is temporary while they assess conditions.
The White House also tried to make it sound like the situation was extremely temporary, going so far as to deny that there were any policy changes as such at all.
Yet the Hadi government has been falling apart in Yemen for quite some time, and there’s no easy fix here. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine that the Houthis will accept a successor in the military dictator model of Hadi or his predecessor, Ali Abdullah Saleh, both of whom were on board with the US war.
That could be a problem, as the US has sought nominal support for its drone wars, even if in cases like Pakistan the claimed support was in direct opposition to what that government was saying.
If there is no government in place in Yemen for the long term, or indeed if a government that is not pro-US is installed, it’s going to be difficult for the US to make the claim that the war is being conducted with a government’s imprimatur.