Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Tim Lenderking on Thursday suggested that he believes “there is no military solution” to end the Yemen War, a position which US officials have rarely said publicly over nearly three years of Saudi invasion.
Suggesting that there is a political settlement possible, Lenderking says it is possible for the Shi’ite Houthi movement in Yemen to be included, but says they’d have to stop “menacing” Saudi Arabia, citing two missiles fired at the Saudis.
He said the US would not tolerate them “continuing to rocket and rocket a key ally like Saudi Arabia on the regular basis,” though of course it’s not clear how many more missiles the Houthis have beyond the two used.
The Houthis have long expressed openness to a political settlement of the war, so long as Saudi airstrikes stop. The Saudis have also at times suggested they were open to a settlement, though the Saudi-backed Yemeni faction has resisted anything that would cost President Hadi power in the post-wa situation.
Lenderking’s comments suggest the US may be pushing for talks in Yemen, though since other US officials have loudly blamed Yemen’s woes on Iran, it’s not clear they’re going to stick with support for such talks.