Tuesday marked a significant shift away from the US government’s several years supporting the Saudi invasion of Yemen. Secretary of Defense James Mattis is now demanding an immediate ceasefire in Yemen, and peace talks within the next 30 days.
In his comments, Mattis said the US has been watching the conflict “for long enough.” That’s perhaps underselling the US involvement, which included directly arming Saudi forces and participating in parts of the war.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also demanded that the Saudis and UAE completely cease airstrikes against populated areas. This is a long time coming, as those airstrikes have killed thousands of civilians.
The goal, it seems, is to set up a “solution” to the conflict at some point in November, when all factions would meet in Sweden. The US is not saying what this “solution” would look like, but previously the peace talks have collapsed more or less immediately, based on demands that any resolution involve the total disarmament of the Houthi movement, and the Saudi-backed factions returning as unquestioned rulers of the entire country.