US Officials Call for Immediate Peace Talks on Yemen

US demand for ceasefire seen as rebuke of Saudis

Following Defense Secretary James Mattis’ and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s calls Tuesday for an immediate ceasefire in Yemen, and talks to be set up in the next 30 days, the US is continuing to push for peace talks, saying they believe “the climate is right” for a UN-backed effort.

Previous UN-brokered talks have never gone far, with the Saudi-backed forces refusing any deal that involves any concessions. The most recent talks never even started, as the Saudis refused to agree to let the Houthis fly to the conference.

State Department officials say it’s “time to end the conflict,” and also say the sudden US interest in ending the Saudi-led war has nothing to do with the Saudis having just recently murdered Jamal Khashoggi.

That story is going to be a tough sell, as the Trump Administration clearly wasn’t worried about the war before, and desperately wants to do something short of threatening the Saudi arms deal. This is raising speculation that this marks the start of the US backing away from the Saudis, though it may well be a show of retribution against the kingdom to avoid having to do something more concrete.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.