Blogs: Paul Pillar

The Importance of Apolitical Security and Law Enforcement Services

Military Force and the Fallacy of the Middle Way

The Election That Killed Foreign Policy

What Wins Respect for the United States

Entanglement in Yemen and the Logic of War

Paul Pillar

Yet another lesson concerns the folly of defining Middle Eastern politics in terms of some grand alignment of opposing forces and then getting directly involved in any conflict that can be construed as being a clash of such forces. Even if the Yemeni civil war were a front in some kind of Iranian-led regional offensive—and as noted above, it isn't—getting dragged into that war is less likely to serve U.S. interests than Iranian ones. Letting its regional rival Saudi Arabia bleed in the quagmire that the Saudi intervention has produced may have been another motive for whatever aid Iran has given the Houthis. There certainly is no advantage for the United States in being involved as well.

Image: Widespread destruction in the residential neighborhoods near Attan, Yemen. Wikimedia Commons/Ibrahem Qasim