The United States will speed up weapons deliveries to members of the Saudi-led coalition launching airstrikes against Iran-aligned Shiite rebels in Yemen, a top American diplomat said Tuesday.
Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken blamed the rebels, known as Houthis, for creating political and economic instability in Yemen that Al Qaeda seeks to exploit.
“We have expedited weapons deliveries, we have increased our intelligence sharing, and we have established a joint coordination and planning cell in the Saudi operations center,” he said in a statement to reporters after meeting with Saudi royals and Yemen’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who fled his country due to Houthi advances and is currently in Saudi Arabia.
Intelligence sharing includes making available raw aerial imagery the coalition could use to better strike anti-Hadi forces, a U.S. defense official not authorized to comment publicly told the Associated Press. Blinken said the U.S. and the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council must coordinate closely and press all parties to seek a political solution.
A Pentagon spokesman told Fox News that the joint coordination cell was established at the beginning of the conflict late last month. Pentagon press officer Col. Steve Warren said recently that a “handful” of U.S. advisers were working there, but did not specify an exact number.