Regional experts are warning against knee-jerk calls to pull American support from the Saudi-led alliance battling Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen amid heightened congressional scrutiny of the U.S. relationship with the Gulf kingdom.
Several recent events, including the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and warnings of widespread famine in Yemen, have prompted appeals to the Trump administration to reevaluate its backing of Saudi Arabia, but experts caution that cutting U.S. aid would relinquish key territory to Iran.
“The implications of a withdraw is that we cede ground to the Iranians in their proxy battle across the Middle East, and Yemen, which is a strategic piece of real estate, effectively becomes Iranian-controlled,” Jonathan Schanzer, the senior vice president at the Foundation of the Defense of Democracies, told the Washington Free Beacon. “You’re looking at another Lebanon, at minimum, where chunks of the country are controlled by Iranian proxies with the ability to expand.”
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