President Joe Biden has made it clear during his first few weeks in office that he intends to forge a very different path than his predecessor — particularly on the foreign policy front.
The president confirmed as much during a speech on Thursday when he announced, among other things, his administration’s stunning decision to withdraw the United States’ support of Saudi Arabian involvement in the ongoing Yemeni civil war.
“Stepping up our diplomacy”
According to Fox News, the end of this arrangement includes a pause, if not complete cancellation, of arms sales to allied Middle Eastern nations as agreed upon during the administration of former President Donald Trump.
Furthermore, Biden’s decision would include stepped-up efforts to join the United Nations in its efforts to impose a peace agreement to end the devastating years-long war in Yemen, which is located just south of Saudi Arabia in the Arabian Peninsula.
In the wide-ranging speech at the State Department this week, Biden provided a broad outline of his plan to define “America’s place in the world.”
The president explained that the U.S. is “also stepping up our diplomacy to end the war in Yemen — a war which has created a humanitarian and strategic catastrophe.”
According to Biden, he has reached out to his Middle East advisers “to ensure our support” for the U.N.-backed ceasefire plan and resume peace talks in the region.
“Ending all American support”
Remarking on his appointment of Tim Lenderking to serve as a new envoy for the conflict in Yemen, the president said he had been instructed to “work with the U.N. envoy and all parties of the conflict to push for a diplomatic resolution.”
Despite his insistence that his administration is “ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arms sales,” Biden acknowledged that Saudi Arabia “faces missile attacks, UAV strikes, and other threats from Iranian-supplied forces in multiple countries,” including the Iranian-back Houthi rebels fighting against the Saudi-backed Yemeni government since 2015, according to Reuters.
“We’re going to continue to support and help Saudi Arabia defend its sovereignty and its territorial integrity and its people,” Biden vowed.
Earlier this year, Forbes reported that one of the Biden administration’s first moves was to place a pause for review on recent deals reached by the Trump administration to sell military equipment and weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
That includes an agreement for Saudi Arabia to purchase approximately 7,500 “smart” bombs worth roughly $478 million — likely to be used in airstrikes against the Houthi rebels — as well as a deal that would facilitate the sale of dozens of F-35 fighter jets to the UAE.