A recent report says the US has expanded its role in Riyadh’s bloody war on Yemen well beyond mere arms sales and logistical support by secretly deploying a team of elite commandos to the Yemeni border to help the Saudi military in battles against the Houthi Ansarullah movement.
Citing US and European officials, The New York Times reported Thursday that about a dozen commandos with the US Army Special Forces, known as the Green Berets, had been deployed in December 2017 to Saudi Arabia’s southern border regions.
The secretive mission, according to the report, is aimed at helping Saudi forces locate Yemeni missile launch sites and destroy the missile supplies of the Houthi movement, Yemen’s de facto military power, which has been defending the country, along with allied forces, against the Saudi aggression.
The New York Times, however, said there was no indication that the commandos had crossed into Yemen.
The report cited a half-dozen officials from the US as well as European and Arab countries as saying on condition of anonymity that the American commandos were “training” Saudi ground troops to secure their border in the face of counter-attacks from Yemen.
The American special forces are using spy aircraft that can collect electronic signals to track the weapons in Yemen and their launch sites, the officials added.
The Saudi troops are also closely cooperating with US intelligence experts in the southern Saudi city of Najran, which has been target of several Yemeni retaliatory attacks, the report added.
The deployment took place weeks after a ballistic missile fired from Yemen hit close to the Saudi capital, Riyadh. The kingdom claimed it had intercepted the missile, but footage and photos later shared of the strike cast serious doubt on that claim.
Yemeni forces regularly fire ballistic missiles at positions inside Saudi Arabia in retaliation for Riyadh’s attacks against their country.