ADEN -- Yemeni officials are welcoming a recent decision by the United States to reinstate some military assistance to Yemen under the US Foreign Assistance Act and Arms Export Control Act.
The assistance will directly contribute to efforts to advance the United Nations (UN)-led political process and bring about a negotiated settlement to the war, according to the US State Department's 2021 Trafficking in Persons report.
The report also identified a "counter-terrorism campaign and efforts to counter Iranian arms smuggling to the Houthis" as another critical element of ending the conflict in Yemen.
Ending the conflict will help to ensure long-term stability in Yemen and restore "effective governance institutions that are capable of partnering with the United States and the international community in combatting terrorism", it added.
It authorised the use of Peacekeeping Operations funding to support UN efforts, "including the participation of Yemen's military leadership".
Meanwhile, International Military Education and Training funding will be used to build capacity within the Yemeni forces by sending selected military officers to the United States for non-technical training, it said.
These Professional Military Education courses would bolster the rule of law within the Yemeni Armed Forces and would in turn support efforts to prevent recruitment of child soldiers, the report said.
The Pentagon also intends to re-engage with and build the capacity of the Yemeni forces in fighting terrorism, countering violent extremist organisations and illicit smuggling, and ensuring freedom of navigation in Bab al-Mandeb.
"Critically, this focused support would increase Yemeni capacity to counter malign Iranian activity, including the smuggling of lethal weapons that are contributing to the continuation of the conflict," the report said.
"This carefully calibrated support would be provided to the Yemen Border Guard, Yemen Coast Guard, and Yemen Special Operations Forces units not directly engaged in the current conflict, but rather involved in efforts against malign third party influences contributing to the ongoing conflict and crisis," it added.
Curbing arms smuggling
In a July 4 cable to US Vice President Kamala Harris, Yemen's Vice President Ali Mohsen Saleh affirmed relations between the two countries and the various areas of co-operation.
He welcomed the decision on "restoring support to Yemen's military forces and building their capabilities in fighting terrorism and extremism, as well as smuggling, and ensuring freedom of maritime navigation".
He also highlighted the significance of this decision to combating Iran's subversive agenda, praising US support for Yemen's legitimate government and for the country's security, stability, unity and territorial integrity.
Deputy Minister of Human Rights Nabil Abdul Hafeez told Al-Mashareq the restoration of support to the Yemeni army would curtail the Houthis' military capabilities.
He noted that the decision also supports UN Security Council resolutions that ban the supply of arms and all forms of support to the Houthis.
"The purpose of this decision is to curb Iran's malign activity in Yemen because the coup carried out by the Houthis against the state was orchestrated, organised and armed by Iran," he said.
The Houthis have been able to continue the war because of Iran's support with weapons and experts, he added, noting that "Iran shares responsibility for all these crimes and violations".
Political analyst Faisal Ahmed said he welcomed the US decision "because the Yemeni government is fighting on more than one front".
"Supporting the border guard and the coast guard will help them curb drug and arms smuggling coming from Iran, and supporting the special forces will help them in the fight against terrorism, especially [against] al-Qaeda," he said.
There are signs pointing to the resurgence of al-Qaeda activity in al-Bayda province and a number of other areas, he noted.
Support for some Yemeni military units also would reduce potential risks that threaten US national security and interests, whether from terrorist groups or threats to international shipping lanes, he said.
US support for the Yemeni army would "contribute to the achievement of stability in Yemen and the region", said political analyst Adel al-Shujaa.
"An army that is able to defend its country would prevent chaos and curb terrorism and extremism," he pointed out.