The Saudi operation against Iran-backed Houthi forces in Yemen is growing into an even larger regional conflict, as Sudan announced on Thursday that it would contribute both ground troops and aircraft to the effort.
The Sudan Tribune quotes Defense Minister Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein telling a press conference in Khartoum, “We began the mechanical movement towards military operations area alongside the Saudi forces.”
Hussein added that he was not worried about the negative consequences of involvement because “the security of Saudi Arabia is a red line for us.”
Another Sudanese military official cited the need to protect the Two Holy Mosques: “The Arab-Muslim people of Sudan will not remain idle while Muslim’s Qibla [sacred direction] and the land of revelation is facing danger.”
The Saudis have stated that, in addition to Yemen, they will also enjoy support from Jordan, Morocco, Egypt, and Pakistan for a ground offensive. Reportedly, Egyptian troop ships are already prepared for coastal landings.
The American role in this effort is minimal by design. The Saudis reportedly cut the U.S. State Department completely out of the loop because they’re worried about Obama handing sensitive intelligence over to his pals in Tehran.
In an NBC News report, reporter Richard Engel said:
Saudi Arabia and other countries simply don’t trust the United States any more, don’t trust this administration, think the administration is working to befriend Iran to try to make a deal in Switzerland, and therefore didn’t feel the intelligence frankly would be secure. And I think that’s a situation that is quite troubling for U.S. foreign policy.