As the Obama administration claims that there is “no military solution” to militant attacks in Iraq, Ukraine, and Syria, White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice has added Yemen to the list.
“As in Syria, there is no military solution to the crisis in Yemen,” Rice said during a speech at the Arab American Institute’s Kahlil Gibran Gala on Wednesday.
Rice’s stark assessment of the current situation in Yemen is the latest indication that the administration is quietly backing away from touting the fight against terrorists in Yemen as a success story.
Obama’s launched dozens of American drone strikes targeting Al-Qaeda, prompting the president to cite the military operations in Yemen as a success story.
“This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years,” he said in September. “And it is consistent with the approach I outlined earlier this year: to use force against anyone who threatens America’s core interests, but to mobilize partners wherever possible to address broader challenges to international order.”
Since Obama made that statement, however, Yemen’s government has slipped into chaos and the American-backed government has collapsed. The American Embassy is now closed, while military personnel have been evacuated.
Yesterday, Rice took a starkly different tone than the president did in September. Instead of touting Yemen as a success story, she admitted that the administration has been reduced to monitoring the situation.
“We’re working with all parties to end the violence so that U.N.-led political negotiations can resume promptly and humanitarian access can be restored,” she said. “We’re also closely monitoring the safety of U.S. citizens in Yemen, including offering opportunities for evacuation.”