Mattis’ Yemen Plan to Replace Combat with Compromise

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U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis made a number of important comments Tuesday during an interview at the U.S. Institute of Peace.  Speaking to former U.S. national security advisor Stephen Hadley, the Secretary called for a ceasefire in war-torn Yemen within the next 30 days.  He also got specific regarding Saudi Arabia and Iran.  Cipher Brief Expert and former National Intelligence Manager for Iran at ODNI, Norm Roule, answered our questions about what Mattis’ comments mean.

Roule: Regarding Iran, the Secretary continued to lay blame on Tehran for serving as an engine of international terrorism, for sustaining Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Houthis, and for fueling regional conflicts which have resulted in so many civilian casualties. The Secretary reminded the audience that his Presidential and Congressional authorities are limited to a “defeat ISIS campaign,” explicitly stating that the rollback of Iran from Syria would be a long-term diplomatic and political effort which would also play out in the Geneva peace process. Regarding Iraq, his comments underscored the need to build Iraqi capabilities to deny Tehran’s ability to turn “Iraq into a rump state of Iran.”

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