“I want the American people to know that the three of us [Senators] support this [military] operation to take Yemen back from the Iranian proxies, but we categorically reject President Obama’s foreign policy that we believe substantially contributed to this mess,” the Republican Senator said on Thursday.
“We're on the verge of a full scale proxy war in Yemen between Iran and Sunni Arab states that could spill over into Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, Libya, Lebanon [and] Jordan,” Graham warned. “The Mid-East is on fire, and it is every person for themselves.”
Graham’s warning comes as Saudi Arabia and a coalition of several, mostly Arab states, began airstrikes against Yemen’s Houthi rebels on Wednesday. Saudi Arabia has reportedly deployed 100 fighter aircraft and 150,000 troops for the operation.
US Senator John McCain said that Saudi Arabia, one of Washington’s closet allies in the Middle East, began military operations without telling the United States, which the Republican lawmakers claimed was a signal of their distrust toward the United States.
“[O]ur closest allies in the region [Saudi Arabia] no longer trust us,” McCain said. [T]hey wait a matter of a few hours before beginning a major military operation. It's because they no longer have any trust or confidence in the United States of America."
"This conflict will draw in other nations, and this conflict could expand into probably one of the most dangerous periods in that part of the world that we have seen in centuries,” McCain said.
The security situation in Yemen has deteriorated in the past several weeks as the country is split among the opposition Houthi fighters battling troops loyal to President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi in the center of the country, and al-Qaeda militants gaining a foothold in the south.
The Houthi militants began taking control of large areas in Yemen, which forced President Hadi and his government to resign in late January 2015. Hadi was under house arrest in the capital Sanaa before he fled to the port city of Aden in February, disavowing his resignation, and is reportedly hiding abroad at present.