Saudi seeks Pakistan’s help


Pakistan’s defense minister told Parliament on Monday that Saudi Arabia had asked Pakistan for aircraft, warships and soldiers to join its offensive against the Houthis in Yemen, possibly signaling Saudi plans to expand its war there.

The Saudi government, backed by other Persian Gulf countries and the United States, started its campaign against the Houthis in late March, relying primarily on air power. Yet nearly two weeks of airstrikes have failed to stop the Houthi advance, including into Aden, Yemen’s second-largest city.

The Saudis and their allies have repeatedly raised the possibility of a ground invasion, which analysts say would most likely rely heavily on foreign troops, including those from close Saudi allies like Pakistan or Egypt.

In Parliament on Monday, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, the Pakistani defense minister, did not say when or where the Saudis wanted troops deployed. Aitzaz Ahsan, an opposition politician with the Pakistan Peoples Party, asked the government to clarify its position on the Saudi appeal.

“You have told us that the Saudi king requested troops and air force for the strikes,” Mr. Ahsan said. “But you didn’t inform us what was the response by the government on this request.”

Saudi officials have framed their military intervention as an effort to weaken the Houthi movement in order to restore Yemen’s exiled president, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, to power.

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