Home / Uncategorized / US to refuel Saudi-led aircraft

US to refuel Saudi-led aircraft

26The United States will provide aerial refueling for a Saudi-led campaign in Yemen but is not passing on precise information for air raids, a senior military official said Thursday. The US military’s Central Command (CENTCOM) has been given the green light to deploy refueling tankers for the Saudis and their Gulf partners in the operation, though the refueling will take place outside of Yemen’s airspace, the official told reporters.
“We have given CENTCOM the authority to do tanking,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Officials had said previously Washington was considering offering refueling assistance as well as airborne early warning and control aircraft (AWACs). The Saudis were expected to reimburse Washington for the refueling flights, which have not yet started, officials said. President Barack Obama’s administration had earlier promised intelligence and logistical support for the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, where Iran-backed Huthi rebels have advanced deep into the southern city of Aden.
The United States was delivering intelligence from surveillance satellites and aircraft to help the Saudis monitor their border and to track the location of Huthi rebel forces as they push south, the official said. The intelligence was helping create “a battlefield picture” of where the Huthis were deployed and to enable the Saudi-led aircraft to avoid causing civilian casualties, the official said.
“We’re helping the Saudis understand what’s happening on their border,” the official said. “They’re looking for evidence of any Huthi ground incursions.”
The Huthis are “poised above Aden and we’re trying to help the Saudis build a picture of that,” the official said. “But we’re not providing them with targeting information.”
Rights groups have voiced dismay at accounts of civilian casualties from the air raids. Dozens were killed in an air strike on a camp for displaced people and in a raid that struck a dairy.