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National

U.S. cuts staff helping Saudis in Yemen

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Opening sequence

National

U.S. cuts staff helping Saudis in Yemen

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COMING UP:U.S. cuts staff helping Saudis in Yemen

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Transcript

00:00:00
>> As Saudi Arabia's bombing in Yemen drags on, the US has quietly but drastically cut the number of Americans helping the Saudi campaign to fewer than five. US officials insisting the staff cuts are unrelated to the growing international outcry over the 16 month civil war that has killed more than 6,500 people.
00:00:20
Pentagon reporter Phil Stewart.>> We used to have about 45 US military personnel, both in Riyadh and outside the country, and they would advise the Saudi-led coalition with everything from intelligence sharing to logistics support, that means refueling of Saudi jets as they go off and fly over Yemen.
00:00:37
So that suggests that there's a lot less day to day advising of the Saudis, although I am told that this military support, especially refueling, continues.>> The Saudis began air strikes in 2015 backing Yemen's government against Houthi rebels allied with Iran.>> The United States says it's very concerned about the impact this war has had.
00:00:55
A lot of fall out that's brought the country to the brink of famine, but at the same time, it's been very careful to not overtly criticize the Saudis on any individual strikes.>> Saudi Arabia is valuable to the United States as a counterweight to Iran's regional ambitions.>> Now I'm sure that some critics of the US policy in Saudi Arabia hope that this indicates a diminution in the US support for the kingdom.
00:01:17
I'm sure that also supporters of Saudi Arabia might say this shows the United States as not supporting them strongly enough. I think people in the military would say they still are providing support and are willing to provide more support, should the Saudis ask for it.>> This does the blood shed only grows.
00:01:31
19 more killed this week after air strikes hit a hospital run by the aid group, Doctors without Borders.