Sudan Joins Coalition Against Yemen Rebels

UNITED NATIONS — It is an awkward moment.

The Arab-led, American-supported coalition seeking to rout Houthi rebels in Yemen includes a man indicted on charges of war crimes and vilified by Washington for more than a decade: President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan.

Mr. Bashir’s government has said it will join the military offensive to aid its ally, Saudi Arabia, according to reports by the state-owned news agency, perhaps even sending ground troops.

In a sign of Sudan’s growing ties with Persian Gulf countries, Mr. Bashir met with King Salman of Saudi Arabia on a visit to the kingdom this week, and he is expected to take part in the Arab League summit meeting in Cairo this weekend.

Mr. Bashir was in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el Sheikh in mid-March to speak at an investment conference. Secretary of State John Kerry attended that conference, too, but left the audience for a few minutes when Mr. Bashir took the podium.

Mr. Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court on genocide charges in connection with the conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan. The United Nations Security Council, which referred the situation in Darfur to the tribunal, urged all countries to cooperate with the court and help it secure Mr. Bashir’s arrest.

Egypt and many other countries have openly flouted the court order by allowing Mr. Bashir to visit. Egypt is not a member of the court.

“Given Sudan’s atrocious track record in complying with the laws of war,” said Philippe Bolopion of Human Rights Watch, the country’s “participation in the Saudi-led coalition only heightens already vivid concerns about the price Yemeni civilians might pay in the course of these military operations.”