On Wednesday the USS Nitze fired Tomahawk cruise missiles at three coastal radar sites in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen after the US Navy said rebels targeted the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason patrolling the strait of Bab el-Mandeb. The ship reportedly fired two SM-2 interceptor missiles at incoming missiles on Sunday.
“For the second time in four days, USS Mason responded to an incoming missile threat while conducting routine operations in international waters off the Red Sea coast of Yemen,” said Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook.
“Those who threaten our forces should know that U.S. commanders retain the right to defend their ships, and we will respond to this threat at the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner.”
The Pentagon claims Houthis radar “painted” the US destroyer and the rebels used small skiffs to assist in targeting.
United States Plays Crucial Role in Yemen War
The United States and Britain continue to assist Saudi Arabia in its illegal Yemen intervention. The Obama administration confirmed last year it sent an interagency coordination team to Saudi Arabia and is providing logistical and intelligence support for the operation that has thus far killed 10,000 civilians. The civilian mortality rate is so dire the International Committee of the Red Cross has taken the unusual step of donating morgue units to hospitals.
Hospitals are preferred Saudi targets. Last year the monarchy bombed a Doctors Without Borders supported hospital in Yemen’s Haydan district, a clinic in Taiz, the Shiara Hospital in the Razeh district, and others in Sa'dah and the Abs District. The Saudis have also targeted ambulance drivers.
Although targeting medical facilities is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Saudis and a coalition of Arab states—including Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain—continue killing civilians.
The Mk-82 bomb that recently destroyed a funeral hall in Sana'a and killed more than 140 civilians was manufactured by Raytheon, a US government preferred military-industrial complex contractor raking in an obscene windfall from the manufactured war on terror. In November, the US announced a $1.29 billion sale of weapons to restock the Saudis and keep the illegal war in Yemen going. The contract includes more than 8,000 Mk-82 bombs.
In addition to directly slaughtering Yemenis with US munitions, the Saudi-led coalition has imposed a naval blockade of the only functioning port in al-Hudaydah, creating an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. British Royal Navy liaison officers work with their Saudi counterparts to enforce the maritime blockade. Nearly 80 precent of Yemen’s twenty million people are in dire need of food, water, and medical aid. 7.6 million people are suffering from malnutrition and an additional 3 million people are displaced, a UN report noted in December.
In June the United Nations reported around 10,000 Yemeni children under the age of five have died from “totally avoidable and preventable diseases” such as diarrhea and pneumonia. On October 13 Yemen’s Ministry of Public Health and Population confirmed the spread of cholera in the al-Nasr neighborhood of Sana’a city located in the district of Sho'ob. Officials are worried the disease will spread and become an epidemic.
“Before the war Yemen was already dirt poor. It is now much poorer. Most infrastructure is destroyed. Nearly all factories have been flattened. The country is under a total blockade. The economy is in tatters. People die of hunger,” explains the Moon of Alabama blog.
The Norwegian Refugee Council warned in August of an irreversible humanitarian crisis in the country. “Despite the staggering figures of ordinary Yemenis suffering because of the raging conflict, the outside world has kept its eyes shut to this crisis. The situation for Yemenis keeps deteriorating and it is now untenable. Yemenis won’t be able to cope for much longer,” said Syma Jamil of the Oslo-based relief organization.
In September the UK blocked via the European Union a Dutch attempt to organize a United Nations inquiry into human rights violations and other war crimes in Yemen.
The Saudis have threatened to cut off funding to the United Nations in response to criticism. The monarchy also forced the international organization to remove it from a list of violators of children’s rights contained in the annex of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s annual Children and Armed Conflict report.
Iran Deploys Warships in Gulf of Aden
The conflict in Yemen between the Houthis, also known as Ansar Allah (the Supporters of God), and the Saudi-led coalition backing the contested presidency of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi is described by the establishment as a proxy war between Shia Iran and the Sunni Arab Middle East.
Hadi is favored by Riyadh, London, and Washington. He was installed during the US State Department fomented and CIA conducted “Arab Spring.” In March 2015 Saudi state TV al-Ekhbariya reported Hadi was in Riyadh working with the Saudis to defeat Ansar Allah.
The United States and its media overplay the proxy war narrative and exaggerate Iran’s role in the conflict.
In May, 2015 Gareth Porter cited US intelligence sources as saying the Iranians advised the Houthis to not enter the capital and escalate the war, but the advice was ignored. “Although Iran has certainly had ties with the Houthis, the Saudi propaganda line that the Houthis have long been Iranian proxies is not supported by the evidence,” Porter writes.
On October 13 the Tasnim news agency announced Iran had deployed a fleet of warships to the Gulf of Aden, a strategic shipping route between the Mediterranean Sea and the Arabian Sea in the Indian Ocean. 21,000 ships cross the gulf annually, the majority Persian Gulf oil tankers. The Iranian deployment includes an area off the southern coast of Yemen. The deployment is viewed as a serious threat to Saudi, US, and transnational corporate dominance of the shipping lanes.
“Iran's Alvand and Bushehr warships have been dispatched to the Gulf of Aden to protect trade vessels from piracy," Tasnim reported. The news agency added Iran’s Navy had the right to be present in all international waters.
Iran’s decision was made after a number of “provocative interactions” between US warships and Revolutionary Guard Corps patrol boats in the Persian Gulf. “If an American ship enters Iran’s maritime region, it will definitely get a warning. We will monitor them and, if they violate our waters, we will confront them,” the Iranians said in August.
Iran is mindful of its past—the 1953 CIA coup that overthrew the country’s democratically elected leader and the disastrous Iran-Iraq war encouraged behind the scenes by the US and Israel.
In addition to protecting its Fordow underground uranium enrichment facility with a Russian-supplied S-300 surface-to-air missile defense system, in April Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps said his country is preparing for all-out war with the US.
“For years, we have been building power on the presumption of a widespread war with the US and its allies, and have developed all our capacities and capabilities for decisive victories over such enemies,” he said.
The deployment of Iranian warships to the Gulf of Aden is a response to US military activity in the Persian Gulf and its assistance and now direct involvement in the Saudi war in Yemen.
The United States and Israel have long planned for a war with Iran. Prior to the recent nuclear agreement with Iran, the United States and Israel threatened to attack the country on numerous occasions. The Bush administration issued several threats and accused the Iranians of killing US soldiers in Iraq in addition to secretly building a nuclear weapon and threatening the regional aspirations of Israel, Jordan, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia.
Kurt Nimmo, Newsbud Producer & Author, is a writer, editor, producer and researcher based in New Mexico. His research centers on international geopolitics and national politics in the United States. He is the former lead editor and writer for Infowars and now edits Another Day in The Empire. His most recent books are Donald Trump and the War on Islam and Another Day in the Empire: The Reign of George W. Bush and the Total War Neocons. Visit Kurt Nimmo’s website here