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Escalation! More US Warships to Yemen

Escalation! More US Warships to Yemen

Exploiting the chaos

Earlier today, I wrote about how tensions escalated in Yemen after a Saudi airstrike allegedly hit targets close to the Iranian embassy in Sana’a, causing damage to the embassy itself, but no casualties. Houthi-controlled (read: Iranian-controlled) news outlets peddled the line that the airstrike had missed its intended target—a Sana’a arms depot—but photos and reports from the area have largely refuted that claim.

Moral of the story? Things are tense in the Arabian Peninsula today—and it’s about to get much worse, to the tune of an increased U.S. naval presence in the region.

Late last week, military officials and members of Congress expressed concern over the United States’ increasing role in patrolling the waters surrounding Yemen’s major port cities. Saudi Arabia is running a blockade in an attempt to stop Iran from funneling weapons to Houthi rebels; meanwhile, the Houthi are fighting for control of Yemen’s major port cities, but they’re largely depending on help from Iran to continue their slow march down the coast. According to U.S. officials, Iran has now sent a small, armed armada of ships on a route to Yemen and will attempt to re-arm their Houthi rebels:

What’s unusual about the new deployment, which set out this week, is that the Iranians are not trying to conceal it, officials said. Instead, they appear to be trying to “communicate it” to the U.S. and its allies in the Gulf.

It is not clear what will happen as the convoy comes closer to Yemen. Saudi Arabia has deployed ships around Yemen to enforce the blockade, as has Egypt. An official said the ship convoy could try to land at a port in Aden, which the Houthis have taken over.

Although the U.S. is assisting with the Saudi-led air campaign, it is not participating in the naval blockade of Yemen, said U.S. Central Command spokesman Col. Pat Ryder.

However, the U.S. Navy is in the region and has already “consensually boarded” one Panamanian-flagged ship in the Red Sea on April 1 on the suspicion it was illegally carrying arms for the Houthis.

None were found, but the move raised alarm bells in Washington over an increasingly active U.S. military role in the conflict. The Pentagon indicated this week that more boardings could occur.

“We will continue to vigilantly defend freedom of navigation and to conduct consensual searches in an effort to ensure that drugs, human trafficking, weapons trafficking and other contraband are limited,” Army Col. Steve Warren said on Monday.

I think it’s important to emphasize that, by and large, a U.S. presence in the waters surrounding the Arabian Peninsula is not unusual. Our combat ships regularly patrol the area (remember the pirates?) but have not played an active role in the naval blockade. We have, however, expanded our role, and many of the ships in the area are combat vessels—again, not unusual, considering US officials sometimes board ships suspected of running weapons or other illicit cargo. They haven’t boarded any foreign vessels since April 1, but that could change at any moment.

All eyes are now on the Bab al-Mandab strait, the stretch of water between Yemen and Djibouti that connects the Red Sea with the strategically crucial Gulf of Aden. Iran is poking the bear, and Saudi is obviously prepared to continue airstrikes as needed until the Houthi advance breaks. What you’re seeing now is the beginnings of a proxy war between Saudi and Iran, with everyone from civilians to US citizens to terror groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda now caught in the crossfire. Saudi and Iran may be dominating the international news cycle right now, but don’t discount the presence of other Islamic extremist groups in the region. If civil war breaks out in truth, Yemen’s powerful al-Qaeda cell will be presented with a valuable opportunity to exploit the effects of instability and use the violence as a recruiting tool.

Yemen is falling apart; it has been coming for a long time, and it’s possible that the attention of the world was caught far too late to stop the small country’s devolution from struggling to failed state.

We’ll keep you posted on the brewing naval situation.

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Comments

” Navy officials: US warship heads to Yemeni waters to intercept Iranian weapons shipments.”

Don’t worry everybody. Our crack Secretary of State, John Kerry, is no doubt dealing with his good friends in Iran as we speak to stop this.

Another Obama foreign policy success!

But you do have to feel sorry for Obama and Kerry: they keep trying to surrender to the mullahs, giving in on every single item, but every time they do the Iranians move the line again.

In order to get his deal, Obama may have to give Iran Iraq, Syria, and Jordan, and agree to stay out of their conquest of the Arabian peninsula.

– –

Obama has done more than any other President to bring the Saudis and the Israelis closer together – to defend themselves against his catastrophic policies.

    Walker Evans in reply to Estragon. | April 21, 2015 at 5:28 am

    “Peace for our time”.

    Obama and Kerry obviously failed to learn the clear lesson that Neville’s words and deeds gave us. Perhaps their names will go down in history after all … like Vidkun Quisling’s did!

Bitterlyclinging | April 20, 2015 at 4:32 pm

What happens when Iran hits and sinks a US Capital Ship, a five billion dollar carrier, with two thousand men, perhaps?
Will we have a repeat of William Jefferson Clinton’s bugout after “Blackhawk Down” in Mogadishu? Or worse?
The United States of the first Tuesday in November, 2008, and today is not the same United States of December 8th, 1941, when most of the populace were looking backwards in the rear view mirror at the Great Depression and also had immediate family who had come here in answer to Liberty’s siren call “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”
The people who cast their ballot for Barack Obama in 2008 and again in 2012 were just a huddled mass yearning for a benevolent master. And for surrender, which Barack promised them in dulcet tones would be painless.

Henry Hawkins | April 20, 2015 at 4:58 pm

Obama & Kerry have ordered the US ships to draw upwind from the Iranian ships and toss millions of pink rose petals into the wind from the bridge as a show of our support before we beg them please don’t do whatever it is you’re doing here.

    Ragspierre in reply to Henry Hawkins. | April 20, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    Does James Taylor have a double-album of his “favorite” “hits”…???

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Henry Hawkins. | April 20, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    JT? Nooooo. Sarah McLachlan, of course. And Joan Baez!

    (This thing is turning into a movie in my head, and at some point we HAVE to have Ted Nugent lead an attack on the Iranians with 600 duck boats, the song Stranglehold blaring from speakers mounted in every boat).

I suppose Obama issued an order that the U.S. sailors unload their weapons like Bill Clinton did in 2000 when the U.S.S. Cole was bombed.

Back in 2008, American Digest gave us a perfect picture of Obama’s warships:

http://americandigest.org/mt-archives/political_corrections/bo_campaign_rel.php

Ah…maybe the warships’ secret orders are to assist the Iranians? Obama IS the Commander and Chief.

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