The White House doesn’t want Americans to notice, but the tide of war is not receding in the Middle East. The Navy this week became part of the hot war in Yemen, with a U.S. warship launching missiles against radar targets after American vessels were fired on this week. Just when President Obama promised that American retreat would bring peace to the region, the region pulls him back in.
The destroyer USS Nitze fired Tomahawk cruise missiles to take out three radar sites on the Yemen coast believed to be manned by Houthi rebels. Though the Houthis deny it, the Pentagon believes they were responsible for the multiple-missile attack on Sunday against the USS Mason, another destroyer patrolling in international waters. This was no mere warning shot. The Mason had to use active defenses, including interceptor missiles, to prevent a strike that could have killed dozens of sailors.
Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook called the USS Nitze’s response Thursday “limited self-defense strikes [that] were conducted to protect our personnel, our ships, and our freedom of navigation in this important maritime passageway.” That’s another way of saying this was the minimum the U.S. could do to defend our sailors and get the Houthis to stop firing, and we hope it works.
But there’s more to this story because the Houthis are one of Iran’s regional proxy armies. They are fighting to control Yemen against a Saudi-led coalition that is trying to restore the former Sunni Arab government in Sana’a. The U.S. has been quietly backing the Saudis with intelligence and arms, though the Saudi coalition has been fighting to a draw with the Houthis, who are supplied by Iran. The cruise missiles used against the USS Mason are also used by Hezbollah, another Iran proxy army.
Don’t expect the White House to acknowledge this because the ironies here are something to behold. Mr. Obama is backing the Saudis in Yemen in part to reassure them of U.S. support after the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal that the Saudis opposed. Mr. Obama’s Iran deal was supposed to moderate Iran’s regional ambitions, so Mr. Obama could play a mediating role between Tehran and Riyadh. But the nuclear deal has emboldened Iran, and fortified it with more money, so now the U.S. is being drawn into what amounts to a proxy war against Iran. Genius.
A Saudi air strike last week mistakenly killed civilians at a funeral in Yemen, and the White House is now leaking that Mr. Obama is rethinking U.S. support for the Yemen campaign.
Obama fires missiles and bombs in Iraq while Putin fires missiles and bombs in Syria.
Against the opposite sides.
What could go wrong?
And, WHY does Obama always call them ”ISIL” instead of ISIS?
Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant VS Islamic State of Iraq and SYRIA.
The ”Levant” is BIGGER, including all of Israel.
The Houthi rebels fired multiple missiles at U.S. Navy warships. The Navy retaliated by destroying the radar sites determined to be guiding the missile attacks. What response would you have considered more appropriate? Would a diplomatic letter of protest have been adequate?
Did not your pResident brag that Yemen was a success story?
No doubt Donald Trump knows exactly how to handle the complex situation in Yemen. All he needs is for someone to show him how to find it on a map.
Until then, President Obama has decided we should return fire when someone launches missiles at our naval vessels. If you want to criticize returning fire as a “proxy war,” go right ahead. You also would have criticized him if we had failed to do so.
No, as expected you failed to see the point. Your president famously said of Yemen,
Yemen is a horror show that Obama used to call a success
Were it the success story as your president claims and if they were the ally your president claims, why on earth would they fire at our navy?