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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

New York Times Editorial, "America’s Moral Duty in Yemen": Houthis "May Have Fired" Iranian Missiles on a US Destroyer

In an editorial entitled "America’s Moral Duty in Yemen," The New York Times wrties:

"Airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition that devastated a funeral in Yemen on Saturday make it clear that the United States must end its complicity in a civil war that has caused a humanitarian catastrophe in one of the world’s poorest countries and fueled extremism. It is within President Obama’s power to do so. Saudi Arabia and its Gulf state allies depend on Washington for aircraft, munitions, training and in-flight refueling. The United States also helps Saudi Arabia guard its borders.

. . . .

The Saudi strikes killed more than 140 mourners and wounded hundreds at a funeral in Sana, the capital, which is controlled by Houthi rebels, an indigenous Shiite group with loose connections to Iran."

"[L]oose connections to Iran"? I don't think so. As reported by Reuters in a December 15, 2014 article entitled "Iranian support seen crucial for Yemen's Houthis":

"A Western source familiar with Yemen also said the Houthis had been getting training and money.

'It's been happening for over a year. We've seen Houthis going out to Iran and Lebanon for military training.'

'We think there is cash, some of which is channeled via Hezbollah and sacks of cash arriving at the airport. The numbers of those going for training are enough for us to worry about,' the source said. The first Yemeni security official said Houthi fighters had received training by Hezbollah in Lebanon.

A senior Iranian official told Reuters that the Quds Force, the external arm of the Revolutionary Guard, had a 'few hundred' military personnel in Yemen who train Houthi fighters."

The Times editorial mentions:

"On Monday, Houthi rebels who have been fighting with the Yemeni government reportedly launched a ballistic missile deep into Saudi Arabia, and on Sunday they may have fired on a United States Navy destroyer, but missed."

"[M]ay have fired ... but missed"? Oh really. As reported by DEBKAfile in an October 10, 2016 article entitled "Yemeni Houthis fire 2 Iranian-made missiles at US destroyer – and miss":

"For the first time in two years, Yemeni Houthi rebels Saturday fired on an American vessel, launching two missiles at the US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Mason which was patrolling international Red Sea waters just north of the Bab Al-Mandeb Strait. 'Both missiles impacted the water before reaching the ship,' Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said. 'There were no injuries to our sailors and no damage to the ship.' DEBKAfile: The failed attack came a week after a United Arab Emirates vessel was badly damaged by a missile launched from the Houthi-controlled Yemeni shore, following which two US destroyers, the Mason and Nitze, were deployed to the region, along with the afloat forward USS Ponce staging base. The UAE never disclosed the extent of the damage to their vessel or the number of casualties.

The Yemeni insurgents have been armed with advanced Chinese-made C-802 (NATO-named CSS-N-8) anti-ship missiles upgraded by Iran, as part of Tehran’s proxy bid to seize control of the strategic Red Sea strait."

In fact, there is no denying that those anti-ship missiles supplied by Iran to the Houthis were intentionally fired at the USS Mason. And now I ask you, boys and girls, do any of you honestly believe that Iran did not provide advance approval for this attack?

Or stated otherwise, the benefits of Obama's unsigned nuclear deal with Iran just never seem to end. Forfeit control over the Bab Al-Mandeb Strait to Iran to preserve the illusion of "peace in our time" with Iran? Sure, anything to buck up this lame duck's crumbling legacy.


  1. "We put a lid on Iran's nuclear program without firing a single shot." Clinton/Kaine2016 [who can NOT alienate the anti-war core base until Nov. 9. Going to be an interesting month]

    [in breaking news, on the Bosphorous]:

    "Wed Oct 12, 2016 | 6:56am EDT

    Exclusive: Turkey purges NATO military envoys after failed coup...But dismissed NATO soldiers say they were targeted because of their Western outlook and education in Europe and the United States. They believe that puts them at odds with Erdogan's vision of an Islamic Turkey inspired by the Ottoman empire, unable to fit in with what they see as Turkey's pious masses and a president forging a nation that will not be dictated to by foreigners.

    One dismissed staff member, Colonel Aziz Erdogan, wrote: "The common denominator of these victims is that all of them have a ... Western educational background and secular mindset." Erdogan, who is no relation of the president, made the comment in a letter entitled "Unfortunate Farewell" to colleagues at NATO headquarters in Brussels."

    [The other Erdogan signed a gas deal with Putin whilst the Houthis were firing their "shots".]

  2. [Is the White House screening "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" tonight, with some khat-flavored popcorn? You know, just like Hillary relied on cinema to understand "Lincoln" ]

    "Officially a trend: Houthis fire ANOTHER missile at USS Mason off Yemeni coast"

    By J.E. Dyer  October 12, 2016

    "Well, that didn’t take long.

    One multi-missile event is a data point. Two missile attacks in four days is a trend.

    There shouldn’t be any question now that U.S. warships are being targeted by Houthi rebels firing antiship missiles.


    1. This second event strongly suggests that the Navy units being attacked are not being allowed to exercise properly robust rules of engagement on-scene. (If we hear in the next 24 hours about a counterstrike, this point is partially moot. But not entirely. The on-scene commanders should have the discretion the standing ROE entitle them to.)

    After the missile attacks on Sunday (9 October), it is a virtual certainty that we had better tactical intelligence on the missile attack on 12 October. Our forces were alerted by the Sunday incident, and we would have had more assets engaged in focused surveillance. It’s a good bet we had a better picture this time of where the missile came from — and therefore the ability to strike back on a tactical level.

    It’s more probable now that our commanders on-scene are being restrained from responding, as opposed to not having the targeting intelligence to respond.

    That’s disgusting — politically weak, courting danger to our sailors (and indeed our service members everywhere) — in case it needs saying.

    2. The continuation of this trend has to implicate Iran. The Houthis have no native reason to want to systematically harass U.S. forces or draw us into the fight.


    Meanwhile, note this informative sequence. On Friday, 7 October, Obama significantly eased U.S. Treasury sanctions on Iran’s ability to trade using U.S. dollars — a move for which there was no conceivable justification, in terms of proximate good behavior by Iran or in any other way. (And OBTW, it violated his promises to Congress made in 2015, during negotiations over the JCPOA.)

    Two days later, Iran’s Houthi clients launched missiles at U.S. warships near the Bab El-Mandeb Strait. Three days after that, the Houthis launched another missile at our warships.

    If you’re not sensing a pattern here, don’t worry. Iran is."


    Thu Oct 13, 2016 | 4:59am EDT

    U.S. military strikes Yemen after missile attacks on U.S. Navy ship

    Still, the Pentagon appeared to stress the limited nature of the strikes, aimed at radar that enabled the launch of at least three missiles against the U.S. Navy ship USS Mason on Sunday and Wednesday.

    "These limited self-defense strikes were conducted to protect our personnel, our ships and our freedom of navigation," Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said.

    U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said U.S. Navy destroyer USS Nitze launched the Tomahawk cruise missiles around 4 a.m. (0100 GMT).

    "These radars were active during previous attacks and attempted attacks on ships in the Red Sea," including the USS Mason, one of the officials said, adding the targeted radar sites were in remote areas where the risk of civilian casualties was low.