Saturday, October 15, 2016

U.S. Tomahawk Cruise Missiles Destroyed Three Coastal Radar Sites in Yemen

By Jim Emerson, staff writer
Last weekend, a Saudi-led coalition carried out airstrikes against the Yemeni capital Sana’a, targeting a crowded funeral ceremony. Saudi Arabia believed that by senior Houthis rebel figures were at the funeral. The airstrike killed 140 and wounded more than 500. The number of casualties is very likely to rise.
The Houthis are rebelling in order to remove the internationally-recognized government of Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour al-Hadi from power. Al-Hadi is being backed by a Saudi Arabian-led coalition against the Iranian backed Houthis in a proxy war for the control of Middle-Eastern oil.

The Houthis lashed out at the USS Mason and USS Ponce with land based missiles in retaliation after warplanes from the Saudi-led coalition struck the funeral in the Yemeni capital. U.S. officials believed that Houthi fighters, or forces aligned with them, were responsible for the attempted strikes in which coastal, anti-ship cruise missiles had been fired. Senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, believes the missiles fired at the USS Mason were likely provided by Iran. On October 1st, the Houthis did strike a vessel from the United Arab Emirates.

Shi'ite Houthis, supported by Iran, are likely trying to gain control of the area around the Bab al-Mandab Strait, one of the world's busiest shipping routes. Iran said it had deployed two warships into the Gulf of Aden to protect shipping lanes from piracy. It’s likely they were targeting military ships that might have intercepted the Iranian vessels as they resupplied allied forces.

The United States launched cruise missiles against Yemen’s Shiite Houthi rebels for the first time in that country’s civil war. Mr. Obama authorized the strikes at the recommendation of Defense Secretary Ash Carter and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford. The Tomahawk cruise missiles destroyed three Houthi controlled coastal radar sites in retaliation for the missiles which had targeted U.S. Navy ships. The Yemeni radar sites that were attacked were all active, providing targeting information during the anti-shipping, missile attacks. In a statement released by Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook, the United States will respond to any future attacks against military and commercial ships in the region.

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