An American aircraft carrier is joining a group of other US Navy ships off the coast of Yemen, and they US is tracking Iranian ships possibly delivering arms to Houthi rebels in the war-torn country, according to USA Today. The report, citing comments from anonymous US Defense Department officials, said the US had been tracking the Iranian ships since last week.
While the US made it clear that moving the carrier to the Yemeni coast doesn’t predict an incident with the Iranian ships, should the Iranian vessels turn out to be carrying arms to the Houthi, it could result in conflict. The report said the US is ready to intercept the ships if need be. One of the Defense officials noted that Iran delivering arms to the Houthi would be in violation of United Nations resolutions.
The Houthi have overrun parts of Yemen as they seek to overthrow the government there. The US is supporting efforts by a coalition of Arab nations—led by Saudi Arabia—to back the Yemeni forces fighting the Houthi rebels. Iran, who are of the same Shiite sect of Islam as the Houthi, are believed to be assisting the rebels in what is essentially a proxy war between the Saudis and Iran.
Europe, meanwhile, underscored their concerns about the Houthi in a European Union Foreign Affairs Council press release on Monday. Said the statement, “The EU condemns the destabilizing unilateral actions taken by the Houthis and military units loyal to ex-President [Ali] Saleh, urges these forces to end the use of violence immediately and unconditionally and withdraw from areas they have seized… and reaffirms its support to Yemen’s legitimate authorities.”
The EU also called for the renewal of negotiations between the sides. The EU noted they are “seriously concerned with the rapidly deteriorating political, security and humanitarian situation in Yemen. Recent developments carry grave risks for the stability of the region, in particular that of the Horn of Africa, the Red Sea and the wider Middle-East.”
And now, it appears that the conflict may more fully involve the US military as well.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, April 20, 2015)