Monday, April 20, 2015

U.S. Prepared to Intercept Iranian Convoy Approaching Yemen

U.S. Navy officials said today U.S. ships are tracking a convoy of Iranian freighters, escorted by IRGC-Navy and IRIN vessels, headed to the Gulf of Aden, and suspected of carrying weapons to Houthi insurgents in Yemen. The U.S. ships are prepared to intercept the convoy to block the arms delivery. (NBC News/USA Today, 20 April)

U.S. Navy officials said earlier today that the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and members of its strike group are heading toward the waters off Yemen. The carrier, along with cruiser Normandy, passed through the Strait of Hormuz Sunday to join up with U.S. maritime security forces in the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Strait of Bab el-Mandeb.

File photo: USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier (Wikipedia)

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

This must be one of those real retaliatory aircraft carrier groups instead of that fake defenceless floating barge.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations !!!
You are always the first.....(at 8:04 PM)

+A

Anonymous said...

It is mostly hyperbole and US is as usual playing a dangerous game of blame and shoot. The Yemeni situation is a localized revolutionary revolt by the majority of the population who are fed up with corrupt Saudi supported Wahabbi governments like Hadi's. The Saudis also supported the Saleh dictatorship for decades. The Ansarollah movement, like Hezbollah is largely a people's political movement and simply can't be put down militarily, either by US or inept Saudis. This is another war no foreign invader will ever win, it would be wiser for the US, rather than inflaming the situation to push the bratty Saudis, who have practically lost, to stop the murderous air campaign and work out a modus vivendi with Yemen and the Ansarollah or face perpetual war on the Arabian peninsula.

Nader Uskowi said...

The UN Security Council has passed a resolution (UNSCR 2216) under Chapter 7 to impose an arms embargo against the Huthis. All UN members, including Huthi supporters, need to abide by that resolution and stop shipping arms to the Huthis. There are no differing interpretations of this resolution. 2216 also calls upon the Huthis to leave cities/government institutions they have occupied and start a political process under UN mandate. The choice is rather simple. The Iranians should respect the arms embargo against the Huthis, and the insurgents should go back to their original positions in northern Yemen under UN supervision and an election could determine if they can win the majority vote to establish their Islamic caliphate in Yemen.

On the Huthis: The Zaidi Shia constitutes around 40% of Yemen’s population, and the Huthis are a group whose members predominantly follow the Zaidi Shia tradition; that does not make them the majority. They also need to modify their goals a bit! Their stated goal is establishing an Islamic Caliphate in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, and specifically in Mecca and Medina, albeit Shia style, as opposed to ISIL’s Sunni version in Iraq and Syria. This is crazy.

Anonymous said...

Security council imposed arm embargo against Iran
Large Number of Iranian Arm flow to irak and Syria.
without Iran Weapon, The ISIS rules Baghdad.

you donot need to respect any resolution forced by some power, they believe they can contol the world

Anonymous said...

Conflicting reports about that deployment state that the admiral in charge has denied the current presence was directed at a specific iranian convoy. As always,the situation is tense and evolving fast as the press reports arise.

Anonymous said...

Yeah same could be said about those 2nd rate joke a 70s-era Scud lookalikes strapped with a powerful beacon that were used to cue ABM systems during the Bush administration to secure funding for supposedly almighty defense systems capable of taking of 100 Iranian missiles at a time with a 99.9% success ! That was before its many failure along with its Israeli counterpart the Arrow-3 that has been past its original deployment date for close to a year now due to various malfunctions and targetting issues. Jokes all around yes !

Anonymous said...

Yes, I am really eager to see a confrontation between these two once and for all. It is good opportunity for Iran to take the revenge of destroyed Sahand frigate, destroyed Salman and Nasr oil platforms and take the revenge on Iranian Air bus and its innocent passengers downed by Americans and at the same time testing their missiles (which they are very proud and confident about) in real combat or put the tail between the legs and shut up forever. In case of a remarkable Iranian success then the nose of the US as a bullying power would become bloody and their global hegemony will be broken.

Nader Uskowi said...

Anon 10:37 AM,

I hope the Iranian government does not share your goals of using the Yemeni conflict to start a war against Saudi Arabia. That's not wise.

Nader Uskowi said...

You are saying without Iran weapons, ISIL would have ruled Iraq. Then Iran should not send weapons to Huthis because they would rule Yemen, no? The Huthis want to establish a caliphate in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, pretty much as ISIL wants to do same in Iraq and Syria. So Iran cannot be against one, but favors the other. Unless it sees the world only in Sunni vs. Shia term, which is not wise, especially for Shias who are a small minority in the Muslim world.

Piruz Mollazadeh said...

Ansarullah is a Yemeni faction (albeit a rogue one) and not some multinational terrorist network like ISIL, so it's wrong to even compare the two groups. Besides, they are nothing alike in terms of human rights violations.

In Yemen under Ansarullah, there was no ethnic cleansing, mass-slavery, genital mutilations, or burning people alive Hollywood style.

Sure the Houthis have dome some pretty bad things, like taking over the country and calling their coup a revolution. But the level of threat coming from Ansarullah is profoundly different from that which is coming from ISIL.

Even as we speak, Ansarullah is the major group fighting AQAP and ISIL in Yemen, meanwhile the latter have seized territory thanks to Saudi Arabia's UN, U.S approved bombing campaign against Yemeni infrastructure, one of the least developed infrastructures in the world, undermining decade-old efforts by the U.S to contain and dismantle AQAP.

Anonymous said...

@Nader
U.N. Security Council was silent when Iraq was using chemical weapons against Iran.
Should we always follow the security council? The right thing to do in Iraq-Iran war was to stay silent on the matter of chemical weapons?

Its funny how a handful of politicians establish an institution - become the self-proclaimed police - decide who is a terrorist who is not - what is right what is wrong - and everybody just goes along with it.

Nader Uskowi said...

How do you know I was silent about Saddam, his use of chemical weapons against Kurds and Shias, and for waging Iran-Iraq War? Those wrongs do not justify other wrongs.

In regard to Yemen, I have argued and believe Saudi-led coalition need to end its airstrikes. The civilian toll and the destruction of the country's infrastructure does not justify the bombardments.

However, I do understand why the Saudis are so concern about the Huthis, who publicly advocate the overthrow of the House of Saud and establishment of their Islamic caliphate in Mecca and Media. Crazy or not, such advocacy, backed by their recent coup in Yemen, makes the Saudis concern, and they see the need to defend their kingdom. It does not mean bombarding Yemen. But if they are stopping foreign countries like Iran to send ships (or planes) carrying arms to the Huthis, it is understandable. UNSCR allows them to do so too. Embargo against arms shipment to the Huthis, allowed by the UN, also means blockade of the ports to stop arms shipment.

Having said that, I do believe the best course of action is a political settlement in Yemen, preferably through a UN sponsored process that would get the backing of UNSC. Sooner the better. Iran should stop sending arms to Yemen, Saudis and allies should stop the airstrikes. These two actions should pave the way for UN-sponsored political process that hopefully would end in the formation of a provisional unity government and a vote later to elect the country's government.

Nader Uskowi said...

I have never favored the Saudi-led coalition airstrikes, as it involved unacceptable level of civilian casualties and as you have rightly pointed out here the destruction of the country's infrastructure. A political solution is the preferred course of action, which I believe should begin by Iran stopping arms shipment to the Huthis and the Saudis and allies ending their air campaign. Hopefully giving UN time and space to begin the political process of ending the conflict.

Even if the Huthis are more civilized than ISIL (ISIL has put up such a low bar, that all extremists, including the Huthis, look reasonable!), it does not mean they are not a real threat to the Saudis. They have said so themselves, they want to establish a caliphate that comprises Saudi Arabia, at least Mecca and Median. As crazy as this might sound, it is real for the Saudis. So if they stop airstrikes, and only exercise an arms embargo by sea or air, they reach the desired immediate goals: No civilian casualties and destruction of the country's infrastructure, and no arms reaching the Huthis, at lease not at a large scale like a 9-ship convoy of IRGCN.

Yemen's problems can only be negotiated through a political settlement, however. And such Iranian/Saudi actions could pave the way for the eventual conflict resolution.

Piruz Mollazadeh said...

Well, I still don't believe Ansarullah's rhetoric poses a real threat to Saudi Arabia, since rhetoric is mostly just that, rhetoric (especially for a political faction that is part of the country and its politics and thus has too much to loose)! But I digress.

Now, with the Saudi-led campaign officially over, do you think the Houthis will just pack up and leave Sanaa and other major cities in Yemen?

Nader Uskowi said...

I doubt it. Absent Saudi airstrike, they would probably attempt to consolidate their hold not just in the north, but other parts of the country as well, to be in a better bargaining position during the political negotiations that are expected to start soon. Iran might also be giving them advice along that line. This was to a lose-lose situation for all considering the parties to the conflict were so obviously divided on sectarian basis. Not good for Iran, especially, but also not good for the Kingdom.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, I am really eager to see a confrontation between these two once and for all."

Wow,you really believe that through a suicidal confrontation the pseudo hegemonic Islamic regime could end US global hegemony? Command&Conquer is a great game,but lets just keep it in the relm of fantasy with a large bowl of popcorn.

Piruz Mollazadeh said...

How is this not good for Iran when it has just scored a huge diplomatic victory, initially by convincing Turkey and Pakistan not to join, and finally by getting the Saudis to suspend their inefficient airstrikes, consolidating (as you noted) Ansarullah's territorial gains just before the negotiations?

The U.S, UN backed Arab coalition's aim was to restore power to Hadi and kick the Houthis out of Sanaa and other major Yemeni cities, which they have failed to achieve so badly. Now they're saying their objective was merely to "destroy Ansarullah's offensive weapons (ballistic missiles) that posed a threat to neighboring countries".

Unless they have more cards up their sleeves, they have clearly failed.

Anonymous said...

I think, this time Houthis and others will not win, but this matter will came back in a decade or so, like a bumerang, when a new international situation will be rape enough............

There is a picture where Saddam Hussein shakes hand with the future US secretary of defense; and where it was a close time, where chemical weapons were used by S. Hussein with the West knowledge.....against Shias and Iranians as well.

A-F, Dissident from usa

Nader Uskowi said...

I guess you have missed my point. Yemen's growing conflict was a lose-lose situation because it was defined as a sectarian conflict: Huthis and Iran against the Sunnis. Any sectarian Shia-Sunni conflict of this proportion could have consumed the whole region and at the end would not have benefited either side.

It now seems that both sides have agreed on a ceasefire and a political process to proceed. It is logical to wait to see the details of the agreement. It could have a clear winner, but also it could be a win-win for both sides. Most importantly, the war is over and that's the best news for the Yemenis.

Anonymous said...

End of story, the SAUDIS LOST.period.

Piruz Mollazadeh said...

You're right, of course, sectarian wars are bad for everyone. I just meant to say that this is a tactical (but not necessarily a long term) victory for the Houthis and their regional allies.

And yes, the devil is in the details.

Anonymous said...

But this is the ARABIAN peninsula we are talking about !!! Yemen a country right beside Saudi arabia. what right does Teheran regime have to subvert and fuel sectarianism there ??? Iranian intervention meddling on ARABIAN peninsula is inexcusable!!! Never could a sane person ever justify this Iranian devious passive - aggressive involvement in Arab countrys private affaires!!!

Anonymous said...

What Iranian meddling? You are just babbling Saudi propaganda! 2009 when Saudi's where fighting Huthis were there any Iranian meddling? This is old Saudi wish to capitulate Yemen and nothing more! Do you think the Mullahs don't know that they are not a strong player in a place that has no border connection and far to reach in case of need?