Yemen’s Rebels Criticize New, US-Led Task Force in Red Sea


Yemen’s Rebels Criticize New, US-Led Task Force in Red Sea
Navy guided-missile destroyers USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109), right, and USS Cole (DDG 67), left, conduct maneuvering operation exercises with Egyptian frigate Alexandria (F911), center, in the Red Sea Jan. 6, 2022. (Theoplis Stewart II/U.S. Navy)

CAIRO - Yemen's Houthis slammed a new U.S.-led task force that will certainly patrol the Red Sea following a collection of attacks by the Iran-backed rebels in a waterway that's important to global trade.

Mohammed Abdul-Salam, the Houthis' primary mediator and also spokesman, stated late Friday that the united state move in the Red Sea, which comes amid a cease-fire in the country's civil war, negates Washington's case of supporting the U.N.-brokered truce.

The task force "preserves the aggression and also clog on Yemen," he asserted on his Telegram social media sites account.

Abdul-Salam evidently referred to a Saudi-led coalition the rebels have been defending years. The union, which up until lately was backed by the U.S., imposes an air and sea blockade on Houthi-held areas.

Iran is the primary advocate of the Houthis that confiscated Yemen's capital, Sanaa, in September 2014. The Saudi-led coalition entered the battle on the side of Yemen's exiled government in March 2015. Years of undetermined battling has pressed the Arab world's poorest country to the brink of famine.

Another Houthi leader, Daifallah al-Shami, likewise slammed the U.S.-led task force, claiming it sends out adverse signals as well as "offers a darker reading to the truce," according to the rebels' media office. He likewise did not specify.

The new task force of 2 to 8 ships patrolling at once will be commissioned Sunday and aims to target those contraband coal, drugs, weapons as well as people in the Red Sea, according to Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, who oversees the U.S. Navy's Mideast-based fifth Fleet.

The USS Mount Whitney, a Blue Ridge course aquatic command ship formerly part of the Navy's African and also European 6th Fleet, will certainly join the task force, Cooper stated.

While Cooper did not name the Houthis when he introduced the task force Wednesday, the rebels have actually introduced explosives-laden drone boats as well as mines right into the waters of the Red Sea.

The Red Sea ranges from Egypt's Suez Canal in the north down through the slim Bab el-Mandeb Strait in the south that separates Africa from the Arabian Peninsula.

Coal smuggling through the Red Sea has been used by Somalia's al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militant team to fund attacks. Weapons connected by the U.S. Navy and also analysts to Iran have actually been intercepted in the region too, most likely on their method to the Houthis. The rebels also discharged rockets in the Red Sea that have actually come near an American warship in the past.

A 60-day cease-fire around the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan stands for now to be holding regardless of repeated violations that both events condemned each other for.

The U.N.-brokered cease-fire, that started on April 2, is the initial nationwide one in 6 years. It has actually eliminated Yemenis in Sanaa and various other rebel-held areas of coalition airstrikes throughout the truce as well as individuals in government-held locations of Houthi strikes, especially those on the borders of the central city of Marib, which the rebels have actually been trying to confiscate for over a year.

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