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10/18/16

Middle East: US strikes Houthi rebels, getting deeper into Yemen war

The United States military directly targeted Yemen's Houthi rebels for the first time on 13 October in what a Pentagon official has called “limited defense strikes”, pulling Washington deeper into the conflict.

Tomahawk rockets destroyed radar sites controlled by the rebels after US warships came under missile attacks twice in four days. The rebels have denied any responsibility.

The US action comes days after Saudi planes hit a funeral gathering in Yemen’s capital Sana’a kiling more than 155 people.

Just after the attack on the funeral, the US had said it would review its cooperation with Saudi Arabia but the latest strikes seem to be doing the reverse.

Some critics doubt the US strikes were justified.

“There were no missile strikes or attacks against American ships,” says Muhammad Marandi, an Americas specialist with the University of Tehran.

“Those are fabrications by the Americans because they felt the need to put extra pressure on the Houthis and the Yemeni army resisting the Saudis, since the Saudis are losing the war.”

According to Marandi, the Saudis and their allies created a naval blockade around the access ways to Yemen’s ports. But a successful Houthi attack against an Emirati vessel forced Saudi and Emirati warships to pull away from the shore, “thus allowing more food to enter the country”.

He sees the American claim that that they were attacked as was an excuse to directly enter the war.

“The Americans are basically carrying out these attacks in support of the Saudis and the Emiratis to reinforce the siege against the Yemeni people and to induce starvation as a weapon to put the Saudis in a stronger position at the negotiating table,” he says.

Read more: US strikes Houthi rebels, getting deeper into Yemen war - Middle East - RFI

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