Iranian ships in Gulf of Aden: How far might Yemen escalation go?
The U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Mason © Blake Midnight / Reuters
Iran has established a military presence off the coast of Yemen hours after Washington carried out its first direct strikes against Houthi forces. Two Iranian warships were sent to the Gulf of Aden reportedly to protect trade vessels from piracy.
The White House insists its strike was a defensive measure against a reported attempt by the Houthis to target a US navy vessel in the Red Sea.
RT: Now there are Iranian warships in the Gulf of Aden. How far might this escalation over Yemen go?
Sayed Mohammad Marandi: I don’t think this is all that important. The Iranians have a permanent presence in that part of the world because of the problems with shipping thanks to the American policies over the past few decades. There is a lot of instability in the Red Sea. And the Iranian ships are there basically to prevent pirates from boarding Iranian ships. They’ve been doing this for a number of years now. The Iranians have also protected the ships of other countries as well. The problem really is the US presence. Iranians are confident the Americans are lying about missile attacks on American vessels. They say this is a fabricated story that the US could enter the fray on behalf of Saudi Arabia to boost Saudi morale.
Because after all the Saudis after bombing weddings, funerals, schools and hospitals despite the fact that the Western media is completely silent about it and Western leaders like Boris Johnson don’t seem to care about the Yemenis who are being massacred in the country. But despite all that the Saudis are losing the war. They have lost the war. And the Yemeni resistance, the Houthis and Ansar Allah and the Yemeni army they have succeeded in defeating Saudi-backed forces and Saudi forces on the border between Yemen and Saudi Arabia. The Iranians feel that their presence is one to help facilitate trade and shipping while the American presence as in the past few decades is only serving to create further chaos.
Middle East affairs commentator Ali Rizk says the Americans and Saudis are guilty of double standards: “Some US figures who favor intervention are now saying: “Look, the Houthis are attacking the US navy vessels therefore we have to get more deeply involved. That is in a very contrast to Syria. I think it shows the clear double standards and that shows also very clearly that the US and Saudi Arabia in particular have no interest in democracy or anything else. What is going on is part of the geopolitical game.”
RT: Isn’t it a danger here that now both sides will see each other as a threat?I
MM: The Iranians believe that the Americans have already lost the war in Yemen. Their support for Saudi Arabia has failed. And the Americans are just as responsible for the atrocities in Yemen as is the Saudi regime. The American president has blood on his hands just like the Saudi King, Crown Prince and the Deputy Crown Prince. The Iranians feel the Americans are not really in a position to escalate further. What they want to do is put pressure on Ansar Allah so that the Saudis could negotiate from a stronger position. And also I think in order to increase pressure on the US after the Saudi regime deliberately targeted the funeral killing 150 people and injuring hundreds more. A lot of people in the West have been increasingly protesting in the media and otherwise against America’s support for the Wahhabi regime.
This latest fabricated accusation by the US that Ansar Allah fired missiles despite the denials by Ansar Allah and the Yemeni army. This was basically to draw attention away from the killings in the funeral to ease pressure so that the US could continue supporting the Wahhabi regime in Saudi Arabia.
RT: Do you expect Washington to in any way review its co-operation with Saudi Arabia which it suggested it might do after Saturday’s carnage at the funeral in Sana’a?
MM: No, they are being completely dishonest. The Americans from the very beginning when the Saudis were using cluster bombs, they continued to give them weapons, when they bombed hospitals, they continued to support them, when they bombed weddings…The Americans have no problem with what the Saudis are doing on Yemen. It is uncomfortable so they every now and then, they complain about it…
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.