US Warship Moving To Block Iranian Weapons Deliveries To Rebels In Yemen

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Erica Wenig Contributor
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The USS Theodore Roosevelt is moving toward Yemeni waters to intercept any Iranian ships attempting at delivering weaponry to Shiite, Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The warship will join other American ships prepared to halt attempts at arming the Houthis. According to The Associated Press:

There are about nine U.S. ships in the region, including cruisers and destroyers carrying teams that can board and search other vessels.

U.S. officials have expressed concern over Iran covertly supplying Houthi rebels with weaponry, saying it could ignite direct conflict with Saudi Arabia.

Iran-backed Houthi rebels overran Yemen’s capital city of Sanaa earlier this year, forcing President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to resign.

Saudi Arabia sees an Iranian foothold in its southern neighbor as a threat to Sunni hegemony in the Gulf. It launched an airstrike campaign against Houthi rebels, seeking the reinstatement of Hadi’s government last month.

Yemen is also destabilized by the presence of al-Qaida in the Arabia Peninsula (AQAP), the terrorist organization exploiting turmoil inside the country by breaking into a prison and freeing nearly 300 inmates, including a top AQAP leader. (RELATED: Al-Qaida Freed Hundreds Of Inmates From Yemeni Prison)

The Islamic State has a purported presence in Yemen, militants claiming responsibility for bombings at two mosques frequented by Houthi rebels, killing more than 130 people. (RELATED: Yemen Crisis ‘Cripples’ US Counterterrorism Efforts Against Al-Qaida)

According to a press release from the U.S. Navy, it “has increased its presence in this area as a result of the current instability in Yemen. The purpose of these operations is to ensure the vital shipping lanes in the region remain open and safe.”

The USS Theodore Roosevelt is an aircraft carrier with 6,000 Navy personnel.

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Tags : iran yemen
Erica Wenig