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Yemen: ‘US Hegemony In International Waters Obsolete’

Above photo: Armed forces loyal to Yemen’s Houthi rebels march through the streets of Sanaa in a show of solidarity with the Palestinians on October 15, 2023. Mohammed Huwais/AFP.

Despite US and UK aggression, the Yemeni armed forces have made clear they will continue to support the resistance in Gaza.

Yemen’s Defense Minister, Major General Mohammed al-Atifi, stated on 25 January that the era of US naval hegemony is “obsolete,” in a reference to the Yemeni armed force’s operations against Israeli-linked commercial ships and US and UK naval ships in West Asia.

“The US, Britain, and Israel must realize that the policies of demarcation and assertion of hegemonic influence on international waters are obsolete and no more favorable,” Atifi said during a graduation ceremony of Yemeni cadets in the country’s western coastal city of Hudaydah.

Regarding allegations made against Yemen’s naval forces, saying that they pose an international threat to maritime trade, the defense minister stated that Yemen’s targets are clear and defined.

“We reaffirm that the Yemeni Armed Forces will not target any ships that are neither affiliated with the Zionist enemy nor serving its interests. Marine navigation for vessels through the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea is safe,” he said.

Atifi added that Sanaa is committed to international treaties, conventions, and pacts that don’t undermine Yemen’s sovereignty nor impose wills on the Arab nation.

“As long as the Zionists’ atrocities continue in Gaza, we will continue our operations against the usurping entity. Washington has aided and abetted the Zionist entity to forge ahead with its genocidal war on our Palestinian brethren and sisters,” he noted.

Yemen announced that it would be conducting operations against Israeli-linked ships in the Red Sea in November of last year, citing its support for the people of Palestine as they face continued aggression by the Israeli army.  Yemeni forces began targeting US and UK warships after both countries carried out strikes on Yemen in support of Israel.

Since its declaration of war against Israel, Yemen has targeted tens of ships, the most recent of which was the US “TORM THOR” ship.

“The Yemeni Armed Forces carried out a specific military operation that targeted the American ship ‘TORM THOR’ in the Gulf of Aden, with a number of appropriate naval missiles,” the Yemeni armed forces statement regarding the operation read. “The Air Force also targeted a number of American warships in the Red Sea with a number of UAVs.”

Within the same statement, the Yemeni armed forces made clear that it will continue to “confront the American-British escalation with more qualitative military operations against all hostile targets in the Red and Arab Seas in defense of our country, our people, and our nation.”

US claims new ‘pre-emptive’ strikes against Yemen

National security lawyers for the White House caution such strikes may soon require Congress to declare war on Yemen if they are to continue.

The US has carried out what it calls “pre-emptive” air strikes against Yemeni targets – destroying missiles, unmanned vessels, and a drone – the US military’s Central Command (CENTCOM) announced late on 26 February.

CENTCOM said it had struck three unmanned surface vessels and two anti-ship cruise missiles allegedly preparing to launch toward the Red Sea. The drone was targeted over the water.

It claimed the attacks were launched “to protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for US Navy and merchant vessels.”

Since November, Ansarallah-led Yemeni forces have carried out dozens of attacks on vessels with commercial ties to Israel in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. Ansarallah is seeking to halt Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza.

Rather than ending aid to Israel, which has killed over 30,000 Palestinians since 7 October – the majority of whom were women and children – the US and UK have launched strikes against Yemeni forces, both in the Red Sea and Yemeni territory.

On Saturday, the US and the UK said they had hit 18 Houthi sites across eight locations in Yemen, including attacks on underground weapons and missile storage facilities, air defense systems, radars, and a helicopter.

Responding to the attacks, Yahya Saree, a spokesman for Ansarallah, pledged that the Houthis would “confront the American–British escalation with more qualitative military operations against all hostile targets in the Red and Arab Seas.”

Last week, the New York Times reported that US forces could only carry out such “pre-emptive” strikes for 60 days before the White House must receive authorization from Congress in the form of a declaration of war to continue them, per the War Resolutions Act of 1973.

National Security lawyers working for the White House are therefore looking for loopholes to allow the attacks to continue beyond the 12 March deadline the resolution would impose.

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