Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Yemen rebels criticize new, US-led task force in the Red Sea

Yemen rebels criticize new, US-led task force in the Red Sea

only by magda

Cairo ( Associated Press) — Yemen’s Houthis have criticized a new US-led task force that will patrol the Red Sea after a series of attacks by Iran-backed rebels in a waterway essential to global trade.

Houthis’ chief negotiator and spokesman Mohamed Abdul-Salaam said late Friday that the US move in the Red Sea, which comes amid a truce in the country’s civil war, contradicts Washington’s claim to support a UN-brokered ceasefire. refutes.

The task force “ensures aggression and blockade on Yemen,” he claimed on his Telegram social media account.

Abdul-Salaam explicitly referred to a Saudi-led coalition the rebels have been fighting for years. The coalition, which had recently been backed by the US, imposed an air and sea blockade on Houthi-held territories.

Iran is a main supporter of the Houthis, who captured Yemen’s capital Sanaa in September 2014. The Saudi-led coalition entered the war in March 2015 on the side of Yemen’s government-in-exile. Years of inconclusive fighting brought the poorest nation of the Arab world to the brink of famine.

Another Houthi leader, Daifallah al-Shami, also criticized the US-led task force, saying it sends negative signals and “gives a deep reading of the conflict”, according to the rebels’ media office. He also did not elaborate.

The new task force of two to eight ships patrolling at a time will be commissioned on Sunday and is aimed at targeting smuggled coal, drugs, weapons and people in the Red Sea, according to Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, who heads the US Navy. Oversees the Middle East-based 5th Fleet.

Cooper said the USS Mount Whitney, a Blue Ridge-class amphibious command ship formerly part of the Navy’s African and European Sixth Fleet, would join the task force.

While Cooper did not name the Houthis when announcing the task force on Wednesday, rebels launched explosives-laden drone boats and mines into Red Sea waters.

The Red Sea passes through Egypt’s Suez Canal in the north through the narrow Bab el-Mandeb Strait that separates Africa from the Arabian Peninsula.

Coal smuggling through the Red Sea has been used to fund attacks by the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab terrorist group in Somalia. Weapons belonging to the US Navy and analysts from Iran have also been intercepted in the area, possibly en route to the Houthis. The rebels also fired missiles into the Red Sea that had previously hit a US warship.

The 60-day ceasefire around the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan now appears to have been violated despite repeated violations with both sides blaming each other.

The UN-mediated ceasefire that began on April 2 is the first nationwide ceasefire in six years. It has provided relief to Yemenis in Sanaa and other rebel areas from coalition air strikes and people in government areas hit by Houthi attacks, especially on the outskirts of the central city of Marib, which the rebels are trying to seize. over a year.

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