Growing internationalization of Yemen war

Two missiles fired from territory held by Houthi rebels in Yemen fell just short of a US warship patrolling the Red Sea, the Navy said Oct. 10.  The attack took place just north of the Bab al-Mandab Strait, which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden. The destroyer USS Mason had been "conducting routine operations in international waters," the Pentagon said in a statement. A day earlier, the Arab coalition fighting the Houthis accused the rebels of firing a ballistic missile toward the southwestern Saudi city of Taif. The missile was one of two that the Saudi-led coalition intercepted that day, the coalition said. Both attacks were apparent retaliation for an Oct. 8 air-strike by the Saudi-led coalition that killed at least 140 and wounded over 500 at a funeral in Sanaa. In the aftermath of the strike, Yemen's ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh—who has allied his loyalist forces with the Houthis—called for a mobilization along the Saudi border "to take revenge."

The strike on the funeral prompted an unusual phone call from US Secretary of State John Kerry to Saudi defense minister and deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. But prospects for a resumption of peace talks now look practically nil. A round of talks held in Kuwait ended in August with no breakthrough. Fighting has escalated since then. Oct. 1 also saw an apparent Houthi attack on a "civilian" vessel in the contested Bab al-Mandab, wounding crewmen, according to the United Arab Emirates.

The Houthis swept into Sanaa in September 2014 and advanced across much of Yemen, forcing the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to flee—initially to Saudi Arabia, although he returned to Aden, Yemen's second city, a year ago. Saudi Arabia and its allies launched their intervention in March 2015. The conflict has killed more than 6,700—nearly two-thirds of them civilians—and displaced at least three million, according to the United Nations (Middle East Online, Middle East Online, Al Arabiya, National Yemen, National Yemen, Oct. 10)

  1. US to face war crimes charges over Yemen?

    It now emerges that the taregted funeral in Sanaa was for the father of Jalal al-Ruweishan, interior minister in the Houthi-dominated regime that controls Sanaa—and it was almost certainly intentionally targeted by the Saudis, despite a requisite apology issued by Riyadh. (VOAReuters has meanwhile obtained State Department e-mails via the Freedom of Information Act, indicating concerns that the US coould be held legally responsible for war crimes in Yemen as a "co-belligerent." 

  2. US missile strikes on Yemen

    The US launched Tomahawk missile strikes on coastal radar sites in areas of Yemen controlled by Houthi forces, retaliating after a second round of failed rocket attacks on the USS Mason. The Tomahawks were launched from another destroyer, the USS Nitze. The targeted sites were named as near Ras Isa, Mukha and Khoka.  (Reuters)

  3. More terror in Yemen

    A suicide attack in Yemen's southern port of Aden (now the de facto capital, with Sanaa controlled by Houthi rebels) killed at least 41 soldiers Dec. 17. The bomber attacked al-Solban military base as soldiers were lining up to receive their salaries. On Dec. 10, at least 48 soldiers were killed in an ISIS attack on the same camp, again targeting soldiers queuing up for their salaries. (CNN)