Senator Lindsey Graham released a statement urging President Obama to “retaliate swiftly and decisively” against the Houthi rebels. The Republican Senator from South Carolina issued the statement on Monday after news broke that on Sunday evening the Iranian-backed rebels fired two missiles at a Navy destroyer off the coast of Yemen.
“If two missiles were fired by the Iranian-proxy Houthi rebels at an American destroyer, it is imperative that the Obama Administration retaliate swiftly and decisively,” Graham said in the statement. “An attack on a U.S. warship that goes unanswered only invites further aggression.”
Additionally,” the statement continued, “we should immediately make clear to the Iranians they will be held accountable when groups they empower, like the Houthis, take aggressive action towards U.S. personnel.”
Graham then went on to criticize the Obama Administration for their efforts to relieve sanctions on Iran which only empowers the dangerous and aggressive Islamic Republic.
“The Obama Administration supported relieving sanctions against Iran, which has enriched the Ayatollah and has made Iran an even bigger nightmare for the region. Without a strong response from President Obama, we can expect more aggression towards U.S. interests from Iranian sponsored groups.”
The USS Mason was conducting routine operations when the crew detected two missiles headed for the ship. According to Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, they were fired within a one hour period. Neither missile intended to impact the destroyer was able to successfully hit the ship.
A Houthi-run news agency, Saba, reported that a Houthi military official denied responsibility for the attack. The Houthi rebels are Iranian backed and have Soviet-era rockets and missiles at their disposal.