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Showdown In The Gulf Of Aden: Iranian Warships Encroach On USS Mason After Houthi Attacks

October 14, 2016

Iran’s semi-official news agency, Tasnim, reported that Iran’s sending warships into the Gulf of Aden and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait to “protect the country’s trade vessels against piracy” just hours after the United States fired on Houthi-controlled radar sites in retaliation for attacks on the USS Mason.   

The Iranian warships, an Alvand destroyer and Bushehr logistic warship of Iran’s 44th fleet, are heading for waters near Somalia and Tanzania followed by a port call in the latter of the two. The warships will continue sailing on into the Gulf of Aden where the USS Mason was recently fired upon by Iran-backed Houthis .

Tasnim additionally reported that the United States chose to get “directly involved” with the Saudi-led war against Yemen with cruise missile strikes against Houthi-controlled coastal radar sites after the USS Mason was “allegedly” attacked by the Iran-backed militants.  

The Pentagon issued a statement late Wednesday night that President Obama authorized the strikes on the Houthi-controlled radar sites and were successful. The targeted three coastal radar sites were completely destroyed.   

Iran has become increasingly aggressive against the United States, especially in the Persian Gulf, where the US Navy’s 5th Fleet primarily patrols; in the Strait of Hormuz alone, the US Navy has encountered an aggressive Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy with one encounter resulting in the US Navy firing warning shots at the IRGC vessel.  Iran has also made veiled threats against Saudi Arabia and it’s live fire drills in its Gulf Shield 1 Exercise.

Iran has given no indication that it is willing to cease hostilities or its aggressive posturing as a show of force in the region, especially towards the United States.