Forget about Syria; the new rage is Yemen.
Obama has finally found a way to get tough on Iran. He is attacking their proxy, the Houthi rebel group in Yemen. The only problem? These Shiite rebels are fighting Al Qaeda and other Sunni factions backed by Saudi Arabia. Is this the beginning of a new Sunni-Shiite dumpster fire into which Obama will send ground troops?
Over the past few days, the Houthi rebels launched two unsuccessful missile attacks on the USS Mason, a destroyer operating in international waters in the Mandeb Straight between Yemen and the horn of Africa. Late last night, according to the Pentagon’s press office, the U.S. Navy retaliated by launching Tomahawk cruise missile strikes against three Houthi radar installations. The Houthis control the western part of Yemen, abutting the key waterway between the Horn of Africa.
On the one hand, this sounds like news to celebrate. Obama is finally retaliating against Iran, at least in a very limited way, after an enemy faction attacked our Navy. This is especially significant as today is the 241st birthday of the Navy. The problem is this is the worst hill to die on as it relates to confronting Iran. Why should we side with Saudi Arabia and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in this civil war? This is similar to the approach of attacking Assad because he is an Iranian ally, while helping ISIS and Al Qaeda in Syria. Why can’t we stay out of Islamic civil wars?
Contrast this action taken by the Navy against an Iranian proxy locked in a war with Al Qaeda to Obama’s scandalous indifference to Iranian aggression mano-a-mano with the U.S. Iran has been harassing U.S. ships operating in the Persian Gulf all year, including the time they actually seized a boat and humiliated the crew, a provocation that would have been an act of war in any other era. Instead of retaliating against Iran, Obama has made them his biggest ally and has continued to violate the terms of the nuclear agreement in their favor. Meanwhile, Obama continues to serve as the Shiite air force in Iraq where our military is giving air support to Iranian-backed militias being directed by Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) Commander Qassem Soleimani.
Of all times to get tough with Iran, involving our military in the Yemeni civil war — which in itself is a creation of this administration’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood Arab Spring — is not one of them.
The only thing coherent about this administration’s Middle East policy is to involve the U.S. military in exactly wrong theaters while ignoring the real threats to our strategic interests.