Small Wars Journal

The Pentagon Hopes It Didn’t Just Start Another War

The Pentagon Hopes It Didn’t Just Start Another War by David Axe and Nancy Youssef, The Daily Beast

The U.S. Navy blasted three radar installations in Houthi-held territory in southern Yemen, the first direct American intervention in the ongoing conflict there. The U.S. military is hoping that doesn’t lead to yet another war for American forces.

But hope, as the old military saw goes, is not a plan.

So far, Pentagon officials are keen to not be drawn into a broader conflict. Rather they called Wednesday’s strike a self-defense measure. But at the same time, defense officials said they were prepared to strike again, should the Houthis threaten American—or even commercial—ships in the region’s waters.

“It’s up to them,” one defense official explained to The Daily Beast, referring to whether the Houthis, Shiite-dominated rebels, attempt to strike U.S. ships again. “But it wouldn’t be smart of them to keep doing this.”

The Iranian-backed Houthis are aligned with former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a U.S. ally forced to step down from power in 2012. The U.S. has been providing logistical support for the Saudi-led coalition that backing Saleh’s successor, Abu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who legitimacy has been questioned domestically. Pentagon officials concede that the region around Yemen is fragile for a cycle of strikes and counterstrikes. That is, the Saudis conduct strikes on behalf of the Yemeni government it supports—often with tragic consequences to nearby civilians. The Houthis, who consider another government legitimate, strike in response at Saudi Arabia and its American allies. And the wave of attacks start anew.

Yemen has been without a government since 2014, when the Houthis swept in and forced Hadi, the then-president, to resign…

Read on.


Outlaw 09

Sun, 10/16/2016 - 2:53am

Third attempt by the Houthi's firing missiles to hit USS Mason.....she dodged them with countermeasures...all missed......

US admiral says multiple cruise missiles have been fired again at American warship near Yemen.

NOT saying the Obama/Rhodes/Kerry WH AND DoD are trying to cover up anything but this initial PR sure walks, talks and smells like a cover up....

Pentagon now reviewing USS Mason incident data from today. Not clear if fired on again by Yemen rebels or a ship radar anomaly.

IF in fact a radar "anomaly" then the billions spent on defense contractors for missile defense systems WAS literally a waste of money...I have been inside a major missile defense war game in the ME where radars play a big role and inside that war game radar anomalies were accounted for and accepted as "REAL".....because one only has seconds to decide and fire or place deflection measures in place....

In the Old Cold War of yesterday, when:

a. The Soviets/the communists were engaged in transforming the entire Rest of the World more along the lines of their very unusual and unique (and thus often alien and profane) way of life, way of governance, etc. And

b. Much of the Rest of the World, then, was actively engaged (in various and sundry ways) in resisting these such "transformational" attempts.

In this such old conflict environment, "another war" -- and the sending one's troops there to participate in one way or another -- this was expected. Yes?

Why then, in the New/Reverse Cold War of today, with:

a. The U.S./the West now engaged in transforming the entire Rest of the World, in this case, more along our very unusual and unique (and thus often alien and profane) political, economic, social and value lines. And

b. Much of the Rest of the World, now, actively engaged (in various and sundry ways) in resisting our such "transformational" attempts.

Why, in this such similar (to the Old Cold War) conflict environment, would we consider "another war" (and our sending of our troops there in one fashion or another) as unusual/something that is not to be expected?

(Might the answer to this/these questions be that, in our pursuit of our "expansionist" activities, we did not initially anticipate -- and still really cannot get our minds around -- the fact that our "soft power/our "universal values" concepts, much like those of the Soviets/the communists before us, have proven to be invalid/not as popular as we had both anticipated and required?)

Bottom Line:

With our understanding, now, that -- re: our "world transformation" objective -- neither our "soft power," nor our version of "universal values" (much like that of the Soviets/the communists before us), will either (a) "carry the fight" and/or (b) "win the day." Thus,

a. "Resistance to transformation" will be what we will -- and must expect to -- encounter,

b. "Hard power," thus, will be our way forward. And, accordingly,

c. "Another war," and the deployment of our troops (in one way or another) in support of such wars; this is to be expected: As this will be our way of life -- now and for the foreseeable future?

Outlaw 09

Mon, 10/17/2016 - 3:42am

In reply to by flagg

The chart I agree is not totally all encompassing....think the author was trying to show the overall increase of missile firings.....and at the same time indicate that maybe the US is overlooking something in their drive to not upset Khamenei in his goal to create as many "Islamic States" as possible in the ME under his direct influence....which really was Khomeini's main goal with his "Green Crescent" and his "Revolutionary Islam"....

THAT has been greatly enhanced now with the Obama/Rhodes/Kerry WH Iran Deal...the question is why did this WH deliberately revive/directly support "Revolutionary Islam"....AND especially the "Green Crescent"...??


Sun, 10/16/2016 - 4:41pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09

That's an interesting looking chart.

But it seems to be lacking at least 2 successful SS-21 Totchka missile attacks on Saudi/UAE/GCC concentrations.

Between the 4 SS-21 successful Tochka attacks there were over 500 casualties according to news reports.

And a Saudi airbase in reasonable proximity to Mecca was just reportedly hit with an enhanced range surface to surface missile over 500km from the border with Yemen.


Sat, 10/15/2016 - 10:51am

Elections were postponed because Iran backed Houthi rebels which disrupted elections.
The lawfully elected President appoints the 111 members of the upper house.
This is a typical extremist explanation of fact, positing that elections are illegal in the first place.
"the Houthis have systematically persecuted journalists and attempted to manipulate media coverage of their activities. By March 2015, nearly 70 press freedom violations by Houthi forces had already been reported, including threats, kidnappings, and confiscations of equipment. At the start of April, the international coalition forces backing Hadi announced that all Houthi-affiliated media were military targets. That month, a coalition airstrike hit the offices of the television station Yemen Today, killing a journalist and three other people. Two additional journalists were killed by an airstrike in May after being kidnapped by Houthi rebels. Houthi abductions of journalists are common; Reporters without Borders reported that 11 were being held at the end of August."
Prestense this is Civil war is to ignore the nation is defined by sharia law and the sectarian divide is between Shiite and Sunni.
"Islam is the official religion, and the constitution declares Sharia (Islamic law) to be the source of all legislation. Yemen has few non-Muslim religious minorities, and their rights are generally respected in practice, though conversion from Islam and proselytizing to Muslims is prohibited. The outbreak of war has inflamed sectarian tensions between the Shiite Houthis and Sunni militant groups. In March 2015, more than 130 people were killed by suicide bombers at two Shiite mosques in Sanaa. Further blasts hit three Shiite mosques in June."
To suggest this is a "civil" war is misleading.
By ignoring the differing strains of radical Islam we are more likely to get dragged into a religious war we probably have no business officiating.
Stars and Stripes published Slobodan Lerics article, "Cleaning up the Mess", more than suggesting American interests in the region have declined with oil interests, while relations with Saudi, Israel and the Emirates are strained, rapprochement with Iran has not produced any measurable decline in violence throughout the region and may even be accenting it.
The Houthi have fired missiles at our "flotilla" off the coat of Yemen, on going military provocations are initiated in the Gulf as Iran attempts to extend its influence claiming Bahrain is Iranian territory.
The Iranians have responded to the attack on the "Houthi" radar stations by sending a fleet to challenge the American flotilla.
War is at hand but Obama will probably run out of the region pursuant to rapprochement?
Iran is freedoms mortal enemy, and "civil", sic, war will not be contained by oceans.