Abdel-Malek al-Houthi warns Ansar Allah will strike US warships if they attack Yemen

Team India Sentinels Wednesday 20th of December 2023 04:54 PM

A screenshot of a video of Abdel-Malek al-Houthi.

New Delhi: Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, leader of the Houthi movement Ansar Allah (Supporters of God), warned the United States that it would strike its warships in the region if they attacked Yemen or escalate their actions in stopping his group from enforcing the Red Sea blockade of Israel-linked ships. Al-Houthi issued the warning in a televised address on Wednesday evening.

This comes a day after the US announced “Operation Prosperity Guardian” to protect commercial ships from Houthi missiles and drones while transiting the Red Sea.

In the operation, the US Navy is leading a coalition of navies to stop the Houthi Shia group from enforcing the Red Sea blockade. Apart from the US, the other members of the coalition are Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Seychelles, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

In his address, al-Houthi said, “We consider the American step, along with some countries, to form a multinational coalition under the guise of protecting trade in the Red Sea, a hostile step aimed at protecting Israel.”

Assailing the US president, Joe Biden, al-Houthi said, “America is another arm of international Zionism, to which the American president has boasted and declared his affiliation, and he is acting from that standpoint.”

Then, warning the US, he said, “We will not stand idly by if the US is tempted to escalate further and commit foolishness by targeting our country or waging war against it,” adding, “Any American targeting of our country will be targeted by us … we will make US warships, interests, and navigation a target for our missiles, drones, and military operations.”

Al-Houthi also warned the US of sending any troops to Yemen. He said the US troops will face more severe consequences in Yemen than they had faced in Vietnam and Afghanistan.

He said, “As long as the US wants to enter a direct war with Yemen, they should know that we are not those who fear them … and that they are facing an entire nation.”

This has raised the prospect of an armed conflict between the coalition and Yemen, which is a part of the so-called Axis of Resistance. Besides the Ansar Allah, the other groups in the Axis of Resistance include the Palestinian group Hamas, the Lebanon-based Shia group Hezbollah, and several other militia groups operating in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza. They are all believed to be backed by Iran.

The Ansar Allah group runs Yemen’s de facto government and have fired missiles and drones at several ships passing through the Red Sea in response to Israel's pummelling of the Gaza strip since October 7 following the Hamas raid on Israeli kibbutzim, military installations, and settlements. The raid killed around 1,150 Israelis, including civilians.

So far, around 20,000 Palestinian civilians have died in Israeli bombardment of the highly congested enclave, with over 60 per cent of them being children and women. Many thousands more are believed to be trapped in the rubble of destroyed buildings. According to some reports, Israel has destroyed around half of the residential buildings in Gaza and displaced 2 million people.

Meanwhile, Hezbollah, which is the largest and best equipped group among the Axis of Resistance, has so far restricted itself to shelling northern Israel, although both sides suffered scores of casualties, including civilian deaths. Hezbollah’s shelling of northern Israel has forced Tel Aviv to evacuate tens of thousands of Israelis settled near its border with Lebanon, including the Shebaa Farms.

The Shebaa Farms is a small strip of land at the intersection of the Lebanon-Syria border and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. It is about 11 kilometres (7 miles) long and 2.5 kilometres (2 miles) wide.

On Tuesday, as India Sentinels reported, New Delhi sent two Indian Navy destroyers – INS Kochi and INS Kolkata – near the Gulf of Aden in the northern Arabian Sea amid heightened tensions in the region and an act of piracy on a Malta-registered ship, MV Ruen, by Somali pirates. Although Indian warships patrol the area on anti-piracy missions, the two destroyers have been deployed to beef up maritime security and prevent piracy in the wake of the Red Sea tensions.

Editor’s note: India Sentinels publishes, from time to time, world news and op-eds, depending upon their gravity and impact on global security and diplomacy.

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