By Abayomi Azikiwe
An escalation in military engagements has been occurring in the Gulf of Aden as several vessels connected with the State of Israel and its supporters are being targeted by the Yemen resistance force of the Ansar Allah.
On November 26, the United States Department of Defense issued a statement saying it had thwarted an attempted seizure of the Central Park, a commercial tanker operating in these waters.
However, several hours later, Mohammad al-Bukhaiti, a member of the Ansar Allah Political Bureau, denied any involvement in the incident. The resistance movement accused the Pentagon of concocting the story to provide a rationale for the ongoing military support to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in their genocidal war against the Palestinian people and others throughout the region.
After the statements by the Yemeni resistance, the Pentagon shifted its position and blamed pirates of Somalian nationality for the boarding and attempted hijacking of the Central Park. This is the first time in many years that Somalians have been accused of seizing commercial vessels.
The Ansar Allah movement is routinely described by the U.S. administration and the Pentagon as being an Iranian-backed militia. This allegation on the part of Washington is designed to deny the legitimacy of the movement which has been the victims of a seven-year war engineered by several successive White House administrations both Democratic and Republican.
An interview delivered to Al Mayadeen quotes and summarizes the position of the resistance:
“The United States ‘invented a story of rescuing a commercial ship from militants in the Gulf of Aden,’ Mohammed al-Bukhaiti, a member of Ansar Allah’s Political Bureau, posted on X. The official stressed that the location where the act was allegedly carried out is not a suitable spot for a capture operation. Al-Bukhaiti went on to debunk other details of the American narration of the events, in which the Pentagon claimed that two ballistic missiles were fired at the USS Mason, which responded to Central Park’s distress call.”
Yemen Has Long Been a Focus of the U.S. and NATO
Due to the anti-imperialist character of the Yemen revolutionaries, they have been targeted by the U.S. for destruction. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) beginning in 2015 waged an air war against the advances being made by the Ansar Allah.
It was the U.S. administrations of former President Barack Obama and his successor, President Donald Trump, which authorized the bombing of Yemen and the logistical support for a rival government in Yemen which was allied with imperialism. The ground campaign against Yemen was largely dependent upon the targeted bombing utilizing Pentagon aircraft and coordinates which struck infrastructural sites, residential neighborhoods and ports.
Mediation efforts by the Oman government coupled with improved relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, did lead to a lessening of tensions. Since 2022, there has been a substantial decrease in the fighting in Yemen, where during the course of U.S.-backed bombing and ground offensive against the Ansar Allah, the country, considered the most impoverished in the West Asia region, became the center of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
1.2 million cases of cholera were reported largely among children. The capacity to address the crisis was hampered by the bombing of hospitals and clinics, a strategy employed by the U.S.-backed Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) military units which are being replicated in the current war in Gaza.
Since the launching of Operation Al-Aqsa Storm on October 7 in the Palestinian Occupied Territories (POT), Yemen under the leadership of the resistance forces have pledged maximum solidarity with the fighters in Gaza. Demonstrations involving millions of Yemenis have been bolstered by military actions against the Israeli interests in the Gulf of Aden.
Al-Bukhaiti, in the Al Mayadeen interview, challenged other talking points by the White House related to the situation in the Gulf of Aden:
“Al-Bukhaiti went on to debunk other details of the American narration of the events, in which the Pentagon claimed that two ballistic missiles were fired at the USS Mason, which responded to Central Park’s distress call. The official exposed American lies, after the latter asserted that the two missiles fell 10 miles off their intended target, the USS Mason. Al-Bukhaiti explained that Yemeni ballistic missiles intended to target moving naval targets are equipped with active guidance systems and are capable of altering their trajectories accordingly. He also stressed that Yemen possesses precision-guided munitions, saying it is impossible for such weapons to have a margin of error of 10 miles. The official reiterated that the Yemeni Armed Forces ‘only target ships owned by the Zionist entity,’ warning other nations not to interfere in the operations of the Yemeni Armed Forces, aimed at supporting Palestine and its people who are faced with fierce Israeli aggression.”
Over the previous decade, the U.S. has deployed troops and intelligence operatives in Yemen aimed at controlling the internal political dynamic of the country. With the resistance forces operating as an integral part of the Axis of Resistance bringing together Iran, Syria, southern Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine, the Biden administration will continue to escalate its military presence around Yemen and throughout the entire Gulf of Aden and Persian Gulf waterways.
U.S. Maintains Neo-Colonial Designs on Somalia and the Horn of Africa
For many decades various U.S. administrations have carried out direct and indirect military interventions in Somalia. In December 1992, former U.S. President George W. Bush, Sr. deployed thousands of marines into the Horn of Africa state under the guise of providing humanitarian assistance during a famine in the aftermath of a civil war.
Within a matter of months, the Pentagon troops were embroiled in major battles with resistance forces in Somalia. The U.S. ordered massacres of leading Somali political groupings prompting anger and hostility towards their troops. By October 1993, the number of casualties inflicted upon the Pentagon troops led to the eventual withdrawal by the administration of then President Bill Clinton.
Later in 2007, the administration of President George W. Bush, Jr. launched a proxy war against the Islamic Courts Union in Somalia by encouraging the intervention of Ethiopian and Kenyan military forces. The events in Somalia remain unsettled since 2007 as the U.S.-backed deployment of Ethiopian and Kenyan troops was reinforced by Pentagon aerial bombardments against Islamist organizations and civilians. At present the U.S. and United Nations-sponsored African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has been transformed into a transitional project (ATMIS) which aims to draw down the AU forces while placing more emphasis on strengthening the Somalian National Army.
Therefore, this cursory historical review of U.S. involvement in Somalia indicates that people inside the country and the Gulf of Aden-Horn of Africa region should not take any solace in the Pentagon apportioning blame to pirates for the attempted seizure of the Central Park. What is never asked by the corporate and government-controlled media in the U.S. and other imperialist states is why does Washington still have military forces stationed throughout various areas spanning from the eastern Mediterranean to Gulf of Aden.
After the escalation of the war in Palestine, the Biden administration immediately dispatched two aircraft carriers to the eastern Mediterranean. The U.S. is the largest contributor to the military structures of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and the occupation apparatus as a whole.
As the temporary truce during the closing days of November brought about the release of some of the prisoners of war and detainees among the Palestinians, settler population and foreign nationals, the IDF and other security forces continued to arrest and kill people living in the West Bank. On November 29, it was announced that two more Palestinian children, 8 and 15 years old, were killed by the IDF in what they described as an “counter-terrorism operation.”
Shamefully, the Biden administration has attempted to take political credit for the pause in the IDF bombing of Gaza, while millions in the U.S. are calling for a permanent ceasefire and the withholding of aid to the settler-colonial state of Israel. There is no long-term policy being articulated by the Biden administration other than additional attempts to maintain the status-quo which does not create an independent Palestinian state nor the abolition of the apartheid construct.
People in the antiwar, anti-imperialist and Palestine solidarity movements should pay very close attention to the increasing U.S. military presence in the Gulf of Aden and Horn of Africa. The Biden administration, like its predecessors, is willing to risk a regional war in the failed attempts to reinforce its hegemony on a global scale.