Yemen’s Ansarullah deals ‘ruinous’ blow to UK ship and US Reaper

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According to Yemeni military spokesperson Yahya Saree, the Rubymar, a British merchant vessel, has sustained “severe” damage, prompting the crew to abandon the ship. 

Photo by Hossein Velayati

The Yemeni Ansurullah Coalition forces have also made claims of downing an American MQ-9 Reaper drone over a Red Sea port. This incident follows a previously confirmed case of another Reaper being shot down off the country’s coast on November 8. 

At the time of the attack, the Rubymar was owned by Golden Adventure Shipping, a UK-based company. The ship was transporting cargo from the United Arab Emirates to Bulgaria.

Photo credit: Reddit

Yemen says

According to the spokesperson for the Yemeni military, the ship was targeted by “several naval missiles”. He further explained, “The scale of the damage inflicted on the ship was so catastrophic that it halted entirely. The ship, in light of the severe damage it endured, is currently at risk of possibly sinking in the Gulf of Aden. The crew was safely evacuated before the operation.” 

This alleged successful strike seems to confirm recent Western reports stating that the Ansurullah Coalition has launched its first-ever underwater drones. This introduction could potentially heighten the complexity of U.S. and British naval operations against targets in Yemen.

For the first time 

In a ground-breaking revelation on CBS News’ “60 Minutes,” US Deputy Administrator Brad Cooper enlightened us by stating, “Houthis mark the first-ever instance across the globe to employ anti-ship ballistic missiles specifically against shipping ventures… it’s completely unheard of, even more so against US Navy vessels, let alone commercial ones.

Saudi–Houthis conflict

Photo credit: RT

In 2014, the Houthis, a Shiite-majority group from northern Yemen, drastically changed Yemen’s political scene by staging a coup d’etat. They seized control of the northern provinces, including Sana’a, the capital. This led the recognised government, under President Mansour Hadi, to shift their base to Aden, a key port city in southern Yemen. 

The Houthis didn’t stop at just the northern territories. They gained military strength and spread their influence further south. This led Saudi Arabia to form an Arab coalition and start a ground military campaign in 2015, dubbed the “Tempest of Determination”. The goal was to help the official government regain its power. Saudi Arabia’s deep involvement in this conflict is due to the Houthis marching towards the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, a crucial shipping route often used by Saudi oil tankers. What adds to the complexity is that the Houthis are backed by Iran, a rival of the Sunni-majority Islamic nations and especially of Saudi Arabia. 

Apart from the main conflict, it’s essential to mention that other players are also involved in Yemen’s crisis. One of them is the Southern Transitional Council [STC], which is significantly supported by the UAE. However, there’s a tense relationship between the STC and the official Yemeni government because of the STC’s continuous attempt for independence in southern Yemen. Finally, a major terrorist organization called al-Qaida on the Arabian Peninsula operates in Yemen. They control large areas within the country’s central region.

Israeli-Iranian proxy war / cold war

The relationship between Israel and Iran is largely marked by threats and hostility. This state of affairs has been the norm for a long time, showing a deep-seated tension often called the proxy conflict or Cold War between the two countries. 

The global community first witnessed these tensions after Iran’s revolution in 1979. Ever since, Iran has been vocal about its intent to dismantle Israel. It supports various groups that hold anti-Israel beliefs and hostility towards Jewish individuals. On the other hand, Israel is particularly worried over Iran’s nuclear program, mainly because of their close positions on the map. This sparks fears that Iran could potentially use nuclear weapons on Israel. In this narrative, note that Israel’s allies like the United States and Saudi Arabia, are recognized enemies of Iran. 

Photo credit: BBC

This tension has evolved over time into what some see as a war between Israel and Iran, with hostilities continuing since the beginning of the Syrian civil war. Iran sees Israel as governed by an illegitimate “Zionist regime,” an issue Tehran strongly opposes. Further, Iran believes that the United States holds anti-Muslim feelings, as seen from their consistent support for Israel.

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