How about some good news to start off Thursday? We’ve previously seen two incidents where our enemies have fired missiles at U.S. Navy ships in what can only be described as an act of war. Last night the good guys struck back when we launched Tomahawk missiles and destroyed three radar stations on the coast of Yemen. The bases were believed to have been used by Houthi rebels targeting our ships. (NBC News)
The U.S. military launched Tomahawk cruise missiles against radar sites in Yemen early Thursday, a senior defense official said.
The strikes followed two incidents this week in which missiles were fired at a U.S. Navy ship from a rebel-controlled area of the country.
The missiles were launched from the destroyer USS Nitze at around 4 a.m. Thursday local time (9 p.m. Wednesday ET), and initial assessments were that all three coastal sites in rebel Houthi-controlled areas were destroyed, the official said.
Here’s the NBC footage of the missile launch from the deck of the Nitze.
While this is welcome news it will hardly end the challenges we face in that particular region. Yemen is a mess right now and it has been for quite a while. Ever since the Houthi rebels essentially went to open war with the government last year there have been significant sections of the country which are lawless. There are also active Islamic terrorist groups in the country including Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Islamic Jihad of Yemen. The Saudis have been trying to support the government there in a variety of ways, including military attacks on the rebels such as the bombing run which wiped out 140 people at a funeral there just this past week.
Yeman’s location adjacent to Saudi Arabia and at the mouth of the Red Sea gives the rebels all sorts of opportunities to create trouble. But unlike your garden variety terror groups, the Houthi have taken over functional military equipment and have been able to use it to menace their neighbors as well as our own ships. Further, they seem to be awfully well funded and connected, largely because they’re being supported by Iran. This makes the situation even more complicated.
With all that in mind, let me offer a tip of my hat and salute to President Obama for pulling the trigger on this one so quickly. Wiping out those radar installations was the right thing to do and sends a powerful message to everyone in the region. It should also be much safer for everyone to navigate those particular waters for a while as well.