Houthis Threaten To Target New U.S.-Led Naval Force To Be Deployed In Red Sea

April 14, 2022

On April 13, 2022, the United States Navy (USN) announced the establishment of a new multinational naval task force to target arms smuggling in the waters around Yemen. Fifth Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Brad Cooper said that, starting April 17, the task force would "ensure a force presence and deterrent posture in the Red Sea, Bab Al-Mandab and Gulf of Aden," and would impede the transfer of weapons to the Houthi Ansar Allah movement.[1]

The statement was issued amid a series of attacks perpetrated in the last few months by the Houthis against Saudi Arabia and the UAE,[2] including the January 3, 2022 capture of the UAE-flagged Rwabee cargo ship in the Red Sea.

In response to the announcement, a member of Ansar Allah's Supreme Political Council, shared a hashtag that appears to be a threat to mobilize the Houthi naval force against the new U.S.-led task force.

The hashtag was shared by many Ansar Allah supporters on Twitter, who likewise threatened the new naval task force. Several of them quoted excerpts from a March 25, 2022 speech by Houthi leader 'Abd Al-Malik Al-Houthi in which he warned that his movement had ballistic missiles, drones and naval forces capable of "drowning enemies and sending them to the bottom of the sea, with Allah's help, just as Pharaoh was lost."

Under the hashtag, a Yemeni journalist posted photographs of a UAE-flagged vessel that had been used by the USN and was damaged by Houthi fire in October 2016.

Another Yemeni journalist shared a photo of the same ship and wrote, "If the sea of Yemen overflows, America will have no protection." In another post he wrote, "What's happening in the Red Sea? #TheyWillDrownAsPharaohDrowned."

Another supporter wrote, "It appears that #TheU.S. is determined to commit suicide in #Yemen."

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