Senior Houthi Ansar Allah Movement Officials: U.S. Military Presence In Red Sea And Bab Al-Mandeb Strait Is A Provocation; Any Move By U.S. Forces Toward Yemeni Territorial Waters Will Start 'Longest And Most Expensive War In Human History'

August 10, 2023

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On August 7, 2023, the American 5th Fleet announced that more than 3,000 U.S. Sailors and Marines of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) had arrived in the Middle East on August 6, and had also moved into the Red Sea.[1] Following the American announcement, senior Houthi Ansar Allah movement officials stated that the U.S. military presence in the Red Sea and the Bab Al-Mandeb Strait was a provocation and demanded that the American forces distance themselves from Yemen’s territorial waters. They warned that the Houthi navy possesses capabilities and “surprises” that will deter the enemy, and threatened that any encroachment into Yemen’s territorial waters by the American forces would lead to the start of “the longest and most expensive war in human history.”

The following is a review of the Houthi responses to the American announcement:

On August 7, 2023, the Houthi Ansar Allah movement's Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Al-Ezzi, addressed the American forces in the area in a tweet, and warned them to stay away from Yemen's territorial waters, saying that approaching them would mark the beginning of the “longest and most expensive war in human history.” The Houthi website stated that such encroachment constituted “direct escalation against Yemen.”[2]

On August 9, 2023, in an interview with the Al-Masirah TV channel, which belongs to the Yemeni Houthi movement, Al-Ezzi said that the arrival of American combat forces in the region at this sensitive time did not advance peace or security in the Red Sea. He also maintained that navigation in the Red Sea should be protected and military provocations should be opposed, adding: “We are at war with America, and it is important that nobody makes any miscalculations. We have warned the American side in order to preserve maritime security. The Americans must reassess their plans, since the plan for a new Middle East has failed thanks to the awareness of the nations of the region.”[3]

On August 9, 2023, Houthi coastal defense chief Muhammad Al-Qadri stated that the Houthi armed forces have been closely monitoring the American fleet since it entered the Suez Canal, and have warned it not to approach Yemen's territorial waters. He said that the military presence of the American and Zionist forces in the Red Sea and in Bab Al-Mandab Strait constitutes a provocation, and he warned that the Houthi navy has capabilities and “surprises” that will deter the enemy. He added that during the ceasefire, the navy developed its capabilities in an unprecedented fashion.[4]

Also on August 9, 2023, an article on the Houthis' website warned that a “regional war” might break out following the American fleet’s arrival in the region, and added that the Houthis have developed missile and drone capabilities, such that it would be irresponsible on the part of the Americans to risk sacrificing their soldiers.[5]

It is notable that also in late July 2023, senior members of the Houthi Ansar Allah movement made threatening statements about the foreign forces in the area of the Bab-Al-Mandab Strait and the Red Sea.[6] Furthermore, following an announcement from the U.S. Navy about the establishment of a new multinational naval task force to target arms smuggling in the waters around Yemen, the Houthis threatened that they would not permit such activity.[7]



[1], August 7, 2023.

[2] Twitter, August 7, 2023.

[3], August 9, 2023.

[4], August 9, 2023.

[5], August 9, 2023.

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