US warships dispatched near Yemen
KONFRONTASI - The United States has dispatched its warships near Yemen as Saudi Arabia’s aggression continues against the Arab world’s poorest country.
US Central Command moved the ships due to the situation in Yemen, said Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, on Monday, further denying reports that the move aimed at the interception of Iranian ships present in the region.
“They are not going to intercept Iranian ships,” the Pentagon spokesman claimed. “That is absolutely not the case.”
Meanwhile, the Pentagon confirmed that the carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and the cruiser USS Normandy have been dispatched to the region.
"Theodore Roosevelt and Normandy have joined other U.S. forces conducting maritime security operations in the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb and the Southern Red Sea," said a US Navy statement.
"In recent days, the U.S. Navy has increased its presence in this area as a result of the current instability in Yemen," it added. "The purpose of these operations is to ensure the vital shipping lanes in the region remain open and safe."
Saudi Arabia’s air campaign against the Ansarullah fighters of the Houthi movement started on March 26, without a United Nations mandate, in a bid to restore power to the country’s fugitive former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh
According to reports, more than 2,600 people, including women and children, have so far lost their lives in the attacks.
Iran’s presence in the region
The Islamic Republic of Iran’s Navy said on Saturday that its naval presence in the area stands within international laws.
“Our presence and measures in the area are within the framework of international laws,” Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari (pictured below) noted.
The Iranian commander also rejected that the Navy had received any warning or admonition over the matter.
In line with international efforts against piracy, the Iranian Navy has also been conducting patrols in the gulf since November 2008 in order to safeguard merchant containers and oil tankers owned or leased by Iran or other countries.[ptv]