The United States will respond to the malign activities of Iran-backed forces.
On December 3, three commercial vessels traveling in the southern Red Sea put out distress calls. The U.S. Navy destroyer Carney “responded to the distress calls from these ships and provided assistance,” said U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.
“In doing so, it detected three UAV’s [unmanned aerial vehicles] at three different times heading in its direction, and it took action against all three of those UAV’s,” he said. “We have every reason to believe that these attacks, while they were launched by the Houthis in Yemen, were fully enabled by Iran.”
The December 3 attacks in the waters of the Red Sea by the Iran-backed Houthis are not isolated incidents. In a statement, U.S. Central Command said such attacks “represent a direct threat to international commerce and maritime security. They have jeopardized the lives of international crews representing multiple countries around the world”.
National Security Advisor Sullivan noted the position of the United States, “consistent with the U.N. Security Council, and consistent with the position of maritime nations across the world, is that that attacks on commercial shipping in international waters are totally unacceptable and have to stop.” He added, “This is not just an issue for the United States:”
“We are in talks with other countries about a maritime task force of sorts involving the ships from partner nations alongside the United States in ensuring safe passage of ships in the Red Sea.”
In a separate incident on December 3, the United States preempted an imminent attack on U.S. forces by Iran-backed militants near Kirkuk. U.S. forces responded in self-defense with an armed drone, which killed five militants. U.S. forces are in Iraq and Syria as part of the coalition to defeat ISIS. They have been subject to dozens of attacks by Iran-backed militants in recent weeks. The U.S. has responded by repeatedly striking facilities in Iraq and Syria used by Iran’s IRGC and associated militias.
“As we are working to stabilize the region, Iran is raising tensions,” said U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. “These attacks must stop. And until they do, we will do what we need to do to protect our troops and to impose costs on those who attack them.”