US to Deploy Navy Destroyer Off Yemen Coast to ‘Protect Waterways’

US to Deploy Navy Destroyer Off Yemen Coast to ‘Protect Waterways’ | Officials present move as a reaction to Houthi attack on Saudi warship

The Pentagon has deployed the USS Cole, a Navy destroyer, to the Yemeni coast near Bab al-Mandab Strait, to loiter in the area and “protect waterways” amid the ongoing Saudi invasion of Yemen. Officials are presenting the move as support for the Saudis, after Shi’ite Houthis attacked a Saudi ship off the base.

US officials have said it was conceivable that the Houthis thought they were attacking a US warship, though since the Houthis have been at war with Saudis since the Saudi invasion two years ago, it’s not at all clear why that might’ve been. Officials have also implied this has something to do with Iran, though such Iran-Yemen links always rest exclusively on them being Shi’ites, albeit a different sort of Shi’ites.

That they presented the targeted Saudi frigate as aimed at the US suggests the USS Cole is being sent in no small part with an eye toward it drawing such an attack from the Houthis as well, potentially giving the US a pretext for a deeper involvement in the Saudi invasion than the substantial involvement the US already has.

The USS Cole has experience as a target for attack off the Yemeni coast, having been hit by an al-Qaeda attack in the harbor of the port city of Aden in 2000, an attack which killed 17 sailors.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of

  • PxThucydides

    Wonder how the crew of the Cole feel about being sent in as a target? It recalls to me Churchill’s remark about coal ships that were sent up the channel during the Battle of Britain. The coal could have been sent by rail, but the coal ships attracted German attacks- damaging or sinking many of the ships- but allowing the attackers to be targeted by British fighters. The tactics appear to be working, said Churchill. “But the surviving bait are getting a bit fed up.”

    • I don’t think there are nearly as many “false flag” attacks as some commenters here seem to believe there are, but sending the Cole back to that area just sounds like the setup for one.

      • David S

        Plenty of well-documented provocations by our military and our government over the past century though.

      • Pirouette

        When the Cole erupts in to flames and explodes as its magazine ignites you’ll know it is a false flag.

        The last Houthi missile killed two sailors and put up a small fire. Hardly a ship destroying attack. The Houthis don’t have ship destroying weapons.

        Trump, just like Poroshenko, needs a quick war to take his people’s minds off how he will financially screw them in the coming year.

        And Israel needs an excuse for some more blood letting, war and murder as they are the only things that make them truely happy. And just think of all the money they will make from all the bombs, rockets and other ammo that the US will squander blowing up the poor Houthis!

  • wars r u.s.

    Can anyone blame us? After all the Houthis pose a direct threat to the United States. Oh wait, it was the Iranian missile test that was a direct threat. I get confused sometimes with all those direct threats out there.

  • David S

    Blow me up once…shame on me. Blow me up twice?? Hey, its someone else’s money and life…right?

  • martinbrock

    What happens when AQAP attacks the Cole with weapons supplied by the U.S. or S.A., by way of friendly forces in Syria, and tweets “revenge for Nawar”? Blame the Houthis and Iran? The fog of war is rarely so thick.