Yesterday’s decision to send the USS Theodore Roosevelt and assorted support ships to the Gulf of Aden, off the coast of Yemen, was officially done to help with the naval blockade of the besieged Yemenis. Officials are conceding however it’s mostly about Iran.
Pentagon officials cited the movement of a small Iranian naval convoy in the vicinity as a “factor” in the deployment, saying putting the mass of US ships off the Yemen coast gives them “options.”
The Pentagon has also said F/A-18 Hornets are being deployed toward the Iranian convoy to conduct “reconnaissance,” though the State Department insisted that reports they might intercept the ships is “blatantly untrue.”
There’s no indication the Iranian ships were/are doing anything untoward, though the US similarly expressed alarm at a two-ship Iranian convoy engaged in anti-piracy operations off the Somali coast for getting sort of close to Yemeni waters.
The Pentagon is justifying the move as all about Iran, but Yemen’s Houthis see the move more practically as a threat to them, adding yet another country to the naval blockade which is keeping food shipments out of the country.