Yemen’s Houthis Downed US Drone, CENTCOM Blames Iran

Drone was shot down with old Soviet-era missile

In a continuing effort to try to pin everything that goes wrong for the US on Iran, a new statement by CENTCOM is claiming that a MQ-9 Reaper drone was shot down on June 6 in Yemeni airspace, by the Houthis, and they are alleging it was “with Iranian assistance.”

The basics of the incident are that the US government-operated drone was flying over Yemeni airspace when it was shot down with a 2k12, a Soviet-era anti-aircraft system which Yemen has been known to be in possession of since well before the Saudi invasion.

There is no reason to think this needs to be Iran, and despite CENTCOM claiming that the successful shoot down was ‘an improvement over previous Houthi capability,” all that really means is they’d never successfully hit a US drone before with weapons that they’ve plainly had all along.

Indeed, the Houthis have paraded 2k12 vehicles around publicly since ousting the Hadi government in 2015. That they’ve not been used more is reflective of the Saudis using highly advanced US-made bombers of modern pedigree, and the 2k12’s being the height of late 1960’s Soviet technology. Drones have substantially fewer capabilities, and unsurprisingly for an unmanned vehicle that sometimes gets shot down by a guy with a rifle or a bow and arrow, the 2k12 was more than up to the task.

The bigger question here should probably be why the US felt comfortable deploying into Yemeni airspace in the first place, knowing it is a war zone, and knowing the Houthis have ample reason to want to shoot down a US attack drone.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.