Basham talks about American public opinion on Iran
US troops could face conditions “harsher than Vietnam” if Joe Biden sends the military into Yemen or strikes its forces, the leader of the Iran-backed Houthi rebel group has warned.
Rebel chief Abdel-Malek al-Houthi also warned that he would not hesitate to strike American warships if Washington ordered missile strikes against his forces.
The military leader issued the chilling threat during a live televised speech on Thursday.
He said: “We will not stand idly by if the Americans are tempted to escalate further and commit foolishness by targeting our country or waging war against it.
“Any American targeting of our country will be targeted by us.
“We will make American battleships, interests, and navigation a target for our missiles, drones, and military operations.”
It comes amid reports that Washington is plotting to strike Houthi sites to calm surging tensions in the Red Sea.
Biden has moved the Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier to the Gulf of Aden off Yemen’s coast as he mulls over plans to end the chaos.
The USS Laboon, a guided-missile destroyer, also arrived this week for extra backup.
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Three navy destroyers – the USS Carney, USS Mason and USS Thomas Hudner- are all stationed near the Bab al-Mandab Strait between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
Now, the Houthis fear American troops could come storming onto their turf.
Al-Houthi warned: “If the American [President] sends his soldiers to Yemen, let him know that, God willing, he will face something harsher than what he faced in Afghanistan and what he suffered in Vietnam.”
Earlier this week, the US and a host of other nations announced a new force – dubbed Operation Prosperity Guardian -to protect ships transiting the Red Sea.
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Many vessels have under attack by drones and ballistic missiles fired from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.
The attacks have damaged these ships and forced multiple companies to order their vessels to hold in place and not enter the Bab el-Mandeb Strait until the security threat is resolved.
Mohammed Abdel-Salam, the Houthis’ chief negotiator and spokesman, has lashed out at the new military alliance.
He warned that his Iranian-backed would continue targeting Israel-linked vessels off Yemen.
The US has reportedly spent tens of millions in the past few weeks as it scrambles to block these attempts by Houthi militants.
American forces have already been gunning down Houthi drones shot at Israel as its war against Hamas rages on.
The Pentagon maintains that it is not engaged in a direct armed conflict with the Houthis.
Instead, Washington argues it is specifically taking out Houthi drones and missiles that have been aimed at commercial shipping vessels.
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On Monday, a strike by an attack drone and a ballistic missile hit a tanker off Yemen, the military said.
A cargo ship reported an explosive detonating in the water near them at a similar time, the army added.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said earlier this week: “This is an international challenge that demands collective action.”
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