"Remember the Mason!" – US attacks Houthis in Yemen

Kit Knightly

Four days ago, after reports that Saudi Arabia had bombed a funeral in Yemen killing 140 mourners, America announced it would “review its support” for the Saudi-led coalition.

Three days ago the USS Mason, an American destroyer patrolling the Red Sea, was apparently fired upon from Yemen. It has gone unquestioned in the Western MSM that the Houthis were behind this attack, despite strong denials from the Houthis themselves.

Yesterday, all thoughts of “reviewing support” put aside, the Americans bombed three “radar sites” that they claim were a threat to their assets in the Red Sea.

Just like that, America is now an active player in the war on Yemen, when before they were simply selling weapons to the Saudis et al.

You might consider it strange that the Houthis, who have not fired on American ships ever before in the nearly 2 years of warfare in Yemen, suddenly decided – just as American support for Saudi Arabia was in question – to launch missiles at an American destroyer.

You might be asking yourself, “Why would the Houthis, who struggle to get any coverage in the Western press at all, let alone sympathetic coverage, launch an attack on America?”

You might consider it strange that the Houthis, already fighting a losing battle against a ribetter-equipped equipped enemy, might try and drag America into the war.

It’s not strange. Not in the least. It fits so well with the history of American military entanglements that one might even call it predictable, at this point.

There was the USS Maine, for example.

In 1898 the Cuban War for Independence was three years old, the revolutionaries (supplied and trained in America) were fighting to free Cuba from Spanish rule. The American press was full of exaggerated or made up stories of Spanish “atrocities”, and many in Washington were calling for war. However, President McKinley favored diplomacy. Then the USS Maine was (allegedly) maliciously and deliberately blown up by the Spanish, killing 258 American sailors. “Remember the Maine, to Hell with Spain!” became a battle cry, and America declared war.

There has never been any evidence the Maine was attacked deliberately by the Spanish, and all historical investigations have pointed to an accidental sinking as a result of fire.

Or there was the Gulf of Tonkin incident – the casus belli behind the Vietnam war. When North Vietnamese torpedo boats engaged and attacked American destroyers. This act of aggression from North Vietnam pulled America into a war they would not leave for 10 long years.

Except of course, it literally never happened.
The pattern is set. There are enough articles about “false flags” on the internet to fill a whole library of books, there’s nothing more to add.

This is quite clearly another to file in the historical annals between the Reichstag Fire and Operation Northwoods.

That this should happen just as the Western press is waking up to what they now uniformly calling “the forgotten war”, is no coincidence.

In the Telegraph, Con Coughlin – a rather red-faced bombast, unfettered by petty reality, and in favor of starting a war with Russia – writes that the “forgotten war” is all Iran’s fault, and while Saudia Arabia might be killing practically every civilian that has died in the conflict, really it’s all down to Iran’s meddling.

The Guardian takes the tone that we (the West) should “do more”, and again references the mythic American reluctance to get involved. (yes, they are so totally without irony that they can actually claim America doesn’t want to be involved THE SAME DAY they launched missiles into Yemen). Despite some vague chastising of the UK/US, the Guardian agrees that Yemen is almost entirely Iran’s fault, that the Iranians are “exploiting and manipulating” Yemen to their own ends.

The Washington Post echoed that the US “must act” to pull Yemen back from collapse.

The focus, currently, is on the “humanitarian catastrophe”, and all decry the lack of negotiations…but that’s always the way it starts. Emotive language and made up statistics, the declaration that “something must be done”. Then, when the negotiations start the Houthis will either be presented with terms to which they simply cannot agree, or the Saudis will break the truce and the MSM will blame the Houthis and Iran anyway.

At that point the “something” which “must be done” becomes a military intervention…in order to stop the war and protect civilians.

The question becomes: Why? Why is the US suddenly committing more resources to a war in Yemen? Why are the press suddenly waking up to their “forgotten war”?

The Houthi rebels in Yemen are reportedly backed by Iran and Hezbollah (there’s no direct evidence this is true, but given the political make up of Yemen, it does seem likely). It’s possible that America sees increased assistance to the Arab coalition, and actual low-key interventions of their own, to be – in effect – the opening of a second front of their proxy war with Iran in Syria. It’s possible they want to encourage Iran and Hezbollah to expend more of their resources in Yemen, and thus weaken their presence in Syria.

Does the Clinton administration want to undo the Obama-backed Iran deal? Will the new President undermine and verbally attack Iran in the hopes of scuppering the treaty? The vague possibility of a Nuclear-armed Iran has been America’s excuse for building missile defense shields in Eastern Europe, being able to refresh this brazenly false alibi would make life a little easier at the Pentagon.

It’s possible that America is seeking to build itself a little hill of highground, having taken a lot of flak recently for their preposterously hypocritical stance of at once denouncing Russia and Syria as “war criminal”, and supporting Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen (including selling them bombs to drop on funerals).

It’s possible that they feel the need to insert themselves into Yemen to head off any Russian involvement there. Former President Ali Abdullah Saleh made general overtures to Russia in a television interview six weeks ago. The last thing America would want is Russia to have access to naval bases on the Red Sea, and a Russian presence in Yemen would hinder any possibility of America putting boots on the ground there (hopefully, anyway).

Of course, it’s also possible that they need to fire off a few bombs so that they have an excuse to buy more. Fifth homes for ex-senators-turned-arms industry lobbyists don’t buy themselves.

When you’re a power-mad, institutionalised sociopath there doesn’t have to be a grand plan, or a big reason. That’s what makes them so dangerous.

Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he's forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.

Filed under: conflict zones, featured, Iran, Kit, Saudi Arabia, United States, Yemen


Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he's forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.

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Beau B
Beau B

I was there on the Mason a$$hole, and saw the missiles on radar, the very radar that I maintained. It was real.


Did you also see who fired them on the radar you maintained? Maybe they had a handy flag glued to the side together with a photo of intended victim like the bomb allegedly sent to John Brennan?


For your information Kit. The map you are using is not true. Al-jouf is a conflict place also, now the government troops are freeing many places in Al-jouf including the capital district.
Al-byda until now, Huthis couldn’t control the whole governorate and fighting still between Huthis and Resistance Forces and Yemeni Army.
Marib is almost 95% freed only areas in the borders between Sana’a and Marib. And it is not under or a conflict area between Al-Qaeda and Government though there is a remarkable existence for Al-Qaeda but not controlling the situation.
The same is for Shabaw, it is still a conflict between Huthis and Government in two districts only and all other districts are feed from Huthis. Same applies to Al-Qaeda existence in Shabwa as in Marib.
Al-dali is all freed only some districts of formerly-followed the North part of Yemen and repositioned to follow Al-dali later. Other than that, Al-dali is free of Huthis.
Sa’ada now is being invaded by Government troops also.
Sana’a itself the front of Huthis now is being invaded by the government troops.
Not only you are adopting and promoting for false views, also using misleading map.


The one who wrote this essay is either blind or being blind by saying this (The Houthi rebels in Yemen are reportedly backed by Iran and Hezbollah (there’s no direct evidence this is true, but given the political make up of Yemen, it does seem likely). What kind of evidence you need to consider from your point of view as an EVIDENCE? What do you consider this(the first thing Huthis did when entering Sana’a they surrounded the National Security Building and released the Iranian guys held in with respect to smuggling weapons into Yemen for Huthis), not to mention all media talks, Iranian officials announcements, all declared stands by movements and militias linked to and supported by Iran. And And And And…
I am asking Mr. Kit of the Guardian..What kind of evidence you need. It is a shame that such internationally famous newspaper to adopt such stands or letting people adopt such on their behalf.
An ignorant would reach the truth just by googling a few press announcements made by Iranian officials and other movements linked to that Iran is involved to the bone in backing Huthis.
Just use your logic Mr. Kit and open both eyes and pretty sure you will change your content. It is the same logic I am using in judging you based on your writing, you are not neutral.


Kit is not connected to the Guardian


Hmm- the entire matter bears a striking resemblance to what happened in Syria a few weeks ago. The US and Australians bombed the Syrian army- killing over 60 Syrian soldiers and wounding another 100. They immediately claimed it was an accident- and the MSN media immediately accepted and repeated this explanation. However there was some claims and circumstantial evidence that it wasn’t an accident at all: the Syrian government immediately declared it was a deliberate strike- with Assad saying that the strike seemed to be coordinated with an ISIS attack that occurred immediately after the attack (within 30 minutes). He outright refused to accept that it was accidental. The attack itself consisted of multiple strikes over the course of an hour.
Then just a few days later- a UN aid convoy was allegedly attacked as it tried to enter Aleppo. Russia and/or Syria were immediately blamed despite the evidence that they were behind it being contradictory- and that they denied it. The MSN media immediately repeated the Pentagon line that this attack was deliberate- and attention of the fatal US lead attack a few days before was quickly deflected to the ‘latest Russian atrocity’. One has to wonder why Assad or Putin would order such an attack- and especially at that time? If they did it was very poor decision making.
Early on in the Syrian war Obama made an ultimatum against the use of chemical weapons- saying if Assad used them he would ‘cross a red line’ and the US would ‘take action’. The UN sent in weapons inspectors- and just hours after they arrived their was an alleged chemical weapon attack in the exact area they were travelling too. Why on Erth would Assad order such an attack- and risk pulling the US directly into a war that Assad was losing at that time? It made no sense at all. The US immediately decried this ‘Assad attrocity’ and started beating the drums of War. However the International community was not convinced by the this attack- asking for more evidence to show who was behind it. It seems as if the evidence that did exist: did not strengthen the US claim that it was a Syrian Government attack- and after some time this matter was simply swept under the rug: it was the false flag that didn’t fly. At the time there were commentators on the ground who alleged that that attack was actually masterminded by Prince Bandar Bin Sultan- the Saudi intelligence chief who has been called ‘Bandar Bush’ for his close ties to the Bush family in the US. The very same individual who was recently shown to have links to the 9/11 ‘hijackers’ in the now released once redacted 28 pages…
‘The first casualty of war is the truth’- but apparently in War these days- we are to accept that only the other side lies. Only the other side employs propaganda- and only the other side commits atrocities. Any western ‘atrocities’ are either mistakes, ‘unverified’ lies, or the result of ‘bad apples’. Whenever there is an allegation of an attrocity- the job of the media is to scrutinize the evidence- and to point of the various vested interests. One tool they should employ in trying to find the truth is the classic ‘Cui Bono?’ (who benefits?) principle. In the case of the alleged Houthi missile attack- or the bombing of the aid convoy in Syria- the timing of both attacks would suggest that the Western powers and their allies gained the most- and the alleged attackers gained the least. This is not proof of anything- but does raise questions about the tightly controlled version of events our media see as ‘fit to print’.


What a mish-mash of vague innuendo, inference and implication. With a thought process like that there’s probably nothing you can’t make fit the narrative you want.


The attack on the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in Deir ez-Zor was most certainly deliberate.
The fronlines in Deir ez-Zor had been fixed for years, neither side could gain the advantage, so the positions of both sides would have been well known. The attack took place in the middle of the day, in broad daylight, the SAA was on a hill occupying the higher ground, so both sides would have been easily identifiable (http://on.rt.com/7pyw). ISIS was on the eastern front, as all the other terrorist in Syria are, since they originate from US-occupied Iraq. The US-led airstike also came from Iraq, so the fighter planes had to first fly over the ISIS mercenaries waving their black flags before they could get to the position of the SAA. According to members of the SAA, American drones had been scanning the area the day before they launched the attack (http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/09/24/revealed-russia-contacted-us-twice-to-stop-coalitions-massacre-of-syrian-govt-troops/)
The attack lasted for over an hour, even though the Russians had contacted the Americans several times telling them they were hitting the wrong target (http://on.rt.com/7qa8).
The timing was also suspicious, since apparently extra troops had recently been sent to reinforce the army, including special forces. Also, Russia and the US were in the middle of talks about a joint implementation centre, and if they wanted to fight ISIS, they would have waited for these talks to conclude (http://sptnkne.ws/ckCQ).
And of course, there is the fact that ISIS advanced pretty much immediately after the attacks.
I don’t think there is a clearer case of the US supporting ISIS in Syria, for all those who refuse to believe that the West could be using terrorists in Syria to get what they want.


And don’t forget the Muscat ramble. As well, the Americans may be interested in trout-fishing in Yemen.


One does have to ask how the Yemeni rebels are ‘good’ if backed by Iran but al Nusra is ‘bad’ if backed by the USA?
That is simply an anti-American position.
The Great Game is alive and well in the Middle East and the are the cost of immature egos playing cowboys and Indians for real……


The houthis are defending their homeland from a foreign invading force. Al nusra are mostly foreign crazed mercinaries attacking some one elses homeland.


who defend their homeland don’t need by no chance to kills their home-people everywhere. They can move their troops to the borders and defend their homeland.


Reblogged this on Worldtruth and commented:
Where in the hell would the Houthis even get their hands on ballistics of this kind?
The Saudis, of course, could get access and launch from within Yemen.
It would be to their advantage to send mercenary forces over the border and bring the US back into the fold – and supply chain.
Then there is the US propensity for “false flags”, so I guess we know who it wasn’t!


Where would the Houthis get an anti-ship missile? Why their primary backer Iran of course.
Not exactly rocket science to figure that out. But getting weapons of all kinds in Yemen ain’t exactly a problem anyway these days on the local black market. Also, the Yemeni Navy has operated anti-ship missiles for decades so there is a supply and infrastructure for such weapons in country anyway. The U.S. Navy is claiming the missiles used in the first attack may have been HY-2 Silkworm’s – a Chinese copy of the old Soviet-era P-15 “Styx”. The P-15 missile was/is carried by at least 10 missile boats and corvette’s of the Yemeni Navy and Silkworm is employed in large numbers by Iran as a truck or trailer mounted coastal defense missile. Ex-Iraqi examples could also be obtained on the black market.
A missile like HY-2 or C-801 can be mounted on a flatbed truck or a simple trailer and simply fired down a bearing based on a visual sighting or information from a common commercial navigation radar – very little sophistication required and the exact nature of the target may not even be known to the shooters. They may not be shooting at an American ship but just a ship. But then again, they have every reason to shoot at American ships that they know to be American ships because the U.S. supplies the bombs and the intel that are used against the Houthi’s.
There have now been according to the U.S. Navy 2 separate missile attacks aimed as the USS Mason, 4 days apart. This follows a successful attack last week on the former HSV-2 Swift last week which the Houthis bragged about attacking – even releasing video of the attack. The Mason was conducting freedom of navigation patrols in the Red Sea and the Bab al-Mandeb straight which marks the passage to the Sea of Aden.
Since the attacks occurred off the Red Sea coast of Yemen near al-Hudaydah and the Houthis control that territory the list of suspects is short.


The subjunctive voice is your friend.

chris owen
chris owen

Are the americans still blockading Aden on the south coast?


Exactly, Huthis have been firing roses and flowers into the boarders of KSA. Who in the hell won’t see that and smell the aerial roses sent by Huthis?
mmmmmm could be Iranian or Russian roses for sure, of the kind scud rose, for example.

Greg Bacon

Since the Saudis are using a sea blockade to cut off humanitarian supplies to Yemen, one has to ask, is the US Navy helping the Saudis with this act of war?
Let’s not forget that before all this craziness in Yemen started, China was negotiating with Yemen to use their Aden port, even expand it for commercial purposes and next thing we know, ‘terrorists’ are in Yemen and just have to be destroyed.


Yes the concept of free trade between Yemen and China is an anathema which cannot be tolerated, isn’t it?


There is historical precedent of relations between China and Aden/Yemen.
According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aden, ‘In 1421, China’s Ming dynasty Yongle Emperor ordered principal envoy grand eunuch Li Xing and grand eunuch Zhou Man of Zheng He’s fleet to convey an imperial edict with hats and robes to bestow on the king of Aden. The envoys boarded three treasure ships and set sail from Sumatra to the port of Aden. This event was recorded in the book Yingyai Shenglan by Ma Huan who accompanied the imperial envoy.’
The year 1421 is well before what was to become the USA was ever even established.
Perhaps the US can learn some historical humility before interfering in relationships between other nations?


I accidentally down voted this. I agree with the point.
One must appreciate the sad ironic symmetry of what’s happening in Yemen and Syria at the moment and the press treatment of it.
No awareness, so well formed is the propaganda model


Are you in Yemen, Greg? Are you in Sana’a in particular? Come and see, and yea by the way, buy if you want some stuff marked with UN and other humanitarian supplies presented at a nearest Huthis’ checkpoint.
I am there and know better and can say better.

Norman Pilon

Reblogged this on Taking Sides.

Kathleen Lowrey
Kathleen Lowrey

This is a great piece but I wish all coverage would stop using terminology that makes a political fight sound like an ethnic one. “Houthi rebels” and “Houthis” sounds like some kind of hopeless timeless sectarian thing of the sort that Western audiences are used to shaking their heads at in patronizing fashion. Al-Houthi was a political leader who was killed by the Yemeni government; he had been a critic of that government’s policies. His partisans invoke his name but it’s not an ethnonym. It’s as if we described the Russian Revolution as a fight between the Tsar and “Leneni rebels” and “Lenenis” from a particular region or something like that.
The narrative as we often hear it (when we hear about it at all) gives the casual listener the impression that Yemen, a poor and backward country, has a problem with some primitive tribal types refusing to accept the democratic government and the role of the U.S. is that of enlightened outside observer concerned to shore up a “fragile democracy”.

Kathleen Lowrey
Kathleen Lowrey

Lenini, I ought to have written.

Claude Balloune

Lenini… sounds like a good name for a new shape of socialist pasta.


The Syrian army , with Russia’s supp5, is on the verge of crushing the terrorist networks in Aleppo. SO the French, the British and Obama are all accusing Putin and Russia of war crimes, while they now engage in actual crimes against humanity in Yemen, adding to the list of war crimes carried out by Obama.


Putin is crushing terrorist in Syria but British, French and American are committing crimes!! by what standards you are giving this false description of the two situation.
Don’t speak on behalf of Yemeni unless you are one of them or know the real truth. I am a Yemeni and I am not pretending that I am speaking on behalf of all Yemenis. Because Yemenis today are divided into so many people. Please listen this from a Yemeni, what engaged in committing crimes and genocide against Yemenis is the Huthis.
Russia is becoming No.1 enemy in view of millions of Yemenis. Russia always takes the side of bad guys. If you say that Russia is fighting terrorists in Syria, It kills hundreds of innocent people per 1 terrorist killed.
What Russians did in Ukraine, is it also terrorist fighting?


The port of Aden was under British control from 1839 to 1967 as it served an important role in protecting the shipping lanes between Britain and its Far East colonies during the time of the British Empire.
It occupies a highly strategic position as it serves to deter piracy in the area and protects shipping travelling to and from the Suez Canal. BP (British Petroleum) built and operated an oil refinery and tanker port in Little Aden. It remained under British military protection until British forces were evacuated in November 1967 with BP handing over the refinery facility in 1978. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aden for more information.
Historically, Aden has been a key facility where international shipping is concerned and is also a key point where the energy trade is concerned – just like Israel’s illegal occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights.
I suspect the reason for Saudi involvement is that they want to take over the refinery and shipping facilities at Aden, either directly or indirectly through the current Yemen “government” which they are supporting.
I further suspect Israeli involvement in this too as they too have a stake in shipping travelling up the Red Sea to Eilat through the Gulf of Aqabar. Future plans call for a rail link, sometimes referred to as the Med-Red[48] to decrease travel times substantially from Eilat to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, via the existing line at Beer Sheba; planning is underway. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eilat#Maritime for more information.
Presumably, this will also be of interest to the Jordanian regime too for access to their port city of Aqabar.