The Pentagon Changes Its Story: Military No Longer Sure Yemeni Rebels Attacked A US Ship

By Whitney Webb

Since March 2015, Yemen has been the site of a brutal, one-sided war between Houthi rebels, backed by Iran, and Saudi Arabia. The Houthi rebels overthrew then-Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, who many Yemenis perceived as a US puppet, and the Houthi revolution enjoyed considerable public support. However, a Houthi-led government threatened to all, but eradicate Saudi influence in Yemen, propelling the Saudis to begin a vicious bombing campaign that has claimed the lives of over 10,000, the majority of them civilians. The US joined the fray last Thursday after the Pentagon claimed that the US Navy’s USS Mason was the victim of two consecutive missile attacks. The Pentagon said, at the time, that the missiles had been launched by Houthi rebel forces. The USS Nitze retaliated, launching several Tomahawk cruise missiles at radar installations located by the straight of Bab el-Mandab.

Pentagon Spokesman Peter Cook said that the US attack on Yemen were a series of “limited self-defense strikes” that were conducted to “protect our personnel, our ships, and our freedom of navigation.” Cook argued that the radars targeted had been used in the alleged attack on the USS Mason. Another military official added that the radars were in rural areas, making the risk of civilian casualties negligible. Yet, at the time, there were growing concerns that the Pentagon had no official proof that the Houthis, or those who support them, were responsible for the attempted strikes on US ships. Despite that, the US decided on a characteristic “bomb now, think later” approach, attacking Yemen without a declaration of war, breaching Yemeni sovereignty, and potentially killing an unknown number of civilians.

Now, only a few days later, the story has changed. According to Reuters, the Pentagon declined to say whether the USS Mason had been targeted at all by inbound missiles from Yemen and said that a review was underway to determine what really happened. Cook stated that “we are still assessing the situation. There are still some aspects to this that we are trying to clarify for ourselves given the threat, the potential threat, to our people. […] So this is still a situation that we’re assessing closely.” However, the US had no problem “assessing” the source of the threat last week when it fired missiles into Yemen.

Some have suggested that the Pentagon was intentionally misguided into the conflict by nefarious Saudi intervention that sought to draw the US into the war. Indeed, the only logical alternative – that is, if it is proved that the missile attack did not originate in Yemen – is that the Saudis fired the missiles themselves and passed bad “intel” to the US suggesting that the Yemeni rebels were to blame. After all, the Saudis are the ultimate beneficiary of US involvement in the Saudi-Yemen conflict. If this does turn out to be the case, it seems unlikely that the Pentagon will admit it as the alliance between the US and Saudi Arabia has been receiving a lot of bad press lately. Yet, with Iran sending warships to Yemen following the US’ involvement, it’s anyone’s guess how messy this latest intelligence faux pas could get.

What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!

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Image Credit: US Navy

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9 Comments on "The Pentagon Changes Its Story: Military No Longer Sure Yemeni Rebels Attacked A US Ship"

  1. If there’s no solid proof, especially with no lives lost on the naval vessel, the U.S. Navy should be held liable for murder.

    • They were ordered to fire…

    • Who needs proof these days if you just keep lying most people will believe you. Evidence and truthfulness has disappeared from our vocabulary now. Eye witness reports are not enough because you cant trust them either.

  2. Sounds about right…

    Always be a light that is shininginthedark

  3. GrumpyPurpleSloth | October 24, 2016 at 4:54 am | Reply

    There’s a couple of options here:

    1) Houthi rebels really did fire missiles at a US ship. But then the questions emerge as to *why* that would be the case.
    2) Saudis fired on the US and then lied to them. Given Saudi/US relations have been pretty strong and the fact that the US has been throwing a lot of weight and support behind the Saudis, this would seem unlikely.
    3) This is the one I support the most strongly. It’s another false flag incident like the Gulf of Tonkin incident turned out to be. If that is true, then Yemen is simply turning into a proxy-war battleground between the US and Iran (and by extension, Russia).

    Think about the fact that the Saudis have lost such enormous revenues on their oil that for the first time in their history, they’re selling global bonds to investors. Think of the lost revenue the Fed stands to lose if the Saudis lose out on oil (remember the petrodollar). Consider the South-Stream pipeline agreement Turkey has recently formed with Russia which would allow Putin a back door to sell oil into the EU and the Shia Crescent natural gas pipeline that was agreed through Iran, Iraq and Syria, cutting out the Saudis, Egypt and Lebanon in the process.

    Now consider the religious implications – Saudia Arabia, Turkey et al have Sunni Muslim Governments. Wahabbi-ism (sp?) is essentially a radicalised form of Sunni Islam. Iran, Syria and Iraq are all Shia governments, apostates according to Wahabbi-ism (again, sp?).

    Finally, remember what this article said about the Houthi rebellion that overthrew a president many Yemenis considered to be a US puppet and think about the US’ history of foreign intervention.

    Just a thought.

  4. Per the Bank for International Settlements, the Clinton Foundation just transferred 1.8 billion dollars to Qatar. Wonder why???

  5. George Reichel | October 24, 2016 at 11:14 am | Reply

    Liars abound in DC.Wonder when DC will acknowledge who attacked the USS Liberty?

  6. Even the most jaundiced of us would castigate the US for shooting first and asking questions later. It simply is unacceptable under international law and is a sign of weakness on the American’s part. They don’t have a clue because their intel is faulty and yet they are ready, willing and able to once again start a war based on lies and mistakes. That is the reality of having the US prowl the seas with their incompetence showing!

  7. I read somewhere that the SA-backed Yemeni forces fired on the U.S. by accident thinking they were Iranians coming to supply arms to Houthi rebels (and possibly fired from captured area). Ooops.
    Supposedly Saudi Arabia posted something about that, but then deleted their post a couple of hours later. So, who knows??

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