Last Thursday’s mission to intercept Iranian warheads and other parts bound for Houthi Rebels was a huge success. Two Navy SEALs are still missing at sea, despite the massive ongoing search.
The U.S. Navy has intercepted a Yemeni Dhow, which is a type of ship commonly used for smuggling weapons out of Iran. One Navy SEAL fell from the ladder while trying to board the vessel. The teammate went after him, and they were both swept away by huge waves.
The SEALs have not been seen since.
According to a statement released by the U.S. Central Command on Tuesday, as rescue operations started, other troops searched the boat. The crew numbered 14. The statement ties the weapons seizure to more than 20 militant attacks that have been launched from Yemen since November. This violence has disrupted Red Sea commercial shipping and prompted a strong response from the United States.
Officials said that the crew of the dhow was arrested and U.S. personnel then sank it after deeming it “unsafe”. Seized items included Iranian ballistic missile and cruise missile warheads as well as propulsion and navigation systems and air defense components.
Global shipping is beginning to be affected by the attacks of Houthis against ships that travel along the Red Sea shipping routes.
General Michael E. Kurilla, commander of the U.S. Central Command (Centcom), which is responsible for American operations in the Middle East, said that it was clear that Iran continued to ship advanced lethal assistance to the Houthis. This is just another example of Iran’s active sowing of instability in the Middle East.
Western shippers report a sharp rise in ocean shipping rates, as companies divert their ships away from the Red Sea.
Senior U.S. government officials have accused Tehran of “aiding and abetting” the current crisis, which primarily affects commercial vessels transiting through the Red Sea. Officials claim that the Houthis would not be able to threaten these shipping routes without Iran’s technology and intelligence support.
According to a U.S. government official, the SEALs began their mission on the USS Lewis B. Puller which serves as a floating platform. They then headed towards the dhow using a smaller vessel. The crew of the dhow lacked any official documents, allowing the U.S. board team to search the vessel. This official spoke under the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive mission.
There will likely be another attack soon on Houthi logistics and infrastructure, but this won’t deter them until both the Iranian bases where these shipments originate as well as the factories that make them are destroyed. Biden, rightfully, is trying to prevent a larger war by keeping Iran out of it. The longer Israel continues to fight Hamas, and perhaps Hezbollah as well, the more Iran will become a factor.