The USS Georgia nuclear submarine was accompanied by one of the two guided-missile destroyers as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz.
On January 10th, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the Department of State would notify Congress on the intent to designate Yemen’s Ansar Allah movement (the Houthis), as a foreign terrorist organization.
“I also intend to designate three of Ansarallahs leaders, Abdul Malik al-Houthi, Abd al-Khaliq Badr al-Din al-Houthi, and Abdullah Yahya al Hakim, as Specially Designated Global Terrorists”, he said in a statement.
This is yet another attempt by the Trump administration to guarantee that its maximum pressure campaign against Iran continue.
This could potentially throw a wrench Biden’s promised efforts to restart diplomacy with Iran and to reassess the US alliance with Saudi Arabia, which has been leading an intervention in Yemen and frequently killing civilians for years now.
“The designations are intended to hold Ansar Allah accountable for its terrorist acts, including cross-border attacks threatening civilian populations, infrastructure and commercial shipping,” Pompeo said in a statement late Sunday, using the official name of the Houthi movement.
The Houthis have “led a brutal campaign that has killed many people, continues to destabilize the region and denies Yemenis a peaceful solution to the conflict in their country,” he added.
He specifically mentioned a December 30th attack on an airport in Yemen’s second city Aden, which killed 26 people and was blamed by the Saudi-backed government on the Houthis.
The Houthis denied the attack, and everything actually pointed to the Southern Transitional Council, which is allied to the UAE, which is a part of the Saudi-led coalition. Meaning the attack was simply part of internal strife under Riyadh’s lackluster control.
Meanwhile, Iran continues its threats in response to any actions or claims by the US or Israel, refusing to cave in to any pressure attempts.
The commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)’s Navy says Iran is in full control of the Persian Gulf region and monitors all movements by extraregional forces that are present in these waters.
“Today, we have full control over the Persian Gulf and dominate the entire waters. The permanent presence of the Basij force has provided us with adequate manpower to have complete control of the region. At the same time, we monitor all developments using electronic and electro-optic systems,” Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri made the remarks in a televised interview released on January 10th.
“The Persian Gulf is full security,” he said, stressing that only extraregional powers coming from far away to the Persian Gulf would potentially intend to cause insecurity there.
Tthe IRGC Navy commander added that deterrence in the face of hostile forces cannot be achieved through mere political means, but it can only be achieved “if your power exceeds that of your enemy.”
“This [superior military power] will cause your enemy to step back. So, don’t think that we can make the enemy withdraw through mere political means,” Tangsiri emphasized.
Commenting on acts of provocation by hostile forces in the Persian Gulf, he said the Americans’ Persian Gulf strategy has failed, adding:
“We have barred the enemy from implementing its strategy and this is why the Persian Gulf is secure.”
“The US must leave the Persian Gulf region and has no option but to withdraw from the region. Americans cannot extend their stay for a long time, because the Persian Gulf belongs to Iran and the southern countries of the Persian Gulf and is a home to us and Muslim countries on the southern rim of the Persian Gulf.”
Trump is in his las 9 days in office, banned from social media, and there are still concerns for a “farewell strike” on Iran, in order to fully impede any hope for US President-elect Joe Biden to attempt and salvage the situation.
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