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US to deploy warship, fighter jets to protect UAE from Houthis

A large maritime exercise kicked off in Bahrain on Tuesday under the US Navy command, with the participation of 60 countries, including Israel.

February 2, 2022 at 3:23 pm

The United States is set to deploy a warship and fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates, in an effort to defend Abu Dhabi from missile attacks fired by the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

According to a statement by the Pentagon, the Secretary of Defence, Lloyd Austin, told the UAE’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in a phone call yesterday that the Pentagon will be sending the “guided-missile destroyer, USS Cole, to partner with the UAE Navy before making a port call in Abu Dhabi”.

Washington would also be sending fifth-generation fighter jets to “assist against the current threat”. The statement added that Austin told bin Zayed the deployment is a “clear signal that the United States stands with the UAE as a longstanding strategic partner”.

READ: Houthis reveal details of ‘Hurricane Yemen’ operation in UAE

Other actions that are to be carried out by the warship and fighter jets include “continuing to provide early warning intelligence”, especially regarding missile attacks coming from Yemen.

The measure announced by the US comes after a series of assaults from missiles and drones by the Iran-backed Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen, who have captured much of the country including the capital, Sanaa.

Those attacks killed three foreign workers in the targeting of Abu Dhabi’s oil facilities and airport on 17 January, followed by the US forces’ shooting down of two ballistic missiles over the city on 24 January. The latest occurred on Monday, when a missile was averted during the visit of Israeli President, Isaac Herzog, to the UAE.

The Houthis’ targeting of the Emirates has prompted Abu Dhabi to urge the US to re-designate the movement as a terrorist group, a call echoed by the Arab League a few days later.

OPINION: If the Houthis are not terrorists, then neither are HTS