Yemen warns EU: Do not play with fire
02/23/2024 // Kevin Hughes // Views

Yemen has issued a direct warning to the European Union (EU): "Do not play with fire."

The warning came after the EU sent warships to the Red Sea amid increasing attacks by Houthi rebels on cargo ships. A leading Yemeni official warned the EU against "supporting the American devil to protect [Israel]" after the formal launch of the Aspides naval mission in the Red Sea.

"For Europeans, do not play with fire. Take a lesson from Britain," Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, a senior member of Yemen's Supreme Political Council, posted on the X platform Tuesday, February 20. "You do not need the support of the American devil in protecting the occupying entity so that it can exterminate the people of Gaza with no disturbance."

Al-Houthi also emphasized that "international navigation is safe."

His message followed a declaration by Brussels of the official launch of the EU naval operation called Aspides, which is Greek for shield.

"I welcome today's decision … Europe will ensure freedom of navigation in the Red Sea, working alongside our international partners. Beyond crisis response, it's a step towards a stronger European presence at sea to protect our European interests," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said also on X.

According to reports, France, Germany, Italy and Belgium will contribute ships to the EU mission in support of Israel. The bloc's foremost diplomat, Josep Borrell, described the mission as "bold action to protect the commercial and security interests of the EU and the international community."

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Aspides will deploy EU warships and airborne early warning systems

With an order originally set for one year, Aspides will see the deployment of EU warships and airborne early warning systems to the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and surrounding waters.

As stated by officials in Brussels, the mission will be defensive and will not participate in U.S.-led attacks against Yemen. Aspides came together after many NATO members proved hesitant or outright refused to work with the Operation Prosperity Guardian (OPG).

Under the OPG cover, and in answer to the pro-Palestine maritime campaign started by Yemen late last year, the U.S. and the U.K. have attacked Yemen hundreds of times since Jan. 12 in violation of the nation's sovereignty and international law.

U.S. Vice Admiral Brad Cooper said that Washington's conflict against Yemen in the Red Sea is one of the biggest battles the U.S. Navy has fought since the end of World War II.

"I think you'd have to go back to World War II where you have ships who are engaged in combat. When I say engaged in combat, where they're getting shot at, we're getting shot at, and we're shooting back," Cooper told CBS News 60 Minutes.

Cooper, the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) deputy commander, disclosed that the Department of Defense has committed nearly 7,000 sailors to the Red Sea. According to a CBS report, the U.S. Navy launched about 100 standard surface-to-air missiles against Yemeni missiles and drones.

Washington's actions, however, have done little to discourage the Yemeni armed forces, who have persisted in targeting the commercial vessels in the Red Sea connected to the U.S., the U.K. and Israel.

In response to the U.S. effort to rally allied nations for war against Yemen, officials in Sanaa have sworn that their armed forces will not back down.

"Yemen awaits the creation of the filthiest coalition in history to engage in the holiest battle in history. How will the countries that rushed to form an international coalition against Yemen to protect the perpetrators of Israeli genocide be perceived?" Ansarallah politburo Mohammed al-Bukhaiti said in December.

Aspides ships, whose operational command center will be in the Greek city of Larissa, will fire on the Houthis only if they attack first.

Since November, the Houthis have been assaulting commercial and military ships in the Red Sea, across which 12 percent of worldwide trades go through.

The group originally said it was targeting Israel-connected vessels in unity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, which has been under an Israeli attack since October. (Related: Yemen’s Houthi rebels join war against Israel to protect Palestinians in Gaza.)

The Yemeni rebels later said they are expanding their targets to include vessels associated with the U.S. and the U.K. after Washington and London conducted air strikes on Houthi sites in Yemen.

Follow for more stories like this.

Watch the video below about Palki Sharma's commentary on the European Union's Red Sea mission to deter the Houthis.

This video is from the High Hopes channel on

More related stories:

Houthis step up offensive operations with new drone attacks on U.S.-owned commercial ships.

U.S. and U.K. warplanes bomb Houthi targets in Yemen in another significant escalation of Gaza war.

$32M U.S. reaper drone SHOT DOWN near Yemen; U.K. tanker destroyed on the SAME DAY.

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