Yemeni Armed Forces Strikes US Aircraft Carrier Eisenhower

On June 1st, the Yemeni Armed Forces launched daring attacks on the US aircraft carrier Eisenhower, denouncing US-UK assaults on Gaza and marking a significant escalation in regional tensions.

Yemeni Armed Forces Strikes US Aircraft Carrier Eisenhower 1

The Yemeni Armed Forces, linked with Ansarallah, showed incredible audacity on June 1st when they attacked the US aircraft carrier Eisenhower twice in a single day in the Red Sea. This action, which comes in reaction to joint US-UK assaults on the nation, represents a major intensification of the Yemeni theater’s involvement in the larger regional conflict that is concentrated on Gaza.

Sanaa has been using drones and missiles to regularly target battleships and destroyers over the previous period. Regardless of whether the US recognizes the hit, the attack on Eisenhower represents a qualitative advance in the conflict.

Swift response from Sanaa 

The $30 million American MQ-9 drone was shot down by Ansarallah on Friday, May 30, just hours after Yemeni military spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Saree declared a series of military operations as part of the fourth phase of escalation. This was the sixth drone downed by Ansarallah during the “Al-Fateh Al-Mubin” operation.

The US responded with a barrage of airstrikes that began at dawn and targeted civilian targets in Taiz and Hodeidah governorates, as well as the capital city of Sanaa. These strikes, the most intense since the US-UK operations started on January 12 of this year, resulted in the deaths of 16 Yemenis and the injuries of 41 others, including military personnel.

Due to the severity of the airstrikes and the ensuing losses, Sanaa had to act quickly and decisively. The Yemenis swiftly and unpredictably targeted the USS Eisenhower, which was positioned in the northern Red Sea, as part of the war’s fourth phase of escalation to support the Palestinian resistance and extend their target bank into the Mediterranean Sea.

Within a day, the aircraft carrier—which supports Israel’s attack on Gaza and acts as a launching pad for aggressions against Yemen—was struck once more. Further hits were confirmed when multiple missiles and drones were directed towards a destroyer.

Significance of the Eisenhower

The USS Eisenhower was built for about $5.3 billion (adjusted for inflation) and went into service in 1977. It is an aircraft carrier propelled by nuclear power, weighing 114,000 tons and measuring 332.8 meters in length.

The US Air Force uses the naval vessel, which doubles as a mobile airbase and a deadly weapon, to conduct offensive operations in West Asia.

There are over 5,000 people on board, including pilots and sailors who run and maintain an integrated hospital, along with about 90 fixed-wing and helicopter aircraft. Several ships accompanied the carrier, including the guided-missile destroyers Graffley and Mason as well as the guided-missile cruiser Philippines Sea.

The Yemenis have expanded their scope of strategic goals, focusing not only on warships and commercial vessels but also on a range of onshore and offshore attack sources. This implies that their premeditated strategy to strike aircraft carriers was carried out, with the degree of aggression against their nation dictating its execution.

The Eisenhower strike had important ramifications. Sanaa demonstrates a determination to strike boldly and without hesitation, unfazed by the expanding level of targets it can engage. It shows the audacity to attack targets that Washington views as red lines, such as aircraft carriers and future land-based locations and bases.

The US in denial 

The US first minimized the incident and remained silent when the Yemeni military confirmed that Eisenhower had been targeted. But according to a US defense officer cited by the Saudi publication Al Arabiya, “the Iranian-backed group’s” assertions were untrue.

Nevertheless, whether or not the carrier was damaged, the absence of a clear, official, and referenced statement from the US—even in denial form—indicates that it was targeted.

Ten sailors lost their lives as the US opened fire on multiple Yemeni navy boats on January 1. The first round of raids in Yemen began on January 12 in response to this occurrence. The Yemeni Armed Forces promised to retaliate on that day, emphasizing that the action “will not go unpunished.”

After starting to target US and British ships in the area, Sanaa soon turned its attention to battleships and destroyers based on its capabilities. The fact that the reactions took time to develop suggests that Yemen’s military forces were methodically adjusting their plan.

The Yemenis swiftly responded with winged and ballistic missiles aimed at the Eisenhower aircraft carrier, following a string of raids on various parts of the country and the ensuing deaths.

The size of the target, an aircraft carrier, and the quickness and consistency of the response made this response noteworthy in two respects. This implies that comparable to the quick action carried out on Friday morning, subsequent aggressions might result in even more unexpected retaliations.

Yemeni boldness and US future calculations

The audacity displayed by Yemen since it chose to back the Palestinian resistance after Israel declared war on Gaza shows that nothing is off limits for Sanaa’s decision-makers, even though the courageous action by the Yemeni Armed Forces may surprise some.

Thus, in light of Israel’s war on Gaza and the continuing Saudi-Emirati war on Yemen, US assessments must consider this unpredictability in any future unfriendly measures toward Yemen. Regaining control over all of Yemen’s land and maritime borders is still the major objective.

The US aircraft carrier’s targeting conveys important signals about the nature of the conflict going forward, namely that Yemen’s response will not be limited in its breadth or depth. As one of the main nations and forces of the Axis of Resistance in West Asia, Sanaa is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the region.

The operation’s effect on US deterrence is its most important component. The attack casts doubt on the belief that US military might is unbeatable, which may have an impact on Washington’s objectives, troop levels in the area, and ties with allies.

The United States is cognizant of the fact that its ability to deter may be eroding and knows that its loss might have far-reaching effects. As a reaction, the Americans try to impose strategies of circumvention, like establishing regional alliances by normalizing relations between Israel and the Arab world and potentially inciting new hostilities.

However, given the differences among Arab friends in the region on how to handle the situation in Yemen, Yemen’s actions over the past year have made normalization with Tel Aviv an expensive undertaking.

Recently, GreatGameIndia reported that Yemen’s SABA news agency disclosed the dismantling of a US–Israeli spy network, dubbed Force 400, apprehending operatives engaged in espionage and sabotage.

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