« He saved himself, for now ... | Main | Hillary and the Gulfies »

10 October 2016


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.



Link to the video? Why did the DDG not return fire? pl


I posted this one earlier (10/3/16):

Firing off a few missiles isn't an American Monopoly anymore

This Houthi attack might well be a big game changer.


All of this stuff is tied together.

When I asked over at another site (forgot where) the folks there said that it was a Noor.


The Yemen Navy has had Styx and Termit Antiship missiles since the Cold War, the predessors of China's Silkworm and Iran's clone.

The Yemen Navy sided with Saleh.


The Houthis would have made the most natural allies the US could have possibly found throughout the Muslim world, and are the only Muslim folks who oppose AQ more than we do.


The Saudi coalition has been dropping US-supplied bombs from US-supplied planes on populated areas for a year and a half. The US has supported the Saudis and sided against the Houthis. When Saudi pilots ditch their planes, the US has rescued the pilots. The US has supplied "advisors" at all levels of the Saudi effort. The US Navy has enforced a blockade of Houthi-controlled ports.

Apparently, the Houthis consider all of those US actions somewhat bellicose, and don't really appreciate the difference between the US and Saudi militaries.

Are they wrong?





The Houthi's also are an escalation path for Russia in response to US calls for dead Russian soldiers in Syria. This could leave plausible deniability while also leaving an identifiable calling card for the US military.

Crew component of the HSV-2 is 35, 22 dead, suggests the missile was very effective on impact - is that compatible with a thermobaric weapon, or would such a missile normally allow more time for crew to get overboard.


What ability would the Houti rebels have to discern between a US vs a Saudi coalition destroyer at these ranges?


Several edits around.

Slightly different edit from PR TV, more on the larger Yemen/Saudi context:


Here a longer version of the event without the Press TV press bar on the bottom from channel:


... folks there said that it was a Noor.

⛬ ... ⛬

The Beaver


I have seen the video on different twitter a/cs:


robt willmann


I saw the video you referenced above the other day as well. As I understand it, that was a United Arab Emirates ship, as here--


The following report at the start may be about the U.S. Navy ship--


And these articles--




Colonel , FYI Iranian media has started to instead of calling the studies crime calling it Salmans crime, I guess they are hoping for a bigger inter family divide, and destabilization, so, they are now referencing the Yemen bombing as Al Salman’ crimes and not Al Saud’ crime.


Tidewater to turcopolier,

Sir, I apologize for not linking. (I have some problems doing it.) "HSV Swift hit by missile attack--MARINE LOG," corrects the YOUTUBE videos that claim the HSV-2 Swift was sunk. It was not. It's likely it was towed to Assab, a port in Eritrea, and the UAE says that they will rebuild it. Marine Log also shows a photo of the damaged ship which corroborates the video, proving that the hit was on the forward part of the ship.

The video reminds me of the video of the attack on the INS Hanit, an attack that was actually called by an Hezbollah cleric, I think, in mosque, right as it began to happen? Night time, the dot of white light moving up into the sky, the sudden large and confusing illumination of a large area of black sea by a startlingly large explosion. I am now inclined to think that while the Houthi had boats on scene and could have fired RPGs, that the whole video does suggest a missile launch, which would mean technicians manning a radar; knowing how to lock on to the target; knowing how to feed into the missile through a connecting wire the coordinates of the target and other info, such as whether to go low, sea-skimming, or high. Then, I assume, fire and forget. Depart the scene, pronto. I guess it's pretty clear it was a sophisticated missile. Maybe there are also areas hit by RPGs.

Roberta Pennington, a reporter for an Abu Dhabi newspaper, The National, interviewed some of the crew members of the Swift. "Crew members of UAE ship attacked by Houthis tell of terrifying raid." (October 5.) One Oleksander said that after he got on deck he could see the bridge of the ship (the horseshoe of glass, then) was completely destroyed by fire. It seems that this would include the whole forward part of the ship.

Shailendra Kumar, an Indian crewmember, said he ran towards the back "and saw people firing from a small boat. The gunfire continued for half an hour..."

That's interesting because the Swift can go faster than the five-engined QM2--more than some 35 mph. If man overboard, about two miles to stop the QM2.

"After the shooting stopped, the crew of the Swift set out to launch a lifeboat as they waited for rescue. The UAE Navy and Coastguard arrived at about an hour or two after the missile strike." From where? Aden?

There seems to me to be something irrational about the attack on the USS Mason. According to CBS news "Missiles land near US ship as Yemen's war stretches beyond borders." (October 10.)"Yemen's Shiite rebels known as Houthis and their allies offered no reason for the launches, though they came after a Saudi-led airstrike targeting a funeral in Yemen's capital killed more than 140 people and wounded 525 on Saturday." There was a huge protest march in Sanaa afterwards. Then the Soviet era Skud was fired from a point in Yemen all the way up to Taif, the mountain resort for ordinary Saudis and the first locale of Saudi royals' weekend palaces, not that far from Mecca. It seems to have landed in the area of the King Fahad Air Base, where there are Americans training the Saudi armed forces, causing no harm. That's a distance of 325 miles!

Then came the 'attack' on the Mason. From CBS, October 10, "Lt. Ian McConnaughey, a spokesman for U.S. Navy Forces Central Command, said Monday it's unclear if the USS Mason was specfically targeted, though the missiles were fired in its direction over an hour's time period, starting around 7 p.m."

The whole thing doesn't make a lot of sense. The Qader has a range of at least 120 miles. Most of the Iranian Noors can reach out at least one hundred miles. The ship was north of the Bab al Mandeb, we are told. I haven't got out my protractor but it would seem to me that that ship was not 120 miles away from any potential launch site unless, of course, the launch came from back in the mountains. The distances are not that great in this part of the Red Sea; they are, obviously, confining, as you go south. After the islands, going through the straits, you could, years ago, see the principal landmark of the shore from the exit lane one's ship is directed to stay in and follow; it was some miles away, nothing else there, the colors of the shore line are forbiddingly yellowish, an ancient, surely ruined, mosque, immortalized on the old British charts (which are still used.) Strange, somehow. Sometimes the charts note simply: "Tree."

I'm sure anything the Houthi's might have 'lit off' would have been picked up on the ship's several different radars and analyzed by the ship's CIC. 'Not a drill', very serious, etc., skunk situation. At first. But two somethings fired at some point in sixty minutes, both of which falling short? That doesn't make any sense! They tell us they don't even know if it was an attack? But the Hanit attack suggests that the Iranian Noor game-plan is to launch at least two, one high, one low, and simultaneously. (And the only reason the Hanit wasn't sunk was because there was a very large crane being carried folded up against a bulkhead on the ship's deck, and the missile hit that first.

If it is true that there was no counter battery fire (Counter-RAM) , not that I know anything about Counter RAM, except that it works. I don't think I could be able to say anything sensible about what countermeasures Mason might have taken. Interesting and fun subject, though! For example, if the missile is launched from one hundred miles away, would electronic countermeasures even begin to kick in until some suspenseful long moments when the bird flies into the electronic net? Still, I can't help being suspicious and wonder if the ship couldn't have analyzed from the missile's velocity, direction, speed, height, stability, etc. whether it was a rapidly developing threat, or not.

All I can say is that I don't think this could be being played as a Gulf of Tonkin incident. It looks to me like the Houthi's, sick with impotent fury, vented their rage. I assume it will all blow over.

Of course, it's not going to ever be over from now on. Given climate change, how much time is left to make some sort of peace with Islam? Ten years? Won't happen. And the weapons on the other side will get better and better. As Deringolade noted on October 3, things have changed for all the western navies. And surely the danger is greater than gutting a few of "our beautiful ships", as Trump so surprisingly said.

There's a fairly new super breeder reactor on the French Atlantic coast below Cherbourg off to the southwest at Cap de Flamanville. It is the most powerful reactor that has ever been built. I think I have got this right. It is, of course, surely hardened. But if that ever was hit hard, if that ever went up... That's western civilization.


One verified HSV-2 hulk and some claims that the missile was a Chinese C-802 anti-ship missile.



Tidewater replies to ISL,

Because Roberta Pennington, a reporter of the UAE newspaper The National, seems to have been able to interview some of the crew members, I am inclined to take seriously her report that there were 24 crewmembers on board from six different nationalities. If there had been a slaughter of twenty-two crew members, I think she would have had an international story. She definitely would not have missed such big news in such a small place (after all that's what those Gulf principalities are), and her beat would have surely taken her to the hospital emergency rooms, to the police, and to the expatriate watering holes. She would find out. People would be talking. (I still remember that Djibouti incident of '76, walking at twilight unknowingly up the back streets to what turned out to be the hospital, finding people there on the street side of a low hedge leaning in with grave expressions talking to patients on the other side who were dressed in striped hospital bathrobe, pajamas etc. And slowly beginning to understand the growing feeling of oppression that I had had. If it is indeed true that noone was killed immediately, perhaps it is because the crew's quarters were a deck or two lower and further aft. It seems that most got out, though there were some seriously injured. I still find it hard to understand how the few men on watch on the bridge were not instantly killed.

As to what hit the ship. If the Noor carries a similar warhead to the Chinese C-802, I am guessing then about 360 pounds of high explosive went off in the forward part of the ship, perhaps slightly time-delayed. (Or 165 kilos.)

I agree that the Houthi's are on "an escalation path" but I don't know their connection to the Russians, at this point. If Iran has inserted a number of missile crews into safe houses in Yemen and stockpiled a large number of missiles there--and it seems obvious that at least some Iranian technicians are there now, I don't see Houthi's handling these weapon systems unless they were trained in Iran-- then any American escalation in the near future, say, by rescinding the Vienna (2015) JCPOA or even launching some kind of attack on Iran, could certainly result in payback at Bab al Mandeb. Just block the straits; lure in your targets; arrange a sophisticated attack. We know now that it can be done! What also crosses my mind are those LNG carriers that go up to Suez from Yemen and the Gulf and over to New England. If one went off--say off of Jedda, with a wind out of the west...Not that it would be easily done, and hasn't happened yet, anywhere. Still...

I am not professionally knowledgeable about these matters, by the way, in the way that some contributors here are.


Nope, they are not wrong.

On the other side of the coin, they don't spend $120 billion a year on lobbying in Washington and the US Government doesn't collect 7% on arms sales.


UAE says nobody died.

Down column is a thread on the attack.

In most commenter's position, the damage is consistent with an ASW missile hit, with the warhead not dentonating, ( aluminium, not armour), just the fuel and explosives burning off.


First off, it's the Revolutionary Commitee, not the Houthi's,


Second off, nothing.


Doubt the piece above:

The Houthi have said that the attack on UAE fast supply ship was by a Chinese C-802 (a copy and further development of the Excocet with longer range and terminal radar guidance). Yemen was rumored for some time to have acquired these years ago from the Chinese. As Saleh obviously bought everything he could get in huge quantities that seems plausible to me. The Iranian Noor is a modified copy of the C-802. A C-802 is consistent with the video as it shows a two stage missile with the first stage falling away. The hit in the video also seems to be quote big. Not sure a Kornet would be that strong.

IF this was an Iranian missile it would be the *first* Iranian weapon in the war visible on video. There is no evidence yet that Iran has provided *any* weapons to the Houthis though some Hizbullah experts may be in Yemen to provide advice in local manufacturing of missiles. (A while ago an Australian ship brought up an unflagged Dau with some rusted AK's. They said it was going to Somalia. Then the U.S. took over the case and immediately claimed it was an Iranian Dau going to Yemen. It never explained why Yemen would need additional AK-47s or old machine guns. The country is flooded with such weapons and lots of brand new ones are available from Saudis fleeing their posts.)

The Houthi deny *any* attack on the destroyer.

Haykal Bafana, a Singapore lawyer of Yemeni heritage living in Sanaa, is saying that there is not even a rumor of the Houthis firing at it. His job is to deal with such local information (professionally selling it to oil companies engaged in Yemen). He thinks its a Gulf of Tonkin story.
"- Not even any idle gossip on this in #Yemen, much less media reports. This Pentagon claim needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. Large one."
- At this stage, in the absence of evidence & indeed, the lack of anger or outrage from the Pentagon, I'll file this under Gulf of Tonkin."

THe Houthi


That said: The Saudi attack on the funeral was as vicious as one could get. More than 200 dead and many, for lack of medical service and no evacuations, still likely to die. 17 generals were killed and 12 wounded - the tribal "elite" of northern Yemen. Do the Saudis understand what will follow from this? How many tribes, even those disliking Saleh and Houthis, will now send their sons against them?

(I don't believe the "Saudi pilot was running wild, acted against orders" rumor. The hit must have been based in intelligence. From the U.S.?)


Within hours of the Saudi airstrikes on the memorial service in Sana'a that killed and wounded many civilians, the US military announced that two missiles were fired at the USS Mason from Houthi-controlled territory, which pointed the finger of blame at Iran and/or the Houthis.

But I think either party's deliberate involvement in such an attack at this time would be pretty strange, unless I'm giving them too much credit for intelligence. This is because never before have the Houthis found themselves the object of so much sympathy from so many -- a point I don't think would be lost on Iran's military.

And the Saudi airstrikes on the mourners have not only touched off a tremendous outcry from the 'international community,' they've also prompted very strong criticism from the Obama Administration -- to the point of publicly announcing a review of US support for Saudis in the Yemen war.

So this would be the absolute worst time for the Houthis or Iranians to deliberately shoot at an American vessel.

For what it's worth the Houthis are denying that they fired the missiles:

AP reported, "However, the Houthi-controlled SABA news agency of Yemen quoted an anonymous army official denying its forces fired on the USS Mason, without elaborating." (Oct 10)

Reuters, which broke the missile firing story, reported, "The Houthi movement on Monday denied its forces had carried out a missile attack on a U.S. warship which the U.S. Navy said was launched from Yemeni territory under Houthi control. "[The Houthi movement] denies targeting any ship off Yemeni waters," a Houthi official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity." (Oct 10)



Abu Sinan


The theory I have heard from the Yemeni circles that I run with is that the second attack on the US ship was meant to be a false flag attack. After the successful Houthi attack on the UAE ship it is felt that a follow on attack by the Houthis on an American vessel could have potentially drawn America openly into the fight against the Houthis. I don't know how credible that is. What I can say is that with my interactions with Yemenis, on what can be described the pro Houthi side, there is no interest or will in drawing in the US into the conflict any more than it already is. They see the moves in the US to stop support for KSA as a positive thing. There is absolutely nothing for the Houthis or Saleh to gain by bringing the US into open conflict. The Houthis are in it for the long haul and feel that they have the ability to stick it out past the Saudis weak resolve. KSA air power is not enough to turn the tide in Yemen and they will not commit to sending the ground forces needed to do the job. Inept moves by Hadi and his forces, ie the moves made with the central bank, are in the Houthis favour.

Abu Sinan

The Saudis *should* understand what this means. They are tribal as well, nevermind having worked with and against these same tribes in their long history with Yemen. It was a huge mistake on the part of the Saudis so one wonders if it was an ordered attack or initiative on the part of the pilot/pilots involved. Saleh came out with a sharp speech after the attack, and to paraphrase part of the speech, he told the members of the tribes who were there and impacted, some either on the fence in the conflict or even against the Houthis/Saleh, he said "I won't tell you what to do, you already know what you need to do."

There will be a price to pay for the Saudis for this attack.


Abu Sinan

So, your thesis is that the Saudis faked this attack in order to elicit greater help from the US in they pathetic war in Yemen? pl



In 1964 there was a powerful faction in the US government that wanted to intervene in the intra-Vietnamese war (turn back the onrushing menace, etc.). That is why they faked or exaggerated (take your pick of term)the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Where is the neocon faction that wants to intervene more in Yemen of all places? What would be the motive? Would it be to further embarrass Iran by causing problems for their supposed Houthi allies? Are people concerned that Houthi/Salihist forces threaten the existence of the wretched kingdom? pl


In my experience, in war zones, crazy shit happens that makes no sense. The US Naval Ship (Leased By the UAE, manned by Ukranians and Eastern Europeans) was intoxicating.

Someone else tried it and failed. Such is life.

We might well be trying to hard to make sense of this, it might me a strange brew of khat and testosterone and not have any deeper meaning behind it other than "We killed those bastards"

ex-PFC Chuck

TW: Couldn't the UAE be suppressing the number of KIA?

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad