“There is US military presence in the Gulf of Aden to ensure the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce both in the Red Sea, and the Gulf of Aden,” Earnest said in a press briefing. “That is the principle goal of that mission.”
The US Navy announced on Monday that the United States is sending the aircraft carrier USS “Theodore Roosevelt” and guided-missile cruiser USS “Normandy” to conduct maritime security operations in the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb and the Southern Red Sea.
The two warships will join seven other US warships in the area. The news came as Iran said it had dispatched nine warships toward Yemen.
US officials suspect the Iranian warships are carrying arms to the Houthi rebels in Yemen, which the United States and Saudi Arabia claim are backed by Iran. Tehran denied the allegations.
“The chief US interest in this region of the world is not allowing extremists like AQAP [Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] to capitalize on instability and chaos in the region to establish a safe haven and plot attacks against the United States and our allies around the world,” Earnest concluded.
The UN Security Council passed a resolution on Tuesday, imposing an arms embargo on the Houthi rebels and on forces loyal to the former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who are allied against the ousted Yemen's President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.