[Ed. – We’ll see how long this lasts as a general-security patrol. The timing could also be related to the transit of USS George H W Bush, the carrier headed for CENTCOM. Bush is probably transiting the Suez Canal/Red Sea right about now. Bush has escorts, of course, but an Aegis destroyer off Yemen is an ideal advance asset for warning and threat suppression. Cole, meanwhile, is widely remembered as the ship attacked by Islamist terrorists in October 2000 — in Yemen.]
The United States has sent a Navy destroyer to patrol off the coast of Yemen to protect waterways from Houthi militia aligned with Iran, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Friday, amid heightened tension between Washington and Tehran.
The USS Cole arrived in the vicinity of the Bab al-Mandab Strait off southwestern Yemen where it will carry out patrols, including escorting vessels, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity. …
While U.S. military vessels have carried out routine operations in the region in the past, this movement, first reported by Reuters, is part of an increased presence there aimed at protecting shipping from the Houthis, the officials said.
The Houthis are allied to Iran, which is at odds with the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump. The country recently test launched a ballistic missile.
Trump said on Thursday “nothing is off the table” in dealing with Iran, a day after his national security adviser, Michael Flynn said he was putting Iran “on notice.”
The officials said the decision to move the USS Cole was made before the most recent comments.