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Following Houthi attacks, the U.S. will dispatch fighter jets to support the UAE

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin responds to questions during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on "Ending the U.S. Military Mission in Afghanistan" in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, U.S., September 29, 2021. Rod Lamkey/Pool via REUTERS

Following missile strikes on the Gulf state by Yemen’s Houthi movement, including a foiled attempt on a site hosting U.S. personnel, the U.S. said that it is sending fighter jets to support the UAE.

The news: In a phone call with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Tuesday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin informed him that the USS Cole, a guided missile destroyer, would join the UAE navy ahead of a port call in Abu Dhabi.

  • “The Secretary also informed the Crown Prince of his decision to deploy 5th Generation Fighter aircraft to assist the UAE against the current threat and as a clear signal that the United States stands with the UAE as a long-standing strategic partner,” the U.S. Defense Department said in a release.

What’s going on: The UAE intercepted a missile during a visit by Israel’s president on Monday, the third such attack by the Iran-aligned group fighting a Saudi-led coalition that includes the UAE in the last two weeks.

  • The U.S. military reported a week ago that it had fired multiple Patriot missile interceptors against two inbound missiles that the Houthis claimed they had launched at the UAE’s al-Dhafra air base.
  • Last week, the Emirati envoy to the United Nations claimed the UAE was considering upgrading its defensive capabilities and was in talks with the U.S.
  • Austin informed Sheikh Mohammed, the UAE’s de facto ruler, that the U.S. would continue to provide early warning intelligence and collaborate on air defence.

The strikes against the United Arab Emirates, the region’s commercial and tourism hub, are part of a wider escalation in the Yemen war, in which the Houthis have fired missiles and drones at Saudi Arabia on numerous occasions.

In March 2015, the coalition intervened in Yemen after the Houthis overthrew the government in the capital, Sanaa.

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