As President Donald Trump has increased pressure on Iran over its support for terrorist groups and pursuit of a nuclear weapon, tensions between the two countries keep increasing, too.
And a development Tuesday night in the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula can only kick those tensions up a notch.
A U.S. military drone was shot down late Tuesday over the violence-wracked country of Yemen, Fox News reported Wednesday, and an Iranian-supported militant group is claiming to be behind it.
It was the second drone shot down over Yemen since June — and likely the third destroyed U.S. drone that Iran is ultimately responsible for this summer.
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) August 21, 2019
One military official told Reuters it was too early to be definite about how the Tuesday shootdown occurred. However, a spokesman for the Houthi rebels allied with Iran announced via the group’s media outlet that its air defenses had brought down the drone.
U.S. officials had little doubt that the drone lost in June had been shot down by militants supported by Iran.
In that case, another MQ-9 drone — known as the Reaper — was shot down June 6 by a surface-to-air missile, according to a June 17 UPI report.
“The altitude of the engagement indicated an improvement over previous Houthi capability, which we assess was enabled by Iranian assistance,” U.S. Central Command said in a statement.
A week after that June 6 incident, on June 13, Iran’s military attempted to shoot down yet another Reaper drone. The drone was being used to monitor conditions on board an oil tanker that was one of two which had been damaged in attacks widely blamed on Iranian forces.
And a week after that, Iran’s military shot down another type of U.S. military drone, known as a Global Hawk, over the Strait of Hormuz at the southern end of the Persian Gulf.
The latest development brought new attention to the long-simmering tensions between the United States and Iran.
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) August 21, 2019
Can we just turn Tehran into a parking lot already???
— Matthew Frank Kot (@1SquadUnderGod) August 21, 2019
Iran is biding their time hoping another weak Democrat wins in 2020 and they can get back to making nuclear weapons.
— Saul Wright (@SaulRight2017) August 21, 2019
Fighting in Yemen between the Iranian-backed Houthis and the government supported by Saudi Arabia has been a kind of proxy war between the two rivals in the Middle East.
The U.S. backs the Saudis. In June, President Donald Trump vetoed three resolutions that passed the House and Senate that would have suspended arms deals with Saudi Arabia, including equipment being used in the Yemen fighting, according to the New York Post.
Dealing with the Saudis might be distasteful for American lawmakers — and rightly so. It’s a country that had dealt mercilessly with dissidents, and drew international condemnation for the murder of a Jamal Kashoggi, an occasional columnist for The Washington Post in the Saudi consulate in Turkey in 2018.
But it’s important to remember that the real enemy is Iran — a country that has been at war with the United States since 1979, whether American leaders admit it or not.
And when Iranian-backed rebels are shooting down American drones in Yemen, the Islamic Republic is proving it again.
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