American, British forces escalate strikes on Houthis in Yemen in order to ‘de-escalate tensions’

American, British forces escalate strikes on Houthis in Yemen in order to ‘de-escalate tensions’

Politico reports:

The U.S. and U.K. conducted large-scale air and missile strikes on Houthi rebel facilities across Yemen on Monday, according to a joint statement, stepping up operations against the militant group as it vows to continue attacking ships in the Red Sea.

The U.S. and U.K. militaries, with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands, hit eight Houthi targets in Yemen in response to the Houthis’ continued attacks, according to a joint statement from the countries involved. The precision strikes were “intended to disrupt and degrade the capabilities that the Houthis use to threaten global trade and the lives of innocent mariners,” the statement said.

The joint strikes targeted a Houthi underground storage site and targets connected to the Houthis’ missile and air surveillance capabilities, according to the statement. The underground bunker contained more advanced weapons than the facilities targeted in the coalition’s initial strikes this month, according to a senior military official, who like others interviewed for this story was granted anonymity to speak about sensitive operational details.

“Our aim remains to de-escalate tensions and restore stability in the Red Sea,” the statement said, “but let us reiterate our warning to Houthi leadership: we will not hesitate to defend lives and the free flow of commerce in one of the world’s most critical waterways in the face of continued threats.” [Continue reading…]

Giorgio Cafiero writes:

Given that the Houthis have vowed to continue their attacks on ships in the Red Sea until Israel agrees to a cease-fire, the U.S. might soon find itself bogged down in a protracted military campaign in Yemen, even as the Biden administration admits that airstrikes alone against the Houthis will not stop them. “We did not say, when we launched our attacks, they’re going to end once and for all, [that] the Houthis will be fully deterred,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said at the World Economic Forum at Davos this week—which seemed to contradict Biden’s stated justifications for the strikes in the first place, that they would “deter and degrade Houthi capacity to conduct future attacks.”

The Biden administration’s militarized response to Houthi provocations in the Red Sea plays right into their hands. American airstrikes provide the Houthis with a valuable propaganda opportunity to shore up their standing, alongside Hezbollah and Hamas, in what they see as a “resistance bloc” backed by Iran. At a time when anti-American sentiments are sky-high in the Middle East, in large part because of Biden’s “iron-clad” support for Israel’s war on Gaza, the Houthis stand to gain greater support and credibility in the Arab world if they are seen as standing up to America and Israel in defense of Palestinians.

All the while, the underlying drivers of this growing regional unrest are being downplayed or simply ignored in Washington. “Israel’s all-out war against Gaza, coupled with settler violence in the West Bank and Jerusalem, are what’s endangering the entire region,” said Nabeel Khoury, a retired American diplomat who served as the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Yemen, in an interview with Democracy in Exile. “The sooner this violence is stopped, the safer all will be,” he added. “The Biden administration is not currently giving this the priority it deserves.” [Continue reading…]

Comments are closed.