The Biden administration is intensifying its military actions against the Houthi terrorists in Yemen. This move follows a series of failed airstrikes intended to curb the group’s aggression, particularly their continuous maritime attacks. The Houthis, an Iranian-backed terrorist organization, have pledged relentless assaults in response to Israel’s counterterrorism efforts against Hamas.
Recent months have seen the Houthis escalate their maritime terrorism, targeting numerous commercial vessels in the Red Sea area, including the hijacking of a major Israeli-linked cargo ship. This surge in maritime violence has forced thousands of vessels to adopt significantly longer trade routes, impacting global trade dynamics.
— Brett Murphy (@bmurphypointman) January 21, 2024
The Washington Post reveals the administration’s strategy aims to substantially weaken the Houthis’ military capabilities, particularly their ability to threaten vital maritime routes. This strategy is not about defeating the Houthis, as U.S. diplomats emphasize, but degrading their capacity to execute such attacks.
Despite successful U.S. and British military strikes degrading some of the Houthis’ military assets, challenges remain. Officials acknowledge the difficulty in completely neutralizing the Houthis’ advanced military capabilities, including their anti-ship ballistic missiles.
As a result, the U.S. has re-designated the Houthi rebels as a terrorist group. This label aims to disrupt their funding and weapon supplies, which are crucial for their maritime attacks. The designation follows a series of aggressive acts by the Houthis, including striking U.S.-operated vessels.
Genco, a shipping operator, confirmed an attack by the Houthis on their vessel in the Gulf of Aden, highlighting the direct impact of these terrorist acts on commercial shipping. In response, the U.S. military has conducted targeted strikes to neutralize imminent threats from the Houthi missiles.
The Houthis’ declaration of continued attacks, including potential threats to U.S. ships, underscores the severity of the situation. These attacks significantly threaten one of the world’s major shipping routes, accounting for about 15% of global shipping traffic.
This increased military response aligns with broader conservative calls for a firmer stance against the Houthis and their Iranian backers. Critics argue that the additional sanctions might not significantly impact the Houthis but could complicate peace efforts in Yemen. The U.S. plans to exempt commercial shipments of essential goods from these sanctions, attempting to balance pressure on the Houthis with humanitarian considerations.
The Houthi’s control over significant parts of Yemen and their defiance present a complex challenge for U.S. foreign policy. While the Biden administration’s strategy focuses on limiting the Houthis’ military strength, its long-term effectiveness and impact on Yemen’s humanitarian crisis remain to be seen.