U.S. and UK Launch Strikes Against Houthi Targets in Yemen: A Defiant Response to Red Sea Attacks12th January 2024
In a bold move, the United States and Britain have initiated strikes against sites associated with the Houthi movement in Yemen. This marks the first direct action against the Iran-backed group since their series of attacks on international shipping in the Red Sea late last year.
As explosions resonated across Yemen, witnesses confirmed the targeted strikes, prompting a statement from President Joe Biden. He warned that further action would be taken if necessary, emphasizing that these strikes send a clear message: the United States and its allies will not tolerate attacks on personnel or threats to freedom of navigation.
According to the UK’s Ministry of Defense, early signs suggest a significant blow to the Houthis’ capacity to threaten merchant shipping. The strikes, executed through aircraft, ships, and submarines, targeted over a dozen locations with the intent to weaken the Houthi military capabilities, debunking any notion of mere symbolism.
In response, a Houthi official denounced the strikes as “American-Zionist-British aggression,” confirming raids in various cities, including the capital Sanaa. This ongoing conflict amplifies the Israel-Hamas war, underscoring the widening tensions in the Middle East.
The Houthi movement, controlling most of Yemen, had disregarded international calls to cease their missile and drone attacks on Red Sea shipping routes. They claim solidarity with Hamas, the Palestinian group in control of Gaza, leading to increased hostilities in the region.
The Houthis’ attacks on ships have disrupted approximately 15% of the world’s shipping traffic along the crucial route between Europe and Asia. Recent strikes targeted military bases, including those near Sanaa and Taiz airports, a naval base in Hodeidah, and military sites in the Hajjah governorate.
The conflict escalated after the Houthis’ largest attack on January 9, prompting U.S. and British forces to intercept 21 Houthi drones and missiles in the Red Sea. President Biden revealed that the Houthis had directly targeted American ships, necessitating the recent strikes.
While the U.S.-led Operation Prosperity Guardian, aimed at safeguarding commercial traffic in the Red Sea, involved over 20 countries, the recent strikes occurred outside this defensive coalition. Biden noted that Australia, Bahrain, Canada, and the Netherlands supported the operation, emphasizing a united international response against the Houthis’ reckless attacks.
In the face of these developments, the situation remains dynamic, with implications for the broader geopolitical landscape in the Middle East.