Brothers in arms: USA and UK attack in Yemen

Houthies in Yemen. Wikipedia

An international coalition led by the United States and the UK has carried out airstrikes against at least 10 Houthi targets across Yemen. This is a military collaboration of the like we have not seen in several years, and in practice, it is a first western military intervention in the war against the pro-Iranian axis.

The Houthis are a Shi’ite movement that controls about half of Yemen’s territory, mainly in the western part of the country, ever since the stalemate of the Yemeni civil war over the past decade. The Houthis are backed by Iran, which has provided them with long-range missiles and suicide drones. This was mainly reflected in the fighting against the Saudi army, but since the outbreak of the ‘Iron Swords’ War last October, the Houthis have begun attacking targets in southern Israel. At the same time, the Houthis exploited their location near the main shiping route leading to Israel, the Red Sea and the Bab-el-Mandab Strait, in order to attack Israeli ships and disrupt maritime traffic to Israel.

In these actions, the Houthis are posing a threat to international freedom of navigation, a sacred principle in the eyes of the United States and the West. In addition, the Houthis actually attacked relatively randomly, including the hijacking of a Jappanese tanker to Yemen, causing many of the world’s shipping and transportation companies to halt movement through the Red Sea – a huge damage to the global economy. In response, the United States formed a coalition to protect Red Sea vessels (which included mainly Western countries, as well as some Arab ones), and warned the Houthis against further action. The Houthis were disdained by the warning while backed by Iran, and two days ago several ships were attacked in swarms of dozens of suicide drones, mostly intercepted by the coalition.

The US response came quickly: Yesterday, the UN Security Council issued a harsh condemnation of the Houthi actions, without a Chinese or Russian veto; and immediately last night, U.S. and British aircraft and precision-guided missiles (backed by Australia, Bahrain and Canada) attacked Houthi targets all across Yemen. The targets were mainly linked to Houthi drone and missile depots. Israel may have had a connection to the attack, but such a connection will probably have to remain under the table.

The Houthis have already promissed a harsh response, and the silence of the Iranians is very worrying; the coalition, led by US President Biden and British Prime Minister Sunak, has already declared that it remains in place and is ready to strike again if necessary. This is an initial escalation for Biden, who has so far avoided attacking other countries in such a way during his term, and has been deterred by a prospect of conflict with the Iranian axis. Israel has only to watch from the side, to strengthen and to bless: Welcome, brothers in arms.

To respond – rxpuyhi@gmail.com

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