US And UK Retaliate With Airstrikes Against Yemen’s Houthis

The United States and the United Kingdom initiated a series of counterattacks against the Houthi rebels in Yemen on Thursday.

Airstrikes originating from Washington, D.C., and London targeted various locations within Yemen, which the Houthi rebels, backed by Iran, had been using.

Emerging reports indicate that the primary cities in Yemen heavily affected by the U.S. and U.K. airstrikes were Sana’a, Hodeidah, Saada, Dhamar, Taiz and Zabid.

U.S. and U.K. fighter planes and warships launched Tomahawk missiles, targeting various sites such as air defense installations, supply depots and logistical hubs.

Following the airstrikes, Rep. Valerie Howell (D-NC) issued a statement asserting that these strikes lacked congressional authorization. She emphasized the need for presidential approval from Congress for any military action.

The Houthi rebels had initiated attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea toward the end of November, prompting direct and forceful military responses from the United States and the United Kingdom.

The United States had abstained from targeting the Houthis in Yemen until this past Thursday.

To protect commercial shipping, the U.S. established a multinational maritime task force. Despite this initiative, the Houthis persisted in their assaults on ships and asserted that the task force would not deter them.

Earlier this week, the Houthis conducted their most extensive drone and missile campaign to date, directing their attacks toward commercial vessels as well as American and British warships. During the attack, allied forces from the United States and the United Kingdom successfully intercepted approximately twenty-one missiles and drones.

The recent attack in Yemen carries the risk of escalating into a broader conflict and is expected to provoke responses from the Houthis and Iran. The region has witnessed increased hostilities since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza in early October, including more than 100 attacks targeting American forces in Syria and Iraq.

Groups receiving support from Iran claim that their actions against the U.S. in the region are a show of solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza. Specifically, the Houthis state that their targets include U.S. and Israeli-backed ships.

Iran is likely to express strong condemnation of the Yemen attacks that transpired on Thursday, as it views the Houthis as a critical proxy group in the Middle East. In late December, when the United States sank three Houthi vessels in the Red Sea, both Iran and the Houthis vowed to respond aggressively.

The Biden administration has faced substantial pressure to halt the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea. These attacks have compelled major shipping companies to reroute their vessels around Africa and the Cape of Good Hope to avoid the Houthi threat. Approximately 10% of commercial shipping relies on the Red Sea route.