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About That Red Sea Deterrence

I have to say I’m not sure what in particular it is that’s not getting the message across that we mean business. A half-assed coalition cobbled together, an absent Secretary of Defense, a mentally absent POTATUS, a lack of any sort of offensive action in response to whatever Houthis do, lack of harsh language, all of the above, none of the above?

For having the parts in place on the board, we don’t seem to be doing an effective job of utilizing any of them. We are utterly failing at projecting any strength whatsoever, and the Houthis are having themselves a field day.

Word broke about 8 last night of the Yemeni rebels lighting up the Red Sea sky in new and spectacular fashion.

Houthi militias launch biggest attack to date on merchant vessels in Red Sea

U.S. and coalition forces under Operation Prosperity Guardian responded Tuesday in the Red Sea to what American officials said was the largest attack to date on merchant vessels by Iranian-backed Houthis.

…Attacks have been reported in at least two locations: Southwest of Mokha, Yemen and Hodeidah, Yemen.

Approximately 50 merchant vessels were in the area at the time of the attack, according to American officials. Crews reported attacks from rocket fire, as well as armed drones. On Tuesday evening, no vessels had yet reported suffering damage from the attacks.

Four coalition warships were deployed to the area, Pentagon officials told CNBC. No Iranian warships were involved. “This is the largest attack on commercial shipping,” a national security official told CNBC.

It was also the first large-scale attack by Houthis since 13 nations, including the United States issued a joint statement and pledged to hold the militants accountable for attacking commercial vessels in the Red Sea.

Reports indicated four coalition ships were headed to the attack sites “at full speed.” Thankfully, it appears they arrived in time to fend off damage from drones, missiles launched from smaller boats, possible boarding attempts…

…An advisory note from security firm Ambrey earlier in the day said a bulk carrier detected three small vessels near their port quarter and saw two missiles fired from the direction of the boats, according to Reuters. No ships have reported damaged, the note said. Separately, a tanker reported seeing either flares or missile trails, according to Ambrey.

…and called in help with cover from air assets off the USS Eisenhower.

CENTCOM issued a terse rundown of the action.

Eighteen OWA UAVs, two anti-ship cruise missiles, and one anti-ship ballistic missile were shot down by a combined effort of F/A-18s from USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), USS Gravely (DDG 107), USS Laboon (DDG 58), USS Mason (DDG 87), and the United Kingdom’s HMS Diamond (D34). This is the 26th Houthi attack on commercial shipping lanes in the Red Sea since Nov. 19. There were no injuries or damage reported…

It had to be humming out there.

The British guided missile destroyer HMS Diamond got a piece of the action as well.

But the Houthis aren’t done playing, even though everything they’d thrown at the boats in the area had either been knocked down or missed their targets. Oh, no. You can bet your bottom dollar they’ll be back, as there are no consequences of any note for them, and much to gain if they score a kill or capture.

It was 3 January that the new coalition comprising Prosperity Guardian issued their joint line-in-the-sand statement to the Houthis that there would be consequences for attacks. Houthis wasted no time replying to the empty allied saber-rattling. They sent a nasty surprise out among the ships attempting the transit.

Within 24 hours of the joint statement, the Houthis group sent an unmanned surface vessel (USV) loaded with explosives into international shipping lanes. The USV eventually detonated near multiple ships, including both merchant and U.S. Navy vessels, but no damage was reported.

What happened to them for their impudence?


After the attacks last night, the allied response and “consequences” meted out were…?

A paragraph at the end of the CENTCOM tweet reminding the Houthis:


…On Jan. 3, 14 countries, including the U.S, issued a joint statement stating, “The Houthis will bear the responsibility for the consequences should they continue to threaten lives, the global economy, or the free flow of commerce in the region’s critical waterways.”

That should take the starch out of their Houthi shooty drawers.

By the way, does anyone remember the Biden administration removing the Houthis from the terrorist organization list?

Seems they did, and I wonder if POTATUS did it to mollify Iran, considering it happened when Biden took office. That could be another reason they’re so hesitant to smack the crap out of these terrorists.

…These attacks come nearly three years after the Biden administration removed the global terrorist organization label from the Houthis. Smart and credible strategy requires the United States to exercise self-defense and launch naval attacks in Yemeni territory to destroy Houthi aircraft, drone, and missile facilities and infrastructure. The Dec. 13 and Dec. 16 attacks on the USS Mason and USS Carney, respectively, provide a basis under international law for the U.S. to respond by conducting defensive strikes on Houthi infrastructure and personnel in Yemeni territory, which the U.S. and its partners appear to be considering. Defensive strikes would be a lawful response to stop attacks on U.S. warships exercising the right of freedom of navigation in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. Deterrence will be restored only by the destruction of Houthi air and missile complexes in Yemen that are capable of attacking U.S. warships.

And I thought Obama was the one working for the mullahs. Holy smokes.

In the meantime, the numbers for world commerce just get uglier.

Sure would be a nice change if anyone in the administration was:

1) working

2) FOR US.

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