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Houthis, Iran Basically Ignore Biden’s Response – HotAir

Recent American and British strikes against Houthi positions in Yemen appeared to have paused the rebels’ attacks on Red Sea shipping lanes, at least temporarily. But the “private” message that Biden claims to have sent to Iran regarding the situation there doesn’t appear to have been well received. Less than 48 hours after the last strike against the rebels, the Houthi have fired back yet again. Instead of going after Israeli goods or international shipping, they launched an anti-ship cruise missile directly at an American destroyer yesterday. Thankfully, one of our fighter jets was able to shoot it down before it could do any damage, but the Houthis have clearly not been convinced to go to the sidelines in this conflict and continue to insist that they will act in support of their “brothers” in Hamas. (AP)

Yemen’s Houthi rebels fired an anti-ship cruise missile toward an American destroyer in the Red Sea on Sunday, but a U.S. fighter jet shot it down in the latest attack roiling global shipping amid Israel’s war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, officials said.

The attack marks the first U.S.-acknowledged fire by the Houthis since America and allied nations began strikes Friday on the rebels following weeks of assaults on shipping in the Red Sea.

The Houthis have targeted that crucial corridor linking Asian and Mideast energy and cargo shipments to the Suez Canal onward to Europe over the Israel-Hamas war, attacks that threaten to widen that conflict into a regional conflagration.

Iran has obviously armed the Houthis to the point where they are significantly upping their game in terms of military aggression. These aren’t instances of pirates with rifles boarding cargo ships. They’re firing cruise missiles at American warships. Thankfully, they don’t seem to have them in sufficient numbers to overwhelm our air defenses (yet) but these are acts of warfare rather than simple piracy or terrorism.

So what will Biden’s next move be? He’s been saying the correct words this week, claiming that he “will not hesitate to direct further measures to protect our people and the free flow of international commerce as necessary.” But short of putting troops on the ground in Yemen (which would be a terrible idea at this point) all we can really do is try to pick the Houthis off from the air.

The reason that’s such a limiting factor is that we’re not attacking the problem at its source. The Houthis are vowing “a strong response” to the American and British strikes. It’s being reported that they still have a significant stockpile of missiles and drones, having used less than 25% of their total arms in the attacks thus far. A Houthi spokesperson said this weekend that the American strikes had not resulted in any deaths or “significant damage,” despite the claims of the White House. That could just be propaganda, of course, but this latest attack demonstrates that they are not backing down in the face of the US response.

We need to be shutting down the supply line of missiles and other weaponry flowing from Iran to Yemen. We also need to locate and destroy their existing stockpiles of arms. Without those rockets and drones, the Houthis are little more than an armed gang of pirates and thugs, presenting no danger to the shipping channels in the Red Sea. Their small speedboats are typically only a threat to unarmed crews of cargo ships. But until we cut the head off of the snake and stop Iran from arming them, they will remain a significant threat. Does the Biden administration have a plan to make that happen? Uncle Joe has thus far been reluctant to do anything that might “upset” Iran too much, despite the fact that they remain the world’s number one sponsor of terrorism.

This would be an ideal time to have a functional, competent president and a Secretary of Defense who isn’t prone to going AWOL. Sadly, you go to war with the leaders you have, not the ones you might wish you had.

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