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How the Houthis Are Beating Biden – HotAir

The Houthis in Yemen have not been letting up with their ongoing attacks against Israel and shipping in the Red Sea. In response, we’ve seen little more from the Biden administration than plans to shoot down incoming drones and missiles and a few small pirate boats being sunk. Is it any wonder that the status quo hasn’t changed noticeably? Iran continues to pour funding and weapons into the terror group, showing no signs of being deterred by any threats from the White House. At Townhall, our colleague Spencer Brown summarizes the situation by asserting that, “In Biden v. Houthis, the terrorists are winning.” He points to the latest letter from the White House, cosigned by the governments of Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. The sentiment is the correct one, but without some action to back it up, it might as well be wallpaper.

One might expect, given the stakes, that Biden would be doing a little more than issuing repeated unheeded warnings to a terrorist group that, unsurprisingly, does not care that its actions are illegal or jeopardizing global supply chains.

In an attempt to show some muscle to back up its warning, the joint communication states that the Houthis “will bear the responsibility of the consequences should they continue to threaten lives, the global economy, and free flow of commerce in the region’s critical waterways” and that the countries “remain committed to the international rules-based order and are determined to hold malign actors accountable for unlawful seizures and attacks.”

The problem, of course, is that such warnings from Biden don’t carry much deterring effect. Whether it’s the Houthis or other Iran-backed proxies in Iraq and Syria, Biden has not given these terrorists a reason to believe the cost of continuing attacks outweighs the potential benefit of launching those attacks.

The letter declares that “there is no lawful justification for intentionally targeting civilian shipping and naval vessels.” That much should be obvious, but seeking “lawful justification” doesn’t really seem to be the strong suit of terror groups like the Houthis. If they were worried about such things, they wouldn’t be terrorists.

The Houthis have no incentive to cease their activities because we haven’t provided that incentive. Thus far, the cost to them has been incredibly low compared to the amount of economic disruption they have been able to cause at Iran’s behest. They’ve lost a handful of fighters and a couple of speedboats, with Iran being more than willing and able to replace the boats. Actions speak louder than words and that rule is more applicable to Islamic terrorists than anywhere else.

Spencer goes on to suggest some concrete, potentially effective actions that Joe Biden could be taking today and they are similar to proposals I’ve made here recently. We have enough satellite technology to pinpoint the locations in Yemen where the Houthis are launching their attacks. We should be taking those sites out, along with a far larger number of the terrorists. They started shooting first so they have provided more than sufficient justification for the use of force in return. We should also be targeting the Iranian supply lines that keep the Houthis in business and disrupt those however it may be done.

But will Joe Biden do any of these things in a serious fashion? There is more than a little history available suggesting that he will not. Aside from a couple of halfhearted responses, Joe Biden is still running the Barack Obama playbook for the most part. (And many of us believe that the Obamas are still largely directing the Biden administration behind the scenes.) Obama and Biden have been courting the Iranian government from the beginning, believing that if we shower them with enough cash and benefits, they will return to the table for a nuclear deal and perhaps start behaving more responsibly as international actors.

This has been shown to be a fool’s errand from the beginning. Giving Tehran more cash only offers them the opportunity to fund their proxies in a war against Israel and the West. And that’s precisely what they’ve done and will no doubt continue to do. The only thing they understand is forceful strength. That’s why we heard much less from them during the Trump administration. It would be nice to see Biden wake up to this reality and begin attacking this problem at its source, but I’m not holding my breath for it to happen any time soon.

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