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Latest US/British Strikes Hit the Houthis… Again – HotAir

The “response” from the Biden administration to attacks on American forces (since that’s apparently what we’re calling it) continued for a second straight night. This time, British forces joined in with American Air Force and naval assets in strikes against Houthi installations in Yemen. The Department of Defense said that three dozen targets were hit, with cruise missile and drone launching sites and weapon supply depots being the primary targets. No initial estimates of casualties were released and we once again steered clear of directly striking any Iranian assets. The Houthis were quick to respond, saying that they would not be deterred and would continue to target Western ships and resources until the war in Gaza ends. (Associated Press)

The United States and Britain struck 36 Houthi targets in Yemen on Saturday in a second wave of assaults meant to further disable Iran-backed groups that have relentlessly attacked American and international interests in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war. But Washington once more did not directly target Iran as it tries to find a balance between a forceful response and intensifying the conflict.

U.S. Central Command said its forces conducted an additional strike on Sunday “in self-defense against a Houthi anti-ship cruise missile prepared to launch against ships in the Red Sea,” according to a post on X, formerly Twitter.

“U.S. forces identified the cruise missile in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined it presented an imminent threat to U.S. Navy ships and merchant vessels in the region. This action will protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for U.S. Navy vessels and merchant vessels,” the post added.

A Houthi official quickly went on social media and wrote, “American-British aggression against Yemen will not go unanswered, and we will meet escalation with escalation.” That may simply have been bluster, but if he’s serious our latest attempt at intimidating the Houthis is clearly not working. To be fair, the Houthis are scattered all over the place and there is no central Houthi “headquarters” to take out, at least to my knowledge. But we’ve blown up a lot of their equipment already and they somehow manage to keep firing.

I don’t object to hitting the Houthis and Joe Biden deserves at least some credit for making the effort. But it should have started much sooner and we could be hitting them even harder. More to the point, the fact that they keep showing up with more missiles and drones is almost certainly a result of the fact that Iran keeps resupplying them.

That’s the missing piece of the puzzle here, as we’ve pointed out repeatedly. The Houthis aren’t the real problem. Iran is. But by telegraphing our punches and repeatedly offering Iran public assurances that we don’t want a direct conflict with them, Biden has removed any incentive for Iran to modify its behavior. The Iranian Mullahs don’t care if they have to ship out replacement rocket launchers or if a few of their Houthi henchmen are killed. There will be plenty more to take their place. As long as Tehran isn’t paying a direct price and feeling the sting, they have no reason to stop sending their proxies to attack American and allied forces.

The same formula applies to Iran’s militant proxies in Iraq and Syria. The best we could hope for in launching strikes against them would be to take out some of the IRGC leaders who direct their actions and oversee their supplies. But when Biden lets them know days in advance that attacks are on the way, the Republican Guard fighters evacuate and head back to Iran so the only people we’re taking out are the gorilla fighters.

The White House response to all of these attacks on both Israel and the United States thus far has seemed to be an effort to “look like we’re doing something” rather than actually doing anything of substance. I’m not suggesting that we should be dropping nukes on Tehran, but there are many targets of great value to Iran that we could be hitting. They have naval vessels and spy ships that we could easily sink. And the IRGC still gets around to many locations outside of Iran. We should be able to take out their leaders with a surprise strike. That would give the Mullahs reason to pause and reconsider their tactics. Until we do that, don’t expect the status quo to change significantly, including more attacks on US forces.

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