Iran has been trying to escalate the conflict in the Middle East and it looks like they just got their wish. Tonight for the first time since the start of the Houthi attacks on shipping in the Red Sea the US and UK launched attacks on multiple Houthi sites in Yemen.
🚨BREAKING: FIRST MOMENTS OF STRIKES ON YEMEN.
American-British raids targeting the Yemeni governorate of Saada, a short while ago. pic.twitter.com/kpUYxm4Mam
— Palestine Now (@PalestineNW) January 11, 2024
The strikes were in response to attacks on ships in the Red Sea which started in November. The final straw came Tuesday.
The United States and a handful of its allies on Thursday carried out military strikes against more than a dozen targets in Yemen controlled by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia, U.S. officials said, in an expansion of the war in the Middle East that the Biden administration had sought to avoid for three months.
The American-led air and naval strikes came in response to more than two dozen Houthi drone and missile attacks against commercial shipping in the Red Sea since November, and after warnings to the Houthis in the past week from the Biden administration and several international allies of serious “consequences” if the salvos did not stop.
But the Houthis defied that ultimatum, vowing to continue their attacks in what they say is a protest against Israel’s military campaign in Gaza. On Tuesday, American and British warships intercepted one of the largest barrages of Houthi drone and missile strikes yet, an assault that U.S. and other Western military officials said was the last straw.
Here’s what CENTCOM said about the Tuesday attack.
Houthi Attack on International Shipping
On Jan. 9, at approximately 9:15 p.m. (Sanaa time), Iranian-backed Houthis launched a complex attack of Iranian designed one-way attack UAVs (OWA UAVs), anti-ship cruise missiles, and an anti-ship ballistic missile from Houthi-controlled… pic.twitter.com/KWPRidwiWI
— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) January 10, 2024
The rest of it reads:
…from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen into the Southern Red Sea, towards international shipping lanes where dozens of merchant vessels were transiting.
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.
The strikes tonight weren’t just symbolic, they were designed to destroy sites where the Houthis have been launching their attacks.
The strikes were from fighter jets and Tomahawk missiles. More than a dozen Houthi targets were fired upon by missiles fired from air, surface, and sub platforms and were chosen for their ability to degrade the Houthis’ continued attacks on vessels in the Red Sea, a US official told CNN.
They included radar systems, drone storage and launch sites, ballistic missile storage and launch sites, and cruise missile storage and launch sites…
Hours before the strike on Thursday, Pentagon spokesman Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said Iran “has a role to play” in getting the Houthis to stop their “reckless, dangerous, and illegal activity.” If they did not, he said, “there will be consequences.”
In a speech Thursday, Houthi leader Abdul Malek Al-Houthi said that any US attack on Yemen ” will not go unanswered,” cryptically warning that the response will be “much more” than attacking US ships in the sea.
Why are the Houthis attacking shipping in the Red Sea? The simple answer is that they see it as a way to punish the west for the war against Hamas in Gaza. By attacking commercial shipping, they force ships to travel all the way around Africa to reach port.
Since November, the Houthis have launched 27 attacks with drones and missiles on vessels in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden that they claim are heading toward or leaving Israeli ports. The latest was on Thursday at 2 a.m., when a missile landed near a commercial vessel, the U.S. military said…
The world’s biggest container companies, MSC and Maersk, have said they are avoiding the region, and shipping companies are left with difficult options.
Rerouting vessels around Africa adds an extra 4,000 miles and 10 days to shipping routes, and requires more fuel. But continuing to use the Red Sea would raise insurance premiums. Either option would bruise an already fragile global economy.
The other answer is that Iran, as always, wants to stoke conflict in the region, especially with the US. These attacks in the Red Sea use Iranian made weapons. This is undoubtedly going to escalate over the next hours or days. I’ll update this post tonight if I see anything. Otherwise I’m sure we’ll have more on this in the morning.
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) January 11, 2024