In the opening weeks of 2024, the US and British unilaterally launched several large-scale missile and air strikes on targets in territory held by Ansar Allah (referred to as the “Houthis” across the Western media) in Yemen.
The strikes follow a campaign of missile strikes and boardings conducted by Ansar Allah against commercial shipping destined to and from Israel in response to Israel’s ongoing punitive operations in Gaza.
While the stated purpose of the US-British strikes are to protect commercial shipping, hostility of any kind in the Red Sea is likely to prompt international shipping companies to continue seeking out and using alternative routes until fighting of any kind subsides.
Indeed, according to Euronews Business, despite the US-British strikes on Ansar Allah, the CEO of Maersk, responsible for one-fifth of global maritime shipping, believes safely transiting the Red Sea is still months away.
Despite the political posturing that accompanied these attacks, strategically, they will do little to impact Ansar Allah’s fighting capacity. The political movement possesses a formidable military organization that has weathered years of full-scale war waged against it by a Saudi-led Arab coalition, backed by both the US and UK.
Not only did the US and UK encourage Saudi Arabia to sustain an air and ground war against Yemen, both Western nations contributed directly to Saudi Arabia’s war efforts.
The New York Times in a 2018 article titled, “Army Special Forces Secretly Help Saudis Combat Threat From Yemen Rebels” admitted that US special forces were operating, at a minimum, along the Saudi-Yemeni border, assisting Saudi Arabia’s armed forces in choosing targets.
The same article admits that the US was also lending assistance related to “aircraft refueling, logistics and general intelligence sharing.”
The Guardian in a 2019 article titled, “‘The Saudis couldn’t do it without us’: the UK’s true role in Yemen’s deadly war,” admitted to the scope of support provided by the UK to Saudi Arabia in its war on Yemen. It included supplying weapons and munitions, thousands of maintenance contractors, pilot training, and even sending British troops to fight alongside Saudi soldiers in Yemen itself.
The scale of both Saudi Arabia’s own war on Yemen and the scale of US and British assistance to Saudi Arabia, including through the use of thousands of contractors and hundreds of soldiers on the ground, dwarfs the current missile and air strikes conducted by the US and British from the Red Sea. Even if the US and British significantly expanded their current missile and air strike campaign, it would still pale in comparison to the war that has been waged against Yemen in recent years.
Clearly then, the current US-British strikes on Yemen hold little prospect of deterring Ansar Allah, so why is the US and British carrying out these strikes anyway?…