The Escalating Threat of Houthi Aggression: A US Perspective

A new phase has begun in attempts to stop the Iran-backed Houthi attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and off the coast of Aden. The US re-designated the Houthis as terrorists on January 17. This is an important step to confront the group. The Houthis are continuing to increase and widen their attacks in the Red Sea and in areas off the coast of Aden. The US is also increasing its strikes on the Houthis – leading to questions about what may come next. US Central Command said overnight between Wednesday and Thursday morning that “US Central Command forces conducted strikes on 14 Iran-backed Houthi missiles.” Striking the Houthi missiles and their launch sites can help to stop attacks on shipping. The US says that recent strikes “will degrade the Houthi‚Äôs capabilities” to continue their reckless attacks. In a strange twist of fate, the Saudis have reconciled with Iran, and it is Riyadh that is now more cautious on the Houthi issue. On January 17, the Houthis attacked a ship called the Genco Pircardy using a drone. That attack followed US strikes on January 16 and the Houthis targeting a ship called the Zografia on January 16. The US has now carried out at least three rounds of attacks while the Houthis are attacking ships daily. So far, despite the important decisions by the US Central Command, the Yemeni group is able to continue dangerous operations against shipping. A new phase has been entered in the war over the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. The question now is whether the US can stop the Houthi attacks.