U.S., Others Launch Retaliatory Strikes Against Houthis in Yemen

January 12, 2024

We hold the Houthi militants and their destabilizing Iranian sponsors responsible for the illegal, indiscriminate, and reckless attacks on international shipping that have impacted 55 nations so far, including endangering the lives of hundreds of mariners, including the United States.

Commander of the United States Central Command, General Michael Erik Kurilla, in a statement announcing a retaliatory strike taken by the U.S. and others against Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen on Thursday.

Why It Matters: The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said the strike against the Iranian-backed Houthis is intended to “degrade” the Houthi’s “capability to continue their illegal and reckless attacks on U.S. and international vessels and commercial shipping in the Red Sea.” CENTCOM added that the “multinational action” was taken “in coordination with the United Kingdom,” including support from Canada, Australia, Bahrain and the Netherlands. The strike “targeted [Houthi] radar systems, air defense systems, and storage and launch sites for one way attack unmanned aerial systems, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles.”

Big Picture: This action comes amid increased harassment by the Houthis on shipping in the Red Sea – an important commercial waterway where about 12% of global trade flows through. The Houthis target the Red Sea shipping route as a way to show support for Hamas amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war (both Hamas and the Houthis are backed by Iran – a U.S.-designated State Sponsor of terrorism). Check out this map by the Council on Foreign Relations to see the impact on trade if further disruptions continue.  

Responding to the U.S. and British strikes, Houthi official Ali al-Qahoum promised retaliation and said, “The battle will be bigger … and beyond the imagination and expectation of the Americans and the British.”

Read More: US, British militaries launch massive retaliatory strike against Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen (The Associated Press)

by Leah Grainery, based in Texas