YEMEN: The United States has conducted additional airstrikes against Houthi positions. This move follows a coordinated multi-nation attack on nearly 30 Houthi sites, marking a sharp increase in US involvement in the region.
A Strategic Response to Maritime Threats
The latest strikes, executed on Friday night Eastern Time, were more focused compared to the extensive operations conducted the previous night. A US official revealed that these strikes were aimed at a radar installation under Houthi control.
This development comes in the wake of a Houthi-launched anti-ship ballistic missile targeting a commercial vessel earlier on Friday. The broader context of these operations began on Thursday when the US and the UK, supported by allies including Canada, Australia, Bahrain, and the Netherlands, struck 28 different Houthi sites.
The objective was clear: to disrupt the Houthis' capability to threaten international shipping routes in the Red Sea. Unlike the multilateral nature of Thursday's strikes, the latest operation was a solo endeavor by the United States.
President Joe Biden, speaking in Pennsylvania on Friday, underscored the US's stance: “We will make sure we respond to the Houthis if they continue this outrageous behavior along with our allies”.This statement came as a direct response to the ongoing Houthi aggressions, particularly their recent missile attacks on commercial shipping.
Balancing Act: Strike and Diplomacy
Despite the aggressive military action, the White House has expressed a desire to avoid further escalation. John Kirby, the strategic communications coordinator for the National Security Council, emphasized this point in a statement: “Everything we're doing, everything we're trying to do is to prevent any further escalation”.
However, in a direct defiance to the US-led strikes, the Iran-backed Houthi rebels launched another anti-ship ballistic missile towards a commercial vessel in the Gulf of Aden, south of Yemen. The US-led strikes on Thursday targeted not only radar facilities but also command and control nodes, and sites used for storing and launching drones, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles.
These weapons have been the primary means for the Houthis to target commercial vessels in the Red Sea. According to a Houthi military spokesman, these attacks resulted in five deaths and six injuries. In a statement filled with resolve, the Houthis have declared US and UK assets as “legitimate targets,” signaling a potential for further escalation in the conflict.