U.S. and UK Forces Hit Military Targets in Yemen

Yves here. Hoo boy. One assumes that, just as with Operation Prosperity Guardian, the US has to Do Something so as to appear to have some power. But by all accounts, the Houthis are exceptionally well-bunkered, due both to taking advantage of the rugged terrain and having a very decentralized structure. On top of that, how pray tell could we send in ground troops with the Houthis able to attack military assets at sea, even assuming that could be effective (witness Afghanistan)? And how can “we” do much with just missile and air strikes?

There is the a issue of procedure:

And in addition to questions of effectiveness, there’s also the ever-present issue of double standards and lack of morality:

By Charles Kennedy, a writer at OilPrice. Originally published at OilPrice

U.S. and UK forces in the Red Sea have struck military targets in Yemen in response to Houthi attacks on ships in the area.

Reuters cited witnesses as saying there had been strikes across the country.

“These targeted strikes are a clear message that the United States and our partners will not tolerate attacks on our personnel or allow hostile actors to imperil freedom of navigation,” President Biden said in a statement following the air and sea strikes.

The escalation follows what the U.S. Central Command called the biggest Houthi attack yet, the U.S. and UK forces in the Red Sea shot down 21 drones and missiles on Tuesday. The Houthis’ military spokesman, Yahya Saree, said they had attacked a U.S. military ship because it was “providing support” to Israel.

The news of the U.S. and UK retaliation pushed oil prices higher, initially spiking by more than 2% before retreating some. In mid-morning trade in Asia today, Brent crude was trading above $78 per barrel, with West Texas Intermediateat over $73 per barrel.

The U.S. and UK strikes on Yemen are the first on the country’s territory since 2016, Reuters noted in its report as it recalled that the Houthis have made a vow to respond to any attack in kind. This would mean further escalation of the Middle Eastern conflict.

“The concern is that this could escalate,” security studies professor Andreas Krieg from King’s College in London told Reuters, noting Saudi Arabia and the UAE could be drawn into the war. The Saudis have already issued a statement calling for restraint and avoidance of escalation.

“The kingdom emphasizes the importance of maintaining the security and stability of the Red Sea region, as the freedom of navigation in it is an international demand,” the Saudi foreign ministry said in the statement.

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  1. DJG, Reality Czar

    Hmmm. Not that it has been so hard to discern, but the U.S. and U.K. bombing of the Houthis pretty much also indicates who believes that they stand to profit from the proxy war in Ukraine, too.

    As if you didn’t already suspect that, dear commentariat.

    Likewise, the illegal occupations in Syria and Iraq, and that curious impasse in reunifying Cyprus, which allows the Brits to control a couple of military bases that the Cypriots can’t govern.

    Just in case there is anyone left who thinks that blank-eyed Alzheimer-aggressive Biden isn’t getting “enough credit.”

    Just in case you were wondering what the reasons for Brexit really are.

    1. timbers

      As I’ve said several times, I’m gobsmacked drones of The Axis of Evil haven’t accidentally found their way onto US bases in Syria and Iraq. The Axis is far too timid against the Empire IMO.

  2. Victor Sciamarelli

    Biden wants to stop the bombing of ships. The Houthis want to stop the bombing of civilians in Gaza. Biden wants to show the world that ships matter and the Palestinian people are irrelevant.

  3. Alan Roxdale

    How does this not end with US troops on the ground? The only way that happens is if the Houthis/Iran back off. Recent Iran actions in the gulf suggest otherwise.

    What happens now if the Houthis escalate by attacking more shipping, or oil plants in Saudi again? The only hand left to play then is even more airstrikes. And if those fail (like they did for Saudi) that will leave a full invasion.

    Or, perhaps Yemen will get the Gaza treatment. Besiege, bomb, and starve 20 million more people. Open up a exile route for Palestinians? Until there’s an uprising/revolution across the Arab/Muslim world.
    But I guess pleasing the talking heads is more important than risk management

    1. JTMcPhee

      There of course is at least once more play in Biden’s grimoire— the ever-popular “tactical Nuku’alofa weapon.” Though maybe the Houthi military is dispersed and hardened enough that the mission creeps that run Our Foreign Policy that only a Really Big Bomb, or lots of them, will have to regrettable, unfortunately, ineluctably have to be “deployed.” That wonderful passive voice cover for ultimate imbecility…

      Effing stupid humans…

  4. The Rev Kev

    Well I was wrong. I thought that surely the west would not be so stupid as to turn the Red Sea into a literal war zone. That would be insane that. And you just had Blinken doing a whistle-stop tour of the middle east trying to stop this war from widening. But now I can only recall Obama’s assessment of Joe’s abilities. I could be also wrong here but I get the impression that Biden just ordered this attack in concert with other nations and only then told Congress about it afterwards. Come to think of it, is Biden capable of ordering attacks on Iran without informing Congress but just doing it? That is a bit of a worry that. And what is the purpose of these attacks anyway? Avenging hurt western pride in not being able to stop the Yemenis the past coupla weeks? Or not wanting any delay in Israel getting any of their commercial cargoes? I notice too that of all those countries that helped in these attacks, that there is only one that actually lives in this neighbourhood – Bahrain. There is no way that Saudi Arabia wants to be involved in this new cluster**** so they have probably told the Bahrainians that they are on their own here. What a mess.

    1. Fireminer

      It’s almost like Washington and Tel Aviv is united in a suicide pact… And if the blob really think that this show of force is enough to make the Yemenis to back off, then they’re incredibly ignorant.

      Also, does anyone notice the lack of any mention toward diplomatic negotiation between the US and Iran? If the Houthis really are just Iranian puppets like the MSM say, then shouldn’t has Washington tried to cut some deal with Tehran? It’s almost like Blinken and the State Department do not sincerely want the bombing to end.

      1. Victor Sciamarelli

        In msm speak, if Iran provides weapons and money to the Houthis, then they are puppets or proxies. If the US provides weapons and money to Israel, then it is our ally.
        As for making a deal, Biden is a solid neocon and he has been so for a long time; so is Blinken and most of Biden’s administration. Neocons are quite open about their scorn for diplomacy and international institutions like the UN. They prefer a show of force and unilateral action when necessary.
        Iran is not a threat to the territorial integrity of the US but it is a potential threat to Israel and nearly all neocons support Israel unconditionally.
        Moreover, if a powerful country invaded and destroyed the US neighbors Canada and Mexico, and threatened to annihilate the US, then it would be unacceptable. If the US invades and destroys Iran’s neighbors Iraq and Afghanistan, and threatens to annihilate Iran, that’s ok.
        It’s important to note that neocons don’t do this in order to protect the US homeland from attack, they do it in order to maintain a dominant position throughout the world.

    2. Amfortas the Hippie

      reckon the thing to watch for is what saudi arabia does.
      theres been lots of apparent changes in SA’s relationships these past several months…china brokered reconciliation with iran, “peace” with yemen…as well as the whole shifting out of dollar only trade in oil.
      if SA reverts to being an american client, whats to stop yemen from targeting the refineries?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Saudi Arabia has already made a stand. Blinken went to them a coupla days ago and said that they and Israel should really get together and sign up for the Abraham Accords and make nice as if Gaza is not even happening. How deluded is that? Now Saudi Arabia has just joined South Africa’s case against Israel at the ICJ which tells Blinken what they think of his offer.

        1. Polar Socialist

          Saudi-Arabia also allowed the use of her airspace for the strikes. Probably still not much love between SA and the houthi.

          On the other hand, houthi missiles do cross the same airspace on their way to Israel.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I thought that I read that Saudi Arabia had shot down several of these drones/missiles for which they were thanked by Israel? Apparently the UK aircraft came from their base in Cyprus which is a long haul. The US asked Djibouti if they could launch missiles from their country against Yemen to which they replied aww, hell no.

            Just had another thought. NATO is really keen on getting minesweepers into the Black Sea. Maybe they should rethink that one as they might be needed elsewhere.

            1. Eclair

              The US has a military base (since 2003) in Djibouti, Camp Lemonnier. As well as access to its port, for which the US, along with China, France, Japan and Italy, pay the government about $124 million per year in rents. (Per Wikipedia.). So, a home for naval bases for two major and three minor powers. The main port, btw, is (was?) managed by a UAE firm, but this agreement seems to be in dispute. The port also handles all sea trade from landlocked Ethiopia. There is a railroad from that country to the port, but it seems to be having problems (unreliable power?) as well.

              In short, Djibouti has the catbird’s seat (or one of them) on the Gulf of Aden. A small country with a great geographical asset, which must have its hands full, keeping its paying clients, who may have conflicting interests, happy.

            2. Feral Finster

              “I thought that I read that Saudi Arabia had shot down several of these drones/missiles for which they were thanked by Israel?”

              That is correct. The Saudis, like most other governments in the region, are undertaking a balancing act of doing the absolute minimum to show support for Gaza for the sake of optics, while careful not to offend the vengeful Americans.

        2. Pavel

          Blinken seems consistently to take the side of Israel in this conflict regardless of the short- or long-term consequences — blowback — for the USA. Why doesn’t he quit the Biden administration and just work directly for Bibi and the IDF?

          And as you say, how delusional is it to expect the Saudis to make nice with Israel now???

          God knows what will happen to oil prices now. And let’s recall that Biden has already dispensed with most of the Strategic Oil Reserve to combat inflation. Not much gas left in that tank.

          Three wars, rising inflation, and the border crisis letting loose tens of thousands of “asylum seekers” in NYC, Chicago, and elsewhere. I just watched a few videos of irate parents in NY furious that their school was turned over for migrant housing. In Chicago a black Alderman ranted in the city council about what he could do in his district with the $20-30M the city was spending on migrants.

          The USA is at a boiling point. Stay safe over there.

          1. griffen

            I’m generally surprised the barrel of crude per the WTI is not higher and significantly so. No one is discussing the US Reserve levels either or perhaps I missed those days where it was talked about; not in recent weeks proclaiming the continuation of good times, “strong consumer spending” and good feelings on Wall Street.

            1. SocalJimObjects

              Oil price just jumped 4% on the news, but a couple of days ago, NC posted the following: https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Security-Concerns-in-Red-Sea-Boost-US-Oil-Appeal.html

              If need be, I think US shale producers can increase production to meet the needs of the market, and at 80 dollars (as of a couple minutes ago) a barrel, it would be quite profitable. Needless to say, all of this will show up at the pump and then the CPI a month or two from now. What this will to stonks is still unknown at this point.

            2. IMOR

              There was a link here a couple weeks back saying Biden Admin had done some good refill buys for the reserve at lowered prices, but further refill stymied by regular cleaning and maint of one storage site, need to entirely replace another (out of four, or five?).

          2. timbers

            “I just watched a few videos of irate parents in NY furious that their school was turned over for migrant housing.” ******** They should be thankfull their coop/apartment lobbies gyms/common areas and maybe in the future homes haven’t been seized yet to provide immigrant housing.

            1. Michael Fiorillo

              I’m not happy with the way D’s are handling immigration, but NYC is not providing “housing” for migrants in that school. They received temporary shelter – the building is an official emergency shelter – during a bad storm, and as of Thursday the students are back in the building.

              Given the facts, please spare us your Fox News-induced tics.

              1. timbers

                I have a better idea – please spare me you’re CNN neoliberal/Obama/Hillary DNC – induced tics. I don’t watch FOX or any MSM for that matter.

                1. Eclair

                  Cool it, guys! Ya think these busloads of immigrants loosed upon major Dem-run cities just …. well happens? I’m putting on my tinfoil hat here, but might this influx be a planned operation to destabilize these cities? To overwhelm their social services, blow up their budgets, cause social discord? You know what ‘they’ say about how easy it is to keep the ‘lower classes’ at each others’ throats.

                  1. John k

                    Yes, Texas reps et Al sent the buses north, but what was their option? To just continue accepting the flood of immigrants that corps want to keep wages down, with little to no ability to stop the flood enabled by the Biden admin? For me, I don’t see any problem with southern states sharing the various housing/ed and other issues in a small way with dim sanctuary cities, which may be where the immigrants most want to go.
                    I’m an indie that switched from rep to dim so I could repeatedly vote for bernie, but I’ve always supported controlling the border to limit immigration to what congress determines is acceptable. Imo open borders/unlimited immigration is not beneficial for the underclass that is here now.

            2. Mikel

              Look at what they didn’t do for the homeless already in NY. That has me about to lose my religion.

          3. NotTimothyGeithner

            Biden believes “Israel as a US aircraft carrier” is unmistakable foreign policy brilliance only understood by foreign policy geniuses such as Biden. Blinken is dumb (he should have been fired in October), but Biden has a pathological devotion to dippy slogans he rattled off in the 80’s to get on TV. Biden attacked 41’s peace process efforts.

            Biden’s legitimacy is that he’s a foreign policy guy. He simply won’t question anything he has professed for decades. Blinken has no need to leave.

            Biden also likes to look like a tough guy and is afraid of being perceived as a wimp. The word wimp may not be bandied about anymore, but Biden is terrified he will be called a wimp by republicans.

        3. Feral Finster

          The Saudis also permitted the US and UK to use their airspace for the attack on Yemen.

          Not that they would accept a Saudi refusal, but stop kidding yourselves.

      2. Tiffany

        Why doesn’t S.A. just stop loading oil onto tankers bound for the U.S., and its allies, until the slaughter in Gaza stops?

        It’s a free market isn’t it?

    3. furnace

      Biden is a senile ultrazionist who isn’t capable of doing anything but spewing unworkable orders. A good part of his staff is in open revolt, as seen in the Austin debacle. This is like a regency with multiple disputing factions acting solely on their own interest, with predictably catastrophic consequences for the country and the world.

      The problem is many folks, as easily seen on twitter, still believe this is the US of Gulf War 1, full of the best gear in offer and triumphant against its manichean enemy. The current US is a decrepit rotting structure which barely functions, and even the obscenely overbloated military (what other institution would get a free pass from being unable to do proper accounting multiple times?) is incapable of projecting power anymore: there are no troops, no one wants to die in the Middle East anymore, and its gear is laughable by now, with even “top-of-the-line” tech being barely functional (anyone seen the reports about Abrahams simply breaking down by themselves in Ukraine?)

      This is a bad combination. The Ansarallah are no joke, and we could soon see sinking Navy ships, as well as petrochemical infrastructure getting blasted to bits (the Patriot, as is well known, can barely stop the flimsiest of missiles). As for Saudi Arabia, they seem to have opened their airspace for US operations, which would therefore mean that as per the Ansarallah leadership they are at war. This could mean some very very bad times coming around, especially for Europeans, who will find themselves simply short of all forms of petrochemicals.

    4. ilsm

      I suppose the USN destroyers ran out of SAMs so the choice was go home or shoot cruise missiles.

      No sense to redeploy when a little fireworks remain.

    5. Albe Vado

      Maybe it’s just ass covering, but Saudi Arabia is making noises about how they’re concerned about the whole affair. They may genuinely have not given permission, and possibly not even been consulted. Oman closed their airspace to planes involved in any attack right before it happened so they seem to not be on board either. Bahrain seems to be where the attack was launched from, and they’re home to two US navy headquarters so maybe they didn’t have much choice.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The local powers want the ship traffic to run smoothly (the spice must flow), but they also know association with Genocide Joe is impossible or they will run into problems with the street. Biden is dialed in on November, and his grand anti-pirate alliance failed. Now he’s trying to force the matter.

        The renewed Suez crisis is going to cause problems for our vassals in Europe.

  5. The Global South is Winning

    The question is: why, after weeks of effectively doing nothing about the situation in the Red Sea, died the US/UK decide to start bombing Yemen now ?

    The obvious answer: it’s a “wag the dog” operation to divert attention from the izzie response to the ICJ due the next day.

    The irony is that the western lamestream media wasn’t covering the case at all anyway, and the rest of the world won’t be diverted from watching it. All nuttyyahoo and the neocons have achieved is to drag the US/UK military neck deep into the Big Muddy.

    They were already up their ass with the ghastly display in Ukraine of the catastrophic failure of western weapons systems in real combat. If Ansarallah sinks a USN/RN warship, or even severely damages one or more, continuing to expose the complete worthlessness of western military forces — what then?

    Psychopaths are extremely dangerous when thwarted in their desires/plans, and most dangerous when publicly humiliated to boot….

    1. ChrisFromGA

      It’s also right at a time when Congress appears to be breaking down into chaos, again, similar to the Kev ouster. Johnson has very little wiggle room and if the Freedom Caucus joins in with the Squad in denouncing this, it might mean basically nothing gets passed until March.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Suez politics will ultimately trump Israel devotion. The spice must flow. Even Biden can grasp this.

      Biden and Blinken have simply failed to grasp the usual methods of wrangling support won’t work as fear of the street is more pressing than a bank account being seized especially with the US having one too many people they might need to evacuate. Zelensky getting rescued before an emir is the likely perception, and if Zelensky isn’t rescued, no one is.

      Biden especially but much of his foreign policy team didn’t really grasp probably until the last month that Israel is just a vanity project. Biden’s rhetoric over the years shows he believed Israel was relevant to US interests. I think they are starting to see it. We’ve seen Blinken’s more measured speech and nominal calls for less violence. They’ve seen shipping data. Biden just aligned himself too much with Netanyahu. Then of course, there is the election polling. Biden won’t want to look like a wimp, and he isn’t going to run on “hey, I didn’t know much about foreign policy before but this time…”

  6. Paradan

    I really should link the picture of the Houthi guy for this joke to work but…

    “Would you say I have a plethora of anti-ship missiles?

  7. Rain

    Israel wants escalation, a certain hardline faction in the White House wants escalation, a smaller less powerful faction wants to de-escalate everything in an election year and just crow about how great the economy is, and what a bad, bad man Trump is *yawn*

    I note the Houthi call themselves “the armed forces of Yemen”.
    Yemen has a right to defend itself :-)

    Saudi Arabia has declared public support for the South African submission to the ICJ, and is remaining mostly neutral towards Yemen as part the deal brokered by China with Iran.

    If the ICJ and/or UNSC fails, methinx Arab countries might take more action, as the ICJ action is the last possible diplomatic or legal path available. When it fails, and US/Israel keep prodding and provoking, gloves will come off, and countries which cant for whatever reason, will at least stay neutral.

    I also hear Iraq has made diplomatic gestures towards the removal of US bases.

    1. furnace

      “Houthis” are the de facto government of Yemen. They effectively are the armed forces of the country. And as seen in the huge protests in favor of Palestine, it seems like the population agrees.

  8. Aurelien

    This attack is primarily aimed at domestic opinion in the West, and at rebutting accusations that the West is “doing nothing” to safeguard international trade. I would imagine that the military experts have been telling the political leaderships for some time now that there are no real military options available, since invading Yemen, let alone attacking Iran, would be suicidal. But this incident conforms to one of the basic rules of western crisis “management”: doing something stupid is better than doing nothing at all.

    1. Robert Hahl

      It’s the war of just-in-time delivery now. The western industrial economy, which is based mainly on assembling imported parts, must be about to seize up.

    2. Skip Intro

      Sounds like the Ukrainian Strategy is being replicated; flashy PR attacks meant to demonstrate dominance that instead reveal impotence.
      If the Houthis could be defeated by air power and satellite reconnaissance, SA would have already managed it. To me Yemen rhymes with Fremen, and their ability to fill the sea lanes with indiscriminate mines, for example, reminds me that ‘He who can destroy a thing controls that thing’.

      1. hk

        My understanding is that Frank Herbert really did draw inspiration from the actual Yemenis. My understanding, too, is that the Yemenis we’re among the first Arab tribes to join Mohammed and formed the vanguard of early Islamic armies, literally conquering the known world before them, like the firemen and Mouadib’s Jihad.

    3. Feral Finster

      Forgive me for repeating myself, but where where the US and UK when the Saudis were blockading Yemen in an effort to starve that country into submission?

      They were helping the Saudi barbarians enforce that blockade. So spare us the [FAMILYBLOG] about Muh Sacred Freedom Of Navigation. Of course, sociopaths care nothing for hypocrisy.

    4. Glen

      The western elites are falling into a self reinforcing cycle of “do something” and failing, looking weak, which results in more incidents that require more “do something”. When does the European leadership decide that watching Biden flail about in Ukraine and the middle east needs to stop? All of the blow back from these failures seems aimed squarely at the EU.

      The irony here is that in America MSM articles are being published stating how Trump has said he would not back NATO:

      Trump told European leaders that US ‘will never come to help you’

      So let’s game that out – what do you suppose would have happen? How about Ukraine does a peace deal with Russia and avoids war. How about Germany has a Nordstream pipeline and functioning industrial base? Italy has trade deals with China, and EU ships sail through the Red Sea just like Russian and Chinese ships are doing now. So just by Trump saying NATO is a paper tiger, the whole EU doesn’t have to get wrecked just to find out America/NATO is indeed a paper tiger.

  9. SocalJimObjects

    Hopefully the Houthis have a trick or two up their sleeves that will allow them to sink a US/UK ship or two. Now that would be a major humiliation to both powers, and fully deserved!!!

    1. Martin Oline

      I don’t know about tricks in Yemen. They are resourceful, but some of their people have left since the civil war there started and looked for opportunities elsewhere. I suppose they make very few of the more than 1.6 million inadmissible aliens who have been paroled by DHS into the interior. Another 1.1 million have been provided notices to appear and released on their own recognizance, with the promise they will show up for their immigration court hearing. We are an asinine exceptional country.

    2. mrsyk

      Careful what you wish for. We are a nuclear power running out of options with a brain addled Al Capone wannabe at the helm.

    3. Dessa

      Do they need a trick? Lots and lots of cheap rockets would cause lopsided costs alone and those ships aren’t near resupply and could be attrited.

  10. timbers

    I guess I missed that Declaration of War regarding bombing Yemen from Congress. Oh well, just a detail. It’s not as if America follows its Constitution, after all. Anyways The Supremes are too busy collecting German WW2 art icons and getting around the legalities of accepting bribes to pay for their life styles, to be bothered by such details as to weather starting wars 24/7/365 is legal.

  11. Mikel

    “What I heard from so many of the leaders is trying to make sure this conflict doesn’t spread”

    So naturally you decided to bomb Yemen… https://t.co/6eTy5VqY05
    I harped about this well before the holidays, saying something along the lines of beware of news saying something isn’t happening or is trying to be prevented from happening, all the while it is already happening.

    Things like sending more battleships, weapons, etc from various countries to an area and talking about “not wanting a conflict to spread.”

    And “trying to prevent a genocide” by continuing to sell the weapons.

    It’s comfort propaganda. Lazy as hell to produce, but effective for masses that prefer to put their heads in the sand, sweet lies, and the shadows in the cave to the light.

  12. AquaFish

    If not the US, who is there to stop the poor Houthis from extorting from the rich Saudis?
    Maybe China. The question is why would the Saudis prefer China to the US.

    1. Raymond Sim

      I’ll try again: US actions will have the predictable consequence of closing the Red Sea to commerce. Is it plausible that’s the actual goal?

      Provoking and exploiting economic crises is, after all, what our leadership really know how to do.

  13. IMOR

    Another reason the Yemeni/Houthis are “well bunkered up” is that they were bombed by UAE and Saudi air forces under U.S./UK guidance with U.S. weapons for seven years ending a bit under two years ago. Under blockade, build tunnels and smuggling networks. Under bombardment… .
    In a not-so-hilaripus side note, Hedges and Benjamin were right about the Yemen blockade and bombing being a blank space in Western heads. Communicated my oppo to it to my then-Congressman, got back a citation of his support for a bill to end the blockade…of the Palestinians. Corrected a while later, but stil… .

  14. An Observer

    Saudi Arabia and other regional countries do not want any instability in the region, that much is clear. The SA statement is not quite aimed at legitimizing the US response but more as a coordinated action with them when Blinkie was visiting a couple of days ago. The idea is the hope that a limited strike using their airspace followed by a blanket statement which shows support to ceasing the actions of the Houthis, but without overt diplomatic support for the US coalition, would deter future Houthi attacks.

    One thing they don’t want is an escalation between any parties and they most definetly do not want to be sucked in another war in Yemen. They have too much to lose and nothing to gain from another repeat of the failed war of 2016-2022. However, they don’t have much pull with either party. They could try to press Iran to put pressure on the Houthis but I doubt Iran would have as much pull with the Houthis, even though everyone says they are “Iran Backed”. Iran could use more forceful measures – such as reducing or denying them weapons – however that would only erode their influence and be seen very unfavorably among their other allies in Lebanon & Iraq.

    What Saudi Arabia and the others in the region can and should do is to close their airspace to US and co military assets while playing a more active role in ending Israel’s war on the Gaza.

    This would prevent (or at least complicate US military operations), ACTUALLY reducing chances of escalation, show the Houthis that although they do not approve of their actions they are not their enemy, show a good will gesture that can be leveraged into some influence to cease or moderate their attacks, and gain international and muslim/arab political capital in being on the right side of history at the expense – and at a time – where the US clearly is not.

    Strategically this is the best move.

    1. Eclair

      “Saudi Arabia and other regional countries do not want any instability in the region …”

      No instability? Well, that train left the station in 1948. Or maybe it was 1917.

    2. Feral Finster

      “What Saudi Arabia and the others in the region can and should do is to close their airspace to US and co military assets while playing a more active role in ending Israel’s war on the Gaza.”

      The entire comment is intelligent, but if you think that the United States would not retaliate, hard….

  15. Boomheist

    Seems to me the critical question here concerns whether the Houthis have enough missiles and drones, located in enough hard to find places (or on mobile platforms able to scurry around the desert), to launch sufficient swarm attacks against commercial and military ships in the weeks ahead. So far it looks as if the naval ships gathered in those waters have been able to hit nearly every drone and missile – no sailor deaths yet, no ships sunk. Maybe, then, the empire is not toothless after all. Maybe, just maybe, a few big landside attacks will wipe out most of the Houthi weapons, at least as regards harming shipping. I am sure this is the firm belief of many, and perhaps they are right. We shall see. On the other hand, if swarm attacks continue, despite all the landside raids, and especially if ships are damaged or hit, then with every attack the toothless aspect grows, and grows. As it is, the Suez Canal, for the moment, is essentially closed, it seems, and will remain so unless and until the situation becomes more clear.

    1. Eclair

      Good observations, Boomheist. But the Houthis don’t have to sink a ship, kill sailors, or even cause damage, in order to create chaos and slow down or close shipping. How many ponderous oil tankers or bulky container ships are inching their way through the Red Sea today? The Houthis have us by the … ahem …. supply chain.

    2. John k

      But us/brit warships defend themselves from cheap drones etc with very expensive missiles. When ships run out of their defensive missiles they have to leave the area for resupply in port. Next problem is us mfg is limited with low resulting stocks from Ukraine, war plus supplying israel, similarly exhausting supply from Hamas and Hesbolla attacks. Imo we can’t continue this very long, at which point it will stop… and maybe sooner than later as it gets harder to resupply the more critical theater, israel.
      First nato exposed itself as a paper tiger. Next up is us. We used to tell ourselves Russia was weak with crappy weapons, a gas station with nukes. Looks like we were projecting, except about the gas station.
      Yellen said we can afford 2 wars at once. Sure, but you can’t print effective weapons or troops.

      1. Eclair

        “First nato exposed itself as a paper tiger. Next up is us.”

        I nominate the UN as ‘next up.’ It’s a great idea, but since October 7th it has revealed its inadequacies. Resolutions to call for a ceasefire in Gaza? Nice feel good, but whistling in the wind.

        As for the UN’s creation, the International Court of Justice, ruling on genocide or not in Gaza, good goddess, it’s like your local fire department, when you ring to tell them your house is ablaze, sends you an application to fill out, by certified mail, requesting you provide documentation as to ownership, current status of rent/mortgage payments, and suggesting you contact a lawyer, just in case. And all you want to do is yell, “Just put out the frelling fire!”

        The ICJ may be great on border disputes, but we’re watching children being shredded by 2,000 pound bombs, cities, towns, villages, farms, being pulverized, no food, no clean water or sanitation systems, no medicine, leading to thousands of additional deaths by famine and disease.

        We are slowly realizing the utter horror of our reality. The UN, along with the ICJ, no matter their benevolent intent, are toothless. There is no ‘justice’ in our world. The nations with the most money, the biggest bombs, the most powerful propaganda systems, prevail. So, you watch your house burn to the ground, you bury the children, you bear witness and commit their stories to memory. And, learn from the Houthis.

  16. Telee

    In September of 2019, a major Saudi oil facility was hit by missiles. Houthi claimed responsibility however, it was thought that Iran played a role. This can happen again.

  17. John D.

    Biiden (or the people surrounding him – or both) seem bound and determined to start World War III. Or am I naive in thinking it hasn’t already begun?

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