The U.S. Must Confront the Houthis Once and for All. By Gregg Roman, Director Middle East Forum

Image

Since Hamas's murderous invasion of Israel on Oct. 7, the Houthis have increased their already considerable aggression, firing hundreds of drones and rockets at Saudi Arabia and attempting attacks on Saudi oil tankers.

Now, the Houthis are targeting Israel. They fired a ballistic missile at Eilat, which was intercepted by Israel's Arrow defense system, and launched drones and cruise missiles at Israel, which were intercepted by Israeli jets and the Saudi military.

The Houthis hijacked a ship last month and are holding its crew of 25 hostage as of this writing. There is no sign that Houthi aggression will slow down.

The USS Carney, an American destroyer that is deployed in the Red Sea, has intercepted cruise missiles and drones launched by the Houthis on multiple occasions. The USS Thomas Hudner similarly downed a drone that had originated in Yemen.

The Houthis hijacked a ship last month and are holding its crew of 25 hostage as of this writing.

There is no sign that Houthi aggression will slow down.

A Houthi spokesman issued a warning on Dec. 9 that any vessels transiting the Red Sea to or from Israel would be attacked.

They have lived up to their word.

The Houthis fired a cruise missile at a Norwegian-flagged commercial vessel, the MT Strinda. A French naval vessel shot down a drone that had previously targeted the Strinda.

The next day, U.S. Navy destroyer, the USS Mason, shot down a drone launched from Houthi-controlled Yemen.

All of this was within days of the Houthis' belligerent announcement.

The Iranian-backed Houthis captured Yemen's capital Sana'a in 2014, precipitating Yemen's spiral into a vicious civil war that forced outside countries, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to intervene.

The Houthis are anti-American, anti-Israel, and antisemitic. Their slogan says it all: "Death to America, death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory to Islam."

The Houthis are anti-American, anti-Israel, and antisemitic. Their slogan says it all: "Death to America, death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory to Islam."

If "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" ring a bell, they should. These are common refrains voiced by the radical regime in Iran, whose raison d'etre is its uncompromising hatred of the United States and Israel.

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force (IRGC-QF), tasked with advancing Iran's "revolutionary" ethos abroad, "has provided the Houthis with training and a growing arsenal of sophisticated weapons and technology for anti-tank guided missiles, sea mines, explosive-laden UAVs, ballistic and cruise missiles, unmanned maritime vehicles (UMVs), and other weapons and systems," according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The IRGC is also passing along intelligence to the Houthis about which vessels to target.

This is an unacceptable situation. Such a rabidly anti-Western and antisemitic body cannot be allowed to fire off projectiles at will and to hold hostage the Bab el-Mandeb, which connects the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean. Some 10 percent of global trade passes through the strait annually.

The Danish shipping company Maersk announced that it was suspending transit through the Bab el-Mandeb, as did the German company Hapag-Lloyd.

The United States and its allies must confront the Houthi challenge to international peace and commerce.

The U.S. must enhance its support to the Saudi-led coalition that has been fighting the Houthis since 2015. This would include encouraging the Saudis and the Emiratis to end the ceasefire that is currently in place in Yemen. The U.S. should provide advanced weaponry and surveillance and share intelligence with regional partners.

In addition, the U.S., allies and regional partners should patrol waterways threatened by the Houthis, conduct joint maritime security operations with countries affected by the Houthis, and provide military escorts for commercial vessels.

Commercial vessels themselves should be equipped with appropriate defensive technology, such as anti-missile systems. The companies that own them should be educated in best practices to avoid or respond to threats.

Houthi maritime assets and infrastructure, such as ports, shipyards and supply depots, should be targeted while being careful to minimize civilian casualties.

The United States and its allies must confront the Houthi challenge to international peace and commerce.

The U.S. and allies should implement targeted operations to dismantle the Houthis' missile and drone infrastructure. Electronic warfare and cyber capabilities should be leveraged to disrupt the Houthis' command, control, communications and intelligence.

The U.S. should actively interdict vessels suspected of carrying arms to the Houthis and work with international organizations that such actions comply with international law. Legal cases against Houthi leaders and operative should be drawn up.

Addressing the source of the threat is essential. The U.S. should work to counter the proliferation of deadly weapons and technologies and disrupt the logistical and support networks that underwrite Houthi violence. It should also implement and enforce sanctions against entities involved with arming the Houthis.

Diplomatic and political efforts should be pursued to curb the war in Yemen, including conversations with Iran.

Aid to stabilize Yemen's economy and infrastructure as well as humanitarian assistance would mitigate the conditions that fuel the Houthis' appeal and help to establish a pro-American government in Sana'a.

These are concrete steps that must be taken to face down and weaken the Houthis. The time to act is now.

 

Gregg Roman is director of the Middle East Forum.

You May Also Like

Image

Iran Revolutionary Guards Holding Syria as a Hostage. By Manish Rai

Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a senior commander in the elite Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and his deputy

Image

USA & others should know the desire / efforts of Iran to become leader of entire Muslim world are not as impractical as believed / projected to be. By Hem Raj Jain

Iran will have to remember that - the Iranian revolution of 1979 was not merely a Shia revolution but Islamic revolution (ii)- Being worshipers of

"Trial of Pakistani Christian Nation" By Nazir S Bhatti

On demand of our readers, I have decided to release E-Book version of "Trial of Pakistani Christian Nation" on website of PCP which can also be viewed on website of Pakistan Christian Congress www.pakistanchristiancongress.org . You can read chapter wise by clicking tab on left handside of PDF format of E-Book.

nazirbhattipcc@aol.com , pakistanchristianpost@yahoo.com