A Slippery Slope? U.S., U.K. Launch Strikes on Iran-Backed Houthis in Yemen

Strikes could lead to wider conflict in the region, imperil fragile Saudi-Houthi cease-fire. Publication Type: Analysis and Commentary On January 12, the United States and the United Kingdom, supported by Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands, launched military strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen in response to the group’s attacks on civilian and military ships in the Red Sea . The U.S.-led strikes are a significant escalation and part of the growing regional impact of the Israel-Hamas war, which the United States has been actively trying to prevent from turning into a regional war. Houthi rebel forces in Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, on Feb. 6, 2015. Iran has armed the rebels with missiles and drones, endangering Washington’s partners and Tehran’s rivals, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. (Tyler Hicks/The New York Times) The Houthis’ attacks on ships, which began soon after the start of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza and which the group claims are in support of Palestinians, have disrupted global shipping and supply chains. International reaction to the U.S.-led strikes has ranged from criticism from countries like Iran and NATO ally Turkey to calls for restraint from Saudi Arabia to support from other NATO allies like France and Germany. USIP’s Sarhang Hamasaeed discusses the significance of the latest developments and their broader implications. What is the goal of the strikes on the Houthis? And what impact would these strikes have on the fragile cease-fire between the Houthis and Saudi Arabia? The strikes against the Houthis are in response to their attacks, especially the barrage of drones and missiles on January 9, on ships in the Red Sea. They are intended to send a message to the Houthis that their military provocations will not go unanswered. President Joe Biden, who ordered the attacks, said he would […]

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