To deter Houthi strikes in Red Sea, US must turn from defense to offense

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) defeats a combination of Houthi missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles in the Red Sea, Oct. 19. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Aaron Lau) As Israel continues its counter-attack against Hamas in Gaza, Houthi rebels in Yemen have stepped up their aerial assaults on international shipping in the Red Sea. In this op-ed, former vice admirals Mark I. Fox and John W. Miller, who each served in top positions for American forces in the region, and Ari Cicurel of the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) argue that the US must do more to make the Houthi’s back off — including direct strikes. The United States has hardly begun to stick its finger in the dam against the wave of Iranian and Houthi maritime aggression in Middle Eastern waters. On Dec. 18, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced the creation of a new multinational task force , Operation Prosperity Guardian, to protect shipping through the Red Sea. The US must match the announcement of this important measure with substantive action. Deterring and degrading the ability of the Iranian regime and the Houthis to launch these attacks requires consistent and strong military strikes against the Houthi fighters in Yemen responsible for conducting them — something no one has yet been willing to do. Safeguarding the global freedom of navigation through international waterways, in particular key Middle Eastern maritime chokepoints , is a core US interest as a maritime nation and is vital to the health of the global economy. Approximately 10 percent of global trade transits the Red Sea, and 8.8 million barrels of oil per day travel through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait between Yemen and Djibouti in the Red Sea. Underscoring the importance of […]

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By Donato