US and UK Airstrikes Hit Houthis in Yemen (Shipping Lane Attacks)

US and UK Airstrikes Hit Houthis in Yemen (Shipping Lane Attacks)

Kanako Mita, Sawako Utsumi, and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Houthis in Yemen continue to attack commercial ships in the Gulf of Eden by targeting vessels in international shipping lanes. This resulted in a response led by the United States (U.S.) and the United Kingdom. Henceforth, airstrikes hit several Houthi positions in Yemen.

The U.S. Air Force’s Mideast retaliated to constant Houthi threats. A statement said over 60 Houthi targets were struck at 16 sites. This includes “command-and-control nodes, munitions depots, launching systems, production facilities and air defense radar systems.”

President Joe Biden of America said, “These strikes are in direct response to unprecedented Houthi attacks against international maritime vessels in the Red Sea — including the use of anti-ship ballistic missiles for the first time in history.”

Biden continued, “I will not hesitate to direct further measures to protect our people and the free flow of international commerce as necessary.”

United States Central Command said, “On Jan. 11 at approximately 2 a.m. “Sanaa time”, the Iranian-backed Houthis fired an anti-ship ballistic missile from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen into international shipping lanes in the Gulf of Aden. One commercial vessel reported visually observing the missile impact the water; however, there were no injuries or damage reported. This is the 27th Houthi attack on international shipping since Nov 19.”

AP News reports, “The strikes marked the first U.S. military response to what has been a persistent campaign of drone and missile attacks on commercial ships since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of the United Kingdom said, “limited, necessary and proportionate action in self-defense, alongside the United States with non-operational support from the Netherlands, Canada and Bahrain against targets tied to these attacks, to degrade Houthi military capabilities and protect global shipping.” 

Initially, the Houthis claimed that ships related to Israel were targeted to put pressure on Israel to stop its war with Hamas in Gaza. However, Houthi targets often have nothing (or very little) to do with Israel.

Irrespective, preventing international shipping lanes from working and constant military attacks by the Houthis were bound to draw a response.

Approximately 13% of international trade transits through the region (Red Sea, Suez Canal, and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait) concerning natural gas, oil, grain, and countless goods.

Major General Pat Ryder (Pentagon Press Secretary) said, “The Houthis are funded, trained, equipped by Iran to a large degree. And, so, we know that Iran has a role to play in terms of helping to cease this reckless, dangerous and illegal activity.”

The Saudi Arabia-led alliance bombed the Houthis for many years. Accordingly, given the linkage by the Houthi to the conflict between Israel and Hamas, it is doubtful that attacks will stop in the short term.

Over 150,000 military fighters and civilians in Yemen have died in recent years since the conflict broke out. Rival forces are backed by the Saudi Arabia-led alliance and Iran.

De-escalation is needed despite all sides being far apart.

Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group Modern Tokyo Times – International News and Japan News – Sawako Utsumi’s website and Modern Tokyo Times artist Modern Tokyo News – Tokyo News and International News