Enough of this Houthi Nonsense

Congress should Demand that Biden Take Strong Action

2 mins read
IAI Harop Loitering Munition

The Houthis have attacked commercial vessels in the Red Sea and also attacked a US Warship, the USS Carney.  According to the Houthis, they fired missiles and launched kamikaze drones.

The Houthis, the rebel group holding substantial territory bordering the Red Sea near the straits of Bab al-Mandab, are fully supported by Iran that supplies them with all weapons. The missiles and drones aimed at commercial and military targets are, therefore, Iranian, and it is Iran that is using the Houthis as its proxy (and always has been).

What has the US done about these attacks?

The answer is, very little

It is true that ships like the Carney, which have sophisticated AEGIS air defenses and rapid fire Phalanx deck guns, have fired on and destroyed Houthi-launched missiles and drones. But doing that has not deterred Houthi-land or Iran.  In fact, now they are firing off more missiles and drones, some of them allegedly aimed at Israeli owned ships in the Red Sea.

The Red Sea is a very important international waterway.  Much of its traffic is fed by the Suez Canal, at the northern end of the Red Sea.  There is no legal justification of any kind to attack civilian ships in the Red Sea, nor is there any casus belli that allows any state or entity (the Houthis are an entity) to attack US military vessels who carry out Freedom of Navigation operations on the Red Sea, in the Mediterranean, and in the Persian Gulf.

Nor do the Houthis have any writ to attack Israel, a country that has never been engaged in any action impacting them. Justifying these attacks as some sort of defense of radical Islam or the Palestinians simply doesn’t cut it.

By not acting in any way to make these attacks costly to the Houthis, or Iran, the US is inviting trouble.

The US has different options.

Option 1 is to leave things the way they are and just counterpunch against the Houthi launched weapons.  This is the Biden administration policy, and it is a bad one.

Option 2 is not to carry out freedom of navigation operations, which would have the effect of endangering commercial vessels transiting the Red Sea.  Because Houthi attacks directly impact Israeli interests, at some point Israel will attack the Houthis using their F-35s or their killer drones like the IAI Harop, a stealthy loitering munition.  Or Israel could launch any number of cruise missiles in its arsenal, as they have, from time to time, done in Syria to destroy Iranian and Hezbollah forces threatening them.

Option 3 is to punish the Houthis.  One B-1 bomber run could wipe out Houthi launch sites.  A few drones armed with Hellfire missiles could knock off some of the Houthi terrorist leaders, sending them a strong message warning them about future behavior.

Biden is coddling Iran and is not behaving in the national interest, letting them get away with murder in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and now on the high seas.   Our troops in Iraq and Syria have been plastered by rockets and drones fired by Iranian proxies equipped with arms supplied by Iran.

Biden has also coddled the Houthis, removed them from the terrorist list, and demanded that Saudi Arabia and the UAE “tolerate” their attacks but not respond. Instead Biden and his minions have encouraged peace talks, which (naturally enough) have gone nowhere. None of this has deterred Biden and his State Department from pursuing an absurd policy in the region where our enemies increasingly think we are both weak and feckless.

Enough is enough. 

One of those Houthi drones or missiles could kill a lot of US navy seamen or blow up oil tankers causing the loss of life and creating an environmental disaster.  There is no guarantee that one or more of them will get through. We are playing with fire hoping one of our ships won’t be hit.

Biden is risking all this to keep the Mullah’s content (along with shoveling billions of dollars to them for no purpose other than to encourage more reckless behavior).

The time has passed for bad policies to be perpetuated to no good end.  Congress should demand retaliation and Biden should be forced to order it done.  There isn’t any doubt our Navy, Air Force and Marines would happily do the job.  

Stephen Bryen

Stephen Bryen is a former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense and is a leading expert in security strategy and technology. Bryen writes for Asia Times, American Thinker, Epoch Times, Newsweek, Washington Times, the Jewish Policy Center and others.

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