By Joseph Lord
The United States and its allies on Feb. 3 launched a new series of attacks on Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The strikes, the latest in a series of joint strikes carried out in the region, come at a time of escalating tensions in the Middle East. Tensions have been especially high since Oct. 7, when an attack carried out by Hamas against Israel reignited the anti-Israel sentiments common across the region.
The Feb. 3 strikes come in response to continued aggression by Houthi rebels against shipping in the commercially busy Red Sea.
These strikes follow in the wake of retaliatory strikes carried out in Iraq and Syria the day before.
The Pentagon announced the joint strikes in Yemen in a press release.
“Today, at the direction of their respective governments, the militaries of the United States and UK, with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, and New Zealand, conducted an additional round of proportionate and necessary strikes against 36 Houthi targets across 13 locations in Yemen,” the Pentagon said.
These strikes, the Pentagon said, will help “disrupt and degrade the capabilities that the Houthis use to threaten global trade and the lives of innocent mariners.”
The airstrikes particularly targeted underground weapons storage facilities, missile systems and launchers, air defense systems, and radars.
Since November, the Houthis have attacked international shipping in the Red Sea on more than 30 occasions.
Earlier strikes against strategic Houthi locations were carried out on Jan. 11 and Jan. 22 but failed to discourage further attacks.
“Our aim remains to de-escalate tensions and restore stability in the Red Sea, but let us reiterate our warning to Houthi leadership: we will not hesitate to continue to defend lives and the free flow of commerce in one of the world’s most critical waterways in the face of continued threats,” the Pentagon said.
The latest attacks on Houthi positions come as the Middle East remains a powder keg.
On Jan. 27, a drone attack by Iran-backed rebels killed three American soldiers at a base in Jordan. Dozens of others were wounded.
Following the attack, some hawkish members of Congress demanded swift and harsh retaliation against Iran itself, with one lawmaker writing on X, “Target Tehran.” Others in Congress called these demands “insane.”
Ultimately, President Joe Biden chose to carry out attacks on targets linked to Iran in Iraq and Syria.
Likewise, the Houthis also have the backing of Iran, fitting these strikes into a milieu of rising tension with the Persian state.