Houthis Targeted: US, UK Launch Strikes, Officials Report

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On January 12, 2024, the United States and Britain carried out a massive retaliatory strike against the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen, targeting more than a dozen sites used by the militia. The strikes were conducted using warship- and submarine-launched Tomahawk missiles and fighter jets. The US and UK militaries launched the strikes in response to the ongoing Houthi attacks on international shipping and the threat they pose to one of the world’s most critical waterways.

Key Developments

  • The US and UK militaries targeted multiple Houthi targets in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, marking the first known strike against the Houthis in Yemen.
  • The strikes were carried out from fighter jets and Tomahawk missiles, hitting more than a dozen Houthi targets.
  • The US had sought to avoid direct strikes on Yemen due to the risk of escalation in the region, but the ongoing Houthi attacks on international shipping compelled the coalition to act.
  • The United Nations Security Council passed a US- and Japan-led resolution condemning the Houthi attacks and demanding that the Houthis immediately cease all such attacks.
  • Declassified US intelligence shows that Iran has been deeply involved in coordinating the Houthi militia, providing information about shipping vessels passing through the waterway.

Impact on the Region

The strikes have raised concerns about the potential for escalation in the region. A high-ranking Houthi official, Ali al-Qahoum, vowed that there would be retaliation, stating that “the battle will be bigger and beyond the imagination and expectation of the Americans and the British”. The ongoing Houthi attacks on international shipping and the threat they pose to one of the world’s most critical waterways have compelled the US and its allies to take action.

International Reactions

  • Russia requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on the strikes.
  • France, the current council president, said the meeting would take place on Friday afternoon.
  • Eleven countries voted in favor of the US- and Japan-led resolution, while four abstained, including China and Russia.
  • Western diplomats have expressed concerns about the potential for escalation in the region.

These strikes mark a significant escalation in the US and UK’s response to the Houthi threat and demonstrate their commitment to protecting international commerce and maintaining stability in the region.

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