Red Sea: US and British forces launch third round of attacks against the Houthis

What is the extent of the arsenal available to the Houthi rebels (aligned with Iran) to attack ships passing through the Bab al-Mandeb Strait from Yemen? On two occasions, his military base was targeted by intense bombardment by American and British forces. However, this has not discouraged them from continuing to attack maritime traffic in the Red Sea as well as recently in the Gulf of Aden.

“The Houthis have enough weapons to pose a serious threat and create an atmosphere of fear,” said Vice-Admiral Emmanuel Slars, commander of the Indian Ocean Maritime Zone. (ALINDIEN) and French forces stationed in the United Arab Emirates (FFEAU) on January 11, shortly before the first series of American and British strikes in Yemen. The sequel couldn’t prove him wrong.

In recent days, several commercial ships have been targeted by the Houthis. One of them, the tanker Marlin Luanda, which flies the flag of the Marshall Islands and is linked to British interests, had to fight for several hours to put out a fire caused by an anti-ship ballistic missile.

Besides, military buildings have also been targeted. On January 30, the American “destroyer” USS Gravely had to use its Phalanx close-in weapon system (CIWS), i.e. one of the last defensive devices, to shoot down the anti-missile ship Cruise.

Also, for the third time in less than a month, American and British forces again targeted Houthi-held positions on the night of February 3-4. In total, 36 targets spread over 13 different locations were bombed.

On the American side, the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower’s F/A-18 Super Hornets were involved in the operation, as were the “destroyers” USS Carney and USS Gravely, which fired an “undetermined” number of Tomahawk missiles. Cruise, as on two previous occasions, joined the strike from Akrotiri base in Cyprus, supported by Royal Air Force (RAF) Eurofighter Typhoons, “Voyager” tanker aircraft (the British name for the A330 MRTT).

“As part of ongoing international efforts to respond to the growing instability and illegal activities of the Iranian-backed Houthis in the region, at approximately 11:30 a.m. (Sana time) on February 3, US and UK forces, supported by Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands and New Zealand, Strikes against 36 targets in 13 locations located in areas controlled by Iran-backed Houthi militants », announced US CENTCOM, American Military Command for the Middle East and Central Asia.

He added: “The aim of this strike is to cripple the capabilities of the Houthis used for their reckless and illegal attacks against American and British ships, as well as against international commercial shipping in the Red Sea, Bab al-Mandeb Strait and the Gulf of Aden. ”

“Deeply buried” weapons depots, missile launchers, radars, anti-aircraft defense batteries and command and control systems were targeted… as were – and this is a new development – “helicopters”.

Note that the operation was carried out twenty-four hours after American strikes against Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and armed groups linked to Tehran in Iraq and Syria. And this one attack cost the lives of three American soldiers in Jordan.

Regardless, Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin said this third series of strikes in Yemen “sends a clear message” to the Houthis. and to warn that they would be exposed to new such actions in the Red Sea and in the Gulf of Aden “if they do not end their illegal attacks”.

Apparently, this did not bother the Houthis: barely four years after this strike, American forces had to destroy an anti-ship cruise missile that they were preparing to fire at an unspecified target.

It remains to be seen how the situation in the region will develop… The American and British attacks are “repeated violations of Yemen’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and are a clear violation of international law”, the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded, for which London and Washington “their illegal uses a military approach to advance objectives”. And considering that their actions “are in clear contradiction with their repeated statements that they do not want conflict to spread in the region”.

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