U.S. Navy in the Red Sea

The amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland (LPD 27), right, and the Egyptian navy frigate Alexandria (F911) transit the Red Sea in formation during a passing exercise, October 28, 2021.

(Photo: Sgt. Alexis Flores/U.S. Marine Corps)

Fears of Wider War as US, UK Bomb Yemen

One prominent critic warned that renewed U.S. strikes on Yemen mean that not only will the Houthi attacks "not be stopped, but the broader war that Biden seeks to prevent will likely become a reality."

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The United States and United Kingdom on Thursday launched air and missile strikes on Yemen as part of the international effort to end Houthi rebels' attacks on Red Sea shipping, with the armed group warning earlier that such aggression "will not go without response."

Thursday's U.S.-led attacks on Yemen fueled fears of a wider Middle East war amid Israel's ongoing genocide in Gaza and escalating retaliation by Lebanon-based Hezbollah. Houthi forces—who have been waging a decadelong civil war against Yemen's government and a Saudi-led coalition—began launching missiles and drones toward Israel and attacking shipping traffic in the Red Sea in response to Israel's Gaza onslaught. Earlier this week, the Houthis launched a sophistical barrage of 21 missiles and drones at U.S. and U.K. warships taking part in a multinational "security" initiative in the crucial waterway.

Critics warned that attacking Yemen risks setting off a powder keg in the Middle East and possibly beyond.

"If the objective is to stop Houthi attacks without escalating matters toward a full war, then bombing them has proven quite inefficient in the past. Just ask the Saudis," Trita Parsi, executive vice president at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, said on social media Thursday.

"Moreover, bombing them very likely will escalate matters, which means that not only will the attacks not be stopped, but the broader war that [U.S. President Joe] Biden seeks to prevent will likely become a reality," he continued.

"Indeed, if the objective is to stop them, a cease-fire in Gaza is far more likely to succeed," Parsi added. "The Houthis have declared that they will stop if Israel stops, and during the six days there was a ceasefire (in November), there was only one attack in the Red Sea that can be attributed to the Houthis."

U.S. forces have launched drone and other airstrikes against Yemen since the George W. Bush administration. There have also been occasional U.S. ground raids in the Middle Eastern country, including one in January 2017 that killed Nawar al-Awlaki, an 8-year-old American girl. Her American father and brother were killed in separate U.S. drone strikes during the administration of former President Barack Obama.

Responding to the attack, U.S Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said on social media that Biden "needs to come to Congress before launching a strike against the Houthis in Yemen and involving us in another middle east conflict. That is Article I of the Constitution. I will stand up for that regardless of whether a Democrat or Republican is in the White House."

Antiwar.com news editor Dave DeCamp lamented that "Biden has now bombed Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, all to ensure Israel can continue slaughtering Palestinian women and children."

Meanwhile, CNN anchor Erin Burnett seemed to welcome the development, declaring "finally" when announcing the attacks on air.

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