US and UK launch airstrikes against Houthis in Yemen

US and UK launched airstrikes against Houthi installations in Yemen, backed by Iran in response to attacks on Cargo ships in the Red Sea.

US and UK launch airstrikes against Houthis in Yemen. Picture Credits: Google Images
US and UK launch airstrikes against Houthis in Yemen. Picture Credits: Google Images

The United States and the United Kingdom launched airstrikes in Yemen on Friday, targeting what are being described as Houthi strongholds, in response to Houthi attacks on US cargo ships passing through the Red Sea.

This decision has been backed by multiple US and UK allies, who are now in favour of a concerted effort to limit the military capabilities of the Houthi rebel group.
Having said that, the Houthis have been targeted by the Saudi Airforce for years and have grown accustomed to such attacks, which is why they have stated that they will not be deterred by the use of force.


Targeting Strategy

Representatives of the United States have made it clear that their targeting strategy against Iranian-backed Houthi installation is quite deliberate and that they have struck 60 targets at 16 locations as of now.

According to the Pentagon, the United States are targeting radar systems, drone storage and launch sites, missile storage and launch facilities and Houthi command and control nodes, which are vital to the rebel group’s operations.

The Houthis exercise control over Yemen’s capital Sanaa, the Red Sea ports of Hodeidah and Dhamar, as well as Sadaa, the group’s northwestern base of operations.

The British on the other hand targeted Bani in the north-west and the Abbs airfield which is said to have been used by the Houthis to launch missile and drone strikes. The British targets were supposedly attacked by using drone technology, as stated by the UK Ministry of Defense.

In totality, the United States and the United Kingdom have targeted 72 locations that were deemed to be a priority in an attempt to damage Houthi operations in the region.

According to a casualty report issued by the Houthis, they have lost five rebels in these attacks and a further six have sustained injuries.

According to the Pentagon, the strikes were carried out with precision weapons and have struck military installations only, ruling out the possibility of collateral damage. Hence, the assumption is that no civilians have lost their lives due to the attacks.

What caused tension to arise in Yemen

Following Houthi attacks on cargo ships in the Red Sea, the United States, in conjunction with the United Kingdom made the decision to safe guard their commercial interests by retaliating against them.

US President Joe Biden has also stated with great conviction that he will pursue more attacks on Houthi installations if the situation is not resolved.

There have been concerns regarding a wider conflict opening up in the region which is already grappling with an open conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

According to President Biden, the United States and its allies are not approaching these military actions with the aim of initiating a conflict but for the protection of the interests of multiple nations that see their cargo vessels passing through the Red Sea.

Thus, the United States and the United Kingdom are hoping to limit the scope of any further military action against the Houthis in the region.

The United States has been undertaking similar airstrikes that make use of long-range cruise missiles against Iran backed groups in Syria and Iraq as well.

One must consider the immense cost incurred by the United States, which is using expensive military equipment against the cheaper and easily sourced technology that these groups employ.

It has also been recognized that this tact will act as a deterrent at best but is not likely to resolve the issue in a definitive manner. Having said that, these attacks could provoke a larger conflict owing to the galvanizing effect they can have on Iran back terror groups and extremist groups in the region.

It is understood though that something has to be done in response to Houthi attacks in the Red Sea. Considering the situation, it has been accepted by most parties involved that airstrikes launched from a safe distance are the best form of recourse.