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U.S., U.K. Missile Strikes on Yemen Raise the Stakes

President Biden. Credit: The White House

Yesterday, the U.S. and U.K. followed through on threats to take military action against the Houthi of Yemen if they didn’t stop their attacks on shipping in the Red Sea. “These strikes are in direct response to unprecedented Houthi attacks against international maritime vessels in the Red Sea—including the use of anti-ship ballistic missiles for the first time in history,” President Biden said in a statement issued last night. “These attacks have endangered U.S. personnel, civilian mariners, and our partners, jeopardized trade, and threatened freedom of navigation.” Australia, Bahrain, Canada, and the Netherlands provided support to the operation, Biden said.

Yemen’s armed forces stated that the U.S. and Britain strikes targeted the capital Sana’a, and the governorates of Al-Hodeidah, Ta’izz, Hajjah, and Sa’dah, killing five and wounding six, all reported to be members of the armed forces. “The Yemeni Armed Forces will not hesitate to target sources of threat and all hostile targets on land and sea in defense of Yemen, its sovereignty, and its independence,” it said. “This brutal aggression will not deter Yemen from its position of supporting and standing with the oppression of the Palestinian people. The Yemeni Armed Forces confirm their continued prevention of ‘israeli’ ships or those heading to the ports of occupied Palestine from navigation in the Arabian and Red Seas.”

Biden added that the strikes had followed an extensive diplomatic campaign of warnings that culminated with the UNSC resolution passed on Jan. 10. “These targeted strikes are a clear message that the United States and our partners will not tolerate attacks on our personnel or allow hostile actors to imperil freedom of navigation in one of the world’s most critical commercial routes,” he said. “I will not hesitate to direct further measures to protect our people and the free flow of international commerce as necessary.”

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