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UK, US air strikes on Yemen are not deterring Houthi attacks on Red Sea vessels, report finds

June 18, 2024 at 5:28 pm

A screen grab captured from a video shows that cargo ship “Galaxy Leader”, co-owned by an Israeli company, being hijacked by Iran-backed Houthis from Yemen in the Red Sea on November 20, 2023. [Houthis Media Center – Anadolu Agency]

The US and UK have been unable to deter the Houthis from attacking ships in the Red Sea in support of Palestinians being targeted by Israel in Gaza.

Responsible Statecraft reported yesterday that although Britain and America recently launched six air strikes on Hudaydah Airport and the Salif seaport, they were unsuccessful in deterring the Yemeni Armed Forces, which have continued to fire missiles and drones at israel-linked ships.

“Clearly, there has been some damage [to Houthi targets], but not at a significant level; the Houthis have suffered some losses, but they retain the ability to obstruct maritime shipping in the Red Sea,” said Thomas Juneau, an assistant professor at Canada’s University of Ottawa.

READ: US-UK launch air strikes in Yemen, says local TV

“And perhaps more importantly, beyond the material damage they have suffered, their intent to continue obstructing shipping in the Red Sea has not wavered,” he added.

Neil Quilliam, an associate fellow in the Middle East and North Africa programme at the London-based think tank Chatham House, agreed, adding: “The Houthis have remained undeterred, and the U.S.-U.K. strikes have had limited impact as evidenced by continued attacks despite repeated U.S.-U.K. attempts to disrupt the group’s campaign.”

He warned the “continuation of the military campaign is unlikely to deter the Houthis.”

According to the American news site Axios, the interests of more than 65 countries have been damaged by the threat posed by Houthis, with shipping through the Red Sea falling 90 per cent since mid-February. Vessels are now having to take the lengthy route around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.

READ: UKMTO says it received report of incident north-west of Yemen Hudaydah