In the courtyard of Yemen’s famous Al Shaeb Mosque, guards of honor stood at attention accompanied by the melody of military music as the funeral ceremony of Yemeni marines killed in the latest round of U.S. and UK strikes commenced. The mourners, many of whom traveled from the countryside to attend, walked alongside a long convoy carrying the bodies of 17 victims as it made its way through the streets of Sana’a. Mourners held aloft photos of the deceased or thrust their rifles into the air while chanting slogans condemning the United States. Several banners peppered the crowd, emblazoned with the label given to those who gave their lives in what many view as a struggle in defense of Palestine: “Martyrs on the road to al-Quds (Jerusalem).”
When confronted with international appeals for humanitarian aid due to the ongoing crises in Gaza and Yemen, the United States and the United Kingdom have chosen instead to turn Yemen’s Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden into a combat zone, initiating an ariel bombing campaign against the war-torn country already suffering immensely from nine years of deadly conflict spearheaded by Saudi Arabia and backed by the U.S. For weeks, U.S. and British naval vessels have been perched on the outskirts of Yemen’s territorial waters in the Red Sea, not only to protect ships carrying goods to Israel but to launch a series of airstrikes against Yemen, the poorest country in the world.
A new opinion poll conducted in 16 Arab countries shows that Washington's continued support for Israel's campaign of genocide in the Gaza Strip has dramatically hurt its image across West Asia and North Africa, as 94 percent of respondents describe the US position as "bad." At the same time, more than half say the US poses the biggest threat to regional security. Other western states fared almost as poorly, with more than three-quarters of those polled saying the position of the UK, France, and Germany in relation to Gaza is "bad” or “very bad.” In contrast, Iran received a surge in recognition, with 48 percent of respondents expressing a positive view of the Iranian position, while 37 percent held a negative view.
Of all the amateurish moments to arise as the Biden regime conducts its foreign policy, the White House’s official statement as B1–B bombers let loose over Iraq and Syria last Friday may be the taker of the cake. As the ordnance fell on 85 targets in seven locations, many of them outposts of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, our addled president felt compelled to insist, “The United States does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world.” How many times have we heard this since these latest operations in Iraq, Syria and Yemen began? Antony Blinken, the secretary of state, has said the same thing in the same words. Lloyd Austin, the defense secretary, has, too.
Following Israel’s war and siege against Gaza, which began in earnest on October 7 of last year and has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Palestinians, the Yemeni Army led by Ansar Allah declared a military operation against Israel. Its aim: to compel Tel Aviv to cease its destructive war on Gaza. No stranger to famine, genocide, and the displacement of civilians thanks to a decade-long war waged against its people led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and backed by the United States, Ansar Allah has led arguably the most consequential resistance to Israel’s bloody campaign in the Gaza Strip, taking the bold and unprecedented step of targeting Israeli-owned, flagged, or operated ships in the Red Sea and Arabian Sea.
The attack on Yemen by US, Britain and other forces is a dangerous escalation of the war in the Middle East. The attack is intended to halt the Houthi support for the people of Gaza that has taken the form of attacks on Israel-bound shipping. But as the Houthis have made clear, the attacks will not end their support for the Palestinians. The only way to stop this unfolding and escalating conflict in the Middle East, is to stop the war on Gaza: to implement an immediate and permanent ceasefire and to ensure freedom and sovereignty for Palestine, as enshrined in UN resolutions and international law.
Yemen’s Armed Forces announced an attack on a US warship on 31 January in response to the several violent airstrikes launched against the country this month by Washington and the UK. “The naval force of the Yemeni Armed Forces … fired several naval missiles at the American destroyer USS Gravely in the Red Sea [ as a] response to the US-British aggression against our country,” Yemeni army spokesman Yahya al-Saree said in a statement on Wednesday morning. “All US and British warships in the Red and Arab seas participating in the aggression against our country are within the target range of our forces and will be targeted within the right of legitimate defense of our country … and in confirmation of the continued Yemeni position in support of Palestine,” Saree added.
The United States and the United Kingdom recently carried out their eighth round of strikes against targets in Yemen that they claim are being used by Yemen’s Ansar Allah – known in the West as the Houthis – to threaten maritime navigation in the Red Sea. Since Israel began its deadly incursion into Gaza on October 7 of last year, Ansar Allah has carried out a de facto campaign of targeted sanctions against Israeli economic interests, attacking ships traveling through the Red Sea that it says are tied to Israel. The operation stands out in the region, as neighboring Arab countries have largely stayed out of the fray, if not directly supported Israel’s bloody campaign.
Deterrence in defense is a military strategy where one power uses the threat of reprisal to preclude attack from an adversary, while maintaining at the same time the freedom of action and flexibility to respond to the full spectrum of challenges. In this realm, the Lebanese resistance, Hezbollah, is an outstanding example. Hezbollah’s clarity of purpose in establishing and strictly maintaining ground rules that deter Israeli military aggression has set a high regional bar. Today, its West Asian allies have adopted similar strategies, which have multiplied in the context of the war in Gaza.
Two press reports stood out to me this week: the release of the names of two US Navy SEALs who drowned two weeks ago in the Arabian Sea and the Air Force’s production authorization for the B21 Raider bomber. Both stories symbolize an imperial inertia that defines American national security policies, an inertia that is damaging our democracy and jeopardizing futures. The SEALs died taking part in a blockade mission against Yemen, a mission that dates back nearly a decade and is part of a two-decade-long history of US military action against Yemen (the US first launched a drone strike in Yemen in 2002).
Yemen’s Ansarallah resistance forces have made it very clear, right from the start, that they set up a blockade in the Bab el-Mandeb and the southern Red Sea only against Israeli-owned or destined shipping vessels. Their single objective was and remains to stop the Gaza genocide perpetrated by the Israeli biblical psychopathy. As a response to a morally-based call to end a human genocide, the United States, masters of the Global War Of Terror (italics mine), predictably re-designated Yemen’s Houthis as a “terrorist organization,” launched a serial bombardment of underground Ansarallah military installations (assuming US intel know where they are), and cobbled together a mini-coalition of the willing that includes its UK, Canadian, Australian, Dutch, and Bahraini vassals.
In response to Israel’s assault on the people of Gaza in early October, Yemen’s Houthi movement, Ansar Allah, began mounting attacks on commercial ships in and around the Red Sea. The Houthis said the attacks were aimed at Israeli-connected or Israel-bound ships and they would continue until there is a ceasefire in Gaza. Meanwhile, the pressure on this vital trade route is impacting the global economy as ships are being redirected to more expensive routes. On January 11, South Africa presented its case documenting Israel’s genocide in Gaza to the International Court of Justice. The following day, the U.S. and U.K. attacked 28 sites in Yemen.
Member of the Yemeni Ansarallah resistance movement’s Supreme Political Council, Mohammad Ali al-Houthi, said on 21 January that dozens of commercial vessels not linked to Israel or bound for Israeli ports have been allowed to pass safely through the Red Sea.“You can visit the Tanker Trackers website, which specializes in tracking ships, to know that the simplest solution for ships to pass safely while crossing the Red Sea is to announce the phrase ‘We have no relation to Israel’ on their automated identification system,” Houthi said. “This solution has proved its effectiveness, as 64 ships safely passed through the sea by saying this phrase,” he added.
Yemen's Parliament issued a statement emphasizing that the US, the UK, and Israel should be placed at the "top of the global terrorism list" in response to Washington listing Ansarallah on its own designated terror list last week. Al-Maseerah TV reported on 21 January that “Members of the Parliament, in their discussions, pointed out the irony of the US designating its adversaries as terrorists while being the head of evil and terrorism worldwide. They emphasized placing the Israeli occupation entity and the US and British regimes at the top of the global terrorism list, asserting that they will reap the fruits of their evils and the crimes of Genocide committed against the Palestinian people.”
On Friday, the US used airstrikes to destroy three missiles and launchers belonging to Ansar Allah in Yemen, in the sixth round of strikes in 10 days. Also on Friday, the US and the UK conducted two airstrikes on the Al-Jabana area in the city of Hodeidah, Yemen. This is the latest US escalation since the US and UK began bombing Yemen last week. The Western bombing campaign comes in retaliation against Ansar Allah’s actions of solidarity with Palestine. Ansar Allah, also known as the Houthis, have declared that they will target all ships heading to Israel until it stops the genocide in Gaza. US President Biden stirred controversy when asked whether the airstrikes in Yemen were “working.”