US and UK Prepare Strikes Against Iran-Backed Houthi Rebels After Escalating Attacks on Red Sea Ships

LONDON, UK – US and UK forces are making preparations for strikes against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in response to increased attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea. The UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, held a meeting with cabinet ministers following a session of Britain’s National Security Council. Whitehall insiders have stated that strikes against Houthi targets, as part of a US-led military coalition, are being authorized by Sunak.

The Pentagon has developed options for targeted strikes on Houthi positions in Yemen, including missile launch sites and weapons depots. As of last week, five US and UK naval vessels were present in the Red Sea, with other allied warships coordinating with the US-led coalition. This military action comes as the Houthi attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea and Suez Canal have escalated in recent weeks.

Iranian forces seized an oil tanker off the coast of Oman, and Houthi forces fired an anti-ship missile from Yemen into international shipping lanes in the Gulf of Aden. The US Central Command has reported that this is the 27th Houthi attack on international shipping in the past two months, causing significant disruption along an essential maritime trade route. In response to these attacks, US, UK, and other allies have strongly condemned them as illegal and destabilizing.

Despite warnings from the US and UK, the Houthi forces have continued their attacks. The UK defense secretary, Grant Shapps, affirmed that this behavior cannot continue and emphasized the need to intervene. The ongoing attacks have caused many oil tankers and container ships to bypass the Red Sea route and Suez Canal, instead opting for a longer, more costly journey around the Horn of Africa.

The Red Sea is a critical waterway, accounting for nearly 15% of global sea trade, including significant amounts of grain, oil, and liquefied natural gas. The potential military action involving British forces could be the most significant since Sunak became prime minister.

The US has faced criticism from lawmakers who believe the Biden administration has not responded forcefully enough to the Houthi militants in Yemen. The recent deployments of US troops to the Middle East and strikes on Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria demonstrate a growing concern and determination to counter the actions of these groups.

The UK currently has two warships in the region, one of which successfully shot down several drones and missiles fired by the Houthis. If the US-led military operation proceeds, options for the UK could include deploying fighter jets or firing Tomahawk cruise missiles from submarines.

In conclusion, the US and UK are making preparations for strikes against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in response to escalating attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea. These attacks have caused disruption along vital trade routes and prompted concerns from global allies. The potential military action marks a significant development in the ongoing conflict with the Houthis in Yemen.