The coalition strikes on Houthis serve as a deterrent to Iran, says analyst

Iran has been trying to encircle Israel, with the Houthi attacks cutting Israel off from the sea.

By Pesach Benson, TPS

The US and Britain launched airstrikes on Houthi positions in Yemen in the early hours of Friday morning in what one analyst described as “a message” to Iran.

The Houthi attacks on international shipping are something the West can’t ignore. Last night was only a warning. The Western coalition doesn’t want to go to a heavy war with Iran, but they wanted to deliver a message,” Yair Ansbacher, a fellow at the Misgav Institute for National Security and Zionist Strategy, told the Tazpit Press Service.

Iran, through its proxies, have been trying to encircle Israel, with the Houthi attacks trying to cut Israel off from the sea, Ansbacher explained. “But the world is showing it won’t tolerate this, and this is good for Israel and good for the world and all people who want freedom.”

Ansbacher told TPS the strikes in Yemen won’t have any bearing on the war in Gaza, “because Israel needs to do in Gaza what Israel needs to do.”

He also told TPS that the strikes also come against the backdrop of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp seizing an oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday.

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“The IRGC made a mistake,” said Ansbacher. “They crossed the thin red line between being daring and too aggressive.”

US Central Command (Centcom) said the air strikes targeted Houthi radar and air defense systems, and storage and launch sites for the militia’s aerial drones and missiles.

US President Joe Biden said the 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.”

The strikes came on the heels of a UN Security Council resolution on Wednesday denouncing the Houthi attacks. The resolution was approved by a vote of 11-0, with Russia, China, Algeria and Mozambique abstaining.

The Houthis vowed in early December to target any Israel-bound ship in the Red Sea, regardless of its ownership. Since Oct. 17, they have attacked or harassed 27 ships in international waters, according to Centcom. The majority of vessels attacked have not have any apparent connections to Israel.

Among the attacks was the November hijacking of the MV Galaxy Leader in November. The cargo ship and its crew of 25 are being held hostage in Yemen’s port city of Hodeidah.

From bases along the Yemeni coast, the Houthis have attacked and harassed ships in the Red Sea as they traverse the Bab el-Mandeb Straits, a narrow maritime chokepoint between the Arabian Peninsula and Africa. The majority of the world’s oil passes through the strait from the Indian Ocean towards the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea.

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The attacks have forced some major shipping companies to reroute around Africa, interrupting a crucial global trade route connecting Asia and the Middle East to Europe.