US and UK Strikes Fail to Weaken Houthi Forces in Yemen, Biden Officials Admit

Six weeks into the undeclared war in Yemen, officials from the Biden administration conceded that US and UK strikes have not diminished the military capabilities of the Houthis. They acknowledged surprise at the sophistication of the Houthis’ weaponry and admitted to a limited understanding of their advanced systems.

President Biden initiated the first round of strikes in Yemen on January 11, aiming to compel the Houthis to cease attacks on Israeli-affiliated shipping. The Houthis, or Ansar Allah, allegedly target vessels suspected of Israeli connections to pressure Tel Aviv regarding Gaza.

Without Congressional approval, Biden has ordered strikes on Yemen nearly daily, but they have not yielded the intended results. The Houthis have broadened their targets to include US and UK-linked ships. Recent missile strikes from Yemen damaged multiple vessels, causing significant oil leakage from one ship.

Houthi attacks showcased new weapons, including naval drones, indicating an escalation in capabilities. Biden administration officials, speaking to CNN, expressed concern over the war’s efficacy, citing ongoing surprises and the Pentagon’s limited knowledge of Houthi armaments.

“We just don’t have a good idea of what they still have,” remarked a senior defense official, highlighting uncertainties about the extent of Houthi weaponry and the impact of US bombings.

Some administration members propose ending the Gaza conflict as the key to resolving the Yemeni war, anticipating that the Houthis may halt shipping attacks if Israel ceases its Gaza operations. However, skepticism exists regarding the Houthis’ adherence to such conditions.

Recent incidents, including a Houthi-launched anti-ship missile targeting the M/V Torm Thor, underscore the escalating tensions in the region, challenging hopes for a swift resolution.