The US and UK launched a series of airstrikes against Houthi positions in Yemen late on 11 January in response to the wave of attacks on tankers in the Red Sea in recent weeks. With a US-led naval taskforce unable to prevent disruptive attacks, pressure had been mounting on the US to conduct such strikes. However, there is little optimism that airstrikes will significantly erode the Houthi’s ability to conduct attacks against shipping, and instead they risk inflaming the situation further.

Indeed, Houthi spokesperson Mohammed Abdulsalam posted on X (formerly Twitter) following the airstrikes that the group will continue targeting Israeli-linked shipping – the Houthis continue to claim only to be attacking Israeli-linked vessels, despite many of those attacked having no connection to Israel. (CONTINUED - 1985 WORDS)