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Top officials in the Biden administration are deliberating on how to retaliate against the Houthis in Yemen following their recent assaults on naval and commercial vessels in the Red Sea.
According to two US officials who spoke anonymously to multiple news outlets, the has presented options for striking the Houthis, a group backed by Iran. In addition, The Navy repositioned the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group to the Gulf of Aden, near Yemen, to support a potential US response and added two destroyers to the region.
This consideration for a military response marks a shift in the administration’s stance. Previously, the Pentagon had advised against military action to avoid escalating tensions with Iran, which supports groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthis in Yemen. However, the escalation of Houthi attacks, including the deployment of drones and ballistic missiles, has prompted a reevaluation of the US strategy.
The USS Carney, stationed in the Red Sea, successfully intercepted 14 Houthi drones, while the British destroyer HMS Diamond also engaged a Houthi drone. Additionally, Houthi drones targeted the Liberian-flagged vessels Al Jasrah and Palatium 3 in the Red Sea. In response to these incidents, the world’s largest shipping company, Maersk, suspended its operations through the strategic Bab el-Mandeb Strait.
The recent developments occur as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. CQ Brown prepare to visit the Middle East, with Austin scheduled to meet leaders in Israel, Bahrain, and Qatar.