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    Houthi Attacks in the Red Sea: A Situational Assessment

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    After months of warning, US President Joe Biden authorised airstrikes against the Houthi armed group occupying much of northern Yemen. Strikes hit Houthi missiles, drones, and radar stations. However, the Houthis are continuing their attacks. On 17 January 2024, the US military destroyed 14 Houthi missiles on the ground.

    President Biden’s new strategy towards Yemen aims to weaken the Houthis, but it does not go so far as to seek to defeat it or direct confrontation with Iran, the group’s main ally, for fear of the dangers of prolonging the conflict. The Houthis say that their attacks on ships in the Red Sea aim to support the Palestinians. Nevertheless, their campaign has disrupted global trade and increased fears of rising inflation. The Houthis welcome the confrontation with the United States, saying it helps them gain popular support and burnish their image in the Middle East as part of what Iran calls the “axis of resistance.”

    Key Judgement 1. It is likely that the Houthis will switch targeting from civilian to coalition vessels.

    Key Judgement 2. It is likely that the crisis in the Red Sea will spread throughout the region.

    Key Judgement 3. Houthi forces will likely shift their focus towards attacking the legitimate government in Yemen.

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    Jawhar Farhat
    Jawhar Farhat
    Jawhar Farhat is an ALL source analyst with a Level 6 diploma (CSMP) in Security Management and a master's degree in Military Sciences from the Military Academy of Tunisia. With eight years of military service and a specialization in the MENA region, he is currently pursuing a Master's in Terrorism and Security at the University of Salford.

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