Retired US Army Brigadier General Anthony Tata reacts to US and UK retaliation against the Houthis in response to the Red Sea attacks and the Biden administration's handling of rising tensions in the Middle East.
At least four oil tankers reportedly turned back mid-voyage on Friday to avoid entering the Red Sea after the US and Britain launched joint airstrikes against the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen.
The attacks come after weeks of aggression in the region by Houthi rebels, who have attacked commercial vessels in a series of incidents that raised international security concerns and disrupted maritime traffic.
Four ships – identified as Toya, Diyyinah-I, Stolt Zulu and Navig8 Pride LHJ – changed course within 4.5 hours on Friday to avoid the Red Sea, Portal reported, citing tracking data from the London Stock Exchange Group and plumbers.
Danish oil tanker group Torm also announced on Friday that it had temporarily suspended transit of its ships through the southern Red Sea, according to Portal.
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A plane takes off to join the US-led coalition in carrying out airstrikes against military targets in Yemen. The target is the Iran-backed Houthi militia, which has attacked international ships in the Red Sea from an unknown location this… (US Central Command via X/Portal)
President Biden said he authorized the strikes “in direct response to unprecedented Houthi attacks on international maritime vessels in the Red Sea – including the use of anti-ship ballistic missiles for the first time in history.”
Lt. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, the head of U.S. Air Force Central Command, said there were “deliberate attacks on over 60 targets at 16 Iranian-backed Houthi militia sites, including command and control nodes, ammunition depots, launch systems, production facilities, etc.” Air defense radar systems.
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This image provided by the UK Ministry of Defense on Thursday January 11th shows an RAF Typhoon aircraft taking off from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus on a mission to attack targets in Yemen. (Sgt. Lee Goddard, British Ministry of Defense/AP / AP Newsroom)
“These attacks included air and sea strikes and coalition support units from across the region, including US Naval Forces Central Command aircraft and Tomahawk land attack missiles fired from surface and subsurface platforms,” he also said.
Asked about the security situation in the Red Sea at Monday's White House press briefing, national economic adviser Lael Brainard said: “We're very focused on the economic side, on monitoring potential impacts on the U.S. economy.”
A missile is fired from a warship during the US-led coalition's operation against the Houthi rebels in Yemen. (US Central Command via X/Portal / Portal Photos)
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“So far we have seen little impact on the US economy. Some shippers are using alternative routes, resulting in longer shipping times,” she added. “But so far it’s really had no impact on the U.S. economy.”