Image Credit: Khaled Abdullah / Reuters

Yemen’s Houthis Intensify Military Operations in the Red Sea

On February 17, the Yemeni-based Houthi movement made a significant shift in its current operations, deploying an underground drone for the first time since October 23.

This was acknowledged by the official X Account of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), announcing the completion of five self-defense strikes against three mobile anti-ship cruise missiles and one unmanned underwater vessel (UUV).

More recently, the Houthis announced on Monday, February 19, the successful targeting of a British cargo ship, believed to be significantly damaged and debilitated, and shot down a US drone over the group’s controlled territories. 

On its part, the United States conducted five strikes in Yemen as part of its ongoing military campaign.

Overall, the Houthis’ attacks in the Red Sea continued to influence Israeli or Israeli-allied ships. Last week, the British-owned “Lycavitos” had to change course, going around the Cape of Good Hope near South Africa instead of passing by the Bab al-Mandab strait between Yemen, Djibouti, and Eritrea.

The Houthis, similar to other Iran allies, have asserted that they plan on resuming operations until the Israeli onslaught on Gaza stops. 

With Israeli forces bombing and closing in on the Rafah crossing, in addition to statements by authorities of their intent to expand warfare, such a state of affairs remains far from reality.

Ceasefire Calls Increase

International pressures on Israel have mounted significantly since October 2023, and even more so during the month of February. On Monday, Brazil President Lula announced a cut off in diplomatic ties with Israel, expelling the Israeli ambassador and recalling their own.

Yesterday, the United States blocked a ceasefire call, using veto power for the third time at the UN Security Council.

Instead, the United States reportedly proposed a temporary ceasefire at the level of the United Nations. If this is true, this comes in the context of US-Israeli relationships allegedly turning sour, especially between US president Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Other states, such as Qatar, Egypt and other influential states, have hitherto failed in mediating a permanent ceasefire.

As matters stand, Israel continues to push itself towards becoming a pariah case. Authorities have indeed announced (and displayed) that they don’t have a regard for the International Court of Justice’s rulings, international law and relations, or for the United Nations, placing itself outside multilateral frameworks.

Concerningly, as seen during the previous temporary ceasefire in November 2023 and previous wars such as the 2006 Lebanese-Israeli war, Israeli forces are notorious for intensifying bombings and destruction immediately prior to ceasefire agreements.

As such, worries of a continuation of Israeli onslaught and attacks on Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and other countries in the region are expected to continue regardless of the attainment of a ceasefire.