As predicted, Biden’s air strikes on the Houthis looked good on television and may have done some damage, but didn’t do the job.
The U.S. military said Sunday it shot down an anti-ship cruise missile fired from a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen toward a U.S. Navy destroyer in the southern Red Sea.
U.S. Central Command said fighter aircraft shot down the missile near the coast of the port city of Hodeida. There were no reports of injuries or damage, CENTCOM said.
If the Houthis are still able to fire cruise missiles, Biden’s air strikes did not do their job.
According to the Pentagon, the strikes were effective in degrading the Houthi ability to attack shipping, but degrading is a long way from eliminating.
The Defense Department is highly confident that yesterday’s strikes against Houthi military targets in Yemen were effective in degrading the rebel group’s ability to carry out further attacks against commercial ships operating in the Red Sea, a senior Pentagon official said today.
“This action is intended to disrupt and degrade the Houthis’ capabilities to endanger mariners and threaten global trade in one of the world’s most critical waterways,” Austin said in a statement following the strikes. “Today’s coalition action sends a clear message to the Houthis that they will bear further costs if they do not end their illegal attacks.”
Austin added that the U.S. “maintains its right to self-defense and, if necessary, will take follow-on actions to protect U.S. forces.”
Clearly, that’s still needed.
The New York Times paints a grimmer picture.
The United States-led airstrikes on Thursday and Friday against sites in Yemen controlled by the Houthi militia damaged or destroyed about 90 percent of the targets struck, but the group retained about three-quarters of its ability to fire missiles and drones at ships transiting the Red Sea, two U.S. officials said on Saturday…
But the two U.S. officials cautioned on Saturday that even after hitting more than 60 missile and drone targets with more than 150 precision-guided munitions, the strikes had damaged or destroyed only about 20 to 30 percent of the Houthis’ offensive capability, much of which is mounted on mobile platforms and can be readily moved or hidden…
Finding Houthi targets is proving to be more challenging than anticipated. American and other Western intelligence agencies have not spent significant time or resources in recent years collecting data on the location of Houthi air defenses, command hubs, munitions depots and storage and production facilities for drones and missiles, the officials said…
So once again massive intel failures.
The Biden admin dropped the Houthis from the terror list and ended support for the campaign against them by the Saudis. The Houthis and Iran were able to build up the capability to do all this and we are not ready.