[Make sure to read Joseph Klein’s contributions in Jamie Glazov’s new book: Barack Obama’s True Legacy: How He Transformed America.]
The Houthis, who control about 80 percent of Yemen, are yet another one of Iran’s multiple terrorist proxies who are menacing Israel militarily and endangering U.S. military personnel. But the Biden administration, which ended the Trump-era designation of the Houthis as a “foreign terrorist organization” in February 2021, has taken no action whatsoever to restore the Houthi terrorist designation or to deter the Houthis with military force. And more generally, the Biden administration has allowed the Iranian regime to acquire the wealth in oil revenues and unfrozen monies it needs to lavishly fund its terrorist proxies.
Using missiles and drones launched from Yemen, the Houthi terrorists have aimed their aerial attacks at Israeli territory, have targeted commercial shipping in the Red Sea, and have threatened at least one U.S. warship. The U.S. has only played defense so far, downing some Houthi missiles and drones. Just recently, according to the Times of Israel, the U.S. military reported that a United States “warship shot down three drones in self-defense during an hourlong assault.”
Despite the Houthis’ multiple provocations, the Biden administration has not yet taken the offensive and retaliated by going after the Houthis’ missile and drone launching sites in Yemen and knocking out coastal radar sites. The Biden administration’s sheepishness in engaging the Houthis at their source is even more pathetic than the Biden administration’s timid responses to the scores of attacks upon U.S. military facilities in Iraq and Syria by Iran-sponsored terrorist militias.
The Biden administration has even urged Israel not to respond to the Houthis’ attacks aimed at Israel territory and Israeli-linked shipping. But Israel will do whatever it decides it must do for the sake of its own people. Israeli National Security Council chairman Tzachi Hanegbi said in a recent broadcast interview that “Israel will act” itself if the international community fails to deal with the Houthis’ aggression.
The one thing that the White House has said it is working on is to “strengthen and expand” a U.S.-led multinational maritime task force to repulse the Houthis’ aggressive acts against merchant shipping in the Red Sea. But even if the Biden administration can put together an effective maritime task force, the Houthis’ leadership is not likely to be deterred.
“The threat to establish a coalition in the Red Sea against Yemen has no value,” Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi, a Houthi leader who is a member of the Houthi Supreme Political Council, declared.
Now the Houthis are upping the ante. They are vowing to block any ships passing through the Red Sea that are heading to Israel. “If Gaza does not receive the food and medicine it needs, all ships in the Red Sea bound for Israeli ports, regardless of their nationality, will become a target for our armed forces,” said Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Sare’e. He amplified his threat with this post on X: “The Yemeni Armed Forces announce that they will prevent navegating (sic) all the ships heading to the Zionist entity from any nationality, if the food and medicine keep not accessing the Gaza Strip, and the (sic) will become a legitimate target for our armed forces.”
Houthi leader Mohammed Ali al-Houthi warned the United States that “no American or other” military forces have the “right” to accompany Israeli ships or ships heading to Israel.
If the Houthi terrorists follow through on their threat to use military force to block ships from reaching Israel through the Red Sea, it will be tantamount to a declaration of war and must be met with overwhelming counterforce.
The Iranian regime is the puppet master pulling the Houthis’ strings, as it does for all its terrorist proxies. The Houthis contribute to Iran’s “ring of fire” strategy to isolate, encircle, and eventually destroy the Jewish state and to drive the United States out of the region, with funding, weapons, training, and intelligence supplied by the puppet master.
“Iran has made its ambitions in the region clear through its state sponsorship of terrorism that has resulted in the deaths of countless innocents in Israel, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen,” said Counter Extremism Project (CEP) Executive Director David Ibsen. “Tehran wants to dominate the region, undermine or displace moderate states allied with America, and encircle Israel in a ring of fire from its terror proxies.”
The Biden administration is playing defense as Iran’s ring of fire has turned into an out-of-control wildfire, threatening to consume the entire Middle East region on President Biden’s watch.
When former President Donald Trump was in charge, the Iranian regime’s ring of fire was barely smoldering. The Trump administration applied maximum economic pressure on Iran, depriving it of the revenue it needed to adequately fund its terrorist proxies. As a result of this economic pressure, Hezbollah, for example, experienced “a sharp fall in its revenue” and was “forced to make draconian cuts to its spending,” the Washington Post reported in May 2019.
Mr. Trump also left no doubt what he was prepared to do in response to the Iranian regime’s use of terrorist proxies to attack U.S. military personnel and facilities. He ordered the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, in January 2020. The regime’s leaders fumed and threatened revenge but launched only a weak retaliatory response. They did not dare test how far Mr. Trump was willing to go if provoked by any further Iranian-sponsored aggression against Americans.
President Biden reversed the Trump administration’s maximum economic pressure on the Iranian regime and reverted to the Obama-Biden administration’s appeasement policy in the hope of reviving the disastrous nuclear deal with Iran. The Biden administration allowed Iran to replenish its coffers from oil sales to China and other customers despite the sanctions that were still in effect but not enforced. The Biden administration also waived sanctions last month to allow the Iranian regime to access approximately ten billion dollars in electricity revenue that was being held in escrow in Iraq. This largesse followed the Biden administration’s decision to unfreeze and release six billion dollars to the Iranian regime as ransom for Iran’s freeing of five American hostages, before placing a temporary hold in response to intense criticism.
Thanks to President Biden’s policy of appeasement, the Iranian regime is flush with money again, providing the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism with the wherewithal to fill up its gravy train that funds its terrorist proxies.
The thugs who run Iran only back away when faced with strong military responses to their provocations, responses that place Iranian leaders, fighters, and core infrastructure assets at risk. They are not deterred by pinprick strikes against their terrorist proxies’ outposts. The way to bring an end to Iran’s ring of fire is to deprive it of oxygen (i.e., money) and to stamp it out completely by whatever means necessary.