U.S. delivered "private message" to Iran about Houthi attacks

The U.S. military early Saturday struck another Houthi-controlled site in Yemen that it had determined was putting commercial vessels in the Red Sea at risk, a day after the U.S. and Britain launched multiple airstrikes targeting Houthis.

The US said its latest strike was a “follow-on action” targeting radar. The Houthis vowed a strong response.

The U.S. Central Command reported that the “follow-on action” early Saturday local time against a Houthi radar site was conducted by the Navy destroyer USS Carney using Tomahawk land attack missiles.

The strikes were designed to “degrade the Houthi’s ability to attack maritime vessels, including commercial vessels”, it added.

Protest outside UK Embassy in Tehran condemned US-UK attacks on Yemen, Tasnim news agency, a semi-official news agency in Iran, reported Saturday.

Also large crowds gathered in Yemen’s capital to voice their disapproval at the US-UK airstrikes.

Later on Saturday President Biden said the US had delivered a “private message” to Iran about the Houthis.

“We delivered it privately and we’re confident we’re well-prepared,” Mr Biden said without giving details.

Iran denies involvement in attacks by the Houthis in the Red Sea.

Joint UK-US airstrikes targeted Houthi positions in the early hours of Friday with the support of Western allies including Australia and Canada.

The target selected focused specifically on Houthi missile, radar, and UAV capabilities, the capabilities that are essential to the Houthis’ campaign against commercial shipping in international waters.

A day later, the US Central Command said it carried out its latest strike on a Houthi radar site in Yemen using Tomahawk land attack missiles.

The official Western government line is that the ongoing air strikes on Houthi targets are quite separate from the war in Gaza. They are “a necessary and proportionate response” to the unprovoked and unacceptable Houthi attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea, they say.

But the longer these airstrikes persist, the greater the risk that the US and UK get sucked into another conflict in Yemen.

A U.S. senior administration official during a press call on Friday said they “do hold Iran responsible for the role that they have played with the Houthis and with the other groups in the region that have conducted attacks against U.S. forces, and have made them aware of that,” but he denied giving to the press details about any additional future actions.

On Tuesday, January 9th, nearly 20 drones and multiple missiles were launched in multiple salvos directly against U.S. ships. 

A U.S. senior military official reported this attack was defeated by the U.S. and UK naval forces working jointly as part of Operation Prosperity Guardian, the defensive coalition established last month in response to these attacks.