Without Approval From Congress, Biden Preps ‘Sustained’ US Assault on Yemen

January 23rd, 2024 - by Jake Johnson / Common Dreams

“A Cease-fire in Gaza Would Likely End Houthi Attacks but Biden Is Choosing War Instead”
Jake Johnson / Common Dreams

(January 22, 2024) — The Biden administration is reportedly planning for a “sustained” assault on Yemen after a barrage of US airstrikes in recent days failed to halt Houthi attacks on commercial shipping vessels in the Red Sea.

The Washington Post reported over the weekend that the White House “convened senior officials on Wednesday to discuss options for the way ahead” in Yemen, which has endured years of deadly US-backed, Saudi-led bombing.

“Officials say they don’t expect that the operation will stretch on for years like previous US wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Syria,” the Post added. “At the same time they acknowledge they can identify no end date or provide an estimate for when the Yemenis’ military capability will be adequately diminished.”

On Thursday, President Joe Biden admitted publicly that the most recent US airstrikes in Yemen have not worked to deter the Houthis, who say their attacks in the Red Sea won’t stop until Israel ends its assault on Gaza.

Even after conceding their ineffectiveness, Biden said the US strikes on Yemen would continue. Early Saturday morning, American forces launched airstrikes targeting “a Houthi anti-ship missile that was aimed into the Gulf of Aden and was prepared to launch,” the US Central Command said in a statement.

The following day, CENTCOM announced the deaths of two US Navy SEALs who were lost at sea after a January 11 raid targeting an unflagged ship purportedly carrying Iranian weapons to Yemen’s Houthis.

There’s no indication that Biden intends to seek congressional authorization for the ongoing, open-ended US military campaign in Yemen, rebuffing calls from Democratic and Republican lawmakers who say the hostilities with the Houthis are unconstitutional and heighten the risk of all-out regional war. Biden formally notified Congress of the latest round of US airstrikes on Yemen a day after launching them earlier this month.

Ordinary Yemenis are likely to suffer most from an indefinite US military campaign; American-led strikes have already disrupted aid operations in the impoverished country.

Analysts have argued that the best way to mitigate the risk of a spiraling Middle East war is to pursue a cease-fire in Gaza, where Israeli forces have killed more than 25,000 people — mostly women and children — in less than four months.

But the Biden administration has stonewalled cease-fire efforts at the United Nations Security Council, opting instead to allow a humanitarian aid resolution that is failing to deliver for starving and desperate Gazans.

Biden chosses to escalate conflict to bomb Yemen.

“This administration is off its hinges,” said the Yemeni Alliance Committee. “Biden has started an illegal war on Yemen to avoid a cease-fire in Gaza.”

Trita Parsi, executive vice president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, echoed that message, writing on social media that “Biden is starting another war in the Middle East just so that Israel can continue slaughtering people in Gaza.”

“A cease-fire in Gaza would likely end the Houthi attacks,” Parsi wrote. “But Biden is choosing war instead.”

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