A senior Houthi official told Newsweek that the Yemeni Shia group holds the Biden administration responsible for the Saudi-led coalition’s escalation in the war that prompted the Houthis to launch attacks on Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
“There is an escalation by the countries of aggression against our country, under clear directives from America, and therefore we escalated our operations against them in response to that,” Houthi Deputy Information Secretary Nasreddin Amer said.
Saudi airstrikes in Yemen increased in the last few months of 2021, and in mid-January, the coalition announced it was further escalating its air war. The Houthis then launched an attack on the UAE that killed three people in Abu Dhabi.
The Saudi-led coalition responded to the Houthi attacks by intensifying its air war even more. As a result, January was the most violent month for Yemeni civilians since 2016. In one air raid, the coalition bombed a migrant detention facility, killing 91 civilians.
Of course, the escalation of the air war wouldn’t be possible if not for US support. Despite President Biden’s vow last year to end support for Riyadh’s “offensive” operations, the US is still maintaining Saudi warplanes that are bombing Yemen. Without such support, the Saudi air force would quickly be grounded.
While few Americans are aware of their government’s role in the conflict, it’s clear from Amer’s comments that the Houthis believe they’re at war with the US. Besides the military support, the US has also given Saudi Arabia the political cover to continue imposing the blockade on Yemen.
The Houthis have been clear that a lifting of the land, sea, and air blockade is a precondition for a ceasefire, but the US hasn’t pressured Riyadh to ease the siege.