Houthis’ Offensive Capabilities Not Significantly Damaged by US Airstrikes

US officials tell The New York Times that the Houthis have a lot of weapons that are mobile and easy to hide

US and British airstrikes launched across Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen did not significantly impact the Houthis’ ability to launch attacks in the Red Sea, US officials have acknowledged to The New York Times.

The Pentagon said the first wave of strikes launched early Friday morning targeted around 30 locations and destroyed 60 missile and drone sites. Early Saturday morning, the US launched another strike on a radar facility US officials said was missed in the initial attack.

Lt. Gen. Douglas Sims, the director of the US military’s joint staff, claimed on Friday that the US and British airstrikes were enough to stop the Houthis from launching a large drone and missile attack, but the US officials speaking to the Times said that wasn’t the case.

The officials said the strikes only degraded about 20-30% of the Houthis offensive capability. They said much of the Houthis’ weapons are mounted on mobile platforms that can be easily moved and hidden and that finding targets was more difficult than anticipated since the US hasn’t been collecting much intelligence on the Houthis in recent years.

The Houthis have downplayed the impact of the US and British airstrikes, saying five fighters were killed but only minimal damage was caused. Yemen’s SABA news agency reported another US and British bombing on Sunday, but US officials later denied that the US or its allies launched more strikes.

The Houthis, officially known as Ansar Allah, endured a brutal bombing campaign launched by a US-backed Saudi-led coalition from 2015-2022, and they only became a more formidable fighting force during that time. The Houthis missile and drone capability significantly increased despite the air campaign and blockade, giving them the ability to hit oil fields deep inside Saudi Arabia.

Yemenis have taken a defiant tone in the face of the US and British attack on Houthi-controlled areas, which is where 70-80% of Yemen’s population lives. The Houthis have vowed a major response and said they would continue to target Israeli-linked commercial shipping in the region until the US-backed Israeli slaughter in Gaza ends.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.