Houthis Say They’ll Reassess Red Sea Attacks If Israel’s Onslaught in Gaza Ends

A lasting ceasefire in Gaza would bring calm to the region

A spokesman for Yemen’s Houthis reaffirmed to Reuters that the group’s attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden would only be reassessed if Israel’s brutal campaign in Gaza comes to an end.

“There will be no halt to any operations that help Palestinian people except when the Israeli aggression on Gaza and the siege stops,” said Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam.

A ceasefire in Gaza would bring regional calm as Hezbollah has also said it would stop launching rocket attacks against targets in northern Israel if Hamas and Israel agreed to a truce. However, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has threatened a ceasefire in Gaza would mean an escalation in southern Lebanon.

During the seven-day Gaza ceasefire in November that facilitated the exchange of hostages and prisoners, there was calm along the Lebanon-Israel border, and Houthi attacks on shipping largely subsided. US officials recently told CNN that they believe a new ceasefire would likely bring an end to the Houthi operations.

The Houthis, officially known as Ansar Allah, have been clear since they started targeting Israel-linked commercial shipping that the only way they would stop is if Israel stopped slaughtering Palestinians in Gaza and allowed humanitarian aid to flow unimpeded.

Instead of pressuring Israel to agree to a ceasefire, the US and the UK launched a new bombing campaign against the Houthis in January, which only escalated the situation. The Houthis responded by targeting American and British commercial shipping and have successfully hit several vessels.

The US and the UK have launched four major rounds of airstrikes, and the US has been launching unilateral strikes on a near-daily basis. President Biden launched the new war without authorization from Congress.

Senators grilled Biden administration officials on Tuesday over the lack of authorization and said the president has no authority to claim “self-defense” under Article II of the Constitution since the campaign was launched in defense of foreign ships.

“Article II self-defense means you can defend US personnel, you can defend US military assets, you probably can defend US commercial ships, but the defense of other nations’ commercial ships in no way, and it’s not even close, that’s not self-defense,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA).

The US backed a Saudi/UAE-led coalition against the Houthis in a brutal war that killed 377,000 people between 2015 and 2022. During that time, the Houthis only became a more formidable fighting force and developed missile and drone technology that gave them the ability to hit Saudi oil infrastructure. A ceasefire between the Saudis and Houthis has held relatively well since April 2022, but new US sanctions are now blocking the implementation of a peace deal.

Author: Dave DeCamp

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