US Officials Say ‘Intelligence Gaps’ Are to Blame for Failure Against Yemen’s Houthis

The new US bombing campaign has only escalated the situation

US officials speaking to Financial Times said “intelligence gaps” are to blame for the failure to stop Houthi attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden that started in response to the US-backed Israeli massacre of Palestinians in Gaza.

While the Pentagon has said it has hit hundreds of Houthi targets since the new bombing campaigns started on January 12, US officials say they can’t assess how much damage has been done to the Yemeni group’s capabilities.

The report said the “extent of the damage is unclear because the US lacked a detailed assessment of the group’s capabilities before launching its bombing campaign.” The New York Times reported something similar a few days after the US bombing campaign started that said the US had difficulty finding targets because it hadn’t been collecting intelligence on the Houthis that much in recent years.

The Houthis, officially known as Ansar Allah, have also shown a resilience to bombing campaigns. The US backed a brutal Saudi/UAE war against them from 2015-2022 that involved heavy airstrikes and a blockade, and the Houthis only became more of a capable fighting force during that time.

The war killed at least 377,000 people, and more than half died of starvation and disease caused by the siege. A ceasefire between the Houthis and Saudis has held relatively well since April 2022, but new US sanctions are now blocking the implementation of a lasting peace deal.

Since President Biden’s new unauthorized war against the Houthis started on January 12, the situation in the region has only escalated. The Houthis began targeting American and British commercial shipping and started regularly striking vessels. Previously, Ansar Allah’s forces were limiting their targets to Israel-linked shipping.

The Houthis have been clear that the only way they would stop their attacks is if the Israeli onslaught in Gaza comes to an end. US officials recently acknowledged to CNN that they believe the Houthis would be true to their word. But instead of pressuring Israel to end its genocidal campaign, the US is considering escalating the situation even more by targeting Houthi leadership.

Author: Dave DeCamp

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