Home Houthis recent War on Terror Yemen Why the US is Losing the War to the Houthis
Home Houthis recent War on Terror Yemen Why the US is Losing the War to the Houthis

Why the US is Losing the War to the Houthis

After Biden came home from his Caribbean vacation, the Deputy Defense Secretary came back from hers and the Secretary of Defense was on the verge of being released from the hospital, airstrikes were finally authorized against the Houthi Jihadis attacking ships in the Red Sea.

Biden said that the air strikes sent “a clear message that the United States and our partners will not tolerate attacks on our personnel or allow hostile actors to imperil freedom of navigation in one of the world’s most critical commercial routes.”

The message was not very clear since the Houthis then struck a bulk carrier owned by an American company and spent the next two months terrorizing the Red Sea. The Iranian-backed terror group which seized control of much of Yemen due to Obama’s Arab Spring has launched even more devastating attacks on ships and has now reportedly attacked an undersea cable, after previously deploying an undersea drone and warning of further “submarine” attacks..

The Red Sea siege has affected shipping and commodities prices all over the world. The U.S. Navy ended a lot of its cargo runs in the Red Sea and so have a lot of civilian shipping firms.

Why have the Houthis been able to not only survive, but to escalate their attacks? Because the Biden administration was never serious about taking them out. The original attacks targeted less than 30 sites from a terror group that had shot off over 1,000 rockets and missiles in the previous 7 years and was clearly prepared for an extended campaign of rocket attacks.

Israel had reportedly dropped over 1,000 bombs a day in the first week of the Oct 7 war. While numbers like these were widely criticized as overkill, they worked. There had been over 6,000 Hamas rocket alerts in the first two weeks of the war. Two weeks later, the number had dropped to over 1,000 and currently stands at less than 100. Israel’s massive assault had worked.

Biden’s occasional pinprick attacks barely even slowed down the Houthi attacks.

After the first round of U.S. strikes, right before Biden flew off to Raleigh, North Carolina to promote his plan for subsidized internet, there was a remarkable exchange with a reporter.

“Are the airstrikes in Yemen working?” he was asked.

“Well, when you say ‘working,’ are they stopping the Houthis? No. Are they going to continue? Yes,” Biden replied.

No one in the press seemed interested in following up the very strange statement. If the airstrikes aren’t working, why carry them out? Was there a plan to step up the strikes? No.

After the initial wave of attacks, the US Navy shifted over to what it euphemistically called “defensive air strikes” against Houthi missiles or rockets that had already been launched or were being prepped for launch. The constant reports about “defensive air strikes” made it sound as if the United States were constantly bombing Yemen, when the US Navy had been allowed to do the bare minimum to prevent and survive more incoming attacks. It wasn’t enough.

Two weeks after the original raids, as the Houthis continued their attacks, Biden authorized follow-up air strikes on a mere 8 locations. A week later, a tanker had been hit and was burning. In early February, Biden signed off on a third round of attacks hitting 36 targets across 13 locations. In the coming weeks, the Houthis shot down the second of two U.S. drones

After multiple Houthi attacks and damage to an underwater cable, Biden now signed off on a fourth round of attacks that hit 18 targets across 8 locations. Will these stop the Houthis?

As Biden already admitted after the first round of attacks, they won’t. But that’s not their purpose. The goal is to maintain some sort of balance of power against the Houthis. The Department of Defense regularly issues official warnings to the Houthis that there will be consequences. But the only consequences are the occasional light air strikes on old Yemeni air defense capabilities and rocket:, some of which date back to the days of the USSR.

So far two American Navy SEALS are dead and Iran has control of the world’s shipping.

And how many of the Houthi Jihadis have been killed? After an initial naval battle in which ten of the terrorists were killed, the Houthis claimed that only five of their men were killed in Biden’s first round of airstrikes. The funerals of another 17 were held after the third round of strikes.

That would make for a total of 32 dead terrorists after two months of fighting the United States.

Are the Houthis understating their casualties? Maybe. But a New York Times article on the Biden administration’s intentions stated that the strategy represents “the administration’s attempt to chip away at the Houthis’ ability to menace merchant ships and military vessels but not hit so hard as to kill large numbers of Houthi fighters and commanders, and potentially unleash even more mayhem into a region”. As if ceding the Red Sea hasn’t done that already.

Chipping away at their arsenals while trying to minimize Houthi deaths has failed miserably.

What is the Biden administration doing wrong? Apart from scale, it’s trying to target Houthi drones and missiles, and some air bases, preferably right before they’re about to be used. This is the same approach that failed in Iraq and it’s also the same approach Israel used to use against Hamas also in an effort to deter attacks, minimize casualties and avoid escalation.

And then Oct 7 happened. Since then, the Israeli military strategy has been to destroy Hamas forces as functioning units rather than target its rocket stockpiles. And it worked. Hamas, like the Houthis, had learned to fire off rockets or drones from disposable locations before running away. Even when rocket stockpiles are taken out, the terrorists can go ahead and build more.

Rockets can be replaced, but organized forces that have trained together are harder to replace. That’s what Israel demonstrated. And it worked. Even though Israel didn’t specifically focus on taking out Hamas rockets, the rocket attacks dropped sharply because there’s no one to shoot them. When rockets are targeted, the terrorists run away and regroup, but when the terrorists are targeted, they have to keep running, so they don’t have the time and space to regroup.

(That is what the proposed hostage deal and the various calls for a ‘ceasefire’ are really about.)

Biden is unwilling to target the Houthis and so they keep attacking.

After two months and over four rounds of larger attacks, the Houthi command and control operations, and their forces, remain intact even if they lost some infrastructure along the way.

This might be excusable if, like Bush in Iraq, Biden really believed that what he was doing would work, but he admitted in a direct quote to the press that he knows what he’s doing won’t work.

Beyond the damage to shipping and the prestige of the United States, two Navy SEALS are dead because the commander-in-chief pursued a military strategy that he knew would fail.

Biden had two options in Yemen. He could either hit the Houthis hard or let them do what they wanted. Both were politically untenable. It would be too politically damaging to go into the primaries inflicting sizable casualties on an Arab Muslim terror group that his pro-terror supporters love and now chant at pro-Hamas ‘ceasefire’ rallies, “turn another ship around.”

But doing nothing while shipping slowed down and prices rose would also be damaging.

Given a choice between alienating the country and his party’s terror supporters, he chose a middle ground of ‘show’ strikes like the kind that Bill Clinton had deployed against Osama bin Laden that will avoid offending terror supporters but also will not end the Houthi attacks.

This strategy serves no one except Biden who has sacrificed the nation’s prestige, a major international waterway and the lives of two U.S. Navy SEALS to win an election.

Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This article previously appeared at the Center's Front Page Magazine.

Thank you for reading.


  1. Anonymous5/3/24

    This analysis is deficient. The reason why Biden is doing nothing about Houthis is because 1. He and his administration are terrorists and 2. There is no personal financial incentive for Biden to take military action. If there were kickbacks to be had by bombing Yemen, Yemen would be a burnt out cinder by now.


  2. Trumpeter5/3/24

    Daniel, this is the first thing of yours I have read since Oct 7. Used to read you daily, but when Oct 7 happened I turned into an Antisemite! I am no longer listening to Jewish ideas or propaganda. I somehow knew this would be your position.

    As for the idea of kicking ass on the other side of the world, there are several problems. You might have noticed that our Navy has turned into a clown show over the last 15 years. Rusting, colliding, undermanned (female pregnancy excuses from shipboard service),no one signing up, ships burning at the dock; you remember that, right.
    We also have a problem with munitions. And the cost thereof. We only have approximately 3000 cruise missiles left. Some are being converted into seeker heads for anti shipping missiles, but production lines are slow and not much is changing. They also cost 1 to 2 million each. Third, we already went to war with the Houthi's. The Saudi and UAE bought everything we would sell them and we assisted in ISR and targeting in a 9 year war with the Houthi's. With staging right next door so great logistics support. Cholera, Starvation and Pestilence unleashed on a CIVILIAN populace as well as targeted strikes on children and religious centers and hospitals. And the Houthi's won. They are tougher, better trained and prepared, more motivated and completely dispersed and buried in tunnels. Also note (and this is BIG) the only way to effect change on the ground is to nuke it or stand on it.

    So you and who's Army is going to do that, and tell me about your logistics train?

    1. 3 options

      1. Reform the Navy and the rest of the military before we have to fight China anyway

      2. Go back to paying danegeld to the Muslim pirates the way we used to before Jefferson fought back

      3. End any need for U.S. commerce to transit the area or for being part of any global marketplace that will impact costs in the U.S. and to U.S. firms

      or I guess there's always

      4. blame the Jews

    2. Trumpeter5/3/24

      If you can't see the Gazacaust happening in front of you, you will never see the cause the Houthi's are defending. Reforming the Navy would involve reforming our entire educational, industrial, banking and tax systems all to the disadvantage of the FIRE players who currently own the system that sold off all those things and people who used to make 'things' vs. shuffling paper and debt. Care to suggest how that works out. And how fast?
      The danegeld you are referring to is going to be a lot cheaper than reforming our entire world.
      The Empire would gladly eliminate ALL opposition with the wave of a magic wand, if they could. Absent that it is more educational to talk about what we can accomplish than what we want. The one thing we could accomplish in the region is to stop funding and supplying the Gauzacaust.

    3. the Houthis are doing the same stuff the Somalis were doing, that the Iranians were doing and that Muslim pirates as far back as the Barbary Wars were doing

      you can look at actual history instead of social media propaganda

      we can save America or pay protection money to Muslim pirates

      you've decided you'd rather pay protection money while ranting about the Jews

      good luck with that

    4. Trumpetet5/3/24

      A US Navy Carrier Battle Group is about $4 Billion a year. And is useless at defeating the Houthi's, much less Iran or Russia. And there are more than 10, a billion here a billion there . . . But note the red Sea and the straight are local waters for Yemen. I know the Houthi's are different than the Yemen government but are more popular with the people.

      But the elephant in the room is the avoidance of the genocide being conducted daily in Gaza. This is the choice everyone must make, I hope you can preserve your humanity.

    5. America managed to take on the Islamic Barbary pirates but you seem to prefer a state of affairs in which we're helpless.

      The Houthis are Shiites. The Yemeni government is Sunni. These are tribal arrangements. The Houthis are popular with Shiites.

      Really basic stuff.

      There's no genocide in Gaza. And Muslim high seas piracy predates America, never mind the current conflict against Islamic genocide against Israel.

      Jefferson had it spelled out for him back then. A pity we've forgotten it.


      "The ambassador answered us that it was founded on the laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Musselman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise "

      Resist or submit. This is the choice everyone must make, I hope you can preserve your allegiance to the United States. Not to those who want to enslave you and your family.

    6. Trimpeter6/3/24

      It would seem that you have drawn a false dilemma, either groveling submission to sub human animals or righteous victory. There exists a third way, peaceful cooperation and treaties where both sides win.
      As for the nonexistence of the Gazacaust, you are blinded by your lack of humanity, by the propaganda flooding the airwaves, by your cultural and religious upbringing - that is why I stopped reading after Oct 7, I I anticipated this . It was the WRSA link that brought me here. And I used to be on Israel's side.

    7. what's the track record on "peaceful cooperation" with Islamic Jihadis?

      you sound like the New York Times

      You can choose to read about the lessons of a thousand years of history or whatever leftist social media propaganda that convinced you to side with our enemies

      but go ahead, move to Pakistan and pursue peaceful cooperation

    8. Anonymous8/3/24

      There is long histories of Christian living with Muslims living with Jews living with other sects as well. Most of Lebanon and Syria looked like that. Leave them alone is only hard if you want to force something down their throat, like a new homeland for somebody else just because the "imperial power" says so.

      But you are still missing the elephant in the room.


      ynet.co.il, Mar 8 2024 (machine translation)

      The head of the Seder yeshiva in Jaffa, whose students serve in the IDF after their studies there, said at a conference of Seder yeshiva held yesterday (Thursday) that according to the halakhic principle, all residents of Gaza should be killed. When asked specifically about the elderly and babies, he replied: "Same thing."
      "It's either you – or them," Rabbi Maley added. "No soul shall live on the basis of 'Bring to kill you – bring to kill you'. Not just the 14-year-old, 16–year-old, 20-year-old, 30-year-old man holding up arms - but the future generation as well. And also for those who produce the future generation. Because there really is no difference.

      Link from moon over Alabama.

    9. There is a long history of Muslims oppressing Christians and Jews.

      Over a thousand years of it.

      But thanks for the 'machine translation' of something a leftist Israeli paper claims a Rabbi said via link from a terrorist propaganda blog

      Meanwhile Muslims around the world are taking over Europe and America, and wiping out the last remnants of Christian life in the Middle East, while exterminating Christians in Africa

  3. Anonymous5/3/24

    The mighty IDF should be able to use their capable strategy in Yemen, shouldn't they? The Houthi have declared the Red Sea a battle zone, so why doesn't Israel defend it?

    1. it's not Israel's territory, it's a Saudi battlespace

      but if Israel intervened, it would attack, not defend, and instantly there would be tears, outrage and claims of genocide

    2. Anonymous5/3/24

      @Trumpetet. Don't kid yourself. You always were an antisemite.


    3. Trumpeter6/3/24

      JontyD, no the exact opposite! And I still don't have kind fuzzy feelings for the Palistinianans. But I SURE am now!

      You can't ANTISEMITISM me into accepting Genocide.
      The only Holocaust is the Gazacaust!

    4. Gazacaust sounds like a carnival.

      You want a real genocide? Look at the mass murder of Christians in Nigeria.


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