The Pentagon Hopes It Didn’t Just Start Another War by David Axe and Nancy Youssef, The Daily Beast
The U.S. Navy blasted three radar installations in Houthi-held territory in southern Yemen, the first direct American intervention in the ongoing conflict there. The U.S. military is hoping that doesn’t lead to yet another war for American forces.
But hope, as the old military saw goes, is not a plan.
So far, Pentagon officials are keen to not be drawn into a broader conflict. Rather they called Wednesday’s strike a self-defense measure. But at the same time, defense officials said they were prepared to strike again, should the Houthis threaten American—or even commercial—ships in the region’s waters.
“It’s up to them,” one defense official explained to The Daily Beast, referring to whether the Houthis, Shiite-dominated rebels, attempt to strike U.S. ships again. “But it wouldn’t be smart of them to keep doing this.”
The Iranian-backed Houthis are aligned with former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a U.S. ally forced to step down from power in 2012. The U.S. has been providing logistical support for the Saudi-led coalition that backing Saleh’s successor, Abu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who legitimacy has been questioned domestically. Pentagon officials concede that the region around Yemen is fragile for a cycle of strikes and counterstrikes. That is, the Saudis conduct strikes on behalf of the Yemeni government it supports—often with tragic consequences to nearby civilians. The Houthis, who consider another government legitimate, strike in response at Saudi Arabia and its American allies. And the wave of attacks start anew.
Yemen has been without a government since 2014, when the Houthis swept in and forced Hadi, the then-president, to resign…