In a dramatic turn of events, U.S. Navy personnel flying in helicopters sank three boats belonging to the Iranian-backed Houthi militia in the Red Sea on Dec. 31 and killed their crews, a sign of how important the Biden Administration takes the threat to global maritime shipping.
How did things come to this? Research by the Middle East Forum's staff, fellows, and guest contributors explains how an obscure Shi'a tribal militia in Yemen seized control of the country and developed the capacity to carry out long-range drone and missile strikes.
The research also shows errors made along the way. As the influx of arms, training, and financing from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) fueled Houthi expansion, Washington's fear of derailing its pursuit of a nuclear deal with Tehran led it to withhold full-throttled support for Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen, backpedal on designation of Ansar Allah as a terrorist organization, and long refuse to respond to Houthi provocations.
For more analysis of the Houthi threat, see the selections at right. To keep abreast of this and other issues, sign up to the Middle East Forum mailing list.
Is It Time to Sink the Iranian Navy?
How the Houthi Attacks Could Net Iran Billions of Dollars
The U.S. Must Confront the Houthis Once and for All
Iranian-Backed Houthis Intensify Provocations in the Red Sea
Why Are the Houthis Attacking Israel?
How Iran Gains from the Ceasefire in Yemen
Yemen's Houthis Seek World Stage for Their Threats
Why Yemen Matters
Iran-Backed Shia Rebels Push Forward in Yemen
The Coming Collapse of Yemen