|Volume 54 Number 1, January 13, 2024
Demonstration in Yemen, January 12, 2024 denounces U.S./UK attack, stands with Palestinian people.
During the night of January 12, the United States and Britain engaged in an irresponsible use of force by launching military strikes in Yemen. They claim their aim is to stop the Yemeni resistance actions undertaken to impede shipping to Israel in the Red Sea so long as Israel's attacks on Gaza continue. The military strikes not only killed five people in Yemen, injuring another six, but pose the grave danger of broadening the war in the Middle East. Commenting on the attacks, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that Britain needed to send a "strong signal" that Houthi rebel attacks in the Red Sea cannot be carried out with "impunity".
The irresponsible attacks are no doubt also intended to threaten the people of Yemen to desist in providing material support for the Palestinian resistance. This will not happen. Hours after the attacks, in a statement on Friday, the Houthis Supreme Political Council stated that "all American-British interests have become legitimate targets for the Yemeni armed forces in response to their direct and declared aggression against the Republic of Yemen".
"The joy of the aggressors will not be long, and our hand will be the upper hand, God willing," the statement added.
Calling the strikes on Yemen "barbaric", the Houthis added that they will also continue targeting ships heading towards Israel for as long as its war on Gaza continues, and also threatened retaliation.
"The American and British enemy bears full responsibility for its criminal aggression against our Yemeni people, and it will not go unanswered and unpunished," Yahya Saree, the Houthis military spokesperson warned.
Yemen's government, put in place by Saudi Arabia in its US-backed war against that country, blamed the Houthis themselves for the UK and US strikes on the country, saying the rebels bore responsibility for dragging Yemen into an arena of military confrontation with its attacks in the Red Sea.
Iran has condemned what it called a clear violation of Yemen's sovereignty and Russia has called for an urgent meeting at the UN. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also condemned the joint US and UK bombing of multiple Houthi targets in Yemen, according to RT, accusing Washington and London of seeking to turn the Red Sea into a "bloodbath". The Turkish leader added that Ankara has learned from various intelligence channels that the Houthi forces were carrying out a "successful defence" against the US and UK.
Earlier, US President Joe Biden, who claims the actions of its navy in the Red sea and military attacks are to defend freedom of navigation, warned that he would "not hesitate" to take further action if necessary, Al Jazeera reported.
"These targeted strikes are 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," Biden said of the attacks by air and sea.
Pentagon spokesperson Pat Ryder told Al Jazeera that the US military is closely monitoring the situation and has not seen any retaliatory attacks from the Houthis so far.
"Our goal here is to ensure this vital waterway [the Red Sea] is safe and secure for international shipping and mariners," he said.
In backing Rishi Sunak, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told reporters that his party is "fully supportive" of the military action. "It's clear that for some time now they [the Houthi rebels] have been carrying out attacks on shipping, commercial shipping in the Red Sea putting civilian lives at risk as disrupting international trade and traffic and shipping," he said. He added: "I want the prime minister to make a statement as soon as possible, but the principle of taking action against the Houthi rebels is really important."
The military intervention by Britain took place following an emergency Cabinet meeting on Thursday night, it was reported. Sunak also briefed Labour leader Keir Starmer and Commons speaker Lindsay Hoyle, in lieu of following precedent of putting the decision before parliament and citing the urgency of the situation. But the government has faced criticism for not recalling MPs for an emergency sitting to debate the issue. Jeremy Corbyn, the former Labour leader and independent MP described the strikes as "a reckless act of escalation", adding that it "is utterly disgraceful that Parliament has not even been consulted".
In a statement on Friday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that the Houthis had ignored "repeated warnings from the international community" over their attacks in the Red Sea which "cannot stand" and therefore the UK had undertaken retaliatory strikes against the Iranian-backed rebel group.
"The United Kingdom will always stand up for freedom of navigation and the free flow of trade," Sunak said.
"We have therefore taken limited, necessary and proportionate action in self-defence alongside the United States, with non operational support from the Netherlands, Canada and Bahrain against targets tied to these attacks."
In the government's summary of its legal position on the strikes against the Houthis, it said that the action permitted under "international law to use force in such circumstances where acting in self-defence is the only feasible means to deal with an actual or imminent armed attack and where the force used is necessary and proportionate".
If the US, Britain and their NATO partners actually do want peace, it is clear that they should first and foremost refrain from the use of force and threatening the use of force and provide serious problems and conflicts with peaceful solutions. The refusal to find alternatives to the use of force shows their arguments do not merit consideration because they are self-serving, illogical and irrational. The peoples must set their own course based on their own interests and line of march to achieve them.
No to the Desperate US/UK Attack on Yemen!
Stand with the Palestinian People and the Resistance!