Sources: A Military Operation Against the Houthis Expected to Commence After the 'Final Warning'

Sheba Intelligence | 2024-01-04 10:28 AM UTC


The joint statement issued by the United States, the United Kingdom, and ten other countries is a final warning to the Ansar Allah (Houthi) group before delivering a military response if the group continues threatening international shipping lanes, sources told Sheba Intelligence on Thursday.

The statement issued on Wednesday by the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Bahrain, Belgium, New Zealand, and Singapore said, "The Houthis will bear the responsibility of the consequences should they continue to threaten lives, the global economy, and free flow of commerce in the region's critical waterways."

The sources confirmed that Washington, London and other countries are planning to launch a military operation targeting the Houthi command and control headquarters of maritime operations.

The sources indicated that the targets include depots and missile and drone launch pads, which means that it will strike targets in the ports of Al-Hudaydah, Al-Salif, Al-Luhayah, and several islands, including Kamaran Island.

The sources did not rule out strikes on military centers, headquarters, and missile stores in the capital, Sanaa, and other areas where the group is active and from which it sends its missiles, such as Saada, Al-Jawf, Hajjah, Taiz, and the mobilization camps in Al-Bayda, Dhamar, and other areas.

Sheba Intelligence sources revealed that the United States informed the Saudi ambassador in Washington that the Houthi attacks were no longer tolerable and that their patience had run out.

According to the sources, The Americans complained to their Saudi counterparts about the failure of Operation Prosperity Guardian to reassure international shipping companies to sail in the Red Sea, especially with the shipping company Maersk announcing the suspension of shipping operations in the Red Sea until further notice.

The Danish shipping company Maersk had announced the return of shipping through the southern Red Sea days after the inception of Operation Guardian of Prosperity. However, a company's ship was attacked on December 30, forcing it to retreat again.

The sources confirmed a "final" warning to the Houthis issued by Washington and London through several international channels.

The information says that the Foreign and Defense Ministers of the United States and the United Kingdom contacted their counterparts in the Sultanate of Oman to ensure that the Houthis received the "final" message.

The sources said that the British Foreign Secretary informed Iran that the continued attacks on ships in the Red Sea by Tehran's proxy in Yemen, the Houthis, would expose them to a direct military operation that would destroy their capabilities.

The sources said the Iranian Foreign Minister warned during the call to his British counterpart against targeting Iranian ships in the Red Sea or the Indian Ocean.

Washington and London believe that Iranian ships are providing logistical support to the Houthis, including information about the commercial ships. These are the same accusations directed at the Iranian ship "Behshad" which is stationed near an Eritrean island, and the Iranian ship, Artenos, which is stationed in the Indian Ocean south of the Socotra Island.

The Iranian ships are believed to be potential surveillance, command, and telecommunication vessels between Iranian forces and proxies of Iran.

On December 19, The U.S. announced the creation of an enhanced naval protection force operating in the southern Red Sea in an attempt to stop attacks from Yemen's Houthis on merchant shipping. Lloyd Austin, the U.S. defence secretary, said the new effort would be called Operation Prosperity Guardian and was necessary to tackle the "recent escalation in reckless Houthi attacks originating from Yemen".

On December 31,  U.S. forces clashed with the Houthis in the Red Sea. The U.S. forces sank four Houthi boats, killing the Houthi crewmen. Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Saree said three Houthi boats, boarding ten fighters, were attacked by U.S. forces in the Red Sea. He said, "The attack took place as Houthi naval forces were carrying out their routine duties to establish security, stability, and protect maritime navigation."

Yesterday, Sarea reiterated that their attacks will continue, regardless of the threats of the U.S. and its allies. He said, "The Yemeni armed forces confirm that they will continue to prevent Israeli ships or those heading to the ports of occupied Palestine from navigating in the Red and Arab Seas until they bring in the food and medicine our brothers in the Gaza Strip need."