Why is the US reluctant to strike back against Yemen’s Houthi rebels?

Why is the US reluctant to strike back against Yemen’s Houthi rebels?

Yemen’s Houthi rebels opened a new volley of attacks on commercial shipping in the southern Red Sea, but Washington appears in no rush to authorize US military strikes on the Iran-backed group.

A picture taken during an organized tour by Yemen's Huthi rebels on Nov. 22, 2023, shows a security guard aboard the Galaxy Leader cargo ship, seized by Huthi fighters two days earlier, in a port on the Red Sea in the Yemeni province of Hodeida.

A security guard aboard the Galaxy Leader cargo ship, seized by Houthi fighters, in a port on the Red Sea in the Yemeni province of Hodeida on Nov. 22, 2023. Photo by AFP via Getty Images

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Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels opened a new volley of attacks on commercial shipping in the southern Red Sea earlier this week, posing a dilemma for the United States as it seeks to rein in the fallout of Israel’s war in Gaza.

Three commercial cargo vessels north of the Bab el-Mandeb issued distress calls reporting they were struck each by a ballistic missile fired from Yemen on Sunday, leading a nearby US warship to assist.

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Carney — which was not formally escorting the ships but happened to be nearby — shot down three drones as it raced to answer one distress call after another over the seven-hour string of attacks, Pentagon officials said.

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