Washington has ratcheted its anti-Iran rhetoric following what's been widely described as the single biggest Houthi missile and drone attack on vessels in the Red Sea since Oct.7.
The Tuesday night attack saw up to 24 missiles and drones sent against international shipping lanes in the southern part of the Red Sea, and crucially directly against a US warship, as we detailed previously. The Pentagon said that three destroyers that are part of Operation Prosperity Guardian took part in shooting down the incoming barrage.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken has in fresh comments charged that ultimately Iran was behind this "biggest attack" by the Yemen-based Houthi rebels. He warned "there will be consequences" if the aggression continues. "We had the biggest attack just yesterday, aided and abetted by Iran," Blinken told reporters at Bahrain International Airport on Wednesday.
"We've been clear with more than 20 countries that if these continue, as they did yesterday, there will be consequences," Blinken continued. "The support [Iran is] providing to the Houthis needs to stop. It's not in their interest for the conflict to expand." But he offered nothing in the way of a plan or strategy of response.
Blinken is still on his tour of Middle East countries, which earlier included meetings with Israeli leadership in Tel Aviv, in efforts to contain the spread of the Gaza War.
The US top diplomat in the comments stopped short of saying that Iranian officers are directly assisting on the ground in Yemen. Washington's accusations against Tehran regarding the Houthis have for years highlighted indirect support, including financial, weaponry, and intelligence assistance.
Blinken said these Red Sea attacks are aided by Iran with "technology, equipment, intelligence, information, and they are having a real-life impact on people," as cited also in VOA.
Yet the White House still doesn't seem to have a strategy to ensure the safety of commercial transit through the Red Sea. The Biden administration has been accused of dithering and of losing deterrence, as the Houthis continue attacking with impunity, also openly boasting of targeting US Navy vessels.
For example, soon after Tuesday's attack, The Associated Press wrote as follows:
The #US is moving quickly to organise and condemn #Yemen's Ansar Allah at the UN Security Council, but opposes any ceasefire and condemnation of #Israel's crimes and violations of international laws.— Elijah J. Magnier 🇪🇺 (@ejmalrai) January 11, 2024
The US insists on losing more global credibility.https://t.co/BtzyLRtju8