Biden Decides One Strategic Failure in the Red Sea Isn’t Enough So He Creates a Second One

After another round of gnat-bite attacks on Houthi terrorists targeting shipping in international waters, Joe Biden’s national security organization has moved to rebrand what looks like a failing effort in the Red Sea into two failing efforts.


The United States has named the ongoing operation to target Houthi assets in Yemen “Operation Poseidon Archer,” according to two US officials. 

The named operation suggests a more organized, formal and potentially long-term approach to the operations in Yemen, where the US has been hitting Houthi infrastructure as the Iran-backed rebel group has vowed to keep targeting commercial vessels in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. 

The US has struck Houthi targets in Yemen seven times since carrying out its first set of attacks together with the UK military on January 11. The first wave of strikes, in which the two countries hit approximately 30 sites across Houthi-controlled Yemen, marked the beginning of Operation Poseidon Archer, one official said.


The officials emphasized that Operation Poseidon Archer is separate from Operation Prosperity Guardian, which is a defensive coalition of nations who have committed naval assets and personnel to bolstering security in the Red Sea. Some of the more than 20 nations in the coalition, including the US and UK, have repeatedly intercepted drone and missile launches from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.

The failure of Operation Prosperity Guardian has been obvious since its inception. The concept seemed based on the idea that US naval power would overawe the Houthis, a premise anyone who has even casually followed the course of the Yemen civil war could have disabused them of. A larger problem was that Operation Prosperity Guardian quickly became a US/UK mission. The Egyptians, who have a significant strategic and monetary interest in Red Sea traffic, refused to participate. Most of our allies also wanted nothing to do with the impending goat-rope. The talk from reliable social media accounts was that the sticking point was the fear that National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan would run the operation out of the National Security Council. CNN can claim that 20 nations are involved only by counting the seconding of staff officers to operation headquarters in Bahrain.



The New Red Sea Naval Coalition Is Pure Biden: Weak, Ineffectual, and Designed to Encourage our Enemies

Biden’s Plan to Safeguard Red Sea Trade From Houthis May Match Afghanistan in Incompetence 

Red Sea Security Coalition Melts Down As Member Nations Refuse to Accept US Leadership

As I pointed out, if the purpose of Operation Prosperity Guardian is to protect freedom of navigation, it is a barking shambles. Insurance prices have skyrocketed, some major insurance syndicates will not underwrite insurance US/UK-related ships in the Red Sea, Suez Canal traffic is lower than during the pandemic, and shipping costs are at all-time highs.


Biden’s Red Sea Strategy Hits High Gear As Insurers Drop US Ships and Suez Traffic Reaches Pandemic Lows

There is no reason to believe that the newly birthed Operation Poseidon Archer had any more critical thought attached to it than Operation Prosperity Guardian.

This is what President JOE BIDEN and his team are working through right now, per NatSec Daily’s conversations with U.S. officials. Their current thinking: there’s no single thing that will pressure the militants to cease launching missiles. It will require a combination of factors over weeks — maybe months — including at least a slowdown in fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

A senior administration official laid it out as follows. The U.S. attacks on Houthi targets will degrade the militants’ abilities to keep shooting at ships, as will the interdiction of vessels carrying weapons to Yemen. Last week’s redesignation of the Houthis as terrorists will increase the sanctions pressure on them, starving fighters of the resources that bankroll operations.


There is no evidence that the attacks by the US and its allies are anything more than a public relations strategy that is supposed to convince insurers the Red Sea is safer than it was. The targets picked by Biden’s advisers will not accomplish the mission. Other than two moderate-sized attacks on the Houthis, the strikes have been calculated to address an immediate threat rather than the threat in general.


BREAKING: US, UK Start Attacks on Houthis; Biden Issues Statement, Then Calls Lid – RedState

American British Forces Hammer Houthis With Air, Missile Strikes

As I noted, the Biden strategy seems to do the minimal damage required to “send a message.”  The first major attack on the Houthis was leaked about twelve hours in advance. That was plenty of time to ensure no one was hurt and only equipment directly involved in the attacks on shipping was hit. Command and control centers and Houthi commanders were ignored.


UPDATED: A ‘Morning After’ Look at the Strike on Yemen and What It Is Likely to Mean 

Far from being deterred, the Houthis seem to be spoiling for a fight.


Houthis Launch Largest Attack So Far Targeting American-Flagged Merchant Ships With American Sailors

If you cut to its core, the Biden strategy is to wait for the Israel-Hamas War to end and the political fallout to settle, declare victory when the Houthis stop shooting, and leave. 

Anyone who says “hope is not a method” hasn’t witnessed Biden’s NSC in action. Whether Ukraine, China, Africa, or the Houthis, hope is all they have in the way of strategic skills.


Eventually, the official continued, regional countries and other nations with an interest in open sea lanes — China, for example — will demand an end to the shipping crisis that has inflated prices and imperiled lives. Meanwhile, Israel’s plan for more targeted operations in Gaza could mean fewer civilian casualties, which would weaken the Houthis’ case for rising to the Palestinians’ defense. An end to the war would remove that rallying cry.

China is not going to get involved for two reasons. First, we are providing China with a windfall of intelligence and operational information. They have three surface combatants in the area who are undoubtedly vacuuming up signals intelligence and analyzing our strike methods. Second, Chinese ships aren’t being targeted, and some shippers are using the automatic identification system (AIS) to identify themselves as Chinese or Chinese-affiliated.

As Israel is the target of the Houthis’s rage, it has no vested interest in making the Red Sea safe for ships going everywhere but Israel. It is in Israel’s interest to have the US hammer the Houthis.


There are two ways out of this. The Biden White House can abandon the cause, let the Houthis control the Red Sea, and just chalk it up as another of the strategic defeats it has authored. The alternative is to go after the Houthis to destroy their ability to acquire shipping targets, engage in piracy, and exercise command and control; along the way, they need to kill every Houthi leader who sticks his head out of his bunker. 



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