“How an Iranian-Backed Militia Ties Down US Naval Forces in the Red Sea”

So read The Wall Street Journal‘s headline. The article went into it:

Since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, Iran-backed Houthi rebels have lobbed missiles, drones, and other weapons at commercial vessels and warships nearly every day. Although most of the weapons have been shot down, at least 77 cargo ships have been hit, and one British-owned ship carrying 20,000 tons of fertilizer aboard was sunk.
Though largely ineffective, the Houthi attacks have been able to disrupt shipping and keep the US and its allies tied down, frustrating the Navy’s decades-old mission of keeping open the region’s critical sea lanes.

And this:

Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, said in congressional testimony last month that the US-led effort has been insufficient to deter the militant group’s targeting of ships and that the threat will “remain active for some time.”

Yes, it has, but while the article’s news writers mentioned the cause, they don’t seem to understand that they have. They centered the article on the frustrations of the Navy’s continuing inability to reopen those shipping lanes.

The root cause:

The Biden administration has limited its military response to the Houthi attacks, hoping to avoid being drawn into a wider Middle East conflict. But that has meant the flotilla of US and allied warships has spent weeks and even months patrolling the Red Sea on alert—and the attacks have kept coming.

It’s as simple and straightforward as this: Progressive-Democrat President Joe Biden is too timid to take serious action. He’s more interested in appeasement of the Houthis’ boss, Iran, and in a failed Vietnam-esque “measured response” tit-for-tat procedure.

What’s actually needed is a concerted effort to destroy Houthi bases, whether or not they’re launching facilities and whether or not any launching facilities are “preparing to launch.” What’s further needed is active interception or sinking, if interception isn’t feasible, of Iranian shipping bringing arms and ammunition—not limited to ballistic or cruise missiles or drones—to the Houthis. What’s further needed is recognition of the central role Saudi Arabia plays in Middle East security, along with (if not alongside) Israel and the US, and from that recognition active support of the Saudis in their attempts to restore legitimate government in Yemen and destruction of the Houthis.

None of that will happen, though, while Biden is in office, at the continued expense of shipping disruption, cost of lives lost by allowing the Houthis to continue their operations, and unpredictable (in detail, anyway) ripple effects of that continued timidity.