Title: Growing Calls for Aggressive Action as U.S. Considers Retaliation in Middle East
In a bid to counter the escalating threat posed by militants in the Middle East, military officers responsible for U.S. operations have drafted retaliation options. However, they are not advocating for immediate action, and the final decision lies with President Joe Biden and his administration’s political appointees.
According to anonymous officials, the Pentagon has not briefed President Biden on potential strikes against Houthi targets nor recommended such actions. This has frustrated some current and former military officials who believe that the administration’s initial response downplayed the threat posed by the Iran-backed group’s attacks on ships.
Although the Biden administration recognizes the threat to U.S. troops, they are not convinced that a military response is necessary. They believe that the recent Houthi attacks targeted assets with ties to Israel rather than U.S. warships.
However, concerns are mounting that Iran, a supporter of the Houthis, Hamas, and Hezbollah, could further escalate the conflict in the region. This comes as the U.S. seeks to contain violence in Israel and Gaza.
Senior officials are also worried that a major strike on Houthi positions may undermine efforts to broker a cease-fire between Saudi forces and the militants in Yemen. To aid in protecting global shipping and ending the conflict, the U.S. envoy for Yemen, Tim Lenderking, is currently in the Middle East.
In response to recent attacks on civilians and piracy in international waters, the State Department has started reviewing potential sanctions against the Houthis. However, Saudi Arabia, a crucial U.S. partner in the region, is urging the U.S. to exercise restraint.
The Pentagon is considering the establishment of an international maritime task force to counter Houthi attacks. This task force would function within the framework of the existing Combined Maritime Forces.
Additionally, officials at Central Command have discussed options for strikes against Houthi-held positions in Yemen that launched the recent attacks in the Red Sea. Moreover, concerns have been raised about the insufficient response from the Department of Defense towards attacks on U.S. ground forces in Iraq and Syria by Iran-backed groups.
Many experts argue that stronger action is necessary to deter Iran from continuing its aggressive behavior. The Biden administration has been concerned about escalating tensions in the Middle East since the recent Hamas attacks on Israel. As a result, many within the Department of Defense believe the conflict has already escalated, placing U.S. personnel at increased risk.
Retired Vice Adm. John Miller, former commander of naval forces in the Middle East, has joined the growing chorus calling for more aggressive U.S. action. Miller asserts that it is imperative to address the threat head-on.
As tensions in the Middle East persist, the U.S. finds itself at a critical crossroads. The decision on whether to strike remains in the hands of President Biden, who must consider the implications of military intervention while striving for regional stability and safeguarding American lives.