Skip to main content

Spread thin, US Navy seeks allies' help following Houthi attacks on shipping

With Israel's war in Gaza poised to drag on, Washington is turning to allies to help relieve the burden on the US Navy in pushing back on Iran-backed attacks against commercial shipping in Gulf waterways.
A picture taken during an organized tour by Yemen's Houthi rebels (onboard) on Nov. 22, 2023.

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is seeking the support of its allies to help protect commercial shipping in the southern Red Sea and Bab al-Mandeb strait after Yemen’s Houthi rebels on Sunday hit three cargo vesssels with missiles in an unprecedented escalation.

“This is a first for attacks on international shipping, and that’s a big deal,” the Pentagon’s No. 2 top officer, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Christopher Grady, said during a think tank event in Washington on Monday.

“This is not just a US problem. This is an international problem,” Grady said, adding that the US Navy’s 5th Fleet based in Bahrain would “stand up what we have done in the Strait of Hormuz before,” in an apparent reference to bolstered allied patrols.

“We will continue to work with our allies and partners about potential response options against the Houthis and keep our eye on this,” he said. “Already seven nations have stepped forward and said 'we’re ready.'”

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.