US and UK Conduct Joint Strikes on Houthi Targets in Yemen, Escalating Regional Tensions

The United States and the United Kingdom have executed strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen utilizing aerial and surface platforms, including fighter jets, backed by several other nations. According to two US officials, a minimum of 30 targets were hit across at least 10 locations.

The targeted sites encompassed command and control infrastructure, an underground depot for storing weapons, and other armaments utilized by the Houthis to threaten international shipping routes, as stated by an official.

The coalition, comprising the US, UK, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, and New Zealand, issued a joint statement reaffirming their commitment to de-escalate tensions and restore stability in the Red Sea while issuing a warning to the Houthi leadership regarding their actions. The statement emphasized their determination to safeguard lives and ensure the unhindered flow of commerce through one of the world’s vital waterways.

In the operation against Houthi targets in Yemen, two US destroyers, the USS Gravely and USS Carney, fired Tomahawk missiles, serving as a component of the offensive, as per a US official. Additionally, F/A-18 fighter jets from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier were engaged in the strikes.

Preceding these strikes, the US intercepted six Houthi anti-ship cruise missiles before they could be launched towards the Red Sea, as confirmed by US Central Command.

These successive strikes come in response to a drone attack that claimed the lives of three US service members and injured many more, prompting the Biden administration to adopt a nuanced approach. Instead of targeting Iran directly, the US is focusing on influential proxies supported by Tehran, signaling a message to Iran’s leadership through indirect means.

While the strikes in Yemen are distinct from those in Iraq and Syria, both operations target Iranian-backed groups in the Middle East. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin asserted that the recent strikes aim to disrupt and degrade the capabilities of the Houthi militia, emphasizing a collective resolve to impose consequences if the Houthi attacks on international shipping and naval vessels persist.

President Joe Biden authorized Saturday’s strikes earlier in the week, emphasizing that they are a direct response to Houthi actions and not indicative of a desire for escalation.

Mohammed Al Bukhaiti, a prominent figure in the Houthi Political Council, reiterated the group’s determination in the face of coalition strikes, emphasizing their commitment to ongoing military operations against Israel until certain conditions are met.

Separately, the US conducted unilateral strikes against sites in Syria and Iraq, hitting over 85 targets, including command centers and weapons facilities. While the administration deemed these strikes successful, it pledged further action against Iranian-backed groups in the region.

Austin characterized Friday’s strikes as the beginning of a broader response, without specifying the timeline for subsequent actions.

Approximately 24 hours after the initial strikes in Iraq and Syria, the US carried out additional strikes in Yemen. These strikes mark the third instance in recent weeks of joint US-UK operations targeting Houthi sites. In previous rounds, the coalition targeted weapons storage facilities and radar sites to impede Houthi attacks on critical waterways.

Despite these efforts, the Houthis have remained resolute, expressing defiance towards the US and UK, reaffirming their determination to confront what they perceive as aggression.

In addition to major strikes, the US has undertaken smaller-scale operations targeting Houthi drones. Recent actions included intercepting drones deemed an imminent threat to shipping lanes and US warships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

World Watch List 2023 Reports, 360 Million Christians Suffer Persecution

(ZENIT News – ACN/Madrid)- Today, more than 360 million Christians experience high levels of persecution and discrimination, according to the Report presented by the Evangelical Christian organization Open Doors “World Watch List of Persecution 2023.” Moreover, throughout the world one out of every seven Christians is persecuted or discriminated because of his faith. According to Ted Blake, Director of Open Doors in Spain, “this figure is one out of five in Africa, two out of five in Asia and one out of 15 in Latin America.”

Picture : TheUNN

Another important conclusion of the study is that Sub-Saharan Africa is facing an enormous humanitarian disaster given the wave of religious violence, whose epicentre is in Nigeria, which has extended to the whole region and which is directed against Christian populations.

“For 30 years we have been presenting annually this World List of Persecution, and never before have we had such high levels of persecution as now,” said Ted Blake.

North Korea occupies the first place in the persecution of Christians, with the highest levels of persecution in its history. The increase is due to the new wave of arrests in virtue of its recent “Law Against Reactionary Thought.” The other countries occupying the first places in the Report are: Somalia, Yemen, Eritrea, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan and Sudan.

The Christian presence continues to decrease in the Middle East, according to Open Doors. It hasn’t been able to recover after the boom of the Islamic State, despite the slight decrease in the number of murdered Christians (with the exception of Syria, which has suffered a wave of violent incidents). “This is the cradle of Christianity and a great part of the Church is losing hope: the discrimination and poverty regime is too heavy to endure, especially for young people who don’t see a future here as believers,” according to Rami Abed Al-Masih, Regional Director of Open Doors’ Legal Defense for the Middle East and North Africa.

Nicaragua is yet another Latin American country to enter the list. Organized crime is being entrenched especially in rural areas where Christians denounce the activities of the cartels. Meanwhile, the Government’s direct oppression of Christians, considered to be the voice of opposition, is widespread in Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba, country where Evangelical Christian leaders were imprisoned without a trial for their participation in last year’s protests.

Improvement Data

Picture : TheUNN

The total number of murdered Christians due to their faith decreased slightly from 5,898 in the 2022 edition of the Report to 5,621 cases registered at present, with the clear exception of Sub-Saharan Africa, as pointed out earlier. The total number of attacked churches under different levels of violence decreased from 5,110 (LMP, 2022) to 2,110 registered cases (LMP, 2023). As the world returns to a degree ”to normality after the pandemic, there seems to be a certain stabilization of violence, although the exact reason for it is the object of discussion and it’s not considered very probable that it forms part of a continued tendency.

Greater tolerance has been promoted in certain countries of the Gulf. Persecution decreased in Bahrein, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. In Qatar persecution also has decreased this year, although this might be due to the massive closing of churches during 2022, which continue closed this year.