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US Senators Slam Biden's Strategy against Red Sea Operations

29 Feb 2024 03:27

Islam Times - A bipartisan group of US senators has slammed President Joe Biden’s handling of the Yemeni army’s attacks against Israeli-linked vessels, as well as American and British ships in the Red Sea.

The senators on Tuesday contended Biden should seek congressional authorization for ongoing military action against the Yemen-based movement.

The United States has been carrying out near-daily strikes against the Houthi Ansarullah movement, who have said their attacks on shipping are in solidarity with Palestinians.

The Houthi Ansarullah movement said Yemen’s attacks against shipping in the Red Sea will only stop after the Israeli regime ends its aggression and blockade on the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The American strikes have so far failed to halt the  Yemeni attacks, which have upset global trade and raised shipping rates.

Democratic Senator Tim Kaine said during a congressional hearing with Pentagon and State Department officials that he had serious concerns about the legal authority the Biden administration was relying on for the strikes but also what impact they were having.

"Trying to re-establish deterrence, I don't think you're going to do it if the 200 strikes become 400 strikes, 800 strikes, 1,200 strikes," Kaine said.

"I think you will re-establish deterrence when we get a hostage deal that leads us to a truce, that leads us to humanitarian aid into Gaza, that leads us to the ability to discuss, whatever that truce period is, can be extended," he added.

The Pentagon said on Tuesday that its strikes have so far destroyed or degraded 150 missiles and launchers along with radars, weapons storage areas and drones.

Asked whether Yemen’s Red Sea operations would end in case a ceasefire is reached between the Israeli regime and the Gaza-based Hamas resistance movement, said Mohammed Abdul-Salam, who is also the chief negotiator of the Ansarullah movement.

He added that the situation would be reassessed if Israel ended its siege on Gaza and allowed humanitarian aid to enter the Palestinian territory.

Yemenis have declared their open support for Palestine’s struggle against the Israeli occupation since the regime launched a devastating war on Gaza on October 7 after resistance movements in the territory carried out the surprise Operation Al-Aqsa Storm on Israeli settlers and military forces in occupied Palestine.

The Yemeni Armed Forces have said they will not stop retaliatory strikes until unrelenting Israeli ground and aerial offensives in Gaza, which have killed nearly 30,000 people and wounded around 70,000, come to a complete end.

The maritime attacks have forced some of the biggest shipping and oil companies to suspend transit through one of the world’s most important maritime trade routes.

"The Constitution requires Congress to authorize acts of war. ... We swore an oath to follow the Constitution. If we believe this is a just military action and I do, then we should authorize it," Senator Chris Murphy, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Middle East subcommittee.

Murphy, a Democrat, said he would be in talks with his colleagues to introduce such an authorization.

Senator Todd Young, the subcommittee's senior Republican, also questioned the Biden administration's strategy.

"It's imperative that the administration respond to these actions while demonstrating it is both a strategy for deterring aggression and appropriate legal doctrine," said Young. "To date, I have not seen such a strategy put forward."

The US Constitution gives Congress the right to authorize war, but US law gives the White House the authority to launch limited foreign military action.

The United States and the United Kingdom have been carrying out strikes against Yemen since early January after Washington and its allies offered Israel their full support amid attacks by Yemeni forces on Israeli-linked ships sailing to and from the occupied territories through the Red Sea.

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