As I’m sure readers realize, an Iranian proxy, the Houthis of Northern Yemen, have been firing a large number of attack drones and various types of missiles at commercial shipping in the Southern Red Sea and at US warships. Obviously, the rag-tag tribe of Houthis have neither the know-how or the resources to make such weaponry. They are receiving these weapons from Iran. What is Iran attempting to accomplish? I think some of the answers to that question are obvious. First, let’s review the facts of this confrontation.
Recently, A French warship shot down two Houthi-fired drones, and a US warship, the USS Carney, shot down additional drones (first link). I believe that same US warship recently shot down 14 drones and missiles in one day to thwart Houthi attacks. The link reports a Norwegian ship was hit by a drone. It also notes that it is very expensive to engage the relatively cheap Iranian-made drones fired by the Houthis. It reports the attack drones cost thousands of dollars, but the interceptor missiles fired by NATO nations cost inappropriately $2 million each. This is not a cost-effective solution for countering the Houthi attacks. It would be vastly more cost-effective and and strategically effective for the USA and other nations to attack the Houthi launching sites to destroy as many of the Iranian-made drones and missiles on the ground before they can be fired. This solution is obvious, and it is unclear why the Biden administration is so timid in confronting the Houthi threat. Biden’s timidity will only increase the aggressiveness of the Houthis.
The second link comments on the costs imposed on global trade by these Houthi attacks. Insurance costs are being raised substantially for any civilian merchant ship traversing the Red Sea to get to the Suez Canal on their way to Europe or the Americas. Many shipping companies are opting to send ships via a safe but more expensive route around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa. That route is safer, but it will result in large shipping delays–keeping ships at sea for much longer and raising all shipping costs. The link discusses how these shipping delays will increase costs for oil and for every other type of product shipped via large container ships. The added shipping costs and time delays will be inflationary for products throughout every supply chain. I think Iran is hoping that the rise in inflation will move the world’s nations to put more pressure on Israel to end its war versus Hamas.
The third link relates that already over 100 missiles and drone attacks have been launched at merchant ships and NATO warships by the Houthis. It adds the USA is trying to assemble an international coalition of nations to oppose the Houthi actions. So far, American efforts to assemble a real fighting force have been underwhelming. France and the United Kingdom do have a few warships in the area and have shot down Houthi munitions, but the USA has mostly furnished the warships that have shot down these Iranian-supplied drones and missiles. Italy is reportedly planning on sending a warship to help, but other nations are offering mostly minimal or lip-service contributions. The fourth link reports the Houthis have threatened to turn the Red Sea into “a graveyard” for the world’s merchant fleet unless Israel stops its war versus Hamas. Israel has made it clear that such a halt in its war on Hamas will not happen, so we can expect the crisis in the Red Sea to go on for a while.
The American warships in the Red Sea have been active. The USS Carney shot down 14 missiles and drones in one day recently (fifth link and sixth link). This gives an insight, I think, into one of Iran’s goals in having the Houthis fire so many missiles and drones in one surge. Iran is testing the ability of the US Navy’s defensive air-to-air missiles to intercept Iranian missiles, drones, etc. Iran can’t like what it sees. The US Navy ships have been shooting down the Iranian weapons with relative ease it seems. If there have been any “misses,” I haven’t seen them mentioned anywhere.
So far, nations have been unenthusiastic about signing on to Biden’s “coalition” to oppose the Houthi attacks. Egypt, Israel and Saudi Arabia are all prominent non-members of the coalition (seventh link). Egypt, which is significantly dependent on transit fees charged to ships going through the Suez Canal, has a strong reason to oppose the Houthi attacks, but Egypt has not signed on. Why? Saudi Arabia, which has been hit in the past by Iranian missiles fired by the Houthis, has a reason to join. Israel, which has every reason to join since the Houthis are openly allied to Hamas, but so far has not done so. I suspect the Biden administration is urging the Israelis to stay on the sidelines for now as some nations don’t want to be seen openly siding with Israel at the moment. However, if any Iranian missiles fired by the Houthis hit Israel, I suspect the Israelis will take strong independent action vs. the Houthis. Some nations also see that the response of the Biden administration has exhibited the usual strategic weakness it has shown all along, and these nations may not want to join a coalition led by a weak-willed leader. President Biden set the tone for his foreign policy when he ordered the US forces to abandon Afghanistan and flee like scared rabbits, reportedly abandoning many tens of billions of dollars worth of American military equipment. This was perhaps the most cowardly act by any US president in American history, and all the nations saw Biden’s weakness and defeatism. Also, even though some of the hostages taken by Hamas held American citizenship, Biden has done little or nothing to get those US hostages released by Hamas. Indeed, there is a report at least one US citizen has died in captivity (eighth link). What was the reaction of the Biden administration? The reaction has been minimal.
If the USA had a muscular, pro-American president, those US citizens would have been released very early in this war. Indeed, the Biden administration seems to be following an appeasement policy toward Hamas and the Houthis. Biden does nothing to fight against Hamas to recover US citizens and Biden only has the US Navy fighting defensively in the Red Sea. When will US forces go on the offense? Such action is long overdue! [By the time you read this, Biden may have taken some offensive action. I typically write my posts a few days ahead of their dated posting so events can sometimes change in the interim period between writing and posting them.] If we had a strong American president, we would have had B1, and B-52 bomber missions flattening any and all Houthi missile- and drone-launching sites in Yemen by now. A strong American president would have told the Houthis, at minimum: “We will annihilate all your military hardware and facilities unless you cease fire and convince Hamas to release all US hostages.” There does not seem to be any strong, pro-American voices anywhere in the Biden administration.
Iran is surely testing Israel (the “Little Satan”) and the USA (the “Great Satan”) in this confrontation in the Red sea. Iran likely guessed wrong that it was a good time to tell Hamas to attack Israel because Israel was deeply divided internally over political matters. However, the Hamas attack united Israelis into one strong group who realized they had to unite to save their nation. Iran is also likely not pleased to see that their missiles can easily be shot down by the US warships. However, Iran has got to be pleased at the very weak response of the Biden administration to the twin provocations of having Hamas kidnap some American citizens and having the Houthis all but shut down the Red Sea maritime lanes. Maybe the USA will get a strong, pro-American president after the 2024 elections, but Biden’s weak responses make a wider Mideast war more, not less, likely. Iran is more likely to provoke a wider war in the Mideast while the USA has a weak leader. Iran likely won’t want to provoke a wider war if a Republican wins the next election. However, the Mideast is a cauldron of conflict, and a wider war may occur whether it is wanted or not. For example, Israel may decide it has had enough and launch preemptive strikes on Iran itself.
From a biblical point of view, Iran is fulfilling its role as a member of the Gog-Magog alliance (Ezekiel 38:5 identifies Iran by its ancient name, ” Persia”). Iran is also helping Russia in its war against Ukraine because the US has only got so many weapons in its stockpiles. Having to send large quantities of munitions to both Ukraine and Israel at the same time will put a severe strain on US war stocks of many types of weaponry and munitions. The wars by Hamas and the Houthis against Israel and against global shipping could also yet be followed by a war by Hezbollah versus Israel. If that happens, I fully expect Israel to strike directly at Iran. I’ve heard several Israeli spokesman liken Iran to the “head of the snake” and liken Hamas and Hezbollah as part of the snake’s “tail.” These wars also help China as China is closely watching the draw down of US weapons stockpiles to determine whether now would be a good time to attack and invade Taiwan. The world is in a more precarious situation than most realize. Now is a very bad time to have a US president who manifests increasing signs of senility (as a host of media stories have discussed).
Long-time readers are familiar with my views on how biblical prophecy is being fulfilled in modern events. New readers are urged to review my articles: Are We Living in the Biblical Latter Days?, What Ezekiel 38-39 Reveal about a Future World War III and The USA in Biblical Prophecy. These articles will demonstrate just how relevant biblical prophecy is to modern events, and how modern events are implementing the “script” that is contained in the Bible’s prophecies.
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