The U.S.-led airstrikes against Houthi targets in Yemen on Friday have faced condemnation from Iran, allied militias in the Middle East, and even one U.S. ally. They have expressed concerns about the potential escalation of conflict in the region.
The strikes were initiated following a sequence of Houthi assaults on vessels in the Red Sea. The Houthis have claimed their intention to target Israeli ships and those en route to Israel, aiming to provide support to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. These Palestinians have been enduring continuous Israeli bombardment for almost 100 days. However, it is worth noting that some of the Houthi targets have shown no apparent link to Israel.
According to the Gaza Health Ministry, the military operation conducted by Israel in Gaza since October 7th has resulted in the loss of over 23,000 Palestinian lives. Israeli officials claim that this offensive was a response to an attack by Hamas, the armed group governing Gaza, on October 7th, which resulted in the death of approximately 1,200 individuals.
Mohammed Abdul Salam, a spokesperson for the Houthi group, expressed solidarity with Gaza through social media. He emphasized that the strikes on Yemen lacked any valid reason, as the Houthi actions posed no threat to international shipping. Furthermore, he pledged that the group would persist in targeting Israeli ships and vessels bound for Israel.
During an interview with Al Jazeera, Abdul Salam indicated that the Houthi forces would respond to the U.S. strikes, stating, “Undoubtedly, the retaliation will have a broader impact.”
Hamas and Hezbollah, supported by Iran, similarly denounced the airstrikes. Hamas labeled them as an “act of terrorism,” a breach of Yemen’s sovereignty, and “a menace to regional security.”
Nasser Kanani, an official from the Iranian Foreign Ministry, condemned the attacks as a “breach of international laws” and emphasized that their consequences would only exacerbate the region’s insecurity and instability.
Oman, a trusted ally of the United States, frequently acts as a mediator between the Houthis and international entities. However, even Oman has expressed apprehension regarding the U.S.-led action. Their criticism stems from the concern that this action may not discourage the Houthis but rather exacerbate the ongoing regional conflict.
Oman’s Foreign Ministry expressed its condemnation of the military action taken by an allied country, highlighting the ongoing bombardment, brutal war, and siege on Gaza by Israel without facing any consequences.
In Bahrain, a different U.S. partner, citizens gathered on Friday to express their discontent with their nation’s engagement in the military coalition, as per Bahraini activists who shared images of the protests. Despite the widespread frustration regarding its involvement in the coalition, the Bahraini government has not publicly recognized its role, although it was mentioned in the joint statement that declared the airstrikes.