Press "Enter" to skip to content

British RAF strikes on Houthis have ‘limited impact,’ according to analysts

The ongoing The Ango-American airstrikes against the Houthi group in Yemen has a limited impact on the group’s military capabilities, according to analysts.

The strikes, using RAF aircraft based at Akrotiri in Cyprus – began last month in response to Houthi attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea.

On 4 February, RAF Typhoon FGR4s flying from Akrotiri were responsible for hitting three targets, the Ministry of Defence said, which it added were “identified using careful intelligence analysis”.

However, while some analysts believe the strikes have degraded Houthi capabilities, others argue the group has absorbed the attacks due to its battlefield experience over many years of conflict.

Yemeni military analyst Ali Dhahab told Xinhua, the Chinese news agency, the strikes have targeted both Houthi personnel operating military assets as well as the hardware itself, including weapons, equipment, and techniques. However, he said, “the damage has not reached the level hoped for by the U.S., Britain, and other Houthi opponents in Yemen and the region.”

The mountainous terrain of northern Yemen, where the Houthis are embedded, provides ample opportunities for concealment from overhead surveillance and targeting. The group has become highly skilled at camouflaging installations, frequently relocating equipment, and absorbing attacks, according to Dhahab.

Other analysts believe that after weathering thousands of Saudi-led coalition airstrikes since 2015, the Houthis have developed robust mechanisms for minimizing losses from airstrikes.

Colonel Hamid Abu Badrin, a military observer, said, “The group had invented methods to absorb strikes through concealment, relocation, and dispersion of military capabilities.

He pointed to the Houthis’ continued fierce missile attacks, including on ships in the Red Sea, as evidence that “the campaign has not substantially degraded their military power.” Abu Badrin said, “The Houthis have a large Iranian-supplied missile arsenal and have modified old Yemeni army stocks.”

Limited intelligence on Houthi assets and the diffusion of their capabilities across Yemen’s rugged terrain likely limit the effectiveness of the air campaign, and their decentralized command structure helps the group endure attacks on leadership figures, according to the analysts.

The leader of Yemen’s Houthi group has dismissed the ongoing American-British military strikes as a failure.

“The American and British strikes are a failure, have no effect, and will not limit our military capabilities,” Abdul-Malik al-Houthi said earlier in the month, claiming that instead, the strikes would help the Houthis develop their capabilities.

The Houthis in Yemen have escalated missile and drone attacks targeting Israel, commercial vessels, and navy ships of the United States and Britain in the Red Sea since mid-November last year. They say these attacks are in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza amid heightened tensions between Israel and militant groups there.

British military installations in Cyprus branded ‘bases of death’

British military installations in Cyprus have been branded ‘bases of death’ in the headline of a leading feature on the…

Famagusta Gazette