Most of America’s allies are AWOL yet again when it comes to countering Houthi efforts to shut down the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden international water routes. Even American neocons must have thought this was a perfect burden-sharing moment—if not now, against renegade Houthi rebels threatening globally used sea lanes, then when?
Only Britain has joined the U.S. naval task, “Operation Prosperity Guardian,” because France, Spain, and other NATO partners have no stomach for risking their sailors and expensive vessels to counter make-shift Houthi rockets and attack drones. Of course, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and UAE are also on the sidelines, again, because the Houthis are actually formidable foes. Much easier to let Uncle Sam do it.
Typically, more than two decades after 9/11, the Washington national-security establishment is again focused on our overseas posture rather than the homeland. That is why, mindful of deadly groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, the Pentagon has put U.S. troops in the Middle East on code red. The State Department has warned traveling Americans to avoid the entire region and ordered its diplomatic missions on high alert.
Back at the Department of Homeland Security, officials busily continue implementing Secretary Mayorkas’s signature policy: admitting foreign migrants into the country quickly with little to no vetting. There was a time, even under the Obama administration, when DHS put out threat-level alerts inside the United States in response to world events. While the department surely overused that blunt color-coded warning system, at least DHS from that era gave attention to homeland security.
Today, this warning responsibility falls to the DHS National Terrorism Advisory System, which currently has no advisories for the American public, even after U.S. officials have encountered some 185 watchlisted terrorist suspects so far in the waves of illegal migrants.
Many observers dismiss out of hand the idea that the faraway Houthis can threaten the U.S. homeland. It is true that the Houthis have not, so far, engaged in rampant al Qaeda-like terrorism, and their capacity to project military power might appear limited to firing missiles and flying drones. Yet part of the Houthi strategy in interdicting vessels in the Red Sea appears to be to draw the United States back into a shooting Middle East war.