The Biden administration is busy preventing the escalation of war in the Middle East despite missile attacks by Yemen’s Houthis.

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Iran and Yemen mockingly attack the U.S. Navy and Israel, ignoring U.S. aircraft carrier flyers

US Navy aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower. [GettyImages]

In 1991, the U.S. military mobilized all kinds of cutting-edge weapons and devastated Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi army, which was considered the strongest in the Middle East at the time, in just a few days. It clearly showed the U.S. military as the world’s most powerful military and an object of fear to its enemies.

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The ‘past America’ was feared by its enemies

Although the United States began a large-scale reduction in military spending after the collapse of the Cold War, it has long been a country that spends more on defense than dozens of next-ranking countries combined. Super-large aircraft carriers and large strategic bombers are symbols of its military power and have demonstrated powerful deterrence throughout the world.

Past U.S. presidents have not hesitated to use this powerful power in a timely manner. President George HW Bush, known as ‘Father Bush’, punished Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, and President Bill Clinton would have bombed North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear facility if President Kim Young-sam had not stopped him. President George W. Bush attacked not only Iraq but also the Afghan Taliban. In addition to these major wars, there are several cases where the United States has deployed military power to prevent larger conflicts.

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America’s enemies were afraid of strategic bombers flying overhead, super-large aircraft carriers carrying fighter jets advancing right in front of them, and Tomahawk missiles flying in, covering the sky completely black. The ‘United States of the past’ had the military power to destroy at least one small country within a few days, and was willing to use it whenever necessary. But that doesn’t seem to be the case in ‘America now’.

Since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war on October 7, the United States, which supports Israel, has become an enemy of Iran and the Shiite warlords it supports. Pro-Iranian warlords in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen rushed to declare war on the United States and Israel and began attacking American military and administrative facilities throughout the Middle East. Since the first attack began on October 17, at least 70 and as many as 80 attacks have been reported in local media in the Middle East in the two weeks since. Nevertheless, the U.S. Department of Defense does not even disclose the fact of the attack itself unless casualties occur. U.S. Department of Defense spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said at a regular briefing, “America’s deterrence to prevent attempts by Iran and its supported militias to escalate the war is incredibly strong,” adding, “Militia attacks are continuing, but so far there have been no serious casualties.” He said, “I didn’t do it,” causing controversy.

Attacked 80 times and only retaliated 10 times
Drone operated by the Iranian military. [뉴시스]Drone operated by the Iranian military. [뉴시스]

The power of the United States comes from ‘hardware’, symbolized by overwhelming cutting-edge weapons, and ‘software’, such as the brave fighting spirit of soldiers. Traditionally, the United States has been a country that places great importance on its citizens. Therefore, if even one American was attacked by a foreign power, they always rescued or retaliated. This tradition, that if you mess with an American, the entire country will take action, has made the U.S. military the strongest army on the battlefield. At the same time, it also served as a deterrent to prevent America’s enemies from acting recklessly. But now the United States is turning a blind eye to the fact that its citizens are being attacked by rockets, drones, and missiles throughout the Middle East.

The United States, which has been attacked 70 to 80 times, has carried out retaliatory airstrikes in the Middle East less than 10 times. Most of them were areas unrelated to the militants who attacked the base. The Abu Kamal area on the Iraq-Syria border, where the U.S. military mainly conducted airstrikes, has long been a logistics base for various militia organizations. This place is located on the road where various illegal weapons originating from Iran are brought into Syria through the Iraqi highway. Because it is used by so many warlords, it is difficult to know exactly which facility belongs to whom. In other words, the bombing of this place could cause damage to warlords other than the one who attacked the U.S. troops, inevitably leading to another retaliatory terrorist attack. Nevertheless, the reason the United States attacked this place is because there is no way to know who the militants who attacked each base were.

There are countless different militias in the Middle East. In this region, forces are often formed in the form of tribes or families rather than countries, with large and small forces operating as warlords in each region. In Iraq alone, there are more than 100 warlords named in the militia coalition called the ‘Popular Mobilization Forces.’ Even in Syria, it is impossible to estimate the number and size of armed organizations, including pro-government and anti-government militias, as well as Hezbollah affiliates from Lebanon, armed groups and Kurds directly controlled by Iran’s Quds Force. Because of this situation, it is difficult for the United States to track the affiliation of small troops that sneak up at night, launch missiles or drones, and then disappear.

Of course, if the United States decides to respond, it is not impossible to block attacks on each base and accurately retaliate. However, Iran is directly or indirectly connected to most attacks, and a hasty attack could lead to a fight with hundreds of thousands of pro-Iran militias throughout the Middle East. President Joe Biden, who is ahead of next year’s presidential election, will have great fears that he will inevitably lose the presidential election if the ‘war on terror’, which is still engraved as a nightmare in Americans’ minds, is repeated.

This situation, where even if you touch the United States, you are not retaliated against, it is truly a festival for the ‘enemies of the United States’. Middle Eastern warlords can establish internal discipline by creating an atmosphere of holy war against the United States, and if they attack the U.S. military and make a war victory, they can publicize it and receive weapons and material support from Iran, Russia, etc.

In this atmosphere, Iran set an example to the warlords who followed it. On November 25, the Maltese shipping container ship ‘CMA CGM Simmi’, which was leaving Jebel Ali Port in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and headed to Cochin Port in India, was attacked with a Shahed-136 suicide drone. This ship was owned by a Singaporean shipping company in which an Israeli billionaire had a stake. Iran located the ship, which was very far from its coastline, and hit it with a suicide drone.

The problem is that there was a US Navy Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier strike group in the middle of the Shahed-136 drone’s flight path from the Iranian coast to the attacked ship. The Eisenhower aircraft carrier had an escort group consisting of four ships, including an Aegis cruiser, two Aegis destroyers, and a French Navy general-purpose frigate. Iran flew a suicide drone over their heads, destroying civilian ships on the high seas. Under normal circumstances, the U.S. aircraft carrier strike group would have intercepted the Iranian drone flying straight toward them from a distance, but no such measures were taken this time.

Provocative ‘collaboration’ between Iran and Yemeni Houthis
The Gaza Strip was devastated by the fighting between Israel and the Palestinian armed faction Hamas. [뉴시스]The Gaza Strip was devastated by the fighting between Israel and the Palestinian armed faction Hamas. [뉴시스]

When Iran, the ‘godfather’, set an ‘example’ by toying with the US aircraft carrier strike group and destroying ships related to Israel, Yemen’s Houthi rebels, a pro-Iranian armed group, also launched a similar provocation. The Houthis officially declared war on Israel and have been launching missile and drone attacks on southern Israel since October 20th. They went one step further and started all kinds of hostile actions, ignoring the US naval power deployed in the Red Sea. Even if we assume that the missiles and drones launched by the Houthi rebels fly in a straight line to reach Israel,

It must fly 1,700 km, in which case it will inevitably violate Saudi Arabian airspace. Some drones detour to the Red Sea to avoid interception by the Saudi military, and the US Navy’s Bataan Landing Readiness Group and two Aegis destroyers are deployed on this route. In other words, the Houthi rebels are attacking Israel by shooting missiles and drones over the heads of American troops.

Since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war, the United States has been deploying increased naval forces to the Middle East in preparation for an escalation of the war. In the Red Sea, an amphibious preparation group centered on the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship Bataan, Marine Corps troops, and Aegis destroyers supporting it were deployed. The United States thought it could use this force to stop the Houthis’ attempts to expand the war, but reality turned out differently. The Houthis are flying drones and missiles over the heads of US Navy combat ships as if they are mocking the United States.

As the U.S. military did not respond in any way, the Houthis began threatening the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which connects the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. The Houthis, who have taken control of the area close to this strait, which is a key maritime transportation route connecting Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, issued a threat, saying, “We will attack if any ship with even the slightest connection to Israel passes by.” And on November 19, they seized a cargo ship belonging to a company in which Israelis had a partial stake, and on the 26th, they also attempted to seize a chemical transport ship related to Israel. When the Houthis’ capture attempt was thwarted by the U.S. Navy’s block, they launched an unprecedented provocation by firing two anti-ship ballistic missiles into waters where a U.S. destroyer was located.

The missile launched by the Houthis was a model called ‘Asif’, and it was a replica manufactured by importing technology and parts of the Khaleej Faz anti-ship ballistic missile developed and deployed by Iran. This missile, which has a range of 300 km and a warhead of 600 kg, can destroy a large combat ship with just one shot. However, none of the missiles launched by the Houthis failed to reach the U.S. destroyer and crashed into the sea about 10 nautical miles (18.5 km) away. An armed rebel attempted to seize a civilian ship in the presence of a U.S. destroyer and even fired an anti-ship ballistic missile at the U.S. destroyer that intercepted it. Nevertheless, a day later, the U.S. Department of Defense announced an absurd statement, saying, “The criminals who attempted the capture appear to be Somali pirates, and the missile fired by the Houthis appears to have been aimed at the captured ship, not the U.S. destroyer.” An unprecedented provocation occurred in which the Houthis directly attacked a U.S. military vessel, but an absurd situation occurred in which the U.S. Department of Defense reversed its initial announcement to avoid an escalation of war.

As the United States showed no significant response to continued provocations on land and at sea, on November 27, the naval commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard stepped forward and mocked the United States. Iran’s drones and speedboats tracked and monitored the US Navy aircraft carrier group that passed through the Strait of Hormuz and entered the Persian Gulf on November 26, and “the US aircraft carrier group was frightened by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s high-speed craft and obediently responded to control.” claimed. Iran said, “The U.S. aircraft carrier immediately responded using Iranian to all our requests in Iranian, and complied with our control throughout the entire process of transiting the strait,” adding, “They fled to the national territorial waters in the southern Persian Gulf immediately after passing through the strait.” “He mocked the United States.

The United States has the power to capture all Iranian speedboats in the Strait of Hormuz area by launching only a few aircraft mounted on an aircraft carrier. But the Biden administration has no will to use it. And Iran, which has gained confidence by observing the Biden administration’s Middle East policy chaos so far, is mocking the American aircraft carrier flyer rather than being scared even though it is in front of its eyes.

‘Will’ is as important as military power
Demonstrations against Israel were held in Emen. [뉴시스]Demonstrations against Israel were held in Emen. [뉴시스]

No matter how powerful a country is, it cannot prevent war if it cannot show that it is willing to use it against its enemies at any time. The Song Dynasty, the most powerful country in East Asia, was humiliated by the northern nomads even though it had a large army, and Britain and France, which signed the Munich Agreement with the sophistry of ‘peace in our time’ despite having a military power that overwhelmed the German army in the early Nazi era, were the second countries. We had to face the tragedy of World War II. When will the Biden administration, which has overwhelming military power yet only uses diplomatic rhetoric without the will to prevent conflict, realize that its cowardice is harming world peace and lowering the status of the United States as a superpower?

〈This article
Weekly Donga

It was published in issue 1417〉

Israel-Palestine War

Shin In-gyun, CEO of Independent Defense Network

Source: Donga

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