US campaign against Houthis limited by lack of intel, Pentagon official says

US campaign against Houthis limited by lack of intel, Pentagon official says
The comments about lack of intelligence on the Houthi's arsenal come amid a continued tit-for-tat between the US and Houthi's in the Red Sea.
2 min read
06 March, 2024
A Houthi attack against he British-owned ship Rubymar led to the sinking of the ship on Saturday [Photo by Al-Joumhouriah channel via Getty Images]

A US official has admitted that the military's ability to assess the success of its campaign against Yemen's Houthis is being limited by its lack of intelligence in the region.

During a recent congressional hearing on US operations in the Red Sea, Pentagon official Daniel B. Shapiro said that the US did not know the full capacity of the Houthi arsenal used for strikes in the Red Sea, although the administration was working to gather that intelligence.

His comments were echoed by former officials who told the Financial Times that because Yemen became a lower priority for the US administration, its intelligence gathering in the country has decreased.

The admission comes amid the Washington-led military campaign, named Operation Prosperity Guardian, against the Houthis. The group has continued to fire ballistic missiles and drones against shipping in the Red Sea, months after the US-led campaign was launched in December.

This includes an attack on Monday against the ship MSC SKY II, which its owners confirmed had been struck by a missile and was continuing towards Djibouti.

On Saturday, the British-owned MV Rubymar ship sank along with approximately 21,000 metric tons of fertiliser destined for Bulgaria.

The ship had been struck by the Houthis on 18 February and had been floating damaged in the Red Sea, abandoned by its crew.

The US-led Operation Prosperity Guardian has been ongoing since December in 2023 with the aim of deterring Houthi strikes against Red Sea shipping.

The operation has seen the US, UK and other nations conduct strikes on 150 targets in Houthi-controlled Yemen, although attacks by the group have continued.