Libya-veteran Cameron central to attacks on Yemen – media
British Foreign Secretary David Cameron's experience of launching airstrikes against Libya, Syria and Iraq while he was prime minister helped him manage the UK's most recent attacks against the Houthis in Yemen on Thursday, iNews reported on Friday.
Cameron reportedly helped assemble the group that struck nearly 30 sites in Yemen, using over 150 bombs, along with Defense Secretary Grant Shapps and Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden, a senior US official told the outlet.
The Foreign Secretary, once the UK's candidate to be head of NATO, reportedly took “full part” in meetings and coordinated with his US counterpart Secretary of State Antony Blinken “on a regular basis.” He was also said to have delivered “warnings” to Iran, considered the Houthis’ most powerful ally.
“We will do what is necessary to protect our ships, to protect maritime–freedom of navigation of important maritime pathways,” Cameron told NBC News on Friday, defending the decision to strike Yemen: “What we were doing, warnings, were not working. The number of attacks increased. The severity of those attacks increased.”
“This escalation has been caused by the Houthis,” he insisted, arguing the airstrikes – which he called both “proportionate” and “legal” – sent “a very clear message to the Houthis. But also to Iran as well.”
Cameron backed airstrikes on Libya during the ill-fated 2011 NATO campaign to take out the country’s leader Muammar Gaddafi. The NATO backed operation, reportedly led by Cameron and Nikolas Sarkozy, left the formerly prosperous nation a failed state and mass migration corridor over a decade later.
He also ordered the bombing of Iraq and Syria during the campaign against the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terror group, though like his US counterpart, then-president Barack Obama, he was unable to muster parliamentary support for military action against Syrian President Bashar Assad, arguably the true target of the allies’ campaign in Syria.
Sunak’s office declined to comment on Cameron’s influence, while the foreign minister is expected to continue making the case for military action in media interviews ahead of a scheduled debate on the issue in Parliament on Monday.
The US and UK vowed to strike Yemen again “in the face of continued threats,” in a joint statement on Friday that was accompanied by further US sanctions directed at Iran.
Earlier this week, the Houthis pledged to continue targeting Israel- and US-linked ships in the Red Sea “until the siege on Gaza is lifted,” and carrie dout what reports have described as their most complex attack yet on an American ship they claimed was providing support to Israel. UK and US ships in the region shot down a swarm of drones and missiles involved in the attack.