US names Yemen operation – CNN
The Pentagon has dubbed its campaign of air and missile strikes against the Houthis of Yemen ‘Operation Poseidon Archer’, CNN reported on Monday, citing two unnamed officials.
The name has been applied retroactively to the January 11 attacks carried out by the US and UK, as well as seven more rounds of strikes since, the officials said.
They also said that Poseidon Archer is being treated as entirely separate from Prosperity Guardian, an operation announced in December that officially involves personnel and ships from 20 countries.
The US launched Prosperity Guardian to secure the passage of merchant ships through the Red Sea and the Bab-el-Mandeb, after the Houthis said they would interdict any “Israeli-linked” ships in solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza. After the January 11 attacks, the Yemeni group said that British and American vessels would be fair game as well.
The naming “suggests a more organized, formal, and potentially long-term approach” by the Pentagon to the situation in the Red Sea, according to CNN.
The US military has long used names intended to influence international and domestic perceptions about its operations. The practice of using “heroes of antiquity” and “figures from Greek and Roman mythology,” was introduced by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in WWII. Poseidon is the Greek god of the sea, known in the Roman pantheon as Neptune.
US President Joe Biden admitted last week that the Anglo-American strikes failed to deter the Houthis, but said they would continue anyway.
“When you say ‘working’, are they stopping the Houthis? No. Are they going to continue? Yes,” he told reporters outside the White House.
The US is “clear-eyed about who the Houthis are” and doesn’t expect them to stop their attacks “immediately,” but hopes to “degrade and destroy their capabilities,” the Washington Post reported on Saturday, citing anonymous US officials. Rather than invading Yemen, the US wants to hit “infrastructure” that enables the Yemeni group to fire missiles and drones at merchant vessels, one unnamed diplomat explained.
The Houthis have said they would continue targeting ships until Israel stops its offensive and lifts the blockade of Gaza. West Jerusalem has vowed to “eradicate” Hamas after the Palestinian group’s October 7 raid that claimed the lives of an estimated 1,200 Israelis.
The attacks have impacted the global shipping industry more than the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the maritime advisory firm Sea-Intelligence. Roughly 15% of the world’s sea trade uses the Red Sea and the Suez Canal to deliver goods from Asia to Europe and vice versa.
Facing skyrocketing insurance premiums, major Western carriers such as Maersk, MSC, CMA CGM, and Hapag-Lloyd have chosen to reroute their vessels around Africa, at the cost of time and fuel.