Houthis, Iran, Israel-Hamas, Middle East, Yemen

Past Virtual Event: Houthi conundrum: Defend, degrade, or defer

Houthi militants in Yemen have recently conducted more than 40 attacks on commercial and naval vessels in the Red Sea. Their strikes have disrupted shipping and a significant portion of global trade. The United States expanded naval operations to deter attacks and protect ships, and when that failed, President Biden ordered multiple rounds of strikes against Houthi targets. None of this prevented or even slowed Houthis from firing at civilian and military vessels in the Red Sea. The United States is now engaged in an open-ended, tit-for-tat conflict with the Houthis even though it has no chance to stop them.

Who are the Houthis, and what motivates them to disrupt the flow of goods? Do they pose a significant threat to U.S. interests in the Middle East? Has the U.S. response so far improved or exacerbated circumstances? What else, if anything, can and should the United States do to address this challenge to Middle East sea lanes? What realistic goals and potential outcomes are attainable, and what are the costs and risks associated with various policy options?

Event Speakers


Public Policy Manager & Fellow

Defense Priorities



Defense Priorities

Fatima Abo

Non-Resident Scholar

Middle East Institute

Gregory Brew


Eurasia Group