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Risch on U.S. Coalition Strikes Against Houthis

BOISE, Idaho – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the following statement on the joint U.S.-UK strikes against the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen:

“The Biden Administration was right to finally take action against the Houthis in Yemen, but credible deterrence has not been restored. This cannot be, nor appear to be, a one-off response that is merely a retaliation instead of a strategic operation to deter the Houthis on a permanent basis. Iranian-backed militia groups in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen continue to undermine vital American interests in the Middle East. While we evaluate the impacts of yesterday’s strikes against the Houthis, the administration has a track record of overly narrow military responses. Instead of stopping attacks against U.S. troops and diplomats, weak U.S. responses have eroded deterrence and created an incentive to attack Americans. The United States needs a strong policy of sanctions and other actions that end Iran’s support for proxy attacks across the region. 

“For Iran to believe we are serious about protecting our interests, the United States must directly target the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, namely commanders who train, equip, and direct militia groups. We must also impose real costs on the Houthis, and eliminate Houthi transit, assembly, launch, and command and control locations facilitating Houthi aggression. Short of continued military activity, we must make clear that this spate of Houthi attacks warrants Houthi re-designation as a foreign terrorist organization. While we have an interest in a lasting peace in Yemen, the United States and its partners must demand a cessation of attacks as a prerequisite for continuing peace discussions and directly tie attacks to requested Houthi concessions.

“The administration’s Iran policy has made the region and Americans less safe. Decisions to pursue proximity talks with the regime and unfreeze funds in an effort to slow enrichment and decrease Iranian terrorism have been a catastrophic failure. It’s past time the United States adopt and implement an Iran policy designed to contain, degrade, and ultimately eliminate Iran’s ability to fund terror in the Middle East and around the world.”