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Houthi Rebels Could Be Running Low on Weapons: US Commander

Iran-backed Houthi rebels appeared to be running low on drones and anti-ship ballistic missiles months after it began attacks on cargo ships transiting the Red Sea.

The assessment was made by US Air Forces Central Commander Lt. Gen. Alexus Grynkewich, who said that the pace of Houthi attacks has slowed a bit.

Since Israel launched strikes on Gaza late last year, the Houthis have conducted near-daily attacks on commercial and military vessels, resulting in dozens of casualties.

Grynkewich told the Associated Press that persistent retaliatory strikes by US forces have certainly affected the militia’s behavior. “Their pace of operations is not what it was,” he said.

Though the Houthis are showing signs of depleted weapons supplies, the commander could not say how much is left in their arsenal.

He also admitted that the US did not have detailed intelligence of the Houthis’ capabilities before the attacks began.

Iranian Supply

According to Grynkewich, the fact that Iran is supplying the Houthis with some of the weapons it needs makes it complicated to assess how much they have left.

He said the militia has launched more than 12 anti-ship ballistic missiles, confirming previous Washington estimates that the Houthis have “dozens” in their arsenal.

He also pointed out the importance of understanding how much Tehran is able to restock the group to make a more accurate estimate.

“The challenge for us is understanding what the denominator was at the beginning,” Grynkewich stressed. “In other words, what did they have on hand to start with? We obviously know how much we have struck and we have assessments of how successful those strikes were.”

“The other complicating factor is Iranian resupply.”

Houthi strike
A cargo ship sinking off the coast of Yemen after a Houthi strike. Photo: AFP

Pressure From Iran

If not depleting weapons supplies, Grynkewich said they believe pressure from Iran had contributed to the scaled back attacks of Houthi rebels.

Other Iran-backed rebel groups have reportedly paused their attacks on US bases in the Middle East following a surge in retaliatory strikes by American troops.

But the commander also said he understands the nature of the Houthi group, saying it is more independent and “not quite as responsive” to Tehran orders.

Even if the country tried to crack down on the Houthis or cut off their supplies, Grynkewich said it would still take time before such actions would have an effect.

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