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Strikes in Yemen: a planning role for Canada | Middle East, the eternal conflict

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An RAF Typhoon takes off to join the US-led coalition to carry out airstrikes against military targets in Yemen, targeting Houthis.

Radio-Canada

Canada supported U.S.-British strikes against Yemen's Houthis in the Red Sea in terms of “planning” and “follow-up,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday, as the U.S.-backed group x27;Iran had intensified its attacks on commercial ships to denounce the Israeli military campaign in the Gaza Strip.

The Houthi attacks in the Red Sea were unacceptable and dangerous, Mr. Trudeau said at a press conference in Guelph, Ontario. The international community has a responsibility to intervene, as set out in UN Security Council resolutions, and we support the highly targeted actions taken by the militaries of the United Kingdom and the United States.

Canada does not have military assets in the region. We helped plan and oversee the operation, but the strikes were carried out by the British and American armies.

A quote from Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Earlier in the day, the leader of the official opposition, Pierre Poilievre, said he was in favor of such military action.

Yes, I support these strikes, said the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada during a press briefing in Winnipeg. He also accused the pro-Iranian Yemeni group of endangering the military of allied countries, as well as civilians sailing in the Red Sea.

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He called the Liberal government again to include Iran's ideological army, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, on the list of terrorist entities.

The Canadian Armed Forces deployed three staff officers to participate in Operation Prosperity Guardian in December. Thursday was the first military action taken by the coalition which, according to US President Joe Biden, came after attempts at diplomatic negotiations.

In a statement, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the Royal Air Force had carried out targeted strikes against military installations used by the Houthis. The British Ministry of Defense indicated that four fighter jets based in Cyprus took part in these strikes.

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The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and other warships pass through the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023, during a broader U.S. deployment to the Middle East, in the context of the war between Israel and Hamas.

In response to questions asked at the end of December on Canada's contribution to the operation at sea Red, Canadian officials said the United States had asked its allies to provide ships, aircraft and operational personnel.

Immediately, Canada decided to provide three staff officers; However, the Canadian Armed Forces continue to monitor the situation and examine options to support [the operation] in the longer term, said a spokesperson for the Department of National Defense in an email dated December 22.

The governments of Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand and South Korea joined the United States and the United Kingdom to issue a statement on Wednesday. They argue that if the goal is to defuse tensions and restore stability in the Red Sea, allies will not hesitate to defend lives and protect trade in this vital waterway.

Earlier this week, the Houthis carried out their largest barrage of drones and missiles targeting shipping in the Red Sea. American and British ships and American fighter jets shot down 18 drones, two cruise missiles and one anti-ship missile. On Thursday, the Houthis fired an anti-ship ballistic missile into the Gulf of Aden, which was seen by a commercial ship, but did not hit it.

The rebels, who have carried out 27 attacks using dozens of drones and missiles since November 19, had warned that any attack by US forces on their sites in Yemen would trigger a fierce military response.

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A Houthi military helicopter flies over the cargo ship Galaxy Leader in the Red Sea in this photo published on November 20.

A senior Houthi official, Ali Al-Qahoum, vowed there would be reprisals. The battle will be bigger […] and will exceed the imagination and expectations of the Americans and the British, he said in a message published on the social network “StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV”>The Houthis did not immediately provide information on damage or casualties.

A senior administration official said the United States expected the strikes to degrade Houthi capabilities, but would not be surprised to see some kind of of response. The United States used warplanes based on the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and Air Force fighters, while Tomahawk missiles were fired from destroyers and from a navy submarine.

The Houthis said their attacks were aimed at stopping Israel's war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Their targets have increasingly fewer ties to Israel and are jeopardizing a crucial trade route linking Asia and the Middle East to Europe.

About 12% of global trade typically passes through this waterway that separates Africa from the Arabian Peninsula, including oil, natural gas, grains and everything related to toys and electronic equipment.

With information from The Canadian Press and Agence France-Presse

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