Are Biden’s Strikes Against the Houthis Bringing America Closer to War? 

President Joe Biden’s military strikes against the Houthis in Yemen have not worked, according to Biden himself. Yet he insists they will continue. Biden took military action against the Houthis together with the United Kingdom to “restore America’s deterrence” and to prevent the Yemeni military group from attacking ships in the Red Sea. But rather than pacifying tensions in the Red Sea, the military strikes have inflamed them further. Does this dangerous escalation risk bringing the US into a wider war in the region? Are the Houthis likely to back down, and if not, does Biden have an exit plan to prevent dragging the U.S. into yet another war in the Middle East? Could a ceasefire in Gaza have prevented this escalation, or are the Houthis driven by other interests, including their own political ambitions? If a Gaza ceasefire can temper the tensions in the Red Sea, why is the Biden administration so reluctant to consider this diplomatic option?

To discuss these questions and more, the Quincy Institute held a virtual panel featuring Bruce Riedel, a 30-year veteran of the CIA and senior advisor to four U.S. presidents, Akbar Shahid Ahmed, Senior Diplomatic Correspondent at the Huffington Post, and Shireen Al-Adeimi, QI non-resident fellow. Trita Parsi, executive vice president of the Quincy Institute, moderated.


Bruce Riedel

Bruce Riedel is a nonresident senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institute. He served thirty years in the Central Intelligence Agency serving overseas in the Middle East and Europe, as well as eight years in the National Security Council at the White House for four presidents. A graduate of Brown, Harvard and the Royal College of Defense Studies in London, he is the author of eight books. His most recent book is "America and the Yemens: A Complex and Tragic Encounter", which was published in August 2023.

Akbar Shahid Ahmed

Akbar Shahid Ahmed is the Senior Diplomatic Correspondent for HuffPost, based in Washington, D.C. A native Pakistani, Akbar has reported from across the Muslim-majority world, Europe, Asia and the U.S. In 2023, he was chosen for the East-West Center's Korea-United States Journalists Exchange, and in 2022, he won a Boell Transatlantic Media Fellowship to spend the fall reporting in Poland and Lithuania. In 2019, Akbar became the first-ever Pakistani journalist to secure a press credential to report from Israel-Palestine.

Shireen Al-Adeimi

Shireen Al-Adeimi is a non-resident fellow at the Quincy Institute and assistant professor of language and literacy at Michigan State University’s College of Education. Since 2015 she has played a leading role as an anti-war and anti-intervention advocate, focusing on U.S. participation in assisting the Saudi-and UAE-led intervention of her native Yemen. She has written on this topic for In These Times, Business Insider, and NBC Think, and has been interviewed and quoted by national and international media outlets including NPR, NBC, Al Jazeera, the BBC, The Nation, Middle East Eye, The Intercept, and Current Affairs.

Trita Parsi

Trita Parsi is the Executive Vice President at the Quincy Institute. He was the 2010 recipient of the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order and was named by the Washingtonian Magazine as one of the 25 most influential voices on foreign policy in Washington D.C. in both 2021 and 2022. Parsi is an expert on US-Iranian relations, Iranian foreign politics, and the geopolitics of the Middle East. He is the co-founder and former President of the National Iranian American Council. He received his PhD in foreign policy at Johns Hopkins’ School for Advanced International Studies.