International Law Studies


This article reviews recent maritime incidents involving Houthi missile and drone attacks on commercial shipping and foreign warships off the Arabian Peninsula, purportedly in response to the Israeli military operations in Gaza following the October 7, 2023, Hamas-led attack that killed over 1,300 Israeli civilians. The article discusses the legality of the U.S. response to those incidents, including U.S. counter-piracy operations and the right of unit and collective self-defense. The article also discusses whether the United States should consider conducting land-based attacks on Houthi missile and drone sites in Yemen under the principle of self-help to preempt further attacks on U.S. and foreign-flagged ships operating in the region.