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June 24, 2024

Houthis Vow Continued Attacks on Ships in Red Sea Despite International Condemnation

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Jan 19, 2024

The Houthi rebel group in Yemen has defiantly stated that they will continue attacking ships in the Red Sea linked to Israel, the US, and their allies, despite recent airstrikes by American and British forces targeting Houthi military capabilities. The Houthis have been attacking commercial ships in the Red Sea for months, exacerbating an already dire humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

Houthi Justification for Attacks

In a recent speech, a senior Houthi official stated that it is a “great honor” to be in direct confrontation with Israel, the US, the UK, and their allies. He vowed to continue attacks indefinitely, saying the Houthis have both the right and the capability to cut off the Red Sea.

The Houthis say they are targeting ships connected to the Saudi-led coalition that has been fighting them in Yemen’s civil war. However, only about a third of targeted ships appear to have clear ties to Israel. The Houthis consider Israel, the US, the UK and their allies as enemies for their support of the Saudi-led coalition with intelligence, weapons, and logistics.

Yemen analyst Abdul Al-Shami states:

The Houthis are trying to put pressure on the international community to reconsider the blockade on Houthi-controlled areas. They are desperate to find ways to fund their war effort and governance.

International Response

The attacks have drawn widespread condemnation, with the US and UK carrying out retaliatory strikes. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have called for escorting commercial ships through the Red Sea.

China and Russia have remained neutral, neither condemning nor explicitly approving Houthi actions. The Houthis have promised safe passage for Russian and Chinese ships not connected to the Saudi coalition.

Last week, the UN Security Council passed a resolution affirming freedom of navigation in the Red Sea. However, the Houthis dismissed it as a “political game” and vowed to continue attacks.

Impact on Commercial Shipping

The Houthi attacks have caused rerouting, delays, and increased insurance rates for ships traversing the Red Sea. Some companies have hired armed guards out of caution.

Many ships have altered their digital ship tracking signals to minimize associations with Israel or Saudi coalition countries. Some have declared entirely Chinese or Russian crews to signal neutrality. Insurers have become wary of covering ships that could be Houthi targets.

Traffic Delay Extra Insurance Premiums Probability of Attack
1-3 days 5-15% 10-20% for riskier ships

These disruptions have raised shipping costs for food, fuel, and other essential imports to Yemen. Aid groups warn this could worsen Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, already considered the world’s worst.

Prospects for Resolution

The Houthis show no signs of halting attacks in the near future. However, their military capabilities could be degraded over time by continued US/UK strikes.

New Houthi recruits continue to undergo military training, though their equipment remains primitive compared to Western forces.

Most experts believe a mediated political solution is the only way to end Houthi attacks long-term. However, the Saudi coalition and the Houthis both seem resistant to negotiations currently.

Yemen’s civil war has raged for over 7 years with no end in sight. The Red Sea attacks appear to be the latest phase in an ongoing, complex conflict. Pressure is building on all sides to deescalate tensions, but major obstacles remain. The people of Yemen continue to suffer with no relief from mounting violence.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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