Threats to freedom of navigation in the Red Sea have increased since Houthi fighters gained control of Yemen’s western coast. They also pose a danger to the region’s security, The Houthis were able to dominate Red Sea navigation, which they then used to threaten a global navigation channel, interrupting the general movement of international trade through the Bab al-Mandeb Strait, which is one of the most significant strategic navigation routes in the Red Sea.
As a result, we will look at how the Houthis have posed a danger to maritime navigation in the Bab al-Mandeb Strait in the following study. What are the motivations for this, and what can be expected with the intensification of activities and threats to the Red Sea?
Reviewing the most recent Red Sea activities.
Ensuring the security and stability of maritime routes is crucial to the global economy. The Bab El Mandeb Strait, which separates Africa from Asia through the Red Sea, is one of the world’s least stable waterways, owing to threats to energy flows to the world market.
As part of the above, early January 2022 saw movements in this area, where the Houthi armed robbery group gained control of a ship. The Emirati “Ruabi” was near the city of Hodeida, and according to a statement by the coalition forces supporting legitimacy in Yemen, it was confirmed that the ship was on a naval mission from an island. Al-Saqtari, even to the port of Jazan, had on board some of the medical equipment needed to equip the Saudi field hospital. The forces of the Yemen Support Coalition demanded that the ship be released urgently and that the crisis should not reignite. The Houthis are a real threat to the security of navigation in the Red Sea and the West Coast, including the Arab Republic of Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, and Kuwait.
It should be noted that the Houthi operations in the Red Sea were not started today. The Houthi community has a record of operations on naval vessels and commercial tankers, which began in 2016 when they were able to control a ship. In the same year, the Houthi group randomly began targeting American ships in international waters with a missile bombing, but according to US military statements, it did not hit any ships, as well as targeting its Saudi squadron near the port of Hodeida at the same time.
In summary, the Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea are not recent; they are old and are aimed at disrupting global traffic in contravention of international law. International concerns stem from the possibility of an escalation that could be out of control in the event that the Houthis launch a missile strike on certain areas, causing significant casualties or damage that could prompt many forces to respond to Iran.
Houthi threats in the Red Sea… Saudi-Iranian dialogue faltered
Iran’s role in Yemen has been extremely influential for many years. Iran has expanded its presence abroad from the Horn of Africa to beyond its presence in the Arabian Gulf and the coastal waters of the Indian Ocean, and has worked to map its maritime influence, expanding, which is evident from the concentration of elements of the naval forces. “For the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, elements of the Revolutionary Guard’s naval forces are stationed”In the Gulf of Aden since November 2008, another factor contributing to the expansion of Iran’s role in the Red Sea has been Tehran’s growing relations with the Houthis in Yemen, where Iranian support for the Houthis has played a key role in transforming them into armed militias, threatening Yemeni national security, as well as the national security of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, and prompting the Arab Coalition to take action to frustrate Iran’s growing role in Yemen in Yemen,”Ahmed Abu Gheit states that Iran aims to control the Straits of Hermes and Bab al – Mandeb, either directly or indirectly, to reflect the continuing threat posed by the Houthis to navigation in the Red Sea.
Here, we can say that Iran is engaging in such activities in order to press the international community, using this paper, to gain greater privileges in its nuclear project. On the other hand, such moves lead to a faltering dialogue with Saudi Arabia because its efforts to support the Houthis undermine the security situation in Yemen and prolong the conflict in the country, which is contrary to Saudi Arabia’s ongoing efforts to strengthen security and stability in Yemen.
The Houthis’ tendency to disrupt United Arab Emirates navigation vessels, which are an important and strategic ally of the Kingdom, would lead to a combination of faltering dialogue between Iran and Saudi Arabia and affect the security of the entire Gulf region and even Arab national security.
Is the conflict in Yemen expanding by sea?
The Houthis have the military capability to control ships in Red Sea waters, a major qualitative development that cannot be ignored. This means that their own fast-boat units with high monitoring and follow-up capabilities can control maritime navigation in the Red Sea and their Straits, in particular Bab al-Mandab, which means that the field of conflict in Yemen can be moved or expanded to include maritime space.
Especially after the recent announcement by the Houthi Group-a UAE vessel, in exchange for the port of Hodeida on the Red Sea coast in western El Blad, which suggests a possible escalation between the Houthis and various powers with interests in the Red Sea, including at the regional level, Israel, which will inevitably be most concerned about this escalation in the southern Red Sea because more than 80 percent of its exports pass through this maritime line
In conclusion, the Houthi militias pose a real danger in the Middle East because they are in the Gulf, Iran’s most visible target, and they represent a real threat to international security, Thus, with the possibility of escalating regional tensions, there is an urgent need for active international intervention based on two things: first, the rescue of the Stockholm Convention; and secondly, the cessation of cross-border attacks. International actors, in particular the permanent members of the Security Council, must revive their active support for United Nations-led mediation.