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Deep Dive: Why western airstrikes will likely empower the Houthis

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The Iran-backed Houthis, formally known as the Ansarullah movement, have intensified attacks on vessels in the Red Sea since November 2023, targeting shipping related to Israel in an attempt to influence a Gaza ceasefire.

With at least 27 attacks so far, the Houthis have damaged some ships, including the capture of the Israeli-linked Galaxy Leader using commandos in a helicopter operation, highlighting a strategic threat to maritime security.

This escalating environment prompted major shipping companies like COSCO, Hapag-Lloyd, and Maersk to reroute through the Cape of Good Hope, and oil majors, including British Petroleum, suspended Red Sea shipping. This shift could disrupt around 12% of global maritime trade and nearly a third of the world's water-borne container traffic, valued at approximately USD 1 trillion annually.

Despite condemnation from the United Nations Security Council and military interventions, including 'Operation Prosperity Guardian' with naval reinforcements from Britain, Denmark, Singapore, and the US, as well as airstrikes, the Houthis remain undeterred.

The complex Houthi attacks, intercepted by British and US forces on January 9, involved drones, cruise missiles, and an anti-ship ballistic missile. However, Western airstrikes, while aimed at preserving prestige and preventing energy price hikes, fail to address the root causes of the conflict. The security crisis in the Red Sea is deeply rooted in the origins of the Yemen conflict, Houthi ideology, and Iran's support for the movement.

The long-term implications of foreign military intervention in Yemen include potential further militarization of the Red Sea, enhanced sanctions enforcement against the Houthis, increased challenges for shipping and energy companies, and a volatile regional security outlook. The situation calls for a comprehensive approach addressing the root causes to achieve stability in Yemen.

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Source: Amwaj Media