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Iranian and Hezbollah commanders help direct Houthi attacks in Yemen

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Reports indicate a troubling escalation in Houthi attacks on vessels in the Red Sea, with sources revealing the active participation of commanders from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and Lebanon's Hezbollah group. 

These foreign entities are allegedly on the ground in Yemen, overseeing and directing Houthi attacks on shipping. The Houthis, who have been armed, trained, and funded by Iran, have intensified their assaults on commercial vessels since the Gaza conflict in October 2023.

In the wake of the Gaza war, Iran has increased its weapons supplies to the Houthis, providing advanced drones, anti-ship cruise missiles, precision-strike ballistic missiles, and medium-range missiles. The Houthi attacks, initially seen as expressions of solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, have evolved into a significant threat to maritime security in the Red Sea.

IRGC commanders and advisers are reportedly offering expertise, data, and intelligence support to identify vessels destined for Israel, marking them as Houthi targets. The strategic aim appears to be disrupting maritime trade and projecting Iran's influence by mobilizing regional Shia militias. The attacks have already impacted global shipping through the Bab al-Mandab strait, triggering U.S. and British airstrikes on Houthi targets in Yemen.

Despite denials from Iran and Houthi spokespersons, evidence suggests a coordinated effort involving Iranian guidance on shipping routes and targets. The attacks align with Iran's broader regional strategy, showcasing its ability to threaten maritime security.

The situation poses significant risks, with the disruption of maritime trade affecting the Suez Canal, and vessels re-routing to a longer East-West route. The international community must closely monitor developments in the Red Sea and respond effectively to safeguard maritime interests. The involvement of foreign entities, particularly Iran and Hezbollah, raises concerns about the widening impact of regional conflicts on global maritime security.

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Source: Reuters