Red Sea Tensions Rise

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Photo Credit: 12019, via Pixabay

Iran-backed Houthis rebels in Yemen have stepped up their attacks on shipping in the Red Sea. Originally targeting Israeli ships only, they are now targeting Western ships as well with drones, missiles, and occasional boarding.

NATO ships on patrol in the Red Sea have been shooting down drones. The USS Carney, a Navy destroyer, has shot down 14 attack drones who were intent on destroying civilian shipping. Politico reports:

American and British warships shot down over a dozen drones launched from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen on Saturday, the latest onslaught against naval vessels and commercial shipping in the Red Sea by the Iranian-led group.

The Carney, a U.S. destroyer, intercepted 14 “one-way attack drones” according to the U.S. Central Command while the British destroyer HMS Diamond, newly arrived in the region to bolster protection of commercial shipping, also shot down a Houthi drone.

The US Navy’s actions in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden might be too little, too late. Shipping companies are already rerouting their shipping around Africa. The US Navy is also unable or unwilling to deploy one of its carriers in the region. CBS News continues:

Container shipping giant Maersk has ordered ships approaching the Red Sea to halt voyages after Houthi missile strikes on commercial ships in the area. 

Mediterranean Shipping Company announced in a news release on Saturday that their ships “will not transit the Suez Canal Eastbound and Westbound,” after a container ship transiting the Red Sea on Friday was attacked. After suffering limited fire damage, the container ship was taken out of service.

Yemen has seen many civil wars since its slow unification over the 20th century. Egypt intervened in North Yemen Civil War during the 1960s, and Saudi Arabia has been involved in Yemen’s Civil War since 2014. A new international intervention against the Houthis could be in the works if they continue being a threat to shipping.

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