US and UK Military Offensive Fails to Contain Houthi Attacks

US and UK Military Offensive Fails to Contain Houthi Attacks
US and UK Military Offensive Fails to Contain Houthi Attacks
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In the Red Sea, consecutive airstrikes by the United States and the United Kingdom against the Houthis in Yemen failed to contain the momentum of the offensives carried out by the latter against vessels in the region.

The number of attacks increased significantly – from six to nine in a three-week period. Since the start of American operations on January 11, maritime traffic on the vital Red Sea trade route has decreased by 29%.

The Houthis initially stated that they were attacking Israeli ships or that they were en route to or from Israel. However, since the airstrikes began in January, they have predominantly targeted ships with ties to the UK or US.

A Remarkable Change of Tactics

Out of a total of 28 vessels that have been targeted since the attacks began in November, seven had links to Israeli companies, people or destinations. Of the nine vessels attacked since the airstrikes began, five had British or American connections, and none had demonstrable Israeli links.

Furthermore, the Houthis’ tactics have also changed. Previously, attacks were concentrated at the southern end of the Red Sea, near the Bab al-Mandab Strait, where ships are forced to sail close to the Yemeni coast controlled by the Houthis. Recently, they have chosen to attack further south, in the Gulf of Aden.

Global Impact

The Red Sea is a crucial maritime route, being the most efficient way to transport goods between Asia and Europe. The number of commercial ships using the route has fallen by 50% since the start of Houthi attacks, despite a US-led military partnership involving British Navy ships protecting commercial shipping in the area.

Prices for all types of consumer goods, from fuel to food, will inevitably come under pressure as freight charges rise. Sailing from the Middle East to Europe around Africa, instead of going through the Suez Canal, can add three weeks to travel time and cost more than an additional $2 million.

With fewer ships passing through the Suez Canal, the body that manages the canal says its revenue in January fell 44% compared to the same month in 2023. Revenue is also projected to decline by 40% this year to $6 billion, assuming that the transport crisis in the region will continue.

Preventive measures

Some companies are paying for armed security teams aboard their ships to prevent potential kidnappings. Others have disabled their onboard AIS system, which allows the declared position and route to be monitored, making it difficult for Houthi forces to locate in the event of an attack. Some state “no ties to Israel” on their tracking equipment, or write “armed guards on board” or “Chinese crew,” implying that ship owners believe will deter attackers.


The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Military Offensive Fails Houthi Attacks

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