US and UK Strike Yemen Rebels After Ship Attacks

US and UK launch strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen after Red Sea ship attacks

by Victor Adetimilehin

The US and UK have launched air and sea strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen, in response to the rebels’ attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea. The strikes, which took place overnight, hit nearly 30 locations, including missile launch sites, radar facilities, and command centers.

The US and UK said the strikes were necessary to protect international shipping and deter further aggression by the Iran-backed Houthis, who have been fighting a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen since 2015. The Houthis have claimed responsibility for several attacks on ships heading to or from Israel, in solidarity with the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

The strikes have raised fears of a wider escalation in the region, as Iran warned that the attacks on the Houthis would fuel “insecurity and instability”. Critics have accused Iran of denying the charge that it supplies weapons and training to the Houthis. Saudi Arabia, which supports the internationally recognized government of Yemen, called for restraint and “avoiding escalation”.

Impact on Oil Prices and Shipping Routes

The Red Sea is a vital route for global trade, especially for oil and gas. About 15% of the world’s shipping traffic passes through the Red Sea, which connects Europe and Asia via the Suez Canal. Any disruption or threat to the security of the waterway could have serious consequences for the world economy.

The strikes have already affected the oil market, as some tanker companies have decided to halt or divert their ships from the Red Sea. Oil prices rose by more than 1% on Friday, as traders feared a supply crunch. Brent crude futures settled at $78.29 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures climbed to $72.68.

The strikes also coincided with a record level of crude oil imports by China, the world’s biggest energy consumer. China bought more than 12 million barrels per day of crude oil in 2023, as its economy recovered from the pandemic-induced slump. China’s demand for oil has been a key driver of the global oil market, which has been recovering from the historic collapse in 2020.

Future Prospects for Peace in Yemen

The prospects for peace in Yemen have been cast into shadow by the strikes, which have mired the country in a devastating civil war for more than six years. The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, displaced millions, and pushed the country to the brink of famine.

The lack of trust and cooperation between the warring parties has hampered the UN’s efforts to broker a political solution to end the war. Critics have accused the US and UK of selling arms and providing logistical support to the Saudi-led coalition in the conflict.

The US and UK have urged the Houthis to stop their attacks and engage in dialogue, stating that they are committed to finding a peaceful resolution to the crisis. The Houthis, however, have vowed to continue their resistance and defend their territory. They have also accused the US and UK of hypocrisy and aggression, and said they have the right to respond to any attacks on their soil.

The strikes have shown that the war in Yemen is far from over, and that the humanitarian situation could worsen if the violence escalates. The international community has called for an immediate ceasefire and a resumption of negotiations, to end the suffering of the Yemeni people and restore stability to the region.

Source: Reuters

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