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Houthis Threaten International Navigation Twice in 10 Days | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Tugboats are seen near a ship in the Red Sea port of Hudaydah, Yemen. (Reuters)

Riyadh – For the second time in ten days, international maritime navigation in the Red Sea came under direct threat from Yemen’s Houthi militias.

Official reports stated that the militias launched a ballistic missile towards south of Red Sea near al-Mandeb Strait through which a third of the world’s oil carriers pass.

Sources said the missile most likely fell in international waters in the Red Sea.

The missile, launched from Hajjah governorate, is the second threat to the navigation in the Red Sea following the attack on al-Mokha port with a bomb-laden boat.

The attack was deemed by the Saudi-led coalition as a threaten to the international navigation and regional and international security. The coalition added that the threat impeded the arrival of humanitarian and relief aid to the Yemeni people.

Only three months after operation Decisive Storm was launched in 2015, Houthis began targeting navigation in the Red Sea. Back then, the coalition forces took control of an island which the militants made a storage for ready-to-launch missiles.

As the Yemeni army takes control of larger areas of the country, militias are trying to implement a “preemptive” strategy by escalating attacks, whether against Saudi territories or threatening the security of international navigation.

Head of Foreign Affairs Committee of the Saudi Shura Council Zuhair al-Harthi believed that the attempts to impede the navigation is Iran’s main goal through its Houthi affiliates, who had been trained in Lebanon’s Bekaa region under the supervision of the Iran-backed “Hezbollah”.

Harthi informed Asharq Al-Awsat that main goal is to expand Tehran’s presence in the region by destabilizing countries that overlook the Mandeb Strait.

According to his analysis, Iran is using Houthis to destabilize Saudi Arabia’s security through targeting Red Sea navigation.

He underlined the strategic location of Yemen from a geopolitical point of view, noting that it lies south of the largest oil-producing country in the world, overlooks Mandeb Strait and faces the Horn of Africa.

Harthi called on the international community to unite to confront Iran and its continuous attempts to create a chaos in the Red Sea by supporting Houthis pirates. He reiterated that any Iranian control of the Mandeb Strait will affect the international oil supply and create economic turmoil.

He stressed that Iran must be held accountable for its transgressions, adding that it is important for the stability of the region and safety of international navigation.