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Houthi Attacks On Ships Soar Most This Year In June As Critical Maritime Chokepoint Ablaze In Conflict

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Houthi Attacks On Ships Soar Most This Year In June As Critical Maritime Chokepoint Ablaze In Conflict

About eight months after Iran-backed Houthi rebels began seriously disrupting maritime traffic in the southern Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, June recorded the highest number of missile and drone attacks on commercial vessels this year and the second-largest since December. As instability in the Middle East intensifies, Houthi rebels have sunk one commercial vessel in recent weeks and have introduced kamikaze drone boats to their arsenal. 

Despite efforts of the US, British, and European navies sailing in the critical maritime chokepoint, attempting to ensure freedom of navigation, the Houthis managed to conduct 16 confirmed attacks on commercial vessels in June, according to Bloomberg, citing new data from naval forces operating in the Middle East.

The surge in attacks is alarming, considering President Biden’s Operation Prosperity Guardian, launched at the start of this year to ensure freedom of navigation, has been without success in neutralizing threats and restoring security for commercial shipping. Instead, the consequence of failure has been emerging supply chain snarls and supply shocks, resulting in soaring containerized shipping rates. 

“The Houthis have proven to be quite the formidable force. This is a nonstate actor that fields a larger arsenal and is really able to give a headache to the Western coalition,” said Sebastian Bruns, a naval expert at the Center for Maritime Strategy and Security and the Institute for Security Policy at Kiel University in Germany, who was quoted by Foreign Policy

Bruns said, “This is as high-end as it gets for now, and when navies are having a problem with sustainment at this level, it is really worrisome.”

So, eight months on, the disruption to the critical shipping lane is getting a lot worse as rebels have expanded their use of uncrewed service vessels to attack commercial vessels. These are much harder to track than anti-ship missiles. 

And the Houthis aren’t the only problem.

A European naval commander told Bloomberg that criminal groups have reinvigorated piracy networks off the Somalia coast.

Pirates “think there is a window of opportunity due to the Houthis’ presence,” with increased maritime traffic along Somalia’s coast due to commercial vessels re-reouting from the Red Sea to Cape of Good Hope, said Vice Admiral Ignacio Villanueva, who commands a European Union operation tasked with curbing piracy, adding, ”They are really trying to stretch the Western, international operations’ limits and capabilities.”

The world is dangerously ablaze as Biden’s foreign policy decisions backfire. Even before Biden, the world was fracturing into a multipolar state, one full of conflict. Now, Biden faces calls from within his own party to step down amidst speculation over his cognitive decline. This is not a great look for America. 

Tyler Durden Wed, 07/03/2024 – 17:00

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