Mon. Jun 17th, 2024

Yemen’s Ansar Allah, also known as the Houthis, has been attacking commercial shipping in the Red Sea, targeting at least 30 merchant vessels from mid-November through mid-December. This has led major shipping lines to reroute their ships around the Cape of Good Hope, resulting in doubled insurance rates and economic effects that are yet to be fully realized.

The attacks have prompted concerns about freedom of navigation, a core global interest for the United States. The Biden administration’s reluctance to act against the Houthis can be attributed to the complex political dynamics surrounding Yemen’s civil war and the fear that intervention against the Houthis will widen the conflict in Gaza.

The Houthis’ history of human rights violations, use of child soldiers, and anti-American rhetoric has been downplayed by some in Washington due to a focus on the political battles within the Beltway. The Biden administration’s decision to reverse Trump’s designation of Ansar Allah as a terrorist organization reflects a broader narrative-driven approach to the conflict.

In response to the attacks, the Biden administration has announced Operation Prosperity Guardian, a multilateral effort to protect commercial shipping. However, this reactive policy may not fully address the root of the problem, as the Houthis, with support from Iran, continue to target shipping in the Red Sea.

To protect freedom of navigation, the United States may need to take more direct action against the Houthis, similar to past efforts to protect shipping in the Gulf. Critics of this approach may argue that it could lead to another open-ended conflict in the Middle East, but the protection of vital national interests may necessitate a more proactive response.

In conclusion, the United States still has interests in the Middle East, and freedom of navigation remains a critical concern. While the political complexities of the region may pose challenges, the protection of commercial shipping and global economic stability may require a more assertive approach to address the threat posed by the Houthis.

By admin

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