Last week, Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen threatened to cut off Red Sea traffic unless their demands are met. It was found that it is through their ports that Iran supplies missiles and other weapons to them.
A UN panel of experts has proved beyond doubt that Iran is supplying missiles that targeted Saudi cities in violation of the arms embargo imposed on the rebels. Possible international action is expected.
By threatening the Red Sea area, the Houthi rebels are waging war not only against the Saudi-led coalition forces that are trying to reinstate the legitimate government in Yemen but also against dozens of countries of the world that use the Red Sea as their trade route. Houthi’s attempt to compromise the security of the Red Sea will buy them more enemies than friends and will ultimately lead to their demise.
The Red Sea is the main trade route that connects the Far East with Europe and the pathway through which millions of barrels of oil are exported daily from the Middle East to the rest of the world. Exports from the Far East including China, Japan and India are also transported through the Red Sea to Europe.
Thus the security of the Red Sea is a red line which the Houthi rebels are now trying to disrupt. Its security importance is reflected by the presence of dozens of forces based in the region particularly in Djibouti, where navies belonging to the US, France, China and others are stationed.
Houthi rebels’ attempt to close the Red Sea is like digging own grave. It will facilitate its elimination at the hands of international coalition, whose main interest lies in the sea route.