Monday, April 15, 2024

White House Accuses Iran of Supporting Houthi Attacks in Red Sea

HomeWARWhite House Accuses Iran of Supporting Houthi Attacks in Red Sea

The Biden administration on Friday accused Iran of providing support to Yemen’s Houthi rebels to carry out attacks on commercial ships sailing in the Red Sea. This support allegedly includes weapons and tactical intelligence.

The White House declassified intelligence purportedly showing Iran’s involvement in the Houthi attacks on merchant vessels. These attacks have resulted in rerouting of global maritime trade and impacted energy and food shipments.

Adrienne Watson, a spokesperson for the White House, said visual analysis revealed nearly identical features between Iran’s KAS-04 drones and the unmanned aerial vehicles used by the Houthis. She also cited consistent features between Iranian and Houthi missiles.

“We know that Iran was deeply involved in planning the operations against commercial vessels in the Red Sea,” Watson said. “This is consistent with Iran’s long-term material support and encouragement of the Houthis’ actions in the region.

Iran has repeatedly denied aiding the Houthi rebels, who have been engaged in a civil war in Yemen against the internationally recognized government since 2014. The Houthis currently control territory in Yemen including the capital Sana’a.

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Independent verification of the White House’s claims has not been possible. The White House has stated the Houthis rely on Iranian technology and intelligence to target vessels in the Red Sea shipping lane.

“This is an international challenge that demands collective action,” Watson said.

The declassified intelligence comes after reports of another attack on an Israel-affiliated ship off India’s coast on Saturday. The attack has not been claimed by any group so far.

A Liberian-flagged chemical tanker was allegedly struck by a drone approximately 200 km southwest of Veraval, India, according to the British company Ambrey Maritime Security.

“Some structural damage was also reported and some water was taken onboard. The vessel was Israel-affiliated. She had last called Saudi Arabia and was destined for India at the time,” Ambrey stated.

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Multiple shipping companies have suspended operations in the Red Sea following recent attacks claimed by the Houthis. Companies taking the route around Africa instead of the Red Sea include Mediterranean Shipping Company, France’s CMA CGM and Denmark’s Maersk.

The Houthis described the maritime attacks as retaliation for Israeli airstrikes on Gaza earlier this year. They warned of further strikes on “American battleships” and “American interests” if attacked.

Last week, the U.S. intercepted 14 drones allegedly originating from Houthi-held territory in Yemen using a guided-missile destroyer. After the drone interceptions, the U.S. announced a maritime force with over 20 participating countries to protect commercial ships in the Red Sea.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry rejected Israeli accusations of guiding Houthi military activities last month. The ministry also denied involvement in a Houthi drone interception and seizure of an Israeli vessel.

The war in Yemen has killed over 150,000 people since 2014, including 14,500 civilians, according to data from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED).

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The United Nations has called Yemen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Two-thirds of the population relies on food aid and 4 million people are internally displaced. Shortages of medicine, fuel and water have also been reported.

A nationwide ceasefire was agreed to by the Houthis in April 2022 along with lifting of the blockade on Taiz city. However, fighting has continued in regions like Marib. Major concessions have not been made by either side for a permanent resolution.

In an official statement, the Houthis said Western claims underestimate their self-sufficiency. They asserted capability to manufacture advanced drones domestically and make autonomous decisions.

“We have strong manufacturing capabilities, including in the defense industry,” said Houthi official Mohammed Ali al-Houthi. “We have revealed new air, sea and land weapons systems that were completely designed and built by Yemeni engineers.”

Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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