Despite the formation of a naval coalition by President Joe Biden to deter attacks from Iranian-backed Houthi terrorists in Yemen, the assaults on ships in the Red Sea have continued. Intelligence officials from various countries have revealed that Iran is providing the Houthis with real-time intelligence and weaponry, including drones and missiles, to carry out these attacks.
According to these officials, Iran’s paramilitary forces have a surveillance vessel in the Red Sea, which directly feeds intelligence to the Houthis. This enables them to coordinate their attacks on ships passing through the Bab el-Mandeb strait. The attacks began shortly after Hamas, an Iranian-backed terrorist group in Gaza, launched an attack against Israel, resulting in the death of 1,200 Israelis.
These ongoing attacks have forced many ships to avoid using the Suez Canal and take longer routes around the southern tip of Africa. This significantly increases travel time, and costs ultimately passed on to consumers.
Following these assaults, President Biden initiated Operation Prosperity Guardian, a coalition comprising 20 nations to prevent attacks on commercial ships in the region. Nevertheless, the alliance encountered difficulties, with certain countries hesitating to contribute ships or substantial assets if they fell under U.S. command.
Unfortunately, Biden’s efforts have failed to dissuade the Houthis and Iran. Attacks on ships have continued, with the most recent incident occurring last Friday. The Houthis fired two anti-ship ballistic missiles into international shipping lanes in the Red Sea, according to U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).
According to CENTCOM, the USS LABOON (DDG 58) was conducting patrols in the Southern Red Sea as part of Operation Prosperity Guardian when it successfully intercepted and downed four unmanned aerial drones originating from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen. Later that evening, reports indicated that two ships in the Southern Red Sea were under attack.
The Norwegian-flagged chemical/oil tanker, M/V BLAAMANEN, narrowly avoided a one-way attack drone launched by the Houthis. In contrast, the Indian-flagged crude oil tanker, M/V SAIBABA, was struck by a one-way attack drone. Responding to distress calls, the USS LABOON (DDG 58) intervened in the aftermath of these attacks.
Despite international efforts, it is clear that the Iranian-backed Houthi terrorists in Yemen continue to pose a significant threat to ships in the Red Sea. The situation calls for ongoing vigilance and cooperation among nations to ensure the safety of commercial shipping routes in the region.