[ © Middle East Institute ]
For the first time in four decades, a core U.S. interest in the region on which successive American presidents have based U.S. Middle East policy - freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce - is increasingly at risk. By enabling the Houthis in Yemen to attack international vessels in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden with armed drones and sophisticated anti-ship missiles, Iran, as it did in the Gulf in the late 1980s, is causing tremendous harm to commercial activity in one of the world’s most crucial waterways.
[ © Foreign Affairs ]
Since the Houthis launched their assault on global shipping in November, the United States and its partners have scrambled for ways to restore calm and commerce to the Red Sea. First, on December 18, Washington assembled a maritime coalition designed to boost the U.S. presence in the area and promote regional security. Then, in January, the United States started intercepting Iranian military shipments bound for the Houthis and issued multiple warnings to the group. Finally, after nearly two months of continuous attacks in the Red Sea, the United States and the United Kingdom launched a barrage of strikes against the Houthis’ facilities.