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ANALYSIS: ‘Yemen is Blocking US Hegemony in West Asia’

For nearly one month now, Yemen’s Ansar Allah movement (aka ‘The Houthis’) have been enforcing a naval blockade against any ships they deem to be Israeli or providing material support Israeli war crimes in Gaza. The Yemenis have vowed to target all ships heading to Israel, regardless of their ‘flagged’ nationality, and have warned off any international shipping companies dealing with Israeli ports. The results of these surprising sanctions by Ansar Allah have been both effective and far-reaching. 

The focus of their efforts have been in and around the Red Sea, and specifically in the Bab al-Mandab strait, a pivotal sea trading route where much of the world’s oil passes.

“If Gaza does not receive the food and medicine it needs, all ships in the Red Sea bound for Israeli ports, regardless of their nationality, will become a target for our armed forces,” said a Yemeni spokesperson in December.

Hence, the West are now discovering what the “Axis of Resistance” is, and what sort of regional and global leverage it actually has…

William Van Wagenen from The Cradle writes…

Given the renewed focus on Yemen’s de facto government led by Ansarallah and its armed forces, it is time to move beyond the simplistic and dismissive characterization of the Houthis as merely a ‘rebel’ group or a non-state actor.

Since the start of the war by the Saudi-led coalition against Ansarallah in 2015, the Yemeni resistance movement has transformed into a formidable military force that has not only humbled Saudi Arabia but is also now challenging Israel’s genocidal actions in Gaza as well as the superior firepower and resources of the US Navy in the world’s most important waterway.

Economic fallout of Yemens naval operations

In response to Israel unleashing unprecedented violence on Gaza, killing over 20,000 people, predominantly women and children, Yemen’s Ansarallah-led armed forces announced on 14 November their intent to target any Israeli-linked ship passing through the strategic Bab al-Mandab Strait in the Red Sea. This crucial waterway serves as the gateway to the Suez Canal, through which approximately 10 percent of global trade and 8.8 million barrels of oil travel each day.

On 9 December, Ansarallah announced it would expand its operations further to target any ship in the Red Sea on its way to Israel, regardless of its nationality. “If Gaza does not receive the food and medicine it needs, all ships in the Red Sea bound for Israeli ports, regardless of their nationality, will become a target for our armed forces,” an Ansarallah Armed Forces spokesperson said in a statement.

To date, Ansarallah has successfully targeted nine ships using drones and missiles, and managed to seize one Israeli-affiliated ship in the Red Sea, according to their official statements. These operations have prompted the largest international shipping companies, including CMA CGM and MSC, and oil giants BP and Evergreen, to re-route their Europe bound ships around the horn of Africa, adding 13,000km and significant fuel costs to the journey.

Delays, transit times, and insurance fees for commercial shipping have skyrocketed, threatening to spark inflation worldwide. This is especially worrisome for Israel, which is already contending with the economic repercussions of its longest and deadliest conflict with the Palestinian resistance in history.

Additionally, Ansarallah has launched multiple missile and drone attacks on Israel’s southern port city of Eilat, decreasing its commercial shipping traffic by 85 percent.

The disruption in the Red Sea directly undermines a key element of the White House’s 2022 National Security Strategy, which unequivocally states that the US will not permit any nation “to jeopardize freedom of navigation through the Middle East’s waterways, including the Strait of Hormuz and the Bab al-Mandab.”

Coalition of the unwilling

On 18 December, in response to Sanaa’s operations, Secretary of State Lloyd Austin declared the establishment of a naval coalition named Operation Prosperity Guardian, with some 20 countries called to counter Yemeni attacks and ensure safe passage of ships through the Red Sea.

Austin announced the new maritime coalition would include, among others, Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Spain, Norway, the Netherlands, the Seychelles, and Bahrain.

In response to the announcement, Ansarallah politburo Mohammed al-Bukhaiti vowed that Yemen’s armed forces would not back down:

Yemen awaits the creation of the filthiest coalition in history to engage in the holiest battle in history. How will the countries that rushed to form an international coalition against Yemen to protect the perpetrators of Israeli genocide be perceived?

The embarrassment for Secretary Austin and White House advisor Jake Sullivan was swift. Shortly after the coalition’s announcement, key US allies Saudi Arabia and Egypt declined participation. European allies Denmark, Holland, and Norway provided minimal support, sending only a handful of naval officers.

France agreed to participate but refused to deploy additional ships to the region or place its existing vessel there under US command. Italy and Spain refuted claims of their participation, and eight countries remained anonymous, casting doubt on their existence.

Ansarallah has therefore destroyed another pillar of the White House National Security Strategy, which seeks “to promote regional integration by building political, economic, and security connections between and among US partners, including through integrated air and maritime defense structures.”

Revolutions in naval warfare

The Pentagon plans to defend commercial ships using missile defense systems on US and allied naval carriers deployed to the region.

But the world’s superpower, now largely on its own, does not have the military capacity to counter attacks from war-torn Yemen, the poorest country in West Asia.

This is because the US relies on expensive and difficult to manufacture interceptor missiles to counter the inexpensive and mass-produced drones and missiles that Ansarallah possesses.

Austin made his announcement shortly after the USS Carney destroyer intercepted 14 one-way attack drones on just one day, the 16th of December.

The operation appeared to be a success, but Politico swiftly reported that according to three US Defense Department officials, the cost of countering such attacks “is a growing concern.”

The SM-2 missiles used by the USS Carney cost roughly $2.1 million each, while Ansarallah’s one-way attack drones cost a mere $2,000 each.

This means that to shoot down the $28,000 worth of drones on 16 December, the US spent at least $28 million in just one day…

Continue this analysis at The Cradle

READ MORE YEMEN NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Yemen Files


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