Recent reports from Reuters indicate that the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Lebanese group Hezbollah, designated as a terrorist organisation in the U.S. and partially in the EU, are allegedly orchestrating attacks by Yemeni Houthi rebels on ships in the Red Sea. According to multiple sources cited by Reuters, Iran, known for arming, training, and financing the Houthi rebels, has increased weapon shipments since the outbreak of hostilities between Israel and the armed group Hamas (recognized as a terrorist organisation in the U.S. and the EU) in the Gaza Strip. Tehran has reportedly supplied the Houthis with drones, anti-ship cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, and medium-range rockets. Additionally, commanders and advisors from the IRGC provide intelligence to identify ships destined for Israel.
Last month, Washington accused Iran of actively participating in planning operations against shipping in the Red Sea, emphasizing the crucial role of Iranian intelligence in these attacks. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani had previously denied Tehran's involvement in Houthi attacks in the Red Sea. Controlling a significant portion of Yemen, Houthi rebels have been targeting maritime vessels in the Red Sea for nearly two months. This strategic waterway facilitates up to 15 percent of global trade, and the attacks are seen as a demonstration of support for Hamas. The Houthi attacks have disrupted international trade on a vital route between Europe and Asia, leading various shipping companies to suspend operations in the region and reroute ships around Africa.
In response to the escalating situation, the United States and the United Kingdom conducted airstrikes on Houthi targets in Yemen on the night of January 11-12. The U.S. continued with additional strikes in the following days, aiming to curb the Houthi threat in the region. The events in the Red Sea underscore the complex geopolitical dynamics and the involvement of state actors in regional conflicts, raising concerns about the impact on global trade routes and maritime security. The situation calls for international diplomatic efforts to address the root causes of the conflict and find a lasting resolution that ensures stability in the region.
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