The Houthi rebel group in Yemen has threatened to start attacking oil tankers and warships sailing under enemy flag if the Gulf coalition fighting it in the country does not reopen its ports.
The coalition, which is led by Saudi Arabia, which supports Yemen’s elected government, now in exile, closed all borders with the country following a Houthi ballistic missile attack on Riyadh. The Saudi anti-missile defense system intercepted the weapon, but the Saudi government saw the long hand of Tehran behind the attack.
On the grounds that the ballistic missile was supplied by Iran—something that Tehran has denied—Saudi Arabia closed off Yemeni ports to prevent another missile reaching its smaller neighbor, currently deep in the throes of what’s possibly the worst humanitarian crisis the world has seen in decades, not least because of the port closures.
According to the United Nations, the closures could result in the death of millions from famine. Although Saudi Arabia says access of aid workers to the crisis-stricken country is open, aid agencies, according to Reuters, have claimed that they have not been able to enter it.
The Houthis, which are loyal to Yemen’s former president, are currently in control of most of Yemen, despite the two-year war with the Saudi Arabian-led coalition that began in defense of the exiled incumbent, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Related: $43 Billion China-Alaska Energy Deal Looks Shaky
The senior leadership of the organization has warned it would launch another attack on Saudi Arabia should the Kingdom decide to attack Yemen’s biggest port, Hodeidah. The attack targets include Saudi oil tankers and oil installations in the Kingdom.
Yemen lies along one of the main global oil chokepoints in the Red Sea. Millions of barrels of crude pass Yemeni shores from the Suez Canal en route to Europe every day. Currently, all ports in Houthi-controlled territory are closed, but two that are located in areas controlled by the pro-Saudi forces are in operation.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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