The Iran-aligned Houthi group in Yemen is ready to unilaterally suspend attacks in the Red Sea to support efforts to reach peace, a Houthi leader said on Tuesday, a few days after Saudi Arabia temporarily halted oil shipments through a crucial Red Sea chokepoint after two of its oil tankers were attacked.
“The unilateral halt in naval military operations will be for a limited time period and could be extended and include all fronts if this move is reciprocated by the leadership of the coalition,” Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the head of the Houthi supreme revolutionary committee, said in a statement, carried by Reuters.
It was not immediately clear whether the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels—who have been fighting the Saudi-led Arab coalition in Yemen since 2015—would stop attacks in the Red Sea immediately, or how long a possible suspension of attacks would last.
Last Wednesday, the Houthis targeted a Saudi oil tanker in the Bab el Mandeb strait connecting the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea, causing minimal damage. The attack took place in international waters in the Red Sea, off Hodeidah port—the only port that the Houthis control.
Following the attack, Saudi Arabia temporarily halted on Thursday crude oil and oil product shipments via the Bab el Mandeb strait until the situation becomes clearer. Initial reports of the attacks only mentioned one tanker targeted by the Houthis, but later it became clear that two Very Large Crude Carriers had been targeted, one of which sustained minor damage.
The Bab el-Mandeb Strait is one of three crucial chokepoints around the Arabian Peninsula. An estimated 4.8 million bpd of crude oil and refined petroleum products are being shipped through Bab el-Mandeb, which is a narrow strait limiting tanker traffic to two 2-mile-wide channels for inbound and outbound shipments, and potentially making tankers easy targets.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:
- The Oil And Gas Boom Sends U.S. GDP Soaring
- Coke, Meth And Booze: The Flip Side Of The Permian Oil Boom
- $40 Billion LNG Project Finally Starts Up