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Blinken Condemns Iran For Aiding Houthi Red Sea Attacks

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has accused Iran of aiding Yemen’s Houthi attacks on merchant vessels in the Red Sea, telling reporters in Bahrain that Tehran was providing vital assistance. "These attacks have been aided and abetted by Iran with technology, equipment, intelligence, information, and they are having a real-life impact on people," Reuters quoted Blinken as saying, during his fourth crisis tour of the Middle East since the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel. 

On Tuesday, U.S. and UK forces in the Red Sea shot down 21 drones, including anti-ship cruise and ballistic missiles, fired at merchant vessels, according to U.S. Central Command, as attacks on ships become a daily occurrence in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. 

As reported by NPR, British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps described Tuesday’s missile barrage as "the largest attack by the Iranian-backed Houthis in the Red Sea to date”.

A Houthi General told NPR that the rebel group would "continue to prevent Israeli ships or those heading to the ports of occupied Palestine from navigating in the Red Sea until the aggression stops and the siege on our steadfast brothers in the Gaza Strip ends”.

The Houthis have also vowed to target U.S. military vessels if the U.S. moved to directly attack the group. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, citing London-based Drewry Shipping Consultants, importers are facing soaring costs due to the Red Sea attacks, with costs to ship containers doubling since November. Additionally, the past two weeks have seen a sharper spike in costs of shipping through the Suez Canal, which requires traversing the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, offshore Yemen. 

WSJ reports spot-market prices for containers running between China and Rotterdam as having seen a 115% increase week-over-week. 

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on January 10 2024 said:
    Rather than blaming Iran for supporting the Houthis’ attacks on Israeli shipping in the Red Sea, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken should exert maximum pressure on Israel to stop genocide in Gaza..

    It appears that he has so far failed to do so. So either he is acquiescing to continued Israeli attacks or Israel isn’t listening to him. If so then this raises many questions about who is boss in the US-Israeli alliance.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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