The Iran-backed Houthi terrorist organization controlling Yemen threatened to turn the Red Sea into a “graveyard” on Monday in response to U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announcing a coalition to stop Houthi pirate attacks on shipping vessels in the region.
The Houthis – a terrorist group that has waged civil war in Yemen since 2014 and calls itself “Ansar Allah” – declared war on Israel in October in response to the country organizing a defensive response against the Sunni jihadist terror group Hamas.
Hamas launched an unprecedented wave of atrocities in Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people and abducting an estimated 250 others in a spree of mass rape, killings of entire families in their own homes, torture of children, and corpse desecration filmed and uploaded online.
On Monday, Houthi leaders announced they would attack Israel-bound or Israeli-owned ships in the waters around Yemen indefinitely until Israel ceased self-defense operations in Gaza, the Hamas stronghold. Yemen is located on the Bab al-Mandab Strait, the mouth of the Red Sea on the way to the Suez Canal, giving the Houthis tremendous leverage to disrupt global trade. An estimated 12 percent of global trade passes through the Red Sea, which allows for a much shorter route than traveling south and around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope.
Several Houthi targets insist they have no relation to Israel, prompting at least 12 companies at press time to redirect their ships or otherwise modify operations to protect from Houthi attacks.
In response, Austin, while visiting Israel, announced the creation of a multinational coalition to defend shipping in the region. Austin’s boss, President Joe Biden, greatly increased the Houthis’ ability to finance their terrorism as one of his first acts in office in 2021, removing Ansar Allah from America’s formal list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations in an alleged attempt to funnel more humanitarian aid into Yemen.
While a Shiite terrorist group, the Houthis support Hamas’s genocidal goal of destroying Israel and both enjoy financial support from Iran, the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism. The official Houthi slogan is “Allahu akbar, death to the United States, death to Israel, curse the Jews, victory for Islam.”
“The Yemeni Armed Forces are ready to transform the Red Sea into a graveyard for the US-led coalition should they take aggressive measures against Yemen,” Major General Mohammad al-Atifi, the Houthi “defense minister,” said on Monday, according to the Iran regime-linked outlet Tasnim News. “We possess the means to neutralize your warships, submarines, and aircraft carriers.”
Upwards of 3,000 U.S. sailors and Marines sailed into the Red Sea on Monday after transiting the Suez Canal in a pre-announced deployment, the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet said in a statement. https://t.co/V5a91lKQa5— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) August 7, 2023
Another Houthi leader, Mohammed al-Bukhaiti, warned of “painful options” available to the Houthis to “employ in response to any act of aggression against their homeland.”
Al-Bukhaiti insisted, “we only target ships that are either Israeli-owned or heading towards Israeli ports.” In reality, multiple ships targeted by Houthi attacks have stated they have no overt ties to Israel. The latest ship attacked, the MV Swan Atlantic, is owned by a Norweigian company, one of the countries joining the coalition.
The Qatari outlet Al Jazeera quoted al-Bukhaiti as describing the goal of the attacks as an end to Israeli operations against Hamas in Gaza, which he described as “crimes” against alleged civilians. The Houthi leader claimed that Israel was blocking “food, medicines, and fuel” to civilians, rather than engaging in targeted operations against Hamas terror hubs – which Hamas strategically places in civilian areas to use Gazans as human shields.
The Israeli government has stated that its defense operations in Gaza are necessary to prevent a repeat of the October 7 atrocities. Any end in the campaign against Hamas would allow the group to once again thrive in Gaza and potentially plan more attacks.
In Yemen, the Houthis have regularly diverted humanitarian aid away from civilians, fueling man-made famine, disease outbreaks, and other horrors. Houthi terrorists also regularly force children into terrorist activity.
“Even if America succeeds in mobilizing the entire world, our military operations will not stop … no matter the sacrifices it costs us,” al-Bukhaiti threatened.
America mobilized a sizeable coalition of naval forces this week to confront the Houthi threat – which jeopardizes the smooth operation of global shipping. Defense Secretary Austin announced what he called a “multinational maritime taskforce” on Monday intended to protect ships transiting through Mideast waters.
At press time, multiple European and Mideast countries have heeded the call, including Norway, the United Kingdom, Spain, the Seychelles, and Bahrain, the latter one of the few Middle Eastern countries with friendly ties to Israel.
The list of companies announcing that they will be redirecting ships to avoid Houthi-infested waters grew to 12 as of Tuesday.
Among the prominent names announcing changes to their operations were the oil giant BP, which will be directing ships away from the area, and Evergreen, a shipping giant popularly known for getting a ship stuck in the Suez Canal in 2021, which announced it would “temporarily stop accepting Israeli cargo with immediate effect, and has instructed its container ships to suspend navigation through the Red Sea until further notice.”