Houthi rebels declare Red Sea safety dependent on resolution of Gaza conflict

The Iranian-backed Houthis had been threatening ships in the Red Sea. The USS Carney, a US naval warship, downed a drone threat on November 29. Additionally, a drone approached the US aircraft carrier USS Eisenhower. The group also captured a ship earlier in November and launched multiple drone and missile attacks on Israel. They also fired ballistic missiles at the USS Mason earlier in the week. The Houthis released a statement from their “foreign minister” in Yemen asserting that the safety of ships in the Red Sea is connected to the war in Gaza. The G7, which represents the world’s largest economies, had called on the Houthis to cease their threats against ships. The Houthis vowed to continue to threaten commercial ships they claim are tied to Israel. They also threatened US warships. The statement from the Houthis indicated that despite ten years of war in Yemen, shipping in the Red Sea had been secure. They claim they have not attacked commercial ships in the past. The Houthis suggest that the fate of the ship they hijacked earlier in the month is linked to ending the aggression against the Gaza Strip, and the entry of humanitarian aid, food, and fuel. They imply that the “safety” of the region is now dependent on the war in Gaza, suggesting a potential escalation.