US Leads Global Effort to Counter Houthi Menace to International Shipping

The Biden administration is forming an international coalition to stop the threat posed by the Iranian-backed Houthis to global shipping routes in the Red Sea, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in Israel on Friday. “We will take all necessary and appropriate steps to address the Houthis’ threat,” he said, adding that US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin would address this during his visit to Israel and the region next week. “The response should not only come from the US. It should be a broader coalition of countries working together,” he said. The Houthis claim they are attacking ships to protest Israel’s military campaign, but Sullivan said Iran’s involvement was especially concerning. “We are building a coalition to rally the nations of the world, all of whom have an interest in stopping this,” Sullivan said. “While the Houthis are pulling the trigger, they are being given the gun by Iran, and Iran needs to take steps to stop these attacks, as they are a fundamental threat to international law and security,” he said. “This is not just about the US and Israel, it is about the entire international community,” Sullivan explained. He added, “The US is working with the international community, with partners from the region and around the world to address this threat.” He spoke as a Liberia-flagged container ship was damaged by an “aerial attack” while sailing through the Bab al-Mandab strait, causing a fire on the deck and a container to fall overboard, Ambrey reported on Friday. The vessel was sailing south through the strait in the southern Red Sea when it was attacked by a projectile 50 nautical miles north of the Yemeni Red Sea port of Mokha. Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis have been attacking vessels in Red Sea shipping lanes and firing drones and missiles at Israel since the start of the Gaza war. The group targeted the tanker with a rocket after the crew refused to respond to warnings, Houthi military spokesperson Yehia Sareea said in a televised statement. He vowed that the Houthis would continue blocking all ships heading to Israeli ports until Israel allows the entry of food and medical aid into the Gaza Strip – more than 1,000 miles from the Houthi seat of power in Sanaa.