What to Know:
A joint statement between the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, and New Zealand has warned the Houthis against further attacks against commercial shipping vessels, stating that they “bear the responsibility of the consequences should they continue to threaten lives, the global economy, and free flow of commerce in the region’s critical waterways.”
The joint statement goes on to warn the Houthis against further attacks in the Red Sea, calling them “illegal, unacceptable, and profoundly destabilizing.”
“There is no lawful justification for intentionally targeting civilian shipping and naval vessels. Attacks on vessels, including commercial vessels, using unmanned aerial vehicles, small boats, and missiles, including the first use of anti-ship ballistic missiles against such vessels, are a direct threat to the freedom of navigation that serves as the bedrock of global trade in one of the world’s most critical waterways.”
The statement then goes into the economic cost of the attacks, which “threaten innocent lives from all over the world and constitute a significant international problem that demands collective action.”
“Nearly 15 percent of global seaborne trade passes through the Red Sea, including 8 percent of global grain trade, 12 percent of seaborne-traded oil and 8 percent of the world’s liquefied natural gas trade. International shipping companies continue to reroute their vessels around the Cape of Good Hope, adding significant cost and weeks of delay to the delivery of goods, and ultimately jeopardizing the movement of critical food, fuel, and humanitarian assistance throughout the world.”
“Let our message now be clear: we call for the immediate end of these illegal attacks and release of unlawfully detained vessels and crews. The Houthis will bear the responsibility of the consequences should they continue to threaten lives, the global economy, and free flow of commerce in the region’s critical waterways. We remain committed to the international rules-based order and are determined to hold malign actors accountable for unlawful seizures and attacks,” the statement concludes.
Operation Prosperity Guardian:
The release of the joint statement, which comes as both American and British media report that the two countries are weighing strike options against the Houthis, follows the formation of Operation prosperity Guardian, a United States-led international maritime coalition “with the goal of ensuring freedom of navigation for all countries and bolstering regional security and prosperity.” The United Kingdom, Bahrain, Canada, Italy, and Netherlands are part of the operation.
In response to the formation of the Coalition, the Houthis previously stated that “It greatly honors us that we mobilized against the enemy. That we are confronting the Zionist enemy who is aggressing on Palestine and our Homeland. We will continue to confront the American-Israeli enemy until the aggression in Gaza stops.”
They separately added that “We will not stand idly by if the American has a tendency to escalate further and commit foolishness by targeting our country or waging war against it,” adding that “American battleships, interests, and navigation” will be “a target for our missiles, drones, and military operations,” if strikes are carried out against Yemen.