Is Russia Behind the Houthi Attacks in the Red Sea?

Yemen has granted exclusive passage rights to tankers carrying Russian oil through the Red Sea to the Suez Canal. This development has raised eyebrows and sparked concerns about the geopolitical dynamics in the region.

While Western ships face alternative routes, including a lengthy 15,000-mile journey around Africa, navigating Russia’s Northern Arctic route, or rail transit through Russia, the focus remains on the unique access granted to Russian oil tankers in the Red Sea.

Notably, Houthi rebels, who have been active in the region, are reportedly refraining from targeting Russian tankers in the Red Sea. Russian media outlets have highlighted the Ansarallah Movement’s reported cooperation, allowing Russian tankers to transit through without incident.

This development comes at a time when the United States has formed a multinational naval task force to protect ships in the Red Sea from intensified Houthi drone and missile attacks. The heightened security measures follow reports of five shipping companies redirecting their vessels away from the Red Sea due to the increased threat.

Observers are speculating on Russia’s potential involvement in the Red Sea attacks, given the unique privileges granted. However, definitive evidence supporting these claims remains elusive.

Meanwhile, France is making headlines with reports of its withdrawal from Operation Prosperity Guardian, opting to conduct its own escort operation. The country is reaching out to fellow European Union nations to collaborate in escorting EU-owned vessels through the Bab el-Mandeb, specifically against the Houthi threat.

Delays in the implementation of Operation Prosperity Guardian seem to be a significant concern, with U.S.-flagged vessels stranded in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. Critics argue that departmental coordination issues within key U.S. agencies are hindering the operation’s effectiveness.

The situation raises questions about the U.S. Navy’s ability to protect global trade routes, as the Houthi threat poses a risk to approximately 15% of the world’s trade. Reports suggest that the lack of maritime and naval expertise within the current administration may be contributing to the challenges faced in coordinating and executing strategic operations in the region.

Notably, the criticisms extend to the Biden administration’s handling of maritime affairs, with concerns raised about the absence of maritime expertise in key positions. Observers point out that previous administrations, including the Trump administration, made efforts to address deficiencies in maritime leadership, whereas the current administration appears to lack similar expertise.

Information for this briefing was found via the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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