Saudi Arabia, Yemen: What's Next for Red Sea Oil Shipments After Houthi Attack

Jul 26, 2018 | 22:04 GMT

What's Next for Red Sea Oil Shipments After a Yemeni Houthi Attack Closes a Key Strait to Saudi Traffic


Yemen's restive Houthi movement scored a propaganda victory July 25 when it successfully targeted a pair of Saudi Arabian oil tankers transiting the Bab el-Mandeb strait, damaging one and prompting Riyadh to temporarily suspend its oil shipments through the Red Sea chokepoint. The Houthis have periodically fired on ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden -- including Emirati and U.S. warships -- but this was the first time such activity caused a meaningful change in Saudi behavior. The Houthis, who have Iranian backing, have long sought to use the threat to shipping as a means to gain leverage over their militarily superior Saudi and Emirati enemies. The Houthi triumph will be short-lived, however, because the perceived threat to global energy supplies will enable the Saudi-led coalition to posture as the defender of international order, thereby undercutting attempts by the Houthis to turn the diplomatic tables on Riyadh. ...

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