editorials

Al Houthi threat to shipping is worrying

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Plot to target international maritime transport with sea mines is an escalation that cannot be tolerated

Gulf News
18:21 November 12, 2017

Al Houthi terrorists in Yemen have sunk to a new low in their ongoing attempt to destabilise the country and try and turn it into a fiefdom of Iranian influence. Members of the international coalition fighting to restore the legitimate government and authority of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi thwarted Al Houthi forces on the island of Bawadi as divers were preparing sea mines and others rigged up explosive-laden boats — all with the deliberate and deadly intent to cause as much indiscriminate damage as possible to shipping.

Thankfully, the threat was eliminated, but the incident shows the extent and intent of Al Houthi forces, and the logistical and material support provided to them by their masters in Tehran. Last week, they fired a ballistic missile, and now the sea mines — all technologies of terror and war that point to a level of sophistication and training that emanates from the Iranian regime.

The international coalition, led by Saudi Arabia and in which the UAE is proud to be playing its part, is acting with the authority of United Nations Security Council Resolutions, and in aiding and abetting Al Houthis, Iran is sending a clear and dangerous message that it cares little for the legitimacy of the Security Council. Al Houthis have been actively mining waters on the Red Sea and Bab Al Mandab Strait with total disregard for the potential loss of human life, the impact on international shipping and the indiscriminate nature of the sea mines. The mines in the Bab Al Mandab Strait threaten every maritime vessel regardless of flag that is transiting through the Suez Canal, and it is an escalation that cannot be tolerated and one that has international ramifications. It is an act of unbridled and blatant aggression that sinks lower than a previous Al Houthis aggression in striking a vessel carrying humanitarian aid with a missile.

The fingerprints of the Iranian regime are all over these acts. It is fine tuning its missile programme, is providing its weaponry and training to terror groups from Yemen to Lebanon, and it intent on destabilising an entire corridor from Yemen to the Mediterranean through its militias’ involvement in Iraq and Syria.

The involvement of the Iranian regime too is evident in the terrorist acts being perpetrated on the people and infrastructure of Bahrain. The bombing of an oil pipeline near Manama points too to the growing sophistication of terrorists who are trained and supplied from across the Arabian Gulf.

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