Houthi Tactics Seem Working as Chinese COSCO Stops Port Calls to Israel

Fearing international repercussions and maritime route disruption due to the distant Yemeni threat, Israel is unable to engage us directly: Houthi news outlet
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 03:20 AM, January 8, 2024
  • 656
Houthi Tactics Seem Working as Chinese COSCO Stops Port Calls to Israel
Yemeni Houthis show how they hijacked an Israeli-linked shipping vessel in the Red Sea on November 20, 2023

The world’s fourth-largest shipping company COSCO has announced the suspension of its service to Israel, adding to the disruptions caused by Houthi rebels' attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea.

This decision comes after a series of attacks by the Houthis, targeting Israeli-linked cargo vessels and prompting other major shipping companies to reroute away from the region.

The Houthi rebels initially focused on vessels with connections to Israel, seizing the cargo ship Galaxy Leader and its crew at the entrance to the Red Sea. However, their subsequent attacks extended to ships with minimal or no Israeli ties, triggering a response from global shipping giants like A.P. Moller-Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd AG, CMA CGM, Maersk, MSC, and BP, which either paused activities or rerouted their ships.

The Red Sea, a crucial route to the Suez Canal facilitating about 12% of global trade, has become a focal point for disruptions. Houthi attacks have increased risks for vessels approaching the Suez Canal, leading to delays, increased costs, and rerouting decisions by major shipping companies.

Since November, the Houthi rebels have attacked commercial shipping in the Red Sea more than 20 times using missiles, drones, fast boats, and helicopters. They have often falsely claimed that the ships were linked to Israel.

Yemen's Houthi news outlet Al Masirah confirmed that two Zionist commercial ships were targeted by the Houthis, forcing Israeli vessels to take a challenging and costly detour. This has resulted in significant losses for Zionist trade, which heavily relies on sea routes for over 90% of its exports and revenues.

The United States has assembled a 12-nation maritime coalition to try to deter Houthi attacks in the Red Sea. Other members include Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the UK. The coalition is focused on defending ships passing through the Red Sea by intercepting Houthi attacks.

Houthi Tactics Seem Working as Chinese COSCO Stops Port Calls to Israel

The U.S. is reluctant to escalate the crisis and is refraining from firing back towards Yemen, despite missiles flying towards the Red Sea from the HouthisHowever, that stance may be about to change.

In their statement on January 3, the group of 12 states called the attacks on shipping "illegal, unacceptable, and profoundly destabilizing" and stated that there was "no lawful justification for intentionally targeting civilian shipping and naval vessels." The coalition cautioned the Houthis of unspecified "consequences" unless they halt their attacks.

A day later, the Houthis ignored the warning and detonated a drone boat packed with explosives.

Any armed response by the coalition is likely to involve action against Houthi bases, boats, and weapons.

U.S., British, and French warships in the Red Sea all have the capability to shoot down Houthi missiles and drones, but it is becoming expensive, and they can't be sure to hit every single one, especially if the Houthis decide to launch a "swarm" attack—launching multiple drones and missiles at once, similar to what Russia has been doing in Ukraine.

Yemen may be the poorest Arab nation, but the Houthis have a large stockpile of missiles and drones.

The Houthi outlet Al Masirah further reported that despite the presence of U.S. warships equipped with advanced defense systems, Israeli ships lack protective cover. The Houthis, over 1,000 km away, are launching missiles towards Israel by altering paths and challenging coalition's detection systems. Tel Aviv is unable to confront the distant threat, fearing an international crisis if drawn into a war with Yemen. The geographical distance also poses a risk of disrupting maritime routes, the report said.

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